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Which Is Most Effiecient?


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If you run the fans fast enough, you can almost always get a 280mm radiator to pull even with a 360mm. The larger your surface area, the less you are dependent on fan speed to get the job done. So a 240mm radiator might show a large coolant coolant increase at 750 rpm, but a pretty good one at 1800 rpm. The 360mm is much better at the slow 750 rpm speed, but only slightly better at 1800 rpm.


Specifically for 280 vs 360mm, the end performance differences are very slight and I have run both single component and multi cooled systems on both sizes. It comes down to whether you prefer the sound of 3x120 or 2x140 in that 1000-1300 rpm work range.


These are data sets for custom cooling radiators, but a good source for general understanding and expectations. Be careful as there a lot of different thicknesses mixed in there as well. That's not as important as broad surface area (like 360 vs 240), but it does impact the results, especially at high speeds.


These are two similar models and ones I have used for several years to give you a better idea of the expectations of 280 vs 360. The key value is Delta T (3 from the right). This is the expected coolant change with 0C being the theoretical, but unobtainable goal. Also note that these are for 300W loads, typical of say a GPU at full power. Most CPU users will only see half that load at most. While not strictly correct, you can divide the delta T by 2 to make a more realistic comparison for a CPU only load of 150W.

Edited by c-attack
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