Water Cooling 101: What to do and what to avoid

By GhostRyder
Sep 29, 2015
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  1. Cooling computers has evolved in the last ten years to the point where there are more options to satisfy all kinds of needs. All in One (AIO) water cooling kits in particular have gained popularity among users who want push frequencies higher while keeping their CPUs cooler. They're very easy to get started with as they are mostly plug and play. While things have gotten easier in the water cooling game, there are still many things that need to be taken into consideration before jumping in to ensure you can get the most performance from your own system.

    Water cooling systems -- whether they are a custom loop or an AIO -- all follow the same basic principles. You have the reservoir, the pump, the radiator, the fans, some tubing, a block (for either the CPU, GPU, or both), and the water itself. Generally on different versions of AIO’s or custom loops you may see some of these features as barely noticeable, for example, many AIO’s have very small reservoirs that are not nearly as prominent as with other custom loops, but they are usually all there.

    After years of working with water cooling kits, here are some important tips to help you get the most out of your system.

    Read the complete article.

  2. Skidmarksdeluxe

    Skidmarksdeluxe TS Evangelist Posts: 6,339   +1,938

    Or you can't watch videos at JayzTwoCents on YouTube, the boy seems to be a guru at water cooling and he makes it very easy to understand. Not that there's anything complicated about custom water cooling, it's all about a bit of tech know how, confidence and common sense.
    dividebyzero and Whltng like this.
  3. feathers632

    feathers632 TS Member Posts: 59   +14

    I disagree...
  4. robb213

    robb213 TS Addict Posts: 309   +92

    Of course everyone I know does each "Don't" which results in a facepalm from me.

    This does make me want to mod my HAF X a bit more though--keep putting it off but it would be beneficial to add another 140mm fan in the front.
  5. insect

    insect TS Evangelist Posts: 315   +114

    I've moved to using rigid tubing like the last pick exclusively. More up-front cost and time, but much cleaner results and look, plus don't have to worry about kinks or tubes that flatten over time.

    My latest (when it's off - fans are bright red when on).
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 29, 2015
  6. nhoj111

    nhoj111 TS Rookie

    Do you mean stagnate air as opposed to stalemate air?
  7. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    I'd agree. To people who have never dabbled in watercooling, it seems like voodoo ( the same can be said for further stages in cooling - peltier, cascades etc.). I got a little perplexed that more people didn't take it up as an option (although given some of the elitist claptrap from some forums, I can understand why), which is why I tried to make it as straightforward as I could within the confines of a single post. I should update it since Martin's Liquid lab no longer exists, and some new WC hardware has shown up of late.
    Skidmarksdeluxe likes this.
  8. FakeAccount

    FakeAccount TS Rookie

    How is the sound production of water cooling? Since it has more cooling power I would expect them to be relatively silent and I really want my machine to be as silent as possible. But the cooling systems I've found where louder than air cooling! So now I'm thinking of going passive cooling even if it requires a sacrifice on the performance.
  9. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,258

    I presume you're talking about AIO's, which usually come supplied with fans that are generally less than stellar (usually geared for high r.p.m. operation). Simply swap them for decent fans (that aren't rifle or sleeve bearing) that move a decent amount of air at a low r.p.m. as anyone with a custom loop would do. Building a custom cooling setup you can tailor your requirement for maximum cooling efficiency ( high r.p.m. , high static pressure, multi-row high fin pitch density radiator), or quiteness - which generally only requires having a radiator larger than the general requirement ( say a 360/420mm instead of a 240/280mm) which allows for slower fan rotation with no penalty in cooling ability due to the greater surface area of the larger radiator.
    Aside from fan noise considerations, I would also recommend the use of vibration dampening pads - they work, and also give a little insurance against overtightening fans attached to radiators
    Last edited: Sep 30, 2015
  10. CrisisDog

    CrisisDog TS Booster Posts: 119   +17

    Don't use any swivel / rotational fittings. The "O" rings that keep them together usually fail after a year or two. Just my own personal experience...
  11. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,219   +157

    I agree with that.
    I believe a good portion of the reason a lot of people see it as voodoo is that many of the water cooling forums are dominated by people who are absolute about everything water cooling and are zealots while doing it. It makes people leery of going wet. While you cannot change fluid dynamics, trying out many configurations can pay off. I have several so called or traditional 'no-no's' happening (parallel vs series, 'Rad stacking') etc in my WC builds working to great success and out performing the configuration that the WC zealots would have you believe. A well known enthusiast said emphatically that water cooling should be done for looks!...Period! That kind of attitude keeps some people from diving in.
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2015
    cliffordcooley likes this.

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