My PC, a cooler place to be

Written by Alex Maidment (nSanity Beach)

Ever since I upgraded my PC monitor to a 4K resolution monitor, I noticed that my PC’s idle temperatures jumped up about 10 degrees Celsius to around 45-50 – not surprising as everything is in a slightly higher resolution and uses more PC power to keep it running smoothly.

As well as the monitor having an impact on idle temperatures, I’ve noticed the PC temps slowly rise over the past 5 years on different processes, from gaming to using design software to rendering and exporting videos from Premiere Pro. I started with some of the obvious changes I could make without having to buy new hardware, for example, changing the thermal paste but the temps continued to stay pretty toasty.

So, I decided it was finally time to swap out my trusted CoolerMaster Hyper 212 Evo CPU cooler and stock case fans plus a couple of Corsair SP120mm fans for something a bit more modern, better looking and hopefully, cooler.

Here’s what I went for:

– Corsair H100i RGB Pro XT – all-in-one liquid cooler with a 240mm radiator (that’s as big as I can have in my case) and two new fans.

– 3x Corsair LL120 RGB Fans

While I am aware there are a lot of options on the market, I chose to go with Corsair because the reviews were pretty good on the whole, the price was decent and I already have a K68 RGB keyboard and M65 Pro mouse, which means more fun with iCUE with everything syncing up!

The installation took a couple of hours but only because I took the time to pretty much rebuild my PC, clean components and sort out some of the cabling while I had the chance. The case I had also make it’s pretty fiddly and difficult to get to the front 2 fans, which is why I’ve always put off changing them in the past.

Swapping the old case fans with the new LLs

Setting up the liquid cooler was a lot easier than I was expecting – I don’t really know why I thought it would be difficult but I’ve always been loathed to do anything that involves going near the CPU through fear of somehow breaking it. The fans were also very easy to set up and get going and the fans set I went with came with a Corsair Lighting Node Pro that allows you to easily control the lighting effects through Corsair’s iCUE software.

It looked quite cool with most of the case off…

As little a upgrade as it was, it reminded me how much I enjoy building and upgrading my PC, it always feels a little risky but always pays off in performance upgrades and the fun of doing it.

The new cooling seems to be working a treat with idle temps dropping to 30-35 degrees Celsius on my i7 4790K and while gaming, I’ve hardly seen the CPU temp go above 55 degrees Celsius where as previously, I was regularly seeing 65-75 degrees when gaming!

One word to the wise with the new cooling set-up I went for, both the H100i RGB Pro XT and the Corsair Lighting Node PRO make use of USB2 headers on the motherboard – meaning you need at least 2 free. For me, this actually meant sacrificing my front case USB ports as my motherboard only has 2 USB2 headers. O’well, the cooling is well worth it for me!

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