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New Air Coolers vs Old Water Stuff

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matttheniceguy

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Location
Vancouver Canada
Hi Everybody.

I haven't been on here, or playing around with computers much, for the better part of a decade. For whatever reason, I decided to build a new half decent machine, and I wanted some advice on CPU cooling.

I've picked up an i5 6600K, so no included CPU cooler. I'm trying to decide of I should buy a decent air cooler, or buy the parts to use some of my old water stuff.

The machine sits in my living room and is mainly used as a HTPC, but will also be getting used for some gaming. I'd like to have enough cooling to be able to overclock it a bit, otherwise there was no point in getting the K, but I'm not looking to push any limits. Quiet and maintenance free please.

I have some old water cooling stuff, a BIX2 radiator, some decent fans and controllers for that, and a whitewater waterblock. I would need to make up some parts to mount the waterblock but that isn't a huge deal. My old pump is horribly noisy so to get the water system up and running, I would basically be looking at a bunch of labour to build some bits, and the cost of a new pump. Assuming I want it to be on PWM control, and I'm in Canada, I'd guess I am looking at near $150 for this?

How are the current air coolers comparing? It looks like they have gone all nutty with heat pipes and 120mm PWM fans and other fun stuff. Is there any point in going to water for a system like this, or are current air coolers good enough to not bother?
 

ssjwizard

Has slightly less legible writing than Thideras
Joined
Mar 12, 2002
If maintenance free is a goal then I would definitely say air is the way to go. For me a performance rig water is the only option but I run 4x280mm worth of radiator for just my CPU and GPU so I can keep my fans turned almost all the way down and push it extra hard when I want. My HTPC is full air cooled though.
 

bassnut

Premium Member
Joined
Aug 16, 2009
Air coolers to me mean big and bulky for the most part while HTPC small. That being said those to little statements does cover a broad range of parts and possible different meaning for many so it is really hard to tell what size case / build you are talking about. Being an Intel build you don't need the huge cooling that AMD at the moment does, which is good. I'll let the guys with more Itel knowledge make some suggestions but when talking water cooling in Canada there really isn't many stores to choose from ....... check out DazMode. They are truly the only one stop shop in Canada and with the Canadian $ as low as it is the exchange rate can add up big.

http://dazmode.com/store/
 
OP
matttheniceguy

matttheniceguy

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Location
Vancouver Canada
Thanks for the link bassnut, I haven't seen that place before, might come in handy!

I'm building the system inside a cheap BitFenix Neos case so there is a fair bit of room for a large air cooler.

I guess my main question should really be about performance, meaning what sort of difference should I expect to see using a fairly decent (think $50-70) air cooler, vs some older water cooling stuff. I know air coolers have gotten a lot more effective, I guess I'm just wondering how much so. Going air will be a bit cheaper and easier, but if the performance is still way off, it's not a lot more work or cost for me to go water.

I'm not really that worried about the maintenance. I will ignore it for sure, but even the system I just tore down that hasn't been touched for 7+ years was working perfectly. A little bit of a red tint to the lines from the water wetter, and that's pretty much it.
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
From the sound of it, I say stick with high end air or a AIO. Its really that simple and just dust the computer out annually for the sake of your parts. ;)
 

jaymz9350

Member
Joined
May 13, 2006
If you're not pushing it good air cooling will be plenty. On my last 2 Intel chips (3770k and 4790k) Going water versus air only brought the temps to a more comfortable range, both chips hit the max OC I could get on air and I gained nothing but piece of mind going water.
 
OP
matttheniceguy

matttheniceguy

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Location
Vancouver Canada
Boy, I would have expected the water cooling section to be a lot more pro water cooling. And here I am looking at a PWM pump while acid cleaning my old stuff...

Thanks for the advice, I will try and temper my urge to build things and just stick a good air cooler on it. I'm not going to push the chip very hard, so it sounds like there won't be any performance difference.
 

jaymz9350

Member
Joined
May 13, 2006
I'm not saying don't go water, hell my mITX rig with a 4690k a measly 4.0 is water cooled just because (ran perfectly fine on the stock cooler) Just saying it isn't needed in my opinion based on what you've said. Since I went water I don't think I can go less than an AIO ever again.
 
OP
matttheniceguy

matttheniceguy

Member
Joined
Apr 1, 2004
Location
Vancouver Canada
Cooler Master Hyper T4 ordered. Not the most amazing thing, but cheap, locally available, and actually fits in my case unlike most tower coolers with a 120mm fan.

Thanks for the help everyone.
 

LennyRhys

Member
Joined
Nov 29, 2010
matttheniceguy said:
Boy, I would have expected the water cooling section to be a lot more pro water cooling.

A lot has changed in 10 years of computer hardware, and cooling is no exception. The best air coolers now are considerably ahead of the best air coolers from circa 2006; AFAIK, there weren't any dual tower cooler designs before the Thermalright IFX-14, and that was launched in 2007. And then you have AIOs, which aren't necessarily a lot better than current top air coolers but they do (arguably) look better and take up considerably less space around the motherboard.