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Designing loop - any extra performance going from 2 to 3 360mm radiators?


danielvh
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I'm planning out a Hydro X loop for the following build:

Lian Li O11 XL

9900KF

Asus Maximus XI Gene

RTX 2080

2*8GB G.Skill 4000MHz CL17

 

I'm planning on getting the Hydro X CPU block, GPU block and pump/res.

 

I'm currently planning on installing an XR7 360 rad on the bottom of the case as intake and XR5 360 rad on the top as exhaust, each with 3*120mm Noctua fans.

 

I will be overclocking the CPU and GPU.

 

My question is, will I see noticeably reduced temps and/or increased overclocking headroom by adding a further XR7 360 rad with 3*120mm Noctua fans as side intake?

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It's doubtful that you'll see much benefit. At idle to even moderate loads, it's likely no difference at all; copper radiators are super-efficient at heat exchange and you'd likely not be able to get better temps as there is only so much heat you can exchange.

 

It may help moderate fan speeds at extended, heavy loads however - again, more heat exchange.

 

However, having one radiator as intake and the other as exhaust is a recipe for issues. The heat from the intake radiator will go through the exhaust radiator and that will significantly reduce your efficiency and overall cooling. I actually initially configured my loop this way - thinking that I had enough alternate intake to mitigate the issue. Didn't work so well and I saw some serious coolant temperature drops when I went back and configured both radiators as intake.

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Thanks guys - seems that two rads may be enough as I don’t mind higher fan speeds at load.

 

Regarding fan direction, it appears my initial design (one rad as intake, one as exhaust) is not optimal. The Corsair people in other threads in this forum actually seem to recommend configuring all fans on radiators as exhaust and relying on negative pressure.

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Yeah ... I've heard them say that.

 

Keep in mind that, with negative pressure, you have air being sucked into the case from holes, gaps, and crevices. These aren't filtered. That means dust. And, if you have animals (as I do), that's a lot of dust (and fur and dander and ...)

 

Furthermore, you'll still have some heat from the memory and VRM.

So intake is going to be cooler.

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All exhaust top/side 2x360 is how I built my O11. It was a concept build to show the LL fans on the prettier side. It works very well and I was surprised my motherboard thermal images were cooler than in my other builds with high numbers of active fans.

 

However, my build was in the O11D and you have an XL. My options were limited. Yours much less so. You can actually use the rear fan slot to assist and you won't get handcuffed with the idiosyncrasies of radiator placement in the D. I don't see a reason to do triple 360s. Yes, it is another measure of potential cooling, but you start to get diminishing returns and with the triple one of the radiators will have to to exhaust into the other somewhat erasing any advantage. I would stick to 2x360 and retain the ability to put them anywhere you want, facing whatever direction you prefer. You can make most things work in the XL.

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