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Monthly roundup of water cooling's best components

post #1 of 27
Thread Starter 
The purpose of this thread is to help those people who have read the tutorial stickies and know the basics of water cooling, and just need help in picking out the components. This thread will be updated monthly based on availability of old, current, and new parts.

Components are ordered in terms of overall performance.

Pumps (12V DC):
  1. Laing DDC Rev.2 "Plus" 18w (orange impeller) ~cost $75 (~$105 with Alphacool Acrylic DDC top)

    Pros: Very good pressure capability (an unbelievable 20ft of head pressure), very low noise (Eheim 1048 level).
    Cons: only native 3/8" barbs - can purchase an Alphacool Acrylic DDC top which increases head pressure to 22ft as well as increases flowrate, gives user choice of 1/2" or 3/8" barbs (G1/4 thread) (the acrylic top adds another $30 to the pump price, but with the alphacool top, it is the absolute best pump currently available)

  2. Laing D5 (AKA Swiftech MCP655), cost ~$75

    Pros: Good free flow performance, good reliability, adjustable speed, now a low noise pump with the D5 revision.
    Cons: A bit bulky for some possibly.

  3. Laing DDC 10w (black impeller) (AKA Swiftech MCP350), cost ~$70

    Pros: Very good pressure capability, very low noise (Eheim 1048 level).
    Cons: Low free flow rate (can be helped from this mod LINK or with an Alphacool Acrylic DDC top)

  4. Aquaxtreme 50Z (AKA Swiftech MCP600 Rev. 2), cost ~$80

    Pros: Good free flow performance, reasonably low noise, 2 year warranty.
    Cons: Less pressure than DDC, less overall performance of a modded DDC, only runs down to 10V or so. A bit less overall performance than the D5. No reason to get this over the MCP655 now for noise and performance.

  5. Danger Den MAG II LE, cost ~$45

    Pros: Cheapest pump currently available with decent performance, extremely small and compact.
    Cons: Least powerful pump (lacks both flowrate and pressure), has a tendency to vibrate alot, potential reliability issue.


CPU Waterblocks:
  1. Swiftech Storm Rev.2, ~$75 Swiftech

    Pros: Best current performance, universal mounting.
    Cons: Design causes high amount of restriction in loop, Cost.

  2. Dtek AquaXtreme MP-05, cost ~$50-65 (depending on model)

    Pros: Performance & design similar to the European-made AlphaCool Nexxos XP block, uses larger 1/2" fittings, optional jet plates are available, universal mounting, different models depending on desired performance and budget. Performance is equal to or greater than the Swiftech Storm blocks.
    Cons: Design causes a fair amount of restriction in loop.

  3. Swiftech Apogee, cost ~$50

    Pros: Good availability, excellent performance over wide flow range,
    universal mounting (now with AM2 support). Best performing block with low flow/low pressure pumps.
    Cons: Replaces the more affordable 600X series blocks.


  4. Dtek Whitewater, cost ~$55

    Pros: Excellent performance, universal mounting.
    Cons: 3 barb arrangement can make tubing routing more difficult.

  5. Danger Den RBX (3 barb), TDX (2 barb), cost ~$55

    Pros: Good performance, tweakability (different nozzles).
    Cons: Less performance than other blocks, tweakability (if you don’t like dismantling the system to change nozzles).


GPU Waterblocks:
  1. Dtek AquaXtreme MP-1, ~$45
    Pros: Performance & design similar to the European-made AlphaCool GPU blocks, cheaper than the Fusion HL, uses 1/2" barbs.
    Cons: Probably the most restrictive GPU block out, so a strong pump is necessary for optimal performance.

  2. Silverprop Cyclone Fusion HL/SL, ~$60
    Pros: Excellent performance, good construction.
    Cons: Pricey as it is produced in Australia, mounting for Nvidia cards could be improved, Availability.

  3. Swiftech MCW60, ~$50
    Pros: Has interchangable threaded barbs for 3/8" and 1/2" tubing, has acetal/delrin top.
    Cons: RAMsinks must be cut down when using block with 1/2" barbs & larger tubing

  4. Danger Den Maze4, ~$45 Acetal top, $50 Brass top, $70 Chrome top
    Pros: Good performance, cheaper than the Fusion, less pressure drop for 1 gpm flowrate, choose between 3/8†and 1/2" barbs, can choose between acetal/delrin top or optional brass or chrome tops (costs extra), and comes in a low-profile version for SLI configurations.
    Cons: Low profile version requires RAMsinks under the barbs to be cut down (Zalman RAMsinks fit without modification)

  5. Danger Den Full Cover Blocks (NV-68/78, ATI-X18, Tyee, Koosah), ~$130
    Pros: Cools the RAM chips in addition to the core.
    Cons: Price, not compatible with SLI systems with single-slot PCI-E spacing, weight may cause card to sag, block may be difficult to get mounted with good conact due to size.


Chipset Waterblocks:
  1. Silverprop Nexus SX/LX, ~$50
    Pros: Excellent performance, good construction.
    Cons: Pricey as it is produced in Australia, Availability.

  2. Danger Den Maze4 Chipset, ~$40, or ~$46 for brass top
    Pros: Good performance, cheaper than the Nexus, less pressure drop for 1 gpm flowrate.
    Cons: Brass top costs more, making the Nexus more appealing.

  3. Swiftech MCW30, ~$30
    Pros: Cheaper than the Nexus, least restrictive design (flat inner base surface).
    Cons: Least performance of the three.


Radiators:

NOTE: The radiators will be ranked in terms of absolute performance first with high power fans (>90cfm rated), with secondary ordering for performance in low noise conditions.

High power fans (e.g. San Ace 120mm, Delta FFB/TFB, Panaflo H1A/U1A 120x38mm):

In high airflow applications, note that the temperature differences between radiators of similar fan and surface area arrangements will be quite small, such as 1C or less.

  1. Thermochill PA 120.2/3

    Pros: Performance increase over HE series with low-power and high-power axial fans, easy to mount in most tower cases.
    Cons: Price.

  2. Black Ice Extreme 2/3 or Thermochill 120.2/3 HE

    Pros: Very good performance with high-power axial fans, easy to mount in most tower cases.
    Cons: Price. (only really with Thermochills now)

  3. Black Ice GT Stealth 240/360

    Pros: Very good performance with both high and low power axial fans, easy to mount in most tower cases, claims the performance of a BIX in a smaller package (30mm thick instead of 40mm), performance better than that of a BIP.
    Cons: Thinner fins are extremely fragile and easy to bend, so be careful when handling/installing.

  4. Double heater core

    Pros: Cheap alternative to prebuilt computer radiators.
    Cons: More awkward to mount, need shrouds to perform well, painting for aesthetics.

  5. Black Ice Pro 2/3

    Pros: Good performance with low-power axial fans, cheaper than Extreme or Thermochills.
    Cons: None really.

  6. Black Ice X-Flow 2/3

    Pros: Is a single-pass version of the BIX/BIP so it does not restrict flow as much as a conventional dual-pass radiator.
    Cons: May be awkward to mount due to one barb being at each end of the radiator, performance lacks compared to true single-pass radiators (BI X-Flow is just a BIX or BIP with new tanks on the ends, and was not designed as a single-pass radiator from the start, like the PA160 was).

  7. Thermochill PA 160

    Pros: Very good performance with low power axial fans, easy to mount in most tower cases, single-pass so it does not restrict flow as much as a conventional radiator, more surface area than a 120mm radiator.
    Cons: Price, only ships with one fan shroud.

  8. Thermochill PA 120.1

    Pros: Performance increase over HE series with low-power and high-power axial fans, easy to mount in most tower cases.
    Cons: Price.

  9. Black Ice Extreme 1, Thermochill 120.1 HE

    Pros: Good performance, less space required.
    Cons: Less performance than larger counterparts.

  10. Black Ice GT Stealth 120

    Pros: Very good performance with both high and low power axial fans, easy to mount in most tower cases, claims the performance of a BIX in a smaller package (30mm thick instead of 40mm), performance better than that of a BIP.
    Cons: Thinner fins are extremely fragile and easy to bend, so be careful when handling/installing.

  11. Single heater core

    Pros: Cheaper alternative to BIX 1, Thermochill 120.1 HE
    Cons: More awkward to mount, need shrouds to perform well, painting for aesthetics.

  12. Black Ice Pro

    Pros: Cheaper than thicker counterparts.
    Cons: Worst performance relative to all others.

  13. Black Ice X-Flow

    Pros: Is a single-pass version of the BIX/BIP so it does not restrict flow as much as a conventional dual-pass radiator.
    Cons: May be awkward to mount due to one barb being at each end of the radiator, performance lacks compared to true single-pass radiators (BI X-Flow is just a BIX or BIP with new tanks on the ends, and was not designed as a single-pass radiator from the start, like the PA160 was).

  14. Black Ice Pro

    Pros: Cheaper than thicker counterparts.
    Cons: Worst performance relative to all others.


Low power fans (e.g. undervolted Panaflo L1A 120mm, Delta EFB, 120x25mm fans):

In these applications, the thickness of the radiator will determine best performance, where thinner is better because of the lower pressure capabilities of these fans. Coupled with the higher air resistance of thicker radiators, they perform worse with slower fans. It should be realized that for quiet operation, your priorities should be frontal area of the radiator followed by thickness, which should be lower for less restriction with a low pressure fan. For high power fans, thickness and total surface area is desired. Please keep in mind that performance numbers are hard to relate to current articles available and lack of testbeds for radiator testing, so this is going off of my knowledge of what works and what doesn't work so well. In other words, don't take it as The Word.

Ranking for low noise applications:
  1. Thermochill PA 120.3
  2. Blackice Pro 3
  3. Thermochill 120.3 HE
  4. Blackice Extreme 3
  5. Thermochill PA 120.2
  6. Blackice Pro 2
  7. Thermochill 120.2 HE
  8. Blackice Extreme 2
  9. Double heater core
  10. Thermochill PA160
  11. Thermochill PA 120.1
  12. Blackice Pro 1
  13. Thermochill 120.1 HE
  14. Blackice Extreme 1
  15. Single heater core




Resources:

http://www.procooling.com/html/pro_testing.php - interactive waterblock testing results
http://www.overclockers.com waterblock testing
http://www.systemcooling.com for Laing DDC mod

BillA and Greenman100 for radiator clarification.

Voodoo Rufus at Overclockers/OCForums for original thread & format


Reputable retailers in the United States that carry these products:
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2x Intel Xeon 5420 2.5 GHz @ 3.00 GHz (400x7.5) Intel D5400XS Skulltrail MSI Radeon HD4870 1GB 8GB (4x2GB) A-Data DDR2-800 FB-DIMM ECC 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x WD VelociRaptor 150GB+2x WD Caviar Black 500GB 2x Black Samsung DVD-RW Windows 7 Ultimate 3x Samsung SycnMaster 940BF 19" 2ms LCD's 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair Professional Series AX850 Lian Li PC-75B Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
19x13" Office Depot Desk Pad 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2x Intel Xeon 5420 2.5 GHz @ 3.00 GHz (400x7.5) Intel D5400XS Skulltrail MSI Radeon HD4870 1GB 8GB (4x2GB) A-Data DDR2-800 FB-DIMM ECC 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x WD VelociRaptor 150GB+2x WD Caviar Black 500GB 2x Black Samsung DVD-RW Windows 7 Ultimate 3x Samsung SycnMaster 940BF 19" 2ms LCD's 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair Professional Series AX850 Lian Li PC-75B Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
19x13" Office Depot Desk Pad 
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post #2 of 27
What about GPU blocks?
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardOSMonitor
3700 ClawHammer DFI NF4X Infinity Windows XP pro SP2 Env!sion 17" crt 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
crappy HP keyboard Aspire 520 + micro 193 Scorpio 868 Highly Modded Logitech mx310 :) 
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My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardOSMonitor
3700 ClawHammer DFI NF4X Infinity Windows XP pro SP2 Env!sion 17" crt 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
crappy HP keyboard Aspire 520 + micro 193 Scorpio 868 Highly Modded Logitech mx310 :) 
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post #3 of 27
Thread Starter 
GPU blocks added
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2x Intel Xeon 5420 2.5 GHz @ 3.00 GHz (400x7.5) Intel D5400XS Skulltrail MSI Radeon HD4870 1GB 8GB (4x2GB) A-Data DDR2-800 FB-DIMM ECC 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x WD VelociRaptor 150GB+2x WD Caviar Black 500GB 2x Black Samsung DVD-RW Windows 7 Ultimate 3x Samsung SycnMaster 940BF 19" 2ms LCD's 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair Professional Series AX850 Lian Li PC-75B Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
19x13" Office Depot Desk Pad 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2x Intel Xeon 5420 2.5 GHz @ 3.00 GHz (400x7.5) Intel D5400XS Skulltrail MSI Radeon HD4870 1GB 8GB (4x2GB) A-Data DDR2-800 FB-DIMM ECC 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x WD VelociRaptor 150GB+2x WD Caviar Black 500GB 2x Black Samsung DVD-RW Windows 7 Ultimate 3x Samsung SycnMaster 940BF 19" 2ms LCD's 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair Professional Series AX850 Lian Li PC-75B Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
19x13" Office Depot Desk Pad 
  hide details  
Reply
post #4 of 27
A little off topic but where could I pick up one of those Silverprop Cyclone Fusion blocks here in America?
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardOSMonitor
3700 ClawHammer DFI NF4X Infinity Windows XP pro SP2 Env!sion 17" crt 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
crappy HP keyboard Aspire 520 + micro 193 Scorpio 868 Highly Modded Logitech mx310 :) 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardOSMonitor
3700 ClawHammer DFI NF4X Infinity Windows XP pro SP2 Env!sion 17" crt 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
crappy HP keyboard Aspire 520 + micro 193 Scorpio 868 Highly Modded Logitech mx310 :) 
  hide details  
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post #5 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by Some_Idiot2
A little off topic but where could I pick up one of those Silverprop Cyclone Fusion blocks here in America?
Official Site.
3rd party.
New Belle
(10 items)
 
ImPA120.3
(13 items)
 
Old Rig
(13 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4770k Asus Maximus VI Impact 780 Ti Crucial 16GB Low Profile 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung Evo 1TB Seagate 2x2TB Raid 1 Samsung 1TB 2.5" Custom 360 Rad 
OSPower
Windows 8 Pro evga supernova 1300 G2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
X3350 Maximus Formula HD 4850 8GB G.Skill 1000 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
640GB WD Black Samsung SATA 7 64 Ultimate 20" Acer WS 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco 104 Cherry Brown Corsair 520HX Three Hundred MX310 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Athlon XP 2800+ Asus A7V8X-LA X850Pro 1GB Kingston 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
120GB Caviar XP Home 32 20" 1680x1050 Acer Compaq 
PowerCaseMouse
Modded HIPRO 250w Modded Compaq Microsoft Optical 
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New Belle
(10 items)
 
ImPA120.3
(13 items)
 
Old Rig
(13 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
4770k Asus Maximus VI Impact 780 Ti Crucial 16GB Low Profile 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Samsung Evo 1TB Seagate 2x2TB Raid 1 Samsung 1TB 2.5" Custom 360 Rad 
OSPower
Windows 8 Pro evga supernova 1300 G2 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
X3350 Maximus Formula HD 4850 8GB G.Skill 1000 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
640GB WD Black Samsung SATA 7 64 Ultimate 20" Acer WS 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Filco 104 Cherry Brown Corsair 520HX Three Hundred MX310 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
AMD Athlon XP 2800+ Asus A7V8X-LA X850Pro 1GB Kingston 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
120GB Caviar XP Home 32 20" 1680x1050 Acer Compaq 
PowerCaseMouse
Modded HIPRO 250w Modded Compaq Microsoft Optical 
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post #6 of 27
Thread Starter 
criticool hasnt had them in stock FOREVER, and will probably never get more in

i forgot the addy of the site **hits self in head** but there was one place where a guy ordered from silverprop and got it shipped to the US, but it comes out to be about $70 total with shipping

but i got lucky and found my Fusion HL (BNIB) on the forums for $47 shipped w00t
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2x Intel Xeon 5420 2.5 GHz @ 3.00 GHz (400x7.5) Intel D5400XS Skulltrail MSI Radeon HD4870 1GB 8GB (4x2GB) A-Data DDR2-800 FB-DIMM ECC 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x WD VelociRaptor 150GB+2x WD Caviar Black 500GB 2x Black Samsung DVD-RW Windows 7 Ultimate 3x Samsung SycnMaster 940BF 19" 2ms LCD's 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair Professional Series AX850 Lian Li PC-75B Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
19x13" Office Depot Desk Pad 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2x Intel Xeon 5420 2.5 GHz @ 3.00 GHz (400x7.5) Intel D5400XS Skulltrail MSI Radeon HD4870 1GB 8GB (4x2GB) A-Data DDR2-800 FB-DIMM ECC 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x WD VelociRaptor 150GB+2x WD Caviar Black 500GB 2x Black Samsung DVD-RW Windows 7 Ultimate 3x Samsung SycnMaster 940BF 19" 2ms LCD's 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair Professional Series AX850 Lian Li PC-75B Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
19x13" Office Depot Desk Pad 
  hide details  
Reply
post #7 of 27
This is a really cool idea. Are you going to do it every month? If you want, I can help you out with this.
Burning Phoenix
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Q9550 Gigabyte EP45-UD3P eVGA GTX 260 Core 216 SuperClocked 4GB G.Skill DDR2-1000 5-5-5-15 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
3 WD 80GB RAID0, Seagate 500GB, WD 1TB Caviar BLCK Lite-On LH-20A1S Windoze 7 Professional Dual Dell E207WFP 20.1" Widescreen LCD's 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G15 Silverstone OP750 Lian-Li PC-A10B Logitech G5 
Mouse Pad
Harley Davidson 
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Burning Phoenix
(13 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Q9550 Gigabyte EP45-UD3P eVGA GTX 260 Core 216 SuperClocked 4GB G.Skill DDR2-1000 5-5-5-15 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
3 WD 80GB RAID0, Seagate 500GB, WD 1TB Caviar BLCK Lite-On LH-20A1S Windoze 7 Professional Dual Dell E207WFP 20.1" Widescreen LCD's 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Logitech G15 Silverstone OP750 Lian-Li PC-A10B Logitech G5 
Mouse Pad
Harley Davidson 
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Reply
post #8 of 27
Thread Starter 
i'll just be updating this thread whenever new parts/reviews come out to give the lowdown on whats the latest and greatest
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2x Intel Xeon 5420 2.5 GHz @ 3.00 GHz (400x7.5) Intel D5400XS Skulltrail MSI Radeon HD4870 1GB 8GB (4x2GB) A-Data DDR2-800 FB-DIMM ECC 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x WD VelociRaptor 150GB+2x WD Caviar Black 500GB 2x Black Samsung DVD-RW Windows 7 Ultimate 3x Samsung SycnMaster 940BF 19" 2ms LCD's 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair Professional Series AX850 Lian Li PC-75B Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
19x13" Office Depot Desk Pad 
  hide details  
Reply
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
2x Intel Xeon 5420 2.5 GHz @ 3.00 GHz (400x7.5) Intel D5400XS Skulltrail MSI Radeon HD4870 1GB 8GB (4x2GB) A-Data DDR2-800 FB-DIMM ECC 
Hard DriveOptical DriveOSMonitor
2x WD VelociRaptor 150GB+2x WD Caviar Black 500GB 2x Black Samsung DVD-RW Windows 7 Ultimate 3x Samsung SycnMaster 940BF 19" 2ms LCD's 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Saitek Eclipse II Corsair Professional Series AX850 Lian Li PC-75B Logitech MX518 
Mouse Pad
19x13" Office Depot Desk Pad 
  hide details  
Reply
post #9 of 27
Quote:
Originally Posted by CrimsonMango
i'll just be updating this thread whenever new parts/reviews come out to give the lowdown on whats the latest and greatest
This is a very helpful thread, nice one.
Clevo P170HM
(6 items)
 
  
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i7 2760QM HD 6990m Samsung 1333mhz Crucial M4 SSD 
Hard DriveOS
Western Digital Black 500gb Windows 7 64 Bit 
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Clevo P170HM
(6 items)
 
  
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
i7 2760QM HD 6990m Samsung 1333mhz Crucial M4 SSD 
Hard DriveOS
Western Digital Black 500gb Windows 7 64 Bit 
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post #10 of 27
Radiators - are they PA 120.x Thermochill or HE?
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