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Considering Watercooling Your PC? 306

An anonymous reader writes "Thinking of taking the plunge into water cooling your PC? These guys have rounded up three systems ranging from cheap and cheerful, to stylish and pricey."
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Considering Watercooling Your PC?

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  • by stecoop ( 759508 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:40PM (#10622420) Journal
    I once thought peltiers would be great with water cooling but we read on /. the other day [] that these devices are 5% efficient so that's a no.

    Water-cooling has a few kinks like electricity near water and corrosion - at least a few years ago that may be solved no days with Antifreeze but you still are at the mercy of the ambient room temperature. It's finicky enough that you couldn't build a machine with water cooling and leave it in a room for 3 years so that leaves a hole in reliability as I couldn't leave my machines on while going away for two weeks on vacation unless I didn't mind rolling the dice to seeing fire trucks at my home.

    Considering Water-cooling Your PC? This was the leader I was until I saw a home made [] active cooling system. I first saw active cooling systems from (website down?) and have been waiting for someone to take an AC compressor and attach it to a computer case. It seems that were just on the verge of DIYers of achieving satisfactory results in active cooling systems; therefore, I will hang on to old reliable (the passive radiators) until I can muscle up the nerve to go the active cooling route.
  • Why water? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by BeerCat ( 685972 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:41PM (#10622422) Homepage
    OK, so water is cheap, but why not go for materials with better cooling properties (like in a fridge), which would be more efficient?

    Something that is non-destructive to PCBs if it leaks would also be a bonus.
    • Re:Why water? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      If you used a fridge there would obviously be major problems with condenstation. I guess the main selling points of water cooling is that it's better than air and it's not as expensive as something like VapoChill. . .Plus it looks damn cool with some UV die :)
      • I took care of the condensation problem the easy way. I can have it as cold as I want without a problem. The fix: Live in the Desert! It's rained once since I've moved here, and the air filter in my case means dust isn't much of an issue.
    • Re:Why water? (Score:5, Informative)

      by deacon ( 40533 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:48PM (#10622505) Journal
      OK, so water is cheap, but why not go for materials with better cooling properties (like in a fridge), which would be more efficient? Something that is non-destructive to PCBs if it leaks would also be a bonus.

      Water has excellent heat transfer properties, (better than the refrigrants in your fridge), is easy to handle, unlike some of the better heat transfer fluids such as liquid metals, and is non toxic.

      If you want to immerse your computer, Flourinert has been around forever, though now probably banned.

    • Re:Why water? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Ironsides ( 739422 )
      Refridgerators use a heat pump which has an efficiency of about 5%. Thats not acceptable for cooling processors which output 100W. You would need a power supply specifically for your cooler.
    • Re:Why water? (Score:3, Informative)

      by pclminion ( 145572 )
      Water is a much better coolant than your typical refrigerant. The reason water is not used, however, is because its boiling point is far too high.
      • Re:Why water? (Score:4, Informative)

        by deacon ( 40533 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:43PM (#10623100) Journal
        Ahh, but only at atmospheric pressure.

        A sealed chamber with only water and water vapor in it (all air and other non-condensible gasses have been removed) will boil water at the hot end and recondense it at the cold end, at any temp above freezing for the water.

        If the chamber is a vertical tube with the water and the heat source at the bottom, and fins and cooling air at the top end, the vapor from the hot end will recondense at the top cold end and run back down. (It's really a heat pipe without the porous media to move the condesed fluid back to the hot side.)

      • In actuality, water's a superior refrigerant so long as you're not trying to cool down below freezing and can come up with a compressor with the right volumetric capacity under vacuum. When water boils, it pulls roughly 2700 BTUs out of the surounding environment per liter boiled. At 6 bar, water will readily boil at somewhere around 40deg F, dragging that much heat out of the environment as quickly it can be absorbed by the water under those conditions. The big issue is that it's volumetric rate (how mu
  • cheerful? (Score:5, Funny)

    by wankledot ( 712148 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:41PM (#10622423)
    That has to be the strangest adjective I've heard for any piece of gear, especially a watercooling system.

    Maybe it's a japanese one...

    Super Lucky Best Cheerful Watercooler 100% !@#!@# ^_^

  • watercooling (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Large Bogon Collider ( 815523 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:41PM (#10622430)
    The major hangup I have about watercooling systems is fault tolerance. How the the whole system handle 1) pump failure, 2) water leak, 3) coolant loss, etc without destroying the PC, or worse, starting a fire.
    • Re:watercooling (Score:2, Insightful)

      by The Asmodeus ( 18881 )
      How is this different than a heat sink + fan? If the fan gives out, you're toast.
      • Re:watercooling (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Large Bogon Collider ( 815523 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:03PM (#10622667)
        Semi-true. In many newer processors, if the fan gives out, the CPU on-die heat sensor throttles back power consumption to prevent overheating. However, with a HS+fan, there is only one point of failure, the fan. With watercooling (which I have thought long and hard about), the fan can fail, the tubes can crack/leak/break, the connectors and fail, the pump can fail, corrosion can block the waterblock, etc. These are not just hypothetical situation - they have happened. The scariest part is if the water leaks and shorts out something expensive - esp. the CPU and graphics card (which is usually sitting directly below the CPU). I would be upset if the cooling system caused a fire, but would be even more so if insurance decided not to cover it because of my modifications.
        • Re:watercooling (Score:5, Informative)

          by The Asmodeus ( 18881 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:23PM (#10622901)
          Corrosion should not happen. Not in the lifetime of your system anyways. Distilled water + anti-corrosion type additive should see to that in closed loop system.

          These systems must have UL approval right? If so, I don't think your insurance company would be able to say jack if you didn't just grossly mis-install it. But, since it involves water + electronics, I wonder about requirements of a GFCI circuit.
    • Re:watercooling (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Minwee ( 522556 )
      The same way your air cooled system handles fault tolerance -- The onboard hardware monitor detects a high CPU or motherboard temperature and shuts it down.

      After looking at how CPUs handle faulty heat sinks [], you would think that having a large supply of water nearby would be a good thing.

      • The same way your air cooled system handles fault tolerance -- The onboard hardware monitor detects a high CPU or motherboard temperature and shuts it down.

        I don't think you actually read the parent post -- what does it matter if the CPU shuts itself off, if your entire case is flooded with coolant? You're pretty well fucked in that case.

      • Is that before or after the mobo shorts out from the water pouring out of the failed hose? :)
    • Re:watercooling (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Greyfox ( 87712 )
      Why not use heat pipes to duct the heat into a passive resivoir? Sure, it might take some work to get the heat pipes bent the way you want 'em to fit in the case, but once that's out of the way it should be pretty smooth sailing. You won't have to worry about moving parts breaking, and you won't have to have running water in close proximity to your electronic components.
      • You have a place to get heatpipes? I've been looking and looking and have yet to find a place to get them stock. Most places which sell heatpipe technology are engineering firms which want to sell their design services, not plain straight heat pipes. I'm sure this is because the heatpipe itself is just piece one of three required for effectiveness: a heatsink on the hot end, a heatpipe to do the transfer and (usually) a cooling block/device on the other end.

        If you know of a place to get a variety of heatp
    • If you are running BeOS, you can program fault tolerance into software, through intellligent use of the system calls "isComputerOn" and "isComputerOnFire". The first returns 1 if the computer is on, undetermined if not. isComputerOnFire returns 0 if the computer is not on fire, or the motherboard temperature if not.
      • by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:25PM (#10622925) Journal
        If you are running BeOS, you can program fault tolerance into software, through intellligent use of the system calls "isComputerOn" and "isComputerOnFire". The first returns 1 if the computer is on, undetermined if not. isComputerOnFire returns 0 if the computer is not on fire, or the motherboard temperature if not.

        Great, now we just need a serial port controlled fire extinguisher.
  • by cloudkj ( 685320 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:41PM (#10622437)
    If I were to spring for expensive water cooling for my computer, I might as well get a nice air conditioning system. Sometimes my body overheats faster than my system...
    • by deacon ( 40533 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:01PM (#10622647) Journal
      If I were to spring for expensive water cooling for my computer, I might as well get a nice air conditioning system. Sometimes my body overheats faster than my system...

      You would probably be better off..

      the heat transfer equation H=h*a*(delta T)


      h=heat transfer coefficient

      a=surface area available for cooling

      delta T=diff between temperature of device to be cooled and surrounding cooling fluid

      shows that the easiest way to cool something is to reduce the temperature of the fluid that cools it..

      If you lower the air temp in your computer case by 10c, the processer temp drops by 10c, assuming the fans all stay at the same speed.

      Increasing "a" is limited by fin efficiency (which is what these water cooling systems are trying to get around, but a sealed evaporator/condenser would be smaller and more efficient, there is a metric buttload of patents now on sealed passive boilers/condensers), and as air speed increases, "h" rises less and less in proportion)

      If you want more info, look at the free download of the heat transfer textbook I list in my journal.

  • oh man (Score:5, Funny)

    by StevenHenderson ( 806391 ) <stevehenderson@g ... com minus distro> on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:42PM (#10622441)
    ranging from cheap and cheerful, to stylish and pricey.

    Only on /. could a watercooling system be called "stylish."

    "Hey baby, check out my new Abercrombie watercooler!"

  • by xmas2003 ( 739875 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:43PM (#10622449) Homepage
    For those Do-It-Yourselfer's that want to measure the water pressure for PC cooling, take a look at this manometer [] which, while it doesn't look that dandy, works quite well as the principals of pressure are pretty simple.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:48PM (#10622495)
    Damn, if I'm going to pipe water through my PC, I want it to be reliable and effective. That's it.

    Who the hell cares if it's neon?
    • The original points of this were:
      it's easier to trace small leaks with neon or florescent dyes in use. Use opaque hose, and bring an actual black light near it, and you have one of the world's best cheap tests for system integrity.
      Stock antifreeze is florescent green anyway, and it prevents some kinds of corrosion, so why not use it.
      Now the case modders are going for the whole hobby effect, with transparent case windows to show off the glowing water inside, and built in UV sources to heat up that case they
  • What About? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by seaniqua ( 796818 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:48PM (#10622506)
    skipping the pump and hooking directly into a low-flow water line? This would be the most expensive option (water bill), but eliminates the possibility of pump failure, and isn't reliable on ambient roomj temp (my water is quite cold when it comes out of the faucet, regardless of how hot the house is). Of course, if a hose leaks, a self-contained system would stop dripping when the reservoir was empty, while this would flood the whole house! Anyway, something to think about
    • Yeah, I cant wait until everyone is constantly running unrecycled water through thier computers... thats a GREAT use of a limited resource.
      • Yeah, I cant wait until everyone is constantly running unrecycled water through thier computers

        Easy fix - use the waste water from your liquid cooler to fill the water heater. Of course, now you have to keep the reservoir clean, unless you like bathing in bacteria.

    • i dunno about you but my landlord pays the water bill.... :)
      • Re:What About? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Enigma_Man ( 756516 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:18PM (#10622842) Homepage
        We actually heated / cooled our apartment at school like this. We had a Saab radiator I scavenged hooked up to the kitchen sink. We rigged up some cardboard ducting, and strapped a few fans in pusher-configuration behind the radiator blowing outwards. The hot water flowed from the bottom of the radiator to the top, so it remained in the radiator for longer, to throw off as much heat as possible. The water going in was hot hot hot, the water coming out was lukewarm (we'd run it at a trickle to extract as much heat from the water as possible). If we cranked it, we could get the entire apartment up to a balmy 75 degrees. It also worked "ok" to cool the house when it was hot, but much less well than heating the house.

  • by kochsr ( 144988 ) * on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:49PM (#10622511) Homepage
    It was fun, i only had one leak (that was my own fault) but it was expensive. These systems are not for real world computing. They are for hobbyists that want something to do. I chose to do mine semi-homebrew style. I fabricated some stuff myself, and bought the other parts.

    The only reason i did it was that it was nearly silent. Of course, you can do that with conventional cooling nowadays.

    Another interesting fact is that i got out of high performance PCs, and now my only computer is a 12" powerbook.
    • I chose to do mine semi-homebrew style

      Wow -- beer as coolant -- that's both imaginative and refreshing ;-)


      You can get very good results if you engineer your own system - at least as good, if not better, than the commercial alternatives. To make it safe and reliable, use good quality hoses and fuel injection hose clamps designed not to pinch the line and are very, very secure. The other thing is to use a GFCI so you don't electrocute yourself if disaster does strike. If you use a ups, make sure to insert the GFCI -after- the UPS.

      I got rid of it after I upgraded to a athlon,
  • Why use Water?!? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Zarniwoop_Editor ( 791568 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:49PM (#10622519) Homepage
    Why not use something like the 3M product.

    I saw a color tv floating in a tank of this at a trade show years ago, something about a running color tv floating in liquid is just wrong.

    But I'm sure It would be much better than water for many many reason.

    "Fluorinert FC-77, a specialty fluid from 3M, to cool the laser tube. It is a colorless, odorless liquid (just like water) and if you get some of it on your fingers, it is harmless, just wash your hands with clean water (according to 3M).

    Here is the description from 3M web site:

    "Heat Transfer Fluids
    The wide liquid range of Fluorinert liquid FC-77 (-110C to 97C) makes it ideal for use in automated test equipment (ATE) and other semiconductor process equipment. Its high dielectric strength means it will not damage electronic equipment or semiconductor wafers, chips or packages in the event of a leak or other failure. In addition, FC-77 liquid is chemically stable, nonflammable and practically non-toxic".

    • Wowie! That'd be awesome.

      You could have the "hot" areas of your mobo/videocard just totally immersed in this liquid. Throw in an electric fan to swirl around the liquid, and just strap a gigantic heatsink onto the side of the tank... nearly passive excellent cooling.

    • At $240 per liter, I'd say no.
      • Aah, I didn't realize it was so expensive... What about using this stuff as the coupling agent between the on-chip CPU die, and the heatsink/waterblock itself? Rather than thermal-goo, which doesn't have a wonderful thermal transfer coefficient, a liquid has excellent thermal transfer capabilities. I remember seeing a test on one of those hardware sites where they tested the abilities of different substances. I believed they tested regular thermal-goo, "arctic silver" with the metallic paste, ripoff arctic
        • Water was by far the best, but has the obvious downsides of being well, ya know.

          What? Oxidizing? Not if you submerse an object in the water, assuming your water is deaerated. If you want to preserve something, try sinking it [] in a lake. []

          Or did you mean conductive? Actually, deionized (pure) water is rather nonconductive. At 0.055uS/cm, [] that works out to 18Mohm/cm.

          I'm not a chemist, but I don't think there are any elements on a motherboard that would react with pure water.
          • Okay, find me some absolute pure water, and an absolute clean processor surface with no dust or contaminants on it, and a heatsink equally as clean, and deoxidize the entire area, and you've got yourself a deal!

            The reason why water doesn't work (even as pure as possible) in real life is because of these things, otherwise this whole discussion would be moot... Get it?

            If you want to see the effects of real water on a processor die (they start with distilled, believe you me), look at some pictures of lon
    • In addition, FC-77 liquid is chemically stable, nonflammable and practically non-toxic

      It's also a couple hundred dollars a gallon
    • Why not Flourinert?

      If you have the budget for a Cray, go for it!

      And you'll need a sealed chamber for the computer, the chilling system for the flourinert, (that heat still has to be gotten rid of) the pump system to circulate the fluid, (to the chiller) the sealed bulkheads for the wires to go in and out, and a few hundred thousand $ for all the odds and ends I forgot..

  • suggestion (Score:5, Informative)

    by RainbowSix ( 105550 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:51PM (#10622536) Homepage
    I have some experience [] with watercooling. With proper care, it's safe and a quiet way to cool your machine. For those of you who move your computers around though, becareful what materials you use. I built my computer in a warm dorm room which meant that my copper block to plastic piping worked fine. Then I took it home to my freezing basement and water went everywhere. I think the metal shrank while the plastic didn't, and water came out of the connections.

    Other than that I never had any problems. I don't use it anymore because it's too heavy to carry around all of the time.
    • Care is for girls (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Cigarra ( 652458 )
      "With proper care, it's safe and a quiet way to cool your machine."

      The thing is, i don't wanna HAVE to be careful. When these things ain't need no proper care nor love nor sissy feelings at all, THEN they will be ready to hit the masses.
  • by grungebox ( 578982 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:53PM (#10622562) Homepage
    Their server is certainly not cheerful anymore...perhaps because their stylish water-cooling system could not handle the deluge of Slashdot clicks, leaving behind an electronic trail of tears and thus flushing any attempts to RTFA down the toilet.
  • Slashdotted (Score:2, Redundant)

    by Dracolytch ( 714699 )
    Forget water cooling, someone grab a fire extinguisher... That server's toast.

  • by GillBates0 ( 664202 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:54PM (#10622578) Homepage Journal
    An old (2002) thread from AVForums [] about this guy who took "watercooling" a little too literally. Turns out it was tongue in cheek, but the whole thread is hilarious.

    I decided this weekend to try and quiten my PC by following some other members lead and going down the water cooling road. The fans on my PC were really starting to drive me mad

    The first thing that I did was to remove all the fans. The one on the processor and graphics card were no problem but the one in the power unit was a bugger to get out.

    The most difficult part was sealing all the ventilitation openings in the PC case with silicon. I also put silicon all around the joints on the PC case. The smell of silicon was dreadful but when my wife complained I told her to be patent as it will be worth it when we have a completely silent PC.

    Because I had completely sealed the PC case the only opening near top was the DVD drive. So I opened that and put the small hose I had purchased specially for the job into the DVD drive as far as it would go. With what I can only describe as great excitement and anticipation, I turned on the water. It really is amazing just how long it took before the case was complete full, and boy was it heavy. That didn't really bother me as I didn't intend to be moving the PC anyway.

    Read on...

  • by LiquidMind ( 150126 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @01:59PM (#10622628)
    A few months ago, i saw this clip which had some folks at Good Morning America showing off a liquid that doesn't get things wet. they had a tank of this stuff and put some (powered) electronics in them (laptop, LCD TV) and they operated just fine underwater. They put a book in this stuff and none of the pages got wet as they pulled it out. Check it out []

    anyway, it would be cool to find out if you can just put your whole computer in this stuff. cooling problem solved, right?
  • by pclminion ( 145572 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:03PM (#10622663)
    Water cooling, I think, isn't something we should be encouraging. It's just one more excuse for chip makers to ignore their chips' power requirements. The real solution is for the chips to run cooler, not to slap bigger and more complicated cooling systems on them.

    If you're using water cooling for noise-reduction purposes, okay. But if you literally need it in order to keep your chip cool, there's something very wrong.

    We should NOT be encouraging chip makers to continue avoiding power problems. It's environmentally irresponsible.

  • Be careful (Score:5, Informative)

    by Pan T. Hose ( 707794 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:04PM (#10622681) Homepage Journal
    Last time I tried water cooling my computer, the pipe started leaking, there was a short circuit and I accidentally set my computer on fire, which needless to say was neither cooling nor cool... After that accident I gave up altogether and do you know what I did? Instead of overclocking my CPUs, I started to underclock them. I noticed that in many cases even a 15-20% lower c;ock speed may eliminate the need of having any fan at all, as long as there is a large radiator with good contact and a reasonable air flow in the case. Sacrificing those few percents of megahertzes might sound very "not elite" but guess what? It still can display websites faster than I can read.
  • by cabazorro ( 601004 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:04PM (#10622686) Journal
    I'm considering to put the cooling aluminum laptop
    tray in the freezer overnight so I can get at least
    30 min of work in the morining in my damn HP Pavillion ze4042 without the damn thing turning on the cpu fan that makes more
    noise than my neighboors leaf-blower.
    The laptop cooling trays are worthless.
    • Yes, have to agree with you if you use a laptop cooler tray stock from the retailer. However, I found that taking off the RAM cover panel on the bottom of my laptop makes a big difference. Okay, it make a HUGE difference. You can also use a loop of 1/4x1/8" window sealing tape to make a closed loop seal on the tray which forces the air to blow into the hole (in this case, the RAM cover hole) on the bottom of the laptop.

      There are other tricks for laptops too. For instance, my IBM i1472 had no heatsink fo
  • by Anonymous Coward
    How about computer-heating my pool?
  • by karlandtanya ( 601084 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:08PM (#10622738)
    Reminds me of a 16 year old that bolts the entire Summit Racing catalog onto his mustang and thinks now he's a gearhead.

    Go invent something. Go build something. Heck, even go break something while learning about it. Join you local tesla coil or ham radio club and learn something. Contribute a patch to an open-source project. build a watercooling system out of parts from Lowe's. Be proud of that.

    Go buy something? Something that's largely non-functional, and unreliable? And bolt it on to your computer? Oh, yeah! You da man!

    • by tktk ( 540564 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:22PM (#10622879)
      Go buy something? Something that's largely non-functional, and unreliable? And bolt it on to your computer? Oh, yeah! You da man!

      People install Microsoft products every day.

      Obligatory MS joke...I know...I don't care...mod me down.

    • Come on, now, that's a bit harsh.*

      Everyone has to start somewhere, and if bolting on parts that you buy gets you started or interested in engineering, thats great!

      If people get interested at an easy level, hopefully they will progress, and get involved in the things you are talking about.

      With the decline in wood shop/ metal shop/ small engine repair courses in schools, any progress or interest in technical things should be encouraged.

      *Deacon chides another poster for being "harsh". A flock of pigs executes

  • Water in your computer! What could go wrong?

    Sorry, but the 10% or so you get from over clocking isn't worth it.

  • by freelunch ( 258011 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:14PM (#10622807)
    The Cray X1 employs Phase Change cooling in one of the more extreme power densities publicly known.

    Check it out in this [] video.

    Cray's phase change uses Fluorinert, while the average PC uses Freon.

    I went with an XP-90 [] to air cool my new Athlon 64. The heatpipes arguably make it passive phase change cooling.

  • by rts008 ( 812749 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:15PM (#10622814) Journal
    To the admin. of /. Have you thought of turning the power of /.'s smoking servers into an additional income source? I mean, you could offer to "Load Test" some outfits new servers for a fee and then just post a link on /. announcing something like: free beer and women who love geeks-click here. If their servers could take that, then they could be assured that their servers could stand up to anything short of a direct hit from nukular WMD's!
  • by BestNicksRTaken ( 582194 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:16PM (#10622825)
    Water can only cool to the ambient temperature of the room, and not below as some people seem to think - which is why it is no better than air/fan solutions, except for lower noise.

    You'd be better off cooling your room with AC, and getting the benefit of cooling yourself, not just your processor!
  • A naive question (Score:3, Interesting)

    by cloudkj ( 685320 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:40PM (#10623074)
    I haven't been able to RTFA cuz it's been slashdotted, but I was just wondering...

    Since the water is used to absorb heat from the system, the water will obviously heat up. What happens if the system gets out of hand and something starts burning up, causing the water to reach boiling points? Is this just not possible?

    And if it is, what would happen? Would boiling water running through the cooling system explode? I'm just curious.
  • by Ace26_805 ( 585583 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:44PM (#10623115)
    I had the same concerns alot of people on here seem to have about watercooling. I shelled out around $900 for a Koolance case a little over 3 years ago and popped in a Intel MB w/ P4 1.7. I also have my 6 300GB HDs and GF FX Video card water cooled as well. I have been in the case quite a few times, and even upgraded it to a P4 3Ghz, new Intel MB, and new Vid card. I even had to replace my old socket 423 cooler for a socket 478 cooler and no probs. To this day (3+ years later) I have NEVER had a single problem with my case. No leaks, no overheating, no problems period. Yes, it only cools as much as the ambient temp in the room, but on a really hot day that is only 100degrees F. As I type this I am running at 92f.. during intense gaming (ie. Doom 3) The temp never exceeds 110f on the CPU (which is where the temp probes are). I have never been able to get my heatsink/fan CPUs to cool nearly this good under intense loads. Just thought I would share my personal experience with watercooling.
  • by SHiVa0 ( 608471 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:45PM (#10623118)
    While most of the poeple using watercooling does so to gain performance (ie overclock) It wasn't why I did it.

    You see, my computer is located inside a closet. While being the quietest computer around, I can dry my clothes with that brand new Prescott 2.8E.

    I needed a way to remove the heat from that closet, So I drilled holes in the walls and installed the pump / radiator in stair room going to the basement.

    I do miss wearing those warm clothes on cold winter days... :(
  • I ran in to this problem when moving once. Having your liquid system FREEZE. That was unique. Luckily it didn't leak afterwards but since then I've been leary of liquid cooling.
  • Introduction
    Despite a rather slow and shaky start, the water cooling revolution is well and truly under way. If the falling component prices aren't testament enough to this fact, the sheer number of kits being touted by a plethora of vendors surely is.

    Nobody has ever doubted the advantages of water cooling as compared to air. Water is some twenty five times more efficient than air at conducting heat, which makes it an obvious choice for cooling all manner of hot running computer components. Unfortunately i
  • My PC (Score:2, Interesting)

    by FiveRings ( 818409 )
    My PC at home has been watercooled for about a year now. I would definitely say it's more for tinkering than performance. I haven't read the article because it's been slashdotted, but watercooling isn't really anything new. (Consider Sony and Alienware's prebuilt systems with watercooling.) I've had one spill and that was really my fault and all my hardware survived (but it was a good excuse to buy new stuff anyways). Pros: It did allow me to overclock a bit more. It was much quieter. Fun to tinker with. C
  • by IronChefMorimoto ( 691038 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:56PM (#10623231)
    I wanted to chime in here. My friend and I put together HIS Zalman Reserator (not mine -- got no extra money for these things) and Antec Aria SFF PC a few weeks ago with tremendous results. The Zalman Reserator retails for $250 at Frys. Most online vendors charge more for it.

    It's basically a 2.5' tall heatsink/radiator with a submerged pump. It includes a waterblock for your processor (Intel and AMD) and all the tubing/hardware you need.

    You lose the ability to easily bleed the thing, although clamping off hoses and pouring nearly 3 liters of water out the top of a Reserator doesn't really seem all that troublesome to me.

    Bottom line -- he dropped his idle temps by 20C and his load temps by a similar amount. This was a few weeks ago when it was slightly warmer here in Georgia. He now idles (running a P4 Prescott) at about 27C. It's pretty amazing.

    For more information, see here: []

  • Hotglue... (Score:3, Funny)

    by ylikone ( 589264 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:57PM (#10623238) Homepage
    I once tried a new way of water-cooling by hotglueing the entire motherboard... yes, I basically coated it with glue and lowered it into a bucket filled with icy water. I obviously kept the power supply and harddrives on a table next to the bucket. All the cabling was also well glued at the connection points to the motherboard. No pumps needed, no CPU fan.

    Anyway, now I can overclock my P4 from 1.8 to 2.4 with no problem... and anytime I start getting lock-ups, I just throw in a few more ice cubes from the freezer.

  • by Wellmont ( 737226 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @02:59PM (#10623251) Homepage
    After i did a few calculations and "wonderings" of my own i decided to just build my system around a better heatsink similar to the design of the radiator found in most normal watercooling systems. Most people use watercooling for performance, but there are others who use it for stability and the noise factor. The problem is that the manufacturers will tell you that watercooling is better because:
    1.) better cooling
    2.) less noise
    3.) less vibration

    The fan that is currently installed on my copper based heatsink is realatively quiet and i can control it with the rheostat i put on the front of the computer. What most computer "hobbiests" don't realise is that a watercooling system must include a fan that is larger then the fan used on most modern heatsinks.
    What watercooling systems do is transfer the heat away from the CPU quickly. However because the water has to cool before being recycled, to the "plastic" resevoir so common in today's designs, it must be pushed through a large metal maze similar to the radiator on most cars. This radiator must be cooled by a fan, and more often then not the radiator is placed outside the case to achieve maximum performance and airflow. So in conclusion if your looking for performance, go straight to vapor cooling (that's real quiet). But if your looking for silence stay away from watercooling.
  • It works great (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Zackbass ( 457384 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @03:19PM (#10623544)
    I've been doing my own water cooling systems for a few years now and have come to the conclusion that if you aren't a complete idiot you'll never have any trouble.

    Here's my first project: []

    I finished my second last September and have been using it since. I built the whole case from stainless steel tubing. One side of the case is pressurized for water distribution and the other side is a reservior. Here's a pic: essed.jpg []
    The great thing about is that I'm able to run my little 2.4C at over 3.4Ghz (I built it in Sept 2003, so it was a big deal) completely silently. The radiator is large enough that it doesn't need any fans. The only noise that comes from the case is the hard disks spinning.
  • by GuyFawkes ( 729054 ) on Monday October 25, 2004 @04:16PM (#10624296) Homepage Journal
    you could take a look at my site

    which details experiments with peltiers and water cooling.

    For those who can't be bother it boils down to this.

    1/ water cooling is OK if done properly, but all the commercial "home" watercooling products are absolute shite

    2/ peltiers work, but add huge heat loads to the system overall, and should never be directly interfaced to silicon.

    Hopefully in the next few weeks (having just bought a vacuum pump) I can get around to playing with large scale home made heat pipes and report on those.

    HTH etc.

To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, be nothing. -- Elbert Hubbard