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Posted: 9/30/2014 7:48:52 PM EST
By "necessary" I mean taming the heat of midrange components in a tiny case without using fans that the neighbors can hear.

Right now I have a Phenom II X4 in a Sugo SG04 case with a Corsair H60 (I think, it might be a 100) on it. Runs fine, but with an older GTS460, much heat is built up inside the case, and I cut a hole in the top of the case to mount a single 120mm evac fan. This is in addition to the Lian Li dual 120mm fan dual-pci-slot cooler, also pulling heat out. The system isn't jet-engine loud, but its audible from across the room.

I want to upgrade to a Xeon (prolly Haswell) at some point, and a MicroATX MB (running miniITX now) to afford me some PCI slots. Thus the Lian Li cooler will have to go. I don't mind keeping the Corsair radiator setup, and I will be upgrading my graphics card to whatever card is modern-within-the-last-12-months and draws the least amount of power (I am not a gamer but I do use some apps that would benefit from an upgrade to the GTS460).

There is limited space inside my case for a larger radiator, dual radiators, etc. I want to build a system that sips power and is as quiet as possible. Wondering if air is going to be enough for a Haswell Xeon in a MicroATX tower like the SG04, accompanied by a couple spinners and a modest video card. I won't be overclocking and I will base my CPU choice on power draw (anything under 80w).

Wondering if all the fancy water cooling setups that were all the rage a few years ago should still be considered, or if (quiet) air can suffice for a reasonably fast system these days. I keep hearing that the Ivy and Haswell lines are wonders to behold when it comes to power use. I have limited space for a CPU cooler (power supply is in the way) so the radiator made sense at the time for the Phenom, which I could use to heat a small room. I have no reason not to re-use it with the new system, just wondering if there would be any real benefit anymore. I could always mod it and throw a loop in for the video card, I guess.

Thanks.
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 8:21:21 PM EST
I am typing from a Phenom X4 940 Black Edition system that is using the stock AMD heatsink and fan and has been running this way since the day I built it, its never had water cooling on the system. I have also had several graphics cards over the years, all air cooled with stock coolers as well. Matter of fact I have never had the need for water coooling of any of my systems all the way back to a system that had a pair of AMD 1200mp's that make a Phenom look like a snow bank. They key to cooling is a good case with well designed airflow. Small cases like it sounds like you have are usually not optimum for cooling, especially quiet air cooling. The system has been running 24/7 for over 5 years now with several GPU and CPU upgrades. I would seriously look at a better/larger case with good airflow, and 120mm or bigger fans, preferably adjustable fans.
Link Posted: 9/30/2014 8:22:45 PM EST
Nope. Still not necessary.

Link Posted: 9/30/2014 9:25:34 PM EST
All you need are the right fans. Look into Noctua. Great fans with very low db to the amount of cfm's they produce.

I've never ran water cooling. I overclock both processor and GPUs. With the right fans its very quite.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 11:53:16 AM EST
Originally Posted By tucansam:
By "necessary" I mean taming the heat of midrange components in a tiny case without using fans that the neighbors can hear.
View Quote


That's never been necessary.

Many cases these days can mount multiple 120mm fans. Even at relatively low RPM, those will provide enough heat flow for some impressive loads.

Back in the day, I ran a dual-CPU motherboard and dual video cards in a case with just four 80mm fans. Worked totally fine.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 2:56:26 PM EST
The words water-cooling, necessary, and mid-range have never really gone together.

Its still not even 'necessary' on what most people would call high-end. Really no reason for it unless you're doing some overclocking, or are one of those people that needs it as quiet as possible. You likely will still have fans on the radiator.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 4:34:26 PM EST
Back around 2004 I installed a water cooling kit for fun and the water pump was louder than the fans I replaced
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 4:40:14 PM EST
My definition of "mid range" is apparently not calibrated to the same standard as yours.

I have a Core 2 Duo desktop and a Core i5 laptop that both run all of the data analysis software I need, and fast enough I don't feel like I'm waiting for it.
Link Posted: 10/1/2014 10:28:12 PM EST
Assuming you can get the reservoir, radiator, pump, and associated plumbing hardware in a compact case, as previously mentioned you'll have to contend with the noise from small radiator fans.

I'm running an i3 3220 with stock cooler and a GTX 460 in an Ultra Micro Fly case, and the only component making any serious noise is the 80mm fan in front. If I changed that fan out for a more quiet fan, it would be barely noticeable.
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