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My little rant on watercooling

Poll Results: Please read the wall of text prior to voting on the poll, please also try like hell not to TL;DR kind of defeats the purpose, plus Zeus fries a kitten every time you TL;DR an OP.

 
  • 10% (6)
    TL;DR (Because invariably there always will be those social anarchists)
  • 23% (14)
    Dude, you're crazy
  • 33% (20)
    To some degree I accept what you're rambling about... oh look a penny!
  • 33% (20)
    You may be on to something here!
60 Total Votes  
post #1 of 41
Thread Starter 
Please excuse the following rant, but I need to vent my frustrations to a potentially sympathizing demographic. If my rant turns out to be misinformed, I hope that I will have become enlightened as to the truths of the matter.

I have not until very recently become interested in water cooling as not just a hobby but as a means to pull as much performance as possible out of any given hardware I might be using. For anyone entering the realm of water cooling for the first time, it can be rather overwhelming as there is such a massive amount of information to learn on the subject, indeed it can almost overload the senses.

As a consequence I have buried myself in article after article studying the concepts of water cooling, even going so far as to consume research papers on the study of Fluid Dynamics and other sub categories of physics so as to have a better grasp on the fundamentals; because the more you know and understand, the easier your decision making process will be and should mitigate a lot of mistakes that could arise.

The point of this diatribe is really to outline the observations I have accumulated while scouring the internet trying to put together a custom kit that suits the aesthetic I'm going for, in particular it has to do with availability and selection of water blocks.

Before I get right to it, I'd like to lay out my perspective on the matter of performance. There are two camps, and then a third camp which is a hybrid of the first two. Function and Form. It would be exceedingly easy to jury rig a water cooling kit together for pure performance, paying no heed whatsoever to aesthetics. Then there's paying as much attention to aesthetics as possible and in the process of doing so not utilizing the full potential of water cooling performance.

For me, when it comes to PC water cooling, it has to be a balance of function & form. To invest so much time, effort and money to not balance both kind of defeats the purpose of the entire subject.

As I have Google'd seemingly to the ends of the internet, I have observed a significant lack in uniformity among the offerings from the different vendors and manufacturers (to clarify I don't mean uniformity from one manufacturer to the next, but internally for a specific manufacturer from component to component). I have a great amount of respect for uniformity, especially when it comes to aesthetics. The truth of the matter is that what I'm *****ing about really doesn't concern the majority of people who water cool, and is really a nitpicking point but it does expose perhaps the still very large gaps that water cooling needs to bridge before it will truly become "mainstream".

I can't recall how many times I have mostly assembled a kit only to find one part severely lacking in the overall aesthetic to scrap and start over, beginning with a different manufacturer. For my money, it only makes sense to water cool the primary components on the motherboard aside from obviously the CPU. These include VRM's, "Northbridge" and Southbridge. Depending the chipset and how much overclocking you really intend on doing, you may or may not see an improvement in stability, more often than not you likely won't see any tangible benefit when it comes to performance. I never bother looking @ memory as it is completely unnecessary.

I'm really kind of irked by water cooling manufacturers who seem to regard aesthetics as a secondary consideration when it comes to designing their parts. I understand why not many create full coverage solutions for motherboards that match up with the look and feel of their CPU water blocks and GPU water blocks (which are also lacking in uniformity). The rate at which technology changes in the field can make it a bit prohibitive to continually update and release revisions of their products to ensure compatibility, while trying to equalize the balance between supply and demand.

When I begin my shopping experience to build a kit, I first start to see what is available for full coverage motherboard blocks as that dictates the hardware path for the PC build. From there I look to the GPU blocks and then the CPU blocks. I have yet to find a block from all three categories that really hit the nail on the head for the particular aesthetic I might be going for. Generally speaking, there are a few things that ought to be "standards" when it comes to designing these components:

  1. Depending on the orientation of your components (be it vertical or horizontal) which is dictated by the orientation of your chassis (Tower vs Desktop), the fluid moving through the block should be visible to some degree.
  2. The materials used, and the tone of each material should match. For example, if the parts have exposed copper no one piece should be brighter or darker than the others (this might change over time, but that is a matter of upkeep and maintenance on the part of the user).
  3. Again when it comes to materials selection, there should be a balance present so that one material is not more dominant than on another, surface area of a particular component being an issue certainly; just keep the degree to which you use the materials in balance.

The only manufacturer that I have found that really tends to satisfy 2/3 of those points is Koolance, they don't satisfy #1 but that's just a personal preference. WK come close between CPU and GPU blocks but their MB blocks just don't seem to follow suit. XSPC has some CPU water blocks I really like but they don't really have much else, at least not so far as to call them all part of the same "product line". Swiftech I think makes the most outstanding full coverage GPU blocks, but again fall short in providing a full product line offering.

I'm at the point now where I'm considering a compromise by creating a mix mash of different manufacturers, still there are considerable challenges in keeping point #2 in check, and #3 is all over the map. By the time it's all said and done I may need to break out my long lost CAD skill set and design my own parts, I really dislike severe compromise for the sake of consumer ease. If you're going to do something, do it right, if there was anything to be gleaned from this wall of text that would be the message I would send to water cooling manufacturers.

Don't even get me started on the price of individual fittings which depending on the configuration of your build can dwarf the cost of your blocks and reservoirs combined.
post #2 of 41
thinking.gif
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post #3 of 41
#ontosomthing
 
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post #4 of 41
I thought the best thing about custom WC was the mish-mash between different vendors?
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post #5 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by King4x4 View Post

I thought the best thing about custom WC was the mish-mash between different vendors?

To some that would be appealing yes, though for me it may just be an indication of OCD. I just prefer the aesthetic flow of parts sharing a common design rather than design and style changing from one to the next.
post #6 of 41
Very few people are going to read that whole post, you need to shorten your posts.
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post #7 of 41
what ^ said.....i do belive I made it to the second para.....OMG A PENNY!
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post #8 of 41
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodbath View Post

Very few people are going to read that whole post, you need to shorten your posts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Blatsz32 View Post

what ^ said.....i do belive I made it to the second para.....OMG A PENNY!

Valid feedback, but as the first paragraph stated the purpose was more so to vent my frustrations which is difficult to convey with few words: "Me upset, need more choice!", doesn't really cut it. Certainly though when it comes to it, I can be blunt and straight forward. Also, I think I made reference to the fact I recognize that it was a long winded post in the poll wink.gif
post #9 of 41
i agree with you for the most part...if you want all the prats to flow, the easiest is to just get everything from EK... that said, i have build farr too many WCed machines with that balance (or at least i think so), and must say that if enough time is spent it is doable... the trick is not to match teh blocks them selves, but the materials and colors throught your build... this lets you use, say a Raystorm CPU along with a XSPC Xpower II block because your raystom matches the over all color scheme and you GPU blocks, wile the Xpower II block matches your aluminum mobo tray... it can be done, but it is absolutely a form of art... takes tons of planning, and trial and error but you will get there thumb.gif (i voted TL;DR btw just cause it was too tempting redface.gif)
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post #10 of 41
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZuuligaN View Post

To some that would be appealing yes, though for me it may just be an indication of OCD. I just prefer the aesthetic flow of parts sharing a common design rather than design and style changing from one to the next.
OCD would be making sure everything matched...
Excellent post. I too have noticed this, and always wondered. Mebbe the north/south bridge blocks are available for only certain overclocking boards?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodbath View Post

Very few people are going to read that whole post, you need to shorten your posts.
Then they would miss what he's trying to say... Besides, if they were worried about post length, they would be on Twitter....
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