A Beginner's Guide For WaterCooling Your PC

Liquid Cooling Basics

The purpose of any PC cooling system is to take heat away from your components and put it somewhere else.

With a traditional CPU air cooler, the heat is transferred from the CPU into a heat sink. A fan is actively pulling air past that heat sink, and as that air travels past the heat sink it draws the heat away from it. The air in your PC case is drawn out of the case and out the back by another fan or fans. As you can see, there's a lot of air movement:

With liquid cooling, coolant is used to transfer heat instead of air. Liquid coolant is pumped from a reservoir into a tube that transfers the coolant to where it's needed. The liquid cooling unit can be either in a separate unit outside of the PC case, or integrated within the PC case. In our diagram, the water-cooling unit is external.

The heat is transferred from the CPU into a "cooling block." The cooling block is simply a hollow heat sink with both an inlet and outlet for the liquid coolant. As liquid travels through this cooling block, it transfers heat along with it, and it works much more efficiently than air can.

The heated coolant is then pumped into a reservoir. From the reservoir it travels into a radiator where it is cooled, typically by a fan. It is then pumped out again to the cooling block, and the cycle begins anew.

Now that we have a good grasp of the basics of PC liquid cooling, what choices are available on the market?

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  • ComputerCustomizer
    What an absolutely useless article. Why any enthusiast would choose Koolance over a custom setup that would give twice the performance at the same cost is beyond me.
    -14
  • tailgunner07
    I have to disagree with the above comment, as a novice to water-cooling I found the article useful and informative. While I would not choose the Koolance kit, due to cost, I now have a better idea of how to proceed.
    I would however recommend using a kit as a starting point and modify it as needed rather than ordering a collection of parts and finding that they do not meet your requirements.
    5
  • JDMH22
    I agree tailgunner07. I'd use a kit and then start adding more cooling blocks and accessories to meet my needs. I did learn more about water cooling in this article.
    3
  • Anonymous
    to ComputerCustomizer look before speaking this article was written over a year a go when people were shit scarred of water cooling setups.
    There weren't too trusty names in the market either. They used the koolance system as it was the easiest for n00bs at the time.
    1
  • Anonymous
    Koolance also the best water cooling system that are around, there's nothing wrong with this usefull review, don't use water cooling if don't have more buck for it.
    0
  • Invid
    I agree with Tailgunner, if one is a novice and feels they do not want to delve too deeply into the realm of water cooling then something like this is perfect and the article is helpful in that sense.

    For custom cooling and purchasing of individual items then this article will not help you but then again this isn't about picking and choosing individual components for custom cooling options.

    - Invid
    3
  • Bot Series
    What ever happened to the Cray idea of just dropping your PC into a fish tank full of Mazola?
    2
  • jeweel
    so what is the best water cooling system for money now?
    0
  • coolronz
    well looks like everyone agrees with tailgunner.. lol i was kind of concerned more about fittings and sizes.. i just got a HAF 932. theres enough room for an internal tri rad 120mmx3 on the top of the case, and a single 120mm rad on the back. i do like how they showed to T off after the CPU. i bought a TT pump, res and front temp gauge off eBay and am in the works of buying the rest of the parts. one thing that confused me is what the heck is a G1/4 fitting? now i get it, its just a common pipe thread size. and then you go to a 3/8" or 1/2" ID hose. would have been nice to get a little into that a little... but then again its a beginners article.. great job!!!
    0
  • Anonymous
    This is very useful. I believe all who indead would love to ave better and faster cooling will go for a kit like this, despite the cost.
    0
  • Anonymous
    I think its a great article. There is a lot to be learned here and the graphs are great too.
    0
  • jewie27
    Corsair H100 FTW!
    0
  • guardianangel42
    I love the progression of time from the date the article was written, to the first comment over a year later, and then the progressively newer posts until we get to jewie's post above.

    Guess Google is good for laughs as well as info!
    0
  • 4Ryan6
    I know this is an old article but I just want to address the misinformation as to the air flow direction of the picture of a diagramed stock motherboard air cooler, the air flow goes in the downward flow on the heat sink referenced in the design because the air coolers exhaust forced down on the motherboard is also cooling the motherboards voltage regulators.

    A little very left out fact of todays water cooling is providing airflow over the motherboards voltage regulators, when you remove the stock air cooler and replace it with a CPU water Block.
    0
  • MJM87
    This is a beginner guide for setting up water systems, I readed this article to know how I short-jumper the power so I could get the current out of my power supply, without turning the power on (or without having power connected to motherboard).

    Anyhow, "this is achieved by shorting out pins on the ATX power supply to fool it into providing power to the liquid cooling pump without powering the motherboard."
    And then there is not given the pins which need to short out! Should I try every possible pins to be shorting out? ..maybe not, but this article pisses me off..
    0
  • ruzbehdana
    Any detailed information on DIY water block for 5970?
    0