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Mondas42

Are AIO’s really worth the effort?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

Hi

 

just wondering if AIO’s are really worth the effort, I read about them been noisy, rads in the wrong places (just seen that the pipes have to be below the pump??), leaking (if you believe the reviews on Amazon) failing from time to time. And to cap it all they don’t seem to offer that much in the way of lower temps then a good quality Air cooler. So what am I missing? Am I looking at the wrong ones? 
 

reason I ask is I have a 3900X in a CoolerMaster H500M with a CoolerMaster Air cooler and on warm days my CPU is a little toasty, not too bad but it still makes me wonder if I need better cooling.

 

M

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11 minutes ago, Mondas42 said:

Hi

 

just wondering if AIO’s are really worth the effort, I read about them been noisy, rads in the wrong places (just seen that the pipes have to be below the pump??), leaking (if you believe the reviews on Amazon) failing from time to time. And to cap it all they don’t seem to offer that much in the way of lower temps then a good quality Air cooler. So what am I missing? Am I looking at the wrong ones? 
 

reason I ask is I have a 3900X in a CoolerMaster H500M with a CoolerMaster Air cooler and on warm days my CPU is a little toasty, not too bad but it still makes me wonder if I need better cooling.

 

M

Simply put, AIO coolers aren't "better" than air coolers, a good quality air cooler from Noctua will do the trick just fine but AIOs are maybe more cost effective because high quality air coolers are quite a bit expensive and at this point you're better off getting an AIO for a similar price. Linus actually made a few videos about the topic a while back here are the links  

 

 

 

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There are different tastes and opinions. 

Mine is that air cooling is better than aio watercooling. 

Air cooling is more or equally quiet and more or equally cooling (good air coolers). Also air cooling cant leak and you dont need to exchange liquids. 

 

I never tried but I can imagine custom watercooling to be the best for silence and cooling because you can just pick the best silent fans on the market and make it really quiet. But Im not really a fan of custom liquid cooling yet. Yes, it looks awesome and its really great but if you want to change your cpu you have to remove everything when you go for hard tubing. You also have to change the water sometimes. And if you go for soft tubing it is not nice and straight. 


My build:

CPU

Intel Core i7 9700 8x 3.00GHz So.1151

 

CPU cooler

be quiet! Shadow Rock Slim

 

Motherboard

MSI B360-A PRO Intel B360 So.1151 Dual Channel DDR4 ATX

 

RAM

16GB (4x 4096MB) HyperX FURY black DDR4-2666

 

GPU

8GB Gigabyte GeForce RTX2070 WindForce 2X 3xDP/HDMI

 

SSD

500GB Samsung 970 Evo Plus M.2 2280

 

HDD

4000GB WD Red WD40EFRX Intellipower 64MB 3.5" (8.9cm) SATA 6Gb/s

 

Case

Fractal Design Define R6

 

Monitor

ASUS TUF Gaming VG27WQ

 

Headset

Sennheiser GSP670

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It depends. AIO makes it easier to install and change other components (with my motherboard, you have to dismount large tower cooler to change/install M.2 SSD and graphics card (if you dont want to poke GPU release lever with long screwdriver) and tower cooler limits ram choices), build looks cleaner and generally 240mm+ AIOs perform better than tower coolers at same noise levels. Risk of quality AIO leaking is damn small. Here in Finland, Noctua NH-D15 is more expensive than Arctic Liquid Freezer II. Point with large tower CPU coolers would be zero risk of leaking and fewer points of failure.

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I put an AiO in my gf's rig about 2 years ago and it literally JUST died on us a couple days ago. They look really nice and they perform really well, dont get me wrong. But when it comes to the overall lifespan of the product, the AiO is going to die first in 90% of cases. You cant clean out the system, so mildew and gunk will eventually build up, pump could die or get clogged, so much can go wrong in an AiO versus a heatsink and a fan.

 

I will add that she is the evil type of person who leaves her computer on at all times, (I know, I know....), So I would have to assume that in the best case you will likely get more life out of your AiO if the pumps not running 24/7/365. But really at the end of the day it all "boils"  (Get it? I hope not) down to preference. A good AiO is about just as good and quiet as a good air cooler.


CPU: Ryzen 5 2600X GPU: Reference 5700XT (Asus) Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix X470-F RAM: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 3200C16 PSU: Corsair RM850X White

Cooling: Corsair H115i RGB Storage: 500GB WD SN750 M.2, 500GB Samsung 860 Evo SSD, 1TB Seagate Firecuda SSHD Case: NZXT H500i White

Keyboard: Asus ROG Strix Flare (MX Red) Mouse: Corsair Sabre RGB Monitor: HP Omen 25 144hz 

 

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12 minutes ago, Som3a said:

because high quality air coolers are quite a bit expensive and at this point you're better off getting an AIO for a similar price.

This isn't right, $80 AIOs are usually not really better than $80 air coolers, you need to go to around $120+ to get to the ones worth getting if you really want lower temps.

30 minutes ago, Mondas42 said:

reason I ask is I have a 3900X in a CoolerMaster H500M with a CoolerMaster Air cooler and on warm days my CPU is a little toasty, not too bad but it still makes me wonder if I need better cooling.

What is the temperature you're getting? And what cooler do you have?

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I disagree with the idea that air coolers are as good as water coolers.  I have a Noctua NH-D15 (AKA, The Best Air Cooler On The Market™) and a middling 240mm Cooler Master AIO.  I believe it cost me $70.  

In real world conditions, the water cooler wins, handily, every single time, without exception.  Any review that claims air coolers perform just as well are probably tested on an open air test bench or in a case with such amazing airflow as to be roughly equivalent to an open air test bench.  So yeah, if you have one of those cases, the air cooler may be better.  In my experience with a Fractal Design Meshify C case, however, the air cooler *cannot*, under any circumstances (I tried probably half a dozen fan configurations, if not more) beat the water cooler when the CPU is under load.  The closest I was able to get was a roughly 5-8 degree delta between the two, with the water cooler winning.  I think I was able to get it to match when I took the side of the case off and directed a box fan at it, but then they only matched performance.  The air cooler still wasn't *better* at cooling.  

I still use the air cooler because it's still keeping my CPU at acceptable temperatures and it has the enviable trait of being at zero risk of spilling liquid onto my GPU, but until I can see it with my own eyes, I will never again believe the tripe that air coolers are "just as good" at cooling as water coolers.  

 

EDIT: For the curious, I documented this experimentation in this very forum:

 


#Muricaparrotgang

 

Folding@Home Stats | Current PC Loadout:

Small                        Bigger                        Biggest
Fractal Design Focus G       NZXT H1                       Fractal Design Meshify C
FX-8320                      Ryzen 3 3200G                 Ryzen 7 3700X
120mm AIO                    120mm AIO                     Noctua NH-D15
A motherboard                ASRock B450 mobo              MSI x570 mobo
16gb DDR3                    16gb DDR4 @ 3200              16gb DDR4 @ 3600
a melange of HDDs/SSDs       WD 1tb m.2                    WD 1tb m.2/2tb HDD
PNY GTX 1070 x2              MSI RTX 2080 Super            MSI RTX 2080 TI
some 650w PSU                650W SFX-L 80Plus Gold        EVGA SuperNova 750w 80+ GOLD PSU

 

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aio due to its high heat capacity of water, it smoothens out temp spikes.

unless long time stress, aio temp is much lower

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Posted · Original PosterOP
17 minutes ago, KaitouX said:

This isn't right, $80 AIOs are usually not really better than $80 air coolers, you need to go to around $120+ to get to the ones worth getting if you really want lower temps.

What is the temperature you're getting? And what cooler do you have?

I’m getting around the high 70s to mid 80s with load and around mid 40s at idle. I know these are within spec but just wondered if an AIO would be an improvement. My current Air Cooler is the CoolerMaster MA620M

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14 hours ago, CPT_BEEMO said:

I will add that she is the evil type of person who leaves her computer on at all times,

Leaving your computer on all the time is better than power cycling it all the time FYI. 

Each power cycle cools down the motherboard and components so they shrink a little and then expand next time its turn on again.

Also was that AIO installed pump above the rad with the tubes up :P ?

 

@Mondas42, If they are correctly installed they do offer a LOT of cooling than noisey fans with very little fan noise for the average user. It's rare for normal use to pin cpu usage for more than a few minutes at a time.

Also those monster air coolers put extra strain on the motherboard with how far they reach out and basically lever the motherboard to bend.

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Yes. People say it doesn't matter when compared to top end air coolers, but that's load of BS.

 

Air coolers are MASSIVE chunks of metal that can only be placed right on top of CPU and they reach equilibrium point almost instantly.

 

Where AiO's weight is much more distributed, you can displace the largest part elsewhere in the case and because they require quite some time to reach equilibrium, they can soak in a lot of heat before you even have to ramp up the fans, meaning they can be much more silent for burst workloads. And you have full control where the air intake and air exhaust will be. Where with air coolers it is where it is. You have almost no control over it.

 

I've had some of the best air coolers in existence (Thermalright TRUE) and now I'm on second AiO. I don't think I'll be coming back to air cooling because of how much freedom and control AiO gives you over air coolers. Price wise they are about the same, give or take few €...

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1 hour ago, Lipe123 said:

Leaving your computer on all the time is better than power cycling it all the time FYI. 

Each power cycle cools down the motherboard and components so they shrink a little and then expand next time its turn on again.

Also was that AIO installed pump above the rad with the tubes up :P ?

 

@Mondas42, If they are correctly installed they do offer a LOT of cooling than noisey fans with very little fan noise for the average user. It's rare for normal use to pin cpu usage for more than a few minutes at a time.

Also those monster air coolers put extra strain on the motherboard with how far they reach out and basically lever the motherboard to bend.

It was one of those single rad 120mm rads, corsair h60 i believe. tubes on the bottom xD but she left the damn thing on all the time for 2 years, I think it was only ever powered down when it needed a new hard drive or to clean it


CPU: Ryzen 5 2600X GPU: Reference 5700XT (Asus) Motherboard: Asus ROG Strix X470-F RAM: G.Skill Trident Z RGB 3200C16 PSU: Corsair RM850X White

Cooling: Corsair H115i RGB Storage: 500GB WD SN750 M.2, 500GB Samsung 860 Evo SSD, 1TB Seagate Firecuda SSHD Case: NZXT H500i White

Keyboard: Asus ROG Strix Flare (MX Red) Mouse: Corsair Sabre RGB Monitor: HP Omen 25 144hz 

 

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4 hours ago, Som3a said:

but AIOs are maybe more cost effective because high quality air coolers are quite a bit expensive and at this point you're better off getting an AIO for a similar price.

 

 

 

Are you kidding me?

 

Noctua NH-D15 is $80 and Darkrock Pro 4 is $85 on Amazon. While NCXT Kraken X53 is $130. Sure you will find some low quality 240mm AIO cost less than $80. That's why you hear dead pump, leakage, etc.

 

For the same price, air cooler wins every time.

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4 hours ago, Mondas42 said:

Hi

 

just wondering if AIO’s are really worth the effort, I read about them been noisy, rads in the wrong places (just seen that the pipes have to be below the pump??), leaking (if you believe the reviews on Amazon) failing from time to time. And to cap it all they don’t seem to offer that much in the way of lower temps then a good quality Air cooler. So what am I missing? Am I looking at the wrong ones? 
 

reason I ask is I have a 3900X in a CoolerMaster H500M with a CoolerMaster Air cooler and on warm days my CPU is a little toasty, not too bad but it still makes me wonder if I need better cooling.

 

M

For pure cooling, unless you want to go bigger than 240mm radiator. Stay with good air cooler. I have a 280mm plus a 240mm rad in my loop. Even my 3900X ran very hot during the recent heatwave.

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51 minutes ago, Deli said:

Are you kidding me?

 

Noctua NH-D15 is $80 and Darkrock Pro 4 is $85 on Amazon. While NCXT Kraken X53 is $130. Sure you will find some low quality 240mm AIO cost less than $80. That's why you hear dead pump, leakage, etc.

 

For the same price, air cooler wins every time.

But why would you choose NZXT Kraken X53, when you can get Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 or 360, which performs better and is cheaper? Noctua NH-D15 is about same price here than Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280. Liquid Freezer II 360 costs about 10-15€ more than NH-D15. Also, I had seven (7) Noctua NF-A14 fans and all of them had very annoying pulsating sound at certain rpms (around 500 rpm and between 800-900 rpm). Returned all of them and since all seven had this same issue, I have to assume that it's a "feature" and not a bunch of defective fans.

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10 minutes ago, Jalopeeno said:

But why would you choose NZXT Kraken X53, when you can get Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280 or 360, which performs better and is cheaper? Noctua NH-D15 is about same price here than Arctic Liquid Freezer II 280. Liquid Freezer II 360 costs about 10-15€ more than NH-D15. Also, I had seven (7) Noctua NF-A14 fans and all of them had very annoying pulsating sound at certain rpms (around 500 rpm and between 800-900 rpm). Returned all of them and since all seven had this same issue, I have to assume that it's a "feature" and not a bunch of defective fans.

OP is from UK. You use Finland price to argue liquid cooler is cheaper? Do you suggest OP to order his liquid cooler from Finland? What if I use Netherlands prices to make that argument? The Artic Liquid Freezer II 240 is €90, and Noctua NH-D15 is €75?

 

If you don't like Noctua fan, fine. Personal preference.

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9 minutes ago, Deli said:

OP is from UK. You use Finland price to argue liquid cooler is cheaper? Do you suggest OP to order his liquid cooler from Finland? What if I use Netherlands prices to make that argument? The Artic Liquid Freezer II 240 is €90, and Noctua NH-D15 is €75?

 

If you don't like Noctua fan, fine. Personal preference.

90£ for Liquid Freezer II 280 at UK Amazon and depending if you choose NH-D15 with poop brown or black fans it is either 80£ or 90£. So again, about same price. 360 model seems to be 115£. Just curious, which country's prices did you use to compare price difference between NH-D15 and Kraken X53? Obliviously I cant check every country's prices. Just assumed that everybody is more than capable for doing price comparison on their own and use that information to make their choises.

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5 hours ago, Mondas42 said:

I’m getting around the high 70s to mid 80s with load and around mid 40s at idle. I know these are within spec but just wondered if an AIO would be an improvement. My current Air Cooler is the CoolerMaster MA620M

The Cooler Master MA620M although it's quite big. It uses only one 120mm fan. Probably many less expensive tower air cooler like the Scythe Fuma 2 will have better cooling performance than that Cooler Master cooler.

 

You can get better cooling with a better air cooler or AIO. Depends on how much you're willing to spend. But don't expect temperature drops below 75C under load even with a 360mm AIO in a hot summer day.

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6 minutes ago, Jalopeeno said:

90£ for Liquid Freezer II 280 at UK Amazon and depending if you choose NH-D15 with poop brown or black fans it is either 80£ or 90£. So again, about same price. 360 model seems to be 115£. Just curious, which country's prices did you use to compare price difference between NH-D15 and Kraken X53? Obliviously I cant check every country's prices. Just assumed that everybody is more than capable for doing price comparison on their own and use that information to make their choises.

Obviously prices vary region from region. I try to answer cost of air cooling vs water cooling in general. So in that case using US dollar and Amazon.com.

 

I read many argue air vs water from personal experience, me included. However one major flaw is, personal experience means very small sample size. It's like arguing I know someone who smokes heavily for 40 years but has a clean bill of health. Therefore smoking cigarettes isn't bad for one's health. I thrust reviews like from Gamernexus more, simply because they have a much bigger sample size.

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