Keep soft tube or upgrade to hard tube?

NotEnoughSpeed

Limp Gawd
Joined
Apr 4, 2001
Messages
341
Keep soft tube or replace with hard tube?

New build in my older Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB SE. First time building open loop cooling. My original thought was that since I may need to access the 13900k CPU again soon to test in other hardware, that having soft tubing would make it easier to get to the CPU without draining the loop. After spending many hours reconfiguring this loop over the weeks building this, I realized that I already tore down the loop like 3 times. I think soft tubing still came out looking nice.

Intel 13900K
Asus Maximus Z790 Hero
Corsair Dominator 6200 CL36 DDR5 32GB
EVGA 3090 FTW3 Ultra Gaming
Samsung 980 Pro 2TB NVME SSD
Corsair and Watercool open loop water cooling hardware
 

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Tsumi

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 18, 2010
Messages
13,585
Really depends on what your goals are and which aesthetics you prefer. My system is over 10 years old and I'm keeping it on soft tubing. I've barely upgraded it but the hassle of doing hard tubing isn't worth the aesthetics IMO. Others will think differently, and it just comes down to your preferences.
 

NightReaver

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
2,100
If soft tubing looks fine to you, keep using it. It's just so much less of a hassle actually working on things with a soft tube setup.
 

motqalden

[H]ard|DCOTM x5
Joined
Jun 22, 2009
Messages
2,982
I also am in the soft tube camps. Hard tubing has no benefit beyond asthetics and is a pita. I think my soft tubes look good
 

NightReaver

2[H]4U
Joined
Apr 20, 2017
Messages
2,100
My only regret is going way too thick on the tubing. I'm using 1/2"x3/4" and it's a real pain to get on fittings and whatnot. Have to soften it in hot water first lol.
 

Sta!nless

Gawd
Joined
Dec 5, 2005
Messages
681
I'm in the soft camp as well. Anytime I plan an upgrade I'm so relieved I'm still running soft.

And about the looks, hard line looks "better", but to me it looks artificial.
 

Zarathustra[H]

Extremely [H]
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
35,458
I also am in the soft tube camps. Hard tubing has no benefit beyond asthetics and is a pita. I think my soft tubes look good

The only benefit I can think of when it comes to hard tubes (beyond aesthetics) is that once you have properly installed them, they are unlikely to ever kink on you.

(Not that I've ever had an issue with kinky soft tubes, but it is a potential issue)


In every other regard I'd consider them a downgrade. They certainly make it more challenging to upgrade components etc. Build a littke slack and some QDC's into your loop and it is a snap to upgrade GPU's and CPU's without disassembling the entire loop.


Hard tube fittings also make me nervous. With soft tube compression fittings you can literally pull with all your strength on them once tightened, and while it is possible to yank them off, it is certainly not easy. With hard tube compression fittings they just kind of slide and pop off when you pull. Makes me.more than a little nervous.
 

termite

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
5,773
I am in the process of going back to soft tubing right now due to a system upgrade.

Hard tubing can look great, and I was very happy with how it looked. But I never liked how flimsy the connections felt (Ekwb HDC), not that I ever had one pop off, or leak, but if I had to reach into the case and brushed up against one of the tubes and watched it move at the fittings it made me cringe.

You can of course make soft tubing look nice as well, and they do not have to be the bundle of long floppy tubes everywhere if you take your time and plan them out. I used soft tubing from 2001ish until 2020 and never had one leak or fail. If you use clear tubing you will get discoloration at some point.

Incidentally I am moving back to soft tubing, not because of the issues I stated above, or mentioned by others, but because I am cramming a third rad into a 011d XL. After mocking it up and seeing the ridiculous hard tubing bends I would need to make to accommodate the rad, I said "fuck that noise" and dug out my compression fittings and stockpile of soft tubing.
 

Enigma

Gawd
Joined
Oct 15, 2003
Messages
915
I prefer soft tubing, always have and always will. The main reason that I do not like the hard tubing is because of the reasons listed above, that being the connections feel flimsy and they cannot beat the secure feeling of a soft tube with a nylon clamp.
 

THRESHIN

2[H]4U
Joined
Sep 29, 2002
Messages
3,491
i'm soft tubing all the way. hard tubing just isn't worth the hassle and expense for me. there's no performance difference for using hard tubing, so really it comes down to if you prefer the look of it. i can't think of a single other reason.
 

vegeta535

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Jul 19, 2013
Messages
10,013
Soft tubing 100%. Hard tubing is for a show piece only tbh. I can replace my CPU and GPU without draining the system thanks to quick disconnects. Sure it doesn't look as good but I care more about being practical.
 

mvmiller12

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Aug 7, 2011
Messages
1,331
Why not both? On my wife's build I used glass tubing on the pump/res and radiators and soft tubing with QDCs to the video card and CPU. Get the look of hard tubing whilst Mainboard, CPU and GPU upgrades remain fairly trivial.

714559_20220811_214958.jpg
 
Joined
Nov 13, 2006
Messages
3,429
Soft. Hard tubing isn't really [H]ard, it's more just for show/art and does nothing for performance/function. Hard tubing is less secure/robust and is much more prone to leaks due to material failure. Done right, it can really look great, but again, it's all for show.
 

Syntax Error

2[H]4U
Joined
Jan 14, 2008
Messages
2,741
EVGA 3090 FTW3 Ultra Gaming
Corsair and Watercool open loop water cooling hardware

I'm stepping into the custom loop water cooling game for the first time and thought about doing hard tube, but the more I researched it, the more hassle it seemed, and soft tubing is just simple and works. Plus, I don't really care for RGB or any shiny lights so I figure I can use clear tubing and make it look good enough and be happy with the performance.

On a side note, you happen to have the exact same card and waterblock combo that I plan on using. How do you like the Heatkiller V block and active backplate? What kind of temps are you getting, especially at memory junction with the 3090 FTW with the active backplate? I run a lot of Stable Diffusion these days and it gets my air-cooled 3090 FTW3 junction at around 95-100C, so active backplate it is.

Also with the block and active backplate, isn't the card like 6lbs? From my understanding, it's generally not recommended to horizontally mount the card and blocks like that without supports so I'm wondering if you have any issues with card sag in that orientation.
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
770
If your main goal is just performance then there is no reason to go with rigid tubing. However, If you get any enjoyment out of the hobby, because watercooling is a seperate hobby all its own, then you should try rigid tubing at least once. I will concede all the points that other members have made about soft tubing being more convenient, it is. But this can also be a hobby about aesthetics and design. Trying to achieve the perfect bend or a certain aesthetic is something I cant give up, and will never go back to soft tubing for my daily driver. Hardline tubing adds a visual impact, a wow factor, that is pretty addictive. I respect all of you, but I see this hobby as a form of art and I still have not achieved the perfect build.
 

Zarathustra[H]

Extremely [H]
Joined
Oct 29, 2000
Messages
35,458
If your main goal is just performance then there is no reason to go with rigid tubing. However, If you get any enjoyment out of the hobby, because watercooling is a seperate hobby all its own, then you should try rigid tubing at least once. I will concede all the points that other members have made about soft tubing being more convenient, it is. But this can also be a hobby about aesthetics and design. Trying to achieve the perfect bend or a certain aesthetic is something I cant give up, and will never go back to soft tubing for my daily driver. Hardline tubing adds a visual impact, a wow factor, that is pretty addictive. I respect all of you, but I see this hobby as a form of art and I still have not achieved the perfect build.

I get enjoyment out of the increased performance and reduced noise.

I get no enjoyment out of PC building aesthetics. To me it is the appearance of what is on screen and only the appearance of what is on screen that matters.

I get no more enjoyment out of the aesthetic appearance of the plumbing in my computer case, than I do out of the plumbing behind the walls in my bathroom. :p
 
Joined
Feb 6, 2013
Messages
770
I get enjoyment out of the increased performance and reduced noise.

I get no enjoyment out of PC building aesthetics. To me it is the appearance of what is on screen and only the appearance of what is on screen that matters.

I get no more enjoyment out of the aesthetic appearance of the plumbing in my computer case, than I do out of the plumbing behind the walls in my bathroom. :p
Ok. I guess if we are making analogies about bathrooms I would say that I get enjoyment out of the hot shower and solid flushing but also enjoyment in shiny matching tiles. Many get enjoyment out of fast cars because they are fast and also because of their styling and shiny paint. To each his own.
 

DanNeely

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Aug 26, 2005
Messages
4,342
Ok. I guess if we are making analogies about bathrooms I would say that I get enjoyment out of the hot shower and solid flushing but also enjoyment in shiny matching tiles. Many get enjoyment out of fast cars because they are fast and also because of their styling and shiny paint. To each his own.

I'll agree with that as far as it goes, but my case doesn't have a window, and while taking the door off is easier than opening up a wall cavity I'm not doing that if there isn't a problem, so like Zarathustra[H] I don't care about it's looks either.
 

lopoetve

Extremely [H]
Joined
Oct 11, 2001
Messages
33,308
Ok. I guess if we are making analogies about bathrooms I would say that I get enjoyment out of the hot shower and solid flushing but also enjoyment in shiny matching tiles. Many get enjoyment out of fast cars because they are fast and also because of their styling and shiny paint. To each his own.
For the first year or so I enjoy the aesthetics. The second year is a mix. By the third, it's all how well it works - I'm used to it being pretty.

Same reason I don't decorate offices/rooms/etc unless it's a shared room that the wife cares about. After a year or two, who cares? It's a room.
 
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