(thanks to Dr. Spankenstein) Ok, here's a club for those that water cool their PC. Below you will find a small list of items that will get your started. All are welcomed to join. Do you have the guts? Hardware Here is a realistic and honest water cooling setup: Thermalright LGA775 RM Retention Bracket or a LGA 1156 Retention Bracket. This is one of the most important pieces of hardware one needs when assembling the CPU waterblock to the MB. Not only will should you prevent warping your MB but should allow for good contact with the IHS of your CPU. You will need to get a good torque on the nut/screw of your waterblock's tie-down assembly. Don't over do it, just enough to allow you to tighten the WB on the CPU. Look at this review and go to the next page of that review to see what kind of difference a good back plate can make. LGA 775 and LGA 1155/1156 There is also a FuZion Intel 775 Pro-Mount Set as well if you use. I haven't tried it myself as I use the components that come with the FuZion. 7/16" ID, 11/16" OD. Offers the good water flow, best bending radius for it's size and smaller foot print then others designated for 1/2" barbs . This is 1" smaller then 1/2" ID 5/8" OD tubing. This allows for the best bend radius and can reduce the hindrance of airflow in the case (with larger OD tubing). You can go smaller if you like. Just make sure you buy the barbs that the same size of the ID (Inner Diameter) of the tubing. Tubing 7/6" ID will fit 1/2" barbing because Tygon tubing is a bit more gummy then other tubing. As a rule of thumb always get more then you need. I usually get 10' to be safe but that's for my PC, yours may vary. 10 Hose Clams, size G. You can go smaller if you like. Just make sure you buy the barbs that the same size of the ID (Inner Diameter) of the tubing. Tubing 7/6" ID will fit 1/2" barbing because Tygon tubing is a bit more gummy then other tubing. 2 for the CPU WB 2 for the GPU WB 2 for the Radiator 2 for the Reservoir 2 for the pump add 1 for a fill port add 3 for a T-Line Watercool HEATKILLER Aqua Compuer Cuplex Kryos XT Koolance CPU-360. Apogee-XT. D-Tek FuZion CPU Water Block. Please take note that the barbs are closer together then on most water blocks. Best way to install the tubing is to install the 1st tube into the barb then use a hose clamp to tighten it down. Then install the 2nd tube into the 2nd barb and use a hose clamp to tighten it down. That way you have enough room to fit both tubes when using 7/6" ID 11/16" OD. You will also need a retention bracket for the back of the MB. You never want to use the MB to tighten down the bolts for the CPU water block. UPDATE: D-Tek is now selling the modified version of the Fuzion called the Fuzion 2. The EK Supreme is a good alternate from the D-Tek Fuzion however, it's a bit more restrictive then the FuZion. Although the EK Supreme cools better the results seen so far are minuscule for the amount of restriction. If you buy this I also suggest a strong pump if you water cool more then just a cpu (IMO). A review of the EK Supreme vs Fuzion and a few other blocks can be found here Maze5 GPU. Best GPU Water on the market from what I know. I offer this over competitors as it's reliable and works well with either bare gpu die or gpu die that has a IHS. You could get the FuZion-GFX VGA Water block but I read it's a bit restrictive. In any case you will need to buy short ramsinks for your memory and ICs and pwm for a G80 or these. You may need to do further research to find the correct ramsink for your video card. Maze5 D-tek FuZion GFX 2 etc PA 120.2 Radiator. One of the best radiator out there that allows for good cooling with low CFM fans. If you use radiators from other manufactures you may need a more powerful fan (one that has a higher CFM rating). Swiftech MCRES-MICRO Reservoir. This res is mountable almost any were on your case. If for some reason you cannot use the 5 1/4 bay drive res this is the best alternative. Side note: always keep your Res at a higher elevation then your pump. Swiftech MCP655-B 12v DC Pump w/Tach Sensor variable speed pump. More reliable then others I've seen. Also note that you want your reservoir positioned higher then your pump Yate Loon Medium Speed Fan: D12SM-12 OR Scythe SFF21E are good fans to consider. Below are some specs of a few 120x25mm fans D12SM-12: 1,650rpm, 33dBA, 70.5CFM, 0.30A The SFF21E: 1,200rpm, 20.1dBA, 49.0CFM, 0.15A The SFF21F: 1,600rpm, 28.0dBA, 63.7CFM, 0.20A Y1225SL12H: 1,600 rpm, 33.00 dBA, 88.11CFM, 0.41 A In all, you will spend over $340 for this. But you have 2 options. Buy it all now (looking elsewhere if you like) or buy something cheaper and realizing later on that you have to spend a bit more money to get the best cooling without the noise (as some of us already done). The WBs, res and rad should all come with barbs. If not make sure you get 1/2" ID barbs. All in One Kits At one time it all in one kits were never given consideration as they didn't cool any better then higher then a HSF. However, that's changing now a days and it's worth mentioning that it should be considered if you only want to cool the CPU (until GPU/CPU AIO solutions become available). One such example is the Corsair H70 series. Granted, it won't do as well as a custom water cooling solution. And, it might not always edge out the top HSF contenders. It is an alternative to HSF should you consider the option. Alternate Hardware Custom "iandh" ATI 4870 Memory & VRM HS Sidewinder and Petra's Tech Shop have them in stock. If you decide to buy this make sure you have some sort of active cooling though. 12v DC Power Supply with Single Molex Connector which can be used to connect your 4-pin molex pump to without having to worry about stressing your PSU if you are not sure it's up to the task. One note though, this unit does not start with the PC. There is another unit which can start when the PC is turned out without using the PSU as a power source called the Pump Relay Switch Kit v3 . As you can see this unit requires a bit more installation and is not as straight forward as the prior solution. DangerDen's G1/4 fatboy barbs can decrease pressure drop over standard barbs (so far). They are little pricey but from the results so far (compared to EK's barbs) they do the job well IMO. If you have the money to spare I would suggest converting all your barbs over to Fatboys. In a common watercooling setup you would need: -2 for the CPU WB -2 for the GPU WB -2 for the Radiator. G3/8 barbs for Thermochill PA series rads. You can get them here -2 for the Reservoir OR -3 for a T-line D5 Pump. I believe that the D5 and the Swiftech MCP655 pump are one and the same. Side note: placing this near your PC Case inlet fan can add to the longevity of the pump IMO. PA120.3 Radiator. I will not kid you, this is the most expensive radiator but for good reason. Consider this an investment, not a purchase. I've been through 2 different kinds of radiators and none of them compete with the efficiency of cooling your video/cpu using low power fans then this radiator. If you buy a cheaper rad be prepared to buy a higher cfm fan to get similar cooling performance (thus more noise). You might get away with a ThermoChill PA120.2 (which is a 2 fan radiator) but I make no guarantees. Only choice that rad if you simply don't have the room for a PA120.3 rad. Please bare in mind that you are adding 2-3 more fans to your PC setup. The added noise of those fans are inevitable. If you have a problem with "noise" or believe that you will reduce "noise" with water cooling it's better to keep what you have. OR Swiftech MCR320-QP is a great alternate choice if you want something a little cheaper. This radiator is also designed to use low to medium CFM fans however offer a slightly higher pressure drop then Thermochill's offerings. OR Feser Xchanger 360 Features - Water Channels and Fins made out of Cu Copper Material - Brass Water Chambers - Black Finish (5µm) - G1/4" Threads - Mounting Screws for Case (4/8/12) - Mounting Screws for Fan (4/8/12) - Silicon Pads (1/2/3) - Bleed Valve Screw - Stamped TFC – Xchanger Logo - ColorBox Packaging - Warranty Card - Serial Number with Holographic Sticker - Sealed in VCI Bag - 5 Years Corrosion Protection - 3 Years Warranty - Compatible with all available Watercooling Systems RADBOX or EK-Uni Rad Holder 120. Consider this if you want to mount your rad on the rear of your case. It can support the PA120.3 rad. PCI Power Bracket. This is a fan management PCI bracket that allows you to connect either 2 molex, 2, 3 pin fans or a combination of 2 moles and 2 3-pin fans. This bracket goes with with those who mount their radiators on the outside rear of their case. Scythe SFF21F 63 CFM S-FLEX . This is a very good fan however it's a bit more expensive then the Yate Loons but offer higher CFM with lower noise. Bay Style Reservoirs. This type of reservoir comes in handy when you are not interested in moding a res in your case. All you do it insert this into one of your 5 1/4" drive bay and your pretty much done. Again, you want the reservoir positioned higher then your pump. 3/4" Hole Saw. This allows you to create holes in your PC case so you can route tubing in and out of your case. It's a minor modification to your case and shouldn't take way from it's appearance if performed correctly. You will need a powerful drill to use this device. This "should" come with a drill bit. This sort of modification creates bits and chips of metal. It's best to remove your MB when performing this task. Then place cloth on the outside and inside of your work area to catch as much material as possible without having to do a whole lot of clean up afterward. Rubber Grommet. This is used to cover the sharp edge of the hole created by the hole saw. Other Water Cooling Kits can be had at: Aqua Computers & Koolance But IMO you may pay within the ballpark of what I suggested. Personal Note The example I posted above is what I consider "typical" of why some may buy when water cooling their PC. It is still up to you to research your options and found out what works best for you (be it different rad/res, smaller tubing, barbs, etc). Water cooling your PC is NOT for everyone and you need to take that into consideration before you start investing the money in water cooling. This is personal preference/hobby more then anything else. Right now it's winter time and a small crack in the window or turn off the heater can allow you for good OC'ing with HSF combo. It's the summer time you have to prepare for. It's not the OC potential but the stability while OC'd that is important. Again, depending or environmental setup (ambient temps, dust, etc) this is more hobby then necessity. In the end, you will have to figure out were to mount your rad, place your pump/res and line your tubing. Remember, because you are adding more fans it won't get quieter then before. Also, with 45nm Intel CPUs coming out water cooling is not as important as in days past. But for any quad core 45nm CPU I still recommend it over air for good OC'ing results. As for high end video cards I found that water cooling is more a necessity then luxury. Even though the die size of GPUs are decreasing (with rumors of next gen video cards having 45nm GPUs) heat is still prevalent enough to warrant it's use. The best water block one can use are those that cover the GPU only. If for some reason you decided on another video card you should be able to use the same water block with a different installation kit. If you buy a full cover water block you are stuck with that make/model of video cards. One thing that most people forget is that the PMW/Mosfets of all video cards need active cooling. I have found no water block that actively cools the PWM/mosfets of a video card other then the GPU (including full size water blocks). It has been my experience that a fan is essential in cooling the PWM/mosfets of a video card and can aid in increase performance in most games. It's hard for me to gauge what temps you would get but for me using a E6870 at 3.6 I am around 40C during games (also cooling my video card). Not sure if you will get that with air. As with any PC modding you do this at your own risk. TIPS When bleeding the water cooling line, it best to do so without the PC being turned on. You can do this by shorting 2 wires on your 24 pin connector. It's the 4th green wire and 5th/6th black wire (I use the 6th black wire). You do this with a simple paper clip illustrated below: The above is 20 pin connector however, you should be able to do this on a 24 pin connector. This will allow you to use the rear PSU toggle switch as an on/off switch for your pump without having to turn on the entire PC. You may have to turn the pump on and off a few times to completely bleed the line as it may sometimes stall (IE water no longer moves inside the tubing). It's a good idea to flush any new radiator with hot distilled water to remove any flux (or other materials) that maybe left in the radiator. I recommend that you do not use VINEGAR. It has a tendency to dissolve some of the materials in your rad. A tall tale sign is that the vinegar will turn a light blue color after prolong use. From what I read it's better to stick to all copper if possible. Aluminum and Copper is a bad combination. Some advise to use anti-freeze when using copper and aluminum however, it's better to stay as far away from that combination as possible. Try to stick to 1 size for the tubing and barb. Use 90 degree fittings when the angle causes the tubing to deform. Use T-line when you are sure that a reservoir is not an option. T-line loops take longer to bleed and require a lot of attention. It may take hour(s) to completely bleed a T-line which may require you to add more fluid at the "T" during that time. You will also need to a fill port if you are going to use a T-line. It's better to find a place on top of your PC Case and hole saw a permanent spot for your fill port. Chipset and mosfet water blocks are not always require (and sometimes hard to find for your motherboard). IMO, it may be better to use a 40mm fan on your north/south bridge chipset. Distilled water offers the best coolings cooling solution. However, you want to prevent algae growth. You can use either a drop of PT Nuke or 91% alcohol. Radiators should remain vertical when installed for optimal cooling (unless noted otherwise by the manufacture). Radiators cool more effectively when air is circulated from outside the case. After 3-4 days remove the cap from your reservoir to make sure there is no air pressure build up. I had this happen to me and one tall tale sign was the tubing was a lot warmer (nearly hot) then normal. The cap popped open when unscrewing it. No problems occurred as a result however, I am still looking into why that happened. Even though a reservoir reduces the amount of bleed time (considerably) it's always a good idea to shake the radiator a few times to remove any air pockets and make sure that your loop is using the full extent of your radiator. When connecting your water blocks, reservoir and radiator it's always a good idea to leave a small amount of slack to your loop. If you buy a new video card, water block or case you may in fact still be able to re-use your loop. However, this only applies when you know you are upgrading after you water cool your PC. When applying thermal compound I found that I got the lowest temps if I used the line method for a dual core CPU. The line should follow the same path as the die under the IHS. C2D cpus have curved notches at each end of he CPU that guides it into the socket. The line method should also follow that same path. Which will be from the top of the writing on the IHS to the bottom. When bleeding your loop it's best to place a few hand towels, tee-shirts, paper towels, etc inside your PC Case and let bleed for at least 30 minutes before you turn your PC on (regardless if you have a T-line or reservoir). This should prevent any damage to your PC if a leak is found and the hand towels, tee-shirts, etc should absorb any droplets found. However, if there is a leak always use a hair dryer around the area the leak was found and do a complete overlap of your motherboard, video card and ram area. Spreading it Thin TIM Roundup 2007 apply thermal compound IMO there are 3 non AS5 thermal compounds that appear to provide the lowest temps: MX-2 TX-2 IC Diamond 7 Carat Thermal Compound The best methods for applying thermal compound on your IHS is either the dollop method (pea size not grain size) and line method (for dual/quad core). When installing the heat sink it's best to place it on top of the thermal compound (which is on top of the IHS) and give it a full 180 degree twist in both left and right direction. Then proceed to mount the heatsink. For an exposed die the spread method and dollop method (grain size) should work. - Make sure you bleed the setup before you start your PC. Look at the water cooling thread already mentioned on how. It only requires a paper clip and the 20/24 pin PSU connector shorting the green and black wires in order to do it correctly. That will allow you to start the PSU using it's power switch instead of the PC Case on/off button - When bleeding make sure you shake the rad (in which means shaking the entire PC Case) in order to remove any air pockets. If you use a res and I believe you are this won't take long. - After you bleed your loop wait about 5 days then remove the screw to remove any back pressure that has build up. If the sound of the pressure is loud enough to remind you of opening a soda bottle then repeat the process again 5 days later to make sure there is no more back pressure in your loop. - Make sure you tighten down the tubing on those barbs with a metal worm or plastic hose clamp (make sure you get the correct size). Some have used zip ties but I can't honestly recommend them. The reason is that if you ever have to have to remove the tubing from the barb after several weeks/months of use the tubing has a tendency to reshape itself into the size of the barb. This makes the tubing diameter larger thus loosing it's tight fitting around the barb. This is where having a metal worm or those plastic hose clamps come into play. They ensure that tubing doesn't leak even when it deforms to the shape of the barb. - I suggest at least a 650W single rail PSU. Two that come to mind are Corsair or PC Power and Cooling. - IMO, get fans that offer no less then 49-50 CFM. I have found that even though my PA 120.3 works well with low CFM fans I obtain better results with a higher CFM. I have noticed this most during the hot summer months. - Which tubing you pick does matter. Some will bend well while others will not. Nothing will every frustrate you more then putting your loop together and realizing at the completion of your loop that you have a serious kink restricting water and creating bubbles . Therefore, if you go with 1/2" barb then using tubing that is 7/6" ID 11/16" OD for example. - IMHO, only use distilled water with a few drops of PT Nuke should keep the algae growth, etc in check. - Don't mix copper and aluminum in your water loop. Disclaimer: You water cool at your own risk. Also, the information presented in this post is not a personal recommendation.