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Is aftermarket CPU cooling worth it?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

NCIX: http://bit.ly/1EOMdmu

Amazon: http://geni.us/3SZa


Is pouring a bunch of money into cooling solutions for your CPU going to net you a huge benefit? Or should you just upgrade your other components instead? Let's find out...


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Hi Nick!

Motherboard - Gigabyte P67A-UD5 Processor - Intel Core i7-2600K RAM - G.Skill Ripjaws @1600 8GB Graphics Cards  - MSI and EVGA GeForce GTX 580 SLI PSU - Cooler Master Silent Pro 1,000w SSD - OCZ Vertex 3 120GB x2 HDD - WD Caviar Black 1TB Case - Corsair Obsidian 600D Audio - Asus Xonar DG

   Hail Sithis!

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Yes for overclocks and AMD desktop CPU's, no for locked Intel CPU's.

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I can smell the nintendo DMCA already.

Nah, Nintendo doesn't own those words.

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Words cannot describe how awesome this slogan is.

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is it possible for you guys to test how much ambient temperature affects your hardware temps? or has this been done before? I live in a pretty hot country and sometimes i think I need an aftermarket cooler like the evo just because my room temperature is so high

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Investing in cooling is worth it.

Used to run my i5-3570k stock settings with stock cooling.While gaming,the temps would get very high(80-90°c).

I invested in a total package for cooling:


-Corsair Air 540

-3 CM Jetflo 120 intake(running on 1000RPM)

-1 Corsair AF140 outtake(running on 1100RPM)

-Be Quiet! DRP3(running on 1500RPM)

-Sleeved cables


I also delidded my i5-3570k,cleaned it and placed Artic MX4 on it.

I OC'ed my CPU to 4,4GHz-1,30v(need to tweak Vcore more).

My CPU temps dropped 40°C on average.While gaming,my CPU temps don't go any higher then 40-45°C,even on hot days.

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I got one of those Hyper T4's and it was a comedy of errors. Originally the fan made a loud clicking noise, which I tried to RMA, then I found for some reason that when you move your tower, because of the way the cooler is mounted to some strange mounting rails that go onto the board, despite being correct the cooler itself can actually slide around on its mounting rails and move up and down, dislodging itself from the processor.


More drama than its worth, strongly recommend a 212 Evo as it mounts directly to the board, not on some rails that allow it to move around.

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Is aftermarket cooling worth it? For me, Yes. But not because I care about temps, Its the noise I care about. I have a Haswell I3 and the stock cooler was way too loud for me. I now have a Hyper 212+ and the cooler is near silent. Well worth the $20 I spent.

PC Audio Setup = Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro 80 hooked up to SMSL SD793-II, Micca MB42 powered by Lepai LP-2020A+, CMTECK XM520 usb mic

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Well for me, I was running the stock cooler on most of my processors, an AMD dual Core and a Intel Dual Core and an AMD Quad core with being happy with temps, until I hit the i7 920, I was in a 30+ Celsius summer and the stock cooler just couldn't take it and I was throttling at about 85 degrees (ouch). So I ended up picking out a Arctic Freezer 13 Pro for about 60 NZD which was nice, it did the job, it was quiet (which was its downfall due to low RPM's) and looked badass. Just this week I picked up a used Corsair H55 and a pair of Nanoxia fans and it seems to be doing well. I didn't really need it as the Air cooler was fine until I invested in a custom loop but I knew I couldn't afford a good Noctua cooler and a custom loop as well over a year away for me, I thought I would have my first experience with water cooling. I hope to do some tweaking on my i5 sometime soon and will post reults here I hope

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Well, if I look into my flotilla of PCs, I see two custom liquid cooled, two aftermarket aircooler (NH-D14, Shadow Rock2), my friends one with an AIO (Antec H2O 920), and then two more with a cheaper aircooler (scythe shuriken rev. b and arctic freezer extreme rev. 4, also my friends ones). 

I personally think that the cheaper aircoolers are good. But as in many times as I have said this: I have no more faith in AIOs.

My liquid cooled PCs are great though. I just need a working mainboard...


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Defiantly custom loop for looks, temps and no noise

Intel Core i7 5820k @ 4.4Ghz, Asus Rampage V Extreme, 32Gb G.Skill Ripjaws 4 2400 DDR4,2 x Nvidia 980 Gtx Reference Cards in Sli,
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I have the Noctua NH-D15 for my FX-8350. It's for silence purposes. I also have a Fractal Define R4 and a Corsair AX760. The loudest components are the hard drives now.

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I personally I have moved rather fast through the whole PC user - Advanced PC user - Enthusiast user route over the past 7 or so years.


Prior to my current rig I bought a rather expensive prebuilt gaming rig from Del (yea I know...mistake) a XPS 720 H2C cost £2000 and was noisy as a helicopter taking off, had short cuts taken in terms of PSU and motherboard... but performed great as it was running dual 8800 GTX's (which eventually got upgraded to a single 560ti SOC) and a slightly overclocked QX6850 CPU. That was in like 2008-9


Prior to that I had a rig that was a Frankenstein of hand me downs from my old man, it was ..capable ..but slow in many respects and I don't even remember the specs.


My current rig is where the big leap happened in 2012, I went full self built enthusiast level performance. From a QX6850 I went to a Intel i7 3930k with OC, from a 560ti I went to a 780 Classified with OC, and from a £2000 overpriced rig I am now running a rig with a total invested cost close to £3300 not including about £1200 in peripherals.


Whats my point behind this?, well my hand me down Frankenstein machine had stock cooling, my Del XPS 720 H2C had 120mm Rad and single fan AIO water cooling solution with a pointless Del custom shroud build around it. And my enthusiast build started off with a NH-D14, and is now running full custom water loop.


Which was best?

Well the Frankenstein machine wasn't overclocked. ..it couldn't overclock and I didn't know about OC'ing back then let alone know how to do it. It was as quiet as a bog standard run of the mill office work machine.

The XPS 720, as I stated at the start, was one noisy SOB despite the AIO water cooler on the CPU, the fans were terrible.

My current rig, when it had the NH-D14, was quiet until the GPU fans kicked in in gaming sessions, at which point it could get aggravating now and then. Now though with the custom loop, its relatively silent, I am overclocking and im still new to custom loops so I know my setup isn't best optimised, I really need to get a more water cooling orientated case as not all my rads are using fresh cool air to cool. So my fans do need to ramp up now and then from around 800 rpm to 1200 rpm which does increase noise somewhat, but its still quiet.


I'd have to agree with Luke. If u have a top end CPU already, then upgrading ur cooling solution so u can overclock/overclock more is ur next step. Where I would deviate from Luke is when I say that high end air is definably worth it more so than any AIO solution, unless u don't have space for a massive tower heatsink, as top end air can usually match the performance of even Dual 120mm rad AIO's for less cost.

If u have a CPU that still has an upgrade path, but crucially cant afford the next CPU up, and still have some spare cash, then buying mid range air cooler can give u that little extra performance when OC'ing.

If however ur not getting a OC'able CPU, or have no intention to OC, then stock cooling is fine.

CPU: Intel i7 3930k w/OC & EK Supremacy EVO Block | Motherboard: Asus P9x79 Pro  | RAM: G.Skill 4x4 1866 CL9 | PSU: Seasonic Platinum 1000w | VDU: Panasonic 42" Plasma |

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Storage: Samsung 850 Pro 1TB SSD + Samsung 850 Evo 256GB SSD | Cooling: XSPC D5 Photon 270 Res & Pump | 2x XSPC AX240 White Rads | NexXxos Monsta 80x240 Rad P/P |

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Great video!


I'm currently trying to put together an affordable all-rounder that will work great for the family and also play some new games (like Elite: Dangerous and BF4). This video, along with the teased video on CPU cores for gaming in 2015 is exactly the stuff that will help me decide on the parts for my new rig. Keep up the great work!



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Custom liquid cooled all the way!


But seriously, custom loops are really for enthusiasts, they can make future 'work' on your system a pain.


All in ones & silent air coolers a niche too, but I feel comfortable building a system for a buddy/customer with an all in one or high end air cooler with no worries about future issues. 


Mom/dad/computer tarded family, stock coolers only!




But for bragging rights, and us enthusiasts, everyone should have a custom loop at least once in their computer building history!


My build:


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Shame would of liked to be many more coolers eg 

Low end air cooler eg Hyper 212 evo

High end Air cooler Noctua NH-D15

Slim single Rad COrsair H75

Thick Single Rad Corsair H80igt

Thin duel Rad Corsair H100i

Thick Duel rad Swiftech H220x

IntelCorei54670k,Maximus VI Formula,Swift tech H220, 16gigs Corsair Dominator platinums, Asus DCUII GTX 780,1x256 840 evo, 1x 2TB Segate barracuda, Corsair AX 860, 

3 X Noctua NF-F12, 2x Noctua NF A-14, Ducky Shine 3 Blue Leds Blue switches, Razer Death Adder 2012, Corsair vengence 1400  

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Nice Video, Luke.

I like the conclution - It was just my thought, when i was shopping for my pc.


I got an aftermarket cooler, because I found a cheap and ultra silent one. It doesn't perform much better than the stock cooler, but it looks and sounds better :)

In conclusion I saved a lot of money by not going the oc-route. Not only on the cooler but also on the mainboard..

Main Gaming/Work Station:

i7-4790K, 16GB Ram, GTX 980Ti, Acer Predator x34 - 3440x1440 100Hz + Aux Monitors (constantly changing)



i5-2500K, 8GB Ram, GTX 780, random 1920x1080 IPS


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I don't upgrade my system very often but when I do I try to keep the future in mind and try to make a good compromise. I got an i5 2500k some 4 years back and about a year ago upgraded the stock cooler to a CM Nepton 140XL (got it on sale for $50). This allowed me to comfortably stretch the usability of my system another 1-2 years by overclocking it and adding reliability (my office temps are regularly between 25-30°C - hot country).

Now for me this was a good investment as I can use it again on my next setup.

I spent about 1000 on the complete (everything except peripherals) system 4+ years ago and another 200 last year for bigger SSD and the cooler. 1200 in almost 5 years or $20/month is a win for me :)

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When I built my first system, I used the stock cooler. My Hyper 212 was a cheap upgrade the quieted down my FX-8320 considerably. When I went to build my second system, I decided to transfer my 212 over and upgrade again to the Cooler Master V8 GTS simply because of how it looked. It performed much better than the 212 and was around the price of an AIO. But, I never really wanted to water cool my systems. I did once and I found that since I don't overclock too much (usually just bump speeds until it isn't stable anymore) the benefit for me was the reduced speed and noise of the larger fans. So to allow me to tinker easily, I opted to stay air cooled.

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I would buy the Kraken x41 I have again just to not have that potato stock cooler visible through my side window.


Also it keeps my 4.4Ghz overclocked 4690k at or around 60c under load, and almost silent to boot, no way I could do that stock.

CPU i5-4690K(OC to 4.4Ghz) CPU Cooler NZXT Kraken x41 Motherboard MSI Z97 Gaming 5 Memory G.Skillz Ripjaws X 16gb 2133 Video Card MSI GTX 1080 Gaming X           Case NZXT H440 Power Supply XFX XTR 750W Modular Storage Samsung 840 EVO 250gb/Seagate Barracuda 2TB Monitor Acer XB270HU G-Sync http://pcpartpicker.com/b/3CkTwP

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