As with any project, it is important to have a solid concept and then start building a bill of materials for the project. To build a solid water cooling system you need the right enclosure and components to fill the space. There are several names in the water cooling supply market, which has become more robust over the past 5 years due to the entrance of companies such as Cooler Master, Thermaltake and Zalman. However, the lion's share of this enthusiast market is held by Koolance, Swiftech and Danger Den.
For this project we contacted Danger Den, who provided us with the following components:
- 1 x TDX Copper CPU water block
- 2 x DD-GX2 graphics water blocks
- 1 x Black Ice X-Flow Xtreme II Radiator
- 2 x Pabst 4312L 120 mm axial fans
- 1 x 32 oz. Fluid XP+ EXT coolant
- 1 x Laing D5 12 V circulating pump
- 1 x Brass Fillport
- 1 x Derlin T Fitting
- 2 x Danger Den High Flow Fittings
- 13 x Plastic Hose Clamps
- Several feet of Tygon 3606 clear tubing
You might be asking why Danger Den. Well, they are easy to work with, and have finely-machined water blocks. As you can see from the list of equipment above, they have everything needed to build a complete cooling system. The company has many options to choose from, and allows the builder to customize the water system to their needs. In addition to providing products, the website also has how-to videos, ranging from cutting out a hold for a fan, to filling and purging a water system.
After looking at many cases, we selected the Silverstone Temjin TJ07, which provided the best of everything. If you wanted to air cool a system, this case would be more than adequate, with two 120 mm fans mounted on the top and a pair of 92 mm fans on the rear wall. Two additional 120 mm fans are mated to a pair of independently removable hard drive cages. The power supply and hard drive cages are located in a separate compartment underneath the main compartment. The case includes a motherboard tray for easy assembly, and access for repair or upgrade.
To ensure that we had enough power for both the computer and cooling system, Silverstone provided us with a Zeus ST85ZF 850 W power supply, which is shallow enough to allow airflow for the radiator. A longer PSU, such as the PC Power & Cooling Turbo Cool 1kW we use in the lab, would have restricted airflow too much.