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Water damage, what can I save?

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March 22, 2010 3:19:09 PM

Hi,

I have a watercooled homebuilt media center PC which has suffered a leak. Basically the CPU waterblock appears to have corroded at one of the screw points and so has come loose.

Since the leak (which wasn't very severe) I have completely dried the PC and replaced the CPU block with a new one. After a couple of days waiting I have rebooted the PC. The only action is both HD and power LED light turn on (but worringly the HD light is permanently on), fans and HDs all start. However, there is no output to the screen.

Really I'm looking for some advice concerning which parts are salvagable. The PC is not a high performance PC, it's watercooled for silence rather than overclocking. So it's likely when I rebuild it'll be a very similarly spec'd machine. Which means that I'd like to use as many existing parts on the new PC as I can.

I'm presuming the motherboard has died, as the block leaked directly onto it. My concern is that if I carry old damaged components over to the new PC, will I damage the new MB by booting with them (if they are damaged also)?

So what should I risk re-using and what shouldn't I?

Also, I don't have a second PC to test components on.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.
Thanks
Lee

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March 22, 2010 5:26:44 PM

I don't see how you could damage a new computer by trying damaged parts. In fact, I was going to suggest that the only way to find out what is salvageable, is to test each component in another system.

A little off topic, but if you are using low end enough parts, you might want to look into passive air cooling instead. You won't even have the sound of the pump. The only problem is you would have to watch the heat of the components. I wouldn't suggest anything more than an Athlon IIx2 240e and undervolted at that with a very good passive heatsink.
March 22, 2010 7:41:33 PM

Thanks for your help.

I think that's what I'll do then; buy a motherboard, test what I've got on it and replace anything which doesn't work. I was just a bit concerned that if I plugged a damaged graphics card into a fresh new MB it might blow the whole rig.

In relation to the passive cooling, that is certainly something that I could have done. And I probably should have done. However, I quite like the idea of playing around with watercooling (although not with the current financial cost). Also, it does allow me to use a higher spec'd machine, so I won't have any concerns about HD playback.
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March 23, 2010 4:08:27 AM

What do you use to play HD? I've run an old 3200+ overclocked to 2.6GHz. with nvidia 8200m integrated and only had problems with some 1080p. The 3200+ was from back in 2006. HD isn't a problem for most modern hardware. I use Media Player Classic Home Cinema and it does a good job offloading a lot of work to the GPU.
March 23, 2010 7:57:29 AM

greenfrog said:
Thanks for your help.

I think that's what I'll do then; buy a motherboard, test what I've got on it and replace anything which doesn't work. I was just a bit concerned that if I plugged a damaged graphics card into a fresh new MB it might blow the whole rig.

In relation to the passive cooling, that is certainly something that I could have done. And I probably should have done. However, I quite like the idea of playing around with watercooling (although not with the current financial cost). Also, it does allow me to use a higher spec'd machine, so I won't have any concerns about HD playback.


With regards to the cooling, you might want to consider some of the better air coolers.
(You might want to start here: http://www.frostytech.com/top5heatsinks.cfm)

Personally, I still prefer air coolers due to less maintenance (aside from the usual dust-bunny clean-up), and nothing to leak.

Just curious, what is your current water-cooling setup?
March 23, 2010 8:29:47 AM

Well my current set-up is a e6420 CPU and a nvidia 8600 GTS graphics card. I could get away with something a little slower for HD, but I am running Vista so a lower spec would frustrate me.

So far as the watercooling is concerned I used a Zalman Reserator. It's a fairly basic set-up, but it is exceptionally quiet. It cools the CPU and GPU (via an external passively cooled reservoir), so it allows me to run a couple of very slow case fans.

It is a very quiet PC but does require a lot of hassle/maintenance. Likely if I built the system again I'd probably stick to air cooling. However, when it's running as it should be, it is as quiet as I could hope for.

Thanks for the link, I'll have a look in preparation for the inevitable rebuild.
March 23, 2010 2:23:45 PM

I'd get a PSU tester to make sure the PSU is o.k. Best not to chance it :D . Everything else you may as well try and re use.
March 23, 2010 2:50:16 PM

damn man.. bad luck for ya, one good reason why i would avoid water cooling -.-
March 23, 2010 3:26:43 PM


I have some happy news. I decided to use some rubbing alcohol to clean the MB as a last attempt. Amazingly this has worked and all is now working. At least until the next leak anyway...
February 2, 2012 11:39:25 PM

What id do in the future is buy yourself the top of the line waterblocks say from Danger Den and always use distilled water with no additives this way theres no way youll ever have any corrosion... Plus if you have a new video card theres no need to go water cooled all the new cards run so cool on heavey load your really dont need to go water cooled so thats one less problem
!