I know there are many guide for water cooling, since I wrote one up might as well shared with everyone.
The guide breaks down to 3 different building components: budget, mainstream and extreme.
Common Watercooling Questions:
1. How much does it cost?
This answer will depend on which PC components you want to be water cooled, and which parts you choose to water cool them.
2. Is it worth the risk over air cooling?
If you are looking for a quieter solution and better overclocking headroom, then Yes. If you just want to keep your components cool and within factory maximum thermal specifications, then No.
3. How often do I need to perform maintenance to clean out the loop?
I would suggest a quick few minutes to check on your setup every 2 weeks, to see if you can find any leaks or algae growing inside. Clean out and refill the loop roughly every 6-12 months, but definitely not more than 12 months. I will post some pictures on what can happen if you never clean the loop.
4. What benefit does water cooling offer over air cooling?
More overclocking headroom, a quieter solution (if you picked the right components), a more suitable solution for a high-ambient-room-temperature situation, to save space (in the CPU area) so you don't have to worry about tall memory heatspreaders or northbridge heatsinks, less stress on the motherboard due to the CPU block weight being lighter than most air cooling heatsinks.
Some of the recommended online retailers for buying water cooling:http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/http://www.jab-tech.com/http://www.petrastechshop.com/radiators.htmlhttp://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.phphttp://www.frozencpu.com/http://www.koolertek.com/
The Basic Watercooling Components:CPU Block
: this is what cools the CPU, which is one of the hottest components when overclocked. Beware when choosing your CPU block and make sure you buy the right model; some CPU blocks also come with a backplate. Backplates just add pressure to give slight performance gain. All the blocks & pricing are used for reference from Frozencpu.comBudget
EK Supreme LT AMD CPU Liquid Cooling Block - Acetal (Sockets 754 / 940 / AM2 / AM2+ / AM3) EK Supreme LT
Enzotech Sapphire Series SCW-Rev.A Extreme Performance CPU Liquid Cooling Block - 1/2" ID Native Enzotech Sapphire Series
Danger Den MPCMainstream
D-TEK FuZion v2 Intel i7 CPU Water Block - (Socket LGA 1366 / LGA 775**) D-TEK FuZion v2
Danger Den MC-TDX Liquid Cooling Block - Socket LGA 1156 / 1366 ( i3 / i5 / i7) Danger Den MC
Koolance CPU-340 Liquid Cooling CPU Block (No Fittings) Koolance CPU-340
Swiftech Apogee GTZ i7 CPU Waterblock - Socket LGA 1366 Swiftech Apogee GTZExtreme
Koolance CPU-370 Liquid Cooling Extreme CPU Block
Heatkiller Rev 3.0
EK Supreme HF Universal CPU Liquid Cooling Block - Full Copper (Sockets 775 / 1156 / 1366 / 939 / 940 / 771 / 754 / AM2 / AM2+ / AM3) EK Supreme HF
Swiftech Apogee XT Extreme "Flagship" Performance CPU Waterblock (Sockets 775 / 1156 / 1366) Swiftech Apogee XT
Koolance CPU-360 Liquid Cooling Extreme CPU Block - Rev. 1.1 (No Fittings) Koolance CPU-360
Here is some comparison data: http://skinneelabs.com/i7-blocks-1.html
: this component will move the fluid through the loop; a stronger pump will able to push the water around more quickly. If your loop has very restrictive components, a stronger pump will improve the overall temperature.Note: never let the pump run dry (meaning without water), it will fry the pump in a matter of seconds.Budget
OCZ Hydro Pulse Water Pump 800 - 800 L/hr. OCZ Hydro Pulse
Danger Den DD-CPX1 12V 3-Pin Powered Pump - (DD-CPX1) Danger Den DD-CPX1
Koolance G1/4" Threaded Acetal Pump Base for PMP-450 / MCP650/655 / Laing D5 (COV-RP450) Koolance G1/4" Threaded Acetal PumpMainstream
Swiftech MCP655-B 12v DC Pump
Swiftech MCP355 12v DC PumpExtreme
Innovatek Eheim HPPS Plus 12V Water Pump (132.1 GPH) (500733-01) Innovatek Eheim HPPS
Swiftech MCP35X 12v PWM Controlled Water Pump
Optional tools that help pumps work better are called "Top", and usually improve the water flow and are quite expensive (ranging from 25-70 dollars). I will post some pictures in the Optional Components section.
: this component is where the heat dissipates; the larger it is in size, the more surface area will be available to dissipate heat. For radiators I won't recommend specific models, since it is based on how much cooling performance you want. In theory, a single 120mm radiator can dissipate 150Watts, so 2 X 120mm radiator should handle 300Watts etc. Most radiators from reviews are pretty much neck-and-neck, with little variation in performance.Budget
: Instead of recommending a model I will recommend a brand.
Swiftech Swiftech MCR220-QP is usually very thin compared to other brands and quality wise you get what you pay for. However, it has great performance and is probably the best bang for the buck.
Black Ice GT Stealth 360 Radiator - Blue Black Ice GT
Great price, but requires a high cfm or high static pressure fan to work well.
XSPC RX240 Dual 120mm Radiator XSPC RX240Extreme
Black Ice SR1 Low Air Flow Optimized - 480 Radiator - Black Black Ice SR1
Feser XChanger Quad
Thermochill Brand http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/thpa4xhipera.html
Watercool MO-RA 2 PRO <<-- largest radiator can mount up to 9 fans.
Reviews on radiators:http://www.xtremesystems.org/Forums/...d.php?t=220593http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...d.php?t=226445http://www.skinneelabs.com/triplesv2.htmlTubing
: it is very important to pick the right size tubing that can match up to your barbs or compression fittings. The larger the diameter of your tubing, the higher the flow rate will be and the less likely that the tubing can become kinked (bent/knotted, impairing the water flow). UV or color tubing is aesthetic and usually costs more, but if you like showing off your internals then go for it.Budget
(0.25-0.99 per foot):
Durelene PVC tubing
Maskerkleer tubing - http://www.jab-tech.com/Masterkleer-...D-pr-3079.html
Clearflex tubing - http://www.jab-tech.com/ClearFLEX-60...D-pr-2433.html
(1.00-2.00 per foot):
Primochill tubing http://www.jab-tech.com/PrimoFlex-Pr...D-pr-4425.html
I find these to be the best tubing.Extreme
(2.00+ per foot):
Tygon tubing Tygon R-3400 1/2" ID (3/4" OD) - Laboratory Tubing - Black Tygon
The length needed will depend on how many components your water cooling setup will handle; sometimes you need more just in case you mess up the first time cutting.Fittings
: It is very important to choose the right size to match your tubing so leaks don't happen within your water cooling setup. Barb fittings only need to match the ID (which means Inner Diameter). Compression fittings on the other hand must have a perfect match of both ID and OD (which means Outer Diameter).Budget
compression fitting http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/ekfi12g1bl.html
Rotary and/or angle fitting: http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/bimabl3id1od3.htmlhttp://www.sidewindercomputers.com/bimablro90de2.html
There is no performance variation here, just a matter of you want your system to look like. Barbs need zip-ties or clamps to be safe.
: the fluid that will be moving through the setup, which helps to absorb most of the heat. I personally recommend a cheap solution which works very well (at least for me).
Distilled water + Pt Nuke or Silver Coil:http://www.petrastechshop.com/sikibyia.html http://www.petrastechshop.com/pepcobi1.html
, the purpose of pt nuke/silver coil is to prevent algae growing inside the water cooling setup.
Here's an image of what algae looks like as I mentioned above, which can happen if you don't clean the loop every 6-12 months.