Is water cooling for me?

I have been reading a lot of posts in the past couple weeks about water cooling and all the possible setups and I am trying to figure out if it's right for me. I know I will be spending about $350+ for a setup, more of course if I decide to cool my gpus. Right Now I am running a 955BE and am stable through OCCT and Prime95 at 3.8 @ 1.5v. I know ambient temp is a very big temp factor. In the summer I use a window a/c in the living room, with my apartment being small I can get my computer room temp down around 66-70F (my a/c is in my living room right next to my comp room), and in the winter I barely use my heat unless I absolutely need it. Winter time I can get my CPU idle temp as low as 17C at 3.6ghz. I don't remember what my load temps were but I'm positive they were not above 32C in the winter. Right now my summer load temp through OCCT is 50-52C with my Zalman CNS xtreme 120mm at 70F room temp. So basically what I'm wondering is if water cooling would be worth the money for me, with such higher ambient summer temps? To start off I would be looking at just a CPU loop, and when I upgrade my crossfire cards to 5 series ATIs from 4850s cooling those as well with possibly another loop. I am trying to really get into overclocking and would like to push my CPU past 3.8ghz at this 1.5V stable, but at these temps I don't want to go any further. I'm just not sure if water cooling would give me much lower temps. I would be looking at possibly just getting a swiftech 3 fan kit to start off with.
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  1. I had a e6850 dual core that ran at 3.0GHz stock. I over clocked it to 3.2 with stock cooler. With a water cooling tower (Kandalf) i struggled to get it to 3.6GHz. I had problems with the memory overheating. So if your already pushing your chip to 3.8GHz with air and only getting 52C then I wouldn't bother with water cooling.

    Yes it looks cool and yes your chip will run cooler and yes you can pass more voltage into yr cpu and will still stay cool, but the rest of yr system will begin to melt.

    I have 2 HD5870's crossfired up (at stock), and they never reach 100% gpu usage on any game i've played. Battlefield 2 Bad Company 2 maxed out at 1080p averages about 50-60% and occasionally hits 70%. they have awesome fans in them (loud on full, although you never notice it when yr playing) that ramp up and down when needed. they tend to hover around 60C even after a few hours of solid game play. Also, my i7 920 (on a Rampage extreme II MotherBoard) never gets anywhere near 100% usage on any games iether.

    I'm currently using a coolmaster V6GT, and getting 3.8GHz at around the 64-66C at full prime95 load, (had to relax my RAM timings a bit though, but i think i know what the problem was so will be testing RAM timings tomorrow). BC2 is running fine with no locks or crashs. If i was to water cool my 920, like some people have then I would probably only get an additional 200MHz. So IMO totally not worth the extra layout and hassle. I'm gonna save any spaire cash i have now and go eyefinity within the next 12 months. If I was you I'd prob save up and get a top graphics card or 2.

    Thats my opinion anyway.
  2. Yeah I was thinking about saving up and upgrading to 2 5850s for DX 11 and eyefinity and buying a larger desk so I can fit more then 1 monitor on it. I also plan to upgrade my cpu to a 6core C3 or possibly waiting for the new series to come out from AMD. I was also curious if it would be a good investment for future OC on newer cpus. The one thing that does bother me is also how much heat my system puts out in my small apartment. When I constantly run it the room it's in usually gets hot enough where it is bothersome. Would running a water setup keep the overall system heat output lower then normal? I would probably throw a NB cooler in the CPU loop to keep that temp down.

    Yes I've noticed my GPU's run much hotter then my 9800GTX ever did. I know the temps are normal for these cards, but would I also benefit from cooling these as well if I were to jump into cooling them too? I have 2 XFX 1GB 4850's dual slots that push the hot air out the back of the case. Which is a HAF 932 btw.

    I'm also trying to determine if the overall temp of the system and the heat it puts out would be much lower keeping the temps down at all times. I'm not sure what kind of heat the radiator(s) would push out, but could it possibly be less then the heat output of the cpu/gpu? The noise of the stock fans doesn't really bother me, as my Logitech 5.1 surround will kill much of the noise so less noise isn't really what I'm going for, but I wouldn't mind it.
  3. Well, over here in the UK its rainy and bit cold, I currently have my PC hooked up to my tv and also a monitor in my front room... I do not need to put the central heating on if i'm playing games. the 5870's warm the room up nicely. {side note:- I hear the Fermi based Nvidia cards run a lot hotter so I would not bother with them for now.}

    What you have to remember is that your PC once over-clocked is going to generate the exact same amount of heat whatever you do. The only difference is that instead of it blowing the heat directly out of your case, water cooling will store the heat in the water and this will be gradually dissipated away into your room as it passes through the radiators. So it will be the same amount of heat but over a longer period of time.

    I often have to leave the window open or the room gets stuffy. In the winter its good, cos i'm effectively only heating the room i'm in. I have heard of people running large pipes (the sort of flexy wire pipes that come out out the back of a tumble dryer) from the out take fan on their PC to take the hot air directly outside the house... you'd only need duct tape to secure it.

    This sort of thing :-

    http://www.espares.co.uk/part/tumble-dryers/hoover/p/1088/107/0/0/548323/tumble-dryer-vent-hose.html?utm_source=google+base&utm_medium=shopping&utm_campaign=google+base
  4. Short answer: no.

    Liquid cooling is really air cooling, it just differs on where the heat exchange to the room takes place. The water block does a marginally better job of getting heat off of the cpu die, and the liquid transports the heat to the radiator. The radiator exchanges the heat with the ambient air. Since you already have an effective cooling case, it does not matter much where this heat exchange takes place. The total amount of heat generated will be the same. CPU's and GPU's have a temperature limit, and so long as you are under them, there is no real problem in running hot.

    For $350, what is your objective?

    Do you want higher FPS for games?

    Is this just a hobbyist thing where you want to fool around?

    Do you want bragging rights associated with a liquid cooled rig?

    Assuming performance in games is the prime reason, realize that a quad at 3.8 is sufficient to drive multiple 5870 class cards. Such a configuration is useful only if you have more than one monitor. There is no good reason to try to get that 3.8 to 4.0.

    For that same $350, you could get a i7-930 or a i5-750 and a motherboard which will overclock higher and perform better. Recoup some of the cost by selling your cpu and mobo on e-bay. The 6 core AMD chips are no good for gaming. They are good for bragging or for applications that are both cpu bound and can effectively use more than four cores. Have patience. "sandy bridge" due out 1Q2011 or possibly before is looking to be a blockbuster.

    Your $350 is better spent today on upgrading the graphics configuration, and a second monitor.
  5. Watercooling (a good, custom setup) can last you through several upgrades with only swapping brackets or other mounting hardware. Of course, full-cover GPU blocks won't be compatible, but I have used my Swiftech MCW60 blocks through 5 different versions of cards (6800GT, 7800GTX, 8800GTS, 9800GTX, GTX260) with only a swap in $10 bracket(s). Your components will determine how universal you want to be. Of course, rads and pumps will be universally accepted.

    Now, onto the other issues at hand. For one, yes, your CPU/GPUs will be generating the same amount of heat watts but the WC loop's ability to remove this quickly and effectively far outpaces air cooling. My dual rads don't even register to being warm to the touch, at all. The dissipation of heat from the radiators is effectively greater than the components can produce, therefore allowing much faster (and lower amounts) of radiated heat being dissipated by the rads. However, if you had an insufficient loop, such as a CPU/dual GPU with a very small rad, you would experience more of what a regular heatsink would generate.

    Now, I am not a engineer in thermodynamics, but think about the logical 'mass' of heat absorption materials being used in each scenario: a heatsink/fan vs. the tubing, surface area of radiators and the volume of water in the loop.
  6. Well I'm as much of a gamer as I am hobbyist with computers. I do my fair share of everything. Also using much of the max potential of my computer as it stands now. I'm also don't like to see my hardware getting around max temps and such. I'd rather have something obviously run cooler if it's possible. The winter time is where I'm not worried. I've had my cpu down to 16C on idle in the winter here. It's more of the summertime where I worry. If i'm really cranking away at a game for a couple hours or doing something else that will consume almost 90% load of all cores for a couple hours the temps really bother me. Plus another killer with my Huge air cooler is the fact that it renders my first 2 dimm slots unusable. I know populating all the slots produces more heat and uses more voltage. But I wouldn't mind throwing in another 4GB matched set.
  7. Some really good points, good thread.

    Watercooling is expensive. It will give you more headroom. Do you need the headroom? I watercool, way overkill. My system is fully stock speeds. It's very quiet, thats my gain.

    If you run top hardware, frame rates on ANY game are good, encoding speeds is fast enough on stock speeds, you don't need watercooling.

    If you love tinkering, have experiance building PCs, have lots of $$ WC is a lot of fun. Here is a teaser of a PRO in WC and pics. It's her rig last year I think.

    http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=601925

    Kinda up to you. Air is awesome, and enuff for most users. You want to spend a weekend twice a year doing nothing but working on the PC? You'll like watercooling.

    My 1 yr teardown-rebuild log.
    http://www.overclockers.com/annual-water-cooling-cleaning-rebuild-journal/

    You choose
  8. rubix_1011 said:
    Watercooling (a good, custom setup) can last you through several upgrades with only swapping brackets or other mounting hardware. Of course, full-cover GPU blocks won't be compatible, but I have used my Swiftech MCW60 blocks through 5 different versions of cards (6800GT, 7800GTX, 8800GTS, 9800GTX, GTX260) with only a swap in $10 bracket(s). Your components will determine how universal you want to be. Of course, rads and pumps will be universally accepted.

    Now, onto the other issues at hand. For one, yes, your CPU/GPUs will be generating the same amount of heat watts but the WC loop's ability to remove this quickly and effectively far outpaces air cooling. My dual rads don't even register to being warm to the touch, at all. The dissipation of heat from the radiators is effectively greater than the components can produce, therefore allowing much faster (and lower amounts) of radiated heat being dissipated by the rads. However, if you had an insufficient loop, such as a CPU/dual GPU with a very small rad, you would experience more of what a regular heatsink would generate.

    Now, I am not a engineer in thermodynamics, but think about the logical 'mass' of heat absorption materials being used in each scenario: a heatsink/fan vs. the tubing, surface area of radiators and the volume of water in the loop.



    Your point about several upgrades. I agree 100%. In upgrading my CPU block and my GPUs again....... My pumps at $100 each and my rads at $110 or so each are working great. The fittings I bought before are reusable. etc etc. The basics are there, it's how often you tinker or expand. Plan ahead........... A positive reason to overrad early.

    My last upgrade I bought new fans and a CPU block. Then I upgraded to massive GTX470 SLI GPUs. Just had to buy the GPU blocks..........
  9. Well to be honest it's something I've always wanted to do since the first days it became big. I mean If I could as I see in some sci-fi or future movies, have my mobo and other components submerged in some super cooling liquid setup, believe me I'd try to do it myself. My long term goal with learning to do central air installations and getting into brazing and such is to eventually create a closed metal system. But that is way in the future.

    On the other hand I had built several systems with my father in the past and decided to get into it myself. After building some systems with him, he currently still has 3 systems he runs in his house, 2 specifically used for multi screen stock trading with some very mild overclocking. My first system was a MSI K9n2 SLi board, amd 9600 BE, 9800GTX , 2gb Corsair Dominator, corsair 600w, zalman cpu cooler and a raidmax case. Aside from the aftermarket cpu cooler, my best attempts at overclocking something that was very limited from the get go, and replacing and adding better CFM fans. That build lasted around 4 months until I got bored with it.

    This is how I am. I will get bored with a setup eventually and press to change something, or all of it. I don't tinker with mustangs or corvettes anymore so this is my constant hobby. I spent the last week changing minor settings in my bios up and down and recording everything to see if certain settings would allow me to run some lower voltages or possibly lower temps somewhere with my multiplier high. This is all with working 55 hours a week and trying to spend as much time with my girlfriend as possible while I try not to leave her bored out of her mind as i stare at my bios settings, rebooting, and running tests.

    To be completely honest with you I'm deftly bored of air. I've had stock coolers, mid range, and high end coolers as is my newest zalman. If I could I would take my mobo out throw it on a piece of cardboard on my coffee table and start tearing out all the cooler pipes and heat sinks and replacing them with heat sinks and fans. But for me just replacing them with air would just bore me to death no matter how much work I did with it I would never be happy.
  10. Your a prime person to move up the food chain.

    I'll post a link to my home forum. All I can ask is please do your homework, there is no hurry. I look at cooling and PCs as a hobby, not a goal.

    Take your time, I'm the same name at OCF. The link is one for a guy that needed a kick start in knowlwdge.

    Your moving up babbeee!

    http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showpost.php?p=6489396&postcount=3
  11. OP you sound just like me. I pity you. :P

    I'm also jumping into WC for the first time and simply because it sounds like a fun challenge. The 'improvement' to my PC is totally unnecessary for my needs, but that has never stopped me from anything before!
  12. Yeah, I'm in no reason to hurry. I will be putting about 30-50$ away a week until I get enough to purchase hopefully everything I will need for just a simple CPU loop. Was looking at a swiftech kit to start and then every month just purchasing probably something else to add for another loop for gpus. My problem will be sticking with what I can until I get the funds for more and more. I have a bad habit of putting other things aside when it comes to spending money on my hobbies. The first was this $2000+ build I have. My girlfriend is pretty sure there is something I could of used much more but, I still don't think so. When I get some free time this week, I will jump over there and start reading everything I can click on. Thanks for the direction. If you don't here from me for a week I may be in the hospital due to the lack of sleep and blood shedding from my eyes due to reading.
  13. Yeah, you have the right idea. For most of us that WC our PC's, it is very much in fact a hobbist perspective in most cases. I love to build and modify my rig to be different for my own taste. I have watercooled for 7ish years or so...maybe a little longer. My first kit was a Swiftech kit for my old P4 1.6ghz based on the MCP350 (pre-MCP355 pump). I have gone the route of using heater cores and industrial truck oil coolers as well as WC designed radiators and even making my own reserviors. Once you get comfortable with what you are doing, there really are no limits once you get past the basic principles and move on to more advanced concepts. Hardware changes so fast that there are always new toys. :)

    I'm running my Q6600@3.4 on an EVGA 790i FTW board with SLI GTX260 core 216's and 4gig DDR3. Cooling is Laing 655 pump, D-tek v2 CPU, 2x MCW60 GPU blocks, 2x MCR320 rads, custom made reserviors, Tygon 1/2" tubing. Not exactly the newest hardware, but I love it.
  14. I've got my system set-up now. I'm about $350 invested. That got me an XSPC Rasa CPU Block (and AMD adapter), Swiftec MCW80 GPU block, XSPC RX360 rad, XSPC X2O 750 pump/rez, 6' of 1/2" ID tubing and g1/4 barbs, additive, dye, and generic 120 fans. (surprisingly, my Coolermaster 1200rpm fans seem to work quite nice!)

    My net gain is about 10 -15ºC cooler on the CPU and 15-20ºC cooler on my hot-as-Hades single video card.

    If you neglect the GPU cooling and pickup a lesser radiator, you will probably be able to get your system going for $250 or less.
  15. Love the sage replies.

    I went from a water cooled MB, with a water cooled GPU, and a water cooler for the RAM, all on the same loop as my CPU.

    Then I started swapping components and suddenly my CPU is the only thing in the loop and look at that, it's way better off!

    So for the CPU, yes, water cooling is good.

    Now is it good for you? Nope, probably not. I got it when I already had the fastest EVERYTHING and wanted to run faster. There was no other choice but to get better cooling as nothing else would make my system faster.

    So I'd only say to try it if you've spend as much as you can in other areas, and this is coming from someone who's been there. :)
  16. Quote:
    I went from a water cooled MB, with a water cooled GPU, and a water cooler for the RAM, all on the same loop as my CPU.

    Then I started swapping components and suddenly my CPU is the only thing in the loop and look at that, it's way better off!



    Then you did it all wrong to begin with.

    And BTW...WC your RAM? Seriously...? If anything, DDR2 and DDR3 at most need only an active cooler/fan...if even that. Sufficient case airflow is good enough.
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