A mere 12 months after beginning to gripe about my machine’s loudness, I’ve done something about it. I’ve installed water cooling. And the machine actually still boots and runs. :O
I bought the Antec KUHLER 620, which was the least expensive all-in-one cooling kit on Ascent. As with many technical investments, my philosophy was, if I’m going to do something experimental, do it on a low budget at first so I won’t be too miffed if it doesn’t pan out. Sound sensible? Well it shouldn’t, because I am after all betting my whole computer on it. On the other hand, there was no way to differentiate the risk between a cheap kit and a more expensive one.
I did cursorily look at some reviews of this kit. They claimed installation would be easy, with the only caveats being a) if it’s for an already-built machine, then you’ll need to disassemble the existing cooling stack, and b) it helps to have someone to hold the pump while you’re attaching the radiator. Meh.
There were a few additional hitches in my case (which is par for the course when I do anything with hardware…). The major one was that the instructions say to “twist mount pump to bracket”. When I did this, it didn’t twist into place and some of the thermal paste was smeared off. D: It was much easier just to carefully insert it and adjust the bracket into place on top.
In the interests of public decency I won’t show how dirty the old heatsink was. ;) I’ve had a quick clean, but as you can see the top of the GPU is still dusty. I’m wary of cleaning too thoroughly there without proper unionised air (rather than the dodgy strikebreaking air we have round here :/).
It’s now been running for an hour at 100% CPU usage. This results in a CPU temperature of a comfortable 49 degrees.
Finally, yes, it is quieter. Not silent; but the grinding noise from the stock AMD fan has been replaced by a softer fan sound. The sound may in fact emanate as much from the remaining fans in the system as from the water pump and radiator fan. I’ve disabled the two extra case fans for now.