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  1. #1
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    Opinions On Water Cooling

    After having some bad experiences with overheating in the past im thinking about water cooling, i dont know a great deal about it, or whether to use a Kuhler, corsair or go custom, i know my current case will support it, any suggestions what to use and why?

  2. #2
    Network Hub slick_101's Avatar
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    If I'm honest Water cooling is all for show and what not, a decent cable management system and some top quality fans will be able to do the same the same cooling as water cooling. I have a df-85 case while all the fans are on low I can't hear it and my CPU at idle is at a cool 35 degrees (C). so in my opinion water cooling is a waste of time unless you are pushing components past their limits.
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    Network Hub imirk's Avatar
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    All of my problems with overheating have been because of dust accumulation, I should blow out my case probably every 3 or so months but I don't so about every two years I have stability problems which make be blow out my case. Watercooling will be more maintenance work with a higher risk of something screwing up, I know myself and I know water cooling while looking cool and seeming awesome is not for me.

    Also Water Cooling is only really useful if you are overclocking.
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  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by imirk View Post
    All of my problems with overheating have been because of dust accumulation, I should blow out my case probably every 3 or so months but I don't so about every two years I have stability problems which make be blow out my case. Watercooling will be more maintenance work with a higher risk of something screwing up, I know myself and I know water cooling while looking cool and seeming awesome is not for me.

    Also Water Cooling is only really useful if you are overclocking.
    Took the words right out of my mouth. It will look cool, and give you some bragging rights, but unless you are doing some serious overclocking, you aren't going to see any real gain from it. Plus having to drain and refill the system from time to time doesn't sound like much fun.

    That doesn't mean you should stick with stock though. Get yourself a quality aftermarket heat sink and some good thermal paste. On my build a few years back, I swapped out the stock cooler for a Thermaltake Volcano (I think that's what it was called) and slapped it on my cpu with some Artic Silver. It lowered my cpu temp by over 15 degrees if I recall correctly, all while running quieter than the stock cooler.
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  5. #5
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Watercooling makes a significant difference only when:
    a) You plan on overclocking your quad core CPU above 4Ghz
    b) You have a small mATX or ITX case

    A good air cooler is fine for any other scenario.
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  6. #6
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    thanks guys, my system is overclocked but i have a thermaltake contac29, but it isnt doing the business!

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    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Watercooling can make a fair difference depending on how your box is set up/where it is, but whether it's worth the time and expense is another matter. If you are having trouble controlling the temps then the first place to start is to ensure you've got adequate airflow through the case and based on where the case is sitting. Also consider things like ambient room temperature and stuff like that. As the others have said, watercooling isn't necessary for the majority of computers - aftermarket HSF combos prove vast improvements over the stock setups, and even the stock ones that come with Intel CPUs are pretty damn good. But I disagree that it's only really for coolness factor or for overclocking.

    You generally pick up watercooling just to look cool, to really push your CPU in overclocking, or where you want a quieter system. It does generally give you better results than air cooling. If you do want to go watercooling, unless there's something seriously wrong with your room/case/rig, it should drop the temps quite a bit. A closed, ready-built system might be the way to go (Corsair sells a fairly decent one) as opposed to making your own with plain water, particularly if you're unfamiliar with watercooling setups. You definitely don't want to get it wrong!

  8. #8
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    I've spent about 5 years and more than $2000 on water cooling hardware to get my custom setup right.
    Was it worth it? I now have a small HTPC box I can power on and operate using the same remote control I use for all my other devices, running at a whisper quiet noise level - and here's the best part - with a 6 core (core i7 3930k) cpu overclocked to 4.5Ghz:
    http://www.mashakos.com/pers/img/hometheater.jpg
    All of this using a design I have finalised this year which I hope to keep using for the next 10 years. Hopefully future CPU's don't exceed 250w TDP when overclocked during that time !!

    That is simply impossible on air cooling alone. EDIT: in the context of my setup which you can see in the image url above.

    The question you have to ask yourself is: can what I need be done via air? because going for a custom water cooling setup - even in large gamer PC cases - is an involved process.
    Last edited by mashakos; 17-09-2012 at 11:54 AM.
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  9. #9
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus bonkers's Avatar
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    I think imirk summarized it pretty well.
    It's "cool", it keeps your stuff cool but with current gen hardware it's only an issue if you overclock to the max. Besides that it needs even more maintenance then traditional air cooling and also is more expensive.
    If there is no absolute need to go for watecooling I would not adivse anybody to go for it, especially not to anybody that has not have at least an advanced understanding of PC hardware (not suggesting that you are, just saying)
    In your case it of course depends on your setup like case, cpu etc and overclock to see if the problem could not be solved with improved air cooling.

  10. #10
    Network Hub Herzog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mashakos View Post
    I've spent about 5 years and more than $2000 on water cooling hardware to get my custom setup right.
    Was it worth it? I now have a small HTPC box I can power on and operate using the same remote control I use for all my other devices, running at a whisper quiet noise level - and here's the best part - with a 6 core (core i7 3930k) cpu overclocked to 4.5Ghz:
    http://www.mashakos.com/pers/img/hometheater.jpg
    All of this using a design I have finalised this year which I hope to keep using for the next 10 years. Hopefully future CPU's don't exceed 250w TDP when overclocked during that time !!
    Would you mind posting your specs of your HTPC? I am currently planning to buy a gaming HTPC myself. Are both your cpu and gpu watercooled?

  11. #11
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herzog View Post
    Would you mind posting your specs of your HTPC? I am currently planning to buy a gaming HTPC myself. Are both your cpu and gpu watercooled?
    Here you go:

    hardware:
    core i7 3930k @ 4.5ghz
    Asus Rampage IV Formula
    16gb g.skill RipjawsZ 1600mhz ram
    gigabyte gtx580
    Intel X-25M 160gb SSD
    Seagate Barracuda 3TB SATA 6G
    Asus Xonar D2X
    Custom internal bluetooth "mod" based on Apple Mac Pro Bluetooth module
    LG Bluray Writer / HD-DVD Reader / DVD Writer Drive
    Zalman 850w PSU

    Cooling:
    Koolance CPU-370 Rev 1.1 CPU block
    Black Ice SR-1 120 Radiator
    Alphacool VPP655 pump /w EK D5 Top Rev. 2
    2x Gentle Typhoon 120mm fans
    1/2" tubing and koolance fittings
    EK-Koolant Blood Red liquid coolant

    Case:
    Silverstone LC-14m* includes iMON VFD display unit with IR (including IR power on capability)
    * Case heavily modded to accommodate all watercooling components internally in addition to full size ATX motherboard, desktop components

    I posted all my hardware specs to illustrate a point - you don't have to sacrifice hardware flexibility if you plan things right for your HTPC.

    One thing I did regarding storage space: in order not to settle for low end (compact) water cooling, I removed the hard drive bay in the case and use eSATA external hard drives as an alternative. eSATA yields the same performance as internal SATA, so now I have a additional 6TB in external drives both running at the speeds of regular internal disks (125MB/sec on average).

    Only the cpu is watercooled. I personally have tried overclocking graphics cards in the past, and found that while overclocking a cpu by a factor of 120% or more really breaks the threshold of getting full speed on things like emulators or digital video tools (oh as well as PC mods! if you're thinking of running those insane skyrim/gta 4 mods you NEED to overclock your cpu), overclockng the graphics card yields a very minor improvement in performance - usually a few extra frames per second or a few seconds shaved off of cuda processing time. That's why I just buy the highest end video card I can and keep it at stock while focusing on getting the best watercooling I can in an HTPC for sustainable high CPU overclocks.
    I have seen a few acquaintances push their sli/crossfire cards (as well as their cpus, a friend went as far as overclocking his 3960x to 4.85ghz 24x7 stable on a cpu+gpu loop - no mean feat!) to really impressive overclocks but they usually use gigantic watercooling setups employing two 360 radiators and multiple pumps, as well as up to 12 fans running at near maximum speeds. These watercooling loops are A) incredibly loud and B) won't fit into anything smaller than a HAF-X.
    I've also seen some impressive watercooled HTPCs with really creative cpu+gpu loops, but feel it's overkill personally. You should note that a cpu+gpu loop will negatively affect your potential cpu overclock.
    Last edited by mashakos; 17-09-2012 at 11:30 PM.
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  12. #12
    Network Hub Herzog's Avatar
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    Thanks for the info. Nice system man, good for some inspiration! But to be honest, the reason why I want to go with watercooling is because of the noise. Thats why I dont mind the negative effect. The harder part is getting all the things in a small htpc case ;)

  13. #13
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus mashakos's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Herzog View Post
    Thanks for the info. Nice system man, good for some inspiration! But to be honest, the reason why I want to go with watercooling is because of the noise. Thats why I dont mind the negative effect. The harder part is getting all the things in a small htpc case ;)
    Really? In my experience, the following cards are quieter than a hard disk on idle:
    geforce 8800gtx, geforce 8800ultra, gtx280, ati 5870 (with catalyst fan control set to 60% max), gtx580
    The nvidia cards don't go above 70% fan speed unless you are stress testing so very quiet overall. The one ATI card i got recently was deafeningly loud until I set it manually in catalyst control center.
    Then again, my gfx cards are literally hanging outside the case:
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