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Watercooling FAQ/guide

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Cooling' started by Fitseries3, Feb 20, 2008.

  1. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    i think it's time we THOROUGHLY document, on our site, proper watercooling, FAQ, and anything water related. possibly a sticky?

    i will edit this first post as YOU collectively help compile all the knowledge you feel others should know.


    Manufacturers_____

    D-tek - Makers of the Fusion CPU and Fusion GPU blocks as well as a few other things.
    Swiftech - provides a vast variety of water kits, CPU, GPU, chipset blocks as well as radiators, pumps and reservoirs.
    Danger Den - very good selection of waterblocks for just about anything you can buy. also have reservoirs, radiators, pumps, as well as unique cases.
    EK - some of the best blocks money can buy. more expensive but often outperform other blocks. a wide variety of selection for just about anything. also make very good reservoirs.
    Koolance - makers of decent pre-designed systems. also offer a good variety of GPU blocks. very popular for their barbs/fittings.
    Thermochill - makers of some of the best radiators you can buy. well worth the money.
    HWlabs - makers of the Black Ice series of radiators. very competitive with the thermochill's while using less space.
    Zalman - have limited water cooling components. are known for their "reserator 1, 2, and XT designs. also make a wide selection of GPU blocks.

    Distributors_____

    Petra's Tech Shop - probably one of the best places to order from. most People receive their stuff within 3 days of ordering. they are like the newegg of watercooling sites. they sell a wide variety of modding and cooling supplies as well.
    Perfomance PC's - also a very good site. sometimes a bit slow processing orders but they have a HUGE selection of Modding and cooling accessories as well as replacement case parts. also sells pre-modded cases and PSU's.
    Sidewinder - often have lower prices and decent shipping. not a VAST selection but they carry most popular items.
    FrozenCPU - another site with a HUGE selection of just about everything cooling/modding related. good customer service.
    CrazyPC - not the best selection but they have some rather unique and obscure items. they also sell pre-modded cases.
    Xoxide - very good site that sells a little of everything. shipping is a bit slower that other sites but they may have what your looking for when others are out of stock.
    Sharka - carries Silverstone, Zalman, Danger Den EK and Aqua Computer exclusively. has many replacement parts in case you loose that important part you need.
    Mountain Mods - makers of VERY unique cases designed to accommodate extravagant watercooling systems. also carry a wide variety of popular watercooling parts and accessories.
    Jab-tech - carries a limited supply of watercooling supplies but are often better prices than others.

    FAQ____

    Q. How big of a risk is it that water may kill my PC?
    A. if you take your time and double check everything as well as properly leak test your system before installing you components, you run very little risk of damage.

    Q. Will my power supply be able to handle the extra power from the water cooling system?
    A. most pumps use a surprisingly small amount of power. as long as you have a decent power supply for your system you wont have any problems powering your water setup.

    Q. I found a pre designed kit by _____ that is a good price. would it work for my system?
    A. It should work fine if you are just trying to setup a basic loop. some kits come with GPU and chipset block as well as reservoirs along with the CPU block and pump. if you plan to add more to you loop, a kit may not be your best choice. it is ofter cheaper and better to select your own components and build your own system to ensure you accomplish your goal.

    Q. What case is the best for water cooling setups?
    A. this is pure preference. i have seen water setups in just about every case. some cases are known to be great for water setups. some of which are, Silerstone TJ07, Thermaltake Armour, Most Lian Li's, Moutain Mods UFO cases, Danger Den WaterBox, Gigabyte Aurora.

    Q. I don't want to "mod" my case. is there anything i can do to have a water setup without cutting my case up?
    A. yes! there are several things that were designed just for you! Koolance makes external water systems, Swiftech makes the "Radbox" that allows you to mount the radiator outside on the back of your case.

    Q. Sometimes i move my computer or take it to a friends house/LAN party. is it ok to move it with the water in the system?
    A. As long as your loop is sealed and no water will splash out of your loop. a good rule of thumb is to just be careful, especially if your radiator or anything is outside the case.

    Q. Do i need a reservoir in my loop?
    A. NO. while it is recommended, a reservoir is not always needed and there may not be room for one in your case. you may use a "T-line" to fill/drain your loop.

    Q. how often do i need to clean my loop/flush it out?
    A. if you use the proper Biocide, i feel that you can easily just keep your loop toped off for about a year before changing the water. (correct me if im wrong)

    Q. What type of coolant should i use?
    A. distilled water is the best coolant to use. it is reccomended to use a small amount of biocide to prevent algae from growing in your loop. there are coolants out there that are good as well but they do not perform as well as distilled water. dye can be used to change water color.

    Q. should i perform a leak test and how long before i can declare my system ready to use?
    A. it is typically recommended to leak test your system for 18 to 24 hours before ANY components are installed into the system. this will ensure yo don't have any leaks and will prevent from damaging your $$$ computer parts.

    ITEMS TO STAY AWAY FROM_____

    1. anything Thermaltake. it is known that thermatakes designs are cheap and often lead to headaches down the road. it's best to steer clear from thermaltake water cooling stuff.
    2. gigabyte has made an ATTEMPT to capture the audience of water coolers. it has pretty much been a complete failure. their motherboards are GREAT though!
    3. coolermaster has also made an attempt to produce water cooling kits. none have shown to be very beneficial.

    OTHER LINKS THAT MAY HELP_____

    Tubing guide by VirtualRain@XS - very informative of different tubing brands and sizes.

    In Depth Pump Guide by MaxxRacer@XS - goes in depth on most of the pumps you may consider using. lists the pro's and con's on each.

    120mm Fan Guide by Vapor@XS - need help deciding what fans to use? this will help!

    Martins System Flowrate Estimator Spreadsheet by Martinm210@XS/OCN/ http://www.martinsliquidlab.com/ - this guy has dedicated A TON of time to measuring and documenting the pressure drop, flow rate and all aspects of hydrodynamics of computer watercooling supplies. he has developed an Excel spreadsheet to help you determin your systems flow rate and pressure drop BEFORE you buy/build you loop(s). DIRECT DOWNLOAD LINK

    Will add more soon.... please PM me with your contributions.

    PLEASE DO NOT PUT ANYTHING IN THIS TREAD THAT IS NOT WATER RELATED. THANK YOU!!!

    ALSO... please post your water setup pics here to show examples of good setups.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2008
  2. philbrown23

    philbrown23 New Member

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    make sure you put on there that it is EXTREMELY important to do a 24 hout leak test because some wc systems will fail the test in the final hours/moments, it has happened to me once before with my last wc setup.
    Fitseries3 says thanks.
  3. Nick89

    Nick89

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    ATTENTION!

    The water pump you get in the Gigabyte Gallaxy II WCing kit isnt of the best quality and could die on you anywhere from 3 months to 8 months from when you get it.

    Also the CPU water block that comes with the kit restricts water flow alot.
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2008
  4. Yin

    Yin

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    I don't see whats so bad about thermaltake water cooling system. I personally own a big water 745 and it is the first water cooling kit for me. Okay i know the temperatures aren't as nearly as good as swift-tech and dragon den products but the cost was a whole lot cheaper at the time. The parts aren't as nearly as good for example I think my waterblock is useless atm but I still think that my thermaltake watercooling kit is prefect for a beginner.
  5. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    Please add your pics guys!!!
  6. Bugalaman

    Bugalaman New Member

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    I haven't changed the water in my computer in 2.5 years (though I have topped it off once because the fittings into the radiator were leaking. I use distilled water with water wetter, and it still looks as clear as the day I filled her up. Never used a biocide, never needed it myself. It probably depends where you live. Heck, my computer even traveled from California here to Washington without a problem. Even when I did have a minor leak after I replaced the nozzle on the cpu (DD TDX) nothing was hurt because it was distilled water. WC'ing is as safe as air, maybe even safer now a days with theses 10lb heatsinks that will rip a hole through your mobo if you knock it around :p
    Fitseries3 says thanks.
  7. intel igent

    intel igent New Member

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    Fitseries3 says thanks.
  8. Nitro-Max

    Nitro-Max New Member

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    Great thread fitseries3 this will help me loads when i buy mine.

    i wonder if you could put your reservoir in a mini fridge to chill it a little??
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2008
    Fitseries3 says thanks.
  9. Nitro-Max

    Nitro-Max New Member

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    Out of what ive seen so far the simplest kit to instal for beginers is the ""Thermaltake Big Water 760i Bay Mounted Watercooling Kit (Socket 939/AM2/LGA775)""
    as long as you have the drive bay space it comes already assembled just need to hook up the water block.
  10. intel igent

    intel igent New Member

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    wont work. your W/C loop puts out more heat than that fridge is designed to dissipate.

    building a separate chiller though is different ;)

    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=155

    :toast:
  11. [MD]Phantom

    [MD]Phantom New Member

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    This is a very big help too any one who's starting with watercooling.

    I had an zalman reserator 1 plus, but i am seeking a better solution for my next pc.

    I have already made up my mind thanks too youre topic about the pump and cpu block.

    Pump: Laing D5
    Cpu block: EK Supreme

    Now i was wondering if you take 2 Thermochill PA 120.2 and put them in to the loop. In this configuration, from pump to pc hardware too radiator 1 too radiator 2 and back too pump.
    In between there the reservoir will be also.

    And cool the two radiators down with a 25cm fan would it be enough to cool down the cpu,gpu,and mainboard with integrated watercooling.:confused:
  12. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Because top end air matches or beats it, but is still cheaper. Sorry to say.
    Fitseries3 says thanks.
  13. SirKeldon

    SirKeldon New Member

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    Hi all, i moved to water just few days ago, here's my setup:

    - Radiator HWLabs Black Ice GT Stealth 120 (placed outta the case with a push-pull fan config)
    - Enzotech SCW-1 CPU Waterblock (performs as well as D-Tek Fuzion, DD or Swiftech ones)
    - Thermaltake Aquabay M3
    - Hydor L20 (bringing 700 liters per hour)
    - 1/2 inch tube (i think it's 1/2)
    - Feser One Cooling Fluid

    What about the Thermaltake reservoirs? Are that bad? I purchased the TT for placing my water reserve in a 5,25" bay cause it was the only one they had at the moment, what solutions for a 5,25" bay are better?

    Also as you can see i gone very cheap on the pump, is an aquarium one ... but brings the same 1800 lph that could bring the same flow as any medium-quality pump, there was no more money at the moment ... i'm affraid and not for leaks, cause in 5 days i didn't detect anyone ... the real reason is about how much time will it live on a 24/7 system and what are the better pumps for that level of flow or maybe more, where should i go? Swiftech or DD?

    Now i'm happy with the rig but within the months i'll save some money to upgrade those two parts, specially the pump cause i think watercooling will perform alot better with more flow ... now the doubt, how the hell unmounting well the circuit without getting wet?

    Thank you in advance :)
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2008
  14. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    @ SirKeldon your pump should be fine. it moves a good bit of water. it may be something you should keep going for a while if you like it so far. no need to change it if it's working good. im liking the Enzotech block! thermaltake reservoirs are fine. it's the CPU/GPU blocks that dont perform well enough to justify using them. some high end air coolers can perform on the same level if not a tad better.

    @ [MD]Phantom 2 TC PA120.2's would be great.... but i'd split it into 2 loops. especailly if you have multiple GPU's or one that gives of a TON of heat(IE:8800gtx). fill out your system specs so i can help you better.

    im gonna do some updates to this thread this weekend. if anyone has any suggestions, let me know.
  15. [MD]Phantom

    [MD]Phantom New Member

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    I was thinking of making two seperate loops too.

    System specs i do not have yet, i am waiting for the new 45nm intel processors that are coming and the new nvidia 9... series cards as wel a little more X48 chipset mainboards.

    But i already know that i want too use a cpu block a gpu block and i want a mainboard with al watercooling on it, like the EXTREME MAXIMUS from Asus.

    But still are there any radiators out there that are a bit cheaper and still performs well, Like the Nexxox xtreme rev 2 or two airplexe pro 240 or XT or EVO, or some black ICE type of radiator.

    Have too read some test and reviews too find the best value for money radiator.

    And have too find two pumps that will be sufficient for the job without costing a arm and a leg.

    My total budget will be around 1500-2000 euro, and i want too keep within that.

    Until now i have spend,
    166,45 Euro for the Thermaltake Mozart TX case
    44.91 Euro for three 250 mm fans

    and as it looks now,
    around 160 Euro for two PA120.s's
    around 50 Euro for a EK supreme

    making it around 421.36 Euro in total this far, and i have too find and buy most hardware.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2008
  16. SirKeldon

    SirKeldon New Member

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    fitseries3, i was wrong, it was not moving that huge quantity of liquid, it's the L20 Pro, just moves 700 lph, it's more than the DD-CPX but are not the 1200lph the Swiftech MCP655 or the 1500lph of the Laing D5, though it all, still cools appropiated and just cost 18 EUR, i won't change any part at the moment, it's just one week old but for the future i'm considering to upgrade to a better pump and maybe a better rad too, thinking Thermochill PA120.2 or a good HWLabs Black Ice GT Xtreme or Black Ice Alpha Pro 2x120.

    I'll call you then :p
  17. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    the swiftech mcp-655 is a relabeled laing D5. they are one and the same. you may be thinking of the swiftech mcp655b that doesnt have the vario pot. i reccomend either one because they are pretty quiet and move a ton of water and have decent pressure. the cost is the only downside but you get what you pay for. i've got 2 in my system. the mcp-355 is a good pump too... it just has less flow but is easier to tuck away inside you computer because of how small it is. you can also get different tops for it that provide several functions that are helpful. the mcp-355 is also know as the DDC 3.2.

    as for the rad....i personally love thermochill. i have one of each of their rads and they all are wonderful. the HWlabs rads are my second choice though.
  18. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    EK makes great blocks for everything on the maximus. i plan on getting them for my computer some day soon. the price will kill you budget though. it's almost $200USD for the NB, SB, and 2 VRM blocks.

    keep in mind that the EK surpreme is an impingement style block and will perform better with a high flow pump like the laing d5 and it's best to put the block as the first thing after the pump.
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  19. [MD]Phantom

    [MD]Phantom New Member

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    As i have read the EK supreme will not work very good if put in too a loop with another block.

    If you would use a Laing D5 wouldn't that pump be strong enough for a cpu block like the EK supreme and a GPU block?.
  20. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    with the laing d5, flow isn't the problem. the heat is the problem. the CPU and GPU are at different heat thresholds therefore ideally they should be on separate loops.
  21. [MD]Phantom

    [MD]Phantom New Member

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    Okay, but making two loop with two D5's are a little too expensive for my taste i am afraid.

    Correct me if i'm wrong, if the loop was like this pump to CPU to GPU to radiator, the water would be already so heated up by the CPU that the GPU wouldnt get cooled down enough. Right?.

    Wouldn't it be possible then too devide the loop with T- cuplings into two seperate loops each passing one component each then coming together again into the radiator?.
  22. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Going from cpu to gpu, the gpu will still be cooled by a ton. Still better than air in most cases. There's nothing wrong with doing a single loop, it's just that 2 loops are better.

    You can do the split loop thing as well, but you have to be extra careful. It introduces the possibility for more leaks, causes more restriction, and uneven flow, but still works quite well in practice.
  23. Fitseries3

    Fitseries3 Eleet Hardware Junkie

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    im not saying a single loop wont work. just that a dual loop would cool a lot better. i know it costs a lot of money but in most cases it's worth it.

    split loops are good but you should use a more powerful pump. CyberDruid knows split loops extremely well. he has some MAD watercooling skills.
  24. Bytor

    Bytor New Member

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    Need to add Koolance to the stay away from list... they use aluminum in there Rads. and other parts. Bad corrosion problem waiting to happen.

    Stay away from any pumps and water blocks that have Plexiglass used in there construction. Take it from me I have just had 2 OCLabs pump tops crack and leak all over my desk. Good thing I look it over before I power it up.
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  25. Wile E

    Wile E Power User

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    Plexi isn't bad. You just have to be careful. They were probably overtightened. I put a hairline crack in my Bitspower top. Thankfully I heard it start to go and stopped tightening it immediately. The crack didn't make it thru to anywhere that carries coolant.

    Short version, acrylic and plexi is ok, if you are very careful tightening.
    Fitseries3 says thanks.

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