AIO or air for midrange system?

Icy006

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I've never tried water cooling before. Looks like AIO options make it relatively straightforward these days.

I'm researching a midrange upgrade. Not sure if Intel or AMD, but almost certainly not the latest gen. Looks like some recent stuff can run pretty hot. I've long been a fan of Noctua, and I like my system to be relatively quiet when I'm not gaming.

Particularly if I get an air-centric case like a Fractal, can I get away with skipping AIO?
 

kirbyrj

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Yes, on the midrange, you don't need an AIO and probably don't need anything like a D15 either.

As for quiet, I've never had an issue with an AIO. My GPU is louder than my CPU cooling.
 

Icy006

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Haha wow the D15 is really something, what a monster. I imagine I'll end up with something a bit more modest.
 

auntjemima

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Eh I wouldn't lump the D15 with general air cooling. It matches some of the AiOs in performance but also in price. Something like Thermalright Peerless Assassin 120 is more fitting for a midrange build.
I'm sure there are other ones out there, but I managed to snag a D15 a while back for $50 (my only air cooled cpu) and can't sing it's praises enough. Also means I don't have any experience with others, so I can't comment on it.
 

auntjemima

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Haha wow the D15 is really something, what a monster. I imagine I'll end up with something a bit more modest.
The Hyper 212+ was very popular and might do what you need. Again, I don't have any experience with this cooler.
 

vegeta535

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I'm sure there are other ones out there, but I managed to snag a D15 a while back for $50 (my only air cooled cpu) and can't sing it's praises enough. Also means I don't have any experience with others, so I can't comment on it.
No doubt it is a great air cooler. Probably the best but it is typically over $100 and the black one is $10 more. That is a hell of a deal for a D15 to get for $50.
 

techie81

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I have the Corsair iCUE H115i and its really good but honestly I am afraid of longevity and would rather use something like the Noctua Redux.
 

auntjemima

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I have the Corsair iCUE H115i and its really good but honestly I am afraid of longevity and would rather use something like the Noctua Redux.
I'm still running an original h100, yeah, the original 9 million year old one. Still without issues. Been using it since my core2quad 775 days.

It was a refurbished unit, so I don't know if the initial launch of them had issues.
 

kirbyrj

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Awesome, the peerless looks solid, I'll definitely keep that in mind.

For the money, it seems like it's hard to beat. I was looking for cheap/good cooling and ended up with a Vetroo V5 units with 5 heatpipes for $25 on sale and was looking at a dual tower Scythe Fuma 2 for ~$60. The Peerless Assassin comes in close to the price of the cheap chinese cooler when not on sale and cools more like the Scythe. If I were buying today, no doubt I'd have the Peerless Assassin on a midrange product.
 

SmokeRngs

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For a midrange system there's little need for an AIO and there are reasons against using AIOs. Originally I ordered a Scythe Fuma2 for my 5800x but when ordering some parts got a combo deal which included an Enermax LIQMAX 3 240mm AIO for $38 after rebate. I normally dislike rebates but went for it and did eventually get it. The super low price is the only reason I went AIO. I'm satisfied enough with it and it does keep my 5800x a few degrees cooler than the Fuma 2 but it's nothing outstanding. That said, I would not have gone with any AIO without having a backup air cooler. Air coolers are going to last longer than AIOs because it's usually a lot easier and cheaper to replace the fan(s) on the air cooler.

And don't even think about the Hyper 212, no matter the version. I have one and use it on my Ryzen 2600x machine and it does great there but I wouldn't use it on anything which needs to dissipate more heat that the 2600x puts out. It was a great cooler in its time but its time is long gone now. I probably would have gone with something other than the Hyper 212 except that I had gotten a really good deal on it. At the prices I've seen on that cooler in the last couple of years it's a terrible deal. You can get better coolers for similar money and in some case much, much better coolers.
 

GotNoRice

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I think that it's irrelevant if you are talking about a midrange or high-end system. The bottom line is that with an AIO you need to be prepared for a much higher chance of failure. It's not a guarantee that an AIO will fail after any specific number of years and yes there are examples of AIOs sometimes lasting a very long time. But nonetheless, there are many points of failure. The coolant can leak. The pump can fail. Clogs can develop. The water-block can become corroded. Even in a best-case scenario there is still going to be a certain amount of coolant evaporation over time. My Corsair H100i GTX failed after only a couple of years when it developed a pinhole leak on the side of the radiator. A small enough leak that thankfully nothing dripped into my computer but all of the coolant leaked out / dried up and it became useless. In contrast, a traditional heatsink will last basically forever. I only ever use water-cooling on my own personal system, and only sparingly.
 

Icy006

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That's exactly what I want to avoid! I've replaced a few fans over the years, but it's pretty rare. I much rather keep it simple.
 

Vengance_01

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Depends on case, But I rather have the 280mm AIO. Look at the Artic Cooler AIO's Some of the best on the market and cheap!
 

LukeTbk

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In a large range of price range you can usually find has good for less noise performance with air once good phase changing cooling got good, but it is more bulky around the CPU (more issue with ram, some case clearance and what not) and price will not be necessarily cheaper and at the very high end AIO can get ahead.

If things didn't change recently.
 

auntjemima

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In a large range of price range you can usually find has good for less noise performance with air once good phase changing cooling got good, but it is more bulky around the CPU (more issue with ram, some case clearance and what not) and price will not be necessarily cheaper and at the very high end AIO can get ahead.

If things didn't change recently.
Have you been drinking?
 

Niner21

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Take a look at the Noctua NH-U12A. Cools very well and is very quiet. Also in my findings it cools just as well as an AIO.
 

Vengance_01

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Take a look at the Noctua NH-U12A. Cools very well and is very quiet. Also in my findings it cools just as well as an AIO.
Not by a long shot... Unless your talking old legacy AIO and 120mm versions.
 

auntjemima

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Well since my temps are around the same or just slightly worse (2-3C) as my recent 360mm AIO, I'll just go with my findings. My 12900K rarely goes over 60C when gaming.
You aren't wrong. I used to think the same as he does. That there's no way a fan cooler could match an AIO. But I've seen enough of my own anecdotal evidence, which has been backed by numerous comparisons by reputable hardware reviewers.

When AIOs first came about, Intel was still shipping that dinky little cooler for all CPU's, so the difference was insane. With tons of other companies now competing in the cooling game, this is no longer the case.
 

Niner21

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You aren't wrong. I used to think the same as he does. That there's no way a fan cooler could match an AIO. But I've seen enough of my own anecdotal evidence, which has been backed by numerous comparisons by reputable hardware reviewers.

When AIOs first came about, Intel was still shipping that dinky little cooler for all CPU's, so the difference was insane. With tons of other companies now competing in the cooling game, this is no longer the case.
True. Also the case airflow makes a big difference as well. I'm using a Corsair 7000D airflow and when equipped with the right fans it is excellent. A lot of cases on the market are not.
 

LukeTbk

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Take a look at the Noctua NH-U12A. Cools very well and is very quiet. Also in my findings it cools just as well as an AIO.

Not by a long shot... Unless your talking old legacy AIO and 120mm versions.


https://www.relaxedtech.com/reviews/noctua/nh-u12a-versus-closed-loop-liquid-coolers/

CoolersLoad
NZXT Kraken X6371°C
Corsair H150i Pro73°C
Noctua NH-U12A76°C
Corsair H100i Pro77°C
Cooler Master ML240 V277°C
Thermaltake TH24079°C

CoolersLoad
Noctua NH-U12A42 dBA
Thermaltake TH24045 dBA
Cooler Master ML240 V245 dBA
Corsair H150i Pro46 dBA
Corsair H100i Pro51 dBA
NZXT Kraken X6354 dBA

Consider are better on the noise side of the performance not bad at all cooling, all those AIO are dual or triple fan from 240mm to 360mm
 
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Vengance_01

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https://www.relaxedtech.com/reviews/noctua/nh-u12a-versus-closed-loop-liquid-coolers/

Thermaltake TH24079°C
Cooler Master ML240 V277°C
Corsair H100i Pro77°C
Noctua NH-U12A76°C
Corsair H150i Pro73°C
NZXT Kraken X6371°C
CoolersLoad

NZXT Kraken X6354 dBA
Corsair H100i Pro51 dBA
Corsair H150i Pro46 dBA
Cooler Master ML240 V245 dBA
Thermaltake TH24045 dBA
Noctua NH-U12A42 dBA
CoolersLoad

Consider are better on the noise side of the performance not bad at all cooling, all those AIO are dual or triple fan from 240mm to 360mm
And I can do the same. Look at the U12S get smashed and I suspect as wattage goes up so would the gap
 

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LukeTbk

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And I can do the same. Look at the U12S get smashed and I suspect as wattage goes up so would the gap
Not sure about smashed here or the same (are they around the same price tag ?)

That list seem to compare very expensive AIO to a very cheap cooler, when we go for the same price (more or so) isn't the air cooler always keeping up until we go above the deep quiet 4 pro price range ?

The expensive Deepcool Assassin for example does not look out of place versus the much more expensive kraken,s
 

auntjemima

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Not sure about smashed here or the same (are they around the same price tag ?)

That list seem to compare very expensive AIO to a very cheap cooler, when we go for the same price (more or so) isn't the air cooler always keeping up until we go above the deep quiet 4 pro price range ?

The expensive Deepcool Assassin for example does not look out of place versus the much more expensive kraken,s
Yes. Air vs AIO, @ price parity, cool similarly.
 

Niner21

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And I can do the same. Look at the U12S get smashed and I suspect as wattage goes up so would the gap
That's the U12S with a single 120mm fan. The U12A has dual 120mm fans which would bring it closer to the AIO's temps according to similar coolers on that chart. Either way, I am not here to argue back and forth. I am just going on my testing with a very good air cooler against my previous Asus and NZXT 360mm AIO's. I like both air and liquid cooling, but for price per performance I decided to recommend the Noctua cooler.
 

scoundrel

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My gaming system is no longer high end, but I can testify that AIO's just work and you kind of forget about temperatures when you set them up correctly. I use a Cooler Master Liquid 120 with a Noctua NF-P12 replacing the inneficient original fan, so the 6700k runs all the time at 4.8GHz, top temperatures around 50ºC in full load.

The RX 580 Red Devil runs hot when overclocked and the original Powercolor cooling solution is a very noisy joke. So I grabbed an EVGA 120mm AIO, an NZXT Kraken adapter and replaced the dull original radiator fan with two Noctuas NF-P12 in push-pull. For the VRM's I set up a Noctua 8mm fan blowing straight over, leaving the Kraken fan to cool the VGA's memory bank. It gets to the 55ºC while gaming.

It's not pretty because I don't care about looks inside a closed case, but it's been working for many years without any trouble.
 
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daglesj

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I had an Artic Cooling 4 fan 240mm AIO in my X99 rig for several years. Worked well. But then I got tired of it and fitted a single fan Noctua D15 and could not be happier. Quiter and performs as well if not better. Less power use too.

I would not look at AIO's as my first choice going forward.
 

kirbyrj

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An AIO is generally easier to swap out CPUs with than a large air cooler, especially in tight spaces.

Case in point...AM4. I had one motherboard that had several CPUs. I must have upgraded and downgraded 5 or 6 times.

Even with my Z690 board. I had a 12900k, then I swapped it for a 12400, then a 12600k, then put a Thermalright BCF on it. And I'll probably put a 13700k or something in it next.
 

Dan_D

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I prefer the clearance afforded by AIO's if nothing else. You don't have to worry about blocking DIMM slots or using low clearance modules. I've also never been fan of hanging so much weight off the CPU sockets. Some of these air coolers are ridiculously heavy.
 

Mloot

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The peerless assassin 120 is really nice for the price. I use it to cool my 5950x and it does the job well enough.
 
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