Optimal M1 Cooling? (Air vs. AIO Water)

Discussion in 'NCASE' started by Napostrophe, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. Napostrophe

    Napostrophe Minimal Tinkerer
    Thread Starter

    #1 Napostrophe, Jan 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
    Hello, all!

    I'm going off to college soon and plan on building a PC in the NCase M1 to bring with me. The system will have something along the lines of:

    • Ryzen 7 3700x (once it comes out)
    • GeForce RTX 2070 (or comparable AMD card if one comes out soon, exact spec not decided yet, probably EVGA XC dual-slot. Prefer not to put an Accelero on it due to warranty)
    • 512GB 970 PRO NVMe SSD
    • 2TB 860 EVO SATA SSD
    • 16GB or 32GB of RAM (haven't decided on RAM yet, 16GB is probably fine but 32GB would mean enormous headroom and not upgrading for a long time)
    • Corsair SF600 or SF750 plat (SF750 not out yet, expected)
    • Noctua NF-A12x25 (2 on bottom, would buy more if watercooling)
    This system will be used for gaming as well as heavy photo-processing (lightroom, photoshop, etc.)

    Exposition done, here is my question:
    What is the optimal cooler or cooler type for the 3700x (or 2700x, which is comparable in terms of TDP) in the M1 that is as quiet as possible while still providing good cooling performance?

    I know there are reasonable coolers both on the air and water side (NH-U9S, Pure Rock Slim, Kraken X52, H100I pro, to name a few) but, obvious cost differences aside, which are quietest? Might a 120mm AIO with a separate adjacent fan be better? Does one option have worse acoustics but better temps?

    Important note: whatever cooler I get I would load with as many Noctua fans as possible.

    For anyone about to point me to Optimum Tech's video on the topic, I take what he says in that video with a grain of salt as I think his testing methodology was somewhat flawed due to inadequately controlling for variables, one example being that he only considered what came out of the box with the Kraken X52, despite giving the NH-U9S an additional fan. While his conclusions do make sense and his data does back them up, I just feel the need to get additional confirmation on the subject.

    The community's input would be greatly appreciated.
  2. Nord1ing

    Nord1ing Chassis Packer

    #2 Nord1ing, Jan 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2019
    In my opinion, there is no reason to use AIO, except for aesthetic look (if you select the side panel with window). The NH-U9S build will be as quiet (or even quieter) as AIO and more reliable.

    Check this thread about air cooling in M1: https://smallformfactor.net/forum/threads/case-study-air-cooling-inside-an-ncase-m1.2562/

    P.S.: 32GB is far better, you can use part of memory for a ram disk (like imsoft ramdrive or others) to store web browser cache, windows temporary files folder, steam cache etc. And that temp. garbage is deleted on reboot. I am using that config for years already and found it very useful :)
  3. Napostrophe

    Napostrophe Minimal Tinkerer
    Thread Starter

    #3 Napostrophe, Jan 3, 2019
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2019
    Thanks for the response. Could you give me a ballpark idea of how the NH-U9S performs relative to an AIO? I want to have enough headroom to overclock in the future and I'm concerned that the overall cooling capacity of the U9S might be lower than a 240mm AIO, despite being able to dissipate heat comparably at lower clock speeds.

    The issue I'm having is all I can find is anecdotal evidence of "I have [insert cooler here] and it works great!", without much information beyond that (maybe the occasional temp measurements, but without controlling for system specs they are meaningless), for both the NH-U9S and various 240mm AIOs. I know I can't go wrong with either but I personally don't like going solely off the "it worked for them" mantra.
  4. Nord1ing

    Nord1ing Chassis Packer

  5. Bioforce

    Bioforce Caliper Novice

    Bare in mind that the rumors indicate the new Ryzen 3000 chips will have very high TDP's. Rumors aren't exactly reliable, but if they are true the higher core count models like the supposed 3800X will have TDP's of 125+ Watts. You'll want to consult Noctua's handy TDP guidelines chart found here.

    Based on that chart the U9S is rated for a TDP of 140W. If the rumors are true, you should be able to use a u9s, but your overclocking headroom will be limited. It's worth noting, however, that Thermalright has released a new 130mm high cooler with an advertised TDP max of 240W. A thread discussing it can be found here.

    That cooler, while not released in the US yet, will likely be your best bet as it allows you to air cool in the ncase with a dual tower equipped with a 120mm fan. Supposedly it will see a US release early this year and will likely be available by the time the new AMD chips drop. This is the option I will likely roll with when I make my Ncase build.

    That said, I think people give AIO's way more shit than they deserve. I've had a Corsair AIO in my current PC for the past 7 years. I don't hear any perceptible "pump noise" from it and it keeps my CPU at a nice, cool 60C under stress testing. On top of that, having a 240mm aio in the Ncase gives you some pretty serious exhaust compared to what you'd get when air cooling. Two 120mm's compared to a single 92mm if you run it in the standard configuration. Given that poor exhaust is a major weakness of many SFF enclosures, I feel the extra exhaust potential of a 240mm AIO has it's own value.

    Overall, going AIO is a very safe bet for ensuring your cooling needs will be met. You get better exhaust and are more or less guaranteed to not be bottlenecked by your cooling when overclocking. However, the 130mm Thermalright Silver Arrow will likely give you similar CPU cooling with less noise at half the price, albeit at the cost of lower exhaust potential.
  6. Bioforce

    Bioforce Caliper Novice

    That's an interesting suggestion for the RAM disk. How much RAM do you dedicate to that setup?
  7. Nord1ing

    Nord1ing Chassis Packer

    I have 5 GB ramdrive to be able download large files (like software installers) directly to it, instead of ssd.