While some people insist that water cooling is better and keeps the CPU cooler than a 3rd Party Air cooling unit, we have always preferred Air Cooling. Water Cooling can get very noisy at times while 3rd Party air cooling units are much quieter.
The Corsair H75 with cover off showing the flimsy pump
Which one is better? We decided to test the 2 against each other.
In this test we used the Corsair H100iGTX cooler up against the Coolermaster T4.
The system we tested it under was the Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 7 Motherboard with a Skylake i7 6700K CPU and a GTX 980ti with 32Gig DDR4 2400 Mhz RAM. We tested the system at default CPU speed of 4.0Ghz and then overclocked the system to 4.4 Ghz.
The above shows Peak and average temperatures with the i7 6700k at default and on the right Overclocked to 4.4Ghz using the Coolermaster T4 cooler.
The above shows Peak and average temperatures with the i7 6700k at default and on the right Overclocked to 4.4Ghz using the Corsair H100iGTX Liquid cooler.
We ran PC Passmark at 100% CPU for the above tests.
As you can see the Water Cooling is slightly better having only peaked at 53 degrees at default and 57 degrees overclocked to 4.4Ghz, while the Air Cooling Coolermaster T4 peaked at 57 degrees at default and 68 degrees overclocked to 4.4Ghz.
The Skylake CPU's have a TJ. Max temp of 100 degrees, although sustained Core temperature greater than 80C is too hot for ultimate stability, performance and longevity.
While the Water Cooling does show better cooling it is only marginal and a lot noisier.
What is surprising is the fact that the Coolermaster T4 was more than enough cooling for the 6700K running at 4.4Ghz, overclocked at 10%.!!!
The winner in our opinion is Air Cooling as it costs a lot less and is a lot quieter!
The new Skylake CPU's run quite cool compared to the Haswell CPU's, below is a screenshot of how HOT the 4770k can get at default with only the Standard Intel Cooler.