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Bench vs Cube vs Tower Watercooling Case Performance

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willardcw4

Registered
Joined
Jun 10, 2013
Location
Las Vegas
Hey all - I currently have my liquid cooling setup in an NZXT 630 Phantom. It's a great case, but very cramped for my 360mm & 240mm rads plus all the other goodies (my case build post is: http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php/735036-Fish-s-First-WC-Build-Log).

I'm wanting change my build at some point (which might be soon since I have bent CPU socket pins on my mobo......) and change out my case to make life easier. I have a spare HAF-XB at home, but it won't accommodate my rads. Priorities are ease of filling/draining the loop in addition to having more room to work around and on the mobo without fans and parts of the chassis in my way. I plan to get Monsoon MMRS res (or similar) instead of my Monsoon v2 box res.

The Corsair 900D is a beautiful monster that would give me more room than I have now to maintain and install a loop. The idea of a bench chassis is very appealing to me - the Primochill Praxis Wetbench, as an example, offers instant access to everything in the loop with plenty of room (ya know, all the air around the chassis!) to route cabling and tubing. Cube cases are in between. The Carbide Air 540 looks large but I'm not sure there is an advantage (other than price) over a tower as large as the 900D. I don't have any space limitations.

My question is this: Do I sacrifice cooling performance if I use my liquid cooling setup on a bench chassis? I am cooling the GPU & CPU with both rads in push/pull. The vram and memory won't have any other cooling other than ambient air unless the bench I buy has a spot to easily hook up a fan nearby.

I've seen people argue both sides --- e.g. the airflow through a case is better for your internal components even if you're watercooled --- e.g. the components are being adequately cooled with the radiators and loop, the SSDs & RAM are fine in ambient --- and plenty more.

Does anyone know of some actual tests or have some anecdotal information that will shed some more light on the subject? Lot's of it is taste which I understand. I'm not worried about dust from an aesthetics point of view, either.

Thanks!

Fish
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
If you're not swapping components VERY frequently then I suggest an actual case.
 

caddi daddi

Godzilla to ant hills
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
I agree with atminside, the pieces are safer inside a case.
as for the bent pins on the board, look in the yellow pages for a speed-o-meter repair shop, they might be able to fix the pins in your socket.
as for cooling, case vs bench, I don't think it matters if you know what you are doing, for noobs a case would be better for cooling.
I can cool as well in my haf xb as in my haf-x, it just depends on how much I want to think about it.
 
OP
willardcw4

willardcw4

Registered
Joined
Jun 10, 2013
Location
Las Vegas
If you're not swapping components VERY frequently then I suggest an actual case.

I agree with atminside, the pieces are safer inside a case.
as for the bent pins on the board, look in the yellow pages for a speed-o-meter repair shop, they might be able to fix the pins in your socket.

I understand the stigma behind using a case over bench chassis when you're not a modder or changing out components every month. But is there any data to support one being better than the other? I'm not worried about exposed components. My main concern is whether or not I'll notice a decrease in cooling efficacy using my two rads. I could always get a mobo (assuming I upgrade) that integrates my loop to cool the vram as well... I should have plenty of raddage (EX360 & RX240 in the loop).

It just seems that a bench would be significantly easier to modify, drain, fill, and replace parts while having lots of room to work. Just my speculation based on what I've seen with a buddy's build (air cooled) and my experience with my NZXT phantom full tower. I'm just trying to see if I'm giving up anything (performance/cooling) if I move my setup to a bench chassis. :D

caddi - speedometer as in automotive speedometer repair??
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
You'll need fans blowing across the motherboard for sure, just to keep it cool, in a bench case.
With a proper tower for water cooling you're not much better off with a bench for accessibility.
 

caddi daddi

Godzilla to ant hills
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
take a look at the thermaltake core p5, mine looks good hanging on the wall, it's a bit limiting, but neat and can be made to look good.
 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
In theory to me anyway, an open bench style case always has access to fresh cool air vs inside a case that will have warmer air blowing over components.

This and the cost of a new case are why I build my own cases based upon bench style cases with lots of fresh cool air accessible to the fans.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
In theory to me anyway, an open bench style case always has access to fresh cool air vs inside a case that will have warmer air blowing over components.

This and the cost of a new case are why I build my own cases based upon bench style cases with lots of fresh cool air accessible to the fans.

Assuming you keep cool air blowing across the bench, you're correct.
If you don't keep the air moving it will stagnate.
 

elxx

Registered
Joined
Jul 5, 2010
Location
Tucson AZ
Here's my take:

  • Unless you have cats or kids, safety is a non-issue.
  • You have 3 rads with monster fans which will be circulating the air nearby. If you A/C your house (location: Las Vegas, so yes), this would actually be better than a conventional case.
  • Cost: Significantly less than a conventional case.
  • Weight: Not a lot of material, not a lot of weight. Only matters if you move it a lot or you are stacking it on something that is already overloaded with weight.
  • Size: It's more of a square than a rectangle and I find that it fits better on a desk. Not as easy to topple over and can be pushed farther back on the desk / table / surface.
 

Silver_Pharaoh

Likes the big ones n00b Member
Joined
Sep 7, 2013
Assuming you keep cool air blowing across the bench, you're correct.
If you don't keep the air moving it will stagnate.

The rad fans should keep the air circulating no?
they would be constantly pulling cool air towards the rig.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Here's my take:

  • Unless you have cats or kids, safety is a non-issue.
  • You have 3 rads with monster fans which will be circulating the air nearby. If you A/C your house (location: Las Vegas, so yes), this would actually be better than a conventional case.
  • Cost: Significantly less than a conventional case.
  • Weight: Not a lot of material, not a lot of weight. Only matters if you move it a lot or you are stacking it on something that is already overloaded with weight.
  • Size: It's more of a square than a rectangle and I find that it fits better on a desk. Not as easy to topple over and can be pushed farther back on the desk / table / surface.

Safety: accidents happen

Air: this depends where you place the rads. Most benches place them below the motherboard, which you do need airflow over.

Cost: depends what case and what bench you're looking at.

Weight: if you're worried about it then buy an aluminum case.

Size: depends on what case you're looking at, some lay the motherboard down.
 
OP
willardcw4

willardcw4

Registered
Joined
Jun 10, 2013
Location
Las Vegas
So I think I'm going to get an MMRS res and mount it on the outside of my NZXT case for now. I can route the tubing through the top of the case easily enough.

I'm still thinking a bench chassis on my desk will be the easiest and most convenient setup. The one thing I'm noticing is that they really don't usually accommodate multiple rads. The praxis wet bench says it does 2 but there isn't enough of them out there yet to see how that would happen.

That leaves me with an ultra-tower like the 900D or a bench when I rework all my components. I think my ceiling fan and lack of animals/kids/people will allow for a bench chassis setup to thrive --- minimal dust as well. Thanks for the input thus far!