Question Question about some cooler options, please.

pleadnepenthe

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Hi all, as odd as it is I have a mid-range air cooler I bought when I built my PC that has a fan that is failing. Buying a new fan is easy enough, but I figured I would upgrade my cooler anyways. However, I tend to overthink things for a variety of reasons.

I have in my possession a Dark Rock Pro 4, a Noctua NH-D15 cromax black, and an Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 A-RGB. I am not sure which one I should go with.

This question really isn't about what is going to be the best as all three options are highly rated coolers and will do the job well.
For those who may want more information, I have a Ryzen 9 3900X, an RTX 2070 Super, on an MSI Meg X570x all in a Phanteks P600s . My OS is on an NVMe M.2 and I have other SSDs installed as well for storage.

My temps even with a midrange Enermax cooler were always within range for GPU/CPU even when gaming. I have 3 140mm intake fans in the front and 3 120mmm set as the exhaust on the top as well as a 140mm exhaust fan in the rear.

The CPU is not overclocked and I have no plans to overclock it. Sure, I may upgrade the processor and GPU in the near future, but even then I think the above coolers could handle a 3000 series GPU and a new AM4 Processor.

I usually play video games and do some video and fx editing in programs like after effects. So, there is a lot rendering out at times.

This is just more of a personal/opinion question as to which one you would choose. I am sure your rationale and reasons would be different than mine. For example, I like the Dark Rock Pro, but I am not a huge fan of its aesthetic. This is about the same for the NH D15. At least Noctua sells heatsink covers I can buy to jazz it up. On a personal level, I know Noctura is the gold standard for air coolers, but it pisses me off on an emotional level they have their god awful standard brown color and they refuse to change - and when they do change the cromax black costs more and I am not entirely certain the cost difference warrants the prices they charge even if it is only a few dollars. So, I just think - damn you Noctua, stop making ugly, good running products. People who I know who build PCs typically are shying away from an AIO and their paranoia about leaks may be transferring to me a bit on that one - albeit that is a tiny amount.

So, what is my own opinion? All three will be more than adequate. The Arctic probably will yield the best temps, but that may be at a noise db level I am not prepared for fully. It probably will be good for that and if I want to overlock and upgrade, I will not need to worry about GPU hitting anything if the size of the GPU is too large - but that is a minor issue. The NH D 15 will offer an almost similar performance if not the same to the Arctic even though it is air. It will last a long time. It is pretty big and ugly and I think I have enough ram clearance for the front fan. If not I can bump the fan up a bit and it will still fit. The Dark Rock will do well, but not as well as the NH D 15. It is pretty bulky and ugly too. The reason I would use one of those is that I couldn't get my hands on the NH-D15 I would want because the black sells out while their ugly browns are everywhere.

So, I know that is a lot to take in and read for nothing. But I really do want people's opinions on this. It may help me make my final decision on what to put into my PC.

Your help would be highly appreciated!
 

tennis2

Judicious
If you're going with a 280mm AIO, check that your case is compatible. Moreso if you plan on putting the rad in the top of the case. Consider the thickness of the fans AND radiator.

Consider:
https://www.deepcool.com/products/Cooling/cpuaircoolers/AS500-CPU-Cooler/2021/124.shtml = $52 (is within 2C of the NH-D15)
The dual fan AS500+ is $7 more: https://www.newegg.com/deepcool-as500-plus/p/N82E16835856204 (2nd fan probably not going to decrease temps more than...2C compared to one I'd imagine)

 
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Phaaze88

Titan
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I would almost think to draw straws with this... ~but, you have covered one of my pet peeves with AIOs: have a backup cooler on hand, which either the D15 or DRP4 would cover.

Use the Liquid Freezer II until it craps itself, then swap one of the other 2* coolers in. That's my 2 cents.
[As for which one, they'll be very similar in performance; D15 pulls a little bit ahead of DRP4 with high power cpus, which the 3900X isn't exactly up there on, compared to some others.
Flip a coin between those 2?]
 

pleadnepenthe

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If you're going with a 280mm AIO, check that your case is compatible. Moreso if you plan on putting the rad in the top of the case. Consider the thickness of the fans AND radiator.

Consider:
https://www.deepcool.com/products/Cooling/cpuaircoolers/AS500-CPU-Cooler/2021/124.shtml = $52 (is within 2C of the NH-D15)
The dual fan AS500+ is $7 more: https://www.newegg.com/deepcool-as500-plus/p/N82E16835856204 (2nd fan probably not going to decrease temps more than...2C compared to one I'd imagine)


Thank you. Yes, I know those coolers are good too. I have made my mind up really on the three that I would choose that are within a certain budget. I do like models like the NZXT Kraken Z53/52 that have the LCD screen on the pump. I know other brands have since come out with something similar, but I have a hard time justifying spending that much right now just to flex that I can add an animated gif on my pump. lol

I will double-check that the radiator will fit. Thanks. Do you think just plugging it into PC Partpicker is enough or should I look at specs and measure? The P600s isn't a small case though.
 

pleadnepenthe

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I would almost think to draw straws with this... ~but, you have covered one of my pet peeves with AIOs: have a backup cooler on hand, which either the D15 or DRP4 would cover.

Use the Liquid Freezer II until it craps itself, then swap one of the other 2* coolers in. That's my 2 cents.
[As for which one, they'll be very similar in performance; D15 pulls a little bit ahead of DRP4 with high power cpus, which the 3900X isn't exactly up there on, compared to some others.
Flip a coin between those 2?]
I agree with that. Statistically speaking, it is much more likely that the pump will fail before the AIO leaks and ruins anything. I would just have to monitor performance temps more frequently than I currently do I now so that I notice it right away. The 3900X was up there when I purchased it, but the new series came out not that long after, sadly. The nice thing is AMD is keeping the AM4 socket at least so I hope the chipset will work with my MoBo so I would be able to update it if I wanted to buy a newer processor.

I would probably keep the D15 a bit begrudgingly and bitch about it if I wanted to buy the heatsink covers and colored fan anti-vibration pads. lol I have a Thermaltake AIO sitting in a box that I want to use in a different build too. I just tend to be picky about some things and the look of a cooler is one of them. How the hell I ended up with Enermax I have no idea. I think I just became weary of debating and researching. I learned more about coolers and specs before I built my PC than I ever thought I would learn!

I appreciate your thoughts.
 
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geofelt

Titan
Your post initially implied that you had all three coolers in hand.
If that were the case, try out each option and see which you like best.

But, later in the post, I think you are really asking which of the three would be the best.

From a cooling point of view, all three options are similar and adequate.

From an ease of mount point of view, NH-D15 is easiest, followed by DRP4.
aio coolers have catch 22 issues as to where to mount the radiator and the trade off between cpu and gpu cooling.

As to aesthetics, you are on your own.
 

punkncat

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In my own experience, and opinion of many others is that Noctua is absolutely the pinnacle of performance and the benchmark by which many others are trying to compete. In my current system inside a o11d mini I have similar performance between a Noctua "9" tower and a 240 AIO. I suspect due to having the rad only being mountable on the exhaust side of the case. Just the same, that is no small potatoes.

If I were going to choose based solely on reliability and future issue, I would have kept the Noctua in place. I have the AIO and it's working fine, so along with other factors I chose to use it for now. I will not get rid of or reuse the Noctua unless I sell or change the format of this build (which I might).

The Dark Rock is a capable cooler and tests have shown it to be the case. Between it and the Noctua it would likely be a wash based on your own liking.
 
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I have in my possession a Dark Rock Pro 4, a Noctua NH-D15 cromax black, and an Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280
if you already have a chromax black cooler why are you complaining about the old ugly brownish Noctuas?

if they're all purchased recently;
since you seem a bit wary about a liquid AIO
return the other two and use the Dark Rock Pro 4
or keep the NH-D15 chromax and return the other two.

the be quiet! series is very similar to the Noctua chromax.
what exactly is it about the aesthetics that you don't enjoy?

if it's just the bulky heatsink+fans that you don't like your only other option for the same performance would be to go with an AIO.
 

pleadnepenthe

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Your post initially implied that you had all three coolers in hand.
If that were the case, try out each option and see which you like best.

But, later in the post, I think you are really asking which of the three would be the best.

From a cooling point of view, all three options are similar and adequate.

From an ease of mount point of view, NH-D15 is easiest, followed by DRP4.
aio coolers have catch 22 issues as to where to mount the radiator and the trade off between cpu and gpu cooling.

As to aesthetics, you are on your own.
I do have them all in hand, but I am not keeping all of them. So, I would not have the time to open, test, and try all three.

What do you mean by trade off for GPU and CPU cooling with an AIO? Doesn't it depend on where you mount the radiator with an AIO for GPU cooling or does an AIO in general lead to higher GPU temps? Not sure I have heard that before.
 

pleadnepenthe

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if you already have a chromax black cooler why are you complaining about the old ugly brownish Noctuas?

if they're all purchased recently;
since you seem a bit wary about a liquid AIO
return the other two and use the Dark Rock Pro 4
or keep the NH-D15 chromax and return the other two.

the be quiet! series is very similar to the Noctua chromax.
what exactly is it about the aesthetics that you don't enjoy?

if it's just the bulky heatsink+fans that you don't like your only other option for the same performance would be to go with an AIO.
Not a big fan of the size of large radiators. They just aren't pleasing to look at for me most of the time. The designs could be better colored or something, but generally, companies are not doing that very much.
 

Phaaze88

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What do you mean by trade off for GPU and CPU cooling with an AIO? Doesn't it depend on where you mount the radiator with an AIO for GPU cooling or does an AIO in general lead to higher GPU temps? Not sure I have heard that before.
Have you noticed how gpus seem to be climbing in power consumption? Ahem - at least on Nvidia's upper end - AMD isn't quite as bad in that department.
Gpu power efficiency has had the impression of worsening, whereas cpus have been improving - save for overclocked i9s and Intel X-series - and the open air gpu models have been dumping their waste heat inside our PCs when in use, so the cpu cooler does deal with some of that, except for one scenario: Front mounted AIO.

The 'tradeoff' of a cpu AIO dumping it's waste heat on everything behind it has been over-exaggerated for most users. The power today's cpus are using(on average) pales to what some of these gpus are doing.
For example, a 12700K with a front mounted AIO, using... say, 100w in games - if that - the hardware behind the rad would see no practical increase in thermals.
Vs
The often recommended top AIO has to deal with everything below it, which may include some 300w or more gpu... and so the cpu can see a few degrees or more, higher thermals, compared to a front mount.
One can over-provision by using a bigger cooler, but some chassis don't allow bigger than a 240mm at the top...

For gaming-focused builds, the top mounted cpu AIO seems backwards. For pros using the cpu for rendering or compiling data, the top mount probably makes more sense.

Then again, it's all my opinion/2 cents. It's not like I tried experimenting with it or anything...
 
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geofelt

Titan
I do have them all in hand, but I am not keeping all of them. So, I would not have the time to open, test, and try all three.

What do you mean by trade off for GPU and CPU cooling with an AIO? Doesn't it depend on where you mount the radiator with an AIO for GPU cooling or does an AIO in general lead to higher GPU temps? Not sure I have heard that before.
An aio radiator mounted in front will send cpu heat into the case, raising graphics card temperatures.
If you mount the radiator on top, expelling air, the aio will use heated inside air and cpu cooling will not be quite as good.
 
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pleadnepenthe

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An aio radiator mounted in front will send cpu heat into the case, raising graphics card temperatures.
If you mount the radiator on top, expelling air, the aio will use heated inside air and cpu cooling will not be quite as good.
Right, but the difference with a top-mounted AIO and front for the CPU temps are more marginal than the GPU usually. I would only top mount an AIO personally.
 

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