Water Woes and Air Salvation
So last Sunday my Corsair H110i GT's pump starting making a whining noise, and noticed my system temps while encoding in Premiere Pro were getting extremely high. My CPU hit, 80, then 90, and then 104 degrees Celsius! At which point I scrambled to shut down the system.
After letting it cool for an hour, I reseated the block, and applied new thermal paste, but temps were still extremely high. I was idling in the 80's, and my pump was making horrible whirring sound.
It was clear the pump was going to die; and was already having its death rattles.
After that I spent my days and restless nights prowling the net online for a solution, and alternative.
The only watercooling based system that looked decent was the EK Predator range; which were also modular.
Unlike the majority of other units which are closed by design. Sadly the investment into that also mean a bigger chassis, and the AIO kit alone was around £180! Extremely expensive.
It was then that someone on the OcUK forums mentioned good ole air coolers. Especially the twin tower modern designs.
I spent hours looking into them, and messaging forum members; and in the end came to an amazing realization. AIO water coolers are junk, they were junk when Asetek first marketed their Cheap Closed Loop Coolers, and they were still junk now. The pump being extremely weak and the first point of failure as well. Looking online more, and more people were having pump failures with their H110's.
So I opted for the Noctua NH D15S, as it was based on Noctua's top performing cooler, but was offset slightly to allow for better top PCIe slot clearance.
It's a massive cooling tower, and looks extremely intimidating. Even though, it ended up being the easiest to install HSF I had ever used. Their mounting system is a delight; and more companies need to employ a similar design.
Not only that, but even when my H110i was new ; it wasn't able to match this air cooler for performance.
The only way it could was by running in full performance mode, and then it was more than four times louder. I even ordered a second NF A15 fan with the cooler, as I wasn't sure the single fan it came with would be good enough. Hint; it's more than good enough.
As it stands now, I'm idling 30% cooler than the Corsair unit, and 20% cooler under load while being significantly quieter.
Not only that, but the Noctua NH D15S cost me £69, that's nearly 50% less than the H110i GT cost me; yet it's better in every way.
There is a single point of failure for it; the fan, and if that goes the massive heatsink and heatpipes are still there to conduct the heat away, as my system fans are still pushing air through it. A replacement NF A15 fan will also set you back £19, a small pittance against a new AIO cooler, or the hassle of the RMA procedure.
I simply cannot believe how bad a closed looped cooler is; especially for the price.
If you are ever looking for a new cooler, please do look up some air coolers. Even the single tower designs are fantastic for performance to price to noise.
Thank you to doyll from OcUK for showing me there are far better solutions out there, and for cheaper.