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Liquid coolers for Alder Lake

Post Date: 2021-12-17

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Threetall View Drop Down
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  Quote Threetall Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Liquid coolers for Alder Lake
    Posted: 17 Dec 2021 at 11:21am
I am going to get the i5 12600K but not overclock. But do I have to use a liquid cooler?
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  Quote MrCheetah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 17 Dec 2021 at 2:52pm
In general, that CPU should be okay with an air cooler.

Edited by MrCheetah - 17 Dec 2021 at 3:10pm
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  Quote daveyd Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 17 Dec 2021 at 8:43pm
Originally posted by MrCheetah

In general, that CPU should be okay with an air cooler.


While I'm sure many people do build PCs with that CPU and air cooling, it actually seems Digital Storm will not let you check out if you select a i5-12600K and "Air Stage 1" cooling.



Perhaps it's possible to contact DS and request that they let you get it anyway, but I assume if they set the config up this way they'd strongly advise against it. 


Edited by daveyd - 17 Dec 2021 at 9:05pm
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  Quote Cretae Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Dec 2021 at 4:28am
You CAN select the single fan AIO, and for $30, it's not a budget-breaker. The Alder Lake chips handle power management differently from previous generations, allowing longer stretches of max turbo, at pretty high loads (= higher temps). I would not question DS's recommendation if they insist on the dual fan config. It's not a place to skimp.
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  Quote MrCheetah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Dec 2021 at 5:13am
Originally posted by daveyd

While I'm sure many people do build PCs with that CPU and air cooling, it actually seems Digital Storm will not let you check out if you select a i5-12600K and "Air Stage 1" cooling.

Great work checking on that.

Originally posted by Cretae

You CAN select the single fan AIO, and for $30, it's not a budget-breaker.


Good job both of you.

Originally posted by daveyd

I assume if they set the config up this way they'd strongly advise against it.

Originally posted by Cretae

The Alder Lake chips handle power management differently from previous generations, allowing longer stretches of max turbo, at pretty high loads (= higher temps). I would not question DS's recommendation if they insist on the dual fan config. It's not a place to skimp.

Agreed.

I was basing my answer on benchmark-focused reviews, such as this and this, which claim even the NH-U12S (similar to what DS is offering) can keep that TDP CPU within thermal limit. Indeed, it would not be an optimal scenario, plenty of max fan speed periods, but suffice.

Edited by MrCheetah - 18 Dec 2021 at 5:14am
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  Quote Threetall Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Dec 2021 at 6:39am
Originally posted by Cretae

You CAN select the single fan AIO, and for $30, it's not a budget-breaker. The Alder Lake chips handle power management differently from previous generations, allowing longer stretches of max turbo, at pretty high loads (= higher temps). I would not question DS's recommendation if they insist on the dual fan config. It's not a place to skimp.

Its just I am leery of a liquid near my circuitry. Old school thinking but...
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  Quote MrCheetah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Dec 2021 at 8:37am
Originally posted by Threetall

Its just I am leery of a liquid near my circuitry. Old school thinking but...

At least a few of us here, including myself, still have that mentality -- it's sensible. Although, as you can tell based on the rig specs in my signature, I did decide to give an AIO liquid cooler a chance.

From what I have gathered.

AIO/closed loop systems are nowadays very unlikely to leak. However, pump failures are more common because the liquid cannot be replenished/filled/topped off. And when the pump does fail, you essentially need to discard and replace the entire cooling cooling assembly (i.e., pump, tubes, radiator).

Custom/open loop systems have a bigger possibility to leak because they have far more points of failure and components are meant to be swappable (i.e., not extraordinarily sealed). Optimum liquid level can be fairly easily maintained and when/if the pump does fail, the replacement cost is lower (i.e., just the pump and not the entire system) and is less wasteful (i.e., not tossing away the still fully functional components as well).

Air (just fan) cooling is cheaper upfront and to replace. However, it is generally less efficient.

Basically, they all indeed have benefits and trade-offs.

Air Cooling vs Watercooling... Which is right for you? | JayzTwoCents (YouTube)

Edited by MrCheetah - 18 Dec 2021 at 9:31am
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  Quote Threetall Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Dec 2021 at 9:10am
Is there a roadmap for more efficient/powerful air cooling?
I guess if I want the newer systems I must be more diligent in my maintenance to soothe my fears.


Edited by Threetall - 18 Dec 2021 at 9:14am
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  Quote Nomad1970 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Dec 2021 at 9:49am
Here is a link to coolers for the I5-12600



link

Edited by Nomad1970 - 18 Dec 2021 at 9:52am
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  Quote MrCheetah Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Dec 2021 at 10:06am
Originally posted by Threetall

Is there a roadmap for more efficient/powerful air cooling?

Massive tower coolers that can generally compete with 240mm radiator liquid cooled setups are available, such as Noctua's NH-D15 and be quiet's Dark Rock Pro 4. Some companies that ship computers, such as Digital Storm, shy away from offering these components because they can do a lot of damage with careless shipper handling (even with good packing). Even though the cooling towers are typically aluminum they have some heft. And unlike radiators, which attach to the case, traditional CPU coolers rely on the motherboard PCB and backplate strength/rigidity. With enough momentum (i.e., PC slammed around during shipping), that cooler can damage the motherboard, CPU, and several other components, especially if it were to fully detach. Additionally, some of the large tower coolers have compatibility problems with certain motherboards and RAM (i.e., size/height of the heatsinks blocking the cooler or vice-versa).

I am a relatively new member to these forums, but have seen a few threads in which customers mention loose screws (i.e., rattling around inside the case), jostled out graphics cards, cable connections loose or unplugged, etc. This is not specific to Digital Storm, and I have no doubt PCs are packaged well. It is simply the nature of the (shipper) beast. Some situations are unavoidable, but (of course) DS should make decisions to prevent them when reasonably possible.

Edited by MrCheetah - 18 Dec 2021 at 10:13am
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  Quote fwfdfireman Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Dec 2021 at 10:40am
I really would push the dual fan AIO. Not much more monies for better cooling and performance from your CPU.

I have had two AIO's installed on previous custom PCs, now on my third with my new (well, 1 year old) DS PC. Never any leaking and never any problems.

Had an open system before and will never do that again. Too much maintenance, although they look nice, but for me, not worth the headache.
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  Quote Onkel_Ken Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 18 Dec 2021 at 11:11am
On my 12 year system that I recently replaced I had a LARGE massive Coolermaster Air Cooler for my OC i7. The only problem I had with it was that in order to clean the inner hidden heat fins you had to take it apart and remove the inner fan to clean it.

I had kept everything dust free but never thought about taking the whole air cooler apart and it ended up blocking airflow killing the fan and causing the CPU to overheat.

The fan was the only thing I replaced in the system in those 12 years and it wouldn't have died if I would had cleaned the inside by taking the thing apart.

By the way, I am still using the old system after replacing the fan.

I had the same concerns about liquid cooling and leaks as you did but after consultation with Forum members I went with the dual fan AIO on the new system I got a few weeks ago.

So far so good! I like how the AIO looks and how low the CPU temperature stays even when doing heavy processing.

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  Quote Cretae Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 19 Dec 2021 at 4:29am
FYI, when I joined here in 2010, DS was offering two sizes of (quite huge) Noctua tower air coolers. I bought the dual 120MM fan model. They did, indeed, have to move away from those choices because they caused massive damage when dislodged in shipping.

I'm a regular here, and I've not seen a single complaint from someone who has had an AIO leak. Mine is 4 years old and problem free. It runs 24/7. The pump will eventually fail, but so will most electrical/electronic parts depending on use. If it does fail, the first clue will be the auto-shut-down built into modern procs when they reach an unsafe temp. It will not fry.
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  Quote daveyd Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 24 Dec 2021 at 10:06am
I'm another one who has been very hesitant to get a liquid cooler. This is the only reason I had been considering getting a Ryzen 5600x instead of the i512600k even though I'd be paying pretty much the same $ for a lower performing system... It probably wouldn't make a noticeable difference for most games, but I'd also been missing out on some nice features, most notably the PCI-e 5.0 (That said, I'm not sure if I'd ever get a GPU or SSD that takes advantage of it as I tend to be just fine with low or mid tier cards since I mostly play indie games or older games).

But since it sounds like leaks with an AIO CPU cooler are very rare these days perhaps I should go for the better system. 
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  Quote Cretae Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 25 Dec 2021 at 3:12am
IMHO, you've thought this through quite well. I think you are right on all counts. I don't think you'll miss out by much going with the Ryzen chip if it makes you more comfortable overall.

The usefulness of PCIe 5 may be so far away right now that it never is meaningful for this system.

The best of all worlds would be to take the attitude that you may want to upgrade cooling at some point in the future. You should look around you for friends or a local computer shop that might be able to help you with that when the time comes. Perhaps your peace of mind would not be prohibitively costly. Noctua is not about to stop building their quality products anytime soon.   
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