Skip to main content

A Beginner's Guide For WaterCooling Your PC

Choosing The Right Liquid Cooling System For You

There are three basic types of water-cooling systems, and the real differentiator is where the radiator, water pump, and reservoir - the main components of the system - are located. The three types are internal, external and integrated.

An integrated cooling system will, as the name implies, come included as part of a PC case. Since all of the liquid cooling equipment is housed within this case, this is probably the easiest option to work with, as it will afford you the most room inside the case without having any clunky external components to deal with. The downside, of course, is that if you upgrade to this type of system, any pre-existing PC case you have is useless.

Integrated water cooling system

If you're quite fond of your PC case and don't wish to see it go, the other two options might seem more to your liking: an internal or external water-cooling system. An internal system has the water-cooling components inside the PC case. Because most PC cases aren't designed with this type of system in mind, things are a little cramped. However, this installation allows you to keep your favorite case as well as to move the finished product around with little hassle.

Internal water cooling system

The third option for those who wish to keep their existing PC case is an external liquid cooling system. In this type of system the radiator, reservoir and pump are housed externally in a separate unit. The liquid coolant is pumped into the PC case, and a return line pumps the heated coolant out of the case and into the reservoir. The benefit of the external system is that it affords the interior working space of an integrated system with the ability to adapt to use with any PC case. It also allows for a large radiator and more cooling power than the average integrated setup. The downside is that a PC with an external cooling system isn't quite as mobile as integrated or internal systems, which are much easier to move around.

External water cooling system

In our application, mobility isn't all that important, but we'd like to keep our stock PC case. In addition, the increased cooling efficiency of an external radiator appeals to us. We have therefore chosen an external cooling system for this guide, and Koolance was kind enough to supply us with a fine example, their EXOS-2 system.

Koolance's EXOS-2 external water cooling system

The EXOS-2 is a powerful external cooling system with a cooling power of over 700 watts. That doesn't mean it uses 700 watts of power - it uses a tiny fraction of that - but that it can effectively remove 700 watts of heat energy while maintaining a heat load at 55 degrees Celsius with 25 degrees Celsius ambient temperature.

The EXOS-2 comes with all of the hoses and attachments you need to get started, but it doesn't come with the cooling blocks. The user must purchase the appropriate blocks to cool the components he or she desires.

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • Bot Series
    What ever happened to the Cray idea of just dropping your PC into a fish tank full of Mazola?
  • jeweel
    so what is the best water cooling system for money now?
  • 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!!!
  • 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.