[SOLVED] Best custom water cooling loop for my PC?

JaymanHD

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Jun 16, 2015
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Hello people on the forum, I come to you today with a question specific to my build. I have never water cooled any of my computers and would like to start harvesting it’s benefits on my desktop. I would like to overclock my CPU a reasonable amount therefore cooling is needed to balance the thermals. I am pretty skeptical on a lot of the water blocks, fittings, and pumps that are on the market today. As you know, if they fail you can damage your machine. I ask for someone to please educate me on what I should look for when buying these items, and maybe suggest products that you or someone you know have had good experience with. My specs are... AMD Ryzen 7 3700x paired with a Gygabyte B450M DS3H motherboard, 16GB ddr4 ram and a GTX 2060 all being powered by a Thermaltake GX2 600W power supply. Any suggestions and knowledge is greatly appreciated! Have a nice day!
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
And to respond to your thread title: Best custom water cooling loop for my PC?

The answer is: The one that is right for your budget, build and requirements.

This may or may not be a complete kit. This might be hand chosen components based on specific requirements you want or need. It is very possible it could be a combination of both.

There isn't an Amazon link we can just provide for this kind of question.

Also, liquid cooling problems typically don't involve pump failures, they involve leaks or improper assembly of components. If we're talking about AIO liquid cooling, then that's very different.
 

JaymanHD

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Jun 16, 2015
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Have you read through the watercooling sticky or any threads that cover the topic?
After re-reading the water cooling sticky link, I have noticed something I have skipped over before. I see that you can go to the sites you have mentioned to build a custom loop based on the hardware you have without having to worry about fitting compatibility, proper pump flow, and radiator sizing. I personally have chosen the EK route and found compatible hardware based on my build. Thank you for directing me back to the article to catch the part I missed.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Ambassador
Don't stop there, there's a lot more to figure out. Like the differences in coolants, how to properly clean the rads before building, dry fitting, cutting and chamfering hosed/pipes, maintenance schedules, reasons why one coolant doesn't go well with other biocides, whether silver coils really work, sediment collection in dead end parts of the loop, color fades, pastels gumming up pumps and blocks, cleaning practices, pre-mix vrs concentrate, how to fill, prime, drain loops, leak checking, loop cleaning with chemicals, acrylics vrs PETG, etc etc etc....

And that's not even mentioning the Delta expectations, hardware differences, or even expected temp results and behavioral differences to air coolers...

Half of what you thought you knew about airflow, cooling and it's characteristics you can toss out the window. Loops don't follow the rules you figure they should.
 
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rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
This is true, one of the largest misconceptions about watercooling is that it is an install and forget it solution, like an AIO liquid cooler.

It isn't. It requires annual maintenance (or more regularly), depending on your system. Radiators are of different thicknesses, fin density and tube counts (the lateral tubes carrying liquid through the radiator). There are some very good pumps....and some good pumps....and some not very good pumps and all of them are likely better than the pumps on any AIO you find. Still, there are items to spot and items to potentially avoid.

Ideally you won't mix aluminum with copper, brass or nickel that is normally found in custom watercooling components. While this can be quelled with some specific coolants that prevent corrosion, your best bet is to avoid using them in the first place. Most AIOs get past this by using a chemically formulated coolant just for their aluminium radiators and copper base plates and is much more viscous as a result

Coolant flow rate, air flow rate, radiator cooling block potential thermal capacity by delta and thermal dissipation properties, and the overall volume in total of radiators themselves as well as watts of thermal energy produced per component cooled in the loop each contribute to the performance and cooling delta. If you make a change to any of these items, the cooling delta of the entire cooling loop changes and requires adjustment to correct to meet your needs.
 
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Karadjgne

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Ambassador
First you'll even have to decide if you want an uber quiet or don't care loud pc, because that'll totally change the rads and fans aspects. Some rads are designed for lower coolant restriction and higher fin density, yet slimmer overall so use low rpm fans, some rads are double pipe, split fins with highest fin density and use extremely high speed fans and are very thick, but work as good as a larger radiator.

And a lot of that is determined by case choice. Everything any anything that could possibly be a consideration, Is a consideration. Dimensions, equipment, distro plates, flow indicators, loop flow, hard/soft pipe, fittings, gaps, rads, drains, reservoirs, all of it.

The EK kits are nice, and EK has done a lot of the work for you, but unless you have a decent idea of exactly what you are getting into and what you can expect the results to be like, you can't be sure you'll get out of the kit exactly what you wanted to achieve.

Full custom loops are an advanced science, that some have turned into an art form for the sake of show worthy pc's, and many are sponsored by 1 vendor or another, so are limited to that performance bracket. I'd not use a EK Coolstream SE rad simply because it's on the bottom of the list, but others are quite happy to.

And all that comes at a price. Water cooling can cost more than the pc it's sitting in, depending on how it's done.
 
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Long story short, if you just want to do a little overclocking, you are good to go with a good quality air cooler. Temperatures shouldn't be much higher with a really good quality air cooler than watercooled.
 

rubix_1011

Contributing Writer
Moderator
And to respond to your thread title: Best custom water cooling loop for my PC?

The answer is: The one that is right for your budget, build and requirements.

This may or may not be a complete kit. This might be hand chosen components based on specific requirements you want or need. It is very possible it could be a combination of both.

There isn't an Amazon link we can just provide for this kind of question.

Also, liquid cooling problems typically don't involve pump failures, they involve leaks or improper assembly of components. If we're talking about AIO liquid cooling, then that's very different.
 

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