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Liquid Cooling vs. Air Cooling Benchmark In-Depth (NH-D15, NZXT X62, & More)

  • Published on Dec 1, 2022 veröffentlicht
  • GamingGaming

Comments • 3 561

  • Gamers Nexus
    Gamers Nexus  2 years ago +361

    Thanks for watching! Watch our CPU test methodology video here: clip-share.net/video/fmTOJP4KOyk/video.html
    Support this kind of work via Patreon or the GN store: www.patreon.com/gamersnexus & store.gamersnexus.net/
    We just published our ATX12VO article component for last week's video, if you want to check that out: www.gamersnexus.net/guides/3568-intel-atx-12vo-spec-explained-what-manufacturers-think

    • Black Sama
      Black Sama 2 months ago

      This is a weird test Steve, specially for you. You are comparing Water with three fans against air with 1 or two smaller fans. If you want to do water vs air, it has to be same number of fans or similar price or specs but not mixed like this, please dont tell me that the NHD-15 against the kraken makes sense to you, they are nowhere near the same size or price.

    • positrack99
      positrack99 7 months ago

      I realize that you get a paycheck from your advertiser but are you really recommending conductive thermal paste? This is the dumbest idea ever. It's not worth the 2 degrees to destroy your computer.

    • Cloeren Jackson
      Cloeren Jackson 11 months ago

      The thing I hate most about this channel is you slur everything you say. Do you think you could just take your time to pronounce things more accurately?

    • petera1117
      petera1117 Year ago

      What are the quietest fans I can use to change out my stock fans.

    • petera1117
      petera1117 Year ago

      I’m just going to add a second intake fan to my liquid cooled R10, where the HD would sit since I have a 2TB nvmc. Thoughts guy?

  • Entertained2036
    Entertained2036 2 years ago +5985

    I love Linus for the entertainment but I tend to make my buying decisions by watching this channel.

    • Down South
      Down South Day ago

      Linus is a walking publicity, so I don't feel comfortable with his suggestions.

    • Big K
      Big K Month ago

      Nailed it!

    • pls don't ban me again you libtards
      pls don't ban me again you libtards 3 months ago

      as long as you don't take any political, business, or financial advice or decisions from linus, he's a great entertainer.

    • Vineland_Vinny
      Vineland_Vinny 3 months ago

      @Bong Jovi what did you say?

    • Vineland_Vinny
      Vineland_Vinny 3 months ago

      @Neverstopz what did he say?

    BHFFS 9 hours ago

    Does anyone know which AIO manufacturers will cover damages in the event of a leak if it's due to defect? I think Corsair and NZXT do but not sure on the other companies.

  • Fritz Van Zyl
    Fritz Van Zyl Year ago +311

    I just love the no nonsense approach, the techno talk rap in all monotone, the sensory overload of information and factual instinct, the effort, dedication and time to create these master pieces, .. I just love GN ;)

    • redgt
      redgt Month ago

      meanwhile i dont get sensory overload from GN because they dont go over the top yelling about everything like linus

    • HermitJay
      HermitJay 8 months ago +4

      Each video is a dissertation

  • Dirk Strider
    Dirk Strider 2 years ago +1782

    It just dawned on me, GN feels more like a news source than anything I see on TV. every topic they cover is so thorough and whenever disclaimers are needed they cover them completely. Not to mention this man is basically a news anchor, but he is nowhere near as insufferable to listen to as people from "real" media sources. in summary, keep up the good work yo, keep setting a outstanding example for what journalism in general should be.

    • BigBoii
      BigBoii 4 months ago

      If he sounded like a news source then he’d be 100% chick bait, lies, 1/2 truths, repeating buzz words, twisting the words w& facts to fit his narrative, etc.
      He may sound like a news source SHOULD sound lol

    • Philitron128
      Philitron128 8 months ago

      @Joe Blow This issue is that it's impossible to NOT have a bias when reporting the news. It's NOT a science. GN isn't exactly a science platform but they aggregate concrete numbers in a scientific method. That's not possible with politics and most "current events". People lie, cheat and withhold information. There's no way to account for that so the best that can be done is to aggregate as much info as possible and then contextualize it. The contextualization of political information is where the bias will always and has always been the issue. The best someone can do is use multiple sources and then look at the results of various policies and then look back to see who was more "right". But this can take years or decades so it's not even a real solution.

    • skud_muffin
      skud_muffin 9 months ago

      @John Doe no, it's because advertisers are integral to the profit model of these platforms. allowing hostile content reduces general viewership/site traffic which in turn devalues advertising real estate on their site.
      Besides, most news outlets LOVE social media and abuse the shit out of it's algorithms just like everyone else.
      What do you think is more relevant on social media, the interests and powers of the platform holders themselves or the media conglomerates?

    • Neuro
      Neuro Year ago

      @worldfamousGI you've clearly never watched him then. Whenever he makes a claim or talks about a certain subject he constantly has the sources show up on the corner so you can research it yourself.
      Plz stop speaking out of ignorance.

    • worldfamousGI
      worldfamousGI Year ago +1

      @Neuro John Oliver does no research lol, he's a hack

  • SilveradoNL
    SilveradoNL 2 years ago +4091

    Steve is right, the fight between air/liquid cooling is stupid.
    Passive cooling is obviously best!

    • A C
      A C 2 months ago

      @Brian Crowe Acolyte hell yea

    • killerrf
      killerrf 10 months ago

      What else is dumb? Fighting between democrat and republicans. Both wings of the same shit bird. All an illusion of choice.

    • Shadow 133
      Shadow 133 Year ago +1

      @Shannon Boo I've been using liquid aio and personalized for over a decade. I like that it's efficient and quiet. I dislike that it's heavy and more difficult to install. The modern aio are very reliable. In terms of software you can plug it to the mb directly like any cpu cooler. I set it to "medium" and have not wasted time with fan curves etc. It's very simple really.

    • Shannon Boo
      Shannon Boo Year ago

      @Shadow 133 so the aio still runs without the software ? Is there anywhere we can chat more direct. Cause i have burning questions about it but then wanna ask someone that's using it or converted from air to liquid

    • Shadow 133
      Shadow 133 Year ago

      @Shannon Boo Never touched the software, just setup the fan speed. Corsair h100i I have it on 2 pcs and zero issues.

  • Skylar
    Skylar Year ago +60

    I accept that liquid (AIO or custom) can perform better than air, from slightly better to much better, but I prefer air for most uses thanks to familiarity with the ease of installation and maintenance. As long as I remember the paste and get good pressure, my job is done, probably forever. Might go for liquid if I want my next PC to be prettier, or have some reason to care about thermals more than I do now

  • Dobbs
    Dobbs 2 years ago +104

    Dude, you rock. The way you guys perform testing and dissect it in a really detailed and unbiased fashion is rad! Then you have this way of breaking down all this information in a really practical way, which makes choosing products wildly straight forward. Thank you!

  • Bobby Walker-Clickfu
    Bobby Walker-Clickfu 2 years ago +69

    i was a hardcore liquid cooling guy until i did my first Noctua air cooling rig. I even changed out the main Noctua brown/tan cpu fans for the gray redux fans and used the black chromax sleeve to hide the heatsinks and it still performed amazingly well. It does just as well as any liquid cooler i've used, so no reason to buy liquid again.

    • nick n
      nick n Month ago +1

      @Hollering Smith if you OC your cpu, and a noctua is going that high, check your voltage, it might be way too high. my noctua 15 goes to 92C on cinebench r23 with an i7-11700kf

    • A C
      A C 2 months ago

      Noctua gang is the chillest

    • Umbra Weiss
      Umbra Weiss 5 months ago +9

      @Hollering Smith you have big issues with your case,vents or your thermal paste if you go anywhere near with a noctua like that.... I have a noctua 15 on my 5900x and while gaming it's not even close to 80...and in most games is 66-70.... If i hit it with a stress test i can go up to 80-85.... But that is, prime 95 is the only thing that can hit it so hard it will go to even 90.....

    • Common Cense
      Common Cense 7 months ago +8

      @Hollering Smith Unless we mention/consider ambient temp, CPU and case, the CPU temps are pointless for judging any fan alone.

    • Bobby Walker-Clickfu
      Bobby Walker-Clickfu 7 months ago +22

      @Hollering Smith you definitely have the fan configuration setup wrong if you're getting temps that high.

  • Thunderhawk51
    Thunderhawk51 2 years ago +9

    I would be happy with either one, but I can't find decent looking air coolers that doesn't cover the ram or fit in certain cases, so I'm really considering an AIO. Now, I must admit, I'm a bit worried it might fail during the next 10 years one way or another, but I'm willing to take that small chance. Besides, I already used an air cooler the last 10 years so it'd be time for a change. :)

  • Thastus' Lounge
    Thastus' Lounge 2 years ago +2102

    0:00 - Introduction
    0:51 - Conductonaut sponsor
    1:18 - Test methodology and more intro
    3:22 - First test ("Time to max", aka time to steady state temperature)
    6:00 - Ryzen R9 3950X CPU (16 core) fixed frequency/voltage test 35DBA noise normalized temperatures
    10:58 - Intel HEDT Noise Normalized Thermals test (40DBA)
    13:19 - Coldplate discussion
    14:59 - 100% fan speed test
    15:58 - R7 3800X 35 DBA normalized 35DBA noise normalized temperatures
    17:45 - R7 3800X 100% fan speed test
    18:55 - Liquid Vs. Air discussion
    21:52 - Liquid cooler failure discussion
    27:25 - Conclusion on Air Vs. Liquid

    • Thastus' Lounge
      Thastus' Lounge 8 months ago +1

      @Joe Roman At the time I made the comment, it didn't. Or at least, GN hadn't put in the timestamps yet.

    • Joe Roman
      Joe Roman 8 months ago

      lol youtube already has that built in

    • Cristofher Posadas
      Cristofher Posadas Year ago

      Thank you🙏

    • Spear
      Spear Year ago

      Your such a good person

    • Rishme Sheriff
      Rishme Sheriff 2 years ago +3

      His vedios are very informative but God dam felt like one of my university computer science lecture. I slept the whole way thanks for the conclusion

  • Sparky's World
    Sparky's World 2 years ago +2

    Technically the air coolers commonly use thermal pipes which is a liquid vapour inside so the air/water classes are quite wrong, and the difference is the final to-air exchanger location and the air temperature which is generally higher within the case. The water radiators can be placed to get air as it comes into the case, to get cooler air supply and therefore run slower fans, quieter noise levels and of course electrically more efficient.
    On the above water is better for efficiency but do have more points of failure so if you can locate an air cooler to the outside of the case and doesn't need a pump, then your air cooler would be better..good luck

  • Eastman51
    Eastman51 9 months ago +11

    The D15's issues with top pcie slot clearance is less of an issue in modern times since the "top slot" is generally an M.2 slot

  • depth386
    depth386 2 years ago +3

    I am on a custom loop but air does have advantages in very little maintenance and as stupid block of metal it pretty much lasts forever until motherboard sockets and mounting hardware changes make it obsolete. I would like to see custom loop included in this testing.

  • Beer Wolf
    Beer Wolf 2 days ago +1

    I'm paranoid with liquid cooling so I'll be sticking with Air cooling, though might grab an AIO cooler. I don't ever plan to do excessive OC, and the sound of fans has never bothered me since I play with a head set on.

  • Christopher Fehrenbacher
    Christopher Fehrenbacher 2 years ago +3

    My Hyper 212 Evo has lasted through three builds. I don't tend to OC components much, if ever, so I'm not super concerned with temperatures exceeding limits. I've considered moving to liquid for aesthetic purposes but I don't spend that much time looking at the inside of my case.

  • Frank Jacobs
    Frank Jacobs Year ago +63

    My AIO stopped working after 1 year due to a pump failure. I'd recommend just getting an air cooler for most gamers who don't feel like dealing with something that's largely out of their control.

    • Just Chillin
      Just Chillin 4 months ago +6

      i’ve had my aio since i built my pc 4 years ago and now out of the blue the pump failed. so now i’m trying to find out which to buy. but i might need a new case if i get an air cooler cause my nzxt case has shit airflow

  • kabes7
    kabes7 2 years ago +5

    Awesome video. I prefer air coolers, only really because of the subjective noise differences. The two coolers may be the same when measured with a sound meter, but some of the buzzing that comes from a pump is more objectionable to my ears than a slightly louder whooshing from a fan. In any AIOs I've tried, adjusting the pump speed allowed me to find a sweet spot where the frequency of noise coming from the pump wasn't as objectionable... but at that point, I wasn't really getting better than air cooler performance by nerfing the pump performance. So I sold my AIOs and threw in the big hunk of metal and will leave it at that for the foreseeable future.

  • Bismarck San Diego
    Bismarck San Diego 2 years ago +5

    Hey, love your vids and content. Question(s). You tested "ramp up" time to max temp for all coolers. I think it's also a fair point to do a "ramp down" to idle temps. Air temp matters to users, especially if computers aren't in an ideally cooled room with AC. You may not think this is a big deal, but the ability to dissipate the heat and return to idle temps would be a good piece of info.
    Also, acoustic testing is testing across the entire hearing range. Some frequencies are more "annoying" to users than others.
    Do you feel logging the different frequencies that each device generates would be helpful? I believe it would, as lower frequency is easier on some peoples ears vs high frequency pump noises.

  • LogiForce86
    LogiForce86 2 years ago +87

    Noctua NH-D14 a decade old now, and it's now going to cool an upcoming 5900X for another decade after cooling the 2600k for almost a decade and a Core 2 Duo E6600 before that for a year or so. The fans still feel like new when spinning them by hand... the bearings are in mint condition if you feel it by rotating the fans by hand with zero play.

    • LogiForce86
      LogiForce86 4 months ago +2

      ​@jomanaitor She'll be fine. Congrats with your purchase. 👍
      What did you think about the quality of the fans in hand compared to others you've used?

    • jomanaitor
      jomanaitor 4 months ago +1

      just buyed and nh-d15 few weeks ago for my new server (is cooling a 5950x) and hope will last as yours.
      I usualy go watercooling and I think all my pc has had a custom loop except one that used an AIO,but this was for a server and for a computer to be running 24h a day for years so realiability is important.

    • Bass Player
      Bass Player 5 months ago

      Just got one, looked on there web site case ram and board all fitted lovely. been great so far lovely cooler.

    • LogiForce86
      LogiForce86 8 months ago +4

      @Jose de Los Angeles Should work no matter what. Noctua has clear compatibility lists for it.
      Also don't forget to send in your NH-D14 receipt together with the receipt of your new CPU or motherboard to Noctua for a free bracket if you need it. 👍

    • Jose de Los Angeles
      Jose de Los Angeles 8 months ago

      I also have the NH-D14 since 2011. I plan on upgrading my MB/CPU and this NH-D14 is one of the components coming over (I hope).

  • oktc68
    oktc68 Year ago +9

    Great video showing the facts. I've used both types of cooler, my last cooler a Corsair H115i 280mm provided me with around 4 years of very good service before my nerves got the better of me and as I was doing a complete new build I decided to go with air cooling this time around. The Corsair was great, my temps were low for the type of CPU I was using (not a particularly "hot" CPU as designs go) but despite what's been said in this video it was loud. I tried replacing the original mag lev fans for some high quality ball bearing type as I could reduce the RPM than the original fans. It was still to noisy for me. The PC sits quite close to me (approx 3ft or 1m) and the top mounted rad was at ear height. I don't know if it was the pitch rather than the decibels that bugged me, but bug me it did. The replacement build (an exclusively for gaming build) featured an 5+ GHz i5 9600k and I'd already decided to go with an air cooler, I tried a Dark Rock 4 to begin with and whilst ridiculously quiet I was getting temps in the mid 80's°C which is higher than I'd like so I decided to go with a Noctua NH-D15 Chromax which reduced temps to mid 60's°C at the cost of added noise. I still had my old PC which I'd used the exact same case in the new build and with the same type of case fans in the same configuration the new air cooled PC was definitely quieter. I was quite surprised by this as it runs contrary to popular theory. Whatever. Does it really matter? If you want the absolute best cooling liquid removes heat more efficiently than air, scientific fact. Sound involves human perception and how something measures doesn't always equate to how it's perceived. Reliability is another factor, with a good quality air cooler being a fit and forget item. You may be able to use it on your next build and replacing the fans every few years it should last indefinitely. If that's important to you an air cooler is a no brained. There's also the aesthetic of it, my build with the AIO always looked empty and a little messy to me, whilst that's a very subjective opinion it is still valid.

  • Flux Apex Engineering
    Flux Apex Engineering 2 years ago +11

    Thank you for taking the time to do this testing. I appreciate the max noise data, simulations pound a CPU.
    Could you possibly make a recommendation on long term high load coolers for people who run sims, render etc.
    We've avoided AIO because of saturation after an hour. But this was several years ago as well.

  • Seve Garza
    Seve Garza 2 years ago +2

    The biggest air cooler I would ever consider is the Noctua NH-U12A, so it would've been nice to see this compared. However, since I don't plan on ever doing any overclocking and since I am planning on getting a Cooler Master H500 case (which has excellent airflow), I don't think I even need the extra cooling performance of a watercooler.

  • Adi Golan
    Adi Golan Year ago +2

    One of the most professionally made videos! Many thanks for the information. One thing to add is that any fan (reasonably strong) placed closer to the middle of the build (the case of air CPU coolers) instead of the edges (the case of CLC radiators and fans on them) will cause significant air flow interference. I advise researching this subject more. Also, unequal performance and air flow direction of intake vs outtake fans will also cause significant issues, something rarely discussed and most of the time not considered in builds.

  • bardofhighrenown
    bardofhighrenown 4 months ago +1

    My biggest take away from this is that a premium tower cooler is roughly equivalent to a decent 240mm AIO in terms of thermal performance, which is great because I was trying to figure out if I should get an air cooler or a 240, turns out it's mostly irrelevant and I can get whatever I want.

  • MajinRoot
    MajinRoot 2 years ago +9

    Hey man I wanted to say thank you. I spend my day researching..and the way this is put together is outstanding. I'm also building my first computer and the information you give is immeasurable and for that sir I give you great praise indeed!

  • Jacob Olness
    Jacob Olness 2 years ago

    Love the new thermal testing stuff, appreciate the work you guys do.
    I don't get why people get so upset over cooling especially. My server uses air coolers because making a custom loop for a dual xeon board is a lot of work, especially since even at sustained full load I only see about 50*C. My gaming rig uses liquid cooling because better case compatibility on my particular ITX case and liquid cooling is kinda neat imo.
    Great video

  • bradmonk69
    bradmonk69 2 years ago +1416

    "Once people install the thing, they expect it to work."
    Gaming industry, take note

    • Bazilisek
      Bazilisek Year ago

      @Douglas Marvel "Literally plug and play" you stuck in 2000s?

    • Cam T
      Cam T Year ago

      @Douglas Marvel The benefit of PCs beyond performance is also it'[s upgradability, longevity and day-to-day applications.
      Yes for roughly the same price-point games will run smoother on consoles, but PCs are still overall better because literally everything else they can do.

    • J P
      J P 2 years ago

      Work for how long though....

    • Robert Emerson
      Robert Emerson 2 years ago +1

      @Douglas Marvel That went right over your head.

    • Yakri
      Yakri 2 years ago +7

      > game devs: No, I don't think I will.

  • Isoquant
    Isoquant Year ago +2

    What an excellent video, thanks for the thorough breakdown! Decided to go with air cooling, but I totally get the appeal of liquid cooling for certain builds and use cases.

  • Quelkaima
    Quelkaima Year ago +2

    It's good to hear Steve say why I've been using nothing but air coolers for as long as I've been using computers: It's not that liquid cooling is fundamentally worse or that air cooling is somehow thermally more efficient; it's that I want to set it up once and let it run. The fact it's cheaper in the long-term from not having to replace bits and bobs or refill the tank every so often is also a good point that I just never considered.
    I guess the stock coolers that I've been using also not being terrible has its advantages, too. XD

  • Will Hicks
    Will Hicks 8 months ago +2

    One of the absolute best reviews I’ve seen in youtube. Technical, controlled, unbiased, factual, well articulated and well balanced. Subscribed!
    My “preference” is Air because I like the low risk (relative) to liquid. That said, if I was building a new system from scratch then I’d go liquid for outright horsepower. Recently put a 212 hyper evo on my 4690k and am so impressed for its price! 81c max on Prime95 blend (no avx) at 4.6ghz and 1.259v after 2 hours stable.

  • omnimutant
    omnimutant 2 years ago +7

    Thanks for this video. It's just help me think logically about my choices in my upcoming build. I haven't built a new system for about 6 years and was under the impression that I was going to be forced to run liquid. It's all you see on everything, everywhere, always. Knowing that, especially for my planned system and application, a good air cooler will be totally adequate, puts me at ease.

    • Prince Uy
      Prince Uy Year ago +2

      Same bruh. My previous build lasted me 10 yrs.

  • Péter Kiss
    Péter Kiss 2 years ago +10

    4:54 It's important to take into account that the liquid coolers need more time to cool down too. Maybe your first burst session can take longer with an AIO, but in a repetitive burst load senario (like gaming) your cooler won't always have enough time to cool down significantly. High heat capacity is usually a good thing but take it with a grain of salt!

  • William David Wallace
    William David Wallace Year ago +39

    I tend to lean towards an AIO just because of the greater heat absorption capacity of water to quickly disperse a spike in heat. However, the good air coolers need less care. I find RGB lighting boring although initially attention grabbing. Plan to use an AIO in my next build.

    • Chris Mahoney
      Chris Mahoney Month ago

      Why does that matter though

    • DreamyPupper
      DreamyPupper 7 months ago +1

      @NicCrimson nonexistent so far, other than dust, but pretty easy, a can of compressed air easily gets the dust out,

    • NicCrimson
      NicCrimson 7 months ago

      @DreamyPupper How's maintenance on it?

    • DreamyPupper
      DreamyPupper Year ago +3

      Same here, I’ve been using the MSI Coreliquid 240r for over a year now with no problems and great CPU thermals. I would highly recommend AIOs in mid end PCs. However, I’d personally build my own water cooled setup for a really high end pc build.

  • UnCrunch
    UnCrunch Year ago +2

    It's a good thing it's extremely difficult to keep all functions of a CPU busy nonstop. I'm just wondering if a 240mm is enough to max out a 5950x running 24/7 as I can't fit bigger than that in my case.

  • Exeon X
    Exeon X 2 years ago +30

    I bought the NH-D15 5 years ago, glad it's still the best price/performance cooler out there.
    High end aircoolers can't beat high end liquid coolers, not 5 years ago, not now.
    However for the price of the NH-D15 no liquid cooler can beat it.
    Failure for liquid cooling happens way less then people think, but it does happen, I've seen reputable brands having bad liquid coolers.
    It doesn't happen often, but if it happens your pc is most likely dead.
    So the question is:
    If you have the space for a big aircooler, why would you spend more for marginal increases in performance with a "risk" attached to it?
    It doesn't matter if 0.0001% of the liquid coolers fail, it's still a risk that you don't have with an aircooler.

    • Daniel Gheorghe
      Daniel Gheorghe Year ago +3

      @Exeon X not to mention better airflow over the RAM sticks in the case or air cpu coolers

    • Exeon X
      Exeon X 2 years ago +3

      @Sumit Kapur Depends on how you look at it, I'm a bigger fan of 140mm fans, more CFM less noise, 2x Artic P14's cost 20€, or you can get 3x artic P12's for 15€ and they will still outperform the corsair fans.
      And this is entirely dependant if your case comes with fans or not, if they don't you are still comparing 110$ vs 150$ which a couple of degrees don't win you in a value aspect
      Something that wasn't tested here is the GPU temperatures, which are far better for the Nhd15 vs Aio coolers
      Never seen a case of a motherboard bending or breaking due to the weight of the cooler, I guess it could be a factor if you move it all the time, but what would the point of a desktop be then?

    • Sumit Kapur
      Sumit Kapur 2 years ago

      I like the noctua a lot, but you are wrong, aio and noctua have the same price to perf. Yes you are technically paying more for the cooler, but the aio does the job of two in one, It brings in air for the pc, gpu, and it also cools the gpu. So noctua nhd15 is 90 bucks. But if you buy 3 corsair fans for your intake fans. that 60 bucks plus 90 which is 150. And you can buy a corsair, or evga aio for 150. And the aio does the job of both intake for the pc and cooling the pc. Its really up to you. Noctua puts more stress on motherboard, while aio has risk of leaking or pump dying.

  • Neonmirrorblack
    Neonmirrorblack 2 years ago +1

    I went with liquid for the first time in 2013 (X62), thinking it would be quieter than air, while also cooling similarly, if not better. In the end, the cooling aspect was a moot point, and the noise was substantially louder and I even switched to better fans. It also didn't help that the CPU I ended up with was a horrible overclocker (it didn't like going above 500mhz). Main benefit then was transportation due to not wanting to move a case around that had a heavy ass heat sink or motherboard bowing over time, and the main reason I wouldn't just take the heat sink off is because I don't want to have to clean off the thermal compound and reapply it every time (no longer an issue thanks to the graphite pads though). With my 2018 build, I went back to air (Noctua of course), and will likely stay with it going forward. Even if the noise was less with liquid, I'm just not going to risk a leak, no matter how small the chances actually are. Lastly, it's simply easier to clean a heat sink than having to remove an AIC cooler and they last forever. The only thing you might ever need to change is a fan.

  • Mithsereg
    Mithsereg 3 months ago +1

    Was having this debate with myself last year. For running medium to high-end processors stock with a decent price-performance-noise-hassle ratio, I ended up with a Noctua NH-U12S chromax.black. Local store was selling them for 50€, I couldn't be happier.

  • B F
    B F 2 years ago +2063

    Just say it: "liquid is pretty and cool, but good air coolers get the job done for the life of the PC with zero maintenance."

    • Nick Blank
      Nick Blank Month ago

      @leeroy jankins yeah man this guy just doesn't get it, having the best performance comes with a risk. that's why i just stick to an old fashioned abacus for all my computing needs, i wouldn't wanna risk all those crazy points of failure ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    • Cole Baldwin
      Cole Baldwin 3 months ago

      @Patrik Josefsson by ac couple of degrees. It just doesnt last as long but the thermals are technically a little better by a couple degrees if that is importnat enough to you

    • JCSpotter
      JCSpotter 5 months ago

      @Patrik Josefsson you don't need to be a self entitled asshole to get your point across, also you may want to check the heatsink for dust, that also counts as maintenance too buddy

    • Salami99
      Salami99 5 months ago

      its like carburated cars vs fuel injection, the computer is thy enemy

    • Patrik Josefsson
      Patrik Josefsson 6 months ago

      @thousandyoung still going strong, don't really care now anyway, it's superold and will die when it dies

  • Peter Brown
    Peter Brown 10 months ago +4

    Man, this channel is awesome, the level of detail that you guys go into is incredible

  • Elias Sanchez
    Elias Sanchez 6 months ago

    Thanks for the video, really well explained!
    I still can't belive i'm in that small percentage of "liquid cooling failing". I bought a MSI Mag Coreliquid 360R just a couple months before a lot of users experienced problems. That was really unlucky because there wasn't a way to prevent that.

  • RadicalxEdward
    RadicalxEdward 2 years ago +1463

    Wait a minute... you’re saying just setting the RGB to blue _doesn’t_ make my system run super cool? What if I set it to ice white?

    • Anankin12
      Anankin12 Year ago +1

      @bananya so with 3 RGBs I get just 12.5% of my IQ but gain 6.12% FPS? Sign me up

    • Mark Jacobs
      Mark Jacobs Year ago

      We used to paint flames on things to make it go faster, but I guess that's now counterintuitive with fans? o.O

    • Acid Wizard
      Acid Wizard Year ago

      @PINKFLOPPYASS It's science

      PINKFLOPPYASS 2 years ago

      No no set it to red so it goes fasta

    • Acid Wizard
      Acid Wizard 2 years ago +1

      RGB is low key the most important factor in CPU cooling.

  • chris roberts
    chris roberts 7 months ago

    Thanks for the informative presentation. I myself have been using AIOs since 2015. I used it in my prior build and had used a Corsair H55 to cool my I5 4690K. I ran it all the time and it never leaked or failed. The only reason I stopped using it was because I had upgraded my computer and found that the H55 could not work with the new LGA 1700 socket. That was when I purchased a Lian Li Gallihad 360 AIo. I mounted it at the top of my case. I am hoping that is a high enough quality AIO that it should not fail at least for a long time. I am still using the Corsair CX750M that I bought 7 years ago. It still seems to be working just fine. I personally think that running a computer under extreme loads constantly can wear the parts out faster. I also think that since most people tend to upgrade their computer every 5 years or so that the lifespan of these components are kind of a moot point because realistically, how long are you really going to be able to use that Cooler since they tend to change out socket technology every 5 years.

  • berliner
    berliner 2 years ago +2

    Thanks for that video!!! Never thought about the higher thermal capacity advantage. People with intermittent short term high loads might get a quieter system with liquid averaging that out.

  • Adam Randall
    Adam Randall Year ago

    I love the water cooling setup I have. I have looked for cooling benchmark software to compare against equivalent machines but it does not seem to exist.
    I would say water cooling seems to be better as long as price is not included in the equation. Mine is a hard tube setup with EBWC 16mm fittings, pumps and blocks.
    I use my PC for work and no longer play games so my gfx card is at the budget end and so that is not even water cooled and it was easy $1200 (Australian) to add a cooling solution that the free CPU cooler could have handled.
    I did it mainly to see if I could & also the looks but the bonus is how quiet it is. So its better as long as cost is not factored in.
    After 15 mins in the tropics & it is now the hot season, no ac running and its sitting at 36C for a AMD 7 3700 cpu & 64GB RAM
    The biggest disadvantage of liquid cooling is I never quite trust it enough to leave the PC on when I am away from it, could be seen as a good thing.

  • HuebietheGuru
    HuebietheGuru 2 years ago

    I would have loved to see the actual performance differences between (let's say) the two best AiO vs. two best AirCooler and than conclude whether it's worth the money... 😎 Anyway. Your scientific approaches are always worth watching! Thanks Steve 👍👍

  • Declineto State
    Declineto State 2 years ago +29

    The one thing that feel has been missing is from liquid cooler reviews is pump noise, just on its own. That should be really easy to test since you just need to a 12V current source. I say this because when running the pump on the liquid cooler that I have at full speed as you are supposed to, or so I have been told, the overall system noise at idle is disappointing.

    • noxious89123
      noxious89123 2 years ago +5

      CLCs have tiny garbage pumps that need to be run close to full speed. A custom loop with a D5 can get away with much lower pump speeds. That said, you still need a good mounting solution to isolate and minimise vibration transmission to the case, and also into your desk.

    • Jaime
      Jaime 2 years ago

      As far as I know you can control pump speeds in most if not all AiO coolers. That should solve the noise problem.

    • Dainius Vyšniauskas
      Dainius Vyšniauskas 2 years ago +1

      @Nathan Brown How far away the computer is from you? Back when I was attempting my custom loop, I had 360mm rad with fans in push pull and 240m rad with fans set as exhaust and D15 pump at 3 was definitely noticeable from around 60cm of distance.

    • concinnus
      concinnus 2 years ago +6

      If the pump is working correctly, air is purged, and speeds are balanced, the fans will drown out the pump. Unless you have a very restrictive loop with tons of fans at 300RPM, or something. My Topsflo at 2500 RPM is drowned out by 4 Noctua 140's at 500RPM.

    • Nathan Brown
      Nathan Brown 2 years ago

      This is obviously taken into account as they cant measure the fan noise separately. Personally I can't hear my d15 pump at 3 and have no reason to turn it to 5. And you are not supposed to run your AIO at full speed, if that were true there would not be an option. Run it at the lowest speed you can with acceptable thermals.

  • Dimi
    Dimi 2 years ago

    One more thing to consider, in my opinion, is the quality of the airflow in your computer case.
    The tests showed by Steve are (I assume) obtained with an open test bench in a controlled environment (20°C).
    If the airflow in your computer case is great and it is able to exhaust warm air well then an air cooler makes a lot of sense and you might see results close to what Steve presented.
    In other cases (pun) you might want to prefer a liquid cooler, just because the liquid does the job of bringing the heat to the edge of your computer case and out through the radiator. This can compensate bad airflow within a computer case and suboptimal exhaust.
    I built a pc in a exotic and fun looking case but with questionable air flow and I'm thinking to switch to a water cooler for this reason alone.

  • tsg1zzn
    tsg1zzn 2 years ago +1

    The test should be normalized to a temperature level, not to a noise level. After all, the point is to get adequate cooling with the lowest possible sound level. As long as the cooling is adequate, the exact temperature values don't matter.

  • Ricky McC
    Ricky McC 2 years ago +2

    Just wanted to thanks for a good inciteful review. I like that 'physics is still physics' and that one does well to approach this topic without bias, looking at the facts objectively and considering individual use requirements. I always liked the idea of 'air' - for simplicity, efficiency vs 'liquid' but was perhaps overly fearful of leaks, corrosion and future maintenance. Now I have a better more balanced perspective. I want to DIY build 'pretty good' but avoid the bleeding edge or 'stupid high' costs. Yet I still want a powerful PC that 'just works' and will work reliably for many years. I'm interested in engineering and electrical excellence, but not concerned with internal looks or distracting RGB displays. So the less fashionable 'air' route still seems best for me.
    As an amateur photographer, Photoshop/LR user, intending to explore video editing, I'm seeking to build an elegant 'workstation' that can also run the occasional game.
    I'm delighted to have sourced one of the last new (discontinued) Silverstone FT02 cases (triple AP fans, vertical airflow). Just ordered a Seasonic PSU (plat. 850W). I'm leaning towards a Noctua D-15 - 'tuned' with case fans for relative quietness in everyday use, but an ability to easily crank high to run heavy graphics workloads (or gaming) ultimately viewed on a 4K display. Still researching other components but now leaning towards AMD 3900X (based on price/performance) but haven't totally ruled out the pricier new 5900X (albeit top threadripper looks excessively poor value). I'm thinking best to stay slightly behind the 'newest/greatest' curve seeking balanced performance within 'sensible' costs.

  • CeruleanSky
    CeruleanSky 2 years ago +4

    It just depends on what you want out of a system, just went from a low end 120mm CLC to a DH15, runs cooler and quieter, I understand that "technically" a decent liquid cooler is better, but at this point the failure rate, and the "set it and forget it" is what took me back to an air cooler. If when I build another system a liquid cooler better suits my job I'll get one then.

  • Call me Chato
    Call me Chato 2 years ago +21

    Excellent and thorough. After using AIOs for many years, I've settled on the Noctua NH U12A for most of my builds mostly the noise, if any, is manageable for music editing purposes. Water coolers do get noisy when pushed with a fan tone that's problematic for audio production, whereas if you hear the U12A it's never offensive. Another accidental reason for me, when during a build the motherboard's fan controllers didn't work and the only thing left to cool the CPU was the Noctua radiator. When I got back to my bench I could smell something was amiss. The radiator was hot to the touch but the CPU was fine, even without the fans. I'm sticking with air from now on.

    • Damien
      Damien 2 years ago

      I feel you there when air coolers fail and a fan or fans die something maybe overheats or maybe thermal throttles or gets really hot. where on the flip side like kinda mention in the video when liquid cooling fails it can take things with it depending on how it fails. I love my u12a also noctua fans in general are great as im not a crazy rgb guy and they make chromax fans now in black sadly not the nh 12x25 ones yet tho

  • JZ1917
    JZ1917 Year ago

    This channel is damn amazing. Thank you for making so good content (and so consistently!)

  • Grayson Smith
    Grayson Smith Year ago +2

    My dream PC would have a NH-D15 for the CPU AND graphics card. I'd remove the stock cooler, mount it 90°, and strap the D15 to the die and add some heat sinks and pipes to the VRMs and such.
    No matter how good a stock GPU cooler is, it's still working with that form factor and size limitation and the fact that the fans have to blow air through the heatsink and directly at the PCB, restricting airflow further.
    (Yes I know it's overkill.)

  • Ghost 19
    Ghost 19 2 years ago +4

    Never really bothered with liquid cooling ever since it was marketed; air cooling had always been a stable and reliable point for me. I always thought that liquid cooling would be best for overclocking (in which I rarely do anyways).

    • M.G. de Bruin
      M.G. de Bruin 2 years ago

      If you want water cooling take big radiators Black Ice Nemesis good pomps and a good Aquacomputer cpu block costum loop.I use external rad for almost 6 years
      3x 420 GTX rad 2x 480 GTX rad 2x reservoir 2x D5 pomps I have only 4 hardline tubes in my case looks damn sexy and coooooooooooooool like fuck.
      And when i change motherboard cpu and gpu it cost me only a few hours.Every day when i turn on my computer and play games im so happy.
      Never buy a AIO.

  • Asadian Belifont
    Asadian Belifont Year ago +1

    I basically use AIO coolers for functionality, also a descent 360mm will be more silent and cool better. The D15 however is one of the best if you go air, and you're not really missing out on much.

  • Bound4Earth
    Bound4Earth Year ago +6

    I think Steve hit the nail on the head in the end of the video and it is a point never talked about in most air vs water debates. There is also the issue of user knowledge on PCs beyond not wanted to mess with a system once built. Some people don't know how to open their PC case, or don't want the headache and in those cases Air is vastly superior. I had to walk a friend through fixing a system, step by step over skype remotely, that had a water AIO leak into the system. Luckily it only fried the GPU, but I shifted him to Noctua because he didn't want to mess with this until he replaced old parts with new in another 5 plus years. Fans are running, everything is great.

  • Richard Sprunger
    Richard Sprunger 2 years ago +4

    Good stuff. Thank you! I just got a Kraken x63 for a gaming pc I'm going to build and this makes me feel really confident that I got the right cooler for me for this build. Appreciate all the work you put in.

  • Wally
    Wally 2 years ago

    Thank you. I built my first system in at least two decades last February. I went with the Noctua NH-D14 as I didn't want to mess with water cooling. Clearance was not an issue as i bought a massive full tower (Thor V2) although i did have to adjust the fan up the tower a little to clear the Ram. I am happy with that decision as it looks like if I would have spent almost twice as much I would have only gotten 3-5 degrees better performance from an AIO water cooler.

  • sauercrowder
    sauercrowder Year ago +1

    One thing I never see discussed is the fact that AIOs can pull air from outside of the case, which is always going to be cooler than air inside the case no matter how much you try to minimize the difference. But in my current build (which was made to be quiet), the sound of the pump is annoying the hell out of me. This video also really only talked about the top of the line coolers. I'm on a 120mm AIO. I think the common wisdom that this is pointless is probably true, and I'm trying to do some testing of my own right now with a similarly-sized air cooler on the way.

  • willham
    willham 2 years ago +137

    The most significant difference is actually is the pitch of the noise coming from the coolers, the tiny motors of the pump are significantly more noticeable than the large 140mm fans, which blend better into the sound of the case fans and GPU fans. This is especially true for low tdp processors. A massive air cooler like the noctua d15 can effectively passively cool a CPU whereas the motor of an AIO will never go away.

    • praetorxyn
      praetorxyn 2 years ago

      @J Sharp Depending on PSU, it may have a switch to deal with that. I have an EVGA 1200 P2, and when I first built with it it was so damn loud that since I was leaving it on overnight to download some games I slept wearing wireless earbuds playing music just to drown it out. Next day, I noticed there was an "eco mode" switch, and after flicking that, I've never heard the fan spin in about a year.

    • AColdDarkGentleBruh
      AColdDarkGentleBruh 2 years ago

      I've got an NZXT AIO and I can never hear the pump, maybe because I have it in a BeQuiet! case, but I don't even know what the annoying sound on a pump is supposed to sound like, because I've never heard it. Perhaps it depends on the pump.

    • J Sharp
      J Sharp 2 years ago +3

      @Thanny Hi, we have the same hearing range then. Good to see you're conscious about protecting your hearing. I believe you then when you say you can not hear it.
      Perhaps you had a batch of quiet capacitor's ? Maybe more are louder than not ? All I know is I went through three and several set of ear's who could hear it and those that couldn't in that range, didn't.
      Also,when I say loudest part of my build, I run my fan's at basically idol 400-600rpm max under load. Loudest part of my build at idol is my PSU fan....which I'm devastated of course ;p. I need to get a fan less PSU.

    • Thanny
      Thanny 2 years ago +2

      @J Sharp I can hear 14KHz just fine, and there is no loud noise in that frequency range from my pumps, so your contention is falsified. Though far from young (my age starts with a 4), I have been fairly diligent in protecting my hearing over the years. I always know when I walk into a room with a CRT powered on (something rare these days), and I would certainly notice a loud 14KHz noise from my pumps.
      Before deciding to respond, I tested my ability to hear at that frequency, using headphones with a frequency response of about 27KHz. I can definitely hear that frequency (I can tell when an 18KHz sound is playing for certain - beyond that, I wouldn't deign to guarantee), and while components of my D5 pumps may make noise at that frequency, they don't make anything approaching _loud_ noise at it.
      When in the process of doing my current build, I had occasion to leak-test a reservoir unit I had disassembled and put back together (half a dozen rubber seals). I was in close proximity to the pair of D5 pumps (in series, for redundancy), and did not note any high-frequency sound, once they were primed properly (the first few seconds are agony, of course).

    • Thanny
      Thanny 2 years ago +1

      @The Smell of Bacon I'm on nearly eight years with my two D5 pumps, running 24/7. When I last had them open, a few months ago, there were zero signs they'd need replacing anytime soon. They're lubricated and cooled by the liquid they pump. Fan bearings can just wear out (though good ones last many years, too), because it's a closed system. Not so with a good pump like the D5.
      If you do things wrong and get a serious leak, you can end up ruining hardware. But if you do it right, you get better temperatures, lower noise, and better performance.

  • The Sleeper
    The Sleeper Year ago

    I've been through two 240mm liquid coolers now in the past few years. The first one was a super cheap one that I really should have avoided to begin with, though it did at least keep my original Ryzen 2600 cool and was all but silent. The second one I had was an MSI cooler with the pump built into the rad, and I had much higher hopes for it. It worked well for a short while, but now it seems like there must be no liquid flow even though I hear the pump running, because the rad stays cold to the touch while the CPU was thermal throttling, and a repaste did nothing. I should RMA it, but I just don't really want to bother with it anymore. I'm tired of liquid coolers being subpar, so I've ordered a Noctua NH-D15 Chromax now that will cool better than either AIO and probably won't ever need to be replaced.

  • Geddy's Various Pursuits

    The first PC I built was ~late 90s and the second from scratch build was probably 10 years after that.. it's been a while, in other words. Looking at these parts, man, it's wild just how different everything looks. Huge pricetags aside (what with mining and shit ruining the graphics card ecosystem) it looks tough to jump back into, even with years of prior experience.

  • Luis Ibarra
    Luis Ibarra 2 years ago

    I love the methodology behind your videos, making it the most true to the cientific method. Now, it is important, as you say, to translate the results to our best interest. For me, I would not be doing overclock or multitasking, so my load temps would, in theory, be lower. That is why my decision is going towards a quieter, efficient thermal solution. Perhaps a low profile liquid cooling, budget it mind. Great video, as usual.

  • Dan
    Dan 2 years ago +5

    I always thought the biggest advantage of liquid is that it pushes the heat out of the case

    • Serfrost
      Serfrost 2 years ago

      @Isaac Beizsley In that case, that's why I would always opt for a hybrid system. You can still include case fans while liquid cooling your main components.

  • Daniel Helmick
    Daniel Helmick 2 years ago +25

    The NH-D15S would be a nice comparison here as well, seeing that it fixes the PCI-E slot compatibility issue and only comes with one fan it would be interesting to see just how much better the regular NH-D15 is with 2 fans vs better compatibility

    • damienriot
      damienriot 2 years ago +2

      @Gothar_svk According to tests from Science Studio and some other less know YT channels, adding extra fan and running both fans @100$ didn't help on some CM 212x black, Cryorig, Chonky noctua coolers compared to the older temp @100 1x fan. But @50% fan speed, 2x fans did improve temp by ~5C.

    • Matt T
      Matt T 2 years ago +2

      Just by random chance I added a second fan to my NH-D15 today, and I can say with confidence that if there is a change in temps, I cant tell. My 3950x runs at ~73 during a Cinebench R20 run which is the same before and after the addition of a second fan. Granted, I have the NR600 case with 3 front fans running on molex full speed and 2 140mm exhaust fans right over top of the cooler which probably are playing a part in it.

      TheMEXICANBEEF 2 years ago +6

      I've tried 1, 2, and 3 fan configurations with a nhd15. With a high air flow case, there isn't really a difference. Just 1 of those Noctua fans can move a ton of air. The fans do get noisy when mounted with the intake side against the cooler so I would advise against the triple fan setup. The most important factor with this air cooler is to have plenty of air moving in to your case. In my case, the nhd15 actually had lower temps than the h115i pro it replaced.

    • Gothar_svk
      Gothar_svk 2 years ago

      I have it and I added the second 120 mm fan. The difference was about 4-5 degrees in my case. Previously I had 4790k and fans would often ramp up rapidly due to sudden change in temperature, at that time I consider CLC. But then I moved to 3700x and possibly due to soldered IHS it is much better. No more temperature spikes, it is audible only during longer workloads.

  • Brian E. Hanson
    Brian E. Hanson Year ago

    Hey, I just wanted to say, your videos are among the best in the business. I always learn quite a lot even when I feel I already know all there is to know on a particular topic. You really do a fantastic job and are appreciated very much!! Keep up the good work!!

  • Andrews
    Andrews 6 months ago +2

    Instead of liquids cooling, use more fans instead to achieve the same result.
    Zero maintenance required.

  • Eric Decker
    Eric Decker Year ago +1

    I wasn’t getting the cooling I should’ve from my Corsair H100i and after doing some research I found that there was too big a gap between the mounting plate and where the pump tightens down on the cpu. I installed 1/16” rubber grommets on the backside mount posts that come through the mobo. Problem fixed. I had to do the same thing on my H150i which is insane they haven’t fixed it yet. Keeps my OC’d 10700K nice and cool now. Just thought I would say something for anyone else having the issue. Love your content GN!

  • Gus Fringles
    Gus Fringles Year ago +1

    i got my first liquid cooling years ago, and it turned out to be disastrous. bought a different brand and unit, same output. both aio i bought was top-notch and gets recommended for 9999x. now sticking for air cooling for good, no problems at all. #neveragain lol

    • Landon
      Landon Year ago

      Lololol at your name and avatar, Gus. Respect.
      I've only used air coolers. I'm worried about potential leakage, even if that's slightly paranoid (maybe).

  • A Drunk Zebra
    A Drunk Zebra 2 years ago +182

    I might be weird, but I really just like the way air coolers look.

    • mjc0961
      mjc0961 2 years ago

      It's not weird, they look much better than AIO tubes all over the goddamn place making it look like you don't know how to cable manage.

    • PainX187
      PainX187 2 years ago

      nothing wrong in that the be quiet DRP is a personal favorite to me even if i run a nh-d15 atm i simple dont think it looks as good performs slightly better but nothing worth mention as for liquid i would like to replace my gpu cooler so might just go back there soon wont be enough clearance and i need to get rid of this zotac jet engine

    • Rengaruu CB
      Rengaruu CB 2 years ago

      DrearierSpider1 In the past I've used a Dark Rock 4. However nowadays I use an NZXT X72 and I like it very much.

    • shaolin95
      shaolin95 2 years ago +4

      @DrearierSpider1 yet you have no shame in making yourself look like a classless douchebag. Go figure...

    • halistine jenkins
      halistine jenkins 2 years ago

      NOCTUA FTW \m/

  • Dilios Spartanetz
    Dilios Spartanetz 2 years ago +2

    What got me to buy the NH-D15 is the low noise and reliablility. Almost 6 years and 0 problems, even the fans are in perfect conditions

    • SentinelBorg
      SentinelBorg 2 years ago +1

      My Noctua NH-U12P works great since 2011.

  • Adam Bielby
    Adam Bielby 11 months ago

    It was interesting to see the D15 at 100% fan speed was a fair bit quieter than the other coolers. It would be interesting to see the comparative performance with all the coolers noise normalised to match the Noctua's output.
    In regards to Liquid reliability, I have a custom watercooled system with D5 pump and Acrylic hardline. I did that on the 4700K when it was new, then just changed the CPU to the 4790K when that was released. At some point in the last 8 years, the machine wound up being used as an overpriced media PC, powered 24/7, for over 3 years. I changed the coolant last year, pulled the blocks apart expecting to see a mess, but was surprised that everything was clean. I'm about to finally retire that rig, and will be having to go air this time, maybe down the road when parts are cheaper, I'll revisit the liquid again, but I've built a few systems for various friends with much faster, newer chips, with the D15, and they perform at least as good as mine, to within a few degrees C anyway.

    MCES LEX 3 months ago +1

    Built my first gaming computer in 2012 with the included CPU Air cooler from Intel and today in 2022 the cheap air cooler still works the fan is still working and everything is fine, 10 years without worry 👌 no leaks, no pump failure no hose failures because it has none of that🤣 if I would have gone with liquid cooling I would probably would have no system at all from a leak or would have had to replace the liquid cooler 2 times? That's kinda way too expensive.
    This year after the GPU price crash I'm building a system around the Radeon RX 6900 XT(USD $699) I'll be going with the Noctua NH-D15 Air cooler, this cooler should last at least 15 years guaranteed.

  • Phil B
    Phil B 9 months ago +1

    Very cool to see all the testing and data you have there.
    I would suggest another test that, I think, would be more relatable to real world usage: It would be cooling system dB in relation to actual cpu frequency.
    You run the cpu at a defined hz frequency for a while with the cooler in "auto" mode until temperature stabilizes and record noize level. You do that for multiples frequencies in regular increments from as low as keeping computer idle all the way to max frequency that can be sustained by the cpu at max cooling capacity.
    Then you could have a few examples of typical usage those cpu frequencies would represent. So we could have a rough idea how noisy how the cooling system/ computer could be in real world usage.

  • GooE
    GooE 9 months ago

    I used a dark rock pro 4 with my 9900k and had zero problems. It kept the CPU working within operating range and was quiet. I'll definitely use one on my next build.

  • ChucklesMcChuckleson
    ChucklesMcChuckleson 2 years ago

    It always comes down to the noise/performance ratio for me. In that sense, air seems to always win. I'll take load gaming temps at 70c vs 66c if the system remains dead silent, rather than a loud ass pump chugging along just to get 4 degrees off the top. Noctua always delivers a tremendous product, and I've become a big fan of Scythe as well when I needed an air cooler that was less than 155mm in height.

  • Morden Geist
    Morden Geist 2 years ago +4

    Interesting. Pretty much falls in line with what I've always observed from my own comparisons over the years.
    As an "Always cooling fan" builder, the salient points of "fire and forget" installation and longevity are a huge plus, with the minuscule differences in heat loads/dissipation have no real effects on user experience with exception of maybe overall DB levels. From a strictly "Keep it cool" mentality, and to me the most important point, Air fans do just fine in a side-by-side comparison to water cooling....just as your graph comparisons proved.
    Now, the ONE thing I can say that water cooling does have a major edge over standard air-cooling, is "cool factor"; i.e. If you're into aesthetics, water cooling pipes and liquid color can really "pop" an otherwise mundane case and build. This coupled with good lighting can really add some pizazz...IF you're into spending several hundred dollars MORE to gain the effect(s) desired.
    So, in my own conclusion, that appears to line up with yours and borne of 25 years experience building my own and others systems: Air coolers do the job with no appreciable downside--they work. Water Coolers also work, but they have maintenance requirements and potential hazards you MUST be aware of or pay the price....a big one. So it's really down to user preference.

  • Petitio Principii

    I could never imagine that ornamental colored LEDs would be such a big thing on hardware, ever warranting any kind of comparison between a LED-ornamented thing and a purely functional version/alternative. It would be a given, kind of like it's probably is with car engines, where probably reviews can focus only on performance, with separate reviews ofr aesthetic tuning stuff. If anything, I'd imagine any kind of ornament would be sold as a separate thing you could add, regardless of the hardware specs.

  • PandaButtonFTW
    PandaButtonFTW 2 years ago +20

    I like the quitness and reliability of air coolers. i ahd a 280mm corsair AIO, it performed fine, but the pump had an annoying whine to it and the fans were surprisingly low quality.

    • kotekzot
      kotekzot 2 years ago +7

      That's a great point, an AIO can develop unacceptable pump noise or have it out of the box, and replacing it is a hell of a lot more expensive than replacing a failing fan on an air cooler.

  • Sam Westby
    Sam Westby 2 years ago +72

    I love this guy and the format of his videos. Fewer edits, notes visible, and more human. Also thanks, I'm building my first computer right now and this was helpful

  • Darkhalo314
    Darkhalo314 Year ago +3

    I honestly prefer watercooling with AIO's, but I definitely won't discount Air Coolers as they have their uses too.

  • Sam Vimes
    Sam Vimes 2 years ago

    I have been pretty scared of liquid coolers up to now but my 5 year old air cooler is now not up to the standard of todays air coolers it could still do a job but i want more than that so for my next build coming up it doesnt meet the requirements so i dont feel so worried about a shelf life of liquid coolers as i am likely to replace air coolers as well so i think i will go liquid this time.

  • Ewen Chan
    Ewen Chan Year ago

    The more interesting question is once the liquid from a CLC has permeated into the tubes - what is the performance of the CLC then?
    With an air cooler, I just need to periodically vacuum the dust out of it (which you'd have to do with the CLC cooler as well), but as stated, I don't have to worry about the liquid permeating into the tubes, which will, in theory, degrade the cooling capacity/performance of the CLC.
    It would be REALLLY interesting to see if you can test the CLC once the coolant has started permeating into the tubes to see what, if any, cooling performance degradation that might exist/occur.

  • Diligenc3
    Diligenc3 2 years ago

    The failure rate is my primary concern and the main reason why I haven't switched to liquid coolers. I purchased a V6GT in 2010 and replaced it in 2020 because there's no mounting hardware for AM4. I replaced the fans after 7 years of operation with no issues. The original fans are still working to this day but are noisy at higher RPMs. That's unbeatable value IMHO

  • DragonSmith
    DragonSmith 2 years ago +1

    had a bad experience with a NZXT water cooler, now rocking the the Noctua NH-D9L with 2x92mm fans; going 4 years strong now and the performance is amazing

  • Brian Jackson
    Brian Jackson Year ago +72

    Attention to detail here is impressive. I like the blue bars on the edges of the charts that let us know how long we have to view it.

  • phl2009
    phl2009 Year ago +5

    Having a hard time following which is liquid or air cooled in the result charts, some are labeled (air vs liquid) and some are not.. it be great to have consistency.

    • Christopher Pepper
      Christopher Pepper Year ago

      So from what I'm able to tell from the charts; but I might be missing something, he only tested the NH-D15 and Deepcool Assassin lll for air coolers. Everything else in the list is water cooling. Which if that is true sucks because there are a lot more air cools I would have preferred to see over just those two.

  • Sanjiv Sriram Srinivasan
    Sanjiv Sriram Srinivasan 2 years ago +25

    Finally, someone seriously discussing specific heat capacity. Kudos.

  • Ninjaraku Pwnz
    Ninjaraku Pwnz 2 years ago

    yeah, it's totally not about liquid or air cooled, it's about the amount of heat transfer it can remove from the cpu contact point of the heat sink, the amount AND temp difference of the heat exhausted compared to the heat it's taking in is the key factor. figure they can run more effectively at their normal idle temp maintained under full load. then it's only a matter of how much air flow your pc case is actually exchanging through itself on top of that.

  • Mishkafofer YT
    Mishkafofer YT 2 years ago +1

    Another win for air is cooling for VRM but thats also depends on the design of the cooler.

  • RandomFinn
    RandomFinn 2 years ago

    I wanted to upgrade my NH-D15 cooling the 6700k and ended up buying a X62 based on a few reviews. I was very disappointed as the CPU ran hotter with the X62 than on the NH-D15.
    I had mounted to cooler on the roof and that should not have been an issue.
    This is anecdotal of course, but this got me thinking that maybe the X62 I got was faulty

  • Honest Mike
    Honest Mike 2 years ago

    I've been using AIOs exclusively since the original h100 seemed to finally make them worthwhile. I'd switched from custom water at that point and have used a dozen AIOs since.
    I'm getting a little bored and wanting to do something new, so I'm debating either a return to air cooling, or going custom water again.
    The funniest part is that it's really not about performance at all. Since the H212+ basically overkill cooling has been available on an extreme budget, and overclocking really doesn't seem as valuable as it once was.
    the vast majority of my cooling purchases now are based on aesthetics, and my own personal interest.

  • TheDarmach
    TheDarmach Year ago

    I often wonder how these WC sets and new heatpipe coolers would compare to watercooling we used to do back in the days, like D-Tek waterblock + laing DDC

  • Hampus Baaz
    Hampus Baaz 2 years ago +1

    One thing I don't see mentioned is idle noise. When the system ramps down and all fans go down to minimum RPM, the pump can never do that. In an air-cooled system, the whole system is quiet but when the pumps are involved in the AIO it never shut up. There is always the pump humming, something that is overshadowed when at load.

  • l p
    l p 2 years ago +1

    so rule number one is, get a good, high quiality coller.
    -water cooling will give you a slight edge over aircooling in normal usage and aslightly bigger edge in overclocking scenarios
    IF you are willing to go through the extra bit of maintenance
    For me, I am not. so im gonna stick with aircooling until I have a High end core

  • DeadCell79
    DeadCell79 2 years ago +2

    thank you so much for this video because i am building my first PC since 2012, the landscape has changed a lot since then, so im stuck on what components to use. obviously my current dilemma is Liquid vs Air.
    Processor Cooling: Corsair H100i RGB PLATINUM Hydro OR the Noctua NH-U14S Ultra Quiet
    With this Build
    Processor (CPU): AMD Ryzen 9 3900X 12 Core CPU (3.8GHz-4.6GHz/70MB CACHE/AM4)
    Motherboard: ASUS® ROG STRIX X570-F GAMING (USB 3.2 Gen 2, PCIe 4.0) - RGB Ready!
    Memory (RAM): 16GB Corsair VENGEANCE DDR4 2666MHz (2 x 8GB)
    Graphics Card: 4GB AMD RADEON™ RX 5500 XT - HDMI, DP, DX® 12
    1st Storage Drive: 1TB Samsung 860 QVO 2.5" SSD, SATA 6Gb/s (up to 550MB/sR | 520MB/sW)
    1st M.2 SSD Drive: 1TB SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2, PCIe NVMe (up to 3500MB/R, 3300MB/W)

  • Rolando Fuentes
    Rolando Fuentes 2 years ago +2

    Best ever conclusion at the end. Great and reasonable analysis! I'm not a "computer" guy, but I'm an industrial engineer, it's obvious that to the extreme liquid cooling is better cooling because of the heat transfer capabilities. At the end what are you looking for is what matters.. what you need and how you solve it..

  • Tattooedsailor
    Tattooedsailor 11 months ago +1

    I had three AIO's fail on me. The last one was Artic 280mm. I got a replacement and sold it. I got Noctua D15. I couldn't be happier. It's very quiet and the temps are in small ballpark as 280mm.

  • Gary Walker
    Gary Walker 2 years ago +10

    Bit of a tangent, but interesting to see how the standard issue wraith (stealth) looks in these tests. Just to emphasise the value (or not!) of an alternative cooler.

    • chipblood
      chipblood 2 years ago

      I thought the same thing. I will say this, the fan on the wraith is noisy. I recently replaced a wraith spire with an air cooler and noticed the thermal paste coverage using the stock applied thermal paste set up only covered about 30-40% of the processor lid. This Ryzen 5 was getting hot and the air cooler helped. It may be that i replaced the thermal paste with kryonaut and applied it evenly though. I would bet that with proper application of thermal paste the spire would be competitive with a similar sized air cooler. The fan noise on the AMD fan though is quite high even when set to quiet running.