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Air coolers vs water coolers

post #1 of 11
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do you dedicated air coolers ever consider water cooling? i know i've considered it, but it almost seems like air cooling has an almost art feel to it.. tweaking the airflow to get it just right.. Just my opinion.. i love air cooling whats your thoughts?
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post #2 of 11
Airflow is still equally important in a watercooled setup. All you've gone and done when you water cool is just add water to the mix.

You have greater control of where the heat goes in watercooling too (placement of radiators), if anything i'd say there's more of an art to watercooling than standard air.
Edited by Thingamajig - 3/8/12 at 4:30am
post #3 of 11
I don't air cool however, you can only get so much from air cooling before water becomes a necessity. Air is fine but, if you want more performance out of your hardware you usually hit high temps before you get the full potential (when I say full potential I mean taking it to the point of burning it then backing it up a notch or two.)
post #4 of 11
I did a lot of aircooling, flow optimizing etc. Good thing its efficient and inexpensive. Further more air cooling is running forever with no service.

Today with custom loop. Very expensive. Better cooling when benching, but not enough to explain the costs. Require cleaning, change of liquid, a pump that works 24/7.

I am now working on a setup with tec chilling and no radiator, being able to go below ambient. It will be even more expensive. Require more attention because of condensation.

Cooling can be fun, and will improve benchmarking. I always build it so I can run the rig 24/7. No modification needed from using word, playing BF3 or benching. Just same efficient setup.

Its fun and I do it for the fun of it.

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post #5 of 11
the difference between air cooling and liquid cooling is with liquid, you get to transport the heat elsewhere to be cooled down whereas air cooling you have to cool it down where it's generated.

technically speaking, you can put 100 feet of copper tubing outside your house and run your loop through that and you'll never need a fan of any sort biggrin.gif

most people fail to realize "liquid cooling" IS in fact air cooling except the heat is transported elsewhere to be dissipated.

further more, most people fail to realize "air cooling" on modern day heatpipes is ACTUALLY phase change cooling biggrin.gif
post #6 of 11
PC cooling can be a hobby for some... Air cooling is perfectly fine for most people/applications. It can be interesting to actually figure out airflow thru a PC case with yarn tuffs and a clear side panel.

http://www.dept.aoe.vt.edu/~aborgolt/aoe3054/classes/ExperimentsClass1Handouts.pdf

As far as water-cooling goes, it's usually a hobby with open loop coolers. It can offer more thermal load capabilities than air-cooling but at a premium price. The closed loop coolers however are thermally inefficient, over-priced and noisy because the fans need to run on high to cool the radiator. Nothing below an H100 makes much sense in a H2O set-up as HSFs are as good or better, cost less and are not noisy.
post #7 of 11
On air you are maximizing performance per dollar. So for an everyday machine I must be spending less money on a cooler + chip than I would for a higher model chip, or the overclocking isn't worth it.

With crazy stuff like LN2 or whatever you are way into the science, seeing a chip's most pure performance, which I appreciate.

But water cooling seems in between.. not cost effective, not extreme, more work, sometimes more noisey. :X
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post #8 of 11
If i were to build a system that should be ultra-silent while still providing extreme performance, then i would go with water. With a suitable case and large rads, i could get away with a few fans at <800rpm and still have an overclocked cpu and highest-end graphics.
With air, i see no way of building a system that i can't hear at all under full load, while maintaining high performance.

But to be honest, that is a pretty small niche, where people are willing to pay hundreds just to make the system unhearable.

And while i like tweaking hardware and building systems, it is not big enough a hobby of mine to do water cooling just for fun.
post #9 of 11
It's a misconception that water-cooling is like air-cooling but 'with water added'. With air-cooling the efficiency of the design is left all up to the manufacturer and the only control the end-user has is over how the air flows through it. With water-cooling not only is the airflow through the rad a consideration, but also the surface area inside the water-block(s) dictates how efficiently heat is transfered from the IHS to the water, also the flowrate determines how quickly the heat-soaked water is being moved away to the radiator, and in a custom loop the end-user has to decide which tubing, fittings and pump to use to ensure that the pump can overcome the restrictions imposed by the sharp angled bends in the loop.

When I got this AMD rig setup in January I had to revert to air-cooling because of simplicity but it has to run god-awfully loud because wee 120mm axial fans are not really that effective at moving large quantities of air out of the case. 100+ CFM at max speed is considered high performance for the typical PC fan. That is depressing. The problem with air-cooling is that the heat is radiated into the case so as much air as possible constantly needs to be exchanged and there's a fair volume of hot air in the case. With water-cooling, the heat stays concentrated so the only thing one has to ensure is that there are fans strapped to the rad to get the heat out of it.
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post #10 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petrol View Post

It's a misconception that water-cooling is like air-cooling but 'with water added'. With air-cooling the efficiency of the design is left all up to the manufacturer and the only control the end-user has is over how the air flows through it. With water-cooling not only is the airflow through the rad a consideration, but also the surface area inside the water-block(s) dictates how efficiently heat is transfered from the IHS to the water, also the flowrate determines how quickly the heat-soaked water is being moved away to the radiator, and in a custom loop the end-user has to decide which tubing, fittings and pump to use to ensure that the pump can overcome the restrictions imposed by the sharp angled bends in the loop.
When I got this AMD rig setup in January I had to revert to air-cooling because of simplicity but it has to run god-awfully loud because wee 120mm axial fans are not really that effective at moving large quantities of air out of the case. 100+ CFM at max speed is considered high performance for the typical PC fan. That is depressing. The problem with air-cooling is that the heat is radiated into the case so as much air as possible constantly needs to be exchanged and there's a fair volume of hot air in the case. With water-cooling, the heat stays concentrated so the only thing one has to ensure is that there are fans strapped to the rad to get the heat out of it.

there are a lot of different air coolers too, so you need to chose the right one.
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