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Old Mar 13, 2021, 10:01 PM   #1
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mizzer
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Default Best AIO CPU Cooler

Maybe I'm over-thinking this...


I'm moving my main rig to a Fractal Design Meshify 2 XL. During the move, I intend to put an AIO on the processor.

Reviews of AIOs seem all over the place. Where some like one, others trash it, visa versa.


My main concern: silence. Or at least quiet operation.


I like like to hear your experience with AIO coolers and opinions. (BTW: I don't need RGB but it's not a turn off.)


Muchas Gracias
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Old Mar 13, 2021, 10:03 PM   #2
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What size are you looking for? 240, 280, or 360? The only real improvement from a DH15 will be with a 360mm.
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Old Mar 13, 2021, 10:51 PM   #3
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I looked at this a while back. There are a lot of mixed reviews about this. However, people recommend Arctic 360 mm as the best one. I have found a lot of reviews claiming that the tiny fan can be loud and/or the Arctic fans can have a whine at a specific RPM (usually around 1000-1250 range) which is where you would want to run the damn thing lol. Also reports of motor noise on fans about 3-6 months later.

Then I looked at EK AIO and there were tons of issues with leaks and pump failing especially in Q4 2020 when it was launched. Also, Vardar fans are some of the worst when it comes to sound profile. It is not just the decibels but the shrill tone of the fans at anything over 1200-1300 RPMs would be loud. It does benefit from largest cold plate though so if you change the fans it can be good (albiet you dont get pump failure or leaks).

Most reliable would be Corsair Elite Capillex. It is no longer an Asetek block but performs the same. It might run 2-3 C hotter than the above two. Some people swear by NZXT X72/X73 but damn if I ever buy an NZXT product. Also apparently their CAM software is still utter shite. Of all of the above the best is Corsair since it comes with its own software. People have claimed that iCue is a resource hog and causes instability. Frankly I don't give a crap. I installed it. Fixed the RGB that I wanted and fan and pump speeds and uninstalled it. Since then even with a reinstall of windows everything runs at the same speeds I set prior to Windows reinstall (I never reinstalled iCue).

I ended up keeping my Corsair H150i Pro since it works like a champ.

Last edited by KAC : Mar 13, 2021 at 10:59 PM.
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Old Mar 13, 2021, 11:02 PM   #4
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If you get an Asetek made unit they're all the same, just with different branding (ASUS, MSI, Gigabyte etc.)
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Old Mar 13, 2021, 11:09 PM   #5
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Corsairs AIOs are generally pretty good. You get what you pay for with them.

I saw some pretty cool things with the Lian Li AIO's too.
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Old Mar 13, 2021, 11:54 PM   #6
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Thanks guys! KAC, I appreciate the input.

I’m looking at a 360 but a 240 or a 420 is not out of the question.
My main concern is noise. As long as it works and is quiet I’m golden.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 12:04 AM   #7
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If you are not worried about RGB/looks then if I were you I would buy the Arctic 360 (for cheap) and add either Noctua NF-A25s or the thermaltake knock offs. If the tiny fan is noisy I think you can find a way to control its speed or turn it off.

If looks are a concern then Corsair is pretty good value since it comes with Commander (helps if you have other Corsair fans as well). Otherwise, you can try one of the Gigabyte Aorus or ASUS models (TUF or Strix). ASUS TUF models are also pretty decent but will suffer from poor fans. Generally I find Gigabyte and ASUS models more expensive here locally for what they offer. Also their software is shite.

I did look at Lian Li Gallahad and it suffered from same issues of poor fans (so you will be replacing those but end up paying higher for block RGB).

Usually most 360s will run within 2-5 C of each other so it won't change the world if you purchase one over the other.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 12:07 AM   #8
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Zen 2 and Zen 3 processors don't actually need a whole lot of cooling power. The issue isn't that they produce a large quantity of heat, but rather the 7nm process means there is not much surface area to transfer heat out of the die into the heat spreader and then the heatsink. The processor will run hot either way just because it's hitting a heat transfer bottleneck. As a result, having a large radiator is not really necessary. Even the worst 240 AIO in existence should be more than sufficient unless you're doing serious overclocking with unsafe voltages. A 360, let alone 420, will be totally overkill.

The advantage of an AIO vs a large heatsink like the NH-D15 is mostly that the heatsink is very large and bulky and gets in the way. The cooling performance will not be that different--maybe a few degrees either way. If the size doesn't bother you., then personally I'd just stick with what you have.

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Old Mar 14, 2021, 12:10 AM   #9
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If he is not overclocking, he doesn't need to go water cooling at all.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 12:10 AM   #10
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Been running a CM ML 240 for 4 years no probs. Reliability is usually pretty good for many aios save for enermax.

Arctic is the best in aios right now. But what kind of cpu do you want to cool? If its a 3 chiplet model or bigger Id look at the ice giant but if its a one cpu die arctic is besting out most aios right now. Their fans are also pretty good I wouldnt bother swapping them out. Im running arctic fans and noctuas and cant tell the diff in noise between them.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 04:24 AM   #11
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Asetek 360 will do the job just nicely, but if you want to pay for something better go for it.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 04:54 AM   #12
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 06:54 AM   #13
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You'd have to get a really big AIO to make a difference from a Noctua DH15.

Have you tried to use fan profiles to limit the fan speeds of the DH15?

I never go to 100% fan speed unless the temps get 80+ which so far out of extreme stress tests hasn't happened.

I keep most case fans that are fairly quiet at 80-100% speed, I have some 140mm Noctua case fans that I keep at 60-80% depending on what I'm doing and noise.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 09:07 AM   #14
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The D15 runs cool and quiet. No issues there. However, it’s a beast in size and it blocks easy access to my GPU retention clip. When changing gpus I have to use a wooden spoon handle to release the card. It’s a pain and it’s risky.

Moving to a larger case gives me more flexibility with cooling decisions. I can put a large future-proof AIO on my cpu and (eventually) easily fit an AIO RTX 3090.

Thanks again for the input guys.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 02:15 PM   #15
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As far as AIOs go most of them are made by the same company, so the difference really comes down to the software and fans. Personally I'd recommend a Corsair AIO since their latest ones come with ML fans which are pretty damn good. But if you can find another one cheaper you can also just swap out the fans for whatever you want.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 02:17 PM   #16
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There are a lot more options out there now to get off of the Asetek garbage. EK, Arctic, and Lian Li are 3 different ones off the top of my head that are using a non-Asetek design. Asetek stifled the market with garbage patents but now that a few years have gone by, companies are coming up with ways around it.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 03:00 PM   #17
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Is Arctic’s VRM mini-fan a gimmick or a bonus? I don’t over clock now but probably will with my new case.

I’m choosing between the Corsair and the Arctic.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 03:03 PM   #18
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The Arctic is a much, much better product.

I'm not entirely sold on the VRM mini-fan being all that useful, but it's a cool feature. I'd rather have it than not.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 03:27 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by mizzer View Post
Thanks guys! KAC, I appreciate the input.

I’m looking at a 360 but a 240 or a 420 is not out of the question.
My main concern is noise. As long as it works and is quiet I’m golden.
Not sure what you're coming from, but... I have had a Corsair H100i v2 for a long time and switched back to air cooling on the 3700x due to a RMA replacement on my 1080ti to a 2080 super with a larger radiator (Waterforce editions with an AIO) and couldn't be happier. I thought the corsair was fairly quiet for most tasks, but if it cranked up the fans, it was quite loud. This new Noctua Dh-15 is awesome. If your case can take it and your memory clearances allow, it is whisper silent and actually cooling better than the AIO did.

If you're deadest on the AIO, the Corsair was very good and they sent out a new bracket free of charge with the AM4 Ryzen release, so good customer service as well. Plus, I've heard nothing but good things about their newer fans - that was the only draw back on mine - they sounded like jet engines if you really cranked em up. I did end up swapping them with some Noctua fans later on though to fix that...

Edit: Should've read the thread farther before replying... you have a DH-15... Woops.

Having GPU's with AIO is pretty damn awesome, it just sucks that sometimes cable management can be a little bit of a chore, especially if you've got the two hoses crossing...

When they sent me the 2080 Super with the 240 radiator (the 1080ti I RMA'd had a 120mm single fan radiator that I could use as my case's exhaust) with the CPU AIO as my intake. I really do not like top mounting since my computer sits in the corner of the room on a little rolling platform between a desk and TV stand. When I put the 2080 Super top mounted, it was quite loud. My Fractal case has the sound proofing panels all over, and just removing two of them funneled a ton of sound into the corner and it just seemed to amplify it where I could often hear the fans over top of my headset...

Once I got the DH-15, I put the GPU radiator as a front intake, closed up the top panels, and added a 140mm exhaust fan back and this thing is damn near silent except on initial power button press when everything goes to 100% fan speed, but back to nothing in a second or two...

Having had both the CPU and GPU cooled via their own AIO, I'd say that there are some downsides in that it can be a pain to get all of the tubes to fit in a nice, non kinkable way while they weave around each other, depending on your radiator placement. As for taking things out, the tubes are often not long enough to leave your radiator attached and remove the card and placing it on a "safe" spot... you have to take all of it down which was also a pain...

For my circumstances, the air cooled CPU, and GPU under the AIO work the best for performance and audible levels... but, it could be different for your case.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 03:57 PM   #20
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Quote:
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Not sure what you're coming from, but... I have had a Corsair H100i v2 for a long time and switched back to air cooling on the 3700x due to a RMA replacement on my 1080ti to a 2080 super with a larger radiator (Waterforce editions with an AIO) and couldn't be happier. I thought the corsair was fairly quiet for most tasks, but if it cranked up the fans, it was quite loud. This new Noctua Dh-15 is awesome. If your case can take it and your memory clearances allow, it is whisper silent and actually cooling better than the AIO did.

If you're deadest on the AIO, the Corsair was very good and they sent out a new bracket free of charge with the AM4 Ryzen release, so good customer service as well. Plus, I've heard nothing but good things about their newer fans - that was the only draw back on mine - they sounded like jet engines if you really cranked em up. I did end up swapping them with some Noctua fans later on though to fix that...

Edit: Should've read the thread farther before replying... you have a DH-15... Woops.

Having GPU's with AIO is pretty damn awesome, it just sucks that sometimes cable management can be a little bit of a chore, especially if you've got the two hoses crossing...

When they sent me the 2080 Super with the 240 radiator (the 1080ti I RMA'd had a 120mm single fan radiator that I could use as my case's exhaust) with the CPU AIO as my intake. I really do not like top mounting since my computer sits in the corner of the room on a little rolling platform between a desk and TV stand. When I put the 2080 Super top mounted, it was quite loud. My Fractal case has the sound proofing panels all over, and just removing two of them funneled a ton of sound into the corner and it just seemed to amplify it where I could often hear the fans over top of my headset...

Once I got the DH-15, I put the GPU radiator as a front intake, closed up the top panels, and added a 140mm exhaust fan back and this thing is damn near silent except on initial power button press when everything goes to 100% fan speed, but back to nothing in a second or two...

Having had both the CPU and GPU cooled via their own AIO, I'd say that there are some downsides in that it can be a pain to get all of the tubes to fit in a nice, non kinkable way while they weave around each other, depending on your radiator placement. As for taking things out, the tubes are often not long enough to leave your radiator attached and remove the card and placing it on a "safe" spot... you have to take all of it down which was also a pain...

For my circumstances, the air cooled CPU, and GPU under the AIO work the best for performance and audible levels... but, it could be different for your case.
Yeah, the DH 15 is great but it blocks my gpu retention clip. I think the meshify 2 xl provides enough room for pretty much all configurations. And I agree regarding software: if I can avoid it I will.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Old Mar 14, 2021, 05:12 PM   #21
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Is Arctic’s VRM mini-fan a gimmick or a bonus? I don’t over clock now but probably will with my new case.

I’m choosing between the Corsair and the Arctic.
I mean, the fan does move air.

If it's enough to matter, that depends on if you are aggressively overclocking or just cooling. If you aren't going to run the VRMs at warp speed then the fan does move air across the VRM. If you are looking at aggressive OCing then there are other solutions.

VRM's were meant to have airflow over them to cool them. The downside with AIO's was that they remove the fans from around the VRM's and that prevented airflow to cool them. This is Arctic's solution to that situation.

To be honest, I agree with Nunz here. It's a cool feature to have but it's usefulness depends on how you intend to use it.

If you aren't going to do crazy overclocking then I'd go with the Arctic cooler.
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Old Mar 15, 2021, 12:34 AM   #22
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On a high end board like an X570 Aorus Master I don't think the VRM are going to overheat even with zero airflow, except maybe in an insane torture test like P95 AVX (I doubt even non-AVX P95 would be enough to do it).

With a Ryzen 3900X it's not going to be worth overclocking anyway. The result will be a low single digit performance increase at best, not enough to be even worth the hassle. So, I don't see that as being a real concern.

I don't suppose the VRM fan would hurt anything, but I wouldn't put much weight on that feature either.
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Old Mar 15, 2021, 08:29 AM   #23
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The new GSKill will probably end up being the best due to its higher density. The review on Guru3D shows it performing extremely well for the money.

https://www.guru3d.com/articles-page...-review,1.html
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Old Mar 15, 2021, 09:09 AM   #24
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Check this out: Re: Arctic Freezer 2

https://www.reddit.com/r/buildapc/co...master_arctic/



Apparently, depending upon which kit you get, the block mount hardware is incompatible on many AM4 boards. You know, because it's 1990. What the heck?!

Sure, there's a "fix", but it requires contacting Arctic and getting the screws that came with the older mount.
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Old Mar 15, 2021, 11:28 AM   #25
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I wanted to post that as well but forgot about it in my summary. Double and triple check that Arctic will actually fit. I think Aorus master should be fine but just make sure before you indulge.
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Old Mar 15, 2021, 01:34 PM   #26
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Bah!

I purchased the Arctic Liquid Freezer II 420. Be here next Tuesday.
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Old Mar 16, 2021, 12:56 AM   #27
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Nice. Do tell us how it goes.
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Old Mar 17, 2021, 08:01 AM   #28
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I hadn't heard the Arctic had that issue, so sorry for recommending it in that case. It's definitely the best AIO on the market, so hopefully you either don't run into that issue, or worst case you can get whatever hardware from Arctic quickly.
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Old Mar 17, 2021, 10:38 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nunz View Post
I hadn't heard the Arctic had that issue, so sorry for recommending it in that case. It's definitely the best AIO on the market, so hopefully you either don't run into that issue, or worst case you can get whatever hardware from Arctic quickly.
No worries. Apparently it's an easy fix with the screws from the last generation. Report is, anything packed after December 2020 ships with both sets of screws so I should be golden. #crossesfingers
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Old Mar 17, 2021, 10:41 AM   #30
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So my case arrived yesterday.

It's so huge, before I work on it I tie off a belaying rope and pack a sandwich in case I get lost. Jeeze!
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