Liquid cooling: blow-in or blow-out?

If you loved building blocks as a child, you will enjoy the process of assembling a liquid cooling system. A real constructor for adults – lots of bolts, nuts, wrenches, tubes, bushings, cables and connectors. But where to screw it: top or front? Now we will tell and show everything.

What are we testing?
For testing, we took the EKWB EK-KIT RGB 240 * liquid cooling system with a complete set, which includes a water block, a 280 mm radiator for two 120 mm coolers and a water cooling pump. All components are equipped with adjustable RGB lighting.

We will test the effectiveness of the LSS in two positions (in and out) and find out which position will be most effective. First, we will install the radiator from above – for blowing out. Fortunately, the body of the Cougar Panzer Max allows you to install the radiator in two positions.

Cougar Panzer Max body black

The dropsy, which we took for tests, is not the smallest in size: pipes, a rather massive pump, plus a hefty 2080 Ti graphics card. The system comes with thick tubes that lend themselves to laying inside the case only after the liquid has warmed up. On cold weather, they are a little oak. These features add hassle to installation. It should be noted that we noticed an interesting feature of this LSS model – heating the fluid in idle operation without a processor, at maximum pump speed.

By the way, the 2080 Ti is also a very hot thing. The crystal of the card warmed up to 89 ° C under load and did not fall below 86 ° C. The standard video card cooling system leaves hot air in the case, thereby creating unfavorable conditions for the rest of the PC components.
As mentioned above, the test will be carried out in two positions, so that during the testing process, all the components of the cooling system will not be laid too neatly: you still have to reconnect them in a different position later. The optimal place for the radiator will be determined according to the test results, after which we will cut the tubes to size and put them nicely in the case.

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It should be noted that sales of EKWB EK-KIT RGB 240 have been discontinued in DNS, however, analogs can be found among liquid cooling systems . For example:

Cooling system EKWB EK-Classic Kit D-RGB S240

In order to aggravate the test conditions, and the result turned out to be brighter, more extreme and varied, together with the LinPack mode in OCCT, we will launch Furmark.

Intel Core i9-9900K BOX 35 999 Processor *
The main heating element will be the i9-9900k, with thermal grease from the dropsy kit – Thermal Grizzly. This is a very hot processor. The allowed maximum temperature of its crystal reaches 100 ° C and 95 watts TDP.

By the way, if you install a cooling system with a dissipated power of 95 watts on the 9900K, the temperature under load on the processor will reach the limit of 100 ° C in a matter of seconds. The cooling system is filled with EK-CryoFuel.

At the first start-up, the air in the pump was mixed with the coolant. Out of habit, it looks like dust has got into the system, but in fact this is normal. You need to wait a little – and everything will stabilize. Before starting the test, we warmed up all the elements of the cooling system using the aforementioned tests. The test lasted 45 minutes.

Top position
Everyone remembers that in accordance with the laws of physics, hot air rises up? Guided by this thesis, we determined the position of the LSS in the first version: the radiator of the cooling system is in the case, the cooler from above is for blowing out.

In OCCT, select the LinPack mode. We put a check mark in “Use all logical cores”, followed by the stress test FurMark with a resolution of 2K, and unscrew the anti-aliasing to the maximum. The video card is very hot, it warms up to 89 ° C. Processor temperatures range from 43 ° C to 83 ° C.

It’s all about the hot air that comes from the video card: bending around the pipes, the air rises and falls directly on the radiator, heating it. When the temperature exceeded 80 ° C, there was a lot of noise from the coolers. You can’t leave that way. We remove the liquid cooling system and we will test its effectiveness in the second version.

Frontal position
Now we will install the radiator on the front of the case. This arrangement should be more efficient in terms of cooling. Why? Because the radiator is blown not by hot streams rising from the video card, but by cool room air. We launch, we look.

The temperature dropped at rest to 32 ° C, which is 26% more efficient than in the first case with the radiator on top. During load, the temperature dropped by 12 ° C. The noise has practically disappeared, it increases under load, but not much. A very good result.

So, if you do not take into account the assembly and installation of dropsy, everything is simple. If the video card is hot and air-cooled, then it is better to put the dropsy on the blower so that its radiator is blown with cool air from the external environment, and not from the case. It doesn’t matter what position it is in: bottom or top. The main thing is that the air should come from outside.

To maintain the effectiveness of the LSS, periodically clean the radiator from dust, in particular, remove the blockages between the radiator fins. This will have a positive effect on processor cooling. And of course, remember that fans have different static pressures. The efficiency is highly dependent on their model, quantity and speed. Do not forget about additional fans that drive hot air out of the case, otherwise it may turn out that the processor is cooled efficiently, but the rest of the components get very hot – from the video card to the power supply circuits of the motherboard.