Watercooling Basics/General Info/Explanation of some of the things in my previous post…
H2O basics –
Pre-built, H2O kits, external setups, do-it-yourself, etc.
Pre-built systems are great in that they are amazingly easy even when compared to regular H2O kits. If you can find a company that has a case you really like with all the H2O gear preinstalled getting everything setup is a cakewalk (provided it is one of the systems from any of the more reputable water cooling companies). The drawback is the choices are usually a bit limited as far as which cases and cooling components can be used and you will likely pay a premium for having everything pre-installed to your liking. The performance of the better pre-built systems is likely close to the average cooling loops built by overclocker and watercooling hobbyists but they are several degrees off from systems built from hand-picked, tweaked and tested H2O components that become ultra-high-level cooling systems once in the hands of hardcore OC and H2O crowd (that isn’t an insult to pre-builts as that can be a very tough crowd to hang with…). Comparing a pre-assembled water cooling system to a hardcore H2O loop that is put together by the extreme H2O crowd is like comparing a pre-modded case to one of Daniel’s incredible work-of-art cases — the former looks great until you see the latter.
H2O kits – take the parts out of the Pre-Built H2O cases above and you have basically the same thing – good performance and they are reasonably easy to setup but the real time saver and here is likely not having to agonize over which parts are the best, making sure you have everything you need, etc. LOL — I still remember the first H2O cooling loop I put together and running back and forth between the aquarium shop, the hardware store and a local plumbing supplier…I will not even speculate as to the number of hours that went into that system but, then again, I didn’t have any choice as there was no such thing as a preassembled kit or even a mainstream watercooling market then. Now that I think about it, there were less than 10 sites in English on the internet that had anything on watercooling when that loop was put together but I digress.
Quick H2O kit summary: any of the higher end kits from Danger Den, Swiftech, etc. will get the job done and blow any air cooling solution…ummmm…out of the water.
external pre-built systems (i.e. exos, etc.)
easy to setup, fewer concerns with leaks as most of the connection points are no where close to the motherboard or vid card (the two primary victims of H2O loop leakage), several are reasonably priced.
Performance — good but not mind boggling and most of them are definitely not for the hardcore overclocking crowd as they are subject to heat saturation once components have been volt modded or the voltage has been otherwise cranked through the expanded BIOS settings of companies that are kind to overclockers. Before I forget to mention this elsewhere:
**To the brilliant engineers at DFI: Thank you for truly understanding the insanity of the overclocker and including Jumper JP17 that enables DRAM voltage up to 4V in BIOS along with the most tweakable BIOS in the history of mankind.**
BTW, That was not a paid endor*****t. The DFI mobo on my bench was one that I bought…not a freebee testing sample — it was whatever was on the shelf when I whipped out my card and it has been worth every penny plus whatever the crazy interest rate is being slapped onto its cost by the credit card company.
Moving right along…
Do-it-yourself kits. Not really a “build your own” system (although that is entirely possible) but a “pick your own parts” system and then put it all together.
–The CPU temp can be that low when overclocked and powered-up???
–The best performance overall – end of story.
–Less expensive than pre-built or kits when comparing money spent vs. level of cooling
–It can an be very fun to put together if you are the do-it-yourself type.
–You can irritate friends and neighbors with your knowledge of water cooling systems by the time you have finished researching every available H2O part to put together the cooling loop that almost defies the laws of thermodynamics.
–I spent the last 3 months on research and picking parts so I could cool my computer with water? (Remedy for this one in the works)
–Risk of going blind due to UV radiation from computer monitor while reading specs for CPU blocks, rads, tubing, etc.