Originally Posted by ciarlatano
In terms of noise, obviously top tier air coolers are the quietest of the lot in most real life circumstances (the fact that the fans are inside rather than on the perimeter of the case, coupled with the lack of a pump makes this the case most of the time), followed by open loop and CLC being miles behind both. And, yes, you can change your CLCs fans......but performance is going to scale down along with the noise, simply because you are reducing noise by reducing airflow. Unfortunately, the current CLCs on the market are completely airflow reliant - why, you might ask....simple, it is far cheaper to slap on higher rpm fans than it is to start using copper (which has a U-Factor about twice that of aluminum....so they try to do more aluminum to make up for the lack of efficiency....which doesn't really work because it makes the rad's resistance ridiculously high....which also causes ridiculous amounts of noise) rads and a pump that moves enough liquid. Yup, gotta keep those profit margins up and give the customer the least they will possibly keep buying.
Using copper would jack the price up significantly. Yes, copper is a better heat conductor than aluminum but it's also expensive. Why do you think there are so many copper thieves out there? Instead of paying $100 for our CLC's we'd end up paying $150 or more.
In terms of price, again air offers by far the best bang for the buck. That one isn't even close.
The air coolers that compete with CLC's are almost at the same price as the CLC's. Not to mention they are ugly giant behemoth's hanging from your CPU. If you want the best performance you need to buy the versions with 2 or 3 fans. The most famous of these coolers is the Noctua NH-D15. The single fan version is $85 right now while the 2 fan version is $90. Most 240 mm CLC's are at that same price point with the 280 mm radiator versions being slightly higher ($100-$150 depending on the brand. Corsair's flagship 280mm cooler is at about $110 right now).
Then you look at CLC vs the new crop of open loop that are suddenly very competitively priced. A $20 difference in MSRP between a Swiftech and an Asetek 240mm.
Read the reviews about the Swiftechs. They are horrible on Newegg. Leaking, tons of RMA's, ugly LED lights. Not to mention they are short on supply (Newegg doesn't have any in stock), so it's hard to find one even if you wanted to buy one. Here's the first review on Newegg about the 240x:
Poor QC - Waited for this H240 X2 to be in stock, finally got one and was very excited to open it up when it arrived. Came in a nice box... a nice wet box. Thing was leaking inside the box when it arrived.
Out of the 8 reviews on Newegg about the 240x, 3 of them are 5 star, with the rest being 1 or 2 stars. One guy said his box came wet. The next guy said it leaked all over his video card. The next guy said it worked fine for 2 weeks then the pump died. Etc..
Sure you can find similar reviews about Asetek coolers, but they are far more rare in comparison. I almost went with a Swiftech until I read the reviews. Instead, I went with Corsair/Asetek because 1) They've been around a long time, 2) Make a ton of these (unlike Swiftech) and 3) are very good with RMA's if something does go wrong.
Twenty dollars. $30 to the XSPC kits. Not $500, not $100, not even $50. Twenty dollars. That's about $1 per dB difference between the two at like performance levels. Think about that for a second. Plus the Swiftech has more overall cooling capability. And is expandable. And can be customized to look any way you want it.
And also leaks, has ugly LED's that can't be turned off, and is out of stock everywhere all the time.
So, yes, I think that anyone choosing a far louder cooler, that does not cool as well, has far more limited capabilities, and is essentially disposable is daft (which means "silly" or "foolish", not "idiot", as intelligent people often make erroneous decisions due to having bad information to base the decision on).
The loudness is merely a function of the fans. It is simple to change fans out. On my system, my fans don't kick in until I hit 60°C which is almost never unless I run synthetic stress tests or benchmarks. My unit is almost completely silent in everyday use even with the stock fans (which are loud at max RPM).
Do CLCs have a place? Yes, they do. But that is a subject for a discussion of aesthetics, not really of cooling.
You could say the same about custom loops. Let's face it, their cooling isn't that much better than CLC's or top end air coolers. Better, yes. $500 to $1000 better? Hell no. It's funny you mention CLC's being poor for price to performance, but custom loops are the KING of being nowhere near worth their cost in terms of performance. CLC's are a steal in comparison. Of course, I suspect most people know this but go with custom loops for the DIY/tinkering/enthusiast factor. And that's OK. Nothing wrong with that. I am talking about pure performance, though.
Not to mention custom loops are vastly overpriced compared to the cost to manufacture the parts. You can go to Chinese websites and buy the same stuff for 1/4th the price. $20 for water blocks that are identical to EK's $100 blocks. Etc. All of the big companies make their stuff in China (there is very little not made in China today) and then mark it up 3 or 4 fold. If they are not making it in China, then they're doing it wrong. If it's made in Hungary or Germany or Slovenia or something, then all you're doing is paying a premium for a machine shop in Europe somewhere to machine some copper when the Chinese will do the job for much less (you can't compete with China -- they work for almost nothing). I don't want to get into a "China" debate here, but am only pointing out that it shows that the mark-up on this stuff is ridiculous.Edited by thiussat - 6/24/16 at 11:20am