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Some questions about liquid cooler lifetime


sys6c
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Hello,

 

today, I have some Questions About the Lifetime of the AiO Liquid Coolers.

The ones I had or have in use are

- CW‑9060007‑WW, Corsair Hydro H60 (retired after loosing too many liquid)

- CW-9060013-WW, Corsair Hydro H90 (retired after loosing too many liquid)

- CW-9060027-WW, Corsair Hydro H115i (still working but don't know how Long it will go on working after a year in use and already found some leakage traces)

 

Main Problem is:

after some time (around 1-2 years) using the liquid coolers, they start losing cooling-power.

You can find some leakage traces near the connecting Points from the tubes over to the pump or to the Radiator.

depends on how the Radiator is placed inside the PC, earlier or later the pump starts to run unsteady (because of the missing liquid) and in worst case when all liquid is gone out, it sounds like the pump has a bearing-damage.

(I already know for the H90, that it doesn't have a Damage, but without liquid, it is no longer useable)

 

First Question:

How long will the liquid cooling Systems beeing tested before bringing them to the market?

Normally something like that should work for more than 2 years without fail by losing liquid.

 

Second Question:

When these coolers still lose their liquids within 1-2 years (doesn't change from one Generation to the next), why not build in a Refill-Option?

(yeah, I know it could reduce the amount of selling coolers, but I think not more than 10-20 %, better than having a reclamation if they fail earlier because of lost liquid).

 

The last Question will be an Addition, depends of a new PC Housing I wanted to use, the Corsair Carbide 270R.

I bought it because of its space for liquid cooling Systems.

But: in combination with the H115i (and also with the older ones, the H60 and H90, sizing checked), the only good place for the Radiator is the front.

And in Addition to that, to get the longest running-time from the Liquid cooler, you need to place the tube-connection-side downward.

(if you place it upward, after some months the System already starts to fail because due to leakage and missing liquid, some liquid will start staying inside the Radiator, some inside the tubes, a bit inside the pump and the air that gets inside the System will block the liquid at the highest Point (radiatior to tubes)

 

So to get the liquid cooler work for the longest possible time, it would be best to be able placing it inside at the top-side.

But since the mounting for a Mainboard is placed way too near to the top, only fans will fit there, but no Radiator.

Question here: Why is there not enough space between the top of the housing and the Mainboard-Mounting, so you could place a liquid cooler (for example the H115i together with its 2x 140x140x25mm Fans) on the inside?

 

I hope, that there will be some answers and corrections in the designs in the future so the next housing together with the next AiO liquid cooler could be a nice working combination.

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So in short, you would like an explanation of the global manufacturing process, outsourcing, price point vs reoccurring purchases, proprietary test data, and general market strategy?

 

I don't have a month to write this up, so I'll use the easy explanation. AIO coolers are meant to be disposable. That is what you're buying. If want a longer lasting, repairable product, you need to look at custom parts and build your own. Aside from the cost increase, this comes with required maintenance, a healthy dose more required care, and a shift of risk directly onto the end user. As much as I snipe at higher fail rates, thus far the market supports the 'use and replace' model to a greater degree than the custom parts, high cost model. AIO coolers are quick installs, virtually zero maintenance, and most people end up changing them for various reasons anyway. Buying a specific set of custom pumps, reservoirs, and radiators may restrict your case choices and it almost always takes up more space than the relatively compact AIO unit.

 

Hopefully what you are describing from your personal experience is evaporation, rather than an actual leak. Real leaks are not common at all. All rubber tubes have some degree of evaporation, even in a sealed system. This is why they are technically referred to as low-evaporation tubing rather than evap-proof or something similar. Now that said, you seem to be on the wrong side of luck curve. I can see one cooler suffering from higher evaporation than expected, especially a small one like the H60 that will usually run hotter at the liquid level. Three seems a bit much and perhaps you should look at your environment for contributing causes. Is the case super hot? Are you in a very warm climate? 24/7 use? If your H115i is really showing signs of leakage, salt residue on the exterior tubing, etc., you need to contact Corsair and get it replaced. Don't wait until some more substantial happens. I've had 12 of these things over the last 10 years. Quite a few have failed, for mechanical or electrical reasons, but none because they leaked or lost all their coolant.

 

"And in Addition to that, to get the longest running-time from the Liquid cooler, you need to place the tube-connection-side downward.

(if you place it upward, after some months the System already starts to fail because due to leakage and missing liquid, some liquid will start staying inside the Radiator, some inside the tubes, a bit inside the pump and the air that gets inside the System will block the liquid at the highest Point (radiatior to tubes)"

 

The above is not true. If it were, then all of us with top mounted radiators would be dropping coolers left and right. The cooler relies on fluid pressure created at the pump to move the liquid around. At some point, you must overcome gravity. If you have lost some fluid due to evaporation, then this could become a problem, but it would also be a problem in almost any configuration and the pressure loss would have a negative effect on flow rate.

 

At the moment, the medium size tower with the shallow top seems to be in vogue. Besides the 270R, the 460 and 570X are also frequently criticized for this, along with about 100 other cases in that mold. No, I don't like it either and I prefer not to have my options limited from the start, but we are now back to cost, design, marketing, competition, and a few semesters of business school. There are certain advantages to using the CPU radiator on the front rail. For heavy GPU uses like gaming and rendering, it keeps the CPU radiator out of the GPU heat zone and thus leads to better coolant/CPU temps. In most cases, the front fans have little effect on GPU temps, so the reduction in air velocity does not have a negative impact on GPU temps. Things like m.2 drives may be more affected, but for most people they are still 20-30C under their drive throttle points. I tend to agree with you and I don't seriously consider these types of cases with only one viable set-up, but then there are quite a few more that give you options. You are always going to have to compromise with something. If you want more options, that usually requires space and thus a larger frame.

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At first, thanks for this Reply.

You are right, with "leakage" I meant the Evaporation (missed this and some other words in my first post).

For the AiO Coolers (and the PCs where they have been used / are in use), they have a common using time of around 3-10 Hours a day (depends on if it is a work day or Weekend).

Room-Temperature is around 20 - 23 °C, the CPUs used had / have a power consumption of around 95 - 130 Watts.

The Temperature of the Housings have been hold low with typical configurations of Fans (2 120mm Fans in front, 1 or 2 on the AiO Cooler [based on model], 1 or 2 at top or back [based on Housing]).

 

About the Placement of the Radiator:

I meant that only for a Radiator that needs to be mounted at the front or back of a housing because of not having enough space at the top to get the Radiator placed there, the in and out Connection of the Radiator needs to be turned torwards the Bottom of the housing.

If it is possible to mount the Radiator at the top of a housing, everything is fine.

And the Problem was and is that after some Evaporation over time, the liquid flow has been (for the H60 and H90) or will get (will come up for the H115i) interrupted early by the air they got/get into the cooling-system (when the connectors are faced to the top side of the housing when the Radiator is mounted at the front or back).

 

About the housings for PCs, I already tested other housings like "Nanoxia Deep Silence 5" and some other (I don't have all the names in my mind).

It's not About the Price, or so, I'm simply looking for a PC-housing, that is

- a Tower (midi, sometimes big)

- allows to place at least an ATX Mainboard inside

- allows CPU-(Air-)Cooler with a high of at least 17cm

- has mounting Options for at least 120mm (better 140mm) Fans

(1-2 at front, 1-2 at top, 1 at back)

- allows big GPU-Cards

 

I still haven't found a "normal looking" housing that allows to build in an AiO liquid cooler where the Radiator together with its fans will fit inside at the top of the housing.

Even to place the Radiator of the H115i at the top of the Deep Silence 5 housing, I needed to use 2 120mm, 10mm thick fans mounted on a selfmade adapter-plate so it would fit and the cooling works fine (CPU-/Pump-Temperature at ~30-35 °C at Idle, ~50°C on full CPU-workload).

This Construction doesn't even fit inside the Corsair Carbide 270R.

 

For now, I hope that the H115i will work a while longer and at least Corsair will test future housing designs with compatibility to their own AiO liquid coolers (to be able to place the whole Radiator with fans inside at the top of the housing) and at least for the bigger AiO liquid coolers an Option to get them refilled if the evapiration leads to function fail after some time.

There are Radiators for custom liquid cooling Systems that have more than just 2 tube Connection Options so an additional one can be opened if necessary for refilling.

 

Since the H90 is one of the last easy to disassemble AiO-Coolers, I'm currently refilling and testing it (I have given up for any warranty for this Cooler).

PS: for those who also do or want to do that, don't use liquid that has Color or other thick particles in it. The fine lamellas/gills on the Copper plate will get blocked within some Hours of running the Cooler with it inside and causes malfuction (also you can't see the Color from outside so it's no use).

Edited by sys6c
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Be careful taking the H90 apart. That is one cooler I have stripped down and reassembled for another purpose. It has a fair amount of risk and at first it even leaked back through the screws in the cold plate. Again, be very, very careful and I don't recommend doing this for something that will run inside the case.

 

I am glad it is evaporation and not leaking, however this isn't a commonly reported problem on new coolers. That said, the the H90/H110 series was more prone to evaporation or even it just wasn't filled to 100% on manufacture. Still, my H110 is many years old and still runs like new -- actually better than some of the new coolers. I am not sure why this is so prevalent a problem for you. Your use does not seem abnormal and you do not appear to be stranded in the desert.

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