Watercooling Guide


Nov 20, 2007
New to watercooling? Read here first!!!!!!!!!!

Us guys have done the WC thing, there are basics you gotta know. Maybe this long rewritten and modified thing will help.
CPU HS $65
GPU HS and air HS for vram and mosfets $95, full cover block, $100-$200
Radiator $60 min, up to $130
Pump $65 +
Resiviour $25
Hose, some barbs and clamps etc (min $25, more like $35)
Fans $15-30

I went top notch and spent close to $600 to cool my CPU and GPU. You can do it for less, but a CPU only loop is $250 or so, add a GPU, add $100. If your looking at an i7 and a BIG GPU, start thinking about a big rad, possibly two rads, or even TWO loops.
First you gotta learn about WC. It's not like walking into Best Buy.
Spend a while reading this info, get a feel for what your getting into and learn.
It’s not 'Roket Science', but you need to know the basics and the lingo as a beginner.
You should spend a few hours on the listed sites reading threads, guides and more. It's how YOU learn. I can recommend the best stuff, but there are things only reading and participating on forums will ya learn anything. You don’t have to join all the forums. But reading ALL the WC stickies and many threads that interest you is important. A thread might be 50 replies long, and 15 of those replies might be what you needed to ‘PASS THE TEST’. Remember, once the $500 of goodies show up on your doorstep you’re on your own.

Also while there please read on case mods etc. The radiators do NOT fit in many cases. Reading up on pumps and hose routing, wire management and other things are important. Google your planned case and the word water-cooled in one line. You might get lucky.

For your benefit please spend a few days reading a LOT. It took me a while; I was big into Air over clocking and started to read about water-cooling. I made my decision to water-cool. THREE months later I made my first purchase of parts. Yes it took me that long and I have built a few systems and always just fine.

Don't expect miracles or SUPER DOOPER over clocks. Your temps with a good WC rig will be better than you could of got on air, guaranteed. What you will get is a quiet system that can handle OC to the max of your hardware IF you buy quality and buy smart. And minor maintenance too, a bonus for the water cooler.

2009/2010 Heat thoughts:
With the advent of the HOT i7 and bigger dual chip GPU's, it has changed. A 220 size MIN rad for an i7, you want big over clocks, better go 320 sized rad.
Expect a i7 at 4.1 to be putting out close to 250 watts. Using the radiator testing charts, a PA 120.3 with medium fans on high you’ll get a Delta T of 5C, very good. Some have suggested a GTX295 puts out about 250 watts of heat, possibly more like 280 under load. You try and put both of those on a 120x3 radiator the CPU will not over clock at all, it will be very very unhappy. You want to learn more about heat load and the all important measurement, Delta T, read up in the stickies I provided.
2007/2008 Old stuff heat thoughts:
For the old Q6600 CPUs and the old 4870 and GTX280 cards.
IF you just cool your CPU and your NB if you want, you can get by with a 120.2 sized radiator (RAD). And MAYBE fit in inside depending on your mod skillz. You want to cool your GPU too, you'll need a 120.3 sized rad, and it probably won't fit inside. The rear external rad really works great. No matter what your adding 10lbs to your PC.
Just general info what you should do once a year to keep your WC at 100%:
Cleaning a loop, not a new loop: I do this once a year, I drain and refill at 6 months, the next time I do this……
Wash hands very well, getting rid of hand oils.
For pumps and blocks, fittings, clamps, acrylic res/block parts.... not hose, tear it to smallest pieces, put in a bowl, heat water up not to boiling add 10% vinegar, when hot, pour over parts. Rinse in 10 min or so. Put aside.
The blocks will probably have some black oxidation. Take the copper parts out of the pile of parts you took out of the water. Dry well and pour ketchup on them, and set aside. Only the copper parts need this.
Rad cleaning: fill with very almost boiling hot water. Let sit 10 minutes, drain half out and shake for 5 min. Repeat till liquid is clean. You can pour it in a clean bowl and inspect the water if you like.
All the pump, block, fittings, and clamps, inspect, get in the tiniest corners with a tooth brush. Kind of meditative, time consuming, you learn a lot about o-ring size, how it all feels. It’s very relaxing with some mellow jazz in the background. Run a rag using a coat hanger and dish soap through the tubing, rinse well. I always consider replacing my hose every year. Plasticizers leach out, the tubing isn’t as flexible. Consider it a ‘Hobby Cost’.
Rinse all the parts and hose with distilled, dry then really dry with an air compressor (nice extra step to get rid of water spots). Don’t need to dry the inside of the hose.
Now on to the copper parts, they should have been soaking an hour or two. A toothbrush and ketchup should clean much of the oxidation. It probably won’t be like new, but pretty darn good. Rinse, dry, and blow the parts.
That’s it.
Benching software and such is very varied. I use these for each purpose:
These are pretty standard and used by many.
Monitoring the PC temps overall: HW monitor aka hardware monitor
CPUZ for CPU info
GPUZ for GPU info
CPU only: Real Temp
GPU only: ATI Tool, I have a Nivida GTX280, so it works on Nvidia

Loading/benching tools:
CPU loaders: Prime95 and OCCT
GPU Loaders: ATI Tool and the best one is Furmark, nothing pushes the GPU harder right now.
Benching for overall graphics/gaming performance is 3DMark06

Pretty up to date info and buying guide Has EU, AU, NZ stores at the bottom
Extreme Overclocking
A great up to date guide
What to do once all the stuff is in the door
Extreme Overclocking
Many build logs on MANY cases, great learning tool.

My latest rig:
OC Forums

XtremeSystems Not a noob site, but great stickies
OC Forums My fav, good peeps, know their stuff, less hardcore
Over-clock.com A GREAT Europe site
Overclock.net Decent site
XtremeSystems Why we use distilled water. Or de-ionized in the UK because distilled ain’t available unless your rich.

Tests on equipment, not reviews, truly scientific tests
XtremeSystems More rad testing
skinnee labs Host for Martins lab and some newer tests
skinnee labs Test results, very technical

Stores (US)
Sweet! Book marked this.

Also if possible could you add this some where: http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?p=3837299
I don't see any of the guides mention not to use pre mix.

As for the replacing hoses is that needed esp with the Tygon and other quality tubing? I see why this may be done with Vinyl,etc but isn't one year too short (for Tygon,etc)? I'd say 2-2.5 years for Tygon.

A toothbrush and ketchup should clean much of the oxidation.
What kind of Ketchup? :p


For my use *I copy BB Code and give you credit this way.. Hope you don't mind.


Nov 20, 2007
Nope, credit don't matter, getting peeps on the right path does. And I added it to my links.

Thanks for the reply Shadow.

And yea, maybe 1 year is to short, I mentioned I consider it. They have to know old tubing might be problematic, thats all we can do.


Nov 20, 2007
Dude, fix it yourself. LOL, I did my part, let me know if you need any links etc, you can get them off OC Forums.

I don't even remeber posting that in the forum. Ahh well. Let me know what ya need. You can fix it, email it to me and I can cut n paste etc.


Nov 20, 2007
BTW, thanks to all my friends here who made it what it is. If not for your friendship and just being peeps who I come back to, it wouldn't of got done, me asking radomizer for help. Took over a year, man I typed the beginning LONG ago.

All done. Hope it really helps the new folks, opens their eyes to what it's all about.

BTW, random? As things change I'l prolly hit you up for changes.
Nice knowledgeable info.... a good eyeopener for all of us....
But, alas!! :( the whole point of liquid cooling is to get rid of the noise and humm of the fans and avoid all that microbial dust from getting into the nooks and corner of the machine............ and after I saw your Latest rig......
Your latest rig:
It somehow put me off the i7..... although I just ordered one.... now you've got me wondering......
You've got 16 visible fans working there man....... it's like a car engine...... but does it do the 280 stretch that comfortably??
6 on each radiator and there's 2 radiators......
2 on the top upper side I guess for RAM cooling
1 in front of the HDDs.......
1 in the PSU....
Ain't that a little too much on the electricity.???
I believe beauty lies in the eye of the beholder...... a tech station is nice but can't be used on a permanent rig.... thats why it's a tech station....... the vibes..... will slowly..... cause stuff to move in directions uncertain..... and what about all the dust that gets in and on the system.... cleaning the liquid from within the system is good enough.... but now we've got to fight and added headache of tons of dust...... Tragic stuff...... really I did get put off by the whole idea.....
I'd suggest using downsize connectors to the inlet on every WB there and Bigger pipes for it to flow out ...... high to low pressure cools the agent traveling thru by itself.... you'll cut down on the number of fans to make is look more model specific.... it's an i7 for pete's sake
I'd suggest using downsize connectors to the inlet on every
Why? That would kill flow rate.

As for fans, they (total) use less than 20Ws or so.

And no, the entire point of liquid cooling is to either OC to the max OR to get a quieter system. Also note, Conumdrum used YateLoons which are pretty quiet.

a tech station is nice but can't be used on a permanent rig
Why not? It's just a matter of preference and how much dust,etc is in the air.
Liquid cooling is for OC'ing that's an understood fact...... I think it's more like common sense...... the common day to day computer user will never dream of getting a liquid close to his rig.....
Using a downsized inlet ok. I didn't mean by a big margin.... just about 2mm less.... it won't kill .... as you say.... but it will give the liquid mix a better heat absorbing chance since the time of contact increases by a fraction of a second..... thereby, in reality, letting the radiator function at an optimal rate to cool down the liquid....
Afterall there is no point in cooling down an already cool substance... the difference should be noticeable to the equipment we use too.... right.... think of it like OC'ing the Liquid cooling system.....
I agree on the point of the tech station being used as a matter of preference


Nov 20, 2007

I have 3 fans on each radiator, Yate Loon mediums turned down. I have a fan on low that blows across my hard drives. I have two other 92mm fans that blow across my Mosfets and top of the board. Then a 80mm old antec spot fan laying across the NB. And my CPU fan. My temps are very very good, it's quiet. My PSU fan is the loudest thing.

Electricity? The fans themselves use very very little power.

I have a very dust free environment. I'm sure I can go 6 months with no change in temps, with my rig on about 8hrs a day. So You might have a dust problem, I don't.

A tech station is perfect for someone who never moves the PC and easy to work on. Vibes? Umm okay......
What do you mean a downsized inlet? Methinks you know very little about flow rates and the science of watercooling. Maybe you should read some of the links.

Thanks for the input? You even watercool your PC?


Nov 20, 2007
Nope. How old is that block? I began watercooling umm about 2 years ago? My forst CPU block was a Fuzion V1.

Uummm reducing the diameter of any fitting reduces flow rates throughout the loop. Modern blocks have worked out inpingment by the channels inside the block, not a barb.

It's an outdated concept I guess. Maybe thats what he meant, it sounded more like someone who just took a college class in hydrodynamics etc with no clue about watercooling a PC. We can all spout drivel easy enough.