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What are the best brands for each of the water cooling parts water blocks, pumps, radiators, etc.? I am planning a computer build but haven't bought many things yet since I haven't made up my mind of AIO vs custom loop. For the water block for the GPUs is EK a good brand because I would be using EVGA Titan X that come with the block unless those are subpar.
 

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Ek makes great stuff. I have been using their full cover blocks since they first showed up on the market years back. But they aren't alone in quality products. look around see what you like as far as looks go as well. Allot has to do with personal taste.
 

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A few that come to mind:

Rads - XSPC and Hardware Labs
Pumps - Swift Tech
GPU blocks and fan controllers - Aqua Computer
Fittings and reservoirs - Monsoon and Bitspower
Soft Tubing - Primochill (the LRT Advanced), Tygon, and Mayhem
Coolant - Mayhem

As you can see everyone has their own little niche where they specialize in different things, however, EK is by far the best overall. You pretty much can't go wrong with an EK product as they will generally be top 3 in every category.

Personally I get all my GPU and CPU blocks from EK and then go in different directions for most of the other stuff. (pump is Swift Tech, Reservoir is Monsoon, Fittings Bitspower, Tubing and coolant are Mayhems, Radiators are Phobya [Don't recommend phobya rads btw, I have a couple of the 1080mm rads which there are only 2 companies that offer those behemoths, phobya and MORA, and the MORA were sold out at the time]).

As a side note the water blocks on the Hydro-Copper EVGA were made by EK. Not sure how much the hydro-copper costs, but if it's comparable in price I'd suggest getting the EK block and a regular T-X so you can use better thermal pads and thermal paste to have a further improved performance.
 

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Here's my current list:

CPU Block - EK EVO, Heatkiller IV, or Raystorm Pro
GPU Block - EK or Bitspower
Rads - Hardware Labs or XSPC
Fittings - EK or Barrow
Res - Monsoon MMRS hands down!
Pump - Any D5 or DDC
Tubing - EK ZMT for soft or PETG for hard
Coolant - EK or Mayhems

There are many other good manufacturers too such as Koolance and Alphacool, just have to research and see what works best for your situation. Starting with a kit is always easy also and I like the EK and XSPC kits the best.
 

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I would definitely go with a Custom loop rf a Kit from EK or XSPC like Radnad mentioned, all in ones aren't worth it unless you are tight on space or only want to cool the CPU which even then it is arguable.

For me I just purchased these brands after a lot of research -
Rads - Hardware labs (Choose the largest you can fit, if you have 70mm space then get a 60mm thick radiator and not just a 30mm, take full advantage of your space for better cooling)
Rad Fans - Gentle Typhoon or EK Vardar's
CPU Block - EK
GPU Block - EK
Reservoir - Monsoon MMRS All the way!
Fittings - Monsoon
Pump - Swift tech d5 vario (Any D5 honestly, they are all made by laing, get a PWM one if you want to have variable control over the speeds)
Tubing - PrimoChill Acrylic
Coolant - I did Distilled with some PT Nuke and will add a silver kill coil

I really love the Hardware labs Radiator that I got in yesterday, it is very high quality with a very good finish and just overall spectacular in my eyes.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by s002wjh View Post

hows ek xe rad compare to hardware lab sr2 or other rad?
EK rads are good performers but they've had some QC issues with them this year. I've never heard of a QC issue with any HWL other than some of them scratch fairly easy on the matte finish.
 

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Recently put together my first custom loop, and I pretty much did all the research here - these forums are full of valuable information. Everything in this thread so far is good stuff, too. My advice would be to research each individual component, and don't forget the "clubs" (i.e. EK Club). Yes there's thousands of posts to read but with this kind of investment, it's worth it.

To answer your question directly, I'd have to say in most cases there's no clear cut "best" in terms of performance. A water block is a water block, it may or may not crack. Same with a reservoir. A fitting is a fitting, it may or may not leak.

With that said, these were my choices, keeping in mind that my priority was making it as compact as possible:

CPU + Pump Combo: Swiftech Apogee Drive II
The pump in this unit is the Swiftech MCP35X PWM. It's noisy at full speed, but you can slow it down and still maintain good flow.

GPU: EK
Reservoir: EK
Not much to say except these were in stock at my local Microcenter and I love buying stuff there.

Radiator: DazMode Darkside
If space is a concern for you, these are one of the slimmest and most compact radiators in the market.

Tubing: PrimoChill PrimoFlex Advanced LRT
You can hardly find testimonials on any other tubing because these are so widely used.

Main Fittings: Swiftech Lok-Seal
Bitspower fittings are very popular for their aesthetics, but these Swiftech Lok-Seals were available at Microcenter so I went with them. No fancy colors, but they're half the price of BP and I haven't had any issues with them so far.

Adapter Fittings: EK, Koolance
Rotary fittings, valves, etc. Only difference between brands is aesthetics IMO.

Quick Disconnects: Koolance
Koolance QD3s are a favorite here.

Coolant: Mayhems Pastel
I technically bought EK coolant, but they're essentially repackaged Mayhems. The colors look great and all the necessary biocide/inhibitors are already mixed in. Just add distilled water! Check the Mayhems Club for some wicked coloring ideas.
 

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360 radiator round-up (2015): http://www.xtremerigs.net/2015/02/11/radiator-round-2015/
480 radiator round-up (2014): http://www.overclock.net/t/1520512/the-quad-rad-roundup/0_20
CPU block round-up (2014): http://www.overclock.net/t/1505481/summer-water-block-round-up-2014/0_20
Fairly current CPU block comparisons: http://thermalbench.com/2015/10/22/xspc-raystorm-pro-cpu-waterblock/5/

CPU Block: EK (Supremacy Evo), Watercool (Heatkiller IV Pro), and XSPC (Raystorm Pro) make some excellent blocks
GPU Block: Aquacomputer, EK, and Watercool make some really kickass blocks. Can't really go wrong with these three in terms of performance and quality.
Radiator: Aquacomputer (not the best performance but very high quality and price), EK (did have some QC issues this year as mentioned be another poster), Hardware Labs (very clean and usually perform well, some are extra wide though!), Watercool (sort of the same qualms I have about Aquacomputer rads), XSPC (fairly clean from what I recall, stylish, perform up to par and are priced competitively)
Pump: D5/DDC, doesn't really matter although if you want to get an Aquaero controller, the Aquacomputer D5 has some additional pins on it
Reservoir: Doesn't really matter IMO
Tubing: Mayhems (like it more than overpriced PrimoChill and is easier to cut and can be bent tighter)
 

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Here some examples for radiators - thanks to Extreme Rigs. read the whole article for specifics. There's a lot of information there.


When I built my rig I looked at all reviews I could find for each component when it came to performance and noise balance. That will be one of your big decisions, how loud you want the rig and how much you want to cool it. You can either balance those or go for extreme cooling by getting the thickest radiator with a very high fin count (fpi) and use the highest static pressure fans to push and pull through it. Or, go with very low noise and getting a lower fpi and quite fans and still get adequate cooling. Your performance parts are usually the fans, pump(s), radiator and cpu/gpu blocks, These are the components you want to do the most research on. The example above will give you an idea of what you will be looking at and for. While the aesthetics of the build will depend on the reservoir, fittings, coolant, and tubing along with any type of connected temperature monitor(s) and flow meters, lighting ect... Start with just 1 review. Pick the radiator you like for your purpose, then try and find comparisons for it against others. Work your way through each component to find exactly what you want and fits your needs.

I know you were more or less wanting someone to say - hey get this radiator with these fans, and put it with this pump. together with this reservoir and tubing they make this water block give you everything you ever wanted. I know when I started that's what I was looking for. But I've learned it doesn't work like that. Each person found what they liked best and put it together 1 piece at a time. And like me probably changed pieces over time to get just what we want both aesthetically and performance wise. After all, you might as well buy one of those ALL IN ONE (AIO) coolers that are very popular.
rolleyes.gif


Anyway, that's my advice. I went with an alphacool UT60 RAD, the new KILLER IV cpu block, (changed for my new build) and a D5 vario pump and they have been doing me justice for years and lasted 775 sockets to the current 1151 I am running today.

Oh, and one more thing! THE CASE. Don't forget that whatever case you have or are getting these parts are going to have to fit in it, unless you are going to go with something like the koolance ERM-3K3UA. So if you haven't already bought the case keep this in mind too!
 

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There is no "best brand", it depends on what you can get. Many times the differance is little in temperature as long as you choose the right size rad and fans/fan speed.
 
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