AMD Ryzen 7 Air vs. Liquid Cooling Performance Testing

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Ryzen 7 1800X Benchmarking…

In the benchmarks that will be run, we used an AMD Ryzen 1800X clocked at the factory spec of 3.6GHz.  Stock results will be utilizing auto for the multiplier and v-core, which read 1.248v in CPU-Z.

Ryzen 7 1800X - Stock Frequency

To record temperatures we used AIDA64 Engineer v5.80.4098 Beta.

The two benchmarks that we will run to try and achieve what we want, are 7-Zip and Handbrake.  Both applications will tax the CPU at or near 100% on all cores and threads.  7-Zip is version 16.04 and Handbrake is version 1.0.3.  7-Zip’s settings were left alone, with exception to changing the compression level to ultra.  The only settings that are modified in Handbrake are removing subtitles and changing the audio to Auto Passthru, otherwise it’s exactly like when you open it every time.

7-Zip was used to compress 1180 image files, weighing in at 5.88 GB.

Handbrake was used to compress a 43.3 GB movie file.

Ambient temperature during all testing was 72 degrees Fahrenheit or 22.2 degrees Celsius.


Click the below images for a larger view…

EKWB EK-XLC Pradator




Noctua NH-D15




Thermalright TRUE Spirit 140 Direct




Overall Results:  Comparing the air coolers to the water cooler, we found that Ryzen 7 actually stays pretty darn cool overall.  We noticed that our 1800X idled at roughly ambient and both air coolers held their ground very well with Handbrake.  7-Zip wasn’t really much of a challenge, but it is a fun statistic to throw in there.  We also found that the performance difference between air and liquid cooling was negligible and yielded nearly identical results for each cooler.


Wait a minute…!!  We didn’t hit 60*C in the above charts, so we couldn’t find out everything that we wanted for this article!  We were determined to find out what exactly was needed to make this happen, so we toyed around with various configurations of the coolers and even tried overclocking.

We started with overclocking and found that the system was only somewhat stable at 4.0GHz.  What happened is about 20 minutes into running the Handbrake test, the system would just power off.  It did not even hit a temperature that would cause it to fail like that, so it seemed voltage related.  As I tried to boost voltage (away from what Auto gives you), the system would power off sooner into the test.  I scratched my head for a little bit and figured I’d try backing off the voltage.  Sure enough, I got a longer running test, but it still powered off.  Frustrated with 4.0GHz, I backed down to 3.9GHz and saw the same results with auto voltage, but found that backing the voltage down let it run fully stable.  So lesson learned, was that auto threw too much voltage at the system.

So with all that time fiddling around with the overclock, I found that the water cooler was just too good and handled the load very well.  As I observed, Ryzen 7 doesn’t get extremely hot, either.

This turned me over to playing around with cooler configurations.  I tried running an air cooler with no fan, but it got too hot and never flat lined on its temperature – it just kept rising.

I ended up finding that the best approach to this was utilizing no fans pushing air through the radiator on the water cooler, and instead have one pushing air parallel to the length of the cooler.  This allowed the cooler to not overheat and allowed it to plateau with its temperature.

So, with all that said, please observe the graph below.

Overall Results:  So what did we see here?  Well, while the CPU was hitting roughly 60*C, it would end up throttling itself back for a short while so it could cool off just a little bit.  In this time, the CPU dramatically dropped how much data is was capable of processing, as it was running at a whole 500MHz!  After it caught up, it went right back to its 3.7GHz run and seldom dropped to 3.6GHz for a second or two.  This test was re-run several times, some even on a different day, and the same results were observed, so it was not a fluke.  So in the end, while the CPU was hitting 60*C, we found that our Handbrake encode took another X minutes and X seconds to run.  This goes to show that you need adequate cooling if you feel compelled to overclock, otherwise you’re just wasting your time in certain scenarios.

Ryzen 7 1800X - Task Manager - High Temperature Throttling

The above picture is what task manager was also looking like.

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