[SOLVED] Watercooling VS Fan Cooling

Water Cooling vs Fan Cooling

  • Water Cooling

  • Fan Cooling


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Asez23

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Oct 11, 2020
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I am planning to buy a cooler for my i5-9600k which doesnt come with a cooler. I have a $70 budget, so which is better; a closed CPU watercooling unit or a fan cooler?
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
i can push it to $135 if necessary.
Ok. And do you PREFER to stick with an AIO cooler, or are you intending to make a switch to air regardless of whether you could fit a decent AIO into your budget or not? In other words, if it can be done within that budget, would you RATHER go with an air cooler or a water cooler? Either will work fine, but my primary consideration when it comes to air vs water is that the water cooler WILL fail at some point. And there are multiple failure points.

The pump, WILL fail. Whether that is prematurely at six months or down the road at five years, is another argument, and one that might be heavily dependent on the initial quality of the unit in question anyhow. The fans, WILL fail, at some point, but so will the fans on any air cooler, sooner or later. In favor of most air coolers though is the fact that it's only going to be one fan that needs to be replaced unless you are running a twin fan setup on a single finstack heatsink or are running a twin finstack heatsink. But fans last a pretty long time so we can probably just cancel that one out since it's a potential failure point for both types of coolers.

On the water cooler though, IF your pump doesn't fail first, which it PROBABLY will, it will also probably eventually lose some coolant to permeation which will introduce air into the system and cause it to either lose pumping efficiency, stop pumping altogether due to an air lock or at some point even potentially develop a leak. All things that can't happen with an air cooler, but which probably won't usually happen for most people until between every 3 to 5 years. Sometimes a little longer, sometimes a little shorter.

If you don't mind having to replace the system every three to five years or so because the pump and other hardware are not really replaceable (Other than fans) then that's fine. If you don't want to ever have to replace anything again (Or at least, not for a very long time) other than maybe a fan or two, then an air cooler is probably a better choice. I wouldn't let the idea of strictly "gotta have water to have good cooling" be something you get stuck on because it's patently untrue.
 

Asez23

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Oct 11, 2020
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For that budget there are no AIO coolers of sufficient quality or capability that I'd choose over air coolers that you CAN get for within that budget that are more than enough for that CPU.

What region/country are you in?
i was going to buy a used
Corsair H100i RGB PLATINUM AIO Liquid CPU Cooler
for $75
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
No, you aren't, not unless it's an almost brand new item. It's like buying a used car tire or battery, pushing your luck.

I prefer liquid cooling, but that's me and my opinion, others disagree for their own reasons. But for your budget limits there's only aircooling. Something like a Scythe Ninja 5.
 
Reactions: Phaaze88

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
If you buy a "used" AIO cooler, you might just as well light the money on fire, pour a glass of water on your motherboard and head off the to living room to play whatever it is you can play these days on your phone. It's a terrible idea really.

Knowing what region you are in would allow us to make recommendations on models that we know will actually be available to you. Otherwise we might waste our time making recommendations all day for models that aren't even available or cost friendly in your region.
 
Reactions: Phaaze88
I am planning to buy a cooler for my i5-9600k which doesnt come with a cooler. I have a $70 budget, so which is better; a closed CPU watercooling unit or a fan cooler?
What is the make/model of your case?
The height available for an air cpu cooler will determine your best option.
If you have 160mm, there are a large number of coolers available.
Most all will fit 165mm.

Liquid cooling is really air cooling.
The main difference is where the heat exchange takes place.
H100 has two 120mm radiators.
That is the equivalent of twin radiators found in such air coolers as the scythe fuma II
https://www.newegg.com/scythe-scfm-2000/p/13C-0004-00085?&quicklink=true
I think this is an appropriate cooler for your cpu and budget.

For tops in cooling, look at the noctua NH-D15s with the equivalent of two 140mm radiators:
https://www.newegg.com/noctua-nh-d15s/p/N82E16835608072

Find your RGB bling elsewhere.

Mounting a liquid cooler gives you a catch 22 decision.
If you mount the radiator to draw in fresh air, the cpu will be cooled best but the heated air enters the case and impacts cooling of your graphics card and motherboard.
OTOH, if you mount it to exhaust your cpu will not be optimally cooled.

An air cooler is apt to be more reliable. It has no moving parts except the fan which is easily replaceable.
A liquid cooler has a mechanical pump which can fail or get clogged up.
While uncommon, liquid leaks can happen; an air cooler will not leak.
I did a google search for images using H100I leak" as a search argument.
https://www.google.com/search?q=H100I+leak&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwikiraAt9LsAhWEjVkKHZ5dAbYQ_AUoAnoECB8QBA&biw=2040&bih=1271

There is a place for liquid cooling if you need exceptional cooling and a 360 size radiator.
Or, if you have a space constrained case.
 

Asez23

Great
BANNED
Oct 11, 2020
103
13
95
1
What is the make/model of your case?
The height available for an air cpu cooler will determine your best option.
If you have 160mm, there are a large number of coolers available.
Most all will fit 165mm.

Liquid cooling is really air cooling.
The main difference is where the heat exchange takes place.
H100 has two 120mm radiators.
That is the equivalent of twin radiators found in such air coolers as the scythe fuma II
https://www.newegg.com/scythe-scfm-2000/p/13C-0004-00085?&quicklink=true
I think this is an appropriate cooler for your cpu and budget.

For tops in cooling, look at the noctua NH-D15s with the equivalent of two 140mm radiators:
https://www.newegg.com/noctua-nh-d15s/p/N82E16835608072

Find your RGB bling elsewhere.

Mounting a liquid cooler gives you a catch 22 decision.
If you mount the radiator to draw in fresh air, the cpu will be cooled best but the heated air enters the case and impacts cooling of your graphics card and motherboard.
OTOH, if you mount it to exhaust your cpu will not be optimally cooled.

An air cooler is apt to be more reliable. It has no moving parts except the fan which is easily replaceable.
A liquid cooler has a mechanical pump which can fail or get clogged up.
While uncommon, liquid leaks can happen; an air cooler will not leak.
I did a google search for images using H100I leak" as a search argument.
https://www.google.com/search?q=H100I+leak&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwikiraAt9LsAhWEjVkKHZ5dAbYQ_AUoAnoECB8QBA&biw=2040&bih=1271

There is a place for liquid cooling if you need exceptional cooling and a 360 size radiator.
Or, if you have a space constrained case.
i have plenty of room for liquid cooling. I have a COUGAR Panzer MAX. I plan to have the radiator at the front as an intake, using the bottom two 120mm slots. i will also have another 120mm fan above that taking up the third 120mm slot. i will have 3 120mm fans at the top as an exhaust as well. finally, i will have a rear exhaust fan, a side intake fan above the gpu(case mod) and a bottom intake fan.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
I am in USA
Ok.

Is this a system you are running NOW? If so, what are you currently using as a cooler? If not, when do you expect to have it assembled to the point where you NEED a cooler in order to complete the build?

Is there any chance of increasing the budget or is 75 bucks going to be the absolute most that could be put towards cooling, even if you had to push out the completion of the build a little ways?
 

Asez23

Great
BANNED
Oct 11, 2020
103
13
95
1
Ok.

Is this a system you are running NOW? If so, what are you currently using as a cooler? If not, when do you expect to have it assembled to the point where you NEED a cooler in order to complete the build?

Is there any chance of increasing the budget or is 75 bucks going to be the absolute most that could be put towards cooling, even if you had to push out the completion of the build a little ways?
the system is fully assembled and i am currently using an old Intel Stock cooler. The temps are from 50-60 though, and i want them lower
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Some might say most of these coolers are overkill, and they are if all you plan is to drop temps. But being oversized they also have greater load capacity, meaning that the fan curve is very shallow, lower rpm fans. You can use smaller coolers, but that only means higher rpm fans.

All of these you'll set for silent mode, and forget they exist until cleaning time, you'll barely know they are running.

CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-D15 82.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($89.95 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock TF 67.8 CFM Fluid Dynamic Bearing CPU Cooler ($79.90 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-C14S 82.52 CFM CPU Cooler ($76.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Fractal Design Celsius S36 87.6 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($119.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: Scythe Mugen 5 PCGH Edition 43.03 CFM CPU Cooler ($74.88 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock Pro 4 50.5 CFM CPU Cooler ($89.90 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: be quiet! Dark Rock 4 CPU Cooler ($74.90 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Noctua NH-U12A 60.09 CFM CPU Cooler ($99.90 @ Amazon)
CPU Cooler: Fractal Design Celsius S36 Blackout 87.6 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($127.99 @ Newegg)
CPU Cooler: EVGA CLC 360 74.82 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($139.99 @ Newegg)

There's single towers, U towers, C towers, 360mm aios.
 

Darkbreeze

Retired Mod
i can push it to $135 if necessary.
Ok. And do you PREFER to stick with an AIO cooler, or are you intending to make a switch to air regardless of whether you could fit a decent AIO into your budget or not? In other words, if it can be done within that budget, would you RATHER go with an air cooler or a water cooler? Either will work fine, but my primary consideration when it comes to air vs water is that the water cooler WILL fail at some point. And there are multiple failure points.

The pump, WILL fail. Whether that is prematurely at six months or down the road at five years, is another argument, and one that might be heavily dependent on the initial quality of the unit in question anyhow. The fans, WILL fail, at some point, but so will the fans on any air cooler, sooner or later. In favor of most air coolers though is the fact that it's only going to be one fan that needs to be replaced unless you are running a twin fan setup on a single finstack heatsink or are running a twin finstack heatsink. But fans last a pretty long time so we can probably just cancel that one out since it's a potential failure point for both types of coolers.

On the water cooler though, IF your pump doesn't fail first, which it PROBABLY will, it will also probably eventually lose some coolant to permeation which will introduce air into the system and cause it to either lose pumping efficiency, stop pumping altogether due to an air lock or at some point even potentially develop a leak. All things that can't happen with an air cooler, but which probably won't usually happen for most people until between every 3 to 5 years. Sometimes a little longer, sometimes a little shorter.

If you don't mind having to replace the system every three to five years or so because the pump and other hardware are not really replaceable (Other than fans) then that's fine. If you don't want to ever have to replace anything again (Or at least, not for a very long time) other than maybe a fan or two, then an air cooler is probably a better choice. I wouldn't let the idea of strictly "gotta have water to have good cooling" be something you get stuck on because it's patently untrue.
 

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