26 days ago
Primarily it comes down to if one comes with an AM4 bracket and another one doesn't, otherwise which one has better cooling performance
The Dark Rock 4 is guaranteed to come with the AM4 bracket and is a better performer than the Dark Rock Slim. Both the dark rock 4 and pro 4 models can stand up to 240mm AIO coolers in performance. I can't check reviews now for the non pro version as at work but it will make less noise than the AIO and has less possible parts to fail. No pump, no water to leak, just a fan. Their fans are good fans so it is very likely it will vastly outlive the life of the PC and if a fan dies out of warranty it can be replaced without replacing the entire cooler like you do on pump failure on an AIO.
I think it comes down to what kind of CPU you will use with the above cooling setups.
And If you run it stock both cooling solutions would do an equally good job.
The temp difference shouldn't be much. Perhaps 2-3°C at max.
Now if you OC it, the AIO may have a better cooling performance but still not by much. Perhaps 5-8°C less but i can't be sure by how much exactly because it still depends from the setup of the AIO. (installation location and fan speeds)
Also it depends how much you stress the CPU on a particular application or even a benchmark program like Prime 95 or AIDA 64 and similar.
And as Tetsuclaw stated above, an Air cooler may be the safest choice in the long run.
Well I didnt mean to sound doom and gloom about AIO reliability, I know you know this Mark but to clarify for the OP:
Leaks and pump failure are things that "can" happen to any AIO, not things that "will" happen within the reasonable lifespan of a PC. Noise is something that always happens, AIOs have fans like air coolers but also have pumps and moving fluid that can make noise too which does not effect air coolers. Most AIOs will last the lifespan of a PC until it is time for another upgrade. Air coolers just gives that extra peace of mind for having less possible points of failure and there are great performing air coolers too.
No problem man.
It's exactly how you described it. :)
The AIO may add some flair or luxury to the whole build or it may even look better. That's a personal point of view of course. lol