[SOLVED] liquid cooling radiators

The Original Ralph

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do either XSPC or EKWB radiators enjoy a reputation for better quality over the other? I saw some close up shots of the Alphacool radiators on amazon, purchasers weren't happy with fins looking like they'd been bent and soldered in in the dark ie pretty sloppily

i'm looking at a 360mm rad, and prefer the EKWB's dual pass
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
I'd just PM rubix_1011 and ask him. He can tell you just about anything you want to know about anything related to any kind of liquid cooling, especially if it's a custom loop. That's his primary specialty and he's very helpful and open to answering questions.
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Staff member
I'll post the response to the PM here, just for everyone to view:

I have radiators from all those manufacturers...most of the time this isn't due to their manufacturing, it is 3rd party shipping and packaging issues. All the rads I have ever received have been in good condition and that includes the following:

Swiftech
EK
XSPC
Alphacool
Magicool
Coolgate
Phobya
Koolance
I've used radiators from each of these manufacturers over the course of nearly 17 years. I've never had an issue with build quality or manufacturing and this includes probably close to 4 dozen radiators for many different builds over that period of time for my own systems as well as builds for other people.

But yes, I test large air cooling, AIO liquid cooling and most of the larger watercooling kits that are seen on the cooling reviews, so if you see those, most likely they are mine.

The large 3x140mm Alphacool radiator from the Alpahcool Eissturm Copper 45 kit that I reviewed just recently, the radiator was absolutely flawless and huge.

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/alphacool-eissturm-hurricane-copper-45,5843.html
 

The Original Ralph

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thanks for the response

HAS anyone ever thought or tried removing the black coating on the radiators? We worked or tested anodized aluminum vs un-anodized alum in terms of heat transference, and found the anodizing sealed the surface and impeded heat transfer, i assume the same would be true with copper, and possibly even worse as i don't think there's a surface finish to turn copper black, which means they used paint - in fact, one of those websites indicated their rads were painted black.

Just an idea
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Staff member
Most radiators are not anodized, they are just painted, however, this would only be a large issue on the tubes and fins, which normally only get a very light coat while the core shroud and casing get a lot more paint. Heat exchange happens at the fins/tubes level, so as long as this coating is minimal, there should not be much in the way of thermal insulation but your mileage may vary.

Most radiators are brass with either brass tubes or copper tubes and typically copper fins...although some have aluminum fins. Aluminum fins are fine since they do not come into contact with the coolant (which would be bad). Most quality rads use brass and copper in their construction.

I suppose if you really wanted to see the difference in thermal dissipation, you could get a radiator and test it with the paint and then soak it in stripper, clean and test it without paint.

Heck, I have the equipment to do all of this, but I don't really want to sacrifice a radiator...but it's an experiment I'm willing to do if we had enough interest. Seems quite easy enough in my mind.
 

The Original Ralph

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after i posted i toyed with the idea of taking whichever rad i go with, by our local radiator shop (yeah they still exist) and letting them drop it in their cleaning vat. But then it hit, reason for the paint is to keep the copper from corroding & turning green over time - don't know how long it would take in an interior heated environment, but it the issue of impeded heat transfer would then return

it's best left on there
 

Darkbreeze

Titan
Moderator
So, I'll just say this up front, and most here already know it. I'm not a liquid cooling guy. I don't particularly favor it, and that's ok. It's perfectly fine that some do and I HAVE build some of them for people who wanted them. However, I DO do a lot of plumbing. Both residential and commercial using copper, pvc, and have many years of working with older systems and systems that half and half meaning you end up with dissimilar metals throughout the plumbing circuit and we KNOW that those are eventually going to see galvanic corrosion so we try to eliminate as much of it as possible, when possible.

Sometimes it's not possible because there is lead, clay, black iron or steel pipe that is part of the original plumb job and is encased in concrete through the foundation or in other areas of the property. These are the ones that typically see external signs of galvanic corrosion with the green scaling and discoloring you are talking about. And if you can see it on the outside then it's much worse on the inside usually.

Since those loops typically use additives to inhibit that sort of electrolytic reaction AND since for the most part it's possible to at least mostly eliminate dissimilar metals in the loop, it would be a lot less likely that you'd see anything like that on the outside. I've used plenty of exposed copper heat pipe air coolers over the years that contain liquid agents inside the heat pipes for the heat transfer process and none of them has ever exhibited those signs of galvanic corrosion and discoloring.

I think as long as you kept the loop clean and refreshed periodically to ensure that the additives were still effectively inhibiting that kind of reaction and used only similar or same metals, that wouldn't be likely to happen. I have tens of feet of copper pipe that have been sitting in the rafters of one of my garages for many years and they all look like they did when they came off the shelf at the supply house. And those are stored in a somewhat humid environment so I doubt there'd be any level of humidity inside your case that could even potentially be a factor, if it even COULD be a factor.
 

The Original Ralph

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thinking back on it, you may have a point, the green corrosion i recall was usually at sweated (soldered) joints and from a plumber not wiping off excess flux or copper down at the beach in salt water environment

i'll give you a trick that might help sell some work - i used it to help sell properties. When i ran new feeds to a sink, whether kitchen or bath, when i was finished i'd wipe the copper with some #0000 steel wool to polish it and make it real shiny, then shoot it with some polyeurthane from a spray can. It kept it's shine for years but i had more comments - realtors would make sure their buyers saw it, i kid not, and customers loved opening a kitchen sink cab or bath cab and i kid not, they would marvel at the shiny copper. I know it sounds hokey, but it's kind of like the 1970s when we liked chrome on our cars
 

The Original Ralph

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while we're on this subject, i know i'm late to the game of liquid cooling, but i've noticed every case i've looked at, had two rubber grommet openings out the back side of the case, usually at the top, and i've assumed for radiator tubing lines - but i've never seen anyone's case online with a radiator mounted outside their case. Did folks originally mount their radiators outside the case?
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Staff member
Originally, there were not many internal case locations for mounting radiators - those 2x120mm fan slots are really only recent addition and most people mounted a radiator on top or out the back (I was one of those people).

So yes, they're kind of a relic, but still can have benefit if someone needs to shove an extra radiator somewhere on their case.
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Staff member

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