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What would it take time/money wise to move my build over to water cooling?

Discussion in 'Overclocking & Cooling' started by BigMack70, Mar 12, 2013.

  1. BigMack70

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    OK, I'm toying with the idea of moving my build (in system specs) over to water cooling instead of air, but it's not something I've ever seriously looked into beyond generic "how do you make a liquid cooling loop" on youtube and such. I understand the basic theory of water cooling and am confident that with some research I could do it, but here's the thing I can't figure out:

    What would I really be looking at in terms of time (especially considering this would be my 1st H20 experience), money, and complexity to move my build over to water cooling? Would that be a $500, multi-weekend sort of thing that needs tons of maintenance? Is it really worth it over air cooling?

    I once told my wife to smack me if I ever mentioned the idea of putting water in my PC... so I may be going against my better judgment even thinking about this, but I've got no new GPUs to buy and I've got the itch to tinker with my rig :)
  2. sneekypeet

    sneekypeet Unpaid Babysitter Staff Member

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    $500 and a day or two will be sufficient.
    Maintenance is usually narrowed down to dusting the fans and radiator. As for the loop itself, as long as it isn't in direct sunlight, you can go a year or two with only topping off the reservoir level.
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  3. BigMack70

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    Thanks for the response! That's a bit more than I was hoping on money and a bit less than I was thinking on time. $500 is a decent chunk of change... in your opinion, is it worth it? My case is tucked away under the desk so it wouldn't get much (if any) sunlight.

    Would that be a one-time investment that would be reusable for future builds? While I'm familiar with the general theory of how to watercool, I'm horribly uninformed about the options for parts etc.
  4. sneekypeet

    sneekypeet Unpaid Babysitter Staff Member

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    If you are thinking of just the CPU, the money can be cut down. If you plan to add in the GPU and other things, the expense goes up.

    If you buy good parts, sure they can go into future builds. The blocks are usually the stopping point though. Even if you get lucky and they make a new mounting kit for the CPU, full cover GPU blocks are card specific and wont transfer.
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  5. BigMack70

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    The GPUs are actually the thing that is making me think about water cooling. The Noctua keeps my 2600k at good temps at 4.8 GHz on 1.40V and it's dang near silent.

    The GPUs can also run nearly silently at 1050/1800, but if I want to crank the OC up on them to 1200/1800, the rig gets very loud very fast as I have to turn up all my case fans and the GPU fans spin up too (and Lightning 7970s are not quiet at all when the fans spin up past about 60%)...
  6. sneekypeet

    sneekypeet Unpaid Babysitter Staff Member

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    you can get universal blocks for the GPUs. These will tend to transfer to any card, and are cheaper than full coverage blocks. The issue at that point is that you now have to make sure you have a sufficient amount of cooling on the power delivery system, the memory doesn't matter so much.
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  7. BigMack70

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    Thanks for the tip. Sounds like this may be something to look into for a future build since I'm thinking I may be moving from 7970s to GTX 780s (or whatever they get called) in a year.

    I dunno that several hundred bucks is worth it to me to be able to eek out an extra 100-150 MHz on my GPUs in "silent" mode. I might just live with the noise for a while longer.
  8. theoneandonlymrk

    theoneandonlymrk

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    If I was to do water again I think id go a pre built 120rad non maintenance for cpu and a custom 240 rad loop for gfxs .
    I am very happy on water but id say due to the cost be sure of each purchase, will it fit etc, ive been caught out there and I buy for the long haul as you can see in my system specs
    Oh and its quieter but not that quite with heavy ocs all round
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  9. the54thvoid

    the54thvoid

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    Another way to look at it is you build a base water system that includes a pump, reservoir and radiator and then you obviously need your block(s). As Sneeky says the blocks make the price go woosh.

    But, once that first instal is there, your next gpu just needs a new full cover block and that is 'only' about £80, euros and probably a straight translate to dollars too.

    Initial expense and a lot of planning. I'd say a day is how long you take to install, leak test etc but the planning can take a lot longer. Especially the case once you build your very first loop and realise you could make it more effective by tweaking this and that.

    Is it worth it? Financially, no - but that's not the point. :)

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