All in one liquid coolers are just now starting to eclipse air coolers. Noctua (DH14) has been at the forefront of the cooling game. Before that it was Prolimatech (Megahalem) and before that was Thermalright (Ultra Extreme). You can go back years and years and see how air coolers have evolved. All in one liquid coolers are relatively new and finally starting to get some attention after many lack luster attempts (Bigwater what?).
For me, it comes down to a few things and these are in no particular order. Price, performance, will it fit without making me change my system configuration and finally quality. Quality is a big thing because you're not just putting in an air cooler where the soldering might not be that great or the fan is less than perfect. You're putting fluid in close proximity to your expensive gear so that bad boy better be properly leak tested.
With the liquid coolers being released now I'm convinced that a lack of confidence in the quality of the unit is the only reason why air coolers exist in the enthusiast market.
Don't get me wrong, I still think air coolers are a viable option for many users running a mild to medium overclock provided they have a small enough footprint. I still get excited when it's time to test one out and was really pumped to take a crack at the Havik 140. I've been a fan of NZXT for a while now but that's not enough to keep me from realizing that air cooling has hit a wall. Without some sort of break through in materials, heatpipe or fan design or an act of God, air cooling is coming to an end for folks like us.
Going forward I really don't think that they will be able to retain their ability to cool better than liquid systems and not become enormous to the point where they no longer become functional.
Intel i5 3570K, MSI Z77Z-GD55, 4x2GB Kingston Genesis 2133mhz, 120GB Mushkin Chronos SSD, 1TB Western Digital Caviar Blue, Intel 210 cache drive, MSI 7850 Power Edition OC, Corsair H100, Silverstone Strider 750w Gold, Killer2100 NIC, Corsair 600T SE White, LG W2242, ROCCAT Kone+, Isku & Kave, 3TB Seagate Backup+, 200GB Western Digital Scorpio Black external drive
Last edited by Optix; 08-18-2011 at 08:51 AM.