What advantages would water cooling really provide me?

makari

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I've posted a couple times about looking into water cooling, got some good suggestions, and have been reading through all the manuals and guides I could find... it's all very interesting, but some of it got me thinking...

1. I do minor overclocks, but nothing extreme, no competitive overclocks or anything

2. I live in south central florida, high humidity and fairly high ambient temps (house is usually 74-75F), I know these things affect cooling, but have yet to see anything regarding how much and whether I should realistically lean towards water cool vs air cooled because of my location.

3. I keep reading reviews like http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-cooler-charts-2008,1779-20.html and find myself questioning whether or not water cooling will really have a significant benefit for me.

4. I planned on water cooling my current system first (because realistically I plan on buying a new one within a year or so anyways), so with that in mind, I figured I'd throw out some specs on what my planned new system will be so you have an idea of what my end goal of cooling is.

wanting to get a gigabyte GA-X58A-UD3R revision 2, running an intel i7-950 w/ 8Gb RAM and a radeon 5970, with everything slightly overclocked, but nothing serious... now I will admit that fan noise has been an issue on my current system, but honestly I havent tried to fix this with any new air cooling solutions and I'm sure I could easily make this run quietly on air...

so... with all this in mind what are the realistic benefits (if any) of water cooling over air are for me... or if you feel like arguing the other side, what benefits (if any) does air cooling hold for me?

edit: just read through this article http://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/cpu-cooler-charts-2008-part-2,1782-13.html which bodes well for water cooling in general, but again, with my situation, my location, and my planned hardware, would really appreciate input.
 

rubix_1011

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The biggest question for you is this:

If your ambient temps (75F/24C -we use Celsius in the WC community) those are fairly decent. Humidity only impacts living organisms with regards to making it 'seem warmer than it really is, but humidity is often confused with dewpoint). Anyways, if these are your normal room temps, you should be able to get good air coolers for your CPU to take advantage of this with decent fans. Your case airflow is the biggest help or hindrance in your current temps...what are you currently seeing temp-wise?

BTW...those 'watercoolers' they reviewed are not very good watercoolers. Please consider other options before this.
 

makari

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oh yes, I realize the water coolers they test are the "kit" or premade systems which everyone says are not nearly as effective as building it up from the individual parts.

my temps right now are all fairly high, but I'm not that worried about it, like I said, I'm planning on getting this new machine hopefully around 6 months, if I was going water cooling I figured I'd go ahead and kind of practice run on my current system so I was comfortable with it before taking water to my brand new beefy system

I dont mind spending the money if the results are worth it, but with my goal specs being what they are it's looking like 2 loops one on cpu and chipset, the other on graphics, which turns into a pretty decent number of fans on the rad (or possibly 2 rads?) and since I'm not going for extreme overclocks I'm beginning to wonder how quiet could that possibly be compared to just focusing on really good air cooling solutions for a fraction of the price
 

makari

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read that on almost all the guides linked

I'm not so much looking for a guide or walkthrough so much as some advice from somebody who has done it and knows the difference

comparing the very best aircooling options to a really good water cooling system

what can I expect noise wise...

what can I expect heat wise...

and I already know about water needing maintenance and the obvious price difference, which is basically what I'm wanting to balance out... from somebody who has ran (newer) systems both ways... is it really worth the maintenance and increase price for water cooling if I'm not doing extreme overclocking...

I gather that water cooling is pretty much across the board "cooler" however, like I said if I'm not doing extreme overclocking as long as I'm stable and withing a good margin I dont need it supercooled

and noise wise, with the number of fans and the pump needed for 2 loops on an i7 + gpu am is it really going to be quieter or am I looking at about the same noise as just getting a really good thermalright air cooler for cpu and some other good air cooling options for a fraction of the price?
 

rubix_1011

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If you get a good to great loop/components, you can expect some great temps, especially under load. You can expect to see your GPU temps at least half of what they run at load on air and your CPU should remain consistent at load (depending on your voltages, clocks, chip version, etc.)

I've been watercooling for over 7 years and I love it. As for fans, you'll actually have more since you are adding radiators. You will still need case fans to move air over components and your motherboard that would normally be moved by air coolers. I have 10 - 120mm fans in my system, and no, its not quiet. If you want quiet, look into the radiator and fan pairing benchmarks at http://skinneelabs.com/radiators.html. Each radiator is tested with different fans to determine the performance curves and graphed accordingly.

They also do similar tests with other watercooling components...a lot of great reading on that site.
 
A good cpu air cooler will be just about as good as a water cooling sustem. They both transfer heat to the ambient air, just from different places.

Just how good does your cooling really NEED to be? The Intel cpu's should operate normally up to70c. or so.
A graphics card will operate up to 100c. or so. They are designed to do that.

If you have a case with decent airflow, the expense and risks of liquid cooling are, in my opinion, unnecessary.

If, however you want liquid cooling for show, or bragging points, then it is a great way to impress the uninformed. If you are trying for record level overclocks, then go for it.

Otherwise, spend the liquid cooling funds on a faster cpu or graphics card in the first place.
 

ortoklaz

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@makari-"what can I expect noise wise...",well executed WC setup " radiator and fan pairing" mention above can lower noise level drastically ,have 2 dual rads +8 fans (case total) and honestly the Zalman CNPS9700 NT that i have momentarily in my syst. was louder
"what can I expect heat wise..."-" Water has the ability to dissipate more heat from the parts being cooled than the various types of metals used in heatsinks, making it suitable for overclocking and high performance computer applications."
 

ortoklaz

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@geofelt-"If, however you want liquid cooling for show, or bragging points, then it is a great way to impress the uninformed. If you are trying for record level overclocks,"-this so typical for someone that have never been to the other side-it's a hobby dude
 

ortoklaz

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it's personal choice no one is trying to make you do anything,"and when it goes down and now your rig and you are dying of thirst, at least you can drink the fluids and live..."-you just made me think... next time i do the maintenance ,replace water with alcohol..:)
ps. "legalize marijuana, join the "flight"...o..yeaaaeee
 

makari

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ok, 2 questions now about how my loops would be setup if I went wc

first, I understand i7's pump out lots of heat, and since I want to wc gpu also, separate loops..

first just to make sure I'm thinking correctly...

loop1: cpu & chipset

loop2: gpu & graphic ram

if there's something else that would be worthwhile to throw into one of those loops, let me know

now... here's where I'm a little fuzzy... with 2 loops do I necessarily need 2 pumps? if my goal is a quiet system would running 2 pumps be quieter than a single larger one (if that kind of pump exists)

I know with this setup I'll probably want 120.3 rad for the cpu loop, any suggestions on the size of rad for radeon 5970 cooling? I'm thinking of doing a second 120.3 and hoping that leaves me enough cooling that if I wanted to make some changes down the road and add a second 5970 that would hopefully be enough.

and then a question about the rads themselves... I'm looking at the coolermaster haf case, I've seen some pics where a 120.3 is mounted internally on the top and it looks really nice, now if I need a second rad any suggestions on placement? would mounting it externally on top be an option or would that significantly affect their performance having them stacked like that? I suppose it not external on top then I would try external on rear, does that seem correct?

thanks again for all the help..
 

ortoklaz

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you could start with one 120.3 rad, CPU+GPU block(full cover) and one pump ,if you not planning to do some crazy OC that should be plenty and yes with 2 two loops you need two pumps (they are basically silent)
 

makari

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thought about it, but after reading all the stuff about the heat from i7's was scared to, especially not being able to find any info on the heat put out by the 5970...


also, I've read pretty much everywhere that the gpu full blocks were either far less effective or prone to problems compared to doing gpu / ram separate... is that not entirely true?

and just for my own education on the subject, what about the 1v2 pumps for 2 loops and such, could you elaborate?
 

rofl_my_waffle

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I have an i7 and a 5970 w/ EK waterblock in the same loop. Northbridge is also in there too.

Its a single loop with a 3x120mm Feser Xchanger. All 3 fans are running at a low 1000RPM but very quiet.

The temps are not great. CPU temps are around 40C idle 60C load.
Graphics card temps are around 35C idle and 50C load.

CPU is at 4Ghz and 5970 is at 950/1200

Still this setup is much much quieter than any air cooling solution with better performance too. Also more bling.

I am planning to upgrade my loop soon. I want to avoid dual loops because it can look like a tubing mess and external radiators are unsightly. Planning on getting the new Feser Admiral radiator and I already got a bottle of Zinc Oxide nano fluid.
 
Since your ambient temps are only 3-4 degrees above mine (or what's considered "normal"), that would add 3-4 degrees to your max cpu/gpu/case temps. No more no less.

After reading through the thread, the two benefits of water cooling are the ability to remove more heat from the chips cooled than air can, and the ability to relocate the exhaust heat.

Frankly, if you don't extreme overclock and choose the right case (eg, Silverstone Raven 1 or 2), air works just fine.

But the ability to relocate heat may be significant to you in Florida. For example, assume your "computer desk" is enclosed on the top (duh!) and on three sides, and your tower is underneath it. The only place the hot air will exhaust is past you. Uncomfortable.

With water, its entirely possible to place the radiator outside the case, cut holes in that desk wall, hang the radiator on it, and exhaust almost all the hot air outside your desk.
 

ortoklaz

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It's like..do i want to have a big,fat waffle hanging of my mobo , taking out 1/3 of the case or this sleek, sexy thing inside that comes with hefty price tag.I guess it's all about personal preference
 

makari

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thanks a ton for the input guys,

especially your numbers waffle, helps to know what somebody else has done in my shoes and what they think of it...

I'm really leaning towards water, partially cause of general interest, and partially because I want a gaming machine that doesn't sound like a turbine engine

it's interesting to know that I can put i7 and 5970 into same loop safely... might even look to see if it's possible to put a larger 3fan system than 120 into the upper area of coolermaster haf case... just to keep sounds and temps down a bit more..

thanks a ton again for the info, I'll probably start a new thread in the next couple of weeks of my entire process for picking parts, planned setup and whatnot, to help me keep my thoughts straight and to get some input.
 

makari

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orto did I read that post right? is he running 2 rads from a single pump?

is that possible? if so could you give me some guidelines / rules for it? do you need to avoid low flow blocks to do that, etc..?
 
^ Yes, you can have more than one rad on the same loop as long as your flow rates are up/good enough to deal with it. A good pump like a MCP655 should have no problem with multiple rads.

A good cpu air cooler will be just about as good as a water cooling sustem. They both transfer heat to the ambient air, just from different places.
Not really. A top end WCing system will have a significant difference between temps (esp. load) on a highly OCed system. There are also case where WCing is really the best option, such as SLIed 480s,etc.
 

makari

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ok so here's the big question I guess.

on this build would be an i7 and a 5970...


from all the info I've gathered... i7's put out terrible heat, you should use low flow blocks to cool them better

and also that you shouldn't put other blocks on a loop that includes a low flow block for obvious flow restriction issues...

so with this news of possibly 2 rads in a single loop I thinking of a possibility but I'm unsure how wise it is...

pump>really good i7 block (probably low flow from what I've read) > chipset > gpu block > rad 1 (120.3 top mount) > rad 2 (140.1 rear mount)

now obviously I'm relatively new to this so if there's an obvious flaw in that layout (like maybe low flow block should always be last or always first in loop, etc... something I may not know) then point it out to me...

but in theory, would that loop work well? I know the extra 140.1 isn't adding a tremendous amount of cooling, but I'm thinking 2 things... 1. my main goal is to have a very good running system that is very quiet... everything I've read says extra rad space means quieter... and 2. I want to leave myself the option to add a second 5970 down the road and I'm hoping this would be able to handle it heatwise

please let me know what you think.
 
^ Which i7 are you talking about? The LGA1366 or the LGA1156?

A few things:
1. There really is no point in OCing the chipset.

2. Budget?

Anyways,

I would personally do this:
res>pump> CPU> 360 > GPU > 360.
Or
res>pump>CPU>GPU>360>360.
or
Loop 1: res>pump>CPU>360
Loop 2: res> pump> GPU>GPU (assuming CrossFire) > 360/480.

If you plan to CrossFire, I HIGHLY recommend 2 loops.
You really won't benefit much from a single 140 rad. Get at least a 240.
 

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