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Liquid cooling but without water?

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I'd like to go with a liquid cooled build but my luck with computer hardware is so bad I'm sure it would be a disaster if I used water. I used to go off-roading a lot and baja bugs and thumpers used to use oil coolers. Why can't something similar be adapted to computers?
 
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Hi,
There was a time I never used liquid cooling to besides a aio that is.
It's not all that tough just take your time assembling...

Not sure I'd simplify it as "water" seeing water alone would get pretty funky fairly quickly

Comparing a baja buggy oil cooling to a computer well oil doesn't really care what parts is in aluminum/...
Computer cooling is a tad more complicated

But I have used a verity of fluids
Car antifreeze about 15% for 1 liter distilled water.

Also tried distilled and and additives but this was a pita to maintain ph7-8

Premixes in the beginning just my luck got some bad ek cryocrap stuff which was worse than V.D. to get rid of :laugh:

Now I'm on mayhems x1 clear concentrate with local distilled no issues so far it comes around ph8 and good for one year

Tried mayhem premix same x1 clear and on one machine it turned greenish seems hardware labs radiators there is a chance it will do this
Another mach did not with same rads and premix so I only batted 50-50 on that fluid.
 

ir_cow

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distilled water is non-conductive. I've gotten it everywhere on a powered on computer before no issues. After a few months I think the ions start to charge and it become conductive. You will have to do more reading on that one.
 
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Water cooling PCs isn't for people with sloppy habits, poor construction skills, or a marked lack of attention to detail. It's up to the individual to assess where they fall in the spectrum of those character traits.

The main reason why water is used is because it has superb thermal capacity just by itself. Additives usually reduce water's thermal capacity and add more complexity to the system (corrosion, expense, reactions with materials, etc.).

Things like automotive antifreeze in a custom cooling loop make zero sense. You add antifreeze to your car's radiator because your car is subject to more extreme operating conditions (i.e., lower temperatures). That's not applicable for typical desktop PCs which live a decidedly cushy life in the same temperature ranges that human beings find comfortable. Your PC isn't parked in the driveway during a snowstorm. So don't add automotive antifreeze to your PC's custom cooling loop. It's pointless and dumb.

Really all you need for a PC custom cooling loop is distilled water and a few drops of biocide to prevent algae from forming, sort of like the chlorine added to swimming pools and water fountains.
 
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Water cooling PCs isn't for people with sloppy habits, poor construction skills, or a marked lack of attention to detail. It's up to the individual to assess where they fall in the spectrum of those character traits.

The main reason why water is used is because it has superb thermal capacity just by itself. Additives usually reduce water's thermal capacity and add more complexity to the system (corrosion, expense, reactions with materials, etc.).

Things like automotive antifreeze make zero sense. You add antifreeze to your car's radiator because your car is subject to more extreme operating conditions (like freezing temperatures). That's not applicable for typical desktop PCs which live a decidedly cushy life in the same temperature ranges that human beings find comfortable. Your PC isn't parked in the driveway during a snowstorm. So don't add automotive antifreeze to your PC's custom cooling loop. It's pointless and dumb.

Really all you need for a PC custom cooling loop is distilled water and a few drops of biocide to prevent algae from forming, sort of like the chlorine added to swimming pools and water fountains.
WRONG!!!

There are reasons why adding antifreeze to a custom system CAN be a good thing to do under the right conditions.
Has NOTHING to do about antifreeze being for an auto because it can be used for many other things too - It's not something that's exclusive to autos alone.

Yes - It's an additive yet it can also help against corrosion, some of which can be induced by having dissimilar/different metals in the system, causing corrosion issues such as a rad and block made of different materials that are reactive to each other.

I will agree that for most desktops it's not required at all, however in certain circumstances it can help things such as helping to reduce the effects of what I just described. I will also agree that water on it's own is better in terms of cooling efficiency, anytime you add something to water it's efficiency goes down but used correctly antifreeze in the system doesn't impact it much.

And I will say I've used it with good success in the past in mine, just know my watercooling setup is in an outside building here and it's required during the cooler months of the year or I'll have a busted block and whatever else if I don't use it during those times.

So yes, there are at least a few reasons why it could be used that does make sense if one thinks about it.

As for using it being dumb - That's just your own personal opinion of it which only matters to your own situation, not for anyone else.

Folks should determine their own individual needs and requirements, these will let them know what they'd need and what to do because it's their situation - Another's situation like yours or even mine need not apply to theirs because each and everyone is different.
 
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Okay, okay, next time I'll profusely litter my post with weasel words and heavy use of "usually", "often", "generally" and "normally".

:D

That said, some people here (and other tech forums) enjoy making things as complicated as possible. With some thoughtful consideration beforehand, one can eliminate most of these complications that require specialized solutions. When you add more variables to a given system, you're going to end up with more possibilities for problems (perhaps some unforeseen). Making beef Wellington is more complicated than grilling a steak.

I know that additives or alternate cooling liquids are useful in extreme situations, some of which certain PC builders put themselves into.

The International Space Station uses radiators with ammonia but I'm not going to recommend any PC builder to use ammonia. I wouldn't be surprised if some YouTuber has tried but not everything people do on YouTube should be copied.

So yeah, there's usually an exception to every rule. We all know that.

That said, for someone exploring custom cooling loops for normal PCs, it's best to keep things simple rather than to jump off into the deep end.

There are tons of tutorials and videos that describe custom cooling loops for PCs (many of them poorly authored and inaccurate). There are really a handful of basic guidelines to follow to make this a relatively simple project.
 
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Okay, okay, next time I'll profusely litter my post with weasel words and heavy use of the words "usually", "often", and "normally".

:D

That said, some people here (and other tech forums) enjoy making things as complicated as possible. With some thoughtful consideration beforehand, one can eliminate most of these complications that require specialized solutions.

I know that additives or alternate cooling liquids are useful in extreme situations, some of which certain PC builders put themselves into.

The International Space Station uses radiators with ammonia but I'm not going to recommend any PC builder to use ammonia. I wouldn't be surprised if some YouTuber has tried but not everything people do on YouTube should be copied.

So yeah, there's usually an exception to every rule. We all know that.

That said, for someone exploring custom cooling loops for normal PCs, it's best to keep things simple rather than to jump off into the deep end.

There are tons of tutorials and videos that describe custom cooling loops for PCs (many of them poorly authored and inaccurate). There are really a handful of basic guidelines to follow to make this a relatively simple project.
Please do. :D

What I'm saying is stating it as an absolute isn't correct, I used the above to demonstrate that.

Whatever is needed is needed, no getting around it and such rigid thinking limits, if not eliminates options.... Some of them being good ones too, even if they seem "Out There".
Something I had to learn along the way myself.

I do agree that keeping it KISS is the way to go for beginners, stick to the basics, let them learn and go from there.
 
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We all crawl before we walk.

Yes, it's dumb to recommend advanced specialized options to a beginner. It's needlessly confusing. It's like teaching brain surgery to kindergarteners.

In the context of advanced custom cooling discussions, yes, there is a place for additives. However it's helpful to answer questions contextually. It is not constructive for me to launch into a deep dive into laminated doughs to someone who wants to put a simple breakfast on the table.

People on tech site forums (not just TPU) frequently dive off into the deep end without thinking about context.

Anyhow back to the original topic. If the OP wants to try a custom cooling loop, it might work out better for him to find a friend who has experience doing this and working on a build together. In the same way, lots of excellent cooks learned from family members in their early years.

Watching a few YouTube videos from random vloggers doesn't provide the same one-on-one guidance.
 
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The good thing about antifreeze is that you can put the radiator outside during winter. Or use it with dry ice. Funny things.
 
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It's pointless and dumb.

Been using Anti Freeze Car coolant in my loops for 15+ years and never looked back! The best stuff I have ever used. Sorry...

*Edit: Probably close to 20 years now :rolleyes:

The good thing about antifreeze is that you can put the radiator outside during winter. Or use it with dry ice. Funny things.

Or it wont boil. Water boils.
 

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Why use oil over distilled water? Nothing to worry about, especially since they make sealed AIO's that you install and forget about it.
 
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I'd like to go with a liquid cooled build but my luck with computer hardware is so bad I'm sure it would be a disaster if I used water. I used to go off-roading a lot and baja bugs and thumpers used to use oil coolers. Why can't something similar be adapted to computers?
what advantages oil has might be disadvantages in PC cooling. i'm sure dune buggies have higher temps that oil's higher boiling point is desirable but with much larger (flow/pressure) pumps and larger radiators (at least in surface area) with air flow and static pressure that idk if noctua's leaf blowers could match.

just food for thought.

but whats the deal? you dangerous with a screwdriver of something? if thinking custom - soft tubing with compression fittings is easy peasey. just don't overtighten (two fingers!) and you'll be fine :)
 
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I'd like to go with a liquid cooled build but my luck with computer hardware is so bad I'm sure it would be a disaster if I used water. I used to go off-roading a lot and baja bugs and thumpers used to use oil coolers. Why can't something similar be adapted to computers?

Water has a very high specific heat and oil coolers are to cool the oil, not the engine.
 
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Cooling the oil does cool the engine in air-cooled engines.

I was hoping there might be alternative mediums for liquid cooling that were non-conductive, but I suppose the pumps, blocks and radiators are all designed for water, not say, mineral oil.
 
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The thing with oil is that it acts as a heatsink, I guess you already know this if you worked in bugs or other vehicles.

An oil cooling system would be too big for a desktop computer.
 
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Cooling the oil does cool the engine in air-cooled engines.

I was hoping there might be alternative mediums for liquid cooling that were non-conductive, but I suppose the pumps, blocks and radiators are all designed for water, not say, mineral oil.
Someone cooled a whole pc once by submerging it into oil, but I don’t think that’s practical.
 
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Cooling the oil does cool the engine in air-cooled engines.

I was hoping there might be alternative mediums for liquid cooling that were non-conductive, but I suppose the pumps, blocks and radiators are all designed for water, not say, mineral oil.

No, AIR cools the engine in air-cooled engines. Those cooling fins and some cases a big ass fan to flow air over them aren't there for decoration.
 

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Someone cooled a whole pc once by submerging it into oil, but I don’t think that’s practical.
A few people over the 20+ years I've known about it have done long term studies with this. It seems that anything solder on will fall off after awhile. Now this might be due to using low-grade oil. I don't know, but its a thing. Plus you can pretty much never clean it off. Once its submerged that is it.
 
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A few people over the 20+ years I've known about it have done long term studies with this. It seems that anything solder on will fall off after awhile. Now this might be due to using low-grade oil. I don't know, but its a thing. Plus you can pretty much never clean it off. Once its submerged that is it.
Yea I've only seen it done once with cooking oil, it was just a dumb experiment.
 
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I say go for it, just use plain distilled water with a bit of biocide (and dye if you like) added separately. Leak test with external pump power and the computer turned off. There are a number of tips available, just look around a bit.

A couple of links if you are interested in submersion cooling:




 

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The best coolant phase changes. In CPU cooling form, that ends up looking like this:
 

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I mean there is that icegiant cooler thats pumpless and uses something like 3m novec
heavy AF tho so plan on figuring out how to brace it
 

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Cooling Alphacool Apex UV - EK Quantum Velocity AM4 + EK Quantum ARGB 3090 w/ active backplate
Memory 2x32GB DDR4 3600 Corsair Vengeance RGB @3800 C18-22-22-22-42 TRFC704 (1.4V, SoC 1.15V Hynix MJR)
Video Card(s) Galax RTX 3090 SG 24GB: Underclocked to either 1500Mhz 0.737v | 1700Mhz 0.75v | 1900Mhz 0.9v
Storage 2TB WD SN850 NVME + 1TB Sasmsung 970 Pro NVME + WD AN1500 1TB + 1TB Intel 6000P NVME USB 3.2
Display(s) Kogan 32" 4K 72Hz + Gigabyte G32QC (1440p 165Hz) + Phillips 328m6fjrmb (1440p 144Hz)
Case Fractal Design R6
Audio Device(s) Logitech G560 | Corsair Void pro RGB |Blue Yeti mic
Power Supply Fractal Ion+ 2 860W (Platinum) (This thing is God-tier. Silent and TINY)
Mouse Logitech G Pro wireless + Steelseries Prisma XL
Keyboard Razer Huntsman TE (custom white and steel keycaps)
VR HMD Oculus Rift S
Software Windows 11 pro x64 (Yes, it's genuinely a good OS)
Benchmark Scores I don't quite know how i managed to get such a top tier PC, I am not rich.
The best coolant phase changes. In CPU cooling form, that ends up looking like this:
Or uh, heatpipes.

That's how they work, and all their talk about phase changed vapour chambers and other fancy names for "liquid evaporates and recondenses"


As for the OP: as a beginner, stick with the common options.
Why? Because theres a lot of things only experience can teach you, and the moment you go off into unusual choices you simply don't know what will go wrong.

Oh sure, use anti freeze... but is it safe with soft tubing? Do you need specific O-rings in your fittings? Will it still be safe to use with all the common biocides and dyes?

You wont be able to google it and get reliable answers, since no one really screws around with that except people who have nothing to lose on their sponsored builds that get torn down or never touched again after the builds are done.
 
Joined
Dec 12, 2020
Messages
886 (1.35/day)
No, AIR cools the engine in air-cooled engines. Those cooling fins and some cases a big ass fan to flow air over them aren't there for decoration.
Have you ever run a baja bug or an off road motorcycle? The oil acts as the coolant and the oil cooler cools the oil and thus the engine.
 
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