Water Cooling - Doing it the right way.


Jan 9, 2009
Hello Fellow Techies,

I am completing my build today and am looking at a Water Cooling system. I've researched quite some bit, and still don't feel I have sufficient knowledge to go out and buy (I like to learn first, as I hate having bought something then regretting finding I should have gone another route).

I want to know what brand, and where to buy the pieces to building a custom water cooling kit. My guess (and complete guess) is to start with something like this:


Is this overkill or just perfect? Would you go with an alternative, and if so, why? What else is needed?




Dec 12, 2007
out of the two the zalamn is much better but for $400 id go for a custum loop, i bought a case with wc pre built-in but found its performance not very good so i ended up swapping it all out for a $600 custom loop that perform much better. moral of the story if you got the cash go for a custom loop, also cooling a gfx card is only for noise not performance, but nb is for more performance when overclocking heavily.


Jan 19, 2009
i agree with richardscott,

I'd go with custom cooling as i've tried the kit way and although it wasn't too bad,i have much better temps with the setup i have now.

I have:

MCR220-QP Res Radiator with 4 x 120mm fans, 2 on each side in a push-pull configuration attached to a Swiftech Apogee GTZ(CPU Block) cooling my QX9770 3.2ghz upto 4.3ghz so far and the temps are good.

Here's a screen shot of my temps as i'm writing this to you


I've shrunk the screen so you can see what speed i run this CPU at, and this water cooling setup handles it no problem whatsoever.
^ Nice rig. Btw, what case do you have?

+1 for a custom loop. Don't bother with kit's most kits are cr@p.



Oct 17, 2006
pump: liang d5 (swiftech mcp655) $65
waterblock: (swiftech, dtek, or dangerden) $60
radiator: '68 bonnie heatercore $40, the more popular '77 is cheaper but smaller
fans: 2x 140mm $20
tubing, fittings and the rest $15

Thus you can have about the best cooling possible for $200

of course that is three times the price of a Thermalright ultra120 extreme black :)


go to www.xtremesystems.org and then to the water cooling section

honestly don't get a pre-built loop...


If you want to do your water cooling kit well... your honestly going to spend weeks researching the proper components that fit what you want to do perfectly... I know I have


Jul 12, 2007
I agree, the post shadow gave is very usefull, I was planning on going liquid aswell, but didn't really see the huge benefit ;) Custom build, is also more friendlier on the budget/performance what you will get.

Just for the brags: My Q6600 @ 3,2ghz With scythe 2000RPM and CM Hyper Z600.



Dec 12, 2007
I'm surprised no-one's mentioned FrozenCPU as a place to get stuff. They have a better selection for water cooling and modding than Newegg, though they don't have as many user-reviews.
In terms of components, I think you can't go wrong with Swiftech blocks and pumps, and their slim radiators are pretty decent if space and noise is an issue (others make better all-out performance radiators though). But definitely check out FrozenCPU.
I would advise, however, that you don't go for any whole-card GPU coolers when you could use GRAM heatsinks and an actual GPU waterblock, which you can transfer to a newer card when the time comes without having to worry about compatibility with model-specific card coolers. Some people use them because they perform better, but they are generally more expensive and are useless if you decide to upgrade your card to something completely different.
With regards to actually setting up the system, think back to high-school physics class and the unit on electrical circuits; many of the principles are interchangeable with fluid dynamics. Blocks in parallel will deliver cooler, um, coolant to both blocks, while in series one block will get the warmer coolant from the block upstream, reducing its overall effectiveness. The trade-off of parallel circuits is reduced flow rate as a result of distributing coolant across multiple loops. Also, whichever block has the lowest pressure drop (resistance) will channel more coolant away from the block with the higher pressure drop. Then you would have to use two pumps to force both loops to have relatively equal flow.

I'm pretty sure this is the order the loop goes in:

And IMHO, I think the recent kits Swiftech offers are actually pretty decent all-round solutions. Includes good large-diameter tubing, too. (Their site is somewhat of a PITA to navigate though.)


Jun 18, 2008
why would you get watercooling unless you have the max graphics you can get?!

which is going to get you more FPS: watercooling which will give you a2% drop in CPU temps+4870, or air cooled+4870X2?

your money. price/performance, watercooling is the worst choice you could possibly make. 600%+ more money for what?


Mar 18, 2006
I would agree with pretty well all of what has been said above - I did my first water cooled build using a Thermaltake 780e LCS (purchased secondhand for $100 off eBay) and while it certainly keeps the CPU cool I will probably upgrade using standalone components before too long. The Thermaltake LCS I have will keep the CPU at 28 - 35 deg C with the pump set at 50% and the fan set at anywhere from 5%-80% depending on room temperature however increase the fan speed beyond about 70% and it gets quite noisy. I went with liquid cooling to get away from noisy fans but I'm not all the way there yet (althought at 50% of full speed its quite quiet). The advantage of the Thermaltake kit is it is very easy to install - slots straight into 5.25" bays - but the radiator is only 120 mm suze and internally mounted so the heat is still discharged inside the case - this being the case you need good case fans to suck the air out.

My advice based on experience would be make sure you get a good large radiator - a triple or a quad of a reputable make (Dangerden, Swiftech or Feser) and mate it with some good but quiet fans like Noctua or Scythe. An overszed radiator will not cause problems but an undersized one will. For a pump the Swiftech MCP655 is one of the best you'll find. CPU Cooling Blocks Swiftech Apogee GT/GTZ or Koolance CPU-340 are some examples but there are other good ones. GPU fans are quite noisy especially if you crank the speed up to allow overclocking so adding a cooling block to your GPU will certainly help keep things quiet. Reservoirs - take your pick. Fittings - Koolance are pricey but nice.

Couple of websites for you for cooling gear.

http://www.frozencpu.com/ I have bought from them and they are really good to deal with

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php No personal experience of them but they seem like a good outfit based on reviews

Good Luck


Oct 17, 2006
Without a doubt its not the most practical of endeavors...

but there is no reason a wc setup needs to cost over $200, and a top air cooler will set you back at least $60... so its more like 300% :) and it does last for multiple builds I just made new brackets when I moved from athlon -> a64 -> 775

plus the hoses are guaranteed to confuse/ irritate your wife, thats good for something


Jul 12, 2007


How I agree it shouldn't cost an arm and a leg, I myself considered buying a high end cooler, which I could re use. Also the Z600 is compatible with the new i7, if you wish to upgrade later on. Just keep in mind that this thing is huge.

This is what it should look like for superb cooling (Push Pull)

It's all about preference though. I didn't mind to sacrafice $70,- for a cooler that gives me superb cooling.


Oct 24, 2008
/agree with everything thats been said. I purchased my parts from http://www.performance-pcs.com and http://www.petrastechshop.com/

Here's my watercooling setup, this should give you a good idea of a custom setup:
Swiftech APOGEE GTZ w\ Core i7 back-plate
Swiftech MCP655 12V DC Pump
Feser X-Changer 360mm Radiator (hard to see, its mounted on the inside of the top of the case, which is a coolermaster cosmos s)
3x Scythe SSF21F S-Flex 120mm on rad
EK-Multioption RES 250 Rev 2 Resovoir
Danger Den High-Flow 1/4" thread 1/2"OD Barbs used
Tygon R-3603 7/16" ID (5/8" OD) Tubing, zip tied
Distilled water w\ UV Reative Pentosin G11 Coolant Additive

Still waiting on waterblocks for the GTX295. Not out yet :(



Contributing Writer
Swiftech makes some good kits, but usually you will need a bigger rad depending on your end goal. If it is CPU only, then those 220 rads would be fine. If you are going to drop your GPU into the loop, you need at least a 320 rad.

General rule of thumb: 1.5x120 equivalent surface area, each, for CPU and GPU...at stock speeds. 2x120 equivalent surface area, each when overclocked.
I came across this at XS you might be interested:
The WaterkegIII is a new external water cooling unit made by a Xtremesystems member newls1 (Seth). All the units are built to order, typically based on a few basic variations and sets of upgrades. The upgrades range from improving the radiator, fans, pump, or really anything else in the loop.


Nov 11, 2008
I went with the swiftech H20-220 Apex Ultima kit from Sidewindercomputers.com for 240$ and some better tygon tubing for my new I7 system. I'm very pleased with it. The Apogee GTZ is one BA block.