CPU vs. GPU cooling....why the imbalance?

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Joined: 5 Oct 2006
CPU vs. GPU cooling....why the imbalance?

These days, it seems high end GPU's heat dissipation (easily into the 200 W range with the G80 and (presumably) R600) is much higher than CPU heat dissipation (65 - 90 W).  That has been true for at least several months now (the AM2 X2 Athlons were edging below 100W already, Core Duo was significantly more power-efficient than the PresHotts, and the last generation top end GPUs from both nVidia and ATI were both heat monsters even prior to the new DX10 chips).

Yet there are far more CPU than GPU add-on coolers, even though both come with 'stock' solutions when buying boxed CPUs or video cards.

When you see newfangled cooling like CoolIt's TEC based units, they're designed for CPU not GPU use.  The currently linked review (15 Feb Daily Button) for the Zalman Reserator talks about how much more attention was paid to the CPU waterblock than the GPU block. 

Granted, GPUs can operate at higher temps (something I never really understood entirely - sure they're still on bigger processes at 80 - 100nm vs. 65 nm for CPUs), and don't run at full capacity "all the time" (though that might change a bit with Vista's Aero demands), but why do we not see more aftermarket, high-end, silent cooling rigs for graphics chipsets?  Even if the answer is partially 'because the GPU is harder to 'connect' to, since you have to come up with a thinner solution to let adjacent cards fit, sacrificing no more than 1 slot', doesn't that argue even more that there should be greater effort paid to GPU than CPU cooling?

Personally, I'd be happy cooling a C2D with a good Zalman flower or 9700 turbine with the fan dialed down low, but would like to see something like the CoolIt system for an 8800 or X2800 type video card, so I could have my gaming machine and HTPC be the same beast.  I'm highly intrigued by hearing of the possible use of vapor cooling on the R600 flavors, so perhaps 'stock' cooling itself is improving to the point where the market isn't there...but I still wonder.

Any insight? Are there products out there (barring watercooling with huge external reservoirs like the Reserator...I just don't have the room for an external radiator solution) that I'm just missing?  Last I saw Zalman has *one* type of GPU replacement cooler (again, ignoring whole-case solutions like the Resorator), and frankly it doesn't cool as well as the 'Arctic' style vent-the-hot-air-out-the-back 2nd slot style, albiet it is potentially quieter.

...if all else fails, get a bigger hammer!

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Joined: 9 Oct 2006

I agree, but I think part of the reason is due to space constraints.  There just isn't all that much room to put a cooler.  In this case, I think water cooling is a very valid option.

Also, Zalman has atleast two aftermarket options: ZF700 and ZF900.

HTPC addict

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Joined: 30 Nov 1999

Lothar wrote:

I agree, but I think part of the reason is due to space constraints.  There just isn't all that much room to put a cooler.  In this case, I think water cooling is a very valid option.

I don't know about this whole water cooling idea.  It's way to expensive for someone with my income.

Why just the other day my GPU was getting too hot so I poured some water over it and my darn mobo shorted out again!  I tell ya' I just can't afford this anymore.  I'm going to stick with strictly air cooled options in the future.

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Joined: 30 Nov 1999

Quote:
I don't know about this whole water cooling idea.  It's way to expensive for someone with my income.

There's always the whole running your system in freon cooled vegetable oil hack from a few years back. Tried it once, and it worked very well, just messy. (and maybe a little over the top.)

Then there was they guy that bought  a mini freezer and turned it into a ATX case. Smile

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