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Guide: Best Watercooling Components

post #1 of 178
Thread Starter 
Hey everyone. There's been an increase in people wanting to watercool lately, so I figured I'd make a guide for the best components you can buy for a certain price bracket.

CPU Blocks:
First off, we'll talk about cpu blocks.

Top: Now, at the moment, for socket 775 systems, the EK Supreme and Apogee GTZ are the king of blocks. The EK Supreme will be better in hi-flow CPU only loops due to how restrictive it is. The GTZ is better for multi-block loops. They are followed closely by the D-Tek Fuzion V2, along with the XSPC Edge blocks.The main problem with the fuzion, especially when adding in nozzles is how restrictive it is. As long as you have a good pump and not too many blocks in a single loop, you should be fine though.

Budget:
Replacing the Apogee GT in my budget slot is the OCZ Hydroflow. This is OCZ's first foray into "real" watercooling and they've done very well. Coming in at a very affordable $40, you get the block itself, mounting hardware for all modern CPU sockets, a S775 backplate, a universal backplate, tube of OCZ Freeze TIM, and metal barbs coming in at 3/8" and 1/2". That is an incredible package for $40 bucks.

EDIT: The XSPC Delta V3 comes in at 45 bucks. It will outperform the OCZ Hydroflow, but does not come with as many accessories or as good of a mounting system. It's up to you which is more important.

GPU Blocks
Top: Full cover blocks provide the ability to cool every component on the card which is a big plus over the non full coverage blocks that you need to buy ramsinks or a unisink for. These however are much more expensive, can only be used on one card, and are more restrictive than the swiftech block. For cards such as the 3870x2 and 9800gx2, these blocks are pretty much your only option however. If you are going to go with a full cover block, I recommend EK brand.

Budget:
The D-Tek fuzion gfx V2 was just released. It is roughly HALF as restrictive as the Fuzion gfx V1, which is a very good thing. This will probably outperform the MCW60 R1 by 1-3C. This is now my most recommended block. Swiftech has also released recently the MCW60 R2 which reduces the size of the pins allowing for more surface area. This puts it on par with the Fuzion GFX V2, so it's really just your pick of which one you like more.

Another option is to get the MCW60. It is the least restrictive GPU only block that is also compatible with almost all new cards. You can often find these used for 25-30 shipped.
Pumps

Top: For pumps, I usually recommend the D5 vario for it's brute strength. The D5 however is inferior to the DDC pumps in the fact that there are many pump tops made for the DDC's that further customize the pump and optimize the flow and pressure. For those that are concerned with space, there are even reservoir tops made for the DDC that combines a reservoir with the pump.

Budget: For a budget loop, I always recommend the D-Tek DB-1 pump as it retails for around 40-50 USD, is very compact, and is still a very good pump. I had one powering my loop that consisted of 2 radiators, a cpu block and a gpu block and the pump handled it like a champ.

Radiators

Top: Possibly the most critical component in a watercooling loop is the radiator. The brand, type and size of your radiator will determine how much you can cool. If you want the best performance with silent fans, go for the Thermochill PA series. These are quite expensive, but they are fantastic radiators. If you don't mind louder fans, you can always go with the Black Ice GTX 360 radiator which will outperform the PA 120.3 with 47CFM+ fans. Other members of the black ice GTX series can be added as "up there" with the PA series. They tend to be slightly cheaper and perform better with 47CFM+ fans. The absolute best made-for-pc radiator you can get for now is the 480GTX. I have heard rumors and seen sketches of a supposed Feser 4x120mm radiator though, and I will update this when it becomes available.

Budget: For the budget builder, I recommend the swiftech MCR220 and MCR320 radiators. You can find these in the 40-60 dollar range, which is easily half that of the thermochills and black ice xtreme radiators. These radiators are known to perform quite well even though they aren't the best. Another good option for budget radiators with the sacrifice of aesthetics are heater cores which you can usually find at auto stores. Danger Den also sells them I believe.

Tubing
Best: Now most may think that tubing doesn't really matter. I disagree. I always recommend using 1/2" tubing, or if you're cramped for space, 7/16" tubing. Brand also matters. If you can afford it, I recommend Tygon and Feser tubing. In my opinion, the Feser tubes look absolutely amazing in regular and UV light, and you can get them in a variety of colors. Tygon is also a very good tubing brand.

Budget: Now while I usually don't recommend skimping on tubing, masterkleer is the only budget brand tubing that I give a thumbs up to. It gives you a very good quality at 1/2-1/3 the price of tygon or feser tubes.

Coolant:

Top: It's hard to really say one coolant is better than the rest, but straight distilled is technically the best. This can be found in wal mart for less than a dollar a gallon where I live. Now for more expensive stuff, I would recommend feser coolant for its vibrant colors and extreme reaction to UV lights. Primochill is very good as well. The one coolant I recommend you stay away from is Fluidxp as it is known to leave crap in your loop and it is very viscous which strains the pump.

Budget: As stated, straight distilled water is the best you can get as it is less than 1 dollar a gallon usually. For those that want UV, I recommend using Pentosin G11 and I always recommend using PT Nuke(available at petras tech shop) in your loop. Both of these are fairly inexpensive. You can also buy little bottles of UV dye that will add some spunk to your loop. The one cheap additive I don't recommend is swiftech hydrx, as I speak from experience saying that it leaves crap in your loops just like fluidxp.

Stores: The stores I recommend to buy watercooling components are

Petras Tech Shop- www.petrastechshop.com

Petras is easily my favorite shop, and always my number one recommendation. A hand written note in almost every order and your very own petras pen. The absolute pinnacle of customer service, A+

Jab-Tech- www.jab-tech.com

I've ordered from them a few times and love em.

SVC- www.svc.com

Great prices on most products and good customer service.

DD- www.dangerden.com

D-tek- www.dtekcustoms.com

Swiftech- www.swiftnets.com

Sidewinder- www.sidewindercomputers.com

Xoxide- www.xoxide.com

And for you Euro guys, www.watercoolinguk.co.uk

Chilled PC- www.chilledpc.co.uk

Never ordered from them before, but they have a few reps here on OCN if you have any questions.

Canadian shops- www.directcanada.com and www.ncix.com

Thank you all for reading this guide, and I hope it helps some of you newcomers to the watercooling arena. This was just my first go at this, so please PM me with any criticism and thoughts.


Edited by TnB= Gir - 11/13/08 at 6:44pm
post #2 of 178
Great Guide. Thank you!

I'm very tempted to start a watercooling project over the summer. This thread is very informative.

+rep (2 if I could)
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post #3 of 178
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FaLLeNAn9eL View Post
Great Guide. Thank you!

I'm very tempted to start a watercooling project over the summer. This thread is very informative.

+rep (2 if I could)
Thanks! Glad I could help.

If there is a want/need for a budget/top chipset block shootout, then I will make a category for that, so just let me know if you want it
post #4 of 178
This is a great guide for information on strictly components. i plan to build my first loop this summer, and this is just what I needed to start speccing it out.
post #5 of 178
Well done Gir! I've also noticed an increase in folks going water on the forum..

One thing you might want to consider is a quick paragraph about tubes, Just the difference between Tygon and other brands, and maybe just stating that there are different types of threading, so watch what uses what

other than that, accurate and concise! +rep
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post #6 of 178
Excellent write up GIR! Although I would also add the GTX360 to the radiators as it is good, or it better be as I just got mine.
    
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post #7 of 178
Thank you for writing this! I'm going to take the dive soon, and have been looking for some insight into components. +rep from me, and an e-beer as well
    
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post #8 of 178
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by FearMeansControl View Post
Well done Gir! I've also noticed an increase in folks going water on the forum..

One thing you might want to consider is a quick paragraph about tubes, Just the difference between Tygon and other brands, and maybe just stating that there are different types of threading, so watch what uses what

other than that, accurate and concise! +rep
Added a tubing section, thank you for the suggestion

I also added in the BIX series for radiators.
post #9 of 178
I recently decided to go with watercooling to add some more experience in my pc modding/ocing knowledge, and i'm pretty much a newb to it, I have been pointed thr right way in my other thread to go with Petra's Shop, I found this kit they call Petra's CoolKit Elite - Rev.2 which contains:

• (1) D-TEK FuZion v2 Universal CPU Waterblock (w/Socket 478/423/603/604/462/754/939/940/AM2/LGA 775 compatible USMA)
• (1) Laing DDC-3.2 Pump w/Petra'sTech DDCT-01s Acetal Top
• (1) Swiftech MCR220-QP Dual 120mm Radiator (w/fittings)
• (2) Yate Loon D12SL-12, D12SM-12, or D12SH-12 120mm x 25mm Fans
• (10') 7/16" ID (5/8" OD) Masterkleer Tubing
• (1) 1/2" OD Polypropylene T-Fitting
• (10) Stainless Steel Worm-Drive Hose Clamps
• (1) Danger Den Machined Acetal Fillport/T-Line Cap
• (1) Swiftech MCB-120 RadBox
• (1 bottle) Pentosin G11 (UV blue) Coolant Additive
• (1) Petra'sTech Water Cooling Setup Guide

Only concern I had was you mention 1/2" tubing instead of 7/16 if possible, is this something they can change in the kit when I order? the radiator fit for the job or room for some improvment? And is the pump that is included meet the "top" suggestions you mentioned above? And does the above kit come with a reservior that I dont see listed above?

I wouldnt mind spending around $300 as long as I do it right the first time, I learned a long time ago going cheap ends up being more costly a majority of the time, I basically plan trying to achieve a 3.9Ghz+ with a Q6600 if possible, if not i'd be happy with the usual 3.6 OC with very low temps and quiet pc
Edited by ri.sho - 5/21/08 at 6:08pm
     
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post #10 of 178
You should also mention "popular" coolant mixtures

Could you also add for us Canadian's www.directcanada.com

Thanks
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