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Air Flow vs. Water Flow (is more better?)

I ran a simple experiment on my dual pump system, comparing delta-temperatures (air to CPU) at idle and load in four different configurations:
  1. Quiet (pumps and fans both undervolted to ~ 7V)
  2. More Air Flow (pumps undervolted but fans running at full speed)
  3. More Water Flow (fans undervolted but pumps running at full speed)
  4. Noisy / High Performance (both fans and pumps running at full speed)

The chart below reveals some interesting facts...

Note: Delta-T is the difference in temperature between ambiant air
(being passed over the radiators) and CPU temperature. Lower is better.


As expected, running both the fans and the pumps at full speed provides lower delta-T's than running them undervolted.

Also, not surprising, is the fact that increasing fan speeds (while keeping the pumps undervolted) provides a noticable increase in cooling performance.

The interesting revelation here, at least with my configuration, is that running the pumps at full speed without additional air flow only serves generate more heat in the loop and actually performs WORSE!

The conclusion is that (at least in my case) increasing water flow without a proportionate increase in airflow, may actually hurt temperatures.

It's also interesting to note that you can actually gain a lot of peace and quiet by undervolting your fans and pumps at idle while still providing more than adequate cooling. Even at load, the undervolted components may still provide enough cooling perforamnce to not affect your overclock.

Supporting Research:

Here are a couple of other more thorough analysis that offer similar conclusions:

Testing Details:

The cooling loop with which this testing was done is illustrated below.

The pumps used are DDC Ultra's with Alphacool tops, one of which is using the Alphacool Res and the other which has a slightly modified top inlet (bored out to 9.5mm). The pumps produce about 1.5 lpm of flow at 3000 RPM through my fairly restrictive loop at 7.5V and about 4 lpm of flow at 4000 RPM at 12V.

The radiators are a pair of Black Ice GTS 240's run in series. I suspect these highly restrictive rads are part of the problem, but without being able to test an alternate rad, I can't know for sure.

There are two 140mm Yate Loon fans per radiator which spin at 700 RPM undervolted and about 1200 RPM at full speed.

The blocks are an Apogee (CPU), MCW-60 (GPU), MCW-30 (chipset), and an MCW-30 equivalent for cooling the PSU.

More information on the system is here.

The Load temperatures were obtained by running Dual Prime on my X2 4400+ for one hour. Idle temperatures were observed after the system had sat idle for a couple of hours. Temperature readings were taken from Speedfan which displays both AMD core temperature as well as the "ASUS" CPU temperature which, on my system, are unusually similar at load but core temperature is actually below ambiant at idle (so I used the "ASUS" CPU reading at idle).

The full set of temperatures (air, water, CPU, etc), is shown in the table below for reference. (click to enlarge)

Voltage to the fans and pumps is controlled by my Aquaero system, with the pumps each being driven by their own custom pump control MOSFET circuit, detailed here.

Thanks for the useful info :)

where can i get a hold of those PWM Water Pump Voltage Control Circuit kits from ?

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