When I travel to gaming events and LAN parties I see many different kinds of systems. Most are air-cooled varieties of systems from mom and pop shops, but others are more like Jekyll and Hyde creations. There is another class of systems in the crowd too: the do-it-yourself (DIY) custom build. Many of the folks who own these PCs want to wear their passion for and knowledge of computers on their sleeves - and show it in their systems too.
Within this group there is the even more specific category: the hardcore coolers. These are the people that figure out ingenious ways of getting the coolest operating temperatures without living at the North Pole with Santa. Many of us don't really care how the system is cooled as long as it works. However, if you have the desire to be as cool as your system is, you might look into alternative methods like water cooling. (But God help you if you want to use liquid nitrogen...)
Over the years, THG has been telling our readers about trends in water cooling and how it has been developing in the consumer/DIY market. In June, we helped enthusiasts build water cooling systems on their own with DIY Water Cooling 101 . Perhaps you read that article and said to yourself "I can't do this" or "I don't have the time to screw around with all that stuff."
It's true that there are many choices to make. You can select different sized hoses, choose the mixture for the coolant, and decide on various types of water blocks for your CPU, GPU, and hard drives. There are even radiator and pump options. "There are so many choices; I just don't know what to decide." Don't worry, help is on the way.
"Water, Water, Everywhere..."
If you want to try water cooling but don't have the ambition to take the project on by yourself, we know some people who can help. The same people who make some of the best gaming systems on earth are willing to provide the labor and expertise for you. Of course nothing comes for free, so the first two questions out of your mouth will probably be, "will the system be like what I could build myself, or something more extravagant?" and the all important, "how much will it cost?" Fortunately, we are in the middle of a set of high end system reviews, so we thought that we could share some observations from our testing process.
Puget Custom Computers in the Dark. The soft glow comes from the cold cathodes and reactive coolant.
Surprisingly, the components used by high-end system builders are the same ones you and I can pull off the shelf. A few of the systems we have had in the lab recently have had components from several manufacturers inside their boxes: Koolance, Danger Den, and Cooler Master. There were many combinations and configurations in the selection of machines we have had here.