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New to water cooling

By imacrazyballoon · 21 replies
Aug 1, 2006
  1. I am interested in upgrading my current computer to a water cooled one. I have no idea how to do this. I have no idea what I need or anything.
  2. fastco

    fastco TS Booster Posts: 1,123

  3. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    i wouldn't recommend any water cooling kit. the good ones are too expensive for what they offer, and the cheap ones are poor quality.

    whether you buy a kit or buy the parts separately, you still have to assemble it either way... so you're better off just building your own.

    what will you be cooling with it? and what is your budget?
  4. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I disagree that the good ones are too expensive, cos its cheaper if you buy the good stuff as a bundle compared to picking them out one by one.

    But of course, you can always build your own using not-so-high-end parts, so you save on cost, yet get pretty decent cooling. The cheap ones tend to be horrible, and the expensive ones tend to give you really good cooling. But medium end stuff might just mean having 2C higher temps, but a saving of 200 bux.

    With that out of the way....

    What do you do with your computer that requires such an elaborate cooling system? Watercooling does not speed up your computer (or at least not cost effective at all). It is still considered an extreme form of cooling, even though many people will tell you otherwise (until Dell or Compaq comes up with medium end system with watercooling....). It requires frequent maintainence, and the risk of leaks puts alot of people off. Not to mention that it probably voids the warranty of your graphics card (and CPU?) and anything that comes with its own cooling (includes motherboard, if you plan to watercool that).

    Therefore, unless what you do with your computer justifies the trouble, I wouldn't recommend it. If you still want to know more, of course, we'll be happy to help.
  5. imacrazyballoon

    imacrazyballoon TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    my budget is <$300 but can probably go over if necessary and worth it. I built the computer it is going into, I had very little trouble with that so if putting this together isn't much harder, thats good. The main reason I want a water cooling system is because it is very quiet, i do not overclock(I do not know how anyway). My parents have complained about the noise, so either I turn it off when im not using it or I make it less noisey. All input is apprieciated.

    Im not sure if this is important or not, but this is my computer(sorry for the bad formatting, i made it fast):
  6. joked u 2

    joked u 2 TS Rookie Posts: 128

    you can get large 120mm fans that are VERY quiet and large heat sinks that do the job. water cooling usually has 2 to 3 fans and are still noisy, you can get the fannless 1s but you are looking at $150+ for the unit its self. water cooling are for systems that need COOLING and some for style. i have been looking for a water cooled system but eveything is so $$$. my budget is much much lower. i wanted 1 for style. [i have an acrilic see thruogh cans that has 5 blue led fans.] it is loud probally as loud as yours. think about this servers have 2 cpus lots o ram and usually 5 or 6 hdd. evan they do not use water cooling. I'm not trying to discourage you water cooling idea but it would be much more cost effective if you went either 1. fannless 2. extra quiet fans or heat tubing[still kinda expermental and usually pre installed on your mobo.] i think green goo would be asoume in my comp. espically since i host a lot of lan parties and like to have the best of the coolest of the most macho pc's than every 1. [my computer out preforms a new hp out of the box, it may not look it from my specs but it does]
  7. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    I have this system-


    and it works great.

    But, if you are not overclocking, and this is your first time with water cooling, i would reccomend something a little easier to install and less pricy.

    As far a voiding warranties, i am pretty sure it will not void the motherboard,and definatly not the cpu's warranty...but possibly the video cards.

    Also, i think to spend 200+ dollars on water cooling just to make the computer less noisy is rather ridiculous. As CMH said, water cooling is extreme cooling, and their are alot of different factors involved.

    If you do decide to use watercooling, i suggest to do alot of research on it beforehand. With no knowledge of what you are doing, their is a very good chance of making a mistake, which could result in a fried computer.
  8. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    I wouldn't say a fried computer, but what i had in mind is pretty close.

    If you do go with watercooling, I've read enough complaints on acrylic tops to put me off for life, so I wouldn't rush out to buy that system twite recommended. The complaints are more on cracked tops, which may be due to incorrect installation, but there are some complaints that they yellow and crack with time....

    If you're doing it to reduce noise, it MAY be worth it depending on how much noise you want to reduce it to. Like mentioned, 120mm fans are cheap, and pretty much inaudible. Reduce usage of 80mm fans, and if there are 80mm fans, reduce their speed (with a fan speed comtroller). If your video card is noisy, you might want to replace it with another aftermarket cooler. Zalman and Arctic coolers make pretty good and quiet VGA coolers.

    As for HDD noise, there isn't much you can do about it. There are some products which deal specifically with HDD noise, but I can't tell you how effective they are. You might see some reduction in noise there, but not sure if its worth the money.

    I'd explore these ideas first before jumping into watercooling, its still an extreme sort of cooling, and you don't want to find yourself regretting you even thought of it in the first place.
  9. Tedster

    Tedster Techspot old timer..... Posts: 6,000   +15

    many companies specifically state that their warranties are void with water cooling.
  10. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    Because he stated that he built his computer, i was assuming that it was not from a OEM Computer Manufacturer...Theirfor it would not void any company warranty.
  11. agi_shi

    agi_shi TS Rookie Posts: 385


    Don't many companies void the warranty if you use any other form of cooling other than stock? And since water cooling won't be the stock, well....
  12. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    exactly, using anything other than stock cooling (or an officially supported/approved replacement) will void the warranty.

    because the warranties only cover manufacturing defects, not user error. any system modification which results in damage to a component would be considered user error.

  13. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    imacrazyballoon stated that he built his computer...So it is not a OEM computer.

    When you buy a motherboard, it does not come with any source of CPU cooling (such as a heat sink fan), you have to buy the cpu and a source of cooling for it, so their is no "stock cooling". Theirfor..the motherboard or CPU warranty would not be void when you using water cooling. The video card may be different because it already has a hsf.

    If you bought the computer from a company such as Dell, gateway, ect..and took of the CPU heatsink,that may void the warranty, but he didn't.
  14. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    watercooling would most likely not be an approved cooling solution, so it would indeed void the warranty on any component that it's attached to (OEM or not).

    but does it really matter anyways? you only need to worry about it if you break it. if a component was faulty and died on it's own then the warranty should cover it. of course you don't want to tell them you water cooled anything when requesting the RMA, because that may give them an excuse to refuse the warranty coverage (even though it was their fault).
  15. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

    This is exactly my point, With OEM manufacturers, their is actually some kind of seal that if you take something apart, the seal breaks, and the warranty is void. When you put the computer together yourself, the only way that you can void the warranty with liquid cooling is by being stupid enough to tell them that you used it when you need it replaced
  16. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Lol, don't mention it.

    Don't mention the voltage mods, or the voltage boosts neither.

    Don't mention that you changed the thermal paste too.

    In fact, just tell them you just bought it 10 minutes ago, and it doesn't even start up :p

    Seriously, people should check their equipment before doing something stupid. You don't OC before noting that the PC was stable to start with, and neither do you watercool a brand new item that has never been used before. MAKE SURE WHAT YOU'RE USING WORKS BEFORE USING IT.

    And after that, if it breaks, you'll know it is your fault, and all you have to do is:
    a) Eat the loss. You were willing to take the risk....
    b) Blame it all on the manufacturer. "I didn't do nothing, and I saw smoke."
    c) Go nuts and jump out of the window.
  17. imacrazyballoon

    imacrazyballoon TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

    a lot of you seemed to mention fans(120mm in particular). Does thye size matter? will it fit in the same spot if i use a different fan?
  18. twite

    twite TechSpot Paladin Posts: 937

  19. KingCody

    KingCody TS Evangelist Posts: 992   +8

    i like option "C" ;)

    yes, the size matters. since the fan is bigger it can move the same amount of air without spinning as fast, which makes it quieter. if your case only has 80mm fan openings, then you would either have to make the opening larger, or use a 120mm-to-80mm fan adapter.
  20. imacrazyballoon

    imacrazyballoon TS Rookie Topic Starter Posts: 18

  21. joked u 2

    joked u 2 TS Rookie Posts: 128

    Double haha thats 2 funny i like it:hotbounce
  22. CMH

    CMH TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,039   +9

    Well, you can do that, since newer PCs have built in shutdown if the temp goes high enough. shut it down immediately though.

    I suggest just having the cover up, and just physically stop the fan with your finger and see if the noise goes off (or changes). You shouldn't need to stop them too long :p
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