280mm vs 360mm

So I am kinda new to the Water cooling market, and my case can support 120mm, 280mm, or a 360mm rad. I have read that 120mm is basically no better than air, so I started googling some prices. I thought that the 360mm would be much better, but the price only like $10 - $20 away from the 280mm ones, so is getting a 360mm rad really worth it. If it matters I am running a r7 1700 if it matters.

There are way to many factors to say what size is best. Fins per inch, thickness of rad, flow rate, air flow, ect.


Assuming everything being the same the 360 has more surface area on the face by about 9% not including depth.

Okay I guess I am going to need to start doing more research. :slight_smile:

Its honestly not going to make much difference, your not going to get drastic temp differences and the lower temp difference wont give you better overclocking. Personally I would go 280 should be more then enough cooling and will fit more cases and will save you a few $$.

Yes but if we are being honest a 360mm rad would dope AF. So kind of want one.


Its more of a hassle then you would think depending on the case. Are you doing AIO or custom loop?

I am doing an AIO. I have a phanteks elite p400.

Most 360 AIOs are crap. A thick 280mm would perform better.

120/140 and 240mm AIOs are worthless.


Go with a Kraken X62.

I wouldn't say useless, depends on cpu / gpu its cooling and case confinements.

Whats the warranty like on Kraken? I thought Corsair had one of the better warranties on AIOs.

See I had looked at that one, but I don't really need all the rgb, so I was thinking more along the lines of an evga clc. Steve from Gamers' Nexus says that they are about the same in performance, but the evga one is $20 cheaper.

Ehh mostly useless.

Unless you have a very small mITX case, like say a Corsair 250D with limited cooler height then yeah it can be useful.

But generally a good air cooler will be cooler or the same, quieter and cheaper. 280 is where it starts to pull ahead.

NZXT is 6 years. Corsair is 5.

I personally was recommending the Kraken as I have an older X61 and X61 and they have been solid.

The CLC has RGB.

They all perform about the same although the Kraken is a bit quiter I believe and does better generally at lower RPMs.

The H115/H110 I believe is cheaper than all of them and also performs about the same so I'd grab that one if you're looking at value

The years is longer but does it cover parts damaged by malfunctioning cooler? I know for a fact I have seen people say corsair does.

It's all about compromise.

The 280mm rad has significantly more surface area than a 240, but only slightly less surface area than a 360mm rad. The 280 requires fewer fans, but there is a better selection of fans in the 120mm size.

So, the 360 has the edge in cooling potential, but just. Of course, if you are running dual GPUs, you may need every possible scrap of cooling. Otherwise, you'd have to look at the total cost difference, including fans, to see if a 360 makes financial sense. Then again, 280's may be more expensive, simply because they aren't a popular, or they may not be available in the fin density that you seek. On the other hand, you may wish to make a visual statement with a half dozen fans in a push/pull configuration.

Bottom line, there isn't a huge difference in cooling potential between a 280 and a 360 rad, all things being equal. Also, take a close look at your case. While it may be possible to mount a 280, the extra width may be partially shrouded.

Personally I tend to like to run fewer, bigger diameter fans, at lower RPMs, if at all possible.

EDIT: I see that you mentioned using an AIO. I used a Corsair H105 (120mm x 240mm) on a recent build and the included fans were stupid loud at max RPM. You'll want to use either the mobo, or a fan speed controller to keep the fans limited to a civil speed, if you choose a similar option.

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Not as far as I know.

Nothing is listed on Corsair's website claiming they do. They also do have a section claiming they aren't responsible for any loss of data or productivity due to a warranty claim so I wouldn't bet on it.

Maybe on a case by case basis, but there is nothing specifically mentioned in their warranty.

So I wouldn't mind being able to have the RGB LED on the either the Kraken or the CLC from evga. But my budget kinda tops off at $150 so the kraken is just a little outside my price range. So I am going to get the clc. Thanks guys.


Enjoy your purchase. May your temps be low and FPS high

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I know OP has made a decision already, but just as a hypothetical, and assuming price was on a par, I presume a 360 would be better, as the three fans could spin lower, for the same cooling?
But then 360 for cpu only seems excessive, even for an OC 1700?

Perhaps. There are a lot of variables at play, such as radiator fin density, and whether the fans are optimized for static pressure. 120mm fans are large enough that they can produce acceptable results, especially with thinner and/or low fin density radiators. I have a guiding principle at work, however, where I will never use a 40mm fan, where a 60mm unit will fit. Likewise I'll never use a 120mm fan where a 140mm fan will fit. Similarly, if I can possibly stuff a 180mm fan in the case, I'll happily use that instead of the 140mm variety. Larger fans typically move much more air at lower RPMs and the noise (all fans make noise) will be at a lower, less irritating frequency. I have one case running four 140mm fans and another with three 180mm fans. Without a doubt, the 180's move at least as much air as the 140's and the 180's are virtually silent. I can hear the PC with the 140mm fans, if I listen for it. However, I had to attach streamers to one of the fan grills, so that I had a visual indication of whether the PC with the 180mm fans was running.

Concerning the size, I would think that 360mm would be overkill, unless you were trying to cool an AMD FX 220w CPU. Anything else, shouldn't require more than a 120 x 240, or a 140 x 280 radiator. Having said that, a 360mm rad definitely makes a visual statement!

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Only real difference here would be noise. You could run the 3 fans slower than the 2 fans for the same performance.

But then again, it would be three fans instead of two, so. I'm not exactly sure on the sound with that.

I got out of water cooling after I had a leak spring, lost interest in OCing. Used to have both a 360 and 240 in the same rig. Was super silent because all the fans ran at about 25% speed.