Looking for opinions on water cooling

By TCool ยท 6 replies
Jul 30, 2006
  1. I have been looking into water cooling for my system because I figure if I cool my system well enough I can make it last a few years longer without upgrading simply by overclocking. I have an asus P5GD2-X motherboard, intel P4 Prescott 3.0 ghz 800 mhz fsb, Sapphire ATI Radeon X1300, 2 GB DDR2 PC4200 RAM. I have made a list of items that I think would be good for my system, but I'd like to get some input from you professionals before I go ahead and buy the stuff.

    Swiftech Storm cpu block

    Swiftech MCP655 pump

    Swiftech MCW60 graphics block

    Heater core from 77 bonneville for heat dissepation

    Also some 7/16 " ID masterkleer tubing, I've read somewhere that the 7/16" tubing actually fits onto the 1/2" connectors better than the half inch tubing.

    I haven't decided on a reservoir yet, or if I'm going to go with a chipset block or ram block, should I?

    Also, I read that the heatercores actually work better than most radiators, and the radiators that work better are all pretty expensive. Is this true? Will that heatercore cool my pc good?

    Do you pro's have any suggestions for my set up, or parts? Am I missing anything super important(besides clamps etc)? Also, what steps can I take to make sure that there is never a leak? I recently had a radiator hose blow on my car and it got me thinking that if a hose that strong can blow out what is to stop the hoses in the computer from blowing?

    Thanks for your help,

  2. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    Hi Tcool,

    1. personally i would just get the heatercore that you linked, instead of using one from a car. IMO they don't really cost enough to make it worth the hassle of modifying the fittings and creating a way to mount it securely.

    yes, in general heater cores cool better than radiators, but it's usually only by a couple degrees (nothing spectacular).

    i used to use a single 80mm radiator to cool my AthlonXP-M 2500+ (overclocked from 1.8GHz to 2.5GHz) and it worked fine.

    i also used to have a dual 120mm heater core like the one you linked, but it didn't cool any better than my 80mm radiator, which i assumed was because it reduced the flow too much (a more powerful pump may have shown better results, I don't know)

    I now use a cheap 120mm radiator to cool my Athlon64 3000+ (overclocked from 1.8GHz to 2.4GHz) and my temps are generally ~31c idle and ~35c under load with an ambient temp of about ~25c

    bottom line... in my experience big radiators don't mean big performance. they all work well, but the way it's mounted is more important.

    2. I use a standard 5.25" drive bay clear reservoir because, well... it simply looks cool :D (after all that's the real reason people water cool ;))

    3. your chipset will heat up as a result of overclocking, but unfortunately cooling it down doesn't usually allow any more overclocking headroom.

    however that doesn't mean you shouldn't do it. while it may not give any performance gains, it will make for a quieter system, reduce overall case temps, and theoretically extend the life of the mobo/chipset

    4. about the tubing.. masterclear is nice tubing. whether 7/16" fits better depends on the hose barb itself. if it's a short barb with a single rib then a 7/16" hose would fit better, but if it's a long barb with 3 or 4 ribs then you'll have a hard time getting a 7/16" hose onto it.

    generally you want to use the bigger size hose (1/2" ID) because it will allow a greater flow. and when you use a metal worm type clamp, you'll have no issues with the 1/2" hose not fitting good.

    5. i wouldn't worry about a hose blowing in your PC. I have never heard f it happening to anybody. a car's engine gets much hotter than a CPU, GPU, or NB will get. a car's cooling system is under high pressure when when heated up, a PC water cooling system is a low pressure setup.

    if you want to help ensure a leak free system, then you should glue or silicone every connection before introducing water into the system.

    cheers :wave:
  3. TCool

    TCool TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    Well, that heatercore is from a car, but its all pre modified and everything. Although if it won't make much of a difference I probably will just go with a normal radiator, because like you said its all about looks and that heatercore looks pretty darn ugly to me :) . I was also thinking about using more than one radiator. Since I will be using blocks on my cpu, and graphics card for sure and have been thinking about doing the chipset and the ram I figure the things towards the end of the loop are getting warmer water and will not cool them very well. What I was thinking is that maybe a radiator in the normal spot in the loop (having a brain fart on the proper place to put it right now) and then another small radiator after the cpu and graphics block. That way the water would be a little cooler going into the chipset and ram blocks. Would this be something thats worth doing, or would it restrict the flow too much or have some other undesirable effect on the entire loop? Also, you said its the way they are mounted that is important, what do you mean by that? (I'm a complete newb to watercooling :) )

    As for the reservoir, I haven't chosen yet because I haven't found one I've liked yet. I read that it doesn't really matter what reservoir you chose, that they are all pretty much the same, performance wise.

    About the cpu block, the one I've chosen seems to be a little more expensive than some blocks. I guess its because of the jet impingement (did i get that right?), according to what I've read this greatly helps reduce temps with a strong enough water flow because of the turbulence. It makes sense to me, but I have no actual experience with watercooling, so what I'd like to know is if its worth the extra money for this. Because not only is the block more expensive, it also means I need a more expensive pump.

    Also, thanks for the leak advice, its definately good to hear that you've never heard of a hose going out like that.
  4. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    the temperature in the entire loop tends to stay pretty consistent. the water going into the block won't actually be that much cooler than the water coming out of it. an extra radiator would reduce overall loop temperature, but could possibly hurt more than help by reducing the flow.

    as far as the waterblocks are concerned, for years i used a simple homemade waterblock which was nothing more than a small block of aluminum with 3 holes drilled through it (creating a single water passageway in a "U" shape) and it cooled almost as well as my dangerden RBX waterblock (about a 5c difference average). so yes, the waterblock can make a difference, but you should weight the difference in temps with the cost of the block and decide whether a couple of degrees celsius is worth an extra $30 or so over a cheaper block.

    and it's not just the radiator, but the way every component is mounted that's important. every inch of height and every foot of length the water has to go through can significantly reduce flow. if a dual 120mm radiator is mounted vertically than the water has to travel an unnecessary height of 240mm. if it's mounted horizontally it only has half the height to climb. if it's mounted flat, then the water doesn't have to climb any height at all inside the radiator itself.

    you don't need a big expensive pump if you keep your hoses short and the total head (height) to a minimum. i use a minijet606 it only uses 6 watts (@110VAC), pumps 165GPH, and only costs about $15. they are sold as submersible only but can be easily modded into a 1/2' inline pump. i can use a small cheap pump like that because all my hoses are as short as possible (from resi to pump is 2", from pump to CPU is 2", from CPU to radiator is 6", from radiator to resi is 6") and the whole setup is level except for the radiator which is about 6 inches higher than the other components in the loop.

    in the end, the way your system is designed and built is more important than the specific components used.
  5. TCool

    TCool TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    Alright, thanks for the advice. Now I have another question. I'm looking into my case (cuz I got the nifty side window) and I see a pontential problem. Lets just assume that I'm going to go with just the cpu and graphics block. I'm assuming I want to run the line to the cpu block and then to the graphics. For one, I'm not sure that I can really make it flat since its a tower and the cpu is up above the graphics, and two the current heatsink on the graphics card is on the side of the graphics card that faces down towards the bottom of the case. So, I'm going to have to somehow come down from the cpu and make it curve around the graphics card to connect to the block that is on the bottom of the card. How am I going to do that w/o destroying the water flow?
  6. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    you can't. but it will only reduce the flow, not destroy it... lol and with a max 10ft head, the pump you are planning on getting should be more than enough to make up for the loss.

    also... it doesn't have to go from cpu to gpu, it can be the other way around if it allows shorter hose lengths.
  7. TCool

    TCool TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 64

    alright, sounds good, thanks much for the advice.
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