Water-cooled PC systems have a number of advantages often overlooked by heavy and demanding PC users. Water has a higher thermal conductivity than air, which is the most common method used for PC cooling. High-performance gaming machines can sound like outdated vacuums and take away from the audio experience of the game or embedded media. Water-cooled systems, on the other hand, are much quieter and are proven to cool the PC more effectively.
Things You'll Need
- Water pump
- Packaged reservoir and radiator system
- Water block
Purchase the water blocks that your new system will be cooling. The blocks are placed on different spots in your computer. There are five different kinds of blocks. There are blocks for your CPU (Intel and AMD variations), memory, hard drive and video card. Select all the needed blocks for your custom system.
Install the radiator from your integrated system pack. Pick a spot that has good air flow and allows for additional fans that could be needed if your radiator is not cooling properly. If your system pack did not come with a fan to install with the radiator, make sure you buy one and install it in a spot where it can blow directly on the radiator.
Install the reservoir anywhere inside the shell that has adequate space.
Place the pump inside the reservoir. This is already done in most kits, but if your pump came as a separate piece, just attach it to your reservoir in the fitted slots.
Set your gauge somewhere between 100 and 300 gallons per hour. Any more than this is unnecessary and could reduce cooling by not allowing the water enough time to soak up the heat from the water blocks.
Choose the appropriate water tubing for your system. Most systems built for optimum cooling use 3/8-inch tubing or 1/2-inch tubing. The thicker the tubing you choose, the higher your flow rate will be. However, keep in mind, higher flow rates do not always equate to a cooler system or increased performance. If you do not have much space inside your system cage, choose a thinner tubing.
Buy the coolant to fill your reservoir and install all the tubing. This step will vary depending on how many water blocks your particular system needs. Make sure that the tubing stays off all moving pieces within your shell. Maneuver the tubes so that they are arranged in such a way that does not interrupt flow or at least keeps the interruption to a minimum if some blockage is required. Try to avoid twisting the tubes in any way to avoid flow disruption. Once you have everything fitting within your PC shell, remove the entire water unit from your PC to test it.
Fill the reservoir and turn your pump on. Check for bleed spots and other leaky areas. Secure and fasten as needed. When you have a successful flow trial with no leaks, move the system back inside your PC and mount everything again. This tedious and repetitive process is necessary for first-time builders to ensure a proper flow that will actually do its job and cool the PC.
Tips & Warnings
- Refer to the manuals associated with the various parts for diagrams and suggestions on where to mount.
- Photo Credit Jorg Greuel/Photodisc/Getty Images
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