Discussion in 'Overclocking & Cooling' started by camoxiong, Oct 11, 2011.
Air Cooling vs Water Cooling. IDK which one is better. I need some opinions and tips.
Hard question . I have been water cooled for 4 years now .
Depends on what you want to accomplish with your system. Extreme clocks for processor and video card/s? Go water. Otherwise, go with an air cooled system. Water cooling will cost quite a bit more money depending on which system you go with. Of course, you do have Corsair closed loop systems as well that will bring you more peace of mind if you don't want to go full out water cooled.
reasonable temps, low cost, high reliability, no risk, low epeen - Air
great temps, high cost, medium/high reliability, low risk, big epeen - Water
Im no expert,but i just recently grabbed a single radiator antec h2/0-620 because it was under 100$ [89$]and i heard some good reviews,i got it cos its a closed system,the tubes are very thick and long,and you can wack another fan on it and its fairly compact,it keeps my i5 at about 24c idle,under load ie on hi performance and overclocked during gaming [to around 4.3-4 ghz] it doesnt really go above 40-45c,and is relatively quiet.
I hear there are plenty of air coolers that do roughly the same job,so either will net good results im fairly sure,i think a low end liquid slightly outperforms hi end air,but dont quote me on that,just an opinion.
I will never return to air for the majority of components on my personal builds.
Water has so much more thermal mass and is so much better at moving heat. That being said, if you don't build it right from the start you will have nothing but issues with it. Prepare to spend the money for good components, the time to assemble it, and the time to test for leaks, and the time to keep it running smoothly.
I vacuum out my radiator every week, and every few weeks shut down and blow it out backwards with compressed air, then check the coolant level, and fittings for leaks with white kleenex to make sure i have no leaks.
Those self contained LCS are similar to air, just more noise and better motherboard access
I use air, like every week i do nothing, every few weeks, still nothing, a few months, air can.
Water cooling is much more involved. It takes planning, more money as stated above and can offer many great benefits. Air cooling is much more simple, a good case and proper airflow can yield great results sometimes at the cost of noise. My theory is if liquid is the verdict do it right. Skimping out is not the way to go liquid. Get a quality pump, radiator, and take your time in routing everything and make sure its optimal since taking it apart is a pain in the ass. I have had my main rig on liquid I simply cannot go back to air. It's quiet and runs so much better than air. GPU temps are virtually cut in half and I can say it made my system very stable with very high overclocks and for endurance gaming its the way of my future. So there are pros and cons here but for my I will liquid cool every high powered rig from here on out. Plus it's a fun challenge to overcome that for me was to great benefit.
Just as a quick example, last night I played about 5 hours of BF3 beta and highes recorded temps were: GPU 44C, CPU 61C. The secondary rig runs the same CPU temps on a q9550 but the 580 runs at a much warmer 75C+
Are you sure you don't have those temps backwards? I played 6-7 hours of BF3 beta and my CPU didn't break 58 on air and my GPU's were running at around 63.
Well if you want higher oc low temps than water, but I do like my air cool see spec. they can't fail on you.
I do think if you want to get into water but not all the way then grab a Corsair h80 or h100
Heres my temps.
Unless you're going to set up a full water cooling rig, I think you're better off with Air cooling.
The Antec, Corsair, etc self contained units are nice, but they don't perform better than high-end air, just equal.
Benefit of air cooling: The fan will also improve heat dissipation from the surrounding heatsinks. Unless you go with a custom water cooling loop, you won't see any of that benefit from a self contained water cooling unit. Heat dissipation coming off of Full load is much quicker than water; water, being denser than air, retains heat longer.
Benefit of water cooling: Load temperatures will be lower than air (custom water). Much quieter rig. With a self contained unit, potentially quieter depending on your setup.
A self contained unit will provide excellent cooling at load, possibly better than Air, but you will have two very loud fans on the radiator running full out...
if you want a ton of info all at once, I suggest you look here
So why wouldn't one opt for self contained units over a 700g chunk of metal?
The i7 is at 4GHz and drinks hot Fermi water. The GTX480 is running 972MHz (30% overclock) and puts out more heat than just about any GPU ever at that speed under serious load. If the CPU got the cool water it would stay under 55C im sure but then the GPU would go 50C+.
also the aircooled 580 is at 908MHz it just gets really fresh cool air.
That explains it then, was curious cause your numbers seemed odd to me
Makes liquid cooling more interesting as well since the order things are in does make a difference when dealing with certain components.
I rather like my big ass water cooling rig
but i have dealt with high end air as well (coolermaster V10 with a larger TEC in it)
decision is up to you good choices on both sides.
Because of this:
ok,heres some stuff to look at-[i like posting pics haha],how i have my radiator set up and some temps,why not?
Like somebody said b4, water cooling is more 4 overclckers yet air cooling can still get the job done if u get the right cooler. I use air cooling on my q9550 @ 3.4ghz and water cooling on my i7 930 @ 4.2ghz. I believe water cooling does look a whole lot better than air but i also believe that air can be quiter. This is because majority of pumps are slightly louder than say a 120mm fan on a air cooler @ 500-700rpm.
Water cooling will for sure give you better temps (With some very few exceptions) But a good Air Cooler Heat sink will give you very good results too without being so expensive.
To give you an example when I was running a i7 860 @ 4.2 Ghz and two HD 6950's On air the temps were
i7 @4.2Ghz = 79c With LinX stress test
6950's Stock =85c under stress test Kombustor.
Under Water same systems same tests....
i7@ 4.2Ghz = 65c With LinX Stress Test
6950's Stock = 41c Under Stress Test Kombustor.
As you can see a huge difference.... But also the Heat Sink was $70 bucks and the Water Cooling setup was about $300 or more.
So in the end it depends on what you are going for and what you want to accomplish.
My take on it; water if you are anal about noise and will be sticking to a build for a long while(which can be offset with a universal block). Air if you don't want extra fuss and need to be on a budget.
that sorta sums it up.
I'm new to water cooling but i plan to upgrade come spring (Ivy Bridge) and changing the cpu block isn't an issue. Installing a cpu block can be very very simple, not half as much bother as a kilo of aluminium that blocks access to fan headers and other bits 'n' bobs.
I think air is good (if you spend enough) but water is more than cooling, it's hobbyist. Now I've delved I'll probably get more involved next time. The whole problem solving with water and loop layout for cases that aren't perfect for water loops makes it more than cooling.
You look at some of the loops guys have on TPU (and elsewhere on the web) and they are works of art.
It's like this, air is to crayon as water is to paintbrush. And like i say - I'm a complete noob at it but irrespective of cooling -it's plain old fun!!!
ease of use __ Air
Cost of system __ Air
Lower Temperature __ Water
Separate names with a comma.