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Upgrade air cooling or go to AIO water setup?

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Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Hi all. A friend built a custom loop for his computer not too long ago and it got me reassessing what I want to do with my current setup. That and the release of the pascal cards. So I figured its time for an upgrade, and time to get overclocking. CPU is an i7-3770k with a Cooler Master Hyper 212+, GPU is an EVGA 970 FTW+, PSU is an OCZ 80+ bronze 700w, and mobo is an Intel DZ77GA-70k. A pretty good setup or so I thought. Current case I got for free some years ago through the Intel RetailEdge program, a Silverstone Redline RL-01. It has the factory front 120mm intake, a rear 120mm exhaust, and a top mounted 120mm intake. Heavy gaming can see the processor get up to 74c max, usually less, and GPU can get up to about 80c. As it stands, it doesn't appear I have any thermal headroom for overclocking so I was considering going a 240mm AIO water for CPU and a 120mm AIO with a Kraken G10 adapter and some VRM and VRAM heatsinks for the GPU. I figure i'll keep it simple and maintenance free, and also keep it within budget since I have a wedding I'm saving for. This method keeps me around $200 whereas a custom loop obviously would not. An in-between solution would be like a Swiftech H220-X2 and expand it with an alphacool semi-full coverage waterblock for the GPU (no full coverage waterblocks fit the FTW+ version). This puts me at around $300.

Then I had a closer look at my case and realized maybe water cooling wont fit, well unless I do some sort of external contraption because at least the grommets are there. Anyways heres pics of the case and internals. Judging by how it looks, might be better to optimize my air cooling.....or get a difference case. What do you all think?





 

peanutbudder

Member
Joined
May 30, 2012
Location
California
Do you need to overclock your 3770k right now for better gaming performance, probably not. I would find it hard to believe that a 3770k would bottleneck a 970 or a 1070 for that matter. I personally have used AIO units only to find that good air coolers and a proper case with good air flow is on par with AIO's.

If you were to overclock the 970 you might see a 5-10% increase in fps on most games. In synthetic benchmarks I see about a 10-15% increase in performance while overclocking 200mhz on my 980's and benchmarks are perfect are a perfect world with linear scaling.

I would almost think that getting a better case designed for better airflow and AIO support would be the best initial investment. Then later on down the road save for a proper water loop to see better results unless you have a itch to upgrade now.
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
what is the part number of the ftw+ gpu?

what res is your monitor?

The FTW+ is 04G-P4-3978-KR. My monitor is 1080p but 144hz, though I run it at 120hz and try to run everything I can vsync locked. Bf4 does well with that but games newer than it like rb6: siege or division and such, not so much. They do great don't get me wrong though.

Do you need to overclock your 3770k right now for better gaming performance, probably not. I would find it hard to believe that a 3770k would bottleneck a 970 or a 1070 for that matter. I personally have used AIO units only to find that good air coolers and a proper case with good air flow is on par with AIO's.

If you were to overclock the 970 you might see a 5-10% increase in fps on most games. In synthetic benchmarks I see about a 10-15% increase in performance while overclocking 200mhz on my 980's and benchmarks are perfect are a perfect world with linear scaling.

I would almost think that getting a better case designed for better airflow and AIO support would be the best initial investment. Then later on down the road save for a proper water loop to see better results unless you have a itch to upgrade now.

No I don't suppose I need to OC the cpu. Wasn't the original plan anyways, but if I can get the headroom and can find a safe OC, why not? The 970 yes I do want to OC. Though later on down the line I still don't want a custom loop, so I'm just looking at alternative solutions and what I posted is what I came up with. Given my current temps, any improvement is significant at the moment. If you'd like to recommend a case, I'm open to that of course. Keeping it a mid-tower though, I don't want anything bulky or huge. Been there done that. Thanks.
 

peanutbudder

Member
Joined
May 30, 2012
Location
California
It looks pretty solid for the price and will accommodate a AIO setup. I don't care for doors on my case but that is a personal preference because they always seem to be in the way or break. When I get home I will take a look but I've heard really good things about phanteks cases. I assume you want to keep a 5.25" drive for you optical drives.
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
It looks pretty solid for the price and will accommodate a AIO setup. I don't care for doors on my case but that is a personal preference because they always seem to be in the way or break. When I get home I will take a look but I've heard really good things about phanteks cases. I assume you want to keep a 5.25" drive for you optical drives.

Eh i dont care about sacrificing my ODD. I can just get a sata to usb device and plug it in whenever i need it. Yes that deepcool case does look great for the price, really drawn to it. Phanteks is kind of expensive, no?
 

dominick32

Senior Solid State Aficionado
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Location
New York
Even though you don't need to OC the CPU, what's the harm in adding free horsepower anyway?
I'm running a 3770 K for about five years now . And I just got myself a 1070 founders edition while we wait for a 1080 TI release . Eight gigs of RAM as well we essentially have the same core components . I've had my processor at 4.20 to 4.50 GHz for five years now so that should give you a sense of longevity on air cooling with these CPUs as well. History has proven that as long as you have an Intel quad core CPU starting with Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge all the way up to Skylake, etc. It really doesn't matter what Tick or tock architecture you buy, if you put it at 4.2 GHz that is pretty much the sweet spot for the last five years of Intel Technology for a gaming PC and you will only truly benefit leaps and bounds by a GPU update at that point in most cases.

With all that being said. In your spare time open up the bios.
Enter the voltage manually at 1.25v
Enter the 42x on your multiplier setting.
Then simply boot up the PC at 4.2 GHz for your free horsepower . That's what I would do anyway .
In the meanwhile download core temp, CPU Z, prime, Linx, And run an overnight 12 hour stability test to make sure your temperatures and your CPU is stable . If it is stable you can start lowerinh the voltage until it's unstable to find the lowest vcore. If it is not stable you can go the opposite direction . This is where you can choose to either go higher on your OC or lower. Then once again, if I were you I would slap that puppy at 4.2 and call it a day. It truly is very easy to do, and as you can see by my five years of use very safe these days
 
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Leegit

Member
Joined
Apr 4, 2013
Location
Kansas
Casual Hijack of Thread :sn:

Had my 3770k for 3 years using the stock Intel cooler. Never got around to purchasing the Noctua DH14. What heatsinks/AIOs would you all recommend these days for a casual 4.2-4.3 GHz overclock like dominick32s? I'm more concerned with noise than high-end performance... so what's best for low noise, low cost, and provides a decent stable OC?
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Even though you don't need to OC the CPU, what's the harm in adding free horsepower anyway?
I'm running a 3770 K for about five years now . And I just got myself a 1070 founders edition while we wait for a 1080 TI release . Eight gigs of RAM as well we essentially have the same core components . I've had my processor at 4.20 to 4.50 GHz for five years now so that should give you a sense of longevity on air cooling with these CPUs as well. History has proven that as long as you have an Intel quad core CPU starting with Ivy Bridge and Sandy Bridge all the way up to Skylake, etc. It really doesn't matter what Tick or tock architecture you buy, if you put it at 4.2 GHz that is pretty much the sweet spot for the last five years of Intel Technology for a gaming PC and you will only truly benefit leaps and bounds by a GPU update at that point in most cases.

With all that being said. In your spare time open up the bios.
Enter the voltage manually at 1.25v
Enter the 42x on your multiplier setting.
Then simply boot up the PC at 4.2 GHz for your free horsepower . That's what I would do anyway .
In the meanwhile download core temp, CPU Z, prime, Linx, And run an overnight 12 hour stability test to make sure your temperatures and your CPU is stable . If it is stable you can start lowerinh the voltage until it's unstable to find the lowest vcore. If it is not stable you can go the opposite direction . This is where you can choose to either go higher on your OC or lower. Then once again, if I were you I would slap that puppy at 4.2 and call it a day. It truly is very easy to do, and as you can see by my five years of use very safe these days

Great info, thanks! Would i need to disable speedstep and those sort of things?
 

dominick32

Senior Solid State Aficionado
Joined
Dec 19, 2005
Location
New York
Sorry fellas just realized I never responded to these questions .
In my honest opinion if you're sticking with air cooling, one of The best units on the market is still the noctua Nh-d14. No matter what I'm building this is always my cooler of choice along with low-profile ram of course. So definitely check ram height to make sure it is compatible otherwise you will have a very unhappy build day. ;) my experience with air cooling versus water over the last 20 years is with air you might have to replace a dead fan every couple years or so , but with water cooling, Both custom, and AIO closed loop, you will eventually run into at least a weak or failing pump, or tiny pinhole leaks that develop over the course of a few years. Chances are you won't run into any issues or leaks, but my own experience has led me just to be happier in general using high end air cooling . The noctua units come stock pretty quiet in my honest opinion . But with fan technology these days you can even find high-pressure high CFM fans with new technologies like maglev suspension, etc. where you have almost 0 noise plus super high performance . So for both of your coolers I would recommend noctua if you decide on air. Again, this really depends on how extreme you want to go on your overclock .but 4.2 GHz is a relatively minor OC on the 3770 K any mid range to high-end air cooler will be fine .

As far as disabling or enabling bios options .
Really is as simple as setting the multiplier and setting the vcore. That is how incredibly easy it is to overclock this processor . Is also wise to manually set your DRAM frequency , dram voltage, as well as potentially a few timings if the bios is detecting unusually high non spec timing .

Personally, I disable speedstep And all dynamic cpu power options. Id rather not have my CPU frequency fluctuate . But many people enjoy the power saving options this offers it is really up to the end user on that one. Finally, depending on your motherboard and how much your voltage droops under load you might need to modify load line calibration . This is not always necessary for stability but if youre anal retentive like myself , an LLC adjustment might be in your future . ;)

Good luck fellas.
 
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OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Sorry fellas just realized I never responded to these questions .
In my honest opinion if you're sticking with air cooling, one of The best units on the market is still the noctua Nh-d14. No matter what I'm building this is always my cooler of choice along with low-profile ram of course. So definitely check ram height to make sure it is compatible otherwise you will have a very unhappy build day. ;) my experience with air cooling versus water over the last 20 years is with air you might have to replace a dead fan every couple years or so , but with water cooling, Both custom, and AIO closed loop, you will eventually run into at least a weak or failing pump, or tiny pinhole leaks that develop over the course of a few years. Chances are you won't run into any issues or leaks, but my own experience has led me just to be happier in general using high end air cooling . The noctua units come stock pretty quiet in my honest opinion . But with fan technology these days you can even find high-pressure high CFM fans with new technologies like maglev suspension, etc. where you have almost 0 noise plus super high performance . So for both of your coolers I would recommend noctua if you decide on air. Again, this really depends on how extreme you want to go on your overclock .but 4.2 GHz is a relatively minor OC on the 3770 K any mid range to high-end air cooler will be fine .

As far as disabling or enabling bios options .
Really is as simple as setting the multiplier and setting the vcore. That is how incredibly easy it is to overclock this processor . Is also wise to manually set your DRAM frequency , dram voltage, as well as potentially a few timings if the bios is detecting unusually high non spec timing .

Personally, I disable speedstep And all dynamic cpu power options. Id rather not have my CPU frequency fluctuate . But many people enjoy the power saving options this offers it is really up to the end user on that one. Finally, depending on your motherboard and how much your voltage droops under load you might need to modify load line calibration . This is not always necessary for stability but if youre anal retentive like myself , an LLC adjustment might be in your future . ;)

Good luck fellas.

awesome info man. I actually decided to go with an AIO setup for both the GPU and the CPU. The CPU will get a 240mm Deepcool Captain 240EX and the GPU gets a kraken G10 with the Corsair H55 and im working on some things to make sure i can keep the midplate and backplate to help with rigidity and vram/vrm heat dissipation. This also required a new case to properly fit so i went with a Deepcool Dukase v2. Cant wait to get it all together and try things out.
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
The H55 might be a tad light for the GPU...

everything ive read pointed it to being just fine for the application. Diminishing returns if going bigger than that, maybe only a few degrees C, so went with the value/budget friendly option. Maybe it would be a tad light for the previous gen cards though.
 

Brando

Member
Joined
Jan 9, 2006
from personal experience the thermalright spirit 140 power is on par with a middle of the road aio and can sufficiently cool a 5820k to a decent oc. a 3770k should be no problem. the only english review ive seen shows it beating the nh-d14 but whether this is accurate is debateable. still it's only $55 on amazon and comes with a fan while being compact compared to most monster heatsinks out there. it is really tall though. make sure you measure.