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Thread: Which radiator?...Let's decide!

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    Default Which radiator?...Let's decide!

    Let’s talk a little about radiators

    I looked at some testing that has been done and thought a simple précis of the results might be in order…
    Most of us will be considering 120mm fans fitted to triple rads at least for our first custom build so I’d like to consider some points….

    For the best possible performance we need to consider some other things first…

    HOW FAST DO WANT THE FANS TO RUN???
    We need to know this because radiators with a high fin density or that are really thick tend to work less well at low fan speeds so if you are building for very quiet stay away from these. Conversely these will work VERY well at high speeds

    HOW BIG IS YOUR LOOP???
    A single loop with a lot of blocks or components that have things like jets fitted is going to present greater flow restriction so if you can choose a rad with low restriction there will be some benefit. Going on from this…..

    WHAT DO YOU WANT TO COOL???
    We must consider how much cooling we will need….a triple rad cooling just a core 2 quad is going to be under less load than if is trying to cool an i7 at 4.0+ with graphics too so the former might run at between 2 and 5 degrees difference between air and water temp whereas the latter may be running out of steam and be nearer 15 degrees difference. Between 5 and probably nearer 10 degrees is an average system

    HOW MUCH SPACE IS AVAILABLE IN YOUR CASE???
    For some the fattest, longest rad will fit no problem…for others it will be a squeeze. Be aware of the dimensions of the rad…they are NOT all the same.

    So…what choices do we have??? Well among others there are these….

    1. Swiftech MCR320
    2. Thermochill PA 120.3
    3. XSPC RX 320
    4. TFC Xchanger 360
    5. Hardware labs GTX 360


    Lets try to rate these by performance.

    Cooling just the i7 920 overclocked to around 4.0 (A load of around 275watts) the three to choose would be
    FANS at 600rpm (expect the difference between air and water temps to be around 11 degrees)

    1 RX 320
    2 PA 120.3
    3 MCR 320

    The RX wins but the difference between the 3 is under 0.5 degrees

    Fans at 1000 rpm (expect the difference between air and water to be around 8 degrees) the choice is…

    1 RX 320
    2 PA 120.3
    3 MCR 320

    Again the RX wins but this time the difference is 0.25 degrees

    Fans at 1400 rpm (expect the difference between air and water to be around 6 degrees) the choice is

    1 PA 120.3
    2 RX 320
    3 TFC Xc 360

    This time the PA 120.3 is beginning to come to the fore. The difference is < 0.25 degrees

    Fans at 1800 rpm (expect the difference between air and water to be around 5 degrees) the choices are

    1 GTX 360
    2 TFC Xc 360
    3 PA 120.3

    At these faster speeds the GTX 360 races to the top and the difference between rads is back to >0.25 degrees and the order remains the same all the way to near 3000 rpm when the difference is between rads >0.6 degrees and the difference between air and water is probably 3 degrees

    ADDING A GRAPHICS CARD OR TWO…..

    This will bring the load up towards 500watts which at 600 rpm fanspeed results in air to water difference in the order of 18+ degrees so really more radiator needed.

    At 1000 rpm the air/water temp drops to around 13 degrees difference so just about OK

    At 1400 rpm expect air/water temps to be around 10 degrees difference

    By the time you run your fans at 3000 in this configuration temps will be around 5 degrees difference

    Just a personal note...At the time of purchase I had not seen the data for this but still bought a PA 120.3 and whilst not at the top of the pile at any fanspeed it is in the top 3 for all.

    Deton has long extolled the virtues of the MCR 320 which for the lower (and quieter) fanspeeds follows the same trend

    Data from Skinnee labs http://www.skinneelabs.com/triplesv2.html?page=1

    Edit: feel free to comment or correct
    Last edited by grumpydaddy; 23-03-2010 at 21:56.
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    bullydog (24-03-2010)

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    your theory is about in line.
    MRC320 is the best value performance rad if you want to use slow fan speed.
    However, if you run these rads (RX360, PA 120.3, MCR320) are all at 1000RPM then bigger rad is capable dissipate more heat than thinner rad.

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    Great piece of information Grumpy. Thanks

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    Hi Guys and Girls!

    Havent been here around but this thread caused couple of thoughts that i like to share:

    Well I'm sticking with mcr series. Purely beacuse if you get anything else it simply denies 2nd virtue of WC - being quiet. Whats the point of spending so much money on thicker rad to have PC cooled better and more quiet if you need 3000rpm fans on it?? So considering that one wants to have quiet and well performing system there is no justification of spending that extra cash on "better" rad if you gain 0.5 degree or so. Unless you want to have system that howls like wolf during full moon

    Of course one can say that you can get fan controller to turn down the fans when your PC isnt stressed - yes thats true but once again you are spending another extra money on the system that supposed to be quiet (cause your using WC) but its loud ( beacuse of high RPM fans)....

    now i have 6 fans running on 2 rads , fans are rated 1200RMP and i still put them on a separate switch so i can turn them off when pc is idling.

    So unless you are ok with spending extra money on thicker rad and then on fast fans (as they arent the cheapest ones either) and then on fan contrller and you like when your PC sound like turbine and of course you want to enlarge your e-peen beacuse my rad is bigger than yours, then you should invest in MCR

    so short and sweet IMO MCR series are the most underestimated rads are out there


    ....just my 2 cents......

    " There are some things Man should not know, for rest is Google"
    " Never argue with an idiot, he'll drag you to his level and beat you with experience"




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    grumpydaddy (24-03-2010)

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    There are some extreme rads for the lovers of quiet rigs too (like the Mo-Ra) but above I wanted to write up in simple terms that should be understood by those considering that first step into custom watercooling.

    I hope that the basics of what you need to consider are covered for both quiet and high performance rigs.

    My first build was using high speed fans and a controller. for all my testing and then for normal use....been there done that...the next rig will be a compromise in the 1400-1800 range fans just to see if I am happier for normal use, but still able to achieve the clocks ....The smaller the process 60nm,45nm,32nm the less I hope I will need
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    dannyboy1981 (24-03-2010)

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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpydaddy View Post
    There are some extreme rads for the lovers of quiet rigs too (like the Mo-Ra) but above I wanted to write up in simple terms that should be understood by those considering that first step into custom watercooling.

    I hope that the basics of what you need to consider are covered for both quiet and high performance rigs.

    My first build was using high speed fans and a controller. for all my testing and then for normal use....been there done that...the next rig will be a compromise in the 1400-1800 range fans just to see if I am happier for normal use, but still able to achieve the clocks ....The smaller the process 60nm,45nm,32nm the less I hope I will need
    Thanks for this grumpy +1 rep for it.

    As for the 32nm size they really are a step in right direction and i think will make cooling alot easyer.Of course it is in our nature to keep pushing the limits so cooling will always be a problem but a nice one to deal with.

    I am sure if they invented a chip that needed no cooling we all would be alot sader. :confused:
    Last edited by dannyboy1981; 24-03-2010 at 18:36.

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    @sm, My vote goes to PA 140.3 ....Just double check the measurements and be aware that your fan choices are much more limited if you decide to change. Also you may need to build a shroud/bulkhead when using your original 180's http://www.skinneelabs.com/pa140.3.html?page=1

    Edit: the gtx 480...is that from the same family of thick/high fin density rads mentioned? if so then you will likely have to run faster fans....say 1450 and above for the performance to be optimum but this will not be as quiet.

    It is not beyond possibility to go with your 180's and a shroud but a lot will depend on the static pressure developed by your fans (thinks...do we need to talk about fans???)
    Last edited by grumpydaddy; 26-03-2010 at 14:25.
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    I heard fesser got a new rad out in july thats ment to be really something.

    So you might need to redo this in the summer.
    http://www.neave.com/television/ funniest thing on the web.

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    For those of you wanting to look at 140mm Rads I found this:-

    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...d.php?t=240577

    Read on to page 2 because he adds more later

    The only unfortunate thing for me is that he used a Laing ultra pump (600ltrs hour) which has gone from 10 ltrs Min flow down to typically a quarter of that in his setup (running at 0.5 gall per min)

    The D5 is a 1500 ltrs/hour pump ...I'd like to see the numbers for that setup
    Last edited by grumpydaddy; 26-03-2010 at 14:21. Reason: add
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    For those of you with money to burn...but who want a high performance 140mm fan with good flow and good pressure and it has ball bearings I've seen one... but the price

    http://www.newark.com/sanyo-denki/9l...fan/dp/96M7536

    Oh, Did I say it was quiet???..........I lied
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    Quote Originally Posted by grumpydaddy View Post
    There are some extreme rads for the lovers of quiet rigs too (like the Mo-Ra)
    That would be me. Dual Mo-Ra 2s. Dual loop. Originally I was going to go small, so I bought a HWL Black Ice GTX 480. I had that rad for all of maybe two weeks, until I realized this:

    Quote Originally Posted by grumpydaddy View Post
    Edit: the gtx 480...is that from the same family of thick/high fin density rads mentioned? if so then you will likely have to run faster fans....say 1450 and above for the performance to be optimum but this will not be as quiet.
    Yes, it needs high-speed fans. Complete turn-off. I sold the GTX 480, new-in-box, for half of what I paid for it. I began looking for alternatives, then one night I had the thought, "What the Hell is wrong with me? Why be bound to the dimensions of a case?" So yeah, I bought two Mo-Ra 2 Pros. At least I will never need another rad. But 18x 120mm fans? No bloody way was I going to put up with that much noise. But I couldn't find any decent 180mm fans (with Fluid Dynamic Bearing), so I'm going to run 4x 140mm FDB fans on each. These monsters need very little airflow anyway. One loop gets my i7 920 and mainboard, the other gets my GPUs and ram. Four D5s dressed up in BP tops and kits, 2x2, series. I need the extra head pressure.

    Build is nearly complete. I just keep running into out-of-stock obstacles on miscellaneous bits of detail items.

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    I hope you post some pics of the finished rig
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    I will, if I can get off my ass and finish the rad box. My slow progress on this project is a point of embarrassment for me. It just seems like I never have time.

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    I have one of these on a Cosmos 1000... http://www.performance-pcs.com/catal...ducts_id=25231

    I currently only cool a 920 with it with two fans, tho it be at 4.5GHz. At lower cpu clocks, how would it fare cooling say two gpu's with more fannage?


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    The Mo-Ra is designed to be a system cooler. It's looking annoyingly at your 920 and scoffing. It wants more.

    I'd say, "think of it as three 120.3s", but that isn't completely accurate. Think of it more as two 120.3s and a 120.1. You have a lot of untapped potential there, so, by the power of Grayskull, pull out your sword and seize it. It'll easily handle a 920 and a pair of GPUs. Toss a couple more fans on it.

    When I bought mine, I knew they were completely overkill. But that's what I wanted, "set it and forget it".

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    That's kinda what I figured, but I have never cooled any cards before in a case loop. Was just wondering if anyone else had this set-up. The Cosmos was more or less the final chapter in my water cooling endeavors...I have moved to the Boreas and don't see myself going back at this point.

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