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CL120 fans and AIO performance.


Hykleren
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Hello,

Im building a PC soon and will be using the Kraken X73 AIO cooler. I will have 3x Corsair QL120 to spare, and i'm thinking about using them instead of stock fans in the X73. This AIO will be mounted in a Lian Li PC-O11D XL, top exhaust, cooling a i7-11700K.

 

Ive seen alot of builds using QL120 instead of stock X73 fans, I've also read that QL120 isn't meant for AIO.

I've googled the question and seen similar threads regarding QL120 on the X73 but none gave the answers I was looking for.

 

I'm hoping someone with this setup can share their experience with the performance difference in temps, RPM, noise with stock X73 fans vs QL120 in the following setups:

3x Stock fans pushing

3x QL120 pushing

3x QL120 pushing and 3x Stock fans pulling

 

I usually don't do much OC, so I don't think i'll need the perfect conditions in terms of OC, i'm looking for the sweet spot between performance and looks.

 

Thanks!

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Fan choice has much less of an impact the more radiator surface area you have. On a 360mm, it is not going to make much of a difference unless you start comparing apples and oranges, like QL to a 3500 rpm industrial fan. At like speeds, most fans are going to be less than 1C apart. That is insignificant for almost all users, while the aesthetics are certainly different.

 

Push vs pull may not matter on a test bench. It might matter more in terms of noise depending on how you do your layout. As top exhaust, you will definitely want then under the radiator so you can see the side profile. That will also be the quieter set-up vs top-pull. If you have a fairly large GPU to manage, you may want to consider the side slot for the 360mm radiator to keep it away from the heat zone (as intake).

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Fan choice has much less of an impact the more radiator surface area you have. On a 360mm, it is not going to make much of a difference unless you start comparing apples and oranges, like QL to a 3500 rpm industrial fan. At like speeds, most fans are going to be less than 1C apart. That is insignificant for almost all users, while the aesthetics are certainly different.

 

Push vs pull may not matter on a test bench. It might matter more in terms of noise depending on how you do your layout. As top exhaust, you will definitely want then under the radiator so you can see the side profile. That will also be the quieter set-up vs top-pull. If you have a fairly large GPU to manage, you may want to consider the side slot for the 360mm radiator to keep it away from the heat zone (as intake).

 

Thanks for the detailed answer, I do have some followup questions if you are still around.

 

The reason for planning AIO top exhaust initially was due to several testers showed lower CPU temps compared to other setups and that a top mounted AIO was better because the air would otherwise gather closer to the tubes in/out.

 

As you pointed out however, I havnt factored in the rising heat from the GPU needing to also pass through the radiator. I will be using a 3080 Asus Strix OC White, which Ive heard is pretty good regarding cooling. But I imagine that faster expelled heat from GPU will affect the case temp anyway?

 

I havnt fully decided of doing top exhaust yet, seen some builds with AIO as side intake with QL120 pulling and NZXT stock fans pushing (build example below), could possibly just use the QL120 if the difference in fan specs could cause issues.

 

How much can heat from a GPU disturb the AIO performance?

Would it be a worse tradeoff than AIO top exhaust receiving warmer air but with optimal waterflow and potenially lower case temperatures when the AIO isnt blowing hot air into the case?

 

The performance stats in the below video shows that its operating at more than decent temps, except for the GPU but according to the guy it was due to him doing folding.

I dont know what to believe really, there is counter arguments and a jungle of opposite opinions out there. I just want a case that runs optimally with decent temps and isnt a ticking bomb.

 

Thanks again!

 

[ame=

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[/ame] Edited by Hykleren
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The more efficient the cooling mechanism (fans) on your GPU, the more heat it is dumping into the case. Their purpose is to cool the GPU circuits, not minimize case temps. A 10700K might go +8C on coolant temp when hit with a sustained 100% CPU load (wattage varies by test), but if the GPU is blowing its 320W of heat all over the place, that increase in ambient temps is additive to the baseline coolant temp. This affects the CPU as all levels as coolant temp = minimum possible CPU temp. With top exhaust, you will be sucking that GPU (and backplate) heat into the cooling system.

 

As side intake, it will be moving warmer air in, but then you need to consider the types of load you will encounter. A typical gaming load is pretty light on the CPU. I am under 100W on most games with a overclocked 10900K. That is not a lot of heat to move and you might see coolant temps of around 32C. That coolant temp will be approximately equal to the exhaust air temp. However, you still have the bottom fans blowing exterior air in. In a worst case, you increase the internal temp by 4-5C. This pales in comparison to the +10C you might see on the CPU from the GPU heat. However, the most likely scenario is the side radiator heat gets sucked straight out the top of the case with little impact on GPU or lower MB components. I might see some RAM temps swings in that case when running the side as intake, but in my set-up that is 450-600W from GPU + 10900K combined water loop. That is not the same as CPU only.

 

No matter what, moving the radiator from top to side or vice versa is not an overly complicated task and does not force you to commit ahead of time or permanently.

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