How is water cooling systems these days?

Discussion in 'General Hardware' started by zapoqx, Feb 21, 2007.

  1. zapoqx

    zapoqx Striking Master

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    I want to know because I'm still sort of skeptical about them as I'm not sure weather or not to have one.
     
  2. LeeJend

    LeeJend Moderator

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    They have improved in cost and ease of use. I keep looking at them but don't see the utility of adding one. Many models and manufacturers to choose from now. I even saw some sitting on the shelf at Frye's a while back.

    Most don't cool any better than a good HSF does at a third the price. You need an expensive energy guzzling vapor system to get uber cooling if overclocking is what you want to do. Otherwise quieting the system would be the reason to go liquid.

    Even with the improvements I'm not sure liquid is any more worth the effort than they were before though.
    -CPU heat is coming down rapidly with Intel and AMD CPUs. 45-65W on new models vs 95-120W on older models.
    -Video card heat is coming down too, though not as much as the CPU's.
    -Most chipsets can be run with passive coolers.
    -With power demand in CPUs and GPUs down that means the thermally controlled power supplies will be running fans slower and quieter.
    -The 120 mm case fans are pretty quiet.
    So quieting your system isn't as much an issue as it was before.

    Then there's the risk of loss of coolant or damaging the video card putting on the video cooler blocks. Most of this has been addressed now. They use special coolant liquids that won't trash your system components if they leak. They monitor the coolant temperature (but not flow rate). Installation is still tricky and you really need to pick a liquid friendly case design.

    HD and Optical drive cooling is getting more important so case fans are still needed.

    Just doesn't seem worth the effort uness your trying to way overclock. But why do that when performance of current CPUs and GPUs is so high?

    I prefer to put that $100-200 into better components to start and skip the hassles.

    A fun project though if your bored and sitting on an unused tax refund. :)
     
  3. j79zlr

    j79zlr Glaanies script monkey Political User

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    I've always found the idea of purposely placing water inside a PC case a bad idea. Like LJ said, unless you can get an actual refrigeration cycle working, all you are doing is transferring heat via water instead of copper.

    EDIT

    As far as being quieter? You still need some sort of way to transfer the heat from the water back to environment, I would assume these water coolers still have some sort of air-cooled fin section with a fan?

    I just bought an AMD 5200+ dual core and a crazy looking Thermaltake CPU cooler http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835106082 and it idles around 30C and maybe 40-45 under heavy load. How cool do you need it?
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2007
  4. Aprox

    Aprox Moderator Political User

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    Well I have been running an h20 system in my systems for the last four years or so. I have to say its worth it. With minor up keep every few months to make sure everything is tight and not leaking and fluids are topped off you can have a silent and cool running rig. Not to mention it looks cool, sure its a bit more expensive... for my last h20 system I built it cost me about 150 - 200$ in parts. But I didn't buy a kit, I built it piece by piece. Kits dont usually have as good of performance as a hand picked waterblock, pump, radiator, fan combo of your choice.


    Here is the thread I made a while back, I have updated my loop since. I might snap some pics later tonight.

    http://forum.osnn.net/showthread.php?t=75260
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2007
  5. j79zlr

    j79zlr Glaanies script monkey Political User

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    See that is kinda my point though. You still need a fan to cool the water, so how is it quieter?
     
  6. Aprox

    Aprox Moderator Political User

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    Well, most CPU fans are 60 - 90mm and run at high RPM to move a lot of air, known as CFM (Cubic feet per minute). This creates a lot of noise. Most Water cooled systems use Single, Dual or even triple 120mm fans on radiators that move a ton of air due to their large propellers (high CFM) at low RPM's. They are really quiet (db in the mid to high 20's). This creates the perfect environment for a water cooling system.

    My system uses dual 80mm fans on a dual pass radiator, with the fans cranked all the way up its pretty loud. I have it wired up to a fan control bus on the front of my case that lets me adjust the voltage to the fans. I never have to to turn the voltage on high, running at around 8 volts which is pretty quiet it keeps my cpu temp at the same temp as my ambient case temp. Which tells you thats a pretty damn efficient cooling system.
     
  7. American Zombie

    American Zombie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    So you may not have kept up with advances pertaining to heatsinks?
    The last few years heatsinks have been outfitted with bigger fans rotating at slower speeds while producing high CFM's. Case fans are a big part of overall cooling too. My case has two 120MM fans (one in back and one in front) which rotate at only about 1000 to 1100 RPM while producing 45 to 50 CFM's. My heatsink fan spins at 3000 and I can barely hear the fan. Cores run at lower voltages now then they did years ago so you do not have as much heat to dissipate.

    This pic is right after playing F.E.A.R. for about an hour.
     

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  8. Aprox

    Aprox Moderator Political User

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    Are you referring to h20 waterblocks, or to traditional cpu HSF?

    That is true, however introduce water cooling to your GPU, chipset and CPU and remove all fans associated with those devices and you have consolidated all the heat and noise down from say 3 fans, of medium noise down to two. Plus you have the option to push your Hardware further via overclocking.

    I get the point you are trying to make, hardware has come a long way in the last few years. Maybe you dont feel H20 cooling is worth it, but as an enthusiast I love to tinker, modify and push my computer to its limits. Water cooling always has been, and will continue to be a enthusiast endeavor. Its more expensive, but it can deliver performance that traditional air cooling cannot.
     
  9. Electronic Punk

    Electronic Punk Administrator Staff Member Political User Folding Team

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    Well thats true, but the advantage is you can have bigger fans which can spin more slowly and are therefore quiet.

    I am still on the fence a little although there are some that swear by it - and with some of the kit these days it can look very cool!
     
  10. American Zombie

    American Zombie Moderator Staff Member Political User

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    Everything in my system is overclocked but I do not feel a need for water cooling. The most important part of cooling a system whether air or water is the case and most people overlook this area. They just buy whatever looks cool or has a cheap price even though it has bad airflow. If you take time to buy a case with excellent air exchange then you can keep parts cool with minimum noise. Some of the new cases with 120MM fans or cases with chambers have proved this as they provide fast exchanging of air while remaining silent. Water cooling may always be better but, if you know how, you can build a quiet air cooled system that will still cool overclocked parts.
     
    Last edited: Feb 22, 2007
  11. Aprox

    Aprox Moderator Political User

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    Nobody ever said air cooling isn't good, or can not overclock well, but this thread is about how good water cooling is, not air cooling. :p

    As I said earlier, h20 cooling is more expensive and as American Zombie has pointed out Air cooling has gotten better. So the cost incurred in going h20 may or may not be worth it to you. That really depends on what you value and what you will use it for. If you love the look and the ability to OC with minimal noise generated for your efforts then its worth it. And in all reality, 200-400$ for a complete water cooled rig (CPU, GPU, Chipset? + Pump, Rad, Fans, Tubing, Reservoir) isn't that expensive imho. 400$ being on the high end side... Sure its more than an aftermarket cooler, but when we spend 1.5k - 2k+ on our systems, whats another little bit to keep it cool, increase the lifespan of the parts and keep it quieter?
     
  12. zapoqx

    zapoqx Striking Master

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    Thanks for the info. Well from the looks so far (not sure til I get a newer vid card), this new system works wonders and at very low temps. I'll still keep water cooling in mind in the future.