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Advanced Guide to Overclocking & Cooling

Discussion in 'OC Archive' started by weescott, Jul 8, 2006.

  1. weescott


    Joined: Feb 25, 2004

    Posts: 9,376

    Location: Heckling for change

    weescott's update and additiions to Orifice, Mike Timbers and MarvT's guide's. Marci input added (DO NOT RESPOND... DON EDIT AS REQUIRED). Thanks.

    WR overclocking DB on XS:


    Watercooling guides

    Old but relevent begginers guide


    What coolant to use

    Water cooling Additives


    Phase Change

    What is Phase Change?

    The compressor compresses the refrigerant into a high pressure... Where in the condenser, it condenses to a liquid under high pressure and also at the same time gives up its heat. It then travels to the liquid line, where liquid refrigerant usually travels through a filter/dryer, which filters out particles and is a desiccant, meaning it absorbs moisture. From that point, it travels to the metering device, usually either a capillary tube, or Thermal Expansion Valve (TXV). These regulate the flow of the liquid refrigerant, because at this point is under far too much pressure to evaporate. Once it leaves the metering device, it enters the evaporator, where the liquid refrigerant boils off, sucking up the heat with it. It then travels down the suction line of the system, back through the compressor, and into the condenser.


    Can I use phase change to cool the Graphics and NB aswell?

    Initially no, the commercial systems only have 1 evap head for cooling the CPU.
    Systems can be modded to include extra evap heads if you find someone willing to do so or have the tools/knowhow to do it yourself.

    It is also not advisable to use phase change on the GPU 24/7 as they do not produce enough heat so battling condensation is quite a tricky process. Unless you tune the system to ~130W so that it will be adequate.

    Phase is usable on the GPU for however for benching purposes where the card is practically always under load and isn’t ran for very long at a time. Though beware this is very high risk.

    There is also a UK retailer that is capable or modding systems and can tune them to a set heatload. However they only have a SLI setup so it only caters for the GPU and a separate system is needed for the CPU. This is a much better way of doing things since current GPU’s can kick out over 100w of heat so when you add a cpu ~200w your going to hit problems and get poor temps.

    What phase change system should I buy?

    The 2 common systems are a Prometeia Mach 2 and an Asetek Vapochill. You can then build your own if you have the knowledge and tools and with a little reading this can be done on your own. I will hopefully be doing this soon and will include a write up of my progress. Bear in mind average pull down is a few minutes. (The time it takes for the system to pull the temperatures down so a safe level that can be maintained and avoid damaging/overloading anything)


    weescott edit:

    Retail units will NOT cope with Quad core systems when overclocked heavily.
    A rough estimate suggests you will need a retune for the heatload in exess of 200w plus other mods.


    How much will a phase change system set me back?

    A new bit of kit will cost about 550ish for a Vapo LS or Mach 2 GT, with a standard Mach 2 being slightly less. However if you manage to pic us a used system you are likely to get a bargain as people tend to sell there used systems scarily cheap and a Mach 2 GT can be had for about £200, and an old Mach 1 for about £130 which is cheaper than a good water setup and much better. Older vapochill models also go for around £150.

    So there are only 2 types?

    Yes, there are 2 kinds of phase change, direct die and waterchilling. Direct die is covered next and waterchilling will be covered at the end of this guide.

    So what kind of direct die systems are there

    Well yes and No, There are 2 main companies in the field Nventiv also known as Ecold and Asetec who are better known for their waterchill kits. Both manufacture different levels of systems as shown below


    Prometeia (Formerly Mach 2)

    These are entry models and are charged with R134 refridgerant, they usually get to about -40 ( reported)

    Prometeia 2 (Formerly Mach 2 GT)

    This is a beefed up version of the standard Mach 2, it is charged with R404 refridgerent and gets to about -65c (reported on the older models . It looks identical to the standard prometeia The new (2006) models have properly calibrated sensors and report -c45c unloaded. Typical X2 3800 unloaded will be around -20c.


    Asetek have many models (classic, pe, xe, ls), however only mainly produce the LS nowadays

    Asetek Vapochil LS

    This is on par with the Mach 2 GT and is charged with R507 refrigerant and also gets to about -60c reported. It to comes with silver aluminium panels though they do not have the same style design as the lian li cases.

    Because these units use R507 they require the fans to run 100% and hence are noisier than the Mach 2 GT.


    Older Vapochill (Classic, PE, XE)


    These were charged with R134 and came in their own cases which were pretty damn ugly if you ask me but did the job. They were also quite cramped inside I found.

    Which is the better choice then?

    Well as with all computer genres there are 2 main contenders fighting for your wad of cash. (ATI vs Nvidia, AMD vs Intel etc)

    And with these come the fanboys of each. So you will never really get an honest opinion if you ask on a forum.

    I prefer the Mach 2 range (partly because asetek called there water cooling kits waterchill which they aren’t but I’ll explain why later.)

    The mach 2 range seem to give better temps when the heat load is under 200w as most chips are. However with the new FX57 range the LS seems to give slightly better temps on the heavily overclocked FX57’s whereas the mach2’s have been known to get into positive temps.


    Can I use phase change to cool the Graphics and NB aswell?

    Initially no, the commercial systems only have 1 evap head for cooling the CPU.
    Systems can be modded to include extra evap heads if you find someone willing to do so or have the tools/knowhow to do it yourself.

    It is also not advisable to use phase change on the GPU 24/7 as they do not produce enough heat so battling condensation is quite a tricky process. Unless you tune the system to ~130W so that it will be adequate.

    Phase is usable on the GPU for however for benching purposes where the card is practically always under load and isn’t ran for very long at a time. Though beware this is very high risk.

    There is also a UK retailer that is capable or modding systems and can tune them to a set heatload. However they only have a SLI setup so it only caters for the GPU and a separate system is needed for the CPU. This is a much better way of doing things since current GPU’s can kick out over 100w of heat so when you add a cpu ~200w your going to hit problems and get poor temps.



    There are options however for triple headed systems (cpu/gpu/nb) and they can be found over at VRZONE


    This however is unlikely to be very effective as your cannot tune each evap head to a specific heatload so the cpu will be in positive temps.

    A common idea amongst phase change users is to use phase change for the CPU and then either pelt or just watercool the gfx/nb as seen here
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2007
  2. weescott


    Joined: Feb 25, 2004

    Posts: 9,376

    Location: Heckling for change


    Is there any way of getting even colder?

    Yes there are many ways to get your phase change system colder.
    The most common is to regas your system with another type of refrigerant. Another if you have any brazing skills is to replace the standard evap head with a chilly1 head. Or finally you can enter the world of cascades.

    What is a chilly1 head?

    Chilly1 is a member of several boards and is often seen moderating over at XS. He is a HVAC engineer and is widely known around the Phase change community.
    He builds cascades and single stage systems over in the states.
    He has also engineered his own evap head which he sells ~$100. This is a great design and can give improvements over the standard head.

    What does regassing do?

    As can be seen above the basic models commercially available contain R134 refrigerant. Whereas the higher end models contain R404 refrigerant.

    So if you have a R134 system, regassing to R404 can give good improvements.
    Many people upgrading their systems however go for R507 as it is widely available and has a lower boiling point than R404 thus giving colder temps. Then you begin to get into the tricky world of blends of different gases but when the experts find a blend which works nicely they often keep the amounts to themselves. Although a blend of R402 and R507 give good results but its tricky to get he ratios.

    Please also bear in mind that on old vapochill systems (the XE and PE anyway) when regassed with R404 as many are, once shut down you will have to wait ~40 minutes before switching on again.

    Also when regassing with R507 on the mach 2's fans need to be fan at turbo making it ~40db

    What is a Cascade?

    This is where my current knowledge is pretty damn sparse and can only give a little information though I’m gonna guess if your reading this your not gonna jump into using cascades anyway :p

    Cascades basically consists of cooling the condenser of one system with another system.
    There are 3 kinds of cascades
    Triple stage Cascade

    Autocascade – Can Get you down to about -80
    Double Stage Cascade – Can get you down to about -100
    Triple Stage Cascade – Can get you to -120 often even colder still.

    As I say I know little about cascades but will update when I get some more reading done. But can say now they ain’t cheap.

    I’ve used all the above and want to try my hand at something different what is there?

    Well now your gonna enter the world of Dry Ice and Liquid Nitrogen but that ain’t gonna be covered here. Theres plenty info out there though.

    So what is a waterchiller

    These are similar to the direct die systems but the coils are used to cool a big reservoir of water and thus can be used in water loops to cool all the cpu, gpu and nb to nice cold temperatures.
    These are much more hassle however as all tubing and blocks must be proofed against condensation as all tubes will be below ambient temps rather than pelts where only the block is cold.

    A typical waterchiller can be seen here

    How cold will the water get?
    This is relative to a lot of things, such as your capillary tube length, the gas your using, the power of your compressor, etc. Several different things going into determining how cold your water will get. You can be assured one thing though, it will get cold.
    Expect about 0.2C water temps on average.

    How cold will it keep my CPU?
    Again, another relative question. This is also dependent on many factors, such as the effeciency of your waterblock, the thermal interface material used, how well things are insulated, etc. Generally, at idle, your CPU temperature should be about that of the water, and at load, maybe a few degrees celcius higher. The CPU will eventually heat up your water, and its the job of your chiller to keep it at an acceptable temperature. This is where the capillary tube comes in. The shorter your capillary tube is, the colder your initial temperature will be. But as soon as you put a cpu load on it, it will shoot up. The longer it is, the less change in temperature from normal water to heated water is. Your goal is to find a happy medium.

    What should I put in the water?
    Straight water is the best coolant, but since were going sub zero temps, we cant use straight water, it would freeze. Antifreeze is good, which is glycol. There is methanol, which is windshield wiper fluid. Denatured Alcohol is good as well. You can get 100% methanol in gas line additives to stop gas from freezing. Be careful, the last 3 are very flammable. The trick is a water flow. Streams and rivers dont freeze at freezing temperatures, only when its REALLY cold. This is because the water is flowing, and its harder to freeze that way. The best thing to do is have a mix of flow and water additive.

    What kind of waterblock should I get?
    Whichever waterblock you think is the best... Try and get one that is aluminum, copper, or brass topped, as plexiglass and lucite can crack under extremely low temperatures.

    What about a radiator?
    There is no radiator in this watercooling system... If there was, it would waste precious degrees just putting cold into the air. There is only a resevoir.

    What about condensation

    This a large factor in waterchilling as it is not just the chip which is lower than ambient temps (like when using pelts) the tubing and whole blocks must be well insulated as seen below.


    Useful Links:

    Danger Den
    Overclockers Hideout
    HW Labs
    Aquatics Online
    Procooling (PLEASE LOOK HERE)
    Airline Pneumatics
    Check you ordering the correct barbs
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2006
  3. weescott


    Joined: Feb 25, 2004

    Posts: 9,376

    Location: Heckling for change

    Watercooling gallery at [H]ardOCP
    Watercooling Gallery at amdmb
    Watercooling gallery at overclockers.com
    Gallery at Pro-Cooling
    Gallery here at OCUK

    Water-cooling reviews and tips from overclockers.com
    Overclockers comparative waterblock tests
    Pro-cooling's Interactive block comparison

    What should I buy?

    Basic kits like WaterChill are fine for beginners who do not want to design their own systems. They will happily cool a reasonably over-clocked system.

    The Waterchill kits now use Hydor pumps and Black Ice radiators but be warned that the supplied Black Ice Pro is the poor relation of radiators. The Power kit comes with a good Hydor pump and the new Antartica block is a much better one than the one usually supplied with the cheaper Waterchill kits.

    The Swiftech kits offer exceptional value for money making custom kits look expensive for very liitle gain.

    The major manufacturers are DangerDen, D-Tek, Swiftech and BeCooling. The really hard-core make their own blocks but this is not for the faint of heart. Buying individual components to make your own system will yield better results than the kits above. You will also have the satisfaction of having your own personal system.

    DangerDen do kits which are available from a number of UK retailers who obviously cannot be listed here. These kits will likely give better results than WaterChill-type kits but we are talking a few degrees at best. Their RBX and TDX blocks are very close in performance to the WhiteWater (see next).

    D-Tek now sell the Cathar-designed Little River White Water (LRWW) and this is <edit. Was. see Storm Block> one of the best mass-market blocks available today. It costs around £45.

    Swiftech's 6000 blocks are very good and are exceptional value. Tests put the 6002 at the very top of the heap. Swiftech are also now manufacturing the Cathar-designed Storm G4 and at a very reasonable price! Available from OCUK!!!

    The best block is unquestionably Cathar's Storm G5. It is made in extremely small quantities and is most definitely not cheap! It is also very hard to get a hold of. The Swiftech Apogee is a poor relation to the Storm and is reported to be on par with the DD TDX.

    Some data comparing the Storm and Apogee:


    Chipset blocks are not common and the most used is the DangerDen Z-Chip. Unfortunately it is also proven to be a flow-killer considerably damaging the overall cooling of the whole system. The Silverprop Nexus is reported to be the best chipset block but is expensive as it has to be imported from Auatralia.

    GPU blocks come in two different formats for ATI and NVidia.

    The contenders are:

    DD Maze 4/5
    Silverprop Fusion HL / SL (no longer made)
    Aquaextreme MP-1
    D-Tek Fusion
    Swiftech MCW60 (requires G80 plate for 8800 cards)
    EK full cover blocks (less restriction than other full cover blocks)

    There are no tests at the time of writing to say which one is best.

    Eheim make the most commonly-used pumps and the two main contenders are the 1048 and 1250. The 1250 is more powerful but quite a lot larger. These can be bought from specialist water-cooling stockists but also (usually cheaper) from fish-tank vendors. Other manufacturers include Hydor, ViaAqua and MaxiJet. The very best pumps are Iwaki but are not easily obtained. A new arrival is C-Systems which make a very small powerful 12v pump. 12v pumps are also now being sold by Dangerden and Swiftech. They are re-badged Laing pumps. Make sure you get the D5 version not the D4 v1 as it is noisy.

    Radiators can be bought from specialist companies like HWLabs who make the BlackIce range or Thermochill who now sell the Cathar-designed PA160. These are basically copies of car heatercores (also known as heater matrixes). Heatercores from Vauxhalls seem to be the most popular amongst the watercooling community and can be bought from scrapyards for under £20. They would then need slight modding of the inlet/outlets which is a simple matter of cutting off some of the copper piping and then gluing in some barbs. Pre-modded heatercores with barbs pre-fitted are available for around £40.

    Radiator Cleaning Guide

    from Marci:

    Links to it all are on www.thermochill.com on the PA120.3's page, which includes summary, translation of the ThermoChill-specific part of the review, and link to PDF of the full magazine article which also includes fan comparisons etc
    ( http://www.thermochill.com/pa1203.php )

    Also summarised on XtremeSystems here: http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums...ead.php?t=77260

    As BillAdam's original HE article showed, in ratio, as you shrink or increase a rad's size, the performance of it shrinks in ratio, so the results apply if they were all the same brands as tested but 120.1, and same for if they were all 120.2's. So that performance order listed in all cases applies for all the 120.1 rads head to head from those ranges, all the 120.2s, and all the 120.3s.

    Note, bad translation on my part (I don't speak any German) labelled Pressure drop as Flow Restrictivity. In all references on both ThermoChill and XS, and any of the countless other forums that others may have posted it on, replace mentions of flow rate with head pressure... (I'm going thru editing at the mo as I've only just been informed)

    And I'll point out now that the comparative results (which you'll find halfway down the XS post) were independant. The PA vs HE in the first half of the XS link were done by myself in controlled circumstances, but have also been verified independantly over time by others.

    I only found out about the comparative data 2 weeks ago, but they were published in the German Magazine back in May... had no idea that the comparison had been done and published, and hadn't been asked to provide a rad for review, so god knows where he got the PA120.3 from. Am guessing he purchased it off his own back...

    And Cathar's word on the results... as some claimed the testing was unfair as the PA is thicker so would therefore obviously perform better (which is a complete myth)...

    I really have to thank Marci and Thermochill. As the designer and pre-production tester for the PA120 radiators, TC gave me carte-blanche to fiddle with the design parameters to the limits of manufacturing practicality, and TC trusted me to push the PA design in a way to maximise its performance, and only its performance. For my part I focused primarily on the design of the core finned section itself, and left the built-in shroud, bracing, and end-tank design in the hands of TC. In short, the design goal was to maximise performance in a 120.x form factor.

    Of course we all kept in mind that the radiator had to fit within a case, so the whole thing couldn't be much thicker than about 60mm, to allow for at least singular 38mm fans to be fitted and have the overall depth with fan be no more than 10cm (4") such that while it would be largish in-case, (for a PA120.1) it should never obstruct anything in any well designed midi-ATX case or any larger case.

    The reason for the PA's dimensions is wholly focused around performance concerns. It's easy to assume that it performs better than other radiator just because it's thicker and heavier, but thickness is but only one of a multitude of parameters to balance out. When you change thickness, you're actually altering at least 4 dependent variables, 2 of which work against you as you increase thickness.

    While it's easy to sit back and criticise the PA's thickness based upon a whole host of other cloned radiators, the thing is that the PA is the only purpose-built radiator on the market that steps outside of the box, breaks the clone mould, and hangs it all out for maximum performance with minimal noise. It is merely an additional product in the marketplace for those who want a choice other than buying one of a host of similarly sized, similarly performing radiator clones.

    No one's twisting anyone's arm to buy the things, but the important thing to keep in mind is that at least the choice is there, and watercooling users do have the choice to buy a product that is a no-compromises performing radiator product that is purposely designed for their low-noise water-cooling needs. When TC and I were bandying the design about, the point that always stuck in my head was posts on water-cooling forums complaining about radiator fan noise, about people dropping out of water-cooling because of it, and people buying these monster 100cfm 38mm fan units just to get acceptable radiator performance.

    We refused to believe that enough had been done to explore the limits of what was truly possible in the slow-slim-line-fan, low-noise environment that water-coolers seemed to be searching for. It just so happens that in designing a radiator for that need that we ended up designing a radiator that outperforms everything else right up to those large ear-bleeding monster fan units, which in my mind was outside of the design goals and acceptable noise levels, but we were happy to have achieved such nonetheless.

    Oh, and in case anything thinks that the above is said for purposes of profit. I have to date not received any monetary payment from TC, nor do I ever expect to do so, and this suits me just fine. I have a number of prototype TC radiator units here, and that is about the extent of it. I offered my time and efforts purely to advance PC radiator design beyond the rut that it seemed to be stuck in and am really just thrilled that in TC that I had a willing manufacturer to make the dream a reality.

    Source: http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums...79&postcount=63


    Tubing is normally either 3/8" or 1/2". Tygon or Clearflex60 are the only decent choices. It is very common for beginners to try to save money on tubing and then end up buying Tygon/Clearflex anyway. Just don't buy cheapo silicon tubing and expect wonderful things. Clamps can be bought from B&Q for a couple of pounds for a pair. 7/16" tubing is a comprimise between practicality and performance and is the recomended tubing size. 1/2" tubing gives a small perfomance gain but can be hard to route.

    Most rads fit 120mm fans and there are many available. The cheapest are Evercool fans which give around 80cfm at roughly 30dba (manufacturers numbers). More powerful fans are available but these are usually much noisier. Since better performance can be obtained if the fan is slightly away from the actual radiator, it is common to use a shroud. 38mm-deep fans are the best for restrictive radiators.

    Water & Additives:
    Do not use ordinary tap water as it contains large amounts of minerals such as calcium which will build up in your block, rad and pump like cholesterol in your arteries. Use distilled water available from Halfords for relatively little. You can also buy Coolant Conditioner from Halfords to prevent algae growth. Commercial additives such as WaterWetter are expensive and gimmicky. They do not aid the cooling efficiency of the water at all.

    TECs are clever little widgets using the Peltier effect to provide sub-zero cooling to cpus. It requires specialist power supplies, very powerful water-cooling to cool the TEC and insulation on the cpu to prevent condensation. Avoid.

    If you want cooling to TEC level, you would be better off buying Phase-Change such as Vapochill available here at OCUK.

    A simple kit for a beginner is as follows:

    A Swiftech Storm or Dangerden TDX or D-Tek LRWW
    Eheim 1250 pump or Swiftech MCP655
    Nova Heatercore
    Evercool 120mm fan
    8' of Tygon

    This should come to well under £150. Before trying to cool chipsets and gpus, start with the just the cpu and see how you get on. Water-cooling is not for everyone as can be seen from the amount of second-hand equipment for sale here. Bear in mind that much of the for sale items are from people who have upgraded to better components so buy with care - there is likely to be better stuff available for new and for not much more.

    Finally, the best aspect of water-cooling is the individuality of it. Just like modding, it is much more fun to design and build it yourself from your own research than to simply copy somebody else or ask for someone to tell you what to use.

    Two FAQ:

    1) What if I put a reservoir in a mini-fridge?

    A) A mini-fridge (even a big fridge or freezer) is designed to take a room temperature item and cool it. Once cooled, it remains cool thanks to the fridge's insulation and minimal cooling. If the reservoir is in the fridge it will be being fed warm water constantly requiring the fridge to run continuously. It is not designed for this and will quickly fail. Even a freezer will have to work harder than it is designed for making it far noisier than simply using a fan on a radiator.

    2) What if I connect to the cold-water tap?

    A) Ever heard of a water meter? The environment? Waste? Aside from those environmental issues, mains water is cold and this will cause condensation on your entire system including the pipes and blocks.

    I did hear a story about a guy who connected tubing to his cistern and pumped that water to a tank by his computer. His radiator was immersed in the tank and so was cooled by the water from the cistern. The cistern's water was regularly flushed (busy household!) so the secondary heat loop was kept at a resonable temperature. I don't have the link but it shouldn't be too hard to replicate a system like that.


    Peltier Guide

    What is a Peltier?

    Well for a start its called a TEC (ThermoElectric Cooler) Pelt is just the more common name. You will hear them refered to as both
    It’s a ceramic plate that has electricity flowing through it. It has both a hot side and a cold side.

    Why would I want a TEC?
    To get higher overclocks you need to cool your cpu down or it will overheat, the more you can cool the cpu, theoretically the higher you can overclock your cpu.

    So I just strap a TEC to the cpu and clock higher?
    Well no actually, as for the cold side of the Pelt to get nice and cold you need to be able to remove the heat from the hot side of the pelt. Otherwise it will just overheat and break the pelt and your cpu in the process. And its surprisingly hard to overclock your cpu when it doesn’t work anyway ;)

    Ok so how do I cool the hot side?

    Usually water is used to cool the hot side effectively, There are limited blocks available to use TEC’s these are
    Dangerden 3-1 (Very Old)
    Dangerden 4-1 (Most commonly used)
    Swiftec 6002? (Not too sure)

    There are others but these are the most commercially available. MAKE SURE THAT THE WATERBLOCK COMPLETELY COVERS THE PELT OR IT WILL FAIL.
    You will also need a beefy Radiator as a little 120.1 will not be as effective as a 120.3.

    If you are just cooling a cpu then a 120.2 or Thermochill PA160 should be sufficient but if adding extra blocks a 120.3 will be a better idea.
    For cooling only a gfx card I have found my 120.1 struggles with a 120w pelt and the water temp is about 33C although I only have a cheap fan strapped on one side so this may well be able to be brought down lower.

    Can I not strap a heatsink to the pelt to cool it?
    Very often asked and similarly to the fridge question always shot down. A heatsink cannot effectively cool the hot side sufficiently so you will end up cooking the cpu moreso than with just a heatsink.

    What wattage of pelt do I need to cool my cpu?
    If you have a little Dothan chip then you could probably get away with a 172W pelt, however for all other modern chips its recommended to not use anything less than a 226W, although it is getting increasingly more common to use a 320W one for the new FX57’s as these get VERY hot with a few extra volts.

    It also depends on how cold you want to go, if required you could strap a 400W pelt on and get down to about -30.

    I’ve bought a cheap fridge which has a pelt can I use this?
    No, this is likely to only be a 40w or maybe 80w if your lucky, this is not sufficient for cooling a cpu and barely capable of cooling the gfx either.

    I have a 500W psu can I attach a pelt to my power supply?
    Yes and No, providing you have a good quality 600W+ powersupply then it should be safe to attach a 172W pelt onto the 12v rail to get ~120W but anything else is going to cause major problems to your computer.

    I have a 300W no name psu can I use this alone to power my pelt?
    NO, you will kill your pelt and more than likely blow your psu up aswell, these cheap powersupplies are not able to supply anywhere near enough amps to power a pelt and should not be tried.

    So I cant use any psu to power the pelt?
    You need to get a dedicated pelt power supply such as a meanwell. These are not cheap 320w one will cost around £100 but is nessecary. This will be able to power a 226w and a 80w pelt. Or 2 172W pelts or one 320w pelt.

    If your pelt dies, ir does not conduct heat so will trap al heat around the core so don’t think “well if it dies it is still water cooled so will be fine”

    Can I cool my GFX and NB with a pelt?
    Yes, however be careful about condensation as these do not give out lots of heat and rarely are at full load unless during games. Older gfx cards (9800pro and below) used to be fine with an 80w pelt to cool them to around 0C, however the new cards kick out about 110w of heat and its recommended to use a 172w pelt, either at 172w at 24v or at 120w at 12v, the latter will cool an x850xtpe to about -10 idle and abour 5C under load. At the full 172w it should be down to about -20C.
    Northbridge chips don’t really even need to be cooled with water let alone a pelt as this will likely cause condensation,

    What blocks do i use for the GFX

    There a few you can get

    Danderden Maze 4-1
    Silverprop Cyclone Fusion SLT

    Cooling to low levels is condensation not an issue?
    Yes, you must be careful with condensation and take precautions.
    Recommended fitting instructions will be included with the block likely, and for the first time will probably buy a precut gasket of neoprene which will have all mounting holes cut out so no problems should arise there.
    There are also plenty guides on the net for fitting pelts so not needed here


    Cooliong Additives:

    Fact 1:
    Ethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol, are considered to be non toxic when consumed in small to medium dosages, while large amounts can result in nausea, convulsions, slurred speech, disorientation, and heart and kidney problems. VERY large dosages can result in renal failure and death, but such high dosages would only be incurred by intention ingestion of ridiculous amounts of it, such as drinking a gallon of Anti-Freeze.

    Fact 2:
    Polyethylene Glycol, Polypropylene Glycol, Ethylene Glycol and Propylene Glycol, are considered for most purpose to be essentially the same thing, and who’s chemical properties are nearly identical, as well has having identical effects on humans and cooling systems. In short, Zerex saying it uses Ethylene Glycol instead of Polypropylene glycol really doesn’t matter. They are essentially one in the same.

    Fact 3:
    The aforementioned Glycols are ionic compounds and when dissolved in water form slightly acidic solutions which conduct electricity (they are weak electrolytes), and in turn promote galvanic corrosion. Radiator fluid manufacturers add certain chemicals to counteract the electrolytic effect of the Glycols, thus stopping galvanic corrosion from occurring, but by themselves will cause corrosion.

    Fact 4:
    Glycols ONLY purpose in cooling systems is to increase waters boiling point and reduce its freezing point, with the lowest freezing point for Glycols being around -45C where the Glycol has a molar mass 430g/mol.

    Fact 5:
    Copper, copper sulfate, endothall, simazine, and diquat dibromide are all different active ingredients used Algaecides (products that kill Algae). You will notice that Copper is on the top of that list. That’s right folks. The main cooling component of your watercooling loop will kill most algae all by its lonesome. Some algae are immune to copper, and can be identified by their blue-green color. Also, diquat dibormide is essentially a stable liquid (in aqueous solution) form of bromine gas, which is used to kill various bacteria.

    Fact 6:
    If you are looking to gain a bit more performance out of your water, nonionic surfactants are the way to go. (Froogle: “nonionic surfactant” to purchase). Choose nonionic because they will not increase the conductivity of your coolant like ionic surfactants will, thus keeping your electronics as safe as possible in the unlikely case of a spill. Common nonionic surfactants include: alkyl polyglycosides, Alkyl ether sulfate, Amine oxide, and Linear alkylate sulfonate

    In a properly setup PC cooling system which contains no mixed metals, and uses copper/brass as the metal of choice, no coolant additives are required. Pure deionized water or distilled water will be your best choice, with a small amount of nonionic surfactant added for that extra .01C if your interested.

    I should note that I have been running a system on pure distilled water for the past 10months with absolutley no ill effects. There has been no corrosion (All copper/brass/delrin/PVC), and no algae buildup what so ever. Alas the white buildup on the inside of the tubing is still present, to which no one has any real idea what it is yet
    Last edited: Aug 21, 2007
  4. weescott


    Joined: Feb 25, 2004

    Posts: 9,376

    Location: Heckling for change

    Gray Mole's Phase Modding overview:

    I tend to get a LOT of questions about phase, mods, and what can be done. It's very hard to put to words every mod or every variation available but I thought I'd put together a list of tested setups and what they've done before and after so people who think about having a mod done have a little knowledge behind then when they DO look.

    Mach1/2 mods:

    Mach units are quite good, in that they have the strongest available compressor on the market, and in the Mach2, a decent contoller. What they normally lack is both Gas, and evaporator strength.

    What I'll list is the no load, and 150w load testing that I've done (comparable to an average high end single core CPU at very high clocks/load) Also, measured with a Fluke 51 on the evap close to the surface of the evap as possible)

    Premod results:

    Mach1 (134a gas) - -10 to -15c load, -30 to -35c no load
    Mach2 (134a gas) - Same as above
    Mach2GT (404a gas) - -20 to -25 load, -40 to -45 no load

    VapoLS (507 gas) - -20 to -25 load, -45 to -50 no load

    Post mod results:
    Mach1/2 stock head with 402a regass and coilmod - -30 to -35 load, -50 to -55 no load

    Mach1/2 with chilly or other evap upgrade and regass with coilmod - -40 to -45 load, -60 to -65 no load

    VapoLS with new compressor (NL11F, same as Mach stock compressor) and stock head with same regass and coilmod - -35 to -40 load, -55 to -60 no load

    VapoLS, same mod with evap upgrade only makes for about -40 to -45 load, -60 to -65c no load, so really for the cost, it's better for it to just have the compressor unless you're trying to squeeze evey bit of heat out of your cpu.

    Mach1/2 have the nice compressor, and the new head and regass give excellent results. A regass only with these isn't too bad, but going from GT to 402a only give 10c colder on average which may or may not be what a person is looking for.

    Keep in mind though, the Mach1's control system can be funny after a mod, as the reported temp at idle can reach -50 and beyond. There is an alarm and a shutdown when the temp reached and passes this, so additional mods to the electrics, or replacing the temp probe with one of a different value, needs to be done if the control system is still needed to be used.

    Old VapoPE/SE/XE regassing/modding can be a little more difficult to get into simply because of the compressor itself. For that specific advice per system is really the best way.

    The only drawback to the 402a, or 507 regassing for that matter, is the level of noise increase from the fans. New condensors can be fitting to the existing systems but the cost makes it something that is only of value if you're keeping the system, and you require extreme cold along with extreme quiet.

    The vapoLS can still be quiet, but while the compressor is relatively small, it's designed with higher pressure and heat and that's why 507 is ok to use with relatively low fan speeds.

    The use of 404a, or blended 402a setups can be quite good for those who want colder, but still the ability to use them in quieter systems. You sacrifice some of the temps, but gain the ability to use quieter fans which is nice.

    I hope that gives people an idea of what to look for and what to expect from a system before and after mods. I don't list display temps much but they can be both inaccurate, and inconsistent so even the same units modded the same way can have 10c or more difference in what the display will show.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2006
  5. weescott


    Joined: Feb 25, 2004

    Posts: 9,376

    Location: Heckling for change

    *Note the folowing list is for stock clocks only

    Dafloppyone's CPU Max Temperature list

    AMD Althon, Althon
    Opteron, Duron & Sempron Series
    AMD Athlon (socket) upto 1Ghz 90°C
    AMD Athlon (slot) all speeds 70°C
    AMD Athlon Thunderbird 1.1Ghz+ 95°C
    AMD Athlon MP 1.33Ghz+ 95°C
    AMD Athlon XP 1.33Ghz+ 90°C
    AMD Athlon XP T-Bred upto 2100+ 90°C
    AMD Athlon XP T-Bred over 2100+ 85°C
    AMD Athlon XP Barton 85°C
    AMD Duron up to 1Ghz 90°C
    AMD Duron 1Ghz+ 90°C
    AMD Duron Applebred 85°C
    AMD Opteron 65 - 71°C

    A64 edit:max temperatures can vary between 55 and 75c depending on stepping, with newer steppings liking lower temps.

    AMD Athlon 64 70°C
    AMD Athlon 64 (Socket 939, 1.4 volts) 65°C
    AMD Athlon 64 FX 70°C
    AMD Athlon 64 X2 71°C
    AMD Sempron (T-bred/Barton core) 90°C
    AMD Sempron (Paris core) 70°C
    AMD Mobile Sempron 95°C
    AMD K6 Series
    AMD K6/K6-2/K6-III (All except below) 70°C
    AMD K6-2/K6-III (model number ending in X) 65°C
    AMD K6-2+/K6-III+ 85°C
    Intel Pentium III Series
    Pentium III Slot 1 500-866Mhz 80°C
    Pentium III Slot and socket 933Mhz 75°C
    Pentium III Slot 1 1Ghz 60 - 70°C
    Pentium III Slot 1 1.13Ghz 62°C
    Intel Celeron Series Intel Celeron 266-433Mhz 85°C
    Intel Celeron 466-533Mhz 70°C
    Intel Celeron 566-600Mhz (Coppermine) 90°C
    Intel Celeron 633-667Mhz 82°C
    Intel Celeron 700 - 850Mhz 80°C
    Intel Celeron 900Mhz - 1.6Ghz 69 - 70°C
    Intel Celeron 1.7Ghz and Higher 67 - 77°C
    Intel Pentium II Intel Pentium II (First Generation "Klamath") 72 - 75°C Intel Pentium II (Second Generation, 266-333Mhz) 65°C
    Intel Pentium II (350 - 400Mhz) 75°C Intel Pentium II (450Mhz) 70°C
    Intel Pentium 4,
    Pentium M (notebooks)
    Intel Pentium 4 64 - 78°C There are no specific stats for Pentium 4 CPU’s as P4’s have an ability to slow themselves down when they are getting too hot and thus, in theory they should never be able to burn themselves out. To get specifics consult Intel’s specifications for your particular model.
    Intel Pentium M (notebooks) 100°C
    Intel Pentium D (dual
    core) Intel Pentium D 820 (2.8Ghz) 63°C
    Intel Pentium D 830 & 840 (3.0 - 3.2Ghz) 69.8°C
    Intel Pentium Pro
    Intel Pentium Pro. 256 or 512K L2 Cache 85°C
    Intel Pentium Pro. 1MB L2 Cache 80°C
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2006
  6. weescott


    Joined: Feb 25, 2004

    Posts: 9,376

    Location: Heckling for change

    Mr_T's IHS lapping guide (E6600 used)

    Firstly I had to source some "wet & dry" sandpaper at the following grit grades...
    400, 600, 800, 1000, 1200 (1 sheet of each) - You can go higher but I didn't

    I managed to get the 400 & 600 sheets from B&Q but had to go to a car accessories shop to get the other grades as the higher grit grades are typically used for body work on cars.

    The next step was to get a flat surface to mount the sandpaper on... I pulled apart an old photo frame and used the glass front.

    I then placed the glass on my kitchen bench and the 400 grit on top of that. The paper was flat when i got it so i didn't have any issues with it not lying flat against the glass.

    I ran the cold tap over the 400 to start with and then shook it about to get any excess water off the surface then placed in on the glass... (I only used water with the 400 & 600, and did it dry with the higher grades)

    Now it was time to get the cpu!
    I cleaned all the paste off the chip with good old tissue paper and a little cap of Smirnoff Import strength Vodka (50%) - It was all I had to hand! (weescott edit - isopropyl alchohol is ideal but Vodka will do)

    I didn't cover my chip while I did the lapping, if I had kept the plastic holder that the chip came in I would have used that to protect the back but I threw it out.. ho hum it still worked!

    Now as for lapping techniques I've read different things everywhere I looked.. But i did the following....

    Placed the IHS on the 400 holding the cpu by the side and started moving it up & down the paper in a straight line making sure i put only a little pressure on the cpu. I repeated the motion for about 10 seconds then turned the chip 90 degress (clockwise or anti clockwise its up to you) and did the same motion for the same amount of time again. Untill the cpu had completed a revolution.

    At the start i looked at the surface of the cpu after every revolution (out of interest to see where the copper was showing) The first place I noticed wear was the corners...


    After every 3 - 4 revolutions I moved the cpu onto a fresh part of the sand paper. I used the 400 grade untill I got about this far...


    In total I must have completed about 25-30 revolutions at each sheet before I then moved onto the higher grades. I also cleaned the cpu up after every change of sheet as you get a build up of fine grit on the pcb.

    By the time I finished the 800 grit the cpu looked like this.


    Eventually after completeing the 1200 grit I decided it was time to clean the cpu one last time and wack it in!


    I probably wasn't as professional as some people would be when doing this, but it worked and I knocked about 6-8 degrees off my idle temp.

    (weescott edit - don't be fooled by the fact the IHS isn't shiny - it's still flat which is what matters)
  7. weescott


    Joined: Feb 25, 2004

    Posts: 9,376

    Location: Heckling for change

    From Marci:

    To check the final flatness, hold the CPU (or waterblock etc) at 90 degrees to your monitor whilst displaying this file, with the edge of the IHS on the center line. The reflected lines should continue smoothly with no wobbles or distortions: http://www.thermochill.com/guides/LappingGrid.pdf (zoom it in a bit too)

    A mirror finish is NOT required to get it to reflect. Even a rough block will reflect the image on the monitor at the correct angle.

    Cathar example

    Another example:

    1) NOT flat - http://www.employees.org/~slf/flat/grid1.jpg
    2) Flat - http://www.employees.org/~slf/flat/grid2.jpg
  8. weescott


    Joined: Feb 25, 2004

    Posts: 9,376

    Location: Heckling for change

    From W3bbo:

    Radiator cleaning guide

    1. rinse the rad with distilled water.
    2. Fill the rad with di-ionised, shaking the radiator when it is half full of water will help a little and will start to loosen the crap inside.
    3. Do the same as above but this time with white vinegar(I used white malt).
    4. Fill the radiator with vinegar but this time let it sit for 6-8 hours, I left mine overnight - 8hrs.
    5.Flush out the vinegar with water.
    6.Repeat Step 4.
    7.Repeat Step 2.
    8. Keep repating until you get clear vinegar. Took me four repeats, see below:


    Advice from Marci
  9. weescott


    Joined: Feb 25, 2004

    Posts: 9,376

    Location: Heckling for change

    Last edited: Mar 2, 2007
  10. weescott


    Joined: Feb 25, 2004

    Posts: 9,376

    Location: Heckling for change

    To make Windows XP use L2 cache

    by default windows doesn't recognise your L2 cache on processor and doesn't make use of it, to enable it run regedit and navigate to:

    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE > SYSTEM > CurrentControlSet > Control > Session Manager > MemoryManagment

    there is a DWORD called "SecondLevelDataCache" double click it, select Decimal and set the amount of L2 cache you have (e.g. if you have 256KB, then just type 256, and make sure you enter it in Decimal, not Hexadecimal)
  11. Kaiju


    Joined: Jan 27, 2005

    Posts: 3,629

    Location: Expat in HK

    Okay, so it's only a secondary backup. Thanks for the heads up weescott.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2007
  12. Kelpie


    Joined: Aug 9, 2004

    Posts: 242

    Location: Highlands of Scotland

    :cool: :) :eek: :(
  13. Psycho Sonny


    Joined: Jun 21, 2006

    Posts: 27,762

    ive heard good and bad things about doing this, is there any proof that it does give a boost or if it does hinder performance or make any difference at all?
  14. doctoe2260


    Joined: Nov 6, 2006

    Posts: 175

    Location: Lowestoft

    [QUOTE I should note that I have been running a system on pure distilled water for the past 10months with absolutley no ill effects. There has been no corrosion (All copper/brass/delrin/PVC), and no algae buildup what so ever. Alas the white buildup on the inside of the tubing is still present, to which no one has any real idea what it is yet[/QUOTE]


    Edit: Never mind, just seen that you used distilled water, i.e. no limescale. It would only be a problem in tap or de-ionised water.
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2007
  15. MikeTimbers


    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 6,463

    Location: New Eltham, London

    Current Water-cooling Recommendations


    D-Tek Fuzion
    Swiftech Apogee GTX

    Either of these is a fantastic choice. There really is little to choose between them and there is little reason to choose an alternative. Get either according to who has stock.

    having just got the GTX, I can attest to its fantastic finish and its X mounting plate will definitely not hit any obstructions around the socket.


    HW Labs Black Ice

    There is little argument that radiators have come a long way from the simple Black Ice range of a few years ago. Thermochill have led the way with rads specifically designed for quiet water-cooling but they are expensive. Swiftech MCR range are not as good but much cheaper. HW Labs new Stealth range of Black Ice rads are also good.


    Masterkleer 7/16" clear tubing

    There is only one choice. Having used Tygon and DangerDen Clearflex, I recently used Masterkleer and it is fantastic. Bends well, holds its shape, very clear and fits over ½" barbs so tight that you can't pull it off and need to cut it to remove it. No need for clamps with this stuff. It's also cheap. One caveat if buying from OCUK (and why wouldn't you!) they sell it in lengths of 1m so if you buy 4m it will come as 4 x 1m!

    The big advance here in recent years i the move from 240v pond pumps to the excellent 12v Laing DDC-Ultras. In its default 18W form, it's a great pump which takes up very little space, provides all the pressure and flow you will ever need with very low noise and vibration. If you go the after-market route and get the special plexi-tops for one, you can get significantly improved flow although it will make it a fair bit bigger. Newer blocks though really don't need the "high flow" of years gone by so the plexi-tops are really about "bling" rather than major performance gains.


    Yate Loons.

    This question is asked seemingly every day and the answer is all buy unanimous. Yate Loons are cheap, fantastically quiet with believable performance numbers and perfect when married up with a Thermochill PA-series rad.

    GPU blocks

    For all the hype, gpu water-cooling is more about noise than cooling. Modern cards can be very noisy when really pushed so the best recommendation is to get a block from whoever is supplying your cpu block. Dangerden make excellent full cover blocks.


    Seems like there's a lot of hype around Feser1, but really all you need is de-ionised water and some iodine. Anything else is for show and therefore I can't comment (I don't even have a case window! :eek: )

    Galvanic Corrosion

    This is the inside of a recently removed BE-Cooling SlitEdge with a supposedly "anodized" aluminium top. Suffice to say, the top was horrendously worn around the barbs on the inside and the whole system was full of bits of aluminium powder. Don't believe that it won't happen to you if you mix metals. Your best bet is to regularly change the water and inspect the inside of anything made with aluminium.

    Last edited: Sep 18, 2007