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HARDWARE GUIDES

Water Cooling Basics
By: jkabaseball
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  • Rating: 3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars3 stars / 28
    2005-03-15

    Table of Contents:
  • Water Cooling Basics
  • Preparation
  • Installing
  • Radiator and Fans

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    Water Cooling Basics


    (Page 1 of 4 )

    Today we will take a look at water cooling your computer. This guide will help you decide if water cooling is right for you and guide you through buying and setting up a water cooling system.

    Why would someone want to water cool their PC? There are a few reasons why people chose to cool their PCs with water instead of the conventional air cooling. The main reason is that it provides better cooling. The other major reason people cool with water is that it is usually quieter than the fans required for air cooling a computer.

    Parts

    CPU Block - This is what physically transfers the heat from the CPU to the water running through the block. The preferred material for these is copper. Copper is a better conductor of heat than aluminum. From the outside it may look like just a block of copper, but it is really two parts. It is hollowed out on the inside, and that is what the water goes through to cool the CPU. There are either two or three barbs sticking out of the cooler, to which the tubs are connected.

    North Bridge Block Ė This is like the CPU block, but for the North Bridge. You may not need this part. The North Bridge doesnít get terribly hot unless youíre getting a very high overclock, and still it may not be required. I knew that my system could benefit from a water cooled North Bridge, so I decided to add it.

    Video Card Block Ė I bet youíre getting the idea now. This is still optional, because the stock cooler will work, but you can really benefit from this. I added it because my 6800 gets very hot.

    Pump Ė Just like it sounds, it pumps the water around. There are four parts of the pump to consider before buying. The first is flow; this has little impact on the system. Next is head pressure. This may be the most important. The blocks add resistance to the system, so the pump has to offer a lot of pressure to keeps the water flowing. The greater the head pressure, the better. Heat is the third factor to consider. The pumps create some heat. The less heat the better; we donít need any help heating up the water! The final factor is noise. If you want a quieter system, get a quieter pump.

    Radiator - The radiator is responsible for removing the heat from the water. This works just like a car radiator -- as a matter of fact, the best radiator is from a car. You can go down to a local car parts place and pick up a cheap radiator.

    Fans and Shrouds - You need to have fans and shrouds. The fans are put on the shrouds that are used to cool the radiator. Shrouds are used to mount the fans on the radiator. The fans should be set an inch or two away from the radiator and should suck air away from the radiator.

    Reservoirs - This is where excess water is kept. You donít need one of these; you can go with a teeline instead. I got the reservoir because it doesnít need as much daily care. You canít have any air going through your system.

    Fluid Ė All water is not created equal. You should use distilled water or de-ionized water. These arenít as conductive as tap or bottled water. If water happens to spill out, then chances of saving your computer are greater with distilled water. You also need to add something to the water to keep organics from growing in it and to prevent corrosion. Iíd recommend Wetter Water or Zerex racing fluid.

    Clamps Ė You donít absolutely need these, but if you like your computer and donít want to buy a new one any time soon I would suggest some. They keep the tubing snug against the barb.

    Tubing Ė This is what carries the water to all the parts. Any tubing will do. Check the thickness of the tubing; thicker is better, because that will help prevent kinks. I would suggest buying 10 feet in length of tubing.

    Iím not going to start recommending which parts to get in this article. As time goes on more and newer parts come out. Hopefully these are better than the last generation of water cooling. For the most current recommendations please visit the forums.

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