Moving Away From Water Cooling

When we first built our PCs, 2 years ago, AIOs were all the rage (as was RGB). Unfortunately, as time passes, water coolers degrade, their performances lower and the pumps become noisy. After checking my usual hardware forums (meaning: PCMR), it appears that more people are moving away from water cooling.

I decided to go for a Noctua NH-D15S. Since we had to change the PCU cooler, I also decided to change all the case fans because, let’s face it, Corsair’s PSUs may be the bests, their fans are horrible. One of mine was vibrating at a high speed and one of Soforah’s RGB fans was flickering for no reason. We also got tired of having so many lights inside of our cases, it easily tires our eyes and induces headaches on longer gaming sessions. So, we went back to our all time favourite brand: Noctua.

It took me 4-5 hours to strip our two cases of all the bloat from our previous builds and install the new cooling equipment. It was the first time that I had to remove thermal paste from a CPU, it was super easy with alcohol wipes.

The result is excellent, the temperature levels are down as well as the noise of the fans, even at higher RPM. This concludes my once in a life time attempt at trying other brands for my PC hardware.

Little tip: when you use Google to search for technical specifications, always set the date of the results to “last year”. I wanted to know if I could use PWM fans with my motherboard and the answers I found were that only DC fans could be used for the chassis. It appears that these answers were outdated and that the latest ASUS motherboards automatically detect the fans and can perfectly handle PWM.

TLDR: Our PCs no longer look like Christmas trees trapped inside of an aquarium. Corsair cooling was bad, Noctua remains the best.


Corsair RGB

When I built my PC, I wanted a water cooler, so the airflow inside the tower wouldn’t be obstructed by a huge PCU heatsink.

For my peace of mind, if there’s a water cooler inside of my tower, I need to see it so I’m sure that it isn’t leaking. So, I purchased a windowed tower.

Since a few component were RGB by default, I purchased a few more, so I could create a nice colour scheme.

Among these parts were two Corsair 12” RGB fans which I was planning to use as back and top exhausts. I was very surprised to see that they were not lighting up. That’s because I had to connect them to a RGB Hub and a RGB Node Pro, which were not provided.

I wish that I had knew that before purchasing the fans separately, because these devices aren’t provided in single fan packs, you have to purchase a two fans pack or purchase, for the exact same price, the devices separately.

So, you have only two options:

  • 2 x RGB fans + RGB Hub + RGB Node Pro (+/- 140,00 eur.);
  • A pack of two RGB fans which includes everything (+/- 80 eur.).

I wish that I had knew all this before purchasing my fans and, above all, I wish that the hub and the node were merged into a single device. Actually, I found out that there is such a device, the Node Core. Unfortunately, it isn’t sold separately and I couldn’t find any pack that includes it in Europe.

I gave up and I purchased an extra 2 fans pack (I now have a few spare RGB fans, yay) and I installed the Hub and the Node Pro. It was very easy thanks to the great cable management in the back of the NZXT tower. The control of the colours is entirely done through Corsair iCue and I enjoy the result. I am now living in pure RGB bliss.


New rigs

After a far too long break from PC gaming, we finally decided to build two new rigs…

For the build, we didn’t go overkill on the GPU, the price difference between an RTX 2070 and a 2080 ti was 1000,00€ per computer. Since 4k PC monitors with decent refresh rates aren’t within our reach yet, we targeted a gaming resolution of 1440p.

We went for an i9 9900k, since most of the bottlenecking in WoW comes from the CPU. It is also the first time that we used an AIO watercooler (Corsair h115i pro). It is incredibly more quiet and, so far, it seems to cool down the CPU very effectively.

We departed from the black Fractal case for something fancier: the NZXT H500. It is an amazing PC case with great cable management. The size and minimalist looks make it the perfect choice for our gaming space. Our desks are both 150cm wide and we didn’t want to be encased between two black blocks. Also, for years, I trusted the reviews about Fractal cases, but I never found the define models as silent as advertised, nor was the cable management that great. Actually, the H500 is even more silent and it doesn’t even use any damping material. I must admit that the use of PWM fans and a watercooler are probably responsible for the lower noise levels.

We took a few pictures during the process:

You can find the complete part list of the build on PCpartpicker.

Congratulations to Soforah for having participated to the assembly, she did an awesome job!