Can you cool a Core i9 10900K for cheap?

– In our review of the Core i9 10900K, we were impressed by the performance of Intel's 10 core beast. I mean this thing turbo is just shy of five gigahertz across all cores. And if you set your motherboard
to allow it to ignore the time limits on its turboing, it'll actually do that
basically indefinitely. Crazy, right? Well, crazy hot. The one thing we didn't tell you guys because we accidentally
left that in the slide out of the slide. Damn it! The one thing we didn't tell you guys, because we accidentally
left that out of the slide, is what kind of cooling it takes to get that sort of performance. So to rectify that error and take things a little bit deeper, we're going to try it out with everything from Intel's spinner old stock cooler, to a more sensible air cooler,
to a high end air cooler, to a top tier air cooler and see just what kind of performance we
can get out of this chip, depending on the cooling solution. And this video is brought
to you by GlassWire. GlassWire is the tool that
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Use offer code Linus to get 25% off at the link in the video description. (upbeat music) Anthony, do we want to
replicate our initial test from the review with of
Corsair 280 millimeter AIO, this is standard for our CPU reviews, or do we want to go
straight to the pain train? – [Anthony] Let's do the pain train. – Let's do the pain train.
– [Anthony] Let's shut it down – All right, shut it down. We're shutting. We're shutting the thing down. Okay, hey, well, we're
turboing to 4.9, 4.95 of course we're not doing anything yet. First order of business is
to establish a baseline. We've got all of Intel's thermal
and power limits in place. We're going to go ahead and run a Blender Classroom Benchmark and we're gonna monitor
our CPU clock speed, to see where we end up. Now, I suspect it won't be
an issue for this cooler.

But with the bigger ones and
particularly the water cooler, we're gonna do two runs of classroom. One just to heat up the heat sink, and then a second one to
actually take our values from. Got that 98 degrees, you
know, it's a good band. Check them out. Very
popular with the kids today. I'm always in sync with the youth. That's why, you know, on Friday nights I hang out in the Backstreet,
you know, with the boys. – [Anthony] Are there
new kids on the block or? – No, no, you don't wanna hang out with the new kids on the block or Chris Hanson might show
up and give you trouble. Unsurprisingly, we experienced significant thermal throttling with a 100 degree temperatures
and our lowest core managing a sustained 3.6 gigahertz. I'm not expecting much here, but let's see if unlocking the power limit changes anything about that situation? Here we go, ladies and gentlemen, we are removing all limits
and going auto SVID behavior.

Oh no. I really wasn't expecting this. We're running at the same 100 degrees, you know, 97 to 99 degrees. But curiously, our clock
speeds are actually higher. How about that? Do you have an explanation for that? That's bizarre, our lowest
core sustained clock speed is now 3.9 gigahertz in
spite of the fact that we didn't change out our cooling solution. Now, that's still not impressive. With the power limits fully removed, we would expect this chip
to maintain 4.9 gigahertz not 3.9 gigahertz over an
extended period of time. So now then, it's time for us to swap out for something a little bit better. I don't know how it is the cooler. I don't know how it is that Cooler Master has been making heat sinks this long and yet they have such obtuse
mounting mechanism still. Been saying it for years,
and I'll say it again, everyone else just copying Noctua. Thanks for coming to
my TED talk, you know. Well, I can't say much
positive about the finishing on the fins or about
the mounting mechanism.

You can't fault the Hyper 212 family when it comes to price to performance. It did spike up to around a 100 degrees during the turbo window
under stock operation, but it managed an average
of just under 69 degrees during the rest of it netting it a 400 megahertz improvement
over the stock cooler. Now we're running our second round with the limits removed and yes, we are seeing anywhere
from 93 to 99 degrees, but our sustained turbo speeds are 4.7 gigahertz that's
just 200 megahertz shy of what we're expecting
with water cooling. Of course, most people don't
spend 500 bucks on a CPU to leave any of its
performance on the table. So, we're gonna splurge,
we're gonna spend another $20 and we're gonna move
up to a Noctua NH-U12S.

Mostly, the differences in performance that I'm expecting here, are gonna be down to
Noctua's superior fan design. Also, they have a much
better mounting mechanism, strongly recommended and there it is. How much cooling do you need to get the most out of your 10900K assuming that you are not
manually overclocking? The answer is somewhere
between a Hyper 212 assuming you're using a
high quality thermal paste rather than one of our graphite
thermal pads and an NH-U12S. With that said, even with
the five to 10 degrees of improvement that we would expect here going to a thermal paste. I would say that our low temperatures and our fully unfettered mode are higher than I would
be comfortable with. So I would still consider an upgrade, if you plan to do things like render out scenes like this
in Blender on the regular.

So, let's see how much
improvement we get here. Every time I go a while
without mounting one of these, I forget how utterly
chunk-tastic the NH-D15 is. Like look at this, the performance may actually
be better than water cooling, but it sure does clutter
up your CPU socket, like even just getting
extra memory is a chore. Oh, that's better. Those are under control thermals. All right, for your convenience, I'm gonna talk through the H150i, so that's the 280
millimeter AIO water cooler and the NH-D15 air cooler at the same time because their performance
profiles were somewhat similar.

Under stock operation, both of them actually didn't manage
to outperform the NH-U12S by a significant margin, which I was a little bit surprised to see especially that equivalency
in the hottest core while the system was turboing, but when it came time to
unlock the power limits with multi core enhancement, both these solutions
clearly separated themselves from everything that we've seen so far, not just managing 4.9
gigahertz across the board, but doing it with core temperatures that I would consider to be
maybe not the most comfortable, we are still up in the 80,
high 90 low degree range.

But once you sub out our thermal pad for a high quality thermal grease, definitely acceptable and
around that 80 degrees that we talked about
in our original review. What all of that means is that if I was looking for additional
overclocking headroom, I would absolutely recommend spending the hundred plus dollars on
a thermal solution like this. But if all I wanted was to
get the most out of my CPU and I knew that I wasn't
gonna be hitting it this hard all the time,
around 50 to $60 for a good single tower aftermarket air cooler is going to do the trick just nicely.

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other Micro Center specials at the link in the video description. If you guys enjoyed this video and you like crazy cooling experiments, maybe check out our water cooling
the MacBook Air 2020 video we use an ice bath to explore whether it's actually a thermal limit or maybe a power limit
holding back its performance.

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