2011-2012 Radiator Comparison

Thermal Performance

Degrees C per Watt (C/W)

Starting us out in the thermal performance area is the C/W comparison. First up is C/W at a set flow rate. We use 1.6GPM as the baseline, but have also included 0.4GPM and 0.8GPM. In general, C/W will increase as flow rate decreases, meaning the water temperature will be higher with a lower flow rate when fan speed and heat in the loop remain constant. Yes, there is a point of diminishing returns, we do have pumps and pump heat dump to deal with… but 1GPM+ flow rates are easily attainable with today’s components. Also, be sure to look at the differences between flow rates. Some radiators do not handle low flow as well, just another factor to consider.

C/W for RPM at 0.4GPM

C/W for RPM at 0.4GPM C/W for RPM at 0.8GPM

Watts dissipated at 10C deltaT

Looking at something a bit more applicable to choosing a radiator, watts dissipated. Here we calculate the watt dissipation of the radiator while maintaining a 10C Air to Water delta. Put another way, if your room temperature is 25C, how many watts can the radiator handle with the water temperature maintaining 35C. Surprisingly enough, many of the 120mm triples all stay grouped together within a few watts of each other until we progress upwards in fan speed, above 2300RPM is where the pack really starts to separate.

Watts dissipated at 10C Delta: 1.6GPM

Watts dissipated at 10C Delta: 0.4GPM Watts dissipated at 10C Delta: 0.8GPM

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Comments

Posted On
Mar 26, 2012
Posted By
cool4top

very good review like always, thank you for the excellent job, look forward to getting new tests soon

Posted On
Feb 21, 2012
Posted By
Matt_Sharkey

A good compilation skinnee. I like that you remain unbiased in your overall test and results discussion, its a refreshing read.

I do have an issue with the relative comparison scale. While the AC Revo has the physical mounts for a 120mm Fan, I feel that it is somewhat of apples to oranges…

being such a large cooler it is expected that it will perform significantly better than smaller ones, where all other radiators in this comparison are well matched in size. In my perception of the hobby most builders are limited by the physical size allowed for a radiator, not the size of the fan. So I think that maybe the traditional radiators should be matched on their own relative performance, and maybe add the AC Revo as a value greater than 10, or simply add it to a comparison of all 140mm radiators.

I think that this chart makes the AC Revo look like the holy grail of radiators, when its really in a different league. I hope you consider this issue.

Great work overall though!

Posted On
Oct 22, 2011
Posted By
nicodemus

nice work skinnee! thanks for all that you do! any chance of getting in the new XSPC EX series rads for testing? i look forward to seeing how they compare against the RX series and against the Swiftech MCR QP.

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