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Awesome Water-Cooler Finished!

Last response: in Overclocking
a b K Overclocking
April 27, 2001 2:55:48 AM

I finally finished my water-cooler & it's a beauty! You can check it out here..

I'll be switching to oil-cooling soon and I'll be adding a radiator, so keep an eye out to see the results I get!
April 27, 2001 11:39:43 AM

I applaude your efforts, but I have to say the results are not very effective. 'Managing' to bring a 1.2G t-bird down to 45 degrees is not great - I run 45-47 degrees aircooled on my 1.56Ghz... As for your previous temp of 67 degrees... by thermaltake cooler I take it you mean an ORB? Do not judge all cpu coolers by them!!!

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April 27, 2001 8:16:58 PM

I agree. My watercooler is running my CPU at 32C full load, overclocked.

I am the first and only one with a 16MB GeForce2 GTS graphics card! :smile:
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April 27, 2001 9:50:25 PM

I like the idea that you came up with regarding the oil. Oil is a superior liquid to use for CPU cooling because of the better heat properties and the fact that if you get a leak, you don't have to worry about blowing up your computer. Great ideas! (Holy cat did you ever do a lot of work though!)

Also, I think your results would be a lot better with a radiator. Right now you are not performing as well as some of the air coolers around.

I was wondering about your oil. You said it has a low viscosity, that is it is easy to have it pushed around with the pump. Is this the case? Does the oil move through your system easily? I guess it must, but I would not want to use a system like that if I was going to burn out the pump.

All in all great idea! Let us know when you get the radiator on, I'll bet that will improve your results significantly.

PS. I was reading on another web site that if you use the heater core from a Ford car, it is just the right size to fit in the front of the case, where fans can easily blow air though the unit. Cheap too. (Save yourself and buy one, I can just tell you are the kind of guy to build one yourself. (HA HA :) 


<font color=blue>You don't know what it is, but it's there. Like a splinter in your mind.</font color=blue>
April 27, 2001 10:59:02 PM

The problem with oil is that it only has a low viscosity at higher temps. Okay, you could use cooking oil or something, but even then it is quite viscous at the temps we want.

I think that the idea is sound, but also bear in mind that in the worst case, oil will burn. We have just upgraded a watercooler leak and component damage to a fire risk. Also I do not think that electrical pumps will have the guts to pump oils around.

Water/freon are used in cooling systems because they stay liquid and non-viscous at low temperatures. You want a processor at 30 degrees or lower if you are going to all this effoer - otherwise you would aircool. Think about that and then what oil would you use?

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April 28, 2001 12:36:09 AM

Damn man that's alot of work. But if I had the skills I'd probably do it too.

Nice work!

If you take a truth and follow it blindly, it will become a Falsehood and you a Fanatic.
a b K Overclocking
April 28, 2001 1:42:22 AM

I just got the Arctic Silver in the mail, and I also got an old heater core from a local heating/cooling place. I just finished retrofitting it to my setup, so we'll see how it goes.. also, the oil I'll be using is comparable to water as far as thickness.. It is similar to "spindle oil" used on CNC machines, It's very thin.. so I should have no trouble pumping it through the system.. the temp it needs to actually ignite is 118 Deg. C, so I don't have much to worry about there.. and it's boiling point is 225 Deg. C, also no worries.. I'll update my site Tuesday May 1st & show the results.. Thanx for all the great feedback!
April 28, 2001 1:57:44 AM

Sorry - I was responding on safety/ignition to another post that was saying oil would be safer than water. Is the oil conductive? What if it leaked, caused a short then ignited - your PC has just turned into a fuel fire - in your home.

I really admire you drive on doing this project - it is way outside of my skill/patience curve, but I really think you are going to do a lot better modifying your considerable talents in a different direction.

What about stripping the components from a small fridge and using the chiller unit as a home-made vapochill for instance?

Your website says that you are adverse to cold water at high gph due to condensation issues. I think your logic is somewhat floored, since unless your cold water is cold, you cpu will be hotter. You need to look at the other chillers for lagging/insulation and even heating solutions to prevent condensation forming... That way you can get your cpu nice and frosty = high performance.

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a b K Overclocking
April 28, 2001 3:43:15 PM

Something that you will want to consider as well is that you need to turbulate the oil in order to get the highest efficiencies.

Oil has a very laminar flow to it and as such won't transfer the heat as effectively unless you turbulate it. Consider adding mixers and fins (almost anything in the passage will do) inside of the CPU block. You want to try to get the oil that is in the centre of the flow path to the outsides of the flow path and back again.

Water on the other hand will tend to have a very turbulent flow and will easily mix in the passages. Therefore it doesn't benefit as much from turbulators.
a b K Overclocking
April 29, 2001 2:20:09 AM

I think the main point to water cooling is not to make the cooling block ice cold, but to remove as much heat as possible from the CPU.. If you pump ice water at 250GPH through the cooling block, it will be so cold & moving so fast, that it will pick up very little heat. If you use room temperature water, and move if slowly, but steadily through the block, it would tend to pick up the heat without making the condensation.. At least that's my theory... But, hey, I've been wrong before.

I modified the block I was using, and added the Arctic Silver & a radiator (still no oil yet). My CPU temp at 100% load is now only 35Deg.!! Finally getting somewhere.
April 29, 2001 11:08:14 AM

Agreed, we want to remove heat from the cpu.

Using ~ room temp water to do this will keep your cpu at 30-35 degrees as you are finding - and it sounds like a great way of doing it - do you get any system noise from the pump or anything to achieve this? If not, then you have one over on us aircooling people!

However, what if you want to get your system cooler? Okay, you may run into condensation problems, but that is a feature. Lagging and proofing will circumvent that in most cases.

<<If you pump ice water at 250GPH through the cooling block, it will be so cold & moving so fast, that it will pick up very little heat>>

In the case of air, why does a delta fan moving ait at 68cfm cool a heatsink faster and better than one that moves it at 30cfm? The faster the air moves, the more air that is exposed, therefore the greater the delta between the heatsink temperature and the air temperature.

If you have lots of water moving quickly, it might only rise in temp 1 dgree, but that means you only have to cool it 1 degree at the radiator too. If you allow the water to heat 10 degrees, you then need to cool it 10 degrees as well, which presumeably is harder.

I think there is a balance of water temperature, cpu temperature and flow rates. You might find that you are on the low end for this.

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April 29, 2001 1:49:14 PM

ptcg: Something else you may want to consider is to use a peltier. Because you have the metal forming skills and tools, (and desire) this may be able to let you really cool things down.

Using a peltier will allow you to cool your system down below room temp and this moves you well beyond any air cooler. Check out these links, it may give you some more ideas...


Hope this is of some help. This is what I wanted to do, so if you do it, please report on what you have done. Thanks.

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a b K Overclocking
April 29, 2001 2:17:26 PM

Air cools differently than water.. The air needs to be moving fast & furious over the heat to disperse it.. Usually the faster the better.. With water, if it moves to quickly, it will move over the heat & not even take any with it.. Have you ever seen anyone remove their thermostat from their car & have it overheat? Cooling the water too much & moving it to fast would just make the waterblock ice cold.. It would be like putting a block of ice on the CPU.. Sure it's cold, but would it absorb the heat & move it away from the CPU? I'm not an expert on this, but I firmly believe that this theory is correct. I saw a chart somewhere on the net (don't remember where). It had a graph of thermal transfer for air/water and it showed a curve of how much better it moved the heat at faster speeds, but even the air leveled out at a point. The water leveled out very early and actually went down when moving too fast.

The only noise I'm getting is from the fan I put on the radiator.. It's kinda annoying, so I might remove it.. I didn't see much difference while using it anyway.. The pump is submersed, so there isn't any noise at all.
April 30, 2001 12:39:12 AM

<<Cooling the water too much & moving it to fast would just make the waterblock ice cold>>

ptcg - you keep contraditicting yourself in your arguements. I know what you are trying to say, but if the waterblock gets ice coild, that is all it can do. There is nothing that will affect the cpu temperature other than the _sustainable_ temperature of the waterblock.

If the waterblock is ice cold, - its cooling the cpu.

I agree that ice would not be a good cooler directly applied to the cpu, however if the waterblock is ice cold (i.e. ice cold copper/alu/brass) then so will your cpu be....

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April 30, 2001 3:51:09 AM

That's a fine looking block you've made there, for only about $50 if you run it off regular old distilled water. Copper tubing from the block exhaust might drop your temps a little, since you're not running a radiator. Or you can do like 'rich-boy-Grizely1' and run an open system.
If you seal up the tupperware, and cut a couple of holes in it for the tubing and some silicone, I bet that little pump is quiet as everything. Probably the quietest cooling solution yet.

For someone who wants to start water cooling, it's a fairly easy place to start, provided you have the few tools necessary......
April 30, 2001 5:08:16 PM

I'm sorry but your theory is absolutely wrong.
1) A colder fluid will remove heat better.
2) A larger flow rate will also remove heat better.

The limiting factors are the waterblock and the radiator. The system can only move as much heat as the waterblock can absorb from the CPU and can the radiator can release to the surroundings. As soon as increasing the flow rate yields no benefit the waterblock and radiator become the limiting factors.

There is much, much more to it than that, but I don't want to bore anyone with a detailed analysis (I also don't want to type all those greek characters).

Oh, if you put a block of ice on your CPU it would keep it at 0 degC until it melted. A few people basically do that with liquid nitrogen or dry ice.
a b K Overclocking
May 1, 2001 12:17:20 AM

I understand what you are all saying, but I think you're missing the point of what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to get the CPU as cool as possible without the condensation or the expense of peltiers.. If the water/oil is below room temp & moving rapidly, there will definitely be condensation.. What I would like to do is transfer the heat to the oil & move it away as efficiently as possible. I'm also trying to save some money by not using several massive fans or peltiers.. I've got the oil in it now, it's overclocked to 1350Mhz with a core voltage of 1.98, and it's only 45 Deg. C. at 100% load. That's not too bad.. no pelts or large fans.. just a small 4watt pump... & NO condensation! I'm sure I could get it lower if I used ice water, but then there's the condensation again... I'm going to mess with it some more.. I'll post all my results on my website.. Thanx again for the replys!
May 1, 2001 4:44:10 AM

There's a lot of misconceptions on this board, as far as thermodynamics is concerned. But since most of the time people can check their temps, I don't get into the first and second laws much.

BTW, the ice cube would stay at 0C, but the core might rise about .5C above that......
May 1, 2001 4:54:29 PM

A colder than Ambient fluid will cause condensation, but increasing the flow rate will not. It doesn't matter how fast you move a fluid it won't cool anything below its own temperature. So if the fluid is at room temp the lowest temp it will cool anything to is room temp. I also don't know why you are using oil rather than water. Water has many properties that make it excellent for this sort of cooling and it will probably cool as well or better than the oil you're using. Just something to think about for future modifications.
May 1, 2001 6:13:34 PM

There's a couple of reasons to use the oil, but thermal conductivity won't be one of them in the case of a single cpu. Electrical conductivity can play a major role, if you have a leak or burst. The thermal conductivity won't make a significant difference because of the amount of power involved, and the actual surface area of the heat exchanger.
May 1, 2001 7:22:02 PM

The specific heat of water is what makes it such a good cooling fluid. Its thermal conductivity is only average. With such a high specific heat it can absorb a lot more energy with less of a temperature change. You're right about electrical conductivity though. Most oils are better in that respect.
May 1, 2001 10:23:38 PM

Yes, I understand. I've seen a lot of posts/articles where people aren't 'giving the water enough time to absorb the heat'. That's a new one on me, but I try to keep myself open to all kinds of perspectives.

From Saturn, all the problems on Earth are really small. From Uranus, they're even smaller?
May 2, 2001 12:48:31 AM

My concern was that whilst water may cause a short circuit, oil is actually flammable itself.

Which is worse to have, and electrical short that will probably blow a fuse or trip switch, or a fuel fire in you house? In either situation the pc is history.

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May 2, 2001 7:56:00 PM

I would not advise oil. If I had used oil for my watercooling, I would have already burned my house down. (The one time it got so hot it melted the solder off the waterblock, )

I am the first and only one with a 16MB GeForce2 GTS graphics card! :smile:
May 3, 2001 2:24:54 AM

Griz, no one else on the Earth (I firmly believe) is running an open system.

You ARE unique.
May 3, 2001 6:11:26 AM

how bout using car coolant?

:cool: Shhh! Be wewy wewy quiet. I'm hunting wabbit. :cool:
a b K Overclocking
May 3, 2001 6:44:43 AM

What kind of solder did you use?!??!? The stuff I have has a melting point of over 450 degrees! I think if it got that hot, you could kiss the CPU goodbye anyway.

Well, anyway, I'm man enough to admit when I'm wrong.. I had the oil going for about an hour.. It was working great for the first 1/2 hour, actually better than the water, but I couldn't get the heat out of the oil fast enough (small radiator/fan). It eventually started to warm up and the CPU temp rose slowly, but kept climbing.. I shut it down at 51C.
No fires though :) 
I still think that the oil would work better... If you could keep it cool enough.. But, I'm back to the water & temps are down and holding.. 46C at 100% load(43C normal), 1350Mhz, 1.92V
I also found out that the stepping ID I have sucks! It seems that this one runs hot & is not very overclockable... I guess I have to settle for 1350 for now.
One more thing about the oil (I know everyone is sick of this now). I just wanted to point out that I didn't just go to Pep Boys & get some 10w-40... This is very low viscosity oil used in EDM machining. It is totally inert (won't interact with any other materials) and on the Material Safety Data Sheet I got for it, it has the lowest hazard rating for everything (fire, health, reactivity, etc..).
If any oil would work, this stuff would... Well, at least I tried.
May 3, 2001 10:40:01 AM

Hey ptcg,

At least you have the interest/talent and time to try. I'm short on the last two. I think that your efforts are all headed in the right direction, and you have to try a few things before you get it 100% you know?

Do you know what temp your water is at inlet? If you keep your inlet water at or near ambient you can assure no condensation and get your cpu to its coolest.

It strikes me that water should be able to cool at least as well as air in this plan!!!

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May 3, 2001 10:40:48 AM

you mean water with antifreeze and anti-algae in?

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a b K Overclocking
May 3, 2001 11:44:41 AM

Right now I have no idea what my water temp is, I'll be adding a sensor shortly.. I've just got plain distilled water right now.. I want to add something, but I'm stil deciding on what.. I've heard that Purple Ice is supposed to work very well, but I'm still deciding.