If you have anything to add, please start a NEW thread with suggestions. Thank you. Thanks goes to Orifice, Mike Timbers, MarvT74, Jokester, W3bbo, MonsterMunch, Gray Mole, and Marci for the help in collating this information. Watercooling Old but relevant beginners guide http://www.virtual-hideout.net/guides/watercooling_setup_pt1/index.shtml MonsterMunch build log: http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?t=17794639 Coolants: http://www.overclockers.com/articles993/ Additives: http://www.overclockers.com/tips1153/index.asp Other useful links: Danger Den: http://www.dangerden.com/ Swiftech: http://www.swiftnets.com/ Aquacomputer: http://aqua-computer.de/ Innovatek http://www.innovatek.de/ HW Labs http://www.hwlabs.com/ Koolance: http://www.koolance.com/default.php Aquatics Online: http://www.aquatics-online.co.uk/ Procooling: http://www.procooling.com/ Overclockers.com: http://www.overclockers.com/topiclist/index31.asp#WATER%20COOLING Thorite : http://secure.thorite.co.uk/ Airline Pneumatics: http://www.airlines-pneumatics.co.uk/webcat/product-index.asp Check you ordering the correct barbs: http://mdmetric.com/tech/thddat7.htm#pt Silverprop (reference only) http://www.silverprop.com/: Metal Galvanic Corrosion properties: http://www.engineersedge.com/galvanic_capatability.htm Galleries: http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=538496 http://www.amdforums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=239370 http://forum.oc-forums.com/showthread.php?s=&threadid=138275 http://forums.procooling.com/vbb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=7442 OVERCLOCKERS.CO.UK GALLERY http://forums.overclockers.co.uk/showthread.php?s=&threadid=17305236 Older Waterblock comparison: http://www.overclockers.com/articles373/wbsum.asp What should I buy? Kits: 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. These kits are now outdated and best used for old single core machines . The Swiftech kits offer exceptional value for money making custom kits look expensive for very liitle gain. The New Swiftech H20 offers the best and really only budget entry into watercooling DIY: The major manufacturers are DangerDen, D-Tek, Swiftech and EK. 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. Chipset Blocks 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 and no longer made. EK make a number of blocks with specific models available for the 680i. CPU Blocks The main contenders as of November 2007 are: D-Tek Fuzion with bowed base and Nozzle kit Swiftech Apogee GTX Performance wise there is nothing in it, but a lot of people are put off by the Aluminium top of the Apogee GTX and the risk of galnanic corrosion (see further below). Swiftech say the top has been treated so that there is no chance of corrosion, but have bowed to demand and made an after market copper top. Adding this cost make the GTX very expensive. Other older tops include DD TDX DD RBX Swiftech Storm Cathar Storm plus many more 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 Fuzion 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. You DO NOT need to watercool ram on Graphics cards. Full cover blocks offer arguably better looking but offer less upgradability than core only blocks. You can use ramsinks if you wish for peace of mind, but you really don't need them. Pumps: Eheim used to be the most commonly-used pumps and the two main contenders were 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. C-Systems 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. Or the DDC 18w with aftermarket top of your choice. The performance difference between aftermarket tops is negligable. Radiators: 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 used 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. From Marci @ Thermochill: 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 includesfan comparisons etc ( http://www.thermochill.com/pa1203.php ) Also summarised on XtremeSystems here: http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.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)... Quote: 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: 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 cheap 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 very small perfomance gain but can be hard to route. Fans 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. The fan of choice at the moment is mad by Yate Loon which matches perfectly to Thermochill rads. Peltier cooling 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. REMEMBER 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 Radiator cleaning guide From W3bbo: 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: 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. 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.