Watercooling obsolete?
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Author:  Myth! [ Fri Apr 13, 2007 2:00 am ]
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though air-cooled cars are much louder than watercooled. This is probably because of the water-jacket around the explosions though.

Once you have explosions in your PC case, it might be too late to worry about the HSF :roll:

Author:  snutten [ Fri Apr 13, 2007 11:54 am ]
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~El~Jefe~ wrote:
Watercooling vs air cooling is a really simple debate.
Now, my system has 1 120mm pabst fan on it.
My next system will be a Barcelona board with 2x 2GB memory, 500Mb samsung, and the x2900 ati (r600 chip with the 65nm process).

That will not be running on air! However, I will get the new zalman radiator and slap that on there. I will once again use only 1 fan in my system :)

One fan to cool all that. How much voltage are you feeding the 4412 with?

jamesavery22 wrote:
Buy the right pump and its just as silent and reliable if not more than any 12v DC fan.

I never run any Nexus over 5V.

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:33 pm ]
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Ah, well, this isnt much of a surprise, or well, shouldnt be.

All my major heat sources arent in the case. the rubber hoses remove the heat from the gfx and from the gpu so that the system really has no heat left to remove except for the chipset and motherboard components. I have at the moment:

939 Asrock dualsata2 board
2 gigs of patriot memory - love this mem company, always 1T at tight timings
160 Gb samsung spinpoint 80
350 Phantom psu
Antec slk3700 with psu removed (i like the solid door and reverse mounted HD cage)
4200+ 2.2ghz dual core 939 chip
x1900 all-in-wonder - what a wonderful card and it runs cool too as it is underclocked slighty and has only 256megs ram. full 48 shaders and full pipelines though of the x1900xt series.

I keep my papst at 8 volts. I have tried it at lowest voltage which is about 5.5 volts (my fan controller doesnt go to exactly 5v) My computer was fine and stable for a few days but I feel life is safer with a cooler computer. The papst pushes a LOT of air at 8 volts, more than my nexus 120 does, noticably so, at like 11-12 volts (my fan controller also doesnt go up to 12 volts completely, its freaky) I would get a papst again if it is as smooth as this one. The air volume it pumps is fantastic. While it might not be a nexus in absolute silence terms, it can 2x outperform it for any given voltage (maybe moreso!)

the r600 will have the new Zalman2 system in it. It is either that or I get another discounted Zalman1 tower :). I always dreamt of having two towers in a super gaming rig. One tower cooling the chipset and cpu, and one tower cooling just the gfx card and vga ram (zalman has a loop for that cools the ram now).

Overkill? yes. 100% silent, yes. My pump is inaudible at 1 foot from it with my ear facing it. i can hear it if I put my head 6 inches from it and turn it off and on to notice a difference.

My new system will be a bummer however. I really am not looking forward to having to use two pci-e power cables. I will then need to be using my new corsair 620 which has a fan in it. that means I will be using 2 fans. Very uncool for what I have been accustomed to!

Author:  noespam [ Wed May 23, 2007 8:53 pm ]
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i decided to go water because HUGE air coolers prevent adding aftermarket heat sink fans to the northbridge not to mention to suppress the jet noise that comes from actively cooling a high end 3d video card. i overclock an e6600 to 3.7Ghz. having this much power, i wish i had more, is barely enough to run three VMWare machines emulating a database server, web and file/msmq server for .NET development with Visual Studio. it doesn't hurt either that i can play any game in maximum detail. my system is relatively quiet and the temp difference between idle and load is no more than 10C (44C at load). no way you can do that with air.

ferrari's and porsche's aren't necessary either but they're certainly not obsolete.

Author:  iamweasel [ Thu May 24, 2007 4:06 am ]
Post subject:  Ahh, performance

I can't but help myself to say a few words on the subjects on this thread.

Going extreme in anything (be it silence, cars or <insert anything here>) is bound to be "over the top" for anyone not completely into whatever niche it is one is obsessing about.

As far as water cooling a computer is concerned, it most definitely has benefits for those who are trying to balance performance (high wattage that is) and noise. The fact that you can actually have your all of the noise generating components of the water cooling system (pumps and a possible fan for the radiator) in the next room I imagine should be appealing for any SPCR loony like myself.

There are definite downsides too, one being it will likely require a whole lot more in terms of maintenance (at least in the difficulty of maintenance) when compared to air cooling and also make the system that much more difficult to move around. However, to say that having a heat sink effectively many times the size of the largest CPU cooler on the market has no benefits is just ignorant. The pipes are efficient at moving the heat to where ever you want to take it. Air coolers use heat pipes to achieve the same thing, but are inherently limited in size, which a water cooling system isn't.

Given that a water cooling system is properly maintained it can be both very quiet, safe and above all provide far superior cooling to just about any air cooling solution, commercial or otherwise. It does come at a cost, but we're all enthusiasts, so cost in terms of effort is really a non-issue. Besides an over the top air cooling system will cost an arm and a leg too.

But to the point. I would like to correct a few misconceptions about overclocking, framerates etc.

First off the heat generated in chips is pretty much a function of frequency, rather than voltage. You, however, must raise the voltage when trying to push the limits of a chip (that is you must "push the transistors" that much harder to make them react more quickly because there isn't enough time for the previous clock pulse to "drain"). In reverse you can undervolt when the response of the chip need not be that fast.

I've also always wondered about the framerates above 100Hz. Check your monitor settings... what is your monitor refresh rate? I don't think it makes a whole lot of sense to generate more frames than you can possibly display. There is one argument for higher framerates than the refresh rate though, and that is latency in the image displayed. The faster a frame is being generated the fresher the picture on the screen is LIKELY to be. Some of the calculated frames just won't show up at all. I don't think it makes much of a difference as it is just a tiny portion of the time it takes from the user reacting to the time the image is on-screen, but then again, I'm not really into this niche.

Also comparing car and computer cooling systems is like comparing apples to oranges. Car engines are noisy anyway so the noise of fans is a non-issue. When the car is moving there is a whole lot of airflow which means the radiators can be significantly smaller with the the amount of air available for cooling and also the heat tolerances are generally very different.

I myself run my computer underclocked most of the time, but when the processor usage hits above 90% for a few seconds the computer will automagically overclock quite significantly. When returning back to idle it will underclock much in the same way. The same goes for the GPU. Having them both water cooled I have sufficient headroom to overclock and keep it there while keeping my CPU temperatures below 42C and GPU below 55C. The computer idles at around 35C and 32C respectively. Not all that bad, considering the pumps are more than 5 meters away from where I'm sitting, and I can't hear the things before I put my ear next to them.

There's also one more thing I wonder about on the SPCR forums. What is it with this 1 fan to cool-all-things approach. I don't see the point when having more fans at lower rpm is likely to be quieter while providing more airflow and therefore a better nights sleep when you don't have to worry about your computer frying itself and/or constantly monitor your temps...

Just my 2c.

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sun Jun 03, 2007 6:51 pm ]
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100 avg framerates on a 85hz monitor is fine. framerates are not stable. the tiny drops in them can be noticed if not averaging above like 60.

watercooling is the way to go. just is. if you game, you buy pricey vid cards, you buy your cpus mid-upper end, no point in not trying to finance a water system at least once in your life to see how it is compared to fans.

fans are awesome in the sense that they are PORTABLE!

pinned down to my reserator is rough. but, its like permanent solution for years of cooling whatever I want.

Author:  fri2219 [ Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:10 pm ]
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Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:19 pm ]
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I have to add now that I think about it... maintenence is really minimal. IF you use a proper blend of liquid and make sure its basically sealed from getting outside coodies.

I think that Water wetter is a fantastic additive. It has killed anything possibly from growing in my system. my core temp is 98 degrees F. That might seem hot to some, but that's YOU!! yes, you yourself are that temperature and operate quite well. well. some of us do. In that perfect for bacteria environment, I never have to change my liquid. I do it though once a year just for safety sake. I never clean it out though, its always clean and happy. I tihnk you could go 2 years without maintenance in a water wetter sorta sealed system.

Author:  HammerSandwich [ Wed Jun 20, 2007 6:41 pm ]
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~El~Jefe~ wrote:
I have to add now that I think about it... maintenence is really minimal.
Yeah, the maintenance schedule's not so bad. The main problem is that working inside the case becomes a pain compared to air. It's probably not a big deal with something like a Reserator, but with a self-contained setup...

~El~Jefe~ wrote:
my core temp is 98 degrees F.
Have you ever measured your water temperature?

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sun Jun 24, 2007 9:14 pm ]
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no i havent. i stuck my finger in it and it was fine to touch but quite warm. that's fine I guess. I'm always big on "if it doesnt burn me, the computer is fine" seems to work for many years.

Author:  MoJo [ Mon Jul 30, 2007 1:45 am ]
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I watercool for silence. My current system is a 7800GT and X2 4200+ both water cooled with DangerDen blocks and a heatercore. Using a Eheim pump which is silent. The whole system is basically silent, I push the power button and nothing happens except for an LED lighting up. The WD5000KS HDDs are probably the loudest components.

Temps are excellent. Idle about 40C for both GPU and CPU, hitting a max of 55 for the CPU and 60 for the GPU under load.

Sure, I could probably have managed to get a silent system on air too, but now I am building a new system I'm not so sure. Take a look at my poor thread:

http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... hp?t=42262

Basically, it's a QX6700 and 8800 Ultra in a P182. I now seem to have a choice - live with my CPU and GPU up in the low 90s under max load, or water cool.

I still have not decided what to do. Reports suggest that running the CPU that hot is okay, especially as it's a synthetic load and unlikely to ever reach that high in normal usage. On the other hand, £200 dropped on water cooling could probably get the temps down to 70C under load.

With water, the amount of heat being removed is the same, it's just that water and radiators are that much better at doing it and eliminate problems with the whole case getting hot. The 8800 Ultra is basically a space heater in my case, which is why I am considering ditching the HR-03 Plus and going back to the stock cooler which at least exhausts heat out the back of the case. Why someone hasn't made an aftermarket cooler that can take a quiet 92mm fan like this I don't know. It wouldn't be bigger than the HR-03+fan.

Oh, and as for ease of set-up and reliability, actually water is quite easy when you know how. A little experience goes a long way. Leaks are not a problem, and my combination of distilled water and anti-freeze has been going for over three years now with no discolouring or corrosion etc. During that time I have upgraded both waterblocks and the pump, which means the liquid has never entirely been replaced, only topped up.

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sat Aug 04, 2007 11:01 pm ]
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good advice and examples.

eventually, unless for portability and space saving, everyone should try a water system once in their silent computer carreers.

it makes life so simple after its done.

Author:  HammerSandwich [ Tue Sep 18, 2007 7:43 am ]
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Anandtech says watercooling is dead after showing better cooling & noise levels from a number of HSFs. This result seems to match what we've said here.

Author:  kabanan [ Tue Sep 18, 2007 1:23 pm ]
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HammerSandwich wrote:
Anandtech says watercooling is dead after showing better cooling & noise levels from a number of HSFs. This result seems to match what we've said here.

OMG! They tested the equivalents to low budget coolers. Everybody who has tested watercooling, and not chosen the low budget/low performance route, will tell you that watercooling is by far the most effective method of cooling your hardware.

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sun Sep 23, 2007 6:28 pm ]
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anand is paid off and unimaginative.

watercooling is the only truly silent method of cooling a system that pushes out the wattage.

it's dead if you do not have the cash or ingenuity to make it work.

Author:  Wibla [ Sun Sep 23, 2007 9:43 pm ]
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This is really a non-issue discussion.

Water cooling will never be dead as long as someone is using it

It definently has its merits, like running a water loop out in the snow during wintertime to get that EXTRA chill, and the bragging rights you get.
It was also much "better" before, as earlier heatsinks with no heatpipes wasnt really that efficient, and there wasnt too much real design work going on before a few years back. But now, things are different.

For me, however, the humble E6600 @ 3GHz doing [email protected] 24-7 with temps in the high 30s and low 40s (C) using air cooling with near to zero noise, is enough.

I dont see the point in running a CPU at below freezing apart from silly extreme-overclocking bullshit (Liquid nitrogen or fancypants phase-change anyone?) that really doesnt matter apart from showing what a big ePenis you have (and thus how small of a real penis you have).

Edit: We do use water cooling alot at work, as it is more efficient at getting the heat away, but thats 50-80kW of heat from one cabinet (no, im not working in hosting..) and the likes.

Author:  MoJo [ Mon Sep 24, 2007 12:46 am ]
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Wibla wrote:
For me, however, the humble E6600 @ 3GHz doing [email protected] 24-7 with temps in the high 30s and low 40s (C) using air cooling with near to zero noise, is enough.

I don't know where you live or what temperature your room is, but for most of us temps like those are impossible on air. Especially in a P182, and especially if you want it to be quiet.

Maybe your definition of "near zero noise" is different to mine... I have certainly herd a few supposedly quiet machines that didn't live up to the label.

A small update: I re-checked my current system temps and the CPU idles at 33C, hitting 37C after one hour of Prime95. GPU idles at 39C, hitting 47C after one hour of ATI Tool. Essentially both the X2 4200+ and 7800GT are being cooled by a heater core with a single Yate Loon 120mm fan running at 5V.

Author:  Wibla [ Mon Sep 24, 2007 5:14 pm ]
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I am fortunate to have good ambient temps (19-22C).

However, at home, the computer room has a couple other pcs that make a tad of noise, so if you set the pc in a totally quiet room with those fan speeds, you'd hear it without problems.

When speedfan is set to automatically regulate the fans, cpu load temps will rise to 55-58C before the fans spin above 300rpm. That's silent enough for me to be able to sleep in the same room as the pc, with the harddrives being the main source of noise.

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sat Oct 13, 2007 9:10 pm ]
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any attempt at air cooling an 8800gts or gtx fails to get anything within a tolerant level of silence on air, or within a long term safe temperature range.

something simple and entry level (cooling capacity wise) like an old zalman reserator cuts 20 degrees Celsius from the video card temps and is completely silent.

what's dead is the reliance on air cooling in 2007

Author:  MoJo [ Sun Oct 14, 2007 4:02 am ]
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I think 20C off with a Reserator on an 8800GTX is a bit of an exaggeration.

The main thing which holds WC back is the difficulty of installing it neatly in a standard case. So far no-one has produced a nice case with integrated mountings for water cooling gear. You can get cases with WC built in but are limited to what system the manufacturer chose, and those cases are expensive (as is WC in general).

The new Antec Twelve Hundred looks like it could be the first really viable water cooling case. Assuming the rad is up to cooling high end systems and the 200mm fan is silent (if it's the same as the Nine Hundred fan it will need undervolting a bit) then it could be a massive step forward. I'd get one.

Author:  spookmineer [ Sun Oct 14, 2007 10:32 am ]
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20 degrees °C is not an exaggeration. On stock cooling my 8800 GTX was 60/50 °C idle and 83/67 °C on load.

With a Reserator 2 (and now slightly overclocked), temps are 44/36 °C idle and 64/53 °C on load.

Author:  ~El~Jefe~ [ Sun Oct 14, 2007 12:26 pm ]
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MoJo wrote:
I think 20C off with a Reserator on an 8800GTX is a bit of an exaggeration.

The main thing which holds WC back is the difficulty of installing it neatly in a standard case. So far no-one has produced a nice case with integrated mountings for water cooling gear. You can get cases with WC built in but are limited to what system the manufacturer chose, and those cases are expensive (as is WC in general).

The new Antec Twelve Hundred looks like it could be the first really viable water cooling case. Assuming the rad is up to cooling high end systems and the 200mm fan is silent (if it's the same as the Nine Hundred fan it will need undervolting a bit) then it could be a massive step forward. I'd get one.


that's how we won this country from you


Author:  jaganath [ Sun Oct 14, 2007 12:58 pm ]
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hec baro rumini sui proprius stercus.Irumator.Quanda podeces te regi eorum fecerunt?

Author:  WR304 [ Sun Oct 14, 2007 3:11 pm ]
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MoJo wrote:
I think 20C off with a Reserator on an 8800GTX is a bit of an exaggeration.

That's about the minimum drop in load temperatures you'd expect from a water cooled 8800GTX card. :)

Have a look at this review of the BFG watercooled 8800GTX (DangerDen waterblock pre-installed) when used with a Corsair Nautilus 500 watercooling kit in a single loop:

http://www.bit-tech.net/hardware/2007/0 ... ercooled/9

That's not a particularly powerful active watercooling setup but it was still able to drop the 8800GTX core temperature 16c at idle and 28c under load compared to the stock cooler. :)

Watercooling my 8800GTS 640mb card using a Reserator 2 (room temperature 24c) dropped idle temps roughly 12c (from 49-50c stock cooler down to 37c) and load temps 29c (from 82c stock cooler down to 53c approx). :)

The lower temperatures don't do anything to reduce buzzing from the card though. :(

Author:  MoJo [ Mon Oct 15, 2007 12:25 am ]
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That's what I was getting at, 20C at idle is a bit much for most configurations because it's getting too close to ambient temperatures. Under load is a different matter. I didn't mention that in my original post, my mistake. For some reason I just assumed it was idle temps, and you know what they say about assumption.

My own WC system probably manages more than 20C under load, but I never ran the system on air so I can't make an accurate comparison.

~El~Jefe~, don't be so childish.

Author:  WR304 [ Tue Oct 16, 2007 10:37 am ]
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The fan on the stock 8800GTS/GTX heatsink doesn't speed up until the core reaches 82c. You probably get a larger drop in load temperatures than you would with other cards. :)

Getting 20c off idle temperatures seems a bit harder. There are probably some people who've had that sort of drop with a 8800GTS/GTX card though: If you consider how poorly seated a lot of 8800GTS/GTX stock coolers are just re-applying the thermal paste when fitting the waterblock would give you a "free" drop in temperature of 5c or so on top of any benefits gained from watercooling. :)

Author:  shadestalker [ Tue Oct 16, 2007 12:21 pm ]
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Why mess with water cooling?

Because you've wandered from the sweet spot.

The sweet spot used to be all about price / performance. Now it includes power consumption, which for SPCR purposes means heat dissipation. Wander too far up the performance ramp, and you leave behind the reasonable prices and low heat dissipation of the mainstream. Try to cool your extreme overclocked CPU with air, and you've left silencer land unless you're very very careful and ingenious.

So sure, watercooling has a place, but IMO it's not for people who stay in or near the sweet spot. It's just not necessary if you're choosing your components based on something besides testosterone levels or the need to dispose of insulting amounts of cash.

Author:  MoJo [ Tue Oct 16, 2007 1:42 pm ]
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One thing I can't disagree with there: water cooling is expensive.

Author:  gojira [ Thu Oct 18, 2007 8:46 pm ]
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Was anyone else ticked off by reading the anandtech article? What a joke. Comparing the best air coolers against the worst water coolers. Everyone involved in watercooling knows that the kits suck. They always have and they probably always will. I love how the radiator only used one 12cm fan. Hah! One of the biggest advantages of water cooling is where the rubber meets the road at the radiator. You can make use of an arbitrarily large heat exchanger along with as many fans as you want. As good as CPU heatsinks have become, with their well designed heat pipe architectures, they are still size limited by the case and the motherboard layout.

Having said that, the lack of large, well designed radiators is frustrating. Not enough of a market I guess. The best radiator seems to be the Thermochill 120.3 and the best water cooling setup would presumably use 2 or 3 of them. With one loop for the gfx card and northbridge and another for the CPU. What water cooling really needs to remain competitive is a reasonably priced high performance radiator. Maybe something like 3 thermochill 120.3 for the price of a single one now ($135 + s/h). The whole point of something like watercooling is to get extreme cooling. Some people seem to have forgotten that.

I have to admit that I do think ambient watercooling is on its way out. At least for CPUs, air cooling really has got too good with its monster heatpipe heatsinks. Of course GPU heatsinks are still a joke. Water still has a clear and very significant advantage there. Too bad the better GPU water blocks tend to be *very* expensive and too specialized so that they have to be replaced with each generation of GPU. There are more 'generic' GPU coolers that still blow away any air cooler, but they just don't have the same performance. Especially for cooling the RAM chips.

If/when OCZ finally releases their Cryo-Z direct die phase change cooler for $300 to $349, I predict that it will have a very strong impact on the water cooling industry. Phase change cooling will still be expensive to use though, especially in parts of the world where electricity is expensive. I pay around 20 cents (US) per KWh where I live. So running an air conditioner all the time without any cycling would cost a small fortune here. I'm not sure it's worth it even to run a C2D at 5 Ghz. Still, phase change represents the cutting edge of computer cooling systems. It just doesn't get any better. If you can afford it.

Author:  MoJo [ Fri Oct 19, 2007 2:35 am ]
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I don't think having a single rad with single 120mm fan is necessarily a problem. My current system cools a 4400+ X2 and 7800GT with a DD heatercore and single 120mm Yate Loon at 5V. Away from very high end overclocked systems, I'm not sure you need massive rads.

A 120.3 should be able to cool even a quad core / 8800 Ultra system easily.

The biggest problem I have with rads is that there is not really a good way to mount them in cases. At least not any descent rads. That's why I'm so interested in the Antec Twelve Hundred. Assuming the rad is up to dissipating 300W of heat (QX6700 130W, 8800 Ultra 150W, plus maybe NB) and it is reasonably priced...

I think it needs someone like Antec to bring water cooling into the mainstream. Imagine if you could buy a case which already had the radiator, pump and fillport/res fitted. Imagine if they were good quality components too, not the usual kit rubbish. You could then just pick waterblocks for your components and fit it all up almost as easily as air heatsinks.

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