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Cheap watercooling for school project

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May 18, 2011 11:02:36 AM

Hey guys,
I have to do a project for school and I wanted to build a computer. Obviously I wasn't allowed to just build any old computer because I have done that before and I cannot do something that isn't new to me. So I decided to build a water cooled PC.

The problem is that an all in one watercooling kit will seem much too simple for my project as I need to write a 4000 word essay so I will obviously go for a DIY waterloop. My budget for the watercooling system is $100-200 MAX, and I will use my existing PC (I will take care of the upgrades myself).

Could anyone suggest some parts for a custom water cooling system which are cheap and match my budget? Thanks very much!
a c 324 K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 1:39:44 PM

Hmmm...DIY watercooling from non-typical sources.

Depending on sources, you can go fairly cheap. You could go the route of using a heater core from a big fan or the usual late-70's Bonneville (used to be popular). However, you'd really only get by cheap if you got these from a salvage yard as OEM replacement (new) heater cores are about as much a Swiftech MCR220 and 320 radiators. ($40-$55)

As for pumps, you can often find them used in different places; some forums have used/for sale sections, but Tom's doesn't have much in the way of watercooling gear much of the time. You could also go the route of pond/aquarium pumps as well. Check into the Hydor series of pumps, they have been used in watercooling kits before...most have simply just gone the route of using Laing pumps or making their own.

Blocks...you can't really get away from this one...so used or closeouts are a good place to start. The XSPC Rasa CPU block is one of the better performing blocks and is relatively cheap. You can find older blocks that will perform within 3-5C of current blocks depending on flow rate and loop build.
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May 18, 2011 1:42:13 PM

Hi thanks for the response! I was wondering if I could get actual new WC parts for under $200. this is my first WC build so I don't really know how it all works (I am still on the "research and Planning" stage of my essay). However I want to get actual WC oriented parts for the rad, pump etc. any suggestions?
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 1:44:35 PM

For a CPU only loop, under $200 is very do-able. You can get into a great starter kit, the XSPC Rasa for less than that...there are 2 main differences; the RS and the RX versions. The RX uses the XSPC XR rads, where the XS uses the XS line of rads. RX's are thicker and better performing...about 50% thicker than the RS.

Otherwise, a CPU only custom loop can be had for about the same price as well, if that is the route you wish to take.
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May 18, 2011 1:47:50 PM

the problem is if i get an all in one kit then they will just say that i didn't need any research i could just go and buy the kit and be done with
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a b K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 1:53:21 PM

You did the research on all of the parts you needed, then found a kit with the necessary components that would be substantially cheaper.

Maybe you could discuss each of the parts uses and why you need them?
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May 18, 2011 1:55:32 PM

orangejuice789 said:
You did the research on all of the parts you needed, then found a kit with the necessary components that would be substantially cheaper.

Maybe you could discuss each of the parts uses and why you need them?


Yeah that's a great idea thanks! But just to clear things up, could every individual component of the XSPC kit be found seperately? that was I could say they conveniently happened to be on sale in a kit
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a b K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 2:00:42 PM

Yes, each component is for sale individually and in a kit on various sites-

Jab-tech.com

Frozencpu.com

petrastechshop.com
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May 18, 2011 2:06:09 PM

okay thanks!
Is there any shop that ships internationally or do you recommend that I buy from my local computer center?
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a b K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 2:07:37 PM

sidewindercomputers.com ships internationally.
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May 18, 2011 2:11:27 PM

thank you very much for your help
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 2:20:01 PM

^Yep...Orange jumped in with good info. The XSPC Rasa kit can be bought component by component, if you wish. I'd say you could make comparisons with an actual 'custom kit' from components vs. this kit and explain/compare/contrast between them.
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May 18, 2011 2:21:16 PM

Ok.
So for a custom kit that's the same price as the Rasa kit, what would I be getting? Maybe parts from a different brand so that there's more contrast
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 2:22:44 PM

Well, the Rasa kit is all XSPC stuff. Going full custom would mean you'd pick and choose what components you wanted for price/performance.

Check out the sticky at the top of the forum...should give you a good amount of info to pursue.
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May 18, 2011 2:23:45 PM

ok thanks! it's late over here so i'll reply in 12 hours :p 
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a b K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 2:25:21 PM

Cs342 said:
Ok.
So for a custom kit that's the same price as the Rasa kit, what would I be getting? Maybe parts from a different brand so that there's more contrast

That's going to depend on where you're purchasing, international shipping will add a bundle that takes away from your component budget.

PS: haven't seen it mentioned, but you are doing some research by reading the links in rubix's sig , right ?

OK so it has been mentioned :sleep: 
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 2:25:52 PM

NP...I'd say to go cheap, you could go with a Hydor or Jingway brand pump. I'd still recommend a Laing DDC/MCP355 if you can find one...they go on sale at random sites all the time. Very much worth the cost.

^Delluser1 has a good point...make sure you check into the actual Int'l shipping costs.
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a b K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 2:44:39 PM

If the end performance is not of major performance and writing a good essay is of main importance you could just get a selection of the cheapest components and compare there performance. You could also compare filling it with different liquids.
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May 18, 2011 10:05:27 PM

The 2 main key topicquestions for my essay are how liquid cooling improves a computer's overclocking abilities and how this increased overclock affects the performance of the computer?"
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 10:08:36 PM

Stock cooling vs. water cooling temps at load, as well as overclocked speeds vs. stock speeds in benchmarking.
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May 18, 2011 10:10:14 PM

if i go for the absolutely cheapest components and the bare minimum, won't performance be worse than air cooling?
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a b K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 10:13:42 PM

Cs342 said:
if i go for the absolutely cheapest components and the bare minimum, won't performance be worse than air cooling?

Not neccessarily worse, just not better than.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 10:14:11 PM

No, and if your budget is $100-$200, you can build a remarkably good watercooling loop for that cost.

Edit: it depends on what you actually choose for components.
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May 18, 2011 10:15:19 PM

So I should get the XSPC kit right?
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a b K Overclocking
May 18, 2011 10:27:29 PM

XSPC RX/RS kit, if used correctly, will significantly reduce your temperatures, especially at load if you have an OC'ed CPU or are upgrading from stock cooler.

I upgraded from a high performance air cooler to an XSPC RX kit and saw a fairly significant drop in both load and idle temps.
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May 18, 2011 10:58:01 PM

I've read that the RX is better than the RS, but is it qa lot more expensive?
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May 18, 2011 10:58:21 PM

a not qa
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a b K Overclocking
May 19, 2011 12:00:08 AM

Cs342 said:
The 2 main key topicquestions for my essay are how liquid cooling improves a computer's overclocking abilities and how this increased overclock affects the performance of the computer?"

Sounds good, but I'd add onto it a little:
0: Give a brief explanation of what OCing is.
1: How does said OC affect the PC's performance?
2: Explain how a water cooling loop works.
3: How does water cooling impact OCing?
4: How does said increase in performance compare to the amount of money put into the cooling system? How much would it have cost in upgrades to get the same performance increase, if any?
Given that I don't have the actual circumstances or guidelines as to how you need to write this essay, I can't really get very specific into anything. Just a few quick ideas...

As to which water cooling kit to get. Not a clue. I've always been an air cooling guy myself, so I'm of no help whatsoever in picking out parts. :sarcastic: 
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May 19, 2011 12:01:16 AM

I played with water-cooling DIY project, i used
Water-block from store,
aquarium water pump (3$ from good will)
radiator from AC unit (got free from recycling shop)
kitchen plastic box (sealed with caulk) ( stole from mom ;) 
pipes and fittings from Lowes (2$)

I had big radiator that i mounted inside the PC case panel it was passively cooled with 2 120mm fans on front and back helping it a bit was whisper quiet as well
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May 19, 2011 1:30:50 PM

wow you guys have some really great ideas thanks a bunch :) 
i suppose a liquid cooled 2600K could easily beat a 990X
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 19, 2011 1:34:46 PM

If you can find use gear, it helps. Also be aware of mixing aluminium and copper in your loop...bad idea. Galvanic corrosion is bad news. Nickel, copper, brass, etc are all fine together...aluminium is the one you want to avoid. If you absolutely must use it, make sure you use a glycol mix that is designed for corrosion resistance, and even then be aware that it is still possible and you should clean and inspect your loop often.

It kind of depends on what you find and where you find it and at what price.
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May 19, 2011 1:35:48 PM

i hope the rasa kit doesn't have aluminium :p 
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 19, 2011 1:40:01 PM

No, it doesn't.
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a b K Overclocking
May 19, 2011 1:40:50 PM

Cs342 said:
wow you guys have some really great ideas thanks a bunch :) 
i suppose a liquid cooled 2600K could easily beat a 990X

A stock 2600K beats a 990X
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May 19, 2011 10:01:32 PM

then should i maybe get a 2500K and try to make that beat a 990X? Or get a 2600K?
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May 20, 2011 5:21:06 AM

Cs342 said:
then should i maybe get a 2500K and try to make that beat a 990X? Or get a 2600K?

That depends what you use your PC for. Main difference between 2500K and 2600K is that 2600k have +2MB Cache, +100MHz frequency and HT enabled (8 threads instead of 4).

If you plan to use parallel processing (video processing/encoding etc) 2600K do better, if not 2500K is just fine.

Also if you want to learn more about water cooling, try check http://www.overclock.net , there are some beginners guides and lots of experienced guys that can answer your questions.

I am personally going to build 2nd WC build (i7-2600K) as my old (Q6600) is going to my fiance as soon as new case arrive.

Also try check http://www.aquatuning.com/ , they operate in most of Europe and US/Canada and ship internationally.
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May 20, 2011 8:03:54 AM

i might get the 2600K just to be safe but i'm not sure
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 20, 2011 12:59:09 PM

Quote:
Also if you want to learn more about water cooling, try check http://www.overclock.net , there are some beginners guides and lots of experienced guys that can answer your questions.


No offense, but there are quite a few folks here that know our stuff about watercooling, as well. In addition to that, the forum sticky that I wrote on watercooling does include many guides, FAQ's and links to other forums. Please try to help people find information from our resources here and know where they reside.
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May 20, 2011 2:06:04 PM

I read your Tom's HW WC Sticky and it really helped me out a lot. Thanks!
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 20, 2011 2:20:10 PM

NP...it's why it is there...we didn't have anything that was up to date...

My post was for xrodney, and I can understand past experiences with WC on Tom's, but things have been changing here and for the better.
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May 20, 2011 8:29:38 PM

rubix_1011 said:
Quote:
Also if you want to learn more about water cooling, try check http://www.overclock.net , there are some beginners guides and lots of experienced guys that can answer your questions.


No offense, but there are quite a few folks here that know our stuff about watercooling, as well. In addition to that, the forum sticky that I wrote on watercooling does include many guides, FAQ's and links to other forums. Please try to help people find information from our resources here and know where they reside.


Hmm when I checked last time there was not much stuff about WC on TH forums, it have to change recently.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 21, 2011 2:32:47 AM

Give the WC forum a good look-through. We don't have 100's of pages archived (yet) but we have some excellent material already started in the last several weeks that is based on the last 4-5 years of info on this forum. This is something that I have wanted to see happen for a few years and now it is a reality. If you have some info you'd like to see added, let me know, or post a thread with it and we can get it incorporated into the sticky if need-be.
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May 25, 2011 8:10:13 AM

So which kit do you recommend? I should definitely go with XSPC right?
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May 25, 2011 8:52:11 AM

If you want to research costs of individual components then take a look at dangerden.

http://www.dangerden.com/

Lots of customized parts and a few kits. Their not cheap but you can use their parts and prices to demonstrate the various components and their costs.
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May 25, 2011 9:04:46 AM

But should i get individual parts or get a DIY kit? this is my first time WCing
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May 25, 2011 9:46:30 AM

Kit is easier, much easier. Old veterans will say that the custom is just as easy but what many are failing to recognize is that new people simply don't have the experience to know which decisions to make when building a custom kit. Knowledge and experience many of us take for granted may not exist inside someone just starting and not familiar with building a WC setup.

If this is your first time, then just KIT it and learn how that works. Later on once your more comfortable, then you can go the custom route and get something amazing going on.
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May 25, 2011 10:04:06 AM

what kit would you recommend? would it be possible to not completely throw away that kit, but upgrade and customize it in the future?
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May 25, 2011 11:13:57 AM

Depends on the kit. I haven't used a prebuilt kit for years so I wouldn't know what to recommend right now. Search around dangerden forums, their a pretty good place to get information and recommendations.
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May 25, 2011 11:15:39 AM

do dangerden sell any kits?
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a b K Overclocking
May 25, 2011 11:40:31 AM

palladin9479 said:
Depends on the kit. I haven't used a prebuilt kit for years so I wouldn't know what to recommend right now. Search around dangerden forums, their a pretty good place to get information and recommendations.

Why are you pushing the DD forums here at Toms ?
We have our own place for information and reccomendations, you're there.

The only thing easier about a kit is not having to pick your parts, after that it's just like setting up a custom loop.
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!