See my build here: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/bcnnTW
I'm considering changing over from my NZXT AIOs (Kraken x41 and x61) to the Noctua NH-D15 (black chromax) with all new Noctua chromax case fans. I would put the original air cooler back on my MSI 980TI.
My biggest concern is going back to air cooling on the MSI 980TI. The Kraken x41 keeps temps cool and keeps it quiet (no noisy fans), which is great. That said, I don't game at all. I built this system ~4 years ago, mostly for fun, and thought I might get into PC gaming, but never did. I do a little bit of 4K video editing, but not frequently. Realistically, I probably don't NEED the AIO on the GPU. I also don't do any overclocking. I did a little bit of this when I first built it and this is where the AIO seemed to make a big difference in terms of temps and noise.
Things I like about the NZXT AIOs:
- Aesthetics: They look so good and keep the build clean. The Fractal Define S was really setup and designed for water cooling. I actually think the Noctua NH-D15 in black (maybe red accents) would look really good in my build though. That said, it is going to cramp the case some more.
- Cooling: This is negligible for the processor as the Noctua NH-D15 is as good if not better than the x61 AIO. That said, my concern is with the GPU. Air cooling on the GPU is not nearly as good as the AIO and my guess is the fans are going to offset the drop in noise I get from the Noctua NH-D15? I'm not entirely sure.
Things I don't like about the NZXT AIOs:
- Pump Noise: This drives me nuts. My PC sits on my desk right next to me and the only way to get rid of the pump noise (which has become worse over time), is to raise the fan speed and thus pump speed.
- CAM Software: This software kind of sucks. They change it all the time and I feel like half the time they change it I can't even access the controls for the AIOs (such as right now!).
- Reliability: I've had these for ~4 years and so far they seem to be okay, but my impression is that these things are going to need to be replaced every 4-5 years due to failing/noisy pumps. The NZXT x41 has already showed some signs of it going out. I could be wrong about this though. Overall I've been fairly happy.
So what do you guys think? Should I take the temperature hit on the GPU by going back to air cooling? Is this going to kill the aesthetics/clean look of my build? (I think Noctua chromax will actually look pretty sharp). Or should I look into upgrading to the NZXT x42 and x62?
Any suggestions are highly appreciated. Thanks!