What’s best – a Corvette or a John Deere? Part II
Originally I had not really planned a Part II, of this post. However, after reading a couple of press reviews of our LCLC recently, I got inspired to follow up on the heat pipe VS liquid cooling thing again.
If you have not read Part I yet, you should do that here
Last week I got a link to an LCLC review at Hothardware.com. I was not even aware they had a unit for review, but I have to say that I was very impressed with the professionalism and soberness of the article when I read it. I feel it is seldom that any site reviews anything this thoroughly nowadays. The funny part is that they basically came to the same conclusion as for example Anandtech, when stating that liquid cooling has exactly same performance as air cooling (or rather the opposite).
However, if you start to scratch a bit under the surface, you will find that there is significant difference anyway. For example when looking at the pure CPU temperatures, they are about equal. However as the review unit includes a GPU cooler as well, and as the 8800 GTX probably consumes 60W in idle mode, the LCLC is actually removing 60W more of heat than the air cooler, and still capable of keeping the CPU at the same temperature. These 60W probably increases the CPU temperature with 5’C.
Just to do a santity check I looked at this review, in Danish (English conclusion on the last page) they test without a GPU in the loop, and see a 5’C LCLC lead over their air cooler. So my “back of an envelope” estimate is probably pretty accurate.
Also the air cooler and LCLC is not tested with the same air flow in the Hothardware review, since the fan on the air cooler is running 2640rpm, and the fan on the LCLC is only running 800rpm. There is a test where the air cooler is also only running at low rpm, and this case the temperature is 5’C higher. So it it very fair to assume that the LCLC would have performed 3-5’C better at the same airflow although I have not studied it in detail.
Finally all tests are done in an open bench. As the air cooler would pump all the CPU heat in to the chassis, the CPU temperature would definitely be much higher, whereas the LCLC would transfer the heat out of the chassis. Again this could easily have a 1-3’C gain on the LCLC.
All things equal it actually means that the LCLC actually performs significantly better than the air cooler in this test. I have suggested my good friend Dave, to do an update to the article, but no matter what I still like the review a lot. The reason for liking this review a lot, although my above-mentioned points are not explicitly addressed is that Hothardware, although implicitly, addresses them systematically by mentioning the lower noise etc. in the article.
Very good read indeed!