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custom cooling kit

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
I am new to overclocking and water cooling PCs, but I am very well versed in water cooling and heat rejection (I'm an HVAC consultant, so energy transfer and controls are what I do for a living).
I see these real small radiators and small pumps, etc... used for water cooling. I keep thinking that a large radiator with parallel waterways (like a car radiator), would be great, and have an array of fans that are intelligently controlled would do the trick. I picture finding an old full height computer case, and modding one side to be a full open screen that the radiator would fit against, and then inside have an array of small fans controlled by a staging system that would increase the output of the fans as required (thus keeping the noise level down during low loads). The plan would be to have this box located in a remote area away from my desk, and thus have a lot of the noise (and heat rejected by it) placed elsewhere.

So my question becomes one of radiator construction: what are the dos and don't? I read that aluminum is not good: what is the reason? Does aluminum degrade with the coolant?
post #2 of 3
The reason aluminium is no good is because all waterblocks are all made of copper. Those two metals joined into one loop will lead to massive galvanic corrosion => not good!
You can tone down the effects with antifreeze but there are too many stories of it gone horribly wrong (just google galvanic corrosion with water-cooling)

Using a car radiator, if you find one using copper tubing still leaves the problem that you need massive flow through it to make it efficient. As you with your experience probably will know is that turbulent water is way better at taking up / disposing heat. Since most car radiators are pass-through (water enters on the upper left and exits on the lower right) it means you have just too many parallel tubes.

Another problem with using car radiators is that they are designed for fans that develop a massive amount of static pressure and thus use a insane FPI count. If you put a low-noise low-rpm fan on such a radiator the fan won't be able to push much if any air through, leaving it very ineffective.

And lastly, when you use an external case to cool your pc you'll always be dependent of that case. No way to move your pc at all.

Those for reasons are why it's rarely done with full size coolers from cars. The smaller radiators that are used for cooling transmission fluid are sometimes used in ghetto builds and mostly work due to the fact that these guys make their own water blocks, out of aluminum and don't mind the noise of the stock fan of such a radiator.
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
I was thinking of using an array of regular case fans - I'm thinking 12 fans in a 4 x 3 array. Then you create a setpoint for the water temperature, and you make the fan speed adjust on water temperature.

Yeah, I understand about the portability of a computer: I don't really care since mine will stay put.

I have access to custom-fabricated coils - I'll see what they can make and go from there.
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