CPU Cooling Showdown: (Air) PH-TC14PE vs. (Water) Nepton 280L - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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CPU Cooling Showdown: (Air) PH-TC14PE vs. (Water) Nepton 280L

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post #1 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 07:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Test Setup (Click to show)
  • 4930K 4.5GHz [125x36 1.32v] [1.2v VTT] [1.35v VCCSA] with Gelid GC-Extreme TIM (used for all testing)
  • HAF XB Evo (All panels removed)
  • 1x 290X PCS+ on PCIE_5
  • Asrock X79 Champion
  • G.Skill Trident X 2400MHz 10/12/12/31/2T 1.65v
  • OCZ ZX1000

Testing Materials (Click to show)
  • Digital Sound Level Meter 30-130dBA used for noise testing
  • Acu-rite temp sensor
  • 2x Yate Loon D14SH-12 for thermal results of both coolers with the same fans
  • Rubber bands to rig fans to PH-TC14PE
  • NZXT Sentry Mix 2 fan controller
  • Prime95 SmallFFT for thermal testing
  • RealTemp GT for thermal results
  • CPU-Z for CPU information
Testing Methodology (Click to show)
Run Prime95 SmallFFT with single FFT Size (16K) for 30min. on each fan setup scenario.




Monitor sound levels for 30sec. for each fan setup scenario, and average the results.

When temperature testing:
Record lowest idle temps and highest load temps. Subtract values to get the delta temperature while adjusting for intake fan temperature variations.

Record room temps and fan intake temps using Acu-rite thermometer. The room temps will be taken by the sensor inside the unit that records room temps, and the fan intake temps will be taken from the sensor at the end the wire which records the temps around it.
Note:

When noise testing, I put my graphics card's fan at 20% via CCC (removed the other one). The card was placed on PCIE_5 to separate the card as much as possible from the CPU.
GPU Noise (Click to show)
  • GPU Fan 20% via CCC Overdrive= 48.8-49.2dBA when sound meter is 1in. away from the fans.
  • GPU Fan 20% via CCC Overdrive= 35.8-36.2dBA when sound meter is 3ft. away from the fans.

Note: GPU fan testing done with all other case fans turned off.

The front fans were removed when doing thermal testing to ensure the thermal results are a direct result of only the cooler's performance and not due to the aid of other components. When doing noise testing, all other fans are turned off except for the graphics card's fans, which remain at 20%.

The CPU Coolers are getting fresh air due to the direct airflow path design of the HAF XB. Nothing is obstructing the airflow path which could lead to large temp variations (ie. 3.5” and/or 5.25” bays and any components installed in them).
PH-TC14PE Testing (Click to show)
Noise (Click to show)
1in. Noise Reading Stock (Click to show)
  • Phanteks Stock Fans dBA with sound meter 1in. in front of the front fan with NZXT Mix 2 fan control sliders at the bottom: 44.8-45.5dBA. Sits around 45.1dBA
  • Phanteks Stock Fans dBA with sound meter 1in. in front of the front fan with NZXT Mix 2 fan control sliders at the top: 61.0-61.5dBA. Sits around 61.2dBA
3ft. Noise Reading Stock (Click to show)
  • Phanteks Stock Fans dBA 3ft. away from case and sound meter pointed directly towards case with NZXT Mix 2 fan controller sliders at the bottom: 35.4-35.9dBA
  • Phanteks Stock Fans dBA 3ft. away from case and sound meter pointed directly towards case with NZXT Mix 2 fan controller sliders at the top: 39.9-40.4dBA

Note:

With the fan controller bottomed out, the Phanteks fans are practically silent. My graphics cards at 20% fan speed are louder than the Phanteks fans, and even with my ear right up against the Phanteks fans, the noise is minimal.

With the fan controller maxed out, the Phanteks fans have a slight low-pitched humming sound. It isn't that loud, but it is noticeable, and it is tolerable.
1in. Noise Reading Yate Loon (Click to show)
  • Yate Loon Fans dBA with sound meter 1in. in front of the front fan with NZXT Mix 2 fan control sliders at the bottom: 52.0-52.5dBA. Sits around 52.1dBA
  • Yate Loon Fans dBA with sound meter 1in. in front of the front fan with NZXT Mix 2 fan control sliders at the top: 67.2-67.6dBA. Sits around 67.4dBA
3ft. Reading Noise Reading Yate Loon (Click to show)
  • Yate Loon Fans dBA 3ft. Away from case and sound meter pointed directly towards case with NZXT Mix 2 fan controller fan sliders at the bottom: 37.1-37.7dBA. Sits around 37.4dBA
  • Yate Loon Fans dBA 3ft. Away from case and sound meter pointed directly towards case with NZXT Mix 2 fan controller fan sliders at the top 49.1-49.4dBA. Sits around 49.3dBA

Note:

With the fan controller bottomed out, the Yate Loons are pretty quiet. Although they're not as quiet as the minimum fan speed Phanteks fans, they're completely tolerable, and they emit a low humming sound. They are noticeably quieter than the Stock fans at max rpms.

With the fan controller maxed out, the Yate Loons fans are loud...pretty much a given, though.
Thermal Performance (Click to show)

Note: All thermal testing done with the fans at max rpm.
Stock Fan (Click to show)
Idle:


Idle 5min:
Room temp: 71.1F
Fan Intake temp: 70.2F

Load:


P95 30min.
Room temp: 72.3F
Fan Intake Temp: 72.9F

Average Idle temps: 20.33C
Average Load temps: 83.16C

Delta temps: 62.83C + 1.5C for intake temp increase= 64.33C

Yate Loons (Click to show)
Idle:


Idle 5min:
Room temp: 71.8F
Fan Intake temp: 69.8F

Load:


P95 30min.
Room temp: 71.2F
Fan Intake Temp: 71.8F

Average Idle temps: 19.83C
Average Load temps: 76.16C

Delta temps: 56.33C + 1C for intake temp increase= 57.33C
Nepton 280L Testing (Click to show)

Note:

The 280L is mounted directly to the front of the case in Push, meaning fresh air is being sucked from outside, though the radiator, and dumped in the case. While this is not recommended for general usage, this reduces the variables that could lead to cooling performance variations such as the heat emitted from the components inside the case being sucked through the radiator when the fans are set up in a pull configuration. Setting up the 280L in push configuration gives it the best possible scenario when it comes to thermal performance, while removing variables that could negatively impact the thermal results.
Noise (Click to show)
1in. Noise Reading Stock Fans (Click to show)
  • Stock Fans dBA with sound meter 1in. in front of the front fan with NZXT Mix 2 fan control sliders at the bottom: 51.5-52.1dBA. Sits around 51.7dBA
  • Stock Fans dBA with sound meter 1in. in front of the front fan with NZXT Mix 2 fan control sliders at the top: 70.9-71.2dBA. Sits around 71.1dBA
3ft Noise Reading Stock Fans (Click to show)
  • Stock Fans dBA 3ft. Away from case and sound meter pointed directly towards case with NZXT Mix 2 fan controller fan sliders at the bottom: 40-40.7dBA. Sits around 40.1dBA
  • Stock Fans dBA 3ft. Away from case and sound meter pointed directly towards case with NZXT Mix 2 fan controller fan sliders at the top 55.2-55.4dBA. Sits around 55.2dBA
1in. Noise Reading Yate Loons (Click to show)
  • Yate Loon Fans dBA with sound meter 1in. in front of the front fan with NZXT Mix 2 fan control sliders at the bottom: 51.3-51.7dBA. Sits around 51.3dBA
  • Yate Loon Fans dBA with sound meter 1in. in front of the front fan with NZXT Mix 2 fan control sliders at the top: 64.7-65.2dBA. Sits around 65.1dBA
3ft. Noise Reading Yate Loons (Click to show)
  • Yate Loon Fans dBA 3ft. Away from case and sound meter pointed directly towards case with NZXT Mix 2 fan controller fan sliders at the bottom: 40.7-41.2dBA. Sits around 40dBA
  • Yate Loon Fans dBA 3ft. Away from case and sound meter pointed directly towards case with NZXT Mix 2 fan controller fan sliders at the top 50.6-51dBA. Sits around 50.2dBA

Wow, the stock fans are pretty loud. The good thing is that they're basically just as quiet as the Yate Loons at the lowest rpm. At max rpm, the Yates are noticeably quieter, and when heard in person, it's like the stock fans are on a different level of loudness. The Yates sound quiet in comparison. Both of the fans sound similar, with both of them making a low-pitched motor humming sound coupled with the ssssshhhhh sound of the air moving through them.
Thermal Performance (Click to show)
Stock Fans (Click to show)
Idle:


Idle 5min:
Roomp temp: 71.8F
Fan Intake temp: 70.9F

Load:


P95 30min.
Room temp: 72.9F
Fan Intake Temp: 72.9F

Average Idle temps: 19.6C
Average Load temps: 74.3C

Delta temps: 54.7 + 1.1C for intake temp increase= 55.8C

Yate Loons (Click to show)
Idle:


Idle 5min:
Room temp: 73.4F
Fan Intake temp: 72.5F

Load:


P95 30min.
Room temp: 73.8F
Fan Intake Temp: 74.3F

Average Idle temps: 20.16C
Average Load temps: 76.33C

Delta temps: 56.17 + 1C for intake temp increase= 57.17C
Pump Noise (Click to show)
Dead silent when lowered with the fan controller. When the fan controller slider is at its highest, it has a slight high-pitched sound (Sounds similar to a 2.8kHz sine wave). It is still quiet, but it's one of those sounds that can either bug you if you're listening for it, or can completely forget that it's on. You won't be able to hear it with other stuff going on (background sounds, speakers, headphones, etc.). Overall, it's a very good pump, and a quiet one at that.

Graphs: Adjusted Delta Temps (Click to show)
Noise (Click to show)




TL;DR (Click to show)

Phanteks stock delta: 64.33C
Phanteks yate loon delta: 57.33C

7C Difference

280L stock delta: 55.8C
280L yate loon delta: 57.17C

1.37C Difference

Phanteks with Yate Loons practically perform the same as 280L with Yate Loons.

280L Stock performs 7C cooler than stock Phanteks

280L Stock performs 1.53C cooler than Yate Loon Phanteks

The Stock 280L fans are louder than the Yate Loons at max rpm, and just as quiet as them at low rpms (fan controller slider bottomed out on both)

The Stock Phanteks fans at max rpms are louder than the Yate Loons at minimum rpms.

The Stock Phanteks fans at minimum rpms are basically silent.

Pump noise is very minimal, with it being dead silent when lowered with a fan controller, and having a slight high pitched sound when on max. It isn't audible with other stuff going on.
Personal Opinion (Click to show)
Well, I'm happy and mad. I'm happy that I fulfilled my curiosity on how well my Phanteks performs versus the best AIO liquid cooing unit, and I'm mad that there is no difference between the two with the same fans installed. I have to say, though, it's pretty cool knowing that the PH-TC14PE is basically the air-cooled equivalent of the 280L (fans exempt). And with my new-found knowledge, I'm going to part with the 280L and keep my Phanteks.

It seems that these coolers only grant you a certain level of cooling performance (bar H320/360L, which are notch ahead), and the only way to get to the next level is to go full custom water.

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post #2 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 07:36 PM - Thread Starter
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post #3 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-01-2014, 08:29 PM
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Great review. +Rep

Basically, the only benefit from these AIOs it seems is the looks and tall RAM DIMMs. Looking at things head on, with the Yate Loons, the 280L is more or less tied. Maybe a 1 degree for the 280L.

It's interesting to note that the top cooler right now is probably the Cryorig R1 Ultimate or perhaps the Noctua D15 (personally I think it's the R1 Ultimate), both of which would benefit more because they have a higher fin density. With that, the 1 degree gap (if it exists) might be closed.

But yeah I agree, it's basically a giant dual tower or full custom water.
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post #4 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 02:09 AM
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Nicely done thumb.gif

I note that this was also done with the Nepton exhausting its hot air into your case. I would imagine that if you were doing something that stresses both cpu and gpu such as folding you would see much higher gpu temps as well. Thanks for the comparison ! Have an internet point biggrin.gif

Would also be interesting to see push pull on the Nepton vs 3 fans on th Phanteks. Ive seen a review where the H100 is about 4 c better in push pull and iirc an extra fan on the Phanteks gets you 2-3 c better temps.

In the future everyone will be Ozymandias for 15 minutes. Or something.

Unrelated to other Slinkies.


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post #5 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 05:16 AM
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Nicely done ... except for the Nepton exhausting inside of case. biggrin.gif

28c reading of air going into PH-TC14PE (assume this is with system under full load a few minutes into run)
What was room temp?

What was Nepton intake air temp?

AIf room was 22-25c, the above data would lead me to think PH-TC14PE is actually cooling 3-5c better than Nepton.

Phanteks Owners Club Ways to Better Cooling
i7 980 @ 3.55GHz =PH-TC14PE w/2x TY-143 fans =Crucial Ballistix 3x4GB =GA-X58A-UD5 =ASUS GTX580 DirectCU II =Enermax Modu84+ =Define R2 w/3x TY-140 case intake fans; all PWM controlled by CPU fan socketPhanteks Enthoo Primo MoBo Rampage III Extreme CPUi7 980X
@ 4.0GHz =R1 Ultimate w/2x TY-143 fans =Dominator GT 6x2GB =Rampage III Extreme =ASUS GTX580 DirectCU II =TX850 =Enthoo Primo w/ custom castor base
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post #6 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 05:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slink3Slyde View Post

Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Nicely done thumb.gif

I note that this was also done with the Nepton exhausting its hot air into your case. I would imagine that if you were doing something that stresses both cpu and gpu such as folding you would see much higher gpu temps as well. Thanks for the comparison ! Have an internet point biggrin.gif

Would also be interesting to see push pull on the Nepton vs 3 fans on th Phanteks. Ive seen a review where the H100 is about 4 c better in push pull and iirc an extra fan on the Phanteks gets you 2-3 c better temps.

Problem with those tests is the use of room temperature and not the cooler intake air temperature. Adding a fan on back of PH-TC14PE in a case could easily change the airflow in the case (with our without side covers) by several degrees.

While room temperature contributed valuable data, it has much less relevance to data than temperature of the air going into cooler / radiator in establishing cooling ability. They are never the same temperature. Cooler / radiator intake temp can change several degrees by simply changing fan speed a few hundred rpm.

Phanteks Owners Club Ways to Better Cooling
i7 980 @ 3.55GHz =PH-TC14PE w/2x TY-143 fans =Crucial Ballistix 3x4GB =GA-X58A-UD5 =ASUS GTX580 DirectCU II =Enermax Modu84+ =Define R2 w/3x TY-140 case intake fans; all PWM controlled by CPU fan socketPhanteks Enthoo Primo MoBo Rampage III Extreme CPUi7 980X
@ 4.0GHz =R1 Ultimate w/2x TY-143 fans =Dominator GT 6x2GB =Rampage III Extreme =ASUS GTX580 DirectCU II =TX850 =Enthoo Primo w/ custom castor base
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post #7 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 06:52 AM
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Very interesting.....the JetFlo fans are pretty incredible. Deafening, but incredible.

Doyll mentioned you running the fans as intake, and that seems to be implied in the beginning of the post - is that the case? If so, the showing by the Phanteks is much stronger than it appears on the surface since it is being used in its proper environment, while the 280L is being aided by a mounting that is not recommended.

Thanks for this post and all of your efforts! This is some great information.

Yeah....the little girl hentai avatar is really creeping me out....
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post #8 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 07:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CrazyElf View Post

Great review. +Rep

Basically, the only benefit from these AIOs it seems is the looks and tall RAM DIMMs. Looking at things head on, with the Yate Loons, the 280L is more or less tied. Maybe a 1 degree for the 280L.

It's interesting to note that the top cooler right now is probably the Cryorig R1 Ultimate or perhaps the Noctua D15 (personally I think it's the R1 Ultimate), both of which would benefit more because they have a higher fin density. With that, the 1 degree gap (if it exists) might be closed.

But yeah I agree, it's basically a giant dual tower or full custom water.

Thanks thumb.gif

I agree with the R1 and D15 being slightly better coolers than the Phanteks, but the difference is that, slight. Reading some of the reviews on all three coolers, the difference between all of them are less than 2C, which could easily be because of the fans used.

To sum it up a bit:

Phanteks: Thick heatpipes (5x8mm)
R1: denser black fins and 7x6mm heatpipes
D15: Wide

The R1 seems like the cooler with the most potential, or a cooler that would scale the best with more powerful fans due to its design.

I guess another way we could put it is if a PH-TC14PE is roughly equal to a 280L, fans aside, then that means the R1, due to its design, is better than pretty much any AIO that is not a H320/360L
Quote:
Originally Posted by doyll View Post

Nicely done ... except for the Nepton exhausting inside of case. biggrin.gif

28c reading of air going into PH-TC14PE (assume this is with system under full load a few minutes into run)
What was room temp?

What was Nepton intake air temp?

AIf room was 22-25c, the above data would lead me to think PH-TC14PE is actually cooling 3-5c better than Nepton.

Thanks thumb.gif

Room temp was kept at a constant 80F during the whole test, as said in the review.

The Nepton intake air temp was 80F, as said in the review. I did take a surface temp of the intake temps, with the temp sensor on the surface setting, and it was the same as the room temps, 80F. Since the Nepton was mounted directly in front of the Haf XB, it directly sucks in fresh air, hence the 80F intake temp, and it isn't like the air dumped in the case will affect temps since the air already went through the rad.

If I set it to suck in air from inside the case, then the intake fan temps would be hotter since my graphics card is in there, motherboard components give off a bit of heat (PCH and VRMs mostly), and a case always traps some sort of heat, even with the panels open, as you said.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Slink3Slyde View Post

Nicely done thumb.gif

I note that this was also done with the Nepton exhausting its hot air into your case. I would imagine that if you were doing something that stresses both cpu and gpu such as folding you would see much higher gpu temps as well. Thanks for the comparison ! Have an internet point biggrin.gif

Would also be interesting to see push pull on the Nepton vs 3 fans on th Phanteks. Ive seen a review where the H100 is about 4 c better in push pull and iirc an extra fan on the Phanteks gets you 2-3 c better temps.

Thanks thumb.gif I didn't stress the GPU at all when doing testing, unfortunately. I do recall someone in the official haf xb club saying that adding a top 200mm fan lowered graphics card temps by around 5 or 7C when having an AIO mounted up front (pushing hot air inside the case), so it does have a large influence on graphics card temps.

Push/pull isn't happening since I've already boxed it up to return, and I wouldn't be able to fit a second set of fans since my graphics card is too long. I'm also returning the Phanteks fans I bought too (I broke the original fans that came with the Phanteks, so I had to buy some more to make this review). As for adding another set of fans to the Phanteks, I might buy some more yate loons and do a quick triple fan temp reading. It won't be any time soon, though.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ciarlatano View Post

Very interesting.....the JetFlo fans are pretty incredible. Deafening, but incredible.

Doyll mentioned you running the fans as intake, and that seems to be implied in the beginning of the post - is that the case? If so, the showing by the Phanteks is much stronger than it appears on the surface since it is being used in its proper environment, while the 280L is being aided by a mounting that is not recommended.

Thanks for this post and all of your efforts! This is some great information.

That is the case.

I would have set it to pull in air from the case, but if I were to do that, the components inside the case would change the performance of the cooler. I just wanted to do a raw comparison between both coolers with the least amount of imposing variables, so having the fans set up as intake seemed like the best way to do it. As you said, when taking intake temps into consideration, the Phanteks actually edges the 280L a bit, even with the inherent advantage the 280L has with the way it's mounted, and the fact that there were no intake fans in front of my HAF XB to aid in getting some airflow to the Phanteks.

Thanks for reading thumb.gif I was always thinking about this type of comparison, and I'm sure this info will serve as a great reference for those deciding to go AIO or Air, which I believe they should go with Air. It's simpler, less points of failure, and in my case (double pun?), it doesn't influence graphics card temps. Faster fans are required, though.

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post #9 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 07:30 AM
 
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Great work, thanks.

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post #10 of 26 (permalink) Old 07-02-2014, 10:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by airisom2 View Post

Thanks thumb.gif

I agree with the R1 and D15 being slightly better coolers than the Phanteks, but the difference is that, slight. Reading some of the reviews on all three coolers, the difference between all of them are less than 2C, which could easily be because of the fans used.

To sum it up a bit:

Phanteks: Thick heatpipes (5x8mm)
R1: denser black fins and 7x6mm heatpipes
D15: Wide

The R1 seems like the cooler with the most potential, or a cooler that would scale the best with more powerful fans due to its design.

I guess another way we could put it is if a PH-TC14PE is roughly equal to a 280L, fans aside, then that means the R1, due to its design, is better than pretty much any AIO that is not a H320/360L
Thanks thumb.gif

You are going to get diminishing returns with any cooler.

Here's where they stand after adjusting for noise:
http://www.tweaktown.com/reviews/6083/cryorig-r1-ultimate-cpu-cooler-review/index7.html

Performance:


Sound pressure levels:


So in other words, the 280L cools about ~3.5C cooler, but at the expense of 18 db. That is not a good tradeoff at all.

Interestingly, the Deepcool Assassin that review beat the Cryorig R1, both in temperature (by 0.5C), although it was tied for noise. That's within margin of error though, I think. The Deepcool Assasin is currently the largest cooler on the market and one of the most densely packed fins, but it suffers from a few design flaws. The bottom of the cooler is huge, and even LGA 2011 sockets cannot take advantage of the full contact area. Also, I think the fins may not be entirely soldered on well.

Take a look though:
http://global.gamerstorm.cn/Product/Assassin/

I put together a list of fin densities of current coolers:
https://www.overclock.net/t/1493939/fin-densities-of-dual-tower-cpu-coolers-discussion/0_100

Anyways, on the R1, the front of this is a very low density of 1 fin per 2.8 mm, while the rear tower is 1 fin per 2.2 mm, which is one of the more dense coolers. For the Deepcool, the cooler itself is about 156 mm in height, and the bottom is 43.2 mm, so that works out to be 1 fin per 2.3mm.

D15 works out to 1 fin per 2.25 mm, which is quite interesting as well.

Edit:
I've done a bit more reading.

- It is looking like on LGA 1150 and AMD platforms, the D15 will win, but on LGA 2011 platforms, the Cryorig R1 will win. Interesting. I suspect the R1 will also do better on the LGA 1366 platform.

See here for LGA 1150:


Noctua seems to be quite a lot quieter too.

See here for LGA 2011:



Slight advantage for the R1.


But yeah, I agree with faster fans, the R1 will probably will out.
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