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Installing a reasonably priced water cooling system

Discussion in 'Do It Yourself (Not Computer-Related)' started by Mulderator, Nov 13, 2005.

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  1. Mulderator

    Mulderator Thread Starter

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    Okay, my dillemma was that after building a new system with a P-4 Dual Core Processor, it was impossible to keep the thing cool on full load--it would go up to the 60s and throttle back, so I decided to install a water cooling system. Now, it never goes above 50 or 51 and is always about 6 degrees C higher than the Mobo temperature, which is highly dependent on the ambient temperature and the fan speed. The nice thing is that I have the two 120 mm fans throttled back and no CPU fan of course so it is noticeably quiter at the same time as being cooler. I had to have those fans cranked high to air cool it.

    The first pic is the way Swift Tech recommended installing the H20-120. It required you purchase an optional kit for $25 or you had to install the radiator inside the case, which is not optimal for obvious reasons (there is more heat inside the case). I also did not like the tubes sticking out, so I decided to drill holes in the back of my case, install rubber grummets and connect the radiator directly to the back of the unit. I have posted pics of the finished product. The last one is another add-on--wheels to make it easier to pull the thing around because it gets heavier with a water cooling system.
     

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  2. Mulderator

    Mulderator Thread Starter

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    These are the wheels I installed (kit bought at NewEgg). BTW--I picked up the Swiftech system for $109 on sale and after $20 Swiftech Rebate. The day after I bought it, it went back up to $159 or so at Xoxide--its $189 at NewEgg. Glad I bought it when I did! :D
     

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  3. Mulderator

    Mulderator Thread Starter

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    Below are pics of what it looks like with the side panel on and from the rear. Needless to say I am VERY SATISFIED with this project. It was a bit more complicated because of the modifications made and its would be daunting for a beginner who never built a system before, but two months ago I had never built a system either. Kudos to Ciberblade and to Gotrootdude who convinced me to built the system myself (the computer, not the water cooling--once I built the system, I got really confident because I would have never attemped a water cooling system if I had purchased a computer.
     

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  4. Mulderator

    Mulderator Thread Starter

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    Oh--the basic kit come with everything you need to cool the CPU. I purchased the GPU cooler as well for an extra $34 (last year's model on sale)--normally $55. You can see it in Post No. 2--its attached right below the video card--it does eliminate one of my PCI slots unfortunately, but there is no way around it. That GPU got really hot though--into the 70s and 80s and now it never gets more than 5 or 6 degrees above the CPU into the mid to high 50s. You can also purchase a chipset cooler--you just run the tubing from cooler to cooler--one tube in and one tube out. I have mine coming from the pump into the radiator then to the CPU, then to the GPU, then into the reservoir. I chose not to install the chipset cooler as that's not as important as CPU and GPU.

    I would HIGHLY RECOMMEND this system to anyone who is thinking of entry level water cooling. There is very little maintenance once installed--just check the water level once every six months--you can do that by sliding the reservoir out of the 5 and 1/4 inch bay its installed in. Interstingly, you can still use that bay for fan controllers or anything that doesn't go deep into the bay obviously.

    You can find the system here:

    http://www.swiftnets.com/

    Just click on Liquid Cooling Products, then the H20-120 system.

    Here is a review of the system:

    http://www.cluboc.net/reviews/super_cooling/swiftech/H20-120_rev3a/page6.htm

    All the reviews on it I saw were very good to excellent in this price range. You can go to the $400 to $500 range for systems that are into extreme overclocking and performance systems. But its hard to beat this at this price.
     
  5. gotrootdude

    gotrootdude

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    Looks very nicely done.. I found a review for that kit at Viper's Lair, they quoted the Intel stock heatsink at 62dBA! Wow.. I couldn't stand to be in the same room with that kinda noise..

    The loudest part of your system should be the 24dBA pump since you have your fans scaled down with some kinda controller or voltage mod.

    This is also the first time I've seen thumb screws holding the hard drives.. I didn't know they would fit. Is that a twist tie holding the cables over the memory?

    To anyone interested, the best price I could find on this system was $155 here: http://www.crazypc.com/Merchant2/merchant.mv?Screen=PROD&Product_Code=9376K

    Wonder if I can mod one of these things into a shuttle case. :eek: About how much weight did it add?
     
  6. Squashman

    Squashman Trusted Advisor

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    so does this cut down on the noise level.
     
  7. accat13

    accat13

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    I'm a noob when it comes to liquid cooling I'm assuming that the object just above and aft of the tank is the pump(in the 5th pic)..Is it possible to adjust the length of the lines and put the tank in the bottom of the case.My only concern about liquid cooling is a leak or sweat and the damage that could occur.Its always seemed to me a better idea to put the tank at the bottom of the case,so if it has a minor leak it won't drip on other components.Like I said I know very little about this just curious if the system can be adjusted for location.My wife is always complaining about fan noise (whats wrong with a 54db delta fan screaming lol),seriously though I do keep the fan turned down unless the cpu is under heavy load to prevent throttling.
     
  8. gotrootdude

    gotrootdude

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    Actually, what you're assuming is the "tank", is the radiator.. The tank is in his top drive bay.. It's pretty thick plastic, so I don't think there's a chance it'll ever leak, course if it did, it would run over the tops of his drives instead of down his motherboard.. You definately want the "tank" higher than the cpu, you want gravity to assure that there's always liquid in the waterblock on the cpu. You could mount the pump on the outside of the case, as long as it's kept higher than the block.
    As far as noise, he dropped to 24dBA from 62dBA, could be even lower depending on how well his case isolates the noise from the pump..
     
  9. accat13

    accat13

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    Thank you for the response gotrootdude

    Actually descriptions are never clear I meant was the area circled in pink part of the pump.I'll assume yes
     

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  10. Mulderator

    Mulderator Thread Starter

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    That is the pump to the right of the reservoir in the 5th pic (counting the illustration by Swiftech). It is really a neat innovation--they designed a very small pump that is still really powerful.

    You run the pump for three hours (I ran it overnight) before you put any components in--by that time you know there is no leaks. Its not like plumbing in the a house--the only place you could have a leak is a the connections (which are clamped very tightly) or at the top of the reservoir,which is sealed with an O-ring. But that's the reason I have it on top--if that O-ring went bad for some reason, since that's the highest level, you woudln't bet anything but splash coming out of there. If you were concerned, you could put the reservoir and pump at the bottom of the case, but that would probably not be the best place because then all the water would run out if there was a leak. But honestly the chances of this linking are extremely remote (knock on wood! ;) ). In my review of watercooled systems, that's not a problem anyone has reported in any system.

    The big advantage a Gotrude said is the decrease in noise. I actually cannot hear the pump over the two 120 mm fans which are running at about 2000 rpms (really slow). This machine is whisper quiet now and much cooler. I could quiet it even more if I wanted--my mobo has a setting for "silent" which would crank them down to like 1300 or something like that, but the "optimal" setting is pleny quiet enough for me. At quiet, you barely know there is a computer running.
     
  11. Mulderator

    Mulderator Thread Starter

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    No--that's alternate connections for USB and firewire and sound. I circled the pump in the picture below--you can't see it--its the size of a pack of cigarettes.
     

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  12. Mulderator

    Mulderator Thread Starter

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    Here is what the pump and reservoir look like--the first pic is upside down and the second is as it would be installed in the 5 and 1/4 bay--the circle on the bottom right is where you fill the reservoir--that is sealed with a rubber O-ring, although it is plastic and screws in so even is the O-ring weren't there it is unlikely any fluid would leak out of there. This is from the review I linked to above from Overclocker's Club.
     

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  13. Mulderator

    Mulderator Thread Starter

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    The heaviest part is the almost a litre of water it uses. The coolers are pretty heavy, but no heavier than a heat sink for sure or even lighter so that cancels out. The plastic tubing and radiator are pretty light. I would guess it added maybe 3 to 5 pounds.
     
  14. Mulderator

    Mulderator Thread Starter

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    I changed that out immediately for an XP-120, but it didn't do much better than the stock heat sink, although quieter because I used a 120 mm fan. But I had to crank it to maximum to get results better than the stock. It was fine at idle--45 to 50, but when you put the system on load it just couldn't handle the heat--those dual core are like ovens when you get them cranking. The amazing thing is this only varies about 6 degrees on full load and is anywhere from 10 to 13 degrees cooler at full load (and I don't know how much hotter it would have got with the heat sink because it throttles itself back when it gets close to the max rating). But as I said, with the heat sink you had to keep the fans running like airplane propellers to keep the thing cool.

    Air cooling really isn't effective enough with the high end processors. You can keep the temps within range, but you really need great case ventilation and fans that are pushing a lot of air, and that translates to noise.

    I couldn't find a bad review on this system. All anyone said was that if you really wanted maximum cooling, you had to go to a higher end system, but who the hell wants to spend $400 or $500 bucks! :rolleyes:
     
  15. Guyzer

    Guyzer

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    Why didn't you just go to SallyAnn and scarf up a used one of these for 10 or 20 clams. Besides keeping it cool you would cut down on the noise without risking a water leak.
     

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