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Water Cooling is a great way to offer some respite and enhance the life-span of your computer. It is preferred over air cooling primarily due to the advantage it enjoys for being a better thermal conductor. The thermal conductivity of water is 0.6062 W/ (m*K), while that of air is 0.0262. So, water can draw the heat away from the components more efficiently than air.

Moreover the specific heat capacity of water is also more than that of air. This enables that water cooling system to absorb a greater amount of energy before heating up. When you use water cooling, the heat is carried to a remote location like a radiator, where it is easily dissipated in comparison to a heat sink. You can cool all the major components by the same method and this ensures less noise since you would require fewer fans.

First of all a Water Block is required. It is made of a thermally conductive metal like copper or aluminum which interfaces with the chip that you require to get cooled. Water block designs can vary in order to ensure the maximum surface area. A maze of channels fills up the water block. Turbulence is generated to avoid the ‘hot spots’. The CPU, GPU and Northbridge can be effectively cooled through the water cooling system.

A heater core from an automobile can make an inexpensive and high performance radiator for the water cooling system. A big size 120mm fan is preferred due to its positive airflow to noise ratio. These fans blow through the radiator to cool the water which is then returned to the reservoir. A water cooling reservoir though not compulsory, helps to enhance the thermal capacity of the system by removing the excess air and convenient filling of the system. A fillport can alternatively be used to provide the user access to the coolant in the system. A water cooling pump can remove the water which is placed inside the reservoir.

There is a wide difference of opinion on the appropriate water cooling tubing. Those with a greater inner diameter, say ½” provides an enhance flow rate than a say, 3/8” tube but the point is the duration of time in the radiator when there is water in the system that will be the same regardless of the speed of the water flow. It needs to be ascertained that the tubing material is kink resistant like Tygon and the components are compatible with the inner diameter.

The setup of your water-cooled computer case demands some amount of creativity apart from the availability of space. Mount the reservoir facing the case in the drive bay area. The radiator can be placed either on the drive bay area or the top of the case or behind the case adjacent to the exhaust fans. The Zalman Reserator 1V2 is an integrated reservoir and radiator system that allows water cooling to your computer while saving you a large amount of space.

Next you need to decide on the type of liquid coolant that you would be using. The minerals, bacteria and the algae present in the tap water make it unsuitable since it can corrode the water cooling system. De-ionized water may be a good alternative. Being a poor electrical conductor, it lessens the damage in case of a leak. But it is best avoided since there is a possibility of it corroding the water blocks. The cheap and pure distilled water is the best alternative. You can add some additives to enhance the cooling capacity by altering the properties of water. A UV-reactive dye is an option.

After assembling the water cooling system in this manner, fill the system outside of the computer for testing. Use a small funnel to fill up the reservoir and continue adding water after turning the pump on until the adequate height of the fluid level is not reached. The reservoir can be placed on top of the system by slowly tilting and moving the components after the system is filled. The air trapped will be thereby released. Then run the system on a bed of paper and check for leaks.

After successful completion of the test, you can install the case with special attention to water block mounting. There should not be any uneven pressure on the core. Finally boot your machine and check the temperature through the BIOS.

Therefore, some creative incorporation while building the water cooling system will ensure your machine a happy longer life.

A wide variety of water cooling cases and kits are available at Xoxide which houses brands like Swiftech and Thermaltake. You can also obtain a pre-built custom computer cooling case from Koolance and Thermaltake. Fabulous water cooling kits are available at Swiftech, Polarflo, and Corsair.

The cooling radiator, reservoir and water pump can be obtained from Xoxide.com. The PC water blocks are available at Swiftech and Zalman. Quality tubing, fittings and clamps can be picked up from Koolance and Danger Den. The computer liquid and other water cooling accessories are available at Xoxide, Sunbeam and Alphacool.


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