Get Your Rig Wet

My first custom water cooling loop

Water cooling is something that even today is seen as a crazy alternative to cooling ones computer. Five to ten years ago this stigma was much more justified but today, today this very interesting hobby suffers from uneducated criticism more then anything. Like any other enthusiast level product there can be a number of reasons not to get involved, but I feel that the potential advantages greatly outweigh the disadvantages. It is often thought that the only (somewhat) practical reason to bother with water cooling is to overclock. While this is often true, there are still a number of alternative motives to keep in mind.

Noise

Volume levels obtainable by high end gaming PC’s can often climb to uncomfortable levels. This is especially true for gamers living in warmer climates. There are a vast number of cases, fans and heatsinks available that are geared towards quiet computing but they only go so far. A decent sized water cooling “loop” can encompass your CPU as well as your video card(s) and even other components such as your memory and motherboard chipset. Since you can often sufficiently cool a water cooling radiator with low speed fans it is VERY possible to have a screaming fast PC run damn near silent.

Temperature

This is something I touched on earlier, the operating temperature of your components. It is more appropriate to bundle temperature advantages with the advantage of lower sound levels for a few reasons. Most computer components today are rated to run at fairly high temperatures. The downside to this is that the smaller fans left to cool your CPU/video card(s) often kick into high gear when this happens. The largest thermal drawback to air cooling is the delta (difference) between idle and load temperatures. Water cooling is often capable of maintaining a very small idle-load delta with consistent fan speeds, benefiting your ears as well as the lifespan of your electronic components.

System Longevity

This is something that many people never consider, that water cooling can aid in your system’s longevity in more then one way. The first is something I briefly touched on already, the lifespan of your system itself. Although today’s CPU/video card(s)/etc are capable of running at fairly high temperatures, a constant “back and forth” in temperatures as a result of poor cooling can easily shorten the lifespan of components, or even damage them over time. The smaller thermal delta that water cooling is capable of helps tremendously towards extending the life of your system. A nice bonus is that all it takes is a water block change and you should be able to “recycle” your water cooling loop for quite some time.

Unfortunately it is the initial investment, work and know-how that deter most people from giving water cooling a chance. Part of the “wow factor” is in the aesthetics of a water cooled system but many people not concerned with the look of their rig typically couldn’t care less. If you have been considering water cooling or even getting curious I urge you not to shy away from at least doing some research, you won’t regret it!

– Cornelious

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  1. I completely agree with you.

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