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Which components contribute the most to water cooling performance?

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
Just wondering what you guys think, in a list of components from most to least important for a water cooling loop's performance. I currently understand the "priority" to be:

Radiator>Pump>Block>Reservoir>Tubing/fittings

Care to discuss? I'll be putting together my first water cooling loop pretty soon, just want to know if there is anything else I should note before I finalize my configuration.

Also, what are some of the reasons that hold back the performance of AIO coolers? Even the ones with 240mm rads like the H100?
post #2 of 3

(stay with me on this so that I can get to my answer): I have to say that I know absolutely nothing about water cooling. I mean, I have absolutely zero interest in learning anything about it, what parts are quality, which ones suck, where the best prices usually are, etc. etc. etc. However, when I saw your thread title, the answer that immediately hit me was something like, "The radiator, pump and blocks". We seem to feel the same way and I'd bet that you already know way more than I do, so I'd say that you're dead-on with your understanding.

 

Edit: Well, ok: I can't forget the fans on the radiator, but still...

It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
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It's a computer!
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-2500K @ 4.5GHz (1.368-1.384V fixed voltage) ASUS P8P67 EVO B3 (UEFI ver. 1850) GTX 780 ASUS DirectCU II (1228 / 6300, 1.180V) G.SKILL Ripjaws X 8GB (2 x 4GB) 1866MHz, CL9 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (C:\) 250 GB Samsung 840 EVO (D:\) 150 GB WD VelociRaptor Samsung SH-S243N 24x DVD Burner 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung SH-S203N 20X DVD Burner Thermaltake Frio Win 7 Home Premium x64 SP1 Retail AOC G2460PG (24" 1920 x 1080 144Hz G-SYNC) 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco Majestouch 104-key Cherry MX Blues w/NKRO Corsair HX650 (Bronze, ordered on 12-12-2009) CM 690 Intellimouse Optical (1.1A) 1000Hz polling rate 
Mouse PadAudioAudio
Basic, but premium round X-Fi Titanium HD Klipsch ProMedia 2.1 (with 16 AWG Monster Cable... 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 3
I'm fairly new to the game. But if I was making this list for a future self. The pump would be at the top for me. It's the potentially loudest, most unreliable and variably performing piece of the puzzle. The difference between a MCP655 and a small in-bay res pump is huge. Not only to performance, but reliability and setup. Rads these days are most all pretty good quality. Id pick something at least brass/copper if not full copper, and just see what fits your budget, needs, and styling. Cpu and GPU blocks will depend specifically on your components in terms of whats available, but I'd trust any of the known brands products (I.E. Swiftech, XSPC, Koolance, EK, etc). To me, a res, tubing, and fans are all personal choices. Depending on what you like appearance wise, what requirements you need of them (size, silence vs performance, etc), budget, and skill level, those three will change. To me,

Pump>Blocks>Rads>Fans>Res>Tubing
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