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[Guide] 2012 Water Cooling Guide (Work-In-Progress)

post #1 of 13
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2012 Water Cooling Guide
By superericla


Water Cooling - What's the Point?
  • Better component temperatures vs air cooling
  • More overclocking potential


Water Cooling - Downsides
  • More maintenance
  • High initial cost
  • Higher risk than air cooling


Preface - What Is Water Cooling?
Water cooling is exactly what it sounds like, using a liquid (most commonly water) to cool something (in this case, computer components) to achieve lower temperatures at lower sound levels versus air cooling.


Required Components for a CPU-only Water Cooling Loop

  • CPU Water Block
    -This is the part that physically removes heat from the CPU and transfers it to the water.

    Example:
    EK Supremacy

    The EK Supremacy is one of the newer water blocks available on the market at this time and has shown to have very promising performance.


  • Radiator
    -This is the part which removes heat from the water with the help of fans pushing air through its fins.

    Example:
    Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 (240mm)

    The Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 has shown to be one of (if not) the best performing radiators available at most fan speeds.


  • Tubing
    -Tubing connects everything in a water cooling loop together, allowing water to flow between the various components.

    Example:
    Durelene

    Durelene is one of few brands of tubing that has recently shown to take a long time to cloud or plasticize.


  • Pump
    -The pump is pretty self-explanatory, it pumps the water through the components.

    Example:
    D5 Vario

    The D5 Vario pump is known for its high flow rates and its durability.


  • Fittings
    -Fittings allow the tubing to be attached to the water cooling components, such as the radiators and water blocks.

    Example:
    Monsoon Free Center Compression Fittings

    One of the nicest looking compression fittings (in my own opinion) and one of the cheapest.


  • Reservoir
    -While technically an optional component, the reservoir holds water for the loop and makes bleeding (removal of air bubbles) easier, so I recommend one.

    Example:
    FrozenQ Liquid Fusion

    One of the nicest reservoirs I've ever used. While a nice reservoir is an unnecessary luxury, it adds a nice aesthetic to your water cooling loop.


  • Kill Coil / Biocide

    Example:
    PT Nuke

    Some form of biocide or kill coil is needed to keep algae out of the water.




General Water Cooling Tips
  • Leak test before you turn the power on
    -Unplug everything from the power supply except the water cooling pump and short the 24-pin plug (short pin 16 [usually green] to any ground). Wrap all potential leak spots with paper towels (or another material) in case of leaks and turn the power supply on. Leave running until a leak is found or a few hours have passed. Once it's able to go for a few hours with no leaks, plug everything else back in and turn the computer on.

  • Compression Versus Barb Fittings
    -Barb fittings are usually much less expensive than compression fittings, but require zip ties or clamps to hold the tubing onto the components. Compression fittings, while being more expensive, are more appealing (in my opinion) and come with a screw-on part you attach to hold the tubing on. Compression fittings require the tubing to have the same inner and outer diameter as the fittings, while barb fittings only require a matching inner diameter.

  • Number of Fittings Needed
    -Typically, you will need two fittings per part in the water cooling loop (radiators, reservoirs, etc.), but it is always good to have a few extra on-hand.

  • Loop Order - Does It Matter?
    -The loop order does not really matter as long as the pump is directly after the reservoir. Route tubing in whichever way is easiest and most aesthetically appealing to you.

  • Does Water Cooling Have to be Expensive?
    -In short, no. There are a lot of upgrade options when it comes to water cooling, but I've found that it's easy to start with a simple kit, such as the RASA or Raystorm XSPC kits found online, and slowly upgrading those parts.

  • How Much Radiator Space is Needed?
    -I typically recommend 120mm of radiator space, plus 120mm more radiator space per component being cooled.

  • Pump Tops - What do they do?
    -Pumps such as the D5 come with 1/2" barbs instead of threaded holes to add fittings to. Pump tops allow fittings to be used with pumps that don't come with the ability to use fittings.

  • Is there an easier way to drain the loop?
    -Probably the easiest way to drain a water cooling loop is by making a drain spot. Simply use a fitting and some tubing off an available port on the reservoir or pump top and use a plug to stop water from leaking. When you're ready for loop maintenance, put the end of that bit of tubing in a bucket and remove the stop fitting.

  • T-lines, how do you use them?
    -It's best to have a T-line as the highest point in the loop (with the pump next in the loop). The issue with using a T-line is that it will take more on/off cycles with the pump to completely remove air from the loop. You would simply fill up the tubing above the T-line and run the pump until that coolant is in the loop and repeat until some coolant stays in the tubing above the T-line. You may need to add more coolant after a few hours of operation once air starts to bleed from the loop.



Other Water Cooling Possibilities
  • GPU Cooling
    -Simply find a GPU water block compatible with the card you're using and add it to the water cooling loop. If you have enough radiator space, GPU cooling can really help temperatures.\
  • RAM Cooling
    -RAM cooling is mostly unnecessary. RAM sticks most likely won't be able to overclock any more and RAM sticks usually don't put off much heat so water cooling is typically unneeded.
  • Motherboard Cooling
    -Motherboard cooling can be helpful at times, such as when overclocking the fsb, but is unnecessary most of the time. Motherboard cooling is highly recommended when using the x79 Intel socket.
  • HDD Cooling
    -HDD cooling is completely unnecessary (in my opinion) and won't really help speed anything up. HDDs are typically not hot components and don't need active cooling in most cases.



Water Cooling Maintenance
Any time you notice particles floating around in the reservoir or decreased performance, drain all of the water out of your loop, run water through each component to ensure they're not blocked by gunk, and refill. This is best to do every few months, yet some loop can last years without maintenance!


Let me know if there's anything else to add / more advice to give, etc.

Edited by superericla - 9/4/12 at 1:11am
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post #2 of 13
maybe a drain spot?
    
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post #3 of 13
Thread Starter 
Added, thanks!
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post #4 of 13
Add more expamples.

Bay res

pump tops

coolant

barb fittings
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post #5 of 13
Thread Starter 
I'm planning on adding three levels of components, high-end, middle, and budget once I have more free time.
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post #6 of 13
So what makes this guide better/different form earlier guides like http://www.overclock.net/t/913181/water-cooling-guide-for-noobs#post11984918
or other threads form the WC essentials sticks http://www.overclock.net/t/226970/updated-water-cooling-essential-threads
    
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post #7 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bit_reaper View Post

So what makes this guide better/different form earlier guides like http://www.overclock.net/t/913181/water-cooling-guide-for-noobs#post11984918
or other threads form the WC essentials sticks http://www.overclock.net/t/226970/updated-water-cooling-essential-threads
Basically, absolutely nothing. I mostly made this to put more input into the water cooling community. I have a lot more planned for this guide (it is a work in progress after all). Really, even after looking through the WC essentials stickies when I was starting out I still had a few small issues with setup which I intend on pointing out once I get this guide completed.
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post #8 of 13
I am looking into water cooling and seems I need to import everything from the US it will cost me around 5000 bucks ... I was wondering if it is safe to use a T-line instead of a Res so I can cut down on costs until a later stage where I would buy a Res ...

How do you hook up an efficient T-Line
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post #9 of 13
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emissary of Pain View Post

I am looking into water cooling and seems I need to import everything from the US it will cost me around 5000 bucks ... I was wondering if it is safe to use a T-line instead of a Res so I can cut down on costs until a later stage where I would buy a Res ...
How do you hook up an efficient T-Line
It's best to have a T-line as the highest point in the loop (with the pump next in the loop). The issue with using a T-line is that it will take more on/off cycles with the pump to completely remove air from the loop. You would simply fill up the tubing above the T-line and run the pump until that coolant is in the loop and repeat until some coolant stays in the tubing above the T-line. You may need to add more coolant after a few hours of operation once air starts to bleed from the loop.
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post #10 of 13
Quote:
Originally Posted by Emissary of Pain View Post

I am looking into water cooling and seems I need to import everything from the US it will cost me around 5000 bucks ... I was wondering if it is safe to use a T-line instead of a Res so I can cut down on costs until a later stage where I would buy a Res ...
How do you hook up an efficient T-Line

Put pump at the bottom. Add a T in front of the pump. Add a tube from the T to the top of your case. Done.
If it can turn around, you can also use it as a drain. Otherwhise is a + in front of the pump and you have easy filling and easy draining.
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