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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 2:34 am 
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Just like SPCR has found out in its reviews testing heatsinks, I found that little airflow cools much better than just passive. Turning off the fans overheats my machine.

About what's toughest to silence, my central point learned is that it's the very same stuff as in an air cooled rig. Save a very powerful graphics, it's easy to cool motherboard, cpu and gpu very very quietly, air or water. Psu is normally a bit tougher but with e.g. the Silverstone passive psu all you need is a fresh air intake and a Nexus 120 @ ~3-4 V, which equals almost un-hearable.
That leaves the hdds. Good sund dampening of the case with good de-coupling with soft cords, no rubber mounts. For my Raptor I've bought an MCubed Vertical Silence with cooling properties good enough to use with this drive. For backup, DC++ and such, I use the Samsung V (5400) and HA (5760 rpm!) discs. They run very cool and can be hanged anywhere in the case without dedicated cooling. Still the hdds make the most noise in my computer.

That's to say, in my new computer. In the old water cooled rig, the pump gave me more trouble. The sound is soft and pleasant in many ways but also harder to dampen because the frequencies are lower than the hdds whine. The 1048 is a very quiet pump but at these levels it's still contributing amply.

Pondering the fact that water cooling normally doesn't do any good for the normal problem children; hdds, possibly psu (and definitely the optional pump humming), I conluded w/c has no good merits to show for itself, at least no rational, for the vast majority of setups.

A completely passive w/c system need extreme pump dampening and water cooled hdds in sound proof boxes in order to really beat my air rig. Although I know this certainly can be done (I almost went this route) I question the wisdom of it since my air rig almost can't be heard anyway. With a fraction of the installation hazzle, half the weight, better looks, better moveability, way cheaper, more secure, less maintenance and lower concentrations of stress hormones during the process.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 8:48 am 
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snutten, your comments about air versus water are well considered and clearly based on solid experience. Nonetheless, I wonder if you would have been more successful with a different radiator setup. I'm a big believer in using more frontal area to lower airflow resistance. Something like a PA120.3 ducted to 2 Nexus 120s or a pair of PA160s might work a lot better than (if I understood correctly) 2 single rads with high FPI. Especially when the fans are run so close to stall...


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 20, 2006 3:04 pm 
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Yep, you are of course right about that. But four years ago there were no rads like that. Doesn't matter all that much when the fans are running under 400 rpm anyway. The noise will chiefly come from hdds & pump.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 8:57 pm 
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Rusty075 wrote:
Joe's recent editorial on Water Cooling - Wheres the Magic? over at Procooling sums up the current state of the industry pretty well I think. My comments on it (and this thread, basically) are in the Procooling forum thread about the editorial.


Thanks for the link, it indeed was interesting. However, while the discussion topic is similar, the underlaying motivation for that and this thread are different.

In that ProCooling thread people are in general just bored with watercooling as it's too mainstream and you cannot innovate anymore without access to expensive equipment. However, focus here is whether the water will give you some acoustic benefit. So in essence, our focus is more utilitarian, it does not matter if you do not get to design your own world-class waterblock, but what matters is the resulting quietness.

Naturally the current, and very welcomed, trend of focusing on efficiency makes water cooling even more niche, but what has maybe had even more impact is introduction of efficient heatpipes. They offer nice maintenance-free middle-ground between pure air cooling and water cooling, being able to pump heat without moving parts.

But in the end, if you do not want or cannot select the parts with quietness in mind, water might be the way to get you there. It's a niche within a niche, people who want powerful machines and want them silent, but for them water is not obsolete. It's just that water cooling is overkill for most computer systems, so you often do not really need it. But if you need it, it has more cooling potential than any personal computer system can require.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2006 9:24 pm 
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I tried watercooling a couple years ago. It lowered temps nicely on my Athlon 1400. Of course, now my aircooled Core 2 Duo runs cooler than the Athlon on water.

I initially tried out water after losing 4 fans (two CPU fans, a GPU fan and a northbridge fan). I thought water might be more reliable.

The watercooling setup cost some money, and wasn't very quiet. There was frequent maintenance. Getting it all set up not to leak took a while, with some silicone goop and plenty of plumber's tape used.

Then, after 6 months, the CPU and GPU waterblocks (from Asetek) both developed cracks and started leaking. Fortunately I only lost an addon USB 2 PCI card.

That was enough. I pitched it and went back to air. I found a Badong air duct setup lowered temps quite nicely (though not as far as water) and left me less to worry about vis a vis leaks and short circuits.

In short, it was certainly not more reliable than air. I eventually decided all the trouble I'd had with fans dying was due to small, fast spinning screamers that wore out quickly (this was before I discovered SPCR). In my new machine I have a bunch of long life, very slow spinning 120s, and I don't foresee having to regularly replace them ;)

Watercooling is in a sense obsolete. The Core 2 can be massively overclocked with air. Air is more reliable, and can be plenty quiet. Water requires pumps, and still won't let you get away from fans completely, if you feel like cooling your PWMs and RAM etc (the alternative being tons of tiny waterblocks for each and every component, increasing the risk of leakage). There are a lot of potential gotchas, like having different metals in the loop causing electrolytic corrosion, air bubbles encouraging rust and inhibiting flow, algae etc etc.

CPUs (Core 2 and the efficient AM2s) certainly don't need more than air. I'd write off water completely for now if it wasn't for the blazing hot niveau being reached by graphics cards. There might be some need there, though I'd still prefer an elaborate heatpipe solution with a large fan.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 12:45 am 
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I believe watercooling is only just starting to become mainstream and necessary. Sure, a Core 2 Duo chip can be air-cooled nice and quiet, but looking at the upcoming graphics chipsets, nVidia and ATi are hinting that their upcoming products can draw up to 300 watts of power. Try cooling that quietly with a 3/4 inch-thich radial aircooler stuck between the expansion slots!

Unless the industry comes out with some radically different computer layouts, then watercooling, which allows the cooling to take place in a more convenient and spacier location than where the heat is generated, remains the future-proof quiet solution.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 8:59 am 
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Watercooling will never become mainstream.

The closest it came was the dual G5 mac boxes.
It also came damn close when P4s were about midway through their run as top Intel procs.
Don't remember who it was but HP,NEC,Sony, someone had a prototype of a mainstream desktop box that had watercooling for the cpu. Nidec even made that self-contained watercooling solution for Intel. None ever made it to production though.

While niche stuff like quad-SLI needs watercooling to run at a decent noise level that will never be enough to push watercooling into mainstream. You just won't see those hardware options in mainstream boxes...

If the next gen cards from ATI and nVidia really consume 200w+(don't know where you read 300w, I've seen 200-250w) and can't be reasonably aircooled then we won't see those in mainstream boxes either.

I've read a few random posts saying ATI and nVidia won't release more power hungry cards after the upcoming ones. Focus on performance/watt didn't start until they were already well into development of the new cores. Makes sense but I have no proof :( Hopefully they will though.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 02, 2006 7:22 pm 
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Well, I wouldn't say it's obsolete but it never has been and never will be mainstream.

However, I just decided to build my first water cooled machine ever here in a week or so. I debated it forever, because it really does seem like it will be a pain in the ***, but decided to go ahead and jump in because:

1. I don't need to worry about noisy video cards. I can buy a leaf-blower loud used ATI X1900XT(X) off ebay, overclock it, and still have it be quiet. When the ridiculous power hog DX10 cards come out, I'll be covered as well.

2. Overclocking potential for CPU still higher than air.

3. The hobby aspect. Good way to get into some basic metal working, dremel practice, tweaking it for silence, remedial plumbing for dummies, etc...


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 23, 2006 1:51 pm 
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i think it has been said here before, but anyway the practical benefits of watercooling really shows itself when you have to also cool power-hungry GPU's. the stock cooler simply isn't enough unless you've got many case fans. watercooling can cool it much cooler/quieter than any aftermarket air cooler and allow nice overclocks as well. it is also silent if you use dual-120mm radiator with 500RPM fans (or a passive radiator), and a silent pump. also, the case temperature is kept low since the heat is expelled outside the case rather than collect inside.

with watercooling you can have it all, both silence and performance. i've had a watercooling rig for several years without any problems or maintenance. then again, i started out with high-quality components and i've got a moisure condensor that refills the water level on its own. frankly, i don't understand why so often people report leaks. maybe it is a not-so-good implementation or use of low-quality parts.

actually my watercooling rig has no fans at all and i'm using a passive PSU (Antec Phantom 350), so the only noise is from the hard drives. and my computer is massively overclocked, so my watercooling experience has been highly positive.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:52 am 
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I have no actual experience on watercooling (WC) but I have read quite a bit about it. I also wanted to try WC at one point but was convinced that it might not be better than AC at all. A few thoughts:

1. WC doesn't seem to have any overclocking advantage over aircooling (AC) when using Core 2 Duo processor. I base this claim on this table:

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/sho ... ostcount=1

As you can see there are more AC results giving over 4GHz overclock.

2. GPU situation is worse (considering AC) but not hopeless. There seems to be more and more silent VGA coolers and the new Thermalright HR-03 seems to be a great cooler capable of overclocking GPUs very well - and silently.

3. AC can be equally quiet or even quieter than WC - especially with clever ducting. This is mainly because AC can be installed totally within the case. Big WC radiators (and fans) must reside outside the case and the noise will be a bigger concern. Another issue is the pump. There are no completely silent pumps. And of course pumps also use power and generate heat.

4. AC is always more reliable just because of less moving parts and the lack of water.

5. There is also the cost difference in favor of AC.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:56 am 
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paapaa wrote:
...
1. WC doesn't seem to have any overclocking advantage over aircooling (AC) when using Core 2 Duo processor. I base this claim on this table:

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/sho ... ostcount=1

As you can see there are more AC results giving over 4GHz overclock.

2. GPU situation is worse (considering AC) but not hopeless. There seems to be more and more silent VGA coolers and the new Thermalright HR-03 seems to be a great cooler capable of overclocking GPUs very well - and silently.

3. AC can be equally quiet or even quieter than WC - especially with clever ducting. This is mainly because AC can be installed totally within the case. Big WC radiators (and fans) must reside outside the case and the noise will be a bigger concern. Another issue is the pump. There are no completely silent pumps. And of course pumps also use power and generate heat.

4. AC is always more reliable just because of less moving parts and the lack of water.

5. There is also the cost difference in favor of AC.


Im sorry but pretty much everything you said was false, except 5. :D Bear with me :)

Come up with any aircooling solution that will fit in an ATX case and I can show you an external watercooling setup that can handle MUCH greater heat loads and have less or equal moving parts. Gigantic passive radiator + one pump. I cool 1 VGA, 2 CPU, VRM, and NB with the same passive radiator. I have 2 pumps but for the sake of argument I'll imagine I have one. One moving part compared to how many fans? Buy the right pump and its just as silent and reliable if not more than any 12v DC fan. You never mentioned size or portability so its wide open :) The core2duo OC'ing doesnt benefit from h2o is ridiculous. overvolt a C2D and it will get very hot just like any CPU.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:02 pm 
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jamesavery22 wrote:
You never mentioned size or portability so its wide open :)


Got me on that one :)

jamesavery22 wrote:
The core2duo OC'ing doesnt benefit from h2o is ridiculous. overvolt a C2D and it will get very hot just like any CPU.


Just look at the results. I really didn't make them up. I'm not saying that the temps would be same - the OC results are.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 24, 2006 12:46 pm 
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jvrobert wrote:
3. The hobby aspect. Good way to get into some basic metal working, dremel practice, tweaking it for silence, remedial plumbing for dummies, etc...


That's probably why i constantly feel like a want a watercooled rig, it's fun building one, but it would not be any more quiet than my current AC setup using the reasonably cool hardware i have now, 230W AC draw at load.

My only personal experience with watercooling is the Reserator, but the only stock part left is the radiator... :roll: There is everything from reserators, cheap thermaltakes to huge nine(9) fan radiators at work though..

The problem i have with active radiators is this, i want them to fit inside the case, wich is easy enough, but it needs holes, wich are also reasonably easy to make pretty, but the problem is that moise will escape more easily thru the holes, so having a truely very quiet HDD is critical.

I have not had any major leaks, and im not worried about them as long as i do a proper job when installing, a couple leaks were my own fault, and one where the acrylic could not tolerate glycole and cracked. So apart from the acrylic top on the DDC, i wont have any acrylic in my loops. Just for the record, it was the cap on the acrylic tank that slowly cracked, and i used the Zalman coolant wich includes glycole. The first thing the retailer asked when i emailed about the cap was if i had used glycole.

Keeping all that in mind, my next setup will probably be WC, just because of the fun factor :) The 6077 is a pretty nice case for WC, it would fit two or three 240mm rads with ease with some minor modding. Hell i could fit four 240mm rads if wanted to go really mad :P


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 29, 2006 3:59 pm 
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As of late, other case makers have been releasing cases that have the ability to integrate water cooling by adding the holes or at least making it brainless to run the tubing.

Right now, stock AM2 and Intel Conroe are among the coolest processors to date. Air cooling does acceptabe even with a crappy sub-20 dollar heat sink. Try that with an older LGA 775 or 478 Prescott!

However, the GPUs on the video cards are hotter and continually rising in temps. This use to not be such a huge deal, but not it's almost out of control, especially with some top ATI cards.

Water cooling kits that have low rpm fans or capabilities is more than enough to keep a system cooler than any heatsink under load. At idle it might be even scores with CPU coolers, but under load its still in the favor of water cooling.

Chipsets aren't far behind processors at all but will get hotter faster with more options and power use. Curious to see how that ends.

And finally, some water cooling kits are SO very, very easy to install. No need for drilling or modifying, unless that's what you like to do as other enthusiasts. Check out http://www.Virtual-Hideout.net if you got a few mins.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 2:24 am 
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Yees... It's not obsolete for a very quiet system. As long as you use aircooling, you need casefans to remove the heat, and even if you used casefans you shjould run them slower when WCing. ATM im thinking of putting thr Res into service again, and enclosing the pump in a box of sand.

Can a 3x120mm rad keep my system cool without fans, at least on idle? Because external radiators are a Pain in the ass.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 30, 2006 10:13 am 
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nici wrote:
The problem i have with active radiators is this, i want them to fit inside the case, wich is easy enough, but it needs holes, wich are also reasonably easy to make pretty, but the problem is that moise will escape more easily thru the holes, so having a truely very quiet HDD is critical.


I'm also a fan of internal rigs, how about mounting a large flat and thin passive rad on the side of the case? It probably doesn't exist, but wouldnt that be great? It'd be something along these lines:
Image


Last edited by unimatrix0 on Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:58 am 
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I built the system you are suggesting about a year ago. Was it cost effective? Uh definitely not. But it is fanless and I've managed to isolate the vibrational noise from the pump. I built it because it was fun to build and I will probably start building another soon. Do I need another computer? Nope, but like any hobby, I feel burning need to start another one.

Image
Image


Last edited by datura3 on Wed Nov 01, 2006 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 3:52 pm 
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Whoa, that's awesome work datura. You got a hybrid there, passive cooling on the HDs and PSU, and water for the rest. Clearly a more sophisticated approach. Where's the mobo at? Seems that it's above the innovatek rad? if so wouldnt heat get to the mobo?

Also, where did you get the black aluminum heatsink panel at?


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 01, 2006 6:11 pm 
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Thanks. The black heatsink was bought on ebay. The supplier just discontinued it, but I think I may have convinced him to send another 1000 lb to the anodizer. We will see. It doesn't heat up the motherboard significantly. They innovatek panels can open up. I usually keep the motherboard one open a bit. It works nicely, and I have a 75% stable overclock on the Pentium M inside of it.

I don't want to hijack this thread, so if you have any more questions you can check out the article on this system in Maximum PC (Rig of the Month) or PM me.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 7:52 am 
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I had a quiet aircooled system in my bedroom (Ducted zalmann9500, tagan480 psu, 12cm inlet and outlet with T-balancer controlling things) but I've recently started folding 24/7 and I need everything on full to keep it (P4 3.2) under 60C.

I wonder if the previous posters could qualify their arguments based on full CPU loading as I'm seriously considering w/c now 8)

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2007 9:02 am 
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The cost of a full W/C kit would probably be the same as getting a cooler CPU (ie Core 2 Duo)+mobo if required.


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 09, 2007 8:21 pm 
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Too bad I saw this thread so late...

Watercooling vs air cooling is a really simple debate.

Do you know why automobiles are water cooled besides maybe some crappy vw from the 60's?

answer: ability to handle large AMOUNTS of heat. Air is fine for dinky stuff. Air on my system would run my proc and vid card at LOWER temps with a very quiet level of fans than my zalman water cooler (blue tower version).

but, that's not the point. I may idle at 10 degrees F more than anyone on this forum, but when i have S.T.A.L.K.E.R. chernobyl running on max settings on my x1900 allinwonder + 4200 dual core rig, my temps only go up 10 degrees F. I can overclock, my temps will go up like 2 degrees. A fanned system at low voltage would IGNITE. It cant handle the heat volume. The water instantly contacts the metal surface and pulls the heat off. The water itself is quiet warm though, but can handle a massive load of heat pouring on for several hours.

Now, my system has 1 120mm pabst fan on it. psu is a 350 phantom, so no fan ther either. 1 fan system. Yet, stalker is maxed out ( currently the game rig killing game).

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 :)

(I might have to use my 620 Corsair psu for the r600, but I'll try and avoid it)

also, If you had an SLI setup or crossfire, you couldnt do this without being noisy on air but water would handle it fine (zalman would need some modifications and designing and extra $$ but could be done)


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 4:49 am 
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that's a C2D, motherboard, ram and graphics (PCIe) you mean. And possibly a ATX2.0 PSU aswell.

The jump to C2D is very tempting.....but i know i'm gonna want to overclock and run at 100% CPU 24/7.... so will that all work on 5V air? If it's gonna be 12V air then i'm back to the same noise levels that I have already

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 10, 2007 5:03 pm 
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Air cooling a C2D, even massively overclocked, can be done silently.

See http://www.silentpcreview.com/article672-page1.html

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:30 am 
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at temperatures just below where thermal throttling kicks in by the look of it. 80C ?

I'm thinking that's gonna half the lifespan of the cpu compared to water....but I don't know whether that means 1 yr compared to 2....or 2 years compared to 4 etc. I would think after 2 years you might want a new CPU anyway :-)

I guess it just seems very toastie, but maybe that's ok

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:31 am 
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P.S. my location is Bedfordshire, UK .....rather than various beds in the UK...just incase you were wondering :wink:

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 6:16 am 
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ooops, wrong thread

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 11, 2007 5:58 pm 
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Myth! wrote:
at temperatures just below where thermal throttling kicks in by the look of it. 80C ?

I'm thinking that's gonna half the lifespan of the cpu compared to water....but I don't know whether that means 1 yr compared to 2....or 2 years compared to 4 etc. I would think after 2 years you might want a new CPU anyway :-)

I guess it just seems very toastie, but maybe that's ok

Only the TAT temperatures are that high. Under normal load (folding plus random applications) the CPU stays under 70C.

Yes, the lifetime will be short; only 5 years! Five years of silence... Hmm, would I be willing to waste a $300 CPU for that? Hmm...

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:12 am 
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~El~Jefe~ wrote:
Too bad I saw this thread so late...

Watercooling vs air cooling is a really simple debate.

Do you know why automobiles are water cooled besides maybe some crappy vw from the 60's?

...................


While I agree with most of what you have written, but I think it's worth to mention that Porsche used air-cooled engines in their cars until 1998. The last of the Mohicans were the Porsche 993. I don't think that it would be fair to call the 993 'crappy'.


Last edited by Willy Higinbotham on Thu Apr 12, 2007 3:14 am, edited 1 time in total.

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double post -please delete-


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