Some clarification about water cooling

CPU Cooling tricks and techniques.

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Some clarification about water cooling

Post by Peanya »

Seeing how water cooling is getting popular here, I thought I'd make a post to clarify some myths and misunderstandings about it.

1: Water cooling is superior to air cooling - Water cooling in it's own right is not any better than air cooling, as a matter of fact, it can be somewhat less effective. Water isn't the best conductor of heat, although it does a pretty decent job. The reason it is used is merely to draw water away from the heat source to a radiator to dissipate heat. Therefore, the larger the radiator and the amount of air moving across it is what determines a water cooler's setup. If it is the size of a heatsink that is used on a CPU, you will get similar performance.

2: Water cooling leaks all the time! - Leakage is a risk of any cooling system, but if done right and quality parts are used, there is very little risk in this at all. It is best to test run the setup for several hours to a couple of days to ensure a proper setup. It is also good to check out the system hoses occasionally to make sure none are getting dry and cracking.

3: Antifreeze is the best thing for computer water cooled systems - This is very untrue. Computer parts usually run in temps from room temperature, to about 70C degrees. Automobiles on the otherhand, have running temps from way below freezing to way past boiling. Hence the name Anti-FREEZE What antifreeze does for a car is it keeps the coolant from freezing and boiling too early. Seeing how a computer doesn't operate anywhere near these temps, there is no need for antifreeze. Another negative side effect of antifreeze is that it is corrosive, which can shorten the life of your water pumps, and in worst cases cause leakage of your cooling system.
What is appropriate for computers is a treatment to kill off any aquatic life that thrives in the water temps of a computer. Although there are many products out there which claim to enhance the performance, or color the water for cool looks, additives are best used only to kill off aquatic life.

4: Are water cooling systems expensive? - You betcha! Right now, they are a niche market. In the past, they were used mainly for extreme overclocking systems. Today, they are almost mainstream. One popular feature of water cooling is if you have a large radiator, you can use lower speed fans over it to keep it cool, which will make your system run much quieter. Many people are guessing that in a few years time, water cooling will be the most popular choice for cooling. Only time will tell on this.

5: What parts should be cooled? - This one isn't as easy to answer. The most obvious one would be anything that generates heat and what you can attach a water block to, right? While it is obvious that heat is one of the biggest enemies of computers longevity, you need ample cooling for each waterblock you add. Ideally the CPU, northbridge, video card, and HD's should all be cooled. Those are the largest contributors of heat in a computer without counting the power supply. If you have a small water block system, then cooling all of those might prove counterproductive! It is recommended that if you do get a basic system, to add a northbridge cooler as well. If you have cooling for other parts, by all means do so.

Well, I hope that clarifies things a little bit for those considering water cooling. If anyone sees anything I've missed, please feel free to add to it!

Please discuss this in the Cooling forum in a separate thread as this sticky is now locked. Thank you. Tolemac
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Post by netstoy »

Nice article, i vote for this to made a sticky for us new guy's in the field. Answered a lot of my questions. Thx 8)
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Post by YouGiveMeRash!!! »

Nice Job Peanya!!! A+ :wink:
[b]Main rig:[/b] 1/2" ID Water Cooled Lian-Li V2000B, Abit IP35 Pro, Intel C2D [email protected] -3.4ghz 1.3375v, Mushkin 2gb DDR2-800 996576, one terabyte storage, evga 7900GS KO w/ Zalman VF700-AlCu cooler, Swiftech Apogee GT water block, Ultra X2 550w PSU
[b]Laptop:[/b] Asus Z70VA, Pentium M 725 [email protected] -2.13ghz (pinmod), ATI X700 Pro, 1680x1050 native res., bluetooth, the works...