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AIO or Air?

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Celeron_Phreak

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
A little background first:

I retired the old, but trusty, Lian Li V1000B case, and moved onto a Lian Li PC-O8. Those that know the PC-O8, know that there is very little airflow in the motherboard chamber, leaving only two 120mm fans at the top, which I use as intakes, and one 120mm fan at the rear, which I use as exhaust.

I am currently running an eVGA GTX 960 SSC (no OC), and the i5 4570S CPU on an MSI H97 PC Mate board. All of my drives are SSD, with the exception of my music drive which is an SSHD, rarely accessed.


Now onto the inquiry.....


Upon the revision of my rig, I also purchased a Deepcool Captain 240 EX RGB AIO, paired with dual Be Quiet! Silent Wings 3 PWM fans, due to the lack of airflow. The 240 EX has performed great, as it is about the same, maybe a bit better, than the temps I was getting with the Cooler Master Hyper 212 (original), using the stock CM fan.

My system runs 24/7, not even sleep mode, am I have concerns regarding leaks. Should I be worried?

From the sounds of things, the original Captain 240 was plagued with leaks, but supposedly the new type of hose and baseplate design of the EX makes this essentially leak proof?

I have a Phanteks PH-TC14PE which I just need some fan mounting hardware to make use of, and I also still have my original Hyper 212. And on another note, I would be able to squeeze a Dark Rock Pro 3 or 4 into the case as well.

Do I continue using the Captain 240 EX full time, 24/7, much of the time unattended, or revert back to air? I have no preference between the two, The Captain is just performing a bit better with the reduced airflow in the case.
 
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Celeron_Phreak

Celeron_Phreak

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
So my chances of leakage are negligent when it comes to my concerns? Don't worry about hurting my feelings, looking for honest feedback here. I really just want to get the most effective but trustworthy cooling type into this thing. Kind of an "install it and forget it" solution.

I do monitor temps anytime I am using the system, and have shutdown temperatures set, so a failed pump is not a worry, but a shutdown temperature doesn't necessarily protect against leakage if there is still enough liquid in the unit to keep temperatures down during an idle time.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
I mean, you want 100% trustworthy that nothing will leak, go air. :)

There is always some risk of leakage... but these are typically pretty good. Worth the risk is up to you. Nobody can tell you for sure.. but, I've been on water for over 15 years now. Custom loops and CLC/AiO have come a long way in that time.
 
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Celeron_Phreak

Celeron_Phreak

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
I do trust your input, I've seen a lot of your activity over the past decade.

This is my first time running water, I suppose the concern is normal since it is new to me to actually use a water setup, of any type. How long have AIO units been around though? I fell away from the PC scene for awhile and didn't realize there were any AIO units until 2 or 3 years back.

While on the subject...

I also have a Corsair H60 that I got from an electronics recycle store. It was $7.99 for the cooler with the two corsair fans, but no mounting hardware except for the clips that were attached to the block. What are the chances of this unit still working? I don't know the age, but there are no signs of it leaking (staining or otherwise), and there is still water in the unit, I can hear it slosh around. I bought it with the possibility of it working, but if nothing else, maybe the rad could be useful in a future custom loop or something....
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
I understand the concern... that's for sure. :)

I don't think the risk is high, but extremely low, really. As with anything there are manuf. defects and other things that happen, but, typically that is of course not very common at all. That said, if you need 100%, go air. :)

As far as the H60, it likely still works.. have to test it and see. For a custom loop, use the right parts if you are concerned about leaking, not hacking up an AiO to go custom. :)
 
OP
Celeron_Phreak

Celeron_Phreak

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
Nah, I wouldn't use the h60 in a fully functional system, more of an experiment. I never could afford a custom loop back in 2004-2006 when I was really active here, but drooled over everyone's builds.
 
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Celeron_Phreak

Celeron_Phreak

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
So I am playing with the Hyper 212 and the Phanteks PH-TC14PE using one of the stock fans that came with the Captain. Honestly, I think this Phanteks is performing better than even the Captain has. I'll post back tomorrow after I see how it idles overnight.
 

wingman99

Member
Joined
Dec 10, 2003
I switched from Hyper 212 to Noctua NH-U14S and my peak temperature with the same ambient 71f went down form 94c to 80c = 14c drop.
 

ehume

Member
Joined
Oct 30, 2009
One thing I would like to add: the exhaust. I have two Lian Li PC-x cases. In both, we have removed the exhaust fan to allow the air inside the case to freely and silently leave the case. I do this with all my cases, but the Lian :Li experience is interesting because it comes with a hole in the back.

The stock exhaust fan usually comes with finger guards. Is this true with your case? If so, you can remove one. We use nylon nuts and fan screws to cover the hole with the finger guard. The plastic nuts can be found at an auto supply store -- they are used to fasten license platres. If you have a choice get #10 nuts.

Handling your exhaust this way allows all of your fans to blow air into the case. I won't call the system positive pressure because pressure cannot build up. The intake fans can all draw through dust filters, too.

up from the basement:
CPU: Core i7 8700k, HT enabled, all 6 cores OC'd to 4.8GHz, Vcore = 1.24v
Heatsink: Noctua NH-D15 with one NF-A15 1500 RPM PWM fan
Motherboard: Gigabyte Z370X Aorus Gaming 7
RAM: 4x16GB (64GB) Corsair LPX DDR4 RAM [email protected], Vdimm = 1.35v
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 1080 DirectX 12 with 8GB 256-Bit GDDR5X
SSD1: Samsung 840 EVO 500GB TLC; SSD2: SAMSUNG 860 EVO 1TB 3-bit MLC
HD: WD 500GB (old); Case: LIAN LI PC-7H Aluminum ATX Mid Tower
PSU: Seasonic Platinum 660W
 
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Celeron_Phreak

Celeron_Phreak

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
Alright, results are in. Temps are average after three mounts and an hour in idle, load (Prime 95), and playing Doom 2016 (Real load). Room temperature at 25°C through all of the testing, and fans set to full speed for the load tests in all scenarios, with fans turned down to "silent" operation for the idle.

Deep Cool Captain 240 EX RGB:
Load - 67°C
Idle - 30°C
Real load - 47°C

Cooler Master Hyper 212 (Original)
Load - 76°C
Idle - 32°C
Real Load - 65°C

Phanteks PH-TC14PE (Blue)
Load - 66°C
Idle - 32°C
Real Load - 46°C


From my experience with heatsink coolers, they are very efficient at dissipating heat, and this test really isn't too much of a surprise for me, with the exception of how well the Phanteks unit performed against the Captain. Nearly dead on, with the exception of Idle, which I am comfortable with.

I also feel that the Lian-Li PC-08 will perform very well with any high end, over-sized heatsink cooler, as the rear fan almost lines up with the heatsink, acting like a second or third fan (third if using two fans on the cooler). Attached is a picture of the Phanteks installed.

In the picture, there are two 120mm fans just above the cooler, as well. Those two are set to intake, along with the rear fan as exhaust, and that is the extent of any airflow in the motherboard chamber, not including the internal exhausting fans on the GTX 960 GPU.

I am now curious how well this might perform using the Dark Rock Pro 4. I'm pretty sure it will fit, but those heat pipe caps might touch the side glass panel. I think 162 - 163mm is the max clearance from the CPU heat spreader to the side glass of the case, as the Phanteks has MAYBE 1/8 of an inch before it touches the glass.

20190303_110251.jpg
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
I'm not surprised that a dual tower outperformed the hyper 212, but I'm quite surprised that it did so by 10c and even more while gaming.
 
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Celeron_Phreak

Celeron_Phreak

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
I think if the case had lower intake fans like the pc-09, or a front intake fan, the temps would easily rival the AIO, possibly even a custom loop.
 
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trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
All of the solutions you have tried give temps that are quite safe and stable for an Intel CPU so if you have any worries about leaks at all it would still be safer to go with air, even though the risk of leaks with the AIO are pretty low.

Other considerations are:
1. Airflow over motherboard components. Water systems do not stir up air around the socket and can create a hot spot for the VRM area.
2. Noise. For a lot of folks, noise level is more important in choosing a cooling solution than a few degrees difference in options
3. Ease of system maintenance. AIO cooling solutions tend to leave the interior of the case more open for working on, adding, removing components, etc. For me, this is one of the most appealing positives of an AIO. Big tower style coolers can dominate the interior of a case.
 
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Celeron_Phreak

Celeron_Phreak

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
All of the solutions you have tried give temps that are quite safe and stable for an Intel CPU so if you have any worries about leaks at all it would still be safer to go with air, even though the risk of leaks with the AIO are pretty low.

Other considerations are:
1. Airflow over motherboard components. Water systems do not stir up air around the socket and can create a hot spot for the VRM area.
2. Noise. For a lot of folks, noise level is more important in choosing a cooling solution than a few degrees difference in options
3. Ease of system maintenance. AIO cooling solutions tend to leave the interior of the case more open for working on, adding, removing components, etc. For me, this is one of the most appealing positives of an AIO. Big tower style coolers can dominate the interior of a case.

I agree, temps are within limits of the chip, but I have always been one to try And achieve lowest temps while still keeping the system reasonably quiet when not stressed, and make the components last as long as possible.

1. Even with the captain AIO, the dad and fans are positioned directly above the board's socket area and VRMs. Air is moved around these components, be it warm since the dad is pulling air through the rad and into the case.

2. Noise levels are only a concern of mine when the system is sitting idle (since it is on 24/7), or when using it for anything not stressful. When gaming or rendering I pump up all of the fans as temps drop between 2-5 degrees.

3. I don't mind the space that a large air cooler takes up, as the only thing it really blocks is the ram, which I am very rarely messing with. An AIO is cleaner and opens up the case more, giving a cleaner work space and visuals.

It's looking like, performance wise, the same result can be achieved using either an AIO or high-end heatsink with good fans, i.e. adequate cooling. For reliability and worry free, air, for appearance and ease of install or removal, AIO. For fun and higher performance cooling with options for improvement, custom loop. Does that sound about right?
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
I agree, temps are within limits of the chip, but I have always been one to try And achieve lowest temps while still keeping the system reasonably quiet when not stressed, and make the components last as long as possible.

1. Even with the captain AIO, the dad and fans are positioned directly above the board's socket area and VRMs. Air is moved around these components, be it warm since the dad is pulling air through the rad and into the case.

2. Noise levels are only a concern of mine when the system is sitting idle (since it is on 24/7), or when using it for anything not stressful. When gaming or rendering I pump up all of the fans as temps drop between 2-5 degrees.

3. I don't mind the space that a large air cooler takes up, as the only thing it really blocks is the ram, which I am very rarely messing with. An AIO is cleaner and opens up the case more, giving a cleaner work space and visuals.

It's looking like, performance wise, the same result can be achieved using either an AIO or high-end heatsink with good fans, i.e. adequate cooling. For reliability and worry free, air, for appearance and ease of install or removal, AIO. For fun and higher performance cooling with options for improvement, custom loop. Does that sound about right?

The 240mm AIO coolers give approximately the same cooling power as the best air coolers, maybe a tad better with some of the better AIO's. 360mm AIO coolers will give noticeably better cooling than the best air coolers.
 

ITAngel

Member
Joined
Aug 1, 2012
Location
Wyoming
Take it from someone who was scared going water. I ended up slowly building the courage to build a custom water loop and over the years I ended up doing exactly that from dual 1080 Ti with blocks and Threadripper under water to many different setup using soft tubing. Honestly after about 2 years of water cooling I ended up going back to Air cooling because one main reason. I was changing parts like I change underwear. I eventually go tired of draining and refilling my loops etc... Now the question is did I like it and enjoy it? Hell Yes! it was fun, and amazing performance I got out of it and was a learning experience. Did my wife like me messing a lot around with the pc per hours at night? Hell No! :rofl: But I need to keep the miss happy so I came to a conclusion to stay on Air and be happy with what I got.

* Now my advice, if you want nice clean build look and don't want a huge tower I say go AIO if you are not ready for custom water cooling yet.
* If you are like me and want to trust your work instead of someone else, then I recommend go custom water cooling. I never had a leak and when I notice something was not set right. During testing I just fixed it by draining and refilling it back after I got it set correctly.
* If you not sure and ready then stick with a big huge cooler and a good case that provide really good air flow. Read up on water cooling, watch videos, make plans and prepare your self me tally and financially to make the jump into it. I am sure once you do it you may never go back. I did but I got my reasons why. :D It was not due to leaks, or worry about leaks or anything like that. Just didn't want to spend more time working on my pc due to so many hardware changes I have done in 2 years. Hopefully I am done doing exactly that too. :D

Also for me having an AIO specially on a system 24/7 got me to worried but not on custom loop but best to just stick with air but that is just my thought.

Whatever your decision is, just be happy and rock on! :attn: good luck!
 
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Celeron_Phreak

Celeron_Phreak

Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2003
You make a lot of good points ITAngel!

I really do want to trust the AIO, and I do believe the risk of leakage is low, now. I don't mess with changing out my hardware all that often, aside form testing video cards that I add to my collection.

I can't do the custom loop thing right now, because of the amount of other hardware I swap out. Also, without adding the video card to the loop, it almost seems pointless to build a whole water cooling system for just the CPU, which is an S model (low power) and not overclocked.

The AIO makes sense, but a huge high performing heatsink has always been something attractive in a case, to me at least.

I'm fighting the itch to get the Dark Rock Pro 4 and compare it to these others, since I just get the Captain. I feel like I am back in 2006 when I was experimenting with Scythe, Cooler Master, modified stock, and ThermalTake coolers, it's exciting!