Watercooling - worth it?

Discussion in 'Overclocking, Benching & Modding' started by Takaharu, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    It's gotten to a stage (is that grammatical?)where the heat from my graphics cards is unbearable after around an hour or two of gameplay. I don't think my soundcard much likes it either as the sound starts stuttering during cutscenes.
    Also, after watching a feature-length film, the disc that I have in the drive(s) get red hot. I'd hazard a guess at that being the graphics cards too.

    That leads me to my question; is watercooling worth it? My desires are thus:
    • My PC remains quiet throughout the day.
    • I don't have to put on the AC on at full blast to play a game for more than half an hour.
    • My soundcard and optical media refrain from entering into the 30°C region during gameplay.
    • I don't have to replace my graphics card(s).
    I've refrained from watercooling thus far because of the sheer expense; it'd cost me the price of a decent graphics card to buy blocks for the ones I have. However, I'd rather have a surefire way of keeping my system at a bearable temperature (for it and for me).
    To put it in perspective, GPU 1 is at 0% load, GPU 2 is under 5% load and my system has been on since around 7:30 this morning. GPU 1 is at 64°C, GPU 2 is at 57-60°C (wavering). Both are registered at 547 clock, 1095 shader clock, 1425 memory clock on EVGA Precision.

    Watercooling? New case? New set of fans? Other ideas? Am I making enough sentence fragments by Word's standards?
     
  2. Tyrsonswood

    Tyrsonswood HH's curmudgeon

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    We need more sentence fragments to be sure.......


    Seriously though, running two cards in the summer is always a challenge, does your case have a side inlet fan at the moment? (figured I would ask instead of looking up the specs on it.)
     
  3. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    My case has three 180mm fans at the bottom and a 120mm Scythe Gentle Typhoon at the top (which really just aids the CPU cooling). All of the components face the top of the case instead of the back. The 180mm fan directly under the graphics cards is set to high speed; the other fans are set to low speed.
    In case anyone wonders about the clock speeds of the GPUs, I toned them down in an attempt to keep the temps under 60.
     
  4. Tyrsonswood

    Tyrsonswood HH's curmudgeon

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    The point of my question is this. If you have a fan (or two) blowing ambient air directly into the graphics card(s) and can't keep temps under control then it's probably worth going the water cooled route.

    Not sure it the Raven's "Two fans at the bottom, blowing up through the cards" is equivalent to a side fan blowing directly into the graphics cards though...... (Yes, I know the Raven's orientation is different)
     
  5. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    You could always set the cards to use a little more fan speed at idle then they are currently doing.

    As for load temps, is it the case that any higher fan speeds at load would be unbearable?

    Also, if your feet are getting too hot, (internal) watercooling won't fix this. Your PC will chuck out exactly the same amount of heat that it does now, but the heat won't be so concentrated in your GPUs. Try moving your PC to the top of side of your desk, rather than beneath it.
     
  6. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    I did wonder about this - thanks for confirming!
    I could try and see if there's another way that I can have my PC set up but that's going to be a bit of a mission. Still, even if I end up having to buy longer cables it'll be cheaper than a WC setup. I'll try moving the PC out from under my desk this evening to see how much difference that makes.

    If there are any other ideas, please, keep them coming. Moving the PC is one thing but there's still a lot of heat that needs to be accounted for.
     
  7. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    Another thing with moving your PC is that you might be able to afford to have the fans a little louder - if you take a browse of the official-show-your-rig-off-thread, you can see Lowfat's setup with his towers in another room to his desk.

    Another thing you might consider is water-cooling with an external radiator, that you could then put in another room or next to an open window to dissipate the heat exactly where you want it. Could be pretty impractical though.

    The only way in which you can reduce the effect of your PC on the room temperature, (not including upgraded aircon, open windows etc.) is to lower the power consumption of the PC. You could get a more efficient PSU, go down to one GPU, use more energy efficient screens. None of those would make a big difference on their own, though.
     
  8. Stuart_Davidson

    Stuart_Davidson Well-Known Member

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    I'd imagine you are probably suffering from the same problem as Craig in terms of idle heat too because the GPUs dont clock down properly on NV cards when connected to more than one monitor so will run hotter.

    Another alternative would be to sell the 2x570 and buy a 590. Single card, less heat etc.
     
  9. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    Blibb - different rooms is a bit overkill and unfeasible, particularly as I don't have a room spare.
    How does the 590 compare to two 570s performance-wise?
     
  10. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    This is the only review I could find with a direct comparison (I didn't google very hard):

    Power - Temperature - ASUS GeForce GTX 590 Video Card Review | [H]ard|OCP

    Performance is pretty similar, but you'll only be putting out 60W less heat at load and 10W less at idle. That's a bit of a drop in the ocean imo.

    Furthermore, while your 570s (I would think) ditch most of their heat straight out of the back of the case, the 590 ditches half of its heat back into the case. While this isn't going to make a huge difference with that Silverstone case, it's worth keeping in mind if you were thinking that a 590 would be better for your soundcard - it'll give it more breathing room, but hotter airflow.
     
  11. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    fyi...

    heat watts will remain roughly the same reguardless of what you do...

    because even though the medium of transfer isn't direct to air..... it just goes through a middle man that moves the heat into a radiator that will end up producing near the same amount of heat elsewhere..

    meaning you aren't going to really avoid having your air condititioner blasting without plumbing the radiator outside or something.

    Personally i've kept coming back to the question of water cooling.... is it worth the risks.... will it actually provide any form of benefit for me.... etc..

    and i keep coming to the same conclusion.... no

    Without spending huge amounts of money.. on water cooling which can be made "obsolete" relatively quickly by simply trying to make an upgrade to the machine (change socket/motherboard/graphics card or anything else your changing the is directly related to the cooling solution)..

    typically people just sell the water block and gpu together if they are upgrading...

    Risk of water leaks is also quite bothersome.

    Reduction in dust is view as a benefit.. but isn't exactly perfect either and may not have any worthwhile effect.

    Aside from taking that cash and investing in a damn good case with very very quiet fans........ it's really up to you to take the chance.

    I know many people that have gone liquid and most of them run back to air either emediately or the very next upgrade.
     
  12. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    He's already got one of the best cases on the market for noise per cooling, especially for GPUs (the same case as you, I notice).
     
  13. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    I've been pondering that one - am I likely to see much of an improvement if I switch to a full ATX case and change maybe just the top GPU to watercooling? That way there's more room to circulate air and there's a lot less heat going from one card to the other.
    I was thinking about using the HAF X, that way I could have a radiator at the top of the case for graphics and the rest of the hear gets pushed out of the back. The heat would get expelled in different directions then as well, which could be a good benefit.
     
  14. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    You'd still be warming up the room exactly the same amount.

    The Silverstone Raven is supposed to be pretty much the best design out there for GPU cooling (see this recent review of similar case from admittedly irreputable source). The cards will get hot, but that's because they are programmed to use the minimum fan speed possible to stay at a given temperature, so if you want them cooler, you can just turn up the fans.

    I really don't see what water-cooling will do for you other than less noise (only slightly less if you only WC one card), which could be achieved with aftermarket air coolers, and and heat being expelled in different directions, which seems a pretty small benefit.

    If you just want the cards to get better airflow, how about some top-notch case fans (read Noctua :p), or maybe some spot coolers.

    If you currently have your sound card between the two cards, you could move it to the bottom PCI-Ex16 slot. I realise that this would relegate your second 570 to x8 bandwidth, but that really shouldn't make a huge difference, and it'd leave clean air between your two cards. You could then remove the slot cover between them to let air flow past, or even install an additional exhaust blower (like this one).
     
  15. OldBuzzard

    OldBuzzard DH's oldest Geek

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    Water cooling is definitely the way to go.

    What it does so MUCH better than air cooling is that it gets the heat out of the case.

    Having a big a** HSF that cools the CPU is OK, but it is still dumping all of that heat inside the case, which means you need more fans to pull in the cool air and move the hot air out. The same thing applies to a lot vid cards as well.

    With WC you aren't dumping all that heat inside the case. You are taking it to a radiator, and then transferring it to the outside. Not to mention that getting rid of the big a** HSF makes for better air flow in the case which will help in keeping other components such as the HDDs, NB, etc. cooler as well.

    Plus it's a hell of a lot quieter than air cooling.

    The only real CON for WCing is the cost if you are going to go for a full blown CPU and GPU cooling setup. If you are just going to cool the CPU, it's no more expensive than a high end HSF.

    With current tech, leaks are not a problem. You will probably have a failing fan on an HSF before you will have a water leak. I've been WCing since the first Koolance Exos came out and I started WCing my Athlon 1.2 T-Bird, and have never even considered going back to air. I run my systems 24/7, and have never had a leak. Sure you OCCASIONALLY have to get a different WB with a platform change, but that is true of HSFs as well, and the cost is comperable.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  16. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    I'll aim for the more sensible route - I'll ingore personal comfort for the time being because that's something I'd have to work out for myself (positioning of the PC, etc).
    So, I'll look at expelling heat from the PC. The priority will be to get heat away from the soundcard. If I went down the route of watercooling would I need to go full-blown or could I WC one or both graphics cards and leave the processor with a HSF?
     
  17. blibbax

    blibbax nahm8

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    Of course you can :)

    There are even a few self contained loops (like Corsair's H*o range for CPUs) around for GPUs now.
     
  18. Judas

    Judas Obvious Closet Brony Pony

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    The situation with my case is that i've got my 180mm fans in the raven 02 set to the lowest rpm.... the case is essentially silent... comment from a water user says it's on par with that of his water cooling rig.

    The difference is that 2 or more cards in crossfire block the card above it... causing the fan and temp to increase significantly.

    What is bizarre to me..

    I've 2 Referrence design cards and one "improved" heat piped card with a larger fan.

    The referrence design cards actually run cooler and quieter then the "improved" system.

    I further proved this when switching the cards around to put the "improved" card in the primary slot with the other cards below it..

    The result was a huge increase in noise.

    out of curiousity i got another 3rd party style card with a fan/heatsink solution that was supposed to be better then both the one i had and the referrence and it was just as bloody loud.

    So really i don't know..

    Personally i think the cooling systems/solutions for video cards today are a total load of shit.
     
  19. OldBuzzard

    OldBuzzard DH's oldest Geek

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    I know that you can do self contained WC for the CPU, Corsair H60 and the like for instance.

    I'm not sure about something like that for GPUs. If they do though, I'm thinking that "plumbing" might be a problem. Expecially since you are wanting to cool 2 GPUs. For cooling 2 GPUs you would almost need something like the Koolance EXOS. At that point you aren't talking 'cheap'.
     
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2011
  20. Takaharu

    Takaharu Unus offa, unus iuguolo

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    I'm not thinking self-contained, I was thinking of hooking up the graphics cards with WC - pump, resevoir,etc - and keeping the CPU as air-cooled. I know the difference in cost is marginal but it'd be less for the WC to cool down.
     

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