Watercooling; small res, or T-line.


I'm going to be watercooling my computer, and I'm looking at different ways I can do it.

I've got the Antec P180B case, and I've figured that if I get a 5 x 7 inch heatercore, I can put it in the bottom chamber where the lower HDD bay is right now. There is already a fan, and I will add another fan on a shroud to it.

The pump can sit at the bottom of the main chamber, it's not hard to attach it there, or I could take out the upper HDD chamber and put it there, putting my hard drive in the floppy drive bay, but in either case, I don't know if I have the room to have a proper reservoir in my case. I'm pretty sure I can fit a Swiftech MCP655 pump and a small res in there, but I don't know if it's better to have a small res, or just to have a T line to fill/drain/bleed.

I know T lines are a real pain in the butt to fill, drain and especially bleed, but I don't know if and/or how I'll get a reservoir in.

Speaking of which, how good are drive bay based reservoirs?

If I do chose a res, I'll probably do the same as my friend, who took a smaller square Nalgene bottle and modded that. It's about 500mL, so it isn't big.
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More about watercooling small line
  1. I vote T-Line, cleaner looking, cheaper and easier to setup. Big deal if it takes an hour to bleed it, how often do you fill it up? With a res you have to monitor water level a lot closer because it will evaporate faster, T-Line in my system has dropped about a millimeter in level over a few months.
  2. I don't see how a closed system would evaporate, unless you're constantly opening your reservoir all the time, as well as it doesn't quite make sense that you have to monitor the levels of a system that has a large reserve of water over the one that has little or no reserve.

    A quote from my friend is "Don't use a T valve unless you like pain and suffering"

    I kind of believe what he's saying, as it seems to me like it would take a long time to bleed your system, hours and some more, not as much as he says (days) but still a long time.

    The cleaner looking thing, it's only one more tube really, and it's supposed to be near your pump, so it's not much more cluttered.

    A square Nalgene bottle costs me 5, maybe 10 bucks at the local running shop. A T valve costs me 1 dollar. The price difference there isn't much.

    I don't think it'd be that much easier to set up. You've got your T line in there, but what do you have attached to the third prong on it? More tygon? That'd look kinda cluttered, as well as if you went and say, put in a spigot at the top of your case, so you could fill it without removing your side panel, wouldn't that take some work?

    Not trying to say no, T lines suck, I'm just trying to be a devil's advocate.
  3. The water will evaporate, trust me on that. Being that you would be making a custom reservoir, no, it wont save that much money to go T-Line, but most reservoirs purchasable online are ~$25 and a T-Connector is $1.49. I really like the idea of using a Danger Den Fillport and surely would have done so if I had felt like waiting a week to get one sent to me :P

    If you can tip your case so the T is the highest point in the loop, it takes maybe 20-25 minutes to bleed the system and all you do is fill it up and let it run, adding a little bit one or two times when needed.

    To me it is easier to make a T-Line system "clean" looking as you dont have to add any curves to the loop to hit the res without kinking, you can just slap a T in wherever is convenient.

    You ask my opinion, I state my opinion :)

    My real point is if your only con of going T-Line is because it takes longer to bleed, you shouldn't be getting into water cooling anyway. You should be doing water cooling because you like working with PC's and you like tinkering, an hour out of your day once every year isn't going to kill you and the people that bitch about it should have just slapped a Tuniq on and called it a day :P
  4. Oh I LOVE to tinker with my computer. I'd tinker with it more if I had a more powerful cooling system, as my 9500 isn't quite cutting it in the cooling dept, and sadly my 7600 gt is an overclocking dud as well.

    I like the quiet and I like to tinker, I've always wanted to do a water cooling setup, I've had it in my head for a while, and the bottom chamber in the p180 is perfect for putting in a heatercore.

    Now is it really hard to drain your system? My friend said it was a pain to drain it as well, but not as much as filling it.

    Also, what about the actual cooling. Is it better cooling wise to have a T line or a res. With just a T line, any heat that's left after the water goes through the heatercore stays in the water, but with a reservoir, it goes into there, where it can get an additional chance to give off some heat, but it'll go into your system. Where I'd put it anyways, there's a fan right there, as well as there are two exhaust fans in the main chamber, so the extra heat would not be much of a burden, much less than having my graphics card and cpu pumping heat into there.

    For the kinking, it'd be right beside the pump, so it wouldn't really be a difference if I had it there or not, and there'd only be a few inches of tubing inbetween the two.
  5. T-Line theoretically gives a little better flowrate, and the heat dissipation of a res will have zero effect on cooling, even some aluminum finned reservoirs implemented into cooling loops have no effect whatsoever. Surface area just isnt there to change your temps at all.

    No it isn't hard to drain, just disconnect any fitting you want and leave the T uncapped. If you want you can implement a 2nd T-line at the very bottom of your loop to drain.
  6. to be honest im going for a res i think the benefits of each are balanced. But the overriding factor is how it looks to me i like the idea of a front mounted Res so...
  7. since no one has chimed in for the res side yet I'll do that. I also considered using a T-Line but instead opted for a res (one that looks cool so that it adds to the look of the system instead of detracting from it). I would stay away from reservoirs that fit in drive bays as most of them have bubble problems. A good reservoir will help remove bubbles not keep adding them.

    In terms of flow rate, T-Lines may have a lower effect but the differences between the two, compared to not having either, are very small.

    My reservoir only needs to be filled a few times before the entire system is full, it also helps remove any bubbles in the loop very quickly.
  8. I think res is better:

    I can hold large volumes of water for cooler more stable temps
    Its easy to fill and drain
    You can add extra barbs to it when ever you want
    You can have 1 res and two or more seperate loops
    A res bleeds quickly
    With a res you can create a water fall in your PC
    You can add lights into the res
    You can shove a thermo into the res to see water temps.

    A pic of a tripple bay sized res with 2 inlets and 2 outlets.


    T line is just cheap...
  9. Alright, well I've decided that I'm going to get a reservoir. I'm just looking for smaller reservoirs and one that is consistently on all my shopping sites is This.

    A Swiftech MCRES-MICRO. I'm wondering if anyone has tried it or know if it's good.

    Anyone have ideas for small non-bay reservoirs?
  10. I've got a Swiftech micro res...it's ok, but I am about to move back to an acrylic 5 1/2" bay res...I don't like having the res sitting on the floor of my case when it can be out of the way in one of my 4 empty drive bays, and hold more fluid. The Swiftech micro is OK, but almost more of a pain to get into place and prime than a res directly above the pump inlet. If you have the ability to use a bay res...might be your better bet.
  11. AFAIK, you get evaporative loss through the tubing. Not a lot, but enough so that you will be topping off your system every few months if you are aware of it. More tubing, more evaporative loss.

    The benefits of a T line system (other than being cheaper) include fewer parts in your cooling loop. In reality, you aren't really eliminating the reservoir, but rather using the third leg of your T line as a tiny reservoir in order to bleed out air pockets and allow you to top off your fluid level. A good compromise would be something like the Danger Den Fillport Reservoir that is inline to the fill port. Since the third leg of the T line is not an active part of the cooling loop, you have to either make concerted effort (rocking your case back and forth) or wait a long time to bleed all the air out of your loop.

    Since the reservoir is an active part of the cooling loop, it makes bleeding air out of the loop that much easier. The fluid comes to a relative rest state in the reservoir, and if it is properly baffled, it will separate the air bubbles out of the water loop, allowing you to top off the reservoir to eliminate the air pocket. But you run the risk with an additional part in your loop, and especially since most of the reservoirs on the market are made out of acrylic, they can age, crack and leak. With metal reservoirs, you increase your chances of galvanic corrosion, even if you are using fluids that retard this effect in your loop. It's not a serious issue if you use the same metal consistently in your loop (such as using all aluminium or all copper on the radiator and blocks).
  12. Agreed; any use of water or fluids inside your case is your own risk, but make sure you leak check it for at least a few hours to see if you have any small (or large) leaks by disconnecting and jumping your 20/24pin motherboard PSU connector. (Google it if you want specific wire colors, etc). And yes, almost any loop using tubing will lose a little fluid over the course of time, as the vinyl tubing is just porous enough to evaporate some water out of the system. This, and not-completely-airtight-sealed res fillports can allow a small amout of evaporation. Just an FYI...its not always an exact science, but sure is a lot of fun to figure out!
  13. Oh you should probably let it run for at least 24 hours, 48 if you really want to be sure, on top of paper or something like that. I know which pins to jump anyways, I've jumped a few psu's in my time, haven't killed myself yet though, lol.

    The one thing with a bay res is that it will be the highest part in your loop, making your loop less inefficient, as well as draining and filling can be a real pain in the ass. From what I've heard, don't go with a bay res.

    Having the res at the bottom makes draining really easy, and since it's close to the pump, it'll bring down the amount of tubing needed, and increase flow/pressure (that is unless you've got your pump at the top somewhere, wherever that may be.
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