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Water Cooling - In English

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 
When I started water cooling I had no idea what a radiator was or a T-Line and I had to sift through threads to figure it out. While surfing the forums, I thought I'd create a FAQ dedicated to just the terms and functions of various water cooling components and the terms often used in water cooling.

Quick Note: Most of these components listed here are somewhat dated since I first wrote the article.

Credit Where Credit is Due:
Snerp - I've learned a lot from him since I first came to overclock.net
www.frozencpu.com - For the images
Everyone else who has answered my questions

Some General Terms:


Block - Refers to the device in your loop attached to a PC hardware component. A block is typically made of copper and helps the liquid absorb heat from the device one wishes to cool

Loop - Refers to the water cooling system as a whole. Sometimes referring only to the liquid flowing through the tubing

Fluid
- Fairly self-explanatory. "Fluid" refers to whatever is flowing through the tubes.
WC - An abbreviation for "Water Cooling"
Rig - A term used for a computer or its cooling system similar to "tower" or "box"
Fittings - The diameter of your tube in inches. Also refers to the diameter of the input and output widths of various components. The three most common fittings are 1/4", 3/8", and 1/2." Tubing with a larger diameter is less maneuverable, but has greater throughput. The inverse is also true.

Let's get started. The basic principle of water cooling is that a liquid (typically a coolant composed mostly of water) flows through a series of tubes into blocks, one block per component. These blocks absorb heat through their metal base in the same way as a heatsink, which is then absorbed by the coolant flowing through the tubes. The liquid then leaves the block and goes to the radiator which dissipates the heat. From the radiator it typically flows to the pump and back to the block again. Now for a rundown of the parts.

Water Block:



The Swiftech Apogee

This piece of hardware is known as the CPU water block. There is a connection for both input and output. The recently cooled liquid goes into the input (coming from your pump) and leaves the block via the output to be cooled once more. Almost all water cooling setups are composed of at least a cpu block.

GPU Block:


The Danger Den Maze4

Many setups also consist of a gpu block (also known as a vga block or graphics block). This operates in essentially the same fashion as the cpu block and is *usually* after the cpu block in the loop, right before the radiator. While including your GPU in your loop will likely move your temperatures below air cooler levels, it will add heat to the entire loop, including your processor.

HDD (Hard Drive) Block:


Danger Den Aqua Drive Hard Drive Water Cooler

The HDD Block serves the exact same purpose as the GPU and CPU blocks. There isn't much to be said about it. In general, it isn't needed.

Chipset Block:


Swiftech MCW30 SLI Chipset Water Block

The chipset block is used to cool the chipset of the motherboard. Again, not much to be said here. As with the HDD block, the chipset block isn't needed unless your chipset is unusually hot.

RAM Block:


Koolance RAM-30-VO6 Dual Memory Liquid Cooler

RAM Blocks are used to cool the RAM via water cooling instead of the typical heat spreaders. This is not usually needed and probably one the least seen components in a water cooled system. Make sure it fits your RAM properly before buying.


Radiator:


Danger Den Black Ice GTX Xtreme

Think of the radiator as a big heatsink without a conducting base. Water flows through it and like a heatsink, it dissipates heat (best when outside of your case) because of its large surface area (the reason for the fins). Fans are also attached to the radiator to help move the hot air away from the radiator, greatly reducing temperatures.

Reservoir:


Typhoon Single 5.25" Bay Reservoir

The reservoir is an optional component in a water cooled computer. It is a place for excess liquid to flow through as well as filling up the loop and removing air pockets. It is generally recommended to have the reservoir set as the highest component to avoid air pockets. This reservoir happens to be a "bay reservoir." As such, it fits in a 5.25" drive bay like many optical drives. There are also models that fit in floppy bays as well as fully enclosed internal and external reservoirs.

T-Line:


Ethos's computer. Thanks for the image!

A T-Line serves a similar purpose to that of the reservoir. The T-Line is used to fill the loop and remove air pockets from it. The thing circled in red on the left is a fill port which is used for filling easability.

Pump:


Danger Den DD12V-D5 Pump

The pump is used to propel the liquid throughout the loop. It is important to buy a pump with the correct measurements for your loop (the diameter of the tubing, typically measured in inches). It is also important to make sure you have the proper flow rate and headroom, the amount of height the pump can pump to without being over-stressed.

Coolant/Fluid:


Fluid XP+ High Performance Non-Conductive 32 oz. Liquid Cooling Fluid

The coolant in a loop is extremely important. You need to read up on any coolant you purchase because it will directly affect your temperatures. Some coolants are non-conductive and others are not. It is important to know if yours is or not. The above image is of Fluid XP, a non-conductive coolant that is highly rated. It is also recommended to flush your loop out one every 6-8 months.


I hope this FAQ has helped you out in understanding liquid cooling. Should seek you seek more information, there are a number of WC FAQS out there, many of which are stickied here. I suggest taking a few minutes to read them over. Good luck on your build!
Edited by LembasBread - 7/30/09 at 5:59pm
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post #2 of 21
Looks dam good man.
    
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post #3 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by atomicfission92 View Post
Looks dam good man.
Thanks, it gave me something to do while I cloned a hard drive for a different computer.
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post #4 of 21
Great, now how do we set it up? And btw is a T-line a replacement for a reservoir or a companion?
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post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Surfer View Post
Great, now how do we set it up? And btw is a T-line a replacement for a reservoir or a companion?
It can be either, but let me tell you. I just did another WC rig and this time, the res leaked. I had some minor problems with another res in the past, but this one is just a pain. They are very minor leaks, but leaks all the same. There isn't a lot to putting it together. There are a number of guides out there. So long as you know where everything will be placed in your case, it is just a matter of cutting your tubing accordingly, filling it, and then bleeding it (remove air).
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post #6 of 21
Nice write up. I'm gonna go ahead and sticky this for now to give it a little more exposure.
    
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post #7 of 21
Nice job on the Sticky! Perhaps you should conglomerate this guide with the other guides (assembling) (assuming you get members permission) and make one uber WC guide!
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post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Silver Surfer View Post
Nice job on the Sticky! Perhaps you should conglomerate this guide with the other guides (assembling) (assuming you get members permission) and make one uber WC guide!
I think too many new watercoolers would get turned off by a post that size. This way, they can take it step-by-step. Come here, learn what the components are, read the forums the determine which ones to buy, read another guide to learn to set it up, and then back to the threads when they screw it up
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post #9 of 21
Nice write up.
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post #10 of 21
Nice component guide, I've got it book-marked...
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