Radiator

Schtask

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
436
Anyone have a recommendation as to who is making the best radiators these days? I'm coming from some alphacool 360s which did fine. Just wondering if there is a particular model out now with superior cooling for either 360 or 420mm rad sizes. Don't really want to go over 45mm thickness, but will if cooling benefits are significantly higher. Cost is not a huge concern. Cooling an overclocked 5820k and titan xp.

Google searches only yield sporadic reviews from 2016 at the latest. As far as roundups are concerned.

Thanks in advance.
 

Chapeau

Gawd
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Jul 17, 2016
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753
No roundups but I'm a big fan of the reviews Thermalbench put out for all things water cooling. They're pleasingly free of marketing fluff and he at least uses the same test methodology each time.

On a personal note, Hardware Labs have been good to me. Everything I've got from them seems to be great quality.
 

Schtask

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
436
Is HW Labs out of business? Their website appears to be offline.
 

Batboy88

Limp Gawd
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Dec 25, 2017
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323
http://www.xtremerigs.net/2015/02/11/radiator-round-2015/5/

The thick EK XE are some of the best all around, wide band rads. The Hwlabs SR2 still dominates the low fan speed sector. I really like the Koolance HX-CU1020V series for thin rads especially on the upper end of fan speeds.

I don't know the Vardar Fans with EK are Dead Silent for that Rpm. thicker rad probably like XSPC have some units that are more like 45mm thick and good quality etc.
 

owcraftsman

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Feb 3, 2007
Messages
1,084
You've asked a loaded questions in that fan boys will tell you one thing and sometimes performance will tell you another. Plus you have case, aesthetics, performance requirements, and budget to consider before the question can truly be answered.

+1 Chapeau Thermal Bench is a great resource and a very good place to start your research. What you'll find there is not necessarily your exact radiator as dictated by your needs, rather you should concentrate on product lines and expect other sizes within the line to perform similarly. Don't forget to look into fans while your there as it will play a critical role in the performance of your final selection. Whether you pick the rad or fans 1st is entirely up to you but do consider the fact that proper pairing is critical for the best results

For aesthetics your EK, Aquacomputer and Watercool rads are best but as such even that is subjective and may not be your conclusion.

Yes Hardware Labs is still in business, why their website is down atm I do not know but they do not have a retail site and rely on retailers to hawk there products. I prefer Performance PCS. In terms of performance they consistently produce top performer and you really can go wrong with most of what they have to offer. Currently there Nemesis line is at the top of the food chain.

It's important to understand there isn't a huge margin differentiating most rads in terms of performance so, its more important some other things in mind. Like not mixing metal in you build in particular aluminum if there is any of it in your build make sure everything else in the loop including blocks are aluminum too. There are plenty of folks mixing nickel, copper and brass with no ill effects but they are taking a chance with the nickel. Beyond that thicker rads is not always better, push with pull fan configs are effective only under certain conditions and the noise signature of your build should be considered carefully before you select your components.

That said I prefer Alphacool Rads, not always at the top of the performance chain but always very close. They are generally less in cost than the top performers and some would say less attractive. I choose them because #1 they have 7 ports #2 generally configured for high flow rates and optimized for lower speed fans hence less noise. I can't emphasize enough the importance of the 7 ports. It boils down to ease and versatility of configuration, filling bleeding and draining is all easier when you have the additional ports. We never know what the future brings but one thing for sure radiators last a long time and the more versatile they are the longer they will last in your arsenal without needing replaced. I could careless about the +/- 1-3c performance hit to have the added convenience. Finally the width of there rads is a bit more narrow than most, further adding to there versatility with greater case compatibility and safety tabs protect the radiators from being damaged from tightening a fan with to long a screw.

The following is IMHO

The sweet spot 30 to 45 mm thick rads in push config below 1600 RPM fans with 16-20 FPI

If noise is not a consideration consider upping the FPI and thickness with push/pull config with fans that run above 1600 RPM at 100% load use pull config.

All the above require high static pressure fans Phanteks MP's, EK Vardar F1 F2 F3 & F4 & Corsair HD's

Push vs Pull; Push below 1600 RPM and pull above that
 

Elkwood

Limp Gawd
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Sep 17, 2017
Messages
175
Fan of the Alphacool myself. I think several companies are making good Rads. I been real happy my my 420mm 45mm and 60mm alpha stuff.

I just got a 480mm Xspc To try out.

Oh one thing i have noticed is the XSPC stuff Can have huge shrouds that have come into play for width size.
The one ax 420 i got i couldn't fit in my case Where as the alpha 420 went in fine.
 

Batboy88

Limp Gawd
Joined
Dec 25, 2017
Messages
323
Fan of the Alphacool myself. I think several companies are making good Rads. I been real happy my my 420mm 45mm and 60mm alpha stuff.

I just got a 480mm Xspc To try out.

Oh one thing i have noticed is the XSPC stuff Can have huge shrouds that have come into play for width size.
The one ax 420 i got i couldn't fit in my case Where as the alpha 420 went in fine.

Id like to have one of the Thicker Rads, really. I don't know 5ghz was restarting and shit anyways couldn't get it stable anymore and threw all kinda vcore at it and played with stuff...I don't know....id probably still see more from a different Block. The 30mm Range 240s are still enough easy, gonna probably run hotter anyways chips that were already pushed to upper end of thermal limits and not the best tim on the die stuff. I'm still thinking one of the better Nickel-plated blocks and liquid pro/ultra would probably see something more significant.
 

Elkwood

Limp Gawd
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Sep 17, 2017
Messages
175
I have always read that the length of the rad is more important then its thickness.
 

hitched

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 12, 2011
Messages
220
I have the xspc RX360 and it is a great radiator if you have the room since it's pretty thick
 

Emission

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Dec 6, 2005
Messages
4,420
I have always read that the length of the rad is more important then its thickness.

The area of the rad is more important than it's thickness, technically speaking. So length *and* width.

A 420 > 360 in this respect.
 

Schtask

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
436
Length trumps girth. Good to know. I really appreciate the input folks! I'm running a TT View 71... Will probably stick with ACool since the EK 420 CEs aren't available. 420 up top. 420 inside middle. Going to have to make a decision on a dual loop or not. At first I was all about it....not sure I'll have enough room for two pump / reservoirs and the extra tubing though. We'll have to see when the radiators get in. Thanks again everyone!
 
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