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 Post subject: water or air?
PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 12:31 pm 
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I’m planning a new build and it’s time to start research. Main question for this build is whether to go with air or water? All my previous builds have been air-cooled. Component wise will take probably core i7 920 or 940 and single nvidia 280gtx. Priority for cooling is minimal noise. I'll most likely try some overclocking, but priority is quiet!

So water or water?


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 14, 2008 3:23 pm 
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Water cooling is very expensive and often louder than a good air cooling setup. If you want mininal noise with still a decent headroom for overclocks, air is the better option generally. If your going for insane overclocking or just pimping out your system then maybe consider water.

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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:01 am 
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I have looked at watercooling prices and yes they cost a lot, but I could live with them - just to try them out. Important question is which can you build with less noise? Can you really cool core i7, X58 mobo and 280gtx with air and keep it more quiet than water?


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 15, 2008 1:37 am 
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Quote:
Can you really cool core i7, X58 mobo and 280gtx with air and keep it more quiet than water?


with such high-powered parts water will probably be quieter. you still have to choose a good radiator and pump, searching this forum will help with that.

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PostPosted: Sun Nov 16, 2008 2:18 pm 
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If you go for high powered components and a "real" overclock over a prolonged period of time, then water is better for overall noise, stability and cooling if done right.

So yes - I'm happy that my current PC can be overclocked and and kept massively stressed 24/7 over a week and still stay stable and much more quiet than a basic air build. But now that I've done it, I wonder how often is this going to happen in normal usage?

For "most people" and "most circumstances" air is fine for noise and can be just as, if not more quiet under some circumstances. And I'm going air next build but compromising with a 260GTX rather than a 280GTX purely because of noise. Probably replace the GPU cooler with a thermalright solution.

Surprisingly, I'll say you should probably go water if you haven't tried it before and this is a brand new build. You're doing a new build. Who wants to be "most people"?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 17, 2008 12:33 am 
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I've been contemplating the same (original) question for some time.

There are a few things to realise:
1. All cooling is air cooling. The differences lies in how heat is transferred to the air. Today it's mostly water vs heat pipes.

2. Water cooling can be substantially more quiet. The cost is money, space and weight.

3. To make a really quiet water cooling system you need to go "all in". Water cooling on CPU, GPU, chipset and preferably PSU as well, to minimise the need for fans.

4. Cooling of the water is done in a large radiator using natural convection only. If you use the type of radiator usually used for heating rooms then the cooling capacity will be more than sufficient. (Watch out for galvanic corrosion, as the radiator is made mostly of iron.)
Using one or more fans for cooling the water takes away one of the biggest advantages of water cooling, and therefore is not an option in my mind.

The monetary cost (at least $400, counting very low) is what's been prohibitive to me this far.

Cheers
Olle


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:59 pm 
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Yeah I see these threads and have to comment.

Water is insanely superior to air. THere is no comparison. NONE.

the only people who compare it are the ones that never use water and still do not and wil not use water.

I can throw any video card I want in my machine and it will be silent.

any cpu.

hm. air does that so easily... yeah right.

Water isnt expensive. you do it once. Air you can keep buying stuff for. I run one fan in rear at 5 volts, psu is a phantom 350 silent psu. 3 years running. You have to keep within the same companies metal parts or you will rust out.

read my thing about Water weter, thats the key to perfect setup without using anti-freeze


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:19 pm 
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Water wetter is not actually a good additive for water cooling. Really for best performance just run plain filtered/distilled water from the grocery store and either a growth inhibitor or put a bit of silver in your loop as a biocide. Like everyone has mentioned before running water can be quieter especially with high heat output components (overvolted cpu's and high end gpus) but there are always trade offs. I have used watercooling in the past and will probably return to it in the future but moved away from it because I was running a mid range system that worked just as well and quiet on air.

Also don't kid yourself into thinking watercooling is a one time investment, you'll need to upgrade the components just like all other computer equipment over time.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Dec 02, 2008 8:56 am 
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your barking up the wrong tree...

http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/vi ... highlight=


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2008 8:53 pm 
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rocket733 wrote:
Water wetter is not actually a good additive for water cooling. Really for best performance just run plain filtered/distilled water from the grocery store and either a growth inhibitor or put a bit of silver in your loop as a biocide. Like everyone has mentioned before running water can be quieter especially with high heat output components (overvolted cpu's and high end gpus) but there are always trade offs. I have used watercooling in the past and will probably return to it in the future but moved away from it because I was running a mid range system that worked just as well and quiet on air.

Also don't kid yourself into thinking watercooling is a one time investment, you'll need to upgrade the components just like all other computer equipment over time.


eh, 3-4% water wetter has anti-corrosion. it has biocide. it lasts for a couple of years. It also makes the surface tension of water break up which causes the pump to be REALLY silent and lubricates things.

that and steam distilled is best.

I consider 1 purchase every 5-6 years a one time purchase. thats a long long time for no parts (besides adapter clips for modern cpu's)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 10, 2008 9:33 pm 
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water is the way to go. its thermal conductivity is far superior to air.
i have hooked a thermatake pump to the CPU fan output of the motherboard - found that the CPU and 8800GT gfx is cool with only a dribble of water. there is no need to have a high flow rate pump in my experience.
you may be able to get a totally passive air cooled CPU, but i say go for water if you can afford it. spend more money on the pump than the radiator/pipes/blocks. my experience is cheaper pumps don't work at lower voltages and are consequently noisier. even though some cpu blocks are more efficient than others all blocks will be so efficient even the worst will give good results.
for eg, my cheap water blocks i can cool the CPU from 70C to 30C in 3 seconds.

p.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Thu Dec 11, 2008 1:51 pm 
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Because today's heat-pipe-based heat sinks are so efficient, there is no longer a need for water cooling, as long as your case is large. A few slow fans, and maybe some ducting, can achieve <20dB sound levels, even with hot components.

[A purist would say that using these heat sinks is water cooling. :P]

Take a look at my articles in the DIY section of SPCR for some examples. These are hot systems, in one case over 300W, cooled quietly with a few slow fans.

Heat sinks to consider: Xigmatek for the CPU, Accelero S1 for the GPU, HR-05 for the NB.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 3:32 pm 
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unless the psu is on the bottom of the case, the psu roasts from internal heat.

If you have a low mounted psu that is separated from case air, you can probably do a high tech air cooled system.

Still, my water system is quieter than any air.

psu is silent, 1 120 nexus fan in rear, water on VGA and CPU. northbridge is kinda mildly warm to touch with a big zalman heatsink on it so I dont bother with that in the loop.

I use the older Zalman Reserator original for my setup. It has an enormous ability to cool a system. I use a 2.2 ghz dual core amd, 3870 vid card. shrug. The cooling tower can get warm after a few hours of playing fps's, but it never is hot nor are the chips hot.

It could definitely take a 4850 and a x3 core.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 6:12 pm 
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"quieter than any air"

Well I challenge that. The loudest thing in my system is the buzz of the LCD power supply. The second loudest is the spinning of my bulk data disk (a soft-mounted SP2004C). The fans are a distant third. Using SPCR's numbers, my fans are about 15-16 dB.

As you mention, my PS is mounted in the base of a P180, and is silent (Phantom 500).

FWIW, my components are significantly faster as well.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 7:17 pm 
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Too bad there aren't any quantitative studies comparing failure rates: water cooled vs air cooled.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 6:58 am 
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I switched to H2o three years ago. A few observations:

1. Quiet air cooling is entirely possible, and has been in every one of my client builds since I discovered spcr.

2. In general, air-flow in air cooled systems needs to be far more carefully managed.

3. In general, components of a water cooling system need to be far better researched (you'll have them for a while).

4. Water cooling efficiency (and capability for quiet cooling) comes down mostly to radiator size and design- modern blocks tend to be within a consistent 2-3c of each other in a well-planned system.

5. Water cooling with sufficient radiator space has more heat capacity than air, which makes sense when you consider the airflow/ heatsink space available on a 3x120 Thermochill or Feser radiator compared to even the biggest 120mm fanned CPU heatsinks and largest VGA coolers.

6. Water cooling is a more efficient way to get heat out of the case, especially when using an external radiator setup.

7. H2o is far more expensive, but you can use the components for more builds (I've used the same CPU blocks in 4 systems now; I could with the VGA using a GPU only block, but I'm addicted to EK's full cover solutions).

My first few attempts were quite a bit louder than ideal due mostly to inexperience, but my current rig is definitely approaching the holy grail of silence/ performance. I'll be able to afford some more sound damping for my HDDs and a home-made muffler for my external rad (not necessary, but it's a hobby, right?) in January, and I hope to post results then. Perhaps my odyssey can help others along the way.

My HDDs are definitely the loudest thing in or out of my system- and they're in the bottom of a p180.

FWIW, the i7 is an issue for everyone; H2o just handles the heat better ;)

re: failure

I've had far more HDDs fail than either H2o or air cooling.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:11 am 
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Just for kicks- are you planning a significant OC on either the VGA or CPU?

If so, plan on running two super heavy duty loops. Think 2x MP355s with tops, 2x 120.3 rads, and superior blocks. It's going to be a significant investment, no way around it.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Dec 17, 2008 7:34 am 
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Water is the superior sink, but where do you run the water lines from/to? If you run them to a radiator, "water" cooling is still just air cooling. Plus the water pump is adding its own additional heat and noise (however negligible.)

Evaporative water cooling is theoretically the most efficient, but you have to put up with adding distilled water regularly and the increased humidity.

Just tapping directly into the house cold water supply should work great, but would limit portability (and might not be sanitary.)


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 13, 2009 12:04 am 
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if you want to do a custom job, you could use massive radiators.

youi could make your own if you want that lies on the ground that has 30 feet of copper tubes. there are so many freak ways of doing no noise cooling with water cool.

a simple zalman I have been using for a few years and a fanless psu....

one fan in the system as all gaming systems need a fan, as well as it is on 24/7. The single fan in the system moving slowly, is the quietest setup possible. I could just not use case sides and NO fan and that would be fine aside from dust. I could run then fanless in a bare chassis and play modern games at 1920x1200 with all things cranked.

I am eagerly awaiting the new 40nm ATI cards ! 2-3 months away.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:09 pm 
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Once you go with liquid you'll never go back.

I have to laugh when people try to talk air up like it can even come close. It can't.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:12 pm 
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warriorpoet wrote:
I've had far more HDDs fail than either H2o or air cooling.

Solid State Drives. (I recommend Samsung)

Dead silent, much faster, and more reliable.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 11:07 am 
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Olle P wrote:
I've been contemplating the same (original) question for some time.

There are a few things to realise:
1. All cooling is air cooling. The differences lies in how heat is transferred to the air. Today it's mostly water vs heat pipes.

2. Water cooling can be substantially more quiet. The cost is money, space and weight.

3. To make a really quiet water cooling system you need to go "all in". Water cooling on CPU, GPU, chipset and preferably PSU as well, to minimise the need for fans.

4. Cooling of the water is done in a large radiator using natural convection only. If you use the type of radiator usually used for heating rooms then the cooling capacity will be more than sufficient. (Watch out for galvanic corrosion, as the radiator is made mostly of iron.)
Using one or more fans for cooling the water takes away one of the biggest advantages of water cooling, and therefore is not an option in my mind.

The monetary cost (at least $400, counting very low) is what's been prohibitive to me this far.

Cheers
Olle



Thank you Sir for this and for your other very correct and informative posts. May I repeat for the benefit of those that still don't get it: With the current state of technology in personal computers ALL COOLING IS AIR-COOLING.




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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:17 pm 
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Olle P wrote:
I've been contemplating the same (original) question for some time.

There are a few things to realise:
1. All cooling is air cooling. The differences lies in how heat is transferred to the air. Today it's mostly water vs heat pipes.

2. Water cooling can be substantially more quiet. The cost is money, space and weight.

3. To make a really quiet water cooling system you need to go "all in". Water cooling on CPU, GPU, chipset and preferably PSU as well, to minimise the need for fans.

4. Cooling of the water is done in a large radiator using natural convection only. If you use the type of radiator usually used for heating rooms then the cooling capacity will be more than sufficient. (Watch out for galvanic corrosion, as the radiator is made mostly of iron.)
Using one or more fans for cooling the water takes away one of the biggest advantages of water cooling, and therefore is not an option in my mind.

The monetary cost (at least $400, counting very low) is what's been prohibitive to me this far.

Cheers
Olle


Hi Olle,

I might be wrong, but I see watercooling a lot more efficent way of cooling the computer than anything else.

Of course you are right that in the end it is all air cooling, because the radiator must be air cooled so the water can cool...

Now about the noise, well if you get a triple rad with 3x 120mm fan running at max speed it will be as noisy as the air cooling, the only advantage is that the temperature is much more consistent.

The costs involved are very high, as it is a restricted niche...

But if you come to think... We do spend a lof of money on fans, coolers, cases, and everything else.

The only thing that worries me about water cooling, is the maintenance, algae formation, leaking and a lot of other problems involved.

Thank you!

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Mar 15, 2009 12:47 pm 
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Kate wrote:
I might be wrong, but I see watercooling a lot more efficent way of cooling the computer than anything else.
There are more efficient ways, like oil submersion...

Kate wrote:
Now about the noise, well if you get a triple rad with 3x 120mm fan running at max speed it will be as noisy as the air cooling, ...
Which is why I recommend passive cooling, at the cost of immobility.

Kate wrote:
The costs involved are very high, as it is a restricted niche...
But if you come to think... We do spend a lof of money on fans, coolers, cases, and everything else.
You can get sufficient (but loud) cooling at the fraction of the price for water cooling. (Stock coolers on CPU, GPU and chipset. One $10 case fan, unless provided with the computer case.)
$100 will buy you a pretty quiet heat pipe cooling solution.

/Olle


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Mar 16, 2009 2:54 pm 
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watercooling is almost a permanent solution.


cpu blocks just need a 5-6 dollar bracket swap. I flipped my zalman block onto 4 different machines in the past few years. Gaming graphics card block has now been changed. It was not prior to 2008 though, but now the ram and VRM's need active cooling for gaming purposes.

water just cools insanely well at 0 fan speed. you still need a fan though in the case. i use passive cpus, they work excellent with WC setups, no heat evolving in the case makes them cool running.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri May 15, 2009 4:43 pm 
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Water Cooling is far superior to Air Cooling.

With Water you can put the Pump, Radiator and Fans where you like.

DDC3.2 and MCP655 are 2 very quiet pumps. The MCP655 with 5 settings on setting 3 is Silent.

Swiftech MCR320 can dissipate 287w of Heat with a 11C Delta of Water above ambient with 3x 625rpm Yate Loon fan. That is more than enough to cool a heavily OCed i7.

3x 625rpm Yate Loons I cannot hear. I would say they are silent.

Don't use water wetter, just normal distilled with a bit of silver in the Res. Silver is a excellent biocide.

For a water cooling setup it costs $267 min.
http://www.petrastechshop.com/pecoel.html
For air around $100.

You don't need to make 2 loops, 1 loop with 2 rads will keep everything quiet. I don't know what is up with everyone suggesting 2 loops these days. A well planned single loop is just as good.

cmthomson wrote:
"quieter than any air"

Well I challenge that. The loudest thing in my system is the buzz of the LCD power supply. The second loudest is the spinning of my bulk data disk (a soft-mounted SP2004C). The fans are a distant third. Using SPCR's numbers, my fans are about 15-16 dB.

As you mention, my PS is mounted in the base of a P180, and is silent (Phantom 500).

FWIW, my components are significantly faster as well.


In my opinion you cannot cool a i7 down silently and still have a 4.0Ghz+ OC with Air but you can with water.

A C2D on Air can easily be silent at 4.0Ghz.

i7 is a completely different beast when it comes to heat output.


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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 4:15 pm 
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Khrono Devil wrote:
cmthomson wrote:
"quieter than any air"

Well I challenge that. The loudest thing in my system is the buzz of the LCD power supply. The second loudest is the spinning of my bulk data disk (a soft-mounted SP2004C). The fans are a distant third. Using SPCR's numbers, my fans are about 15-16 dB.

As you mention, my PS is mounted in the base of a P180, and is silent (Phantom 500).

FWIW, my components are significantly faster as well.


In my opinion you cannot cool a i7 down silently and still have a 4.0Ghz+ OC with Air but you can with water.

A C2D on Air can easily be silent at 4.0Ghz.

i7 is a completely different beast when it comes to heat output.


To get an i7 to 4.0 you need to crank it up to about 1.5V. This can be cooled quietly with air at about 800 RPM. Most people would call this silent, but it's about 20-21 dB. A good (expensive) WC system would be a bit quieter.

But why would you do that? I ran a Pentium 830D at maximum overclock for a while as a hobby, but it really didn't make much sense. Slowing it down a few percent cut the power consumption and fan speed about 20%. (BTW, the CPU alone ran at over 150W, and the first one was reliable for about 6 months.)

If you run an i7 at 3.8-3.9 GHz, the voltage can be much lower (maybe even stock) and the power consumption well within the ability of a decent air cooler at low RPM, and actually be silent (well, at least quieter than the monitor or bulk data disk).

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PostPosted: Sun May 17, 2009 10:03 pm 
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1.500v to hit 4.0Ghz must be a very bad chip.

People are hitting 4.6Ghz @ 1.450v - 1.490v on Air.

A lot of people are hitting 4.0Ghz @ 1.375v or under.

I wouldn't run at over 1.400v for 24/7.

80C Air vs 50-60C Water.

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PostPosted: Tue May 19, 2009 12:15 pm 
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Khrono Devil wrote:
1.500v to hit 4.0Ghz must be a very bad chip.

People are hitting 4.6Ghz @ 1.450v - 1.490v on Air.

A lot of people are hitting 4.0Ghz @ 1.375v or under.

I wouldn't run at over 1.400v for 24/7.

80C Air vs 50-60C Water.

I think it was an early chip as opposed to a bad chip. As always, Intel tweaks its fabs for better yield (aka more headroom) and overclockers benefit.

20-30C difference between water and air is pretty extreme. It couldn't have been a very good air setup. A big heatpipe CPU HS (eg Xigmatek) with a quiet fan (eg Nexus) and a bit of ducting is very competitive with WC, and quieter to boot. The pumps and radiator fans (unless placed in another room or out on the balcony) have to be taken into account.

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i7 2600K CPU@4.4 GHz, Asrock Z68, 8GB Corsair Vengeance 1866 CL9, Intel 335 240GB SSD + Samsung HD502HI 500GB, Internal i7 graphics, Antec P180 case, Seasonic X-400 fanless PS, Megahalems CPU HS, Nexus 3-pin & AC PWM fans ~ 600 RPM, AcoustiPack foam, homemade ducts.


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PostPosted: Wed May 20, 2009 7:44 am 
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Joined: Mon Feb 28, 2005 4:21 pm
Posts: 2723
Location: NEW YORK WORD AND STUFF YEAH OK
I have no radiator fans and my pump is silent. actually silent.


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