Question Is water-cooling and overclocking a CPU pointless for gamers?

Viper2

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For example, I am getting a Ryzen 9 5900x, and I am putting a Noctua NH-D15S on it since I will be running it at stock clocks (3.7 - 4.8 GHz). From everything I have read, the NH-D15S can easily run that CPU at stock clocks with superb temperatures even with the most demanding games. Also, I have read and heard that overclocking a CPU provides almost no benefits in games, whereas an overclocked GPU can certainly provide benefits in games (that's why I bought a Asus GTX 3090 ROG Strix OC graphics card that comes factory overclocked).

So my question is: Why do some people even bother water-cooling and overclocking a CPU for gaming?
 

jojesa

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For example, I am getting a Ryzen 9 5900x, and I am putting a Noctua NH-D15S on it since I will be running it at stock clocks (3.7 - 4.8 GHz). From everything I have read, the NH-D15S can easily run that CPU at stock clocks with superb temperatures even with the most demanding games. Also, I have read and heard that overclocking a CPU provides almost no benefits in games, whereas an overclocked GPU can certainly provide benefits in games (that's why I bought a Asus GTX 3090 ROG Strix OC graphics card that comes factory overclocked).

So my question is: Why do some people even bother water-cooling and overclocking a CPU for gaming?
Some people want to have the fastest of the fastest...no matter the cost.
The same reason you got a RTX 3090, instead of a RTX 3080, even though there is almost no difference in performance between the two GPUS...but one costs twice as much as the other.
 

EridanusSV

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Why? Because 10c less is totally worth it. But like you said, you're only running it on stock which is funny because, unless youre a hardcore LN2 OCer, you're not going to be messing with the BIOS a lot.

High-end Ryzen cards are like yours and mine(3950X) will last us until the next decade. A lot of creatives uses these chips for video editing, streaming, mini servers, VMs, etc. and just wants to have a peace of mind. The cooler your CPU runs: lower degradation rate and better peace of mind.

I know that AMD suggests water-cooling because these card do run hot and if someone puts in an awful cheap air cooling system.. They'll give the chip a bad review, not recommend it to friends and family, and make memes about it.
 

EridanusSV

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Some people want to have the fastest of the fastest...no matter the cost.
The same reason you got a RTX 3090, instead of a RTX 3080, even though there is almost no difference in performance between the two GPUS.
HAHAH! IKR. 3090 are for CT scanners and deep learning servers. OP could've went for something cheaper for almost the same performance across the board on video games benchmarks.
 

Phaaze88

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+It's nice to have options.
+It's your money, you do what you want with it. Just be aware, if you share your specs with others, expect to be criticized about it, one way or another, even more so if you got a 5900X and a 3090 for gaming.

That said:
Why do some people even bother water-cooling and overclocking a CPU for gaming?
-E-peen. Surely you're familiar with the whole 'haves and have nots' and delusions of grandeur?
-They want the absolute best, regardless of things like performance per currency.
-It's their passion/hobby; pushing the crap out every new cpu or gpu they get their hands on, running most of the hardware under liquid, or having the very best every generation or so.
 
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TravisPNW

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The same reason you got a RTX 3090, instead of a RTX 3080, even though there is almost no difference in performance between the two GPUS...but one costs twice as much as the other.
3090 wasn't about the 15% performance increase over the 3080 at double the cost... that's obviously not a good choice. If you do video work in addition to gaming as I do the 24GB vram vs 10GB was the justification for the purchase. I see what you're saying though. :)

For me OCing isn't a passion... but I am definitely going to squeeze every last bit of (stable) performance I can out of my system. To not do so would be kinda dumb IMO.
 
So my question is: Why do some people even bother water-cooling and overclocking a CPU for gaming?
I think people do full custom loop water cooling because they enjoy the challenge, it can look really good with hard tubing, lighting etc, for Intel systems it will really help with the crazy high TDP some of the chips can run.
 

Phaaze88

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Now that there are more of these temperature sensitive cpus and gpus available that can push higher clocks on their own, with little interference from users, overclocking has lost SOME face from my point of view.
Just put a big ol' cooler on it, and you'll pretty much be within single digit % of folks pushing high OCs on the same hardware - plus it'll last longer, if you're someone who holds onto their hardware for several years.
I'm not a min-maxer, so I wouldn't give a crap about a few % difference that I wouldn't notice.
 
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TravisPNW

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Now that there are more of these temperature sensitive cpus and gpus available that can push higher clocks on their own, with little interference from users, overclocking has lost SOME face from my point of view.
Just put a big ol' cooler on it, and you'll pretty much be within single digit % of folks pushing high OCs on the same hardware - plus it'll last longer, if you're someone who holds onto their hardware for several years.
I'm not a min-maxer, so I wouldn't give a crap about a few % difference that I wouldn't notice.
Neither am I... last build I spent a day getting a solid stable OC and didn't touch the settings again for nearly 4 years till I sold it. Doing the same with this new build... did the ram tests last night and am going to do stability tests on my day off tomorrow. Definitely not a min-maxer either, as said, OCing isn't a passion... I just want the performance that is available.

Definitely don't care about a few extra % because if I did I would have paid the scalper premium for the Ryzen chips instead of going with the 10900k. :)
 
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Mr.Spock

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Watercooling does have benefits noone mentions - first the heat is exhausted directly out of the case. 2nd removing the massive air cooler can leave a clean space and better airflow over the VRMs. 3rd, not everyone can squeeze that cooler into their case.
 

Phaaze88

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Watercooling does have benefits noone mentions - first the heat is exhausted directly out of the case.
That's not true. It's even more roundabout than air cooling is.
The heat is relocated through the tubing to the radiator(s), and depending on where that is, it's either:
-passing through the chassis until the exhaust fans eventually takes it outside.
-the exhaust fans push/pull that heat off the radiator and outside the chassis.

2nd removing the massive air cooler can leave a clean space and better airflow over the VRMs
What do you think an air cooler heatsink is if it were possible to mash one flat? A radiator, but with none of the tubes, and the cpu block is smaller.

Liquid coolers are bigger than air coolers. They only look smaller because the 'heatsink' was moved out of sight.

Air coolers provide more direct airflow over motherboard VRMs, not liquid.
Unless the motherboard is poor quality, this doesn't even matter; power throttling on the old FX 8xxx/9xxx cpus was more of a thing when people used liquid coolers, and not air on the subpar and below mobos.

3rd, not everyone can squeeze that cooler into their case.
Ditto for liquid coolers; there's a limit to what supports them as well, and some locations in chassis are mechanically less effective than others, like a bottom mounted one in a O11 Dynamic, or a front mounted one in a NZXT H500, for example.
 

Mr.Spock

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the liquid conducts more efficiently than the small amount of alcohol/coolant in a heat pipe.
in exhaust the fans exhaust directly outside.
That's not true. It's even more roundabout than air cooling is.
The heat is relocated through the tubing to the radiator(s), and depending on where that is, it's either:
-passing through the chassis until the exhaust fans eventually takes it outside.
-the exhaust fans push/pull that heat off the radiator and outside the chassis.
I said it leaves a cleaner central space also AMD only lists a handful of air coolers from their "partners" - I use both air and liquid, I'm not a Noctua snob or a liquid fanboy. There are use cases for both and depends on the user's preferences.
What do you think an air cooler heatsink is if it were possible to mash one flat? A radiator, but with none of the tubes, and the cpu block is smaller.
Liquid coolers can fit in cases with less than 150mm max HS height period, good luck with a DH15, also some folks run with tall RAMs - liquid never interferes there. you're the one saying there's never a case for liquid cooling.
Ditto for liquid coolers; there's a limit to what supports them as well, and some locations in chassis are mechanically less effective than others, like a bottom mounted one in a O11 Dynamic, or a front mounted one in a NZXT H500, for example.
 
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Phaaze88

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Why OC? Its a hobby.
Why a custom liquid loop? Its a hobby.
/end thread
Well, it should be, but some people don't treat them as such...

Liquid coolers can fit in cases with less than 150mm max HS height period, good luck with a DH15
Yeah, and there's chassis that don't support larger than 120/140mm, and they're a big step down from 240mm.

There are use cases for both and depends on the user's preferences.
That's the gist of it.
 

Toothless010

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When looking for a new video card, "heat" is part of my considerations. If you in a small warm room, 70C video card will make it uncomfortable in summer. What you are doing is heating up the whole system with heat.
I went to liquid cooling, and playing Cyberpunk 2077 today, the video card stays at 31C. CPU 41C max. This is older system I originally built in 2014, and upgraded the video card in 2019. (5930X/2080TI/EK waterblock)
 

USAFRet

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When looking for a new video card, "heat" is part of my considerations. If you in a small warm room, 70C video card will make it uncomfortable in summer. What you are doing is heating up the whole system with heat.
I went to liquid cooling, and playing Cyberpunk 2077 today, the video card stays at 31C. CPU 41C max. This is older system I originally built in 2014, and upgraded the video card in 2019. (5930X/2080TI/EK waterblock)
Liquid cooling does not change the amount of heat generated by the CPU or GPU.

It simply moves the heat exchange to a different location, at a different rate.
 
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When looking for a new video card, "heat" is part of my considerations. If you in a small warm room, 70C video card will make it uncomfortable in summer. What you are doing is heating up the whole system with heat.
I went to liquid cooling, and playing Cyberpunk 2077 today, the video card stays at 31C. CPU 41C max. This is older system I originally built in 2014, and upgraded the video card in 2019. (5930X/2080TI/EK waterblock)
I think you are confused. You could have a low TDP graphics card, say a GT 1030 30W with a fanless heatsink that would stay at 80 C under load. It wouldn't dump any more heat in the room because of its high temperature, it is only consuming 30W of power to turn into heat.

Compare that to my graphics card a 3070 which consumes 260W of power to turn into heat under full load. It rarely goes over 60 C because of its massive heatsink and 3 fans. It is so heavy it came with a support bracket to stop it from sagging in the PCI-E slot.
 

rubix_1011

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Heat is heat, regardless of how it is cooled. The thermal energy being consumed (in watts) is generated as heat (in watts).

If you have a great cooler, that 250w card will run cooler because of the effectiveness of the thermal system removing heat effectively.

Reported temps are the result of how well a cooler can dissipate thermal energy being created. If temps are high, the cooler is not adequately removing that thermal load quickly enough.

Think of a large highway with many exit ramps. The cars are the thermal energy, exit ramps and the highway itself are the cooler. If there is road construction with several lanes closed or closed exit ramps, the heat takes much longer to escape the CPU or GPU die, creating a traffic jam of thermal energy, thus, higher reported temps.

Open up some new lanes and exits and your traffic jam is cleared, meaning far less congestion, although the number of cars is the same.

Regardless of the highway, the morning rush hour still has the same amount of traffic, just depends on how well it moves.
 

TravisPNW

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Compare that to my graphics card a 3070 which consumes 260W of power to turn into heat under full load. It rarely goes over 60 C because of its massive heatsink and 3 fans. It is so heavy it came with a support bracket to stop it from sagging in the PCI-E slot.
That's a lot like my 3090 FE temps... I finally fired up Afterburner yesterday and it was pretty painless... prior to OCing at stock fan curves my stress load was peaking at 64C... I bumped the Core +175 and Memory +748 (capping the 21/GB bandwidth the memory supports according to what I read on reddit) and adjusted the fan curve and of course the power. It had crashed a couple times at +190 so I dialed it down a bit and ran tests for a few hours and had no issues.

Temps actually dropped... now I'm running in mid 50's and the stress load was 60C. Whatever Nvidia did with the coolers on these FE cards they did right.

Performance increase was decent... got 1000-2000pts on the various 3DMark tests. I then ran both the 3090 and 10900k at max stress load for an hour just to make sure my 1000W PSU would be OK... and it was fine. :LOL:

Disclaimer: I am not an expert OCer... I'm familiar with it but it's not a passion. I just go after the free performance and call it good.
 

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