Watercooling PC.

Discussion in 'Desktop & Laptop Computers Forum' started by Pulsar, May 3, 2003.

  1. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hello,

    I have recently built a new HTPC with the aim of making it quiet. I invested in very high spec heatsinks and fans, but in the end, the PC is not bas quiet as I would like. I am now considering watercooling my PC, and would like some advice.

    I understand that this would be a silent solution?
    Can a graphics card be watercooled?
    Are there any recommended kits available to buy, and from where?
    How heavy is all this stuff?
    Can watercooling cope with an overclocked CPU?

    If anyone can add anything else that would be great. Kramer?

    Many thanks

    Rob
     
  2. rhinoman

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    Its still not a fanless solution as the radiator still has to be cooled and the PSU will still have fans (unless you mod it for watercoooling but thats not for the novice).

    A graphics card can be watercooled.

    Watercooling will easily cope with overclocking, its just a case of speccing the right equipment.

    I thought about watercooling as an option when I was having trouble getting my XP machine down to reasonable levels, in the end I decided to try a different HSF and PSU because of the hastle of watercooling if
    a:something goes wrong and
    b:if you change components reguarly.

    What HSF PSU did you end up with and are you using case fans?
     
  3. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi JohnS

    At the moment I have a Zalman Flower CPU cooler, a Zalman heatsink for the radeon, so that is now fanless, and a Antec power supply. For case fans I have 3 Antec and 2 evercool case fans. All are 80 mm and run a roughly 1,500 rpm.

    The flower cooler is quiet, and the PSU is near silent. The thing is that I do have to turn the flower 92mm fan up to high when playing games so that the cPU doesn't fry. This is when it gets noisy. Also I think the combination of about 8 or 9 fans, even though each one is quiet can build up to a gentle hummmmmmm.

    Overall is is quite quiet I suppose, and for the cost, maybe watercooling will not be that much better.

    If anyone has more info then please post.

    Thnaks

    Rob
     
  4. rhinoman

    rhinoman
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    I managed to get rid of all my case fans by using the Thermalright SLK800 with a 92mm low flow Panaflo. Max temps with a 2100 is 47C in a 26C room. Overclocked to 2700 it still only reaches 55C max.
     
  5. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    In your opinion, what is a safe temp for a Athlon XP CPU?

    I get worried if mine goes much above 60 degrees.
     
  6. rhinoman

    rhinoman
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    60 was about the figure I used to get concerned too although with an inferior cooler my 2200 hit 68 at which point I took the lid off of the case to let it cool down.

    General wisdom says much higher is okay but my Asus board is known for giving lower temprature readings than true so I prefer to edge on the side of caution.
     
  7. Kramer

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    Hi Pulsar.

    I've watercooled my CPU, graphics card (ramsinked too!) & Northbridge (used to get very hot at FSB > 205!).

    Started with custom made waterblocks, but they are too difficult to make properly & are relatively inexpensive to buy anyway.

    Currently using all Danger Den blocks & delighted with the results.

    XP2400+ (stock 2.0gHz) running 100% stable (Prime 95>48 hours with 3D Mark looping also) @ 2.5gHz & my 9700Pro is at 425core/750mem 24/7.

    550w PSU I modded with slow RPM fans (5volted too!), so that's practically silent too (system can't be heard from 2 feet away in a totally quiet room at 4am).

    My Rad, res, pump & rad cooling fans are all external to my house :eek: , so the 2x 120mm fans (@7v) are a non-issue.

    1x inlet & 1x return pipe enter the house/PC - an ideal solution (for me).

    Thoroughly recommend watercooling (but not Comer's version :D ).

    Silence & performance - best of both worlds. Total cost (IIRC) was approx £140ish - that's everything, inc. delivery. I'd never consider going back now. Other PCs in the house drive me mad when I have to use them - & they're not loud, by any means.

    Posted some pics of it some time ago, I'll try to route them out & repost them to give you an idea of what it looks like.

    Temps - never a problem - CPU max is low 30s, case low 40s (no case fans, no airflow, but all critical components are ramsinked). Running now since November pretty much 24/7 without any problems (apart from 2x WD se failures :(

    Any more questions - ask away :)
     
  8. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi Kramer.

    A very detailed and informative post as usual. :)

    I do however have a few questions. I am not in the fortunate position to have my rad outside of my house. This leaves me with the question of 'Will it be any quieter than my current setup?'
    I understand that I will have a vastly improved cooling capacity, and will be able to push my processor to some heady Mhz figures along with the Radeon 9700, but being quiet is very important.

    By having your rad outside, do you need a larger than standard pump to cater for the extra piping?

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  9. Kramer

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    Hi Pulsar.

    No, no larger pump required - the pipework is only slightly longer than a "standard" (if watercooling could ever be considered "standard") WC'ed rig. I use an Eheim 1048 (IIRC - haven't seen it for weeks - don't venture out much!) & it's perfect.

    Yes, silence will still be achieveable with a normal install. 2x 120mm Papst's (or other low rpm/quiet fans) on your rad (in a push/pull config) will make far less noise than say 3/4/5 case fans, a CPU fan + the noisey little 9700 fan.

    Not as silent as mine, obvioulsy, but with some shrouding on the rad/fan combo, I'd say <15db is easy.

    You could go for an "all in one box" solution, or similiar to me, a separate box for the "cooling" side of things (all-be-it in your case, internal - under/near the main PC) , with just the blocks in your rig.

    Must get them pics for you.

    As an experiment, get 1 or 2 good 120mm fans & see how they are at 5/7v - that's the maximum noise your watercooled PC will make.

    ;)
     
  10. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi Kramer,

    This could be an expensive test. I think I will have to thibk this one through very carefuly.

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  11. Kramer

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    Na, a couple of 120mm fans won't set you back too much - £10/15.

    You could always use them as quieter case fans :)
     
  12. james.miller

    james.miller
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    my amd xp system had 2 fans. a 5volted psu fan, and a 7volted 80mm fan on my slk-800. kept my 1.8ghz XP @33idle, 39c load and damn quiet to boot. cheper than watercooling lol
     
  13. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi Guys (Kramer)

    I am still seriously considering the watercooling idea, can you answer me this question.

    I plan on putting the PC in a cabinet, and will have the radiator inside the PC, or at least inside the cabinet. Now with two 120mm fans as suggested, will there be sufficient airflow to cool the PC, or will the air inside the cabinet get too hot? For your info, the cabinet would be quite big, lets say 120cmx80cmx80m, hxwxd.

    Thanks again.

    Rob
     
  14. Kramer

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    Hi Pulsar.

    As big as the cabinet is, you'd need to actively "ventilate" it. The heat produced by the PC would soon rise the ambient temperature inside the cabinet & possibly lead to problems during 24/7 or intensive running.

    My case is pretty much passive - no airflow whatsoever, but the major components (CPU, GPU & Nth/bridge) are watercooled. Case temps hit the low 40s, but there's never been a problem (& that's 24/7 heavy useage quiet often).

    Better to have the rad just outside/built into the cabinet so the heat dissaped from it exits the cabinet.

    One more 120mm fan @ low rpm pushing air into the cabinet should be sufficient.

    Sounds good though - best of luck :)
     
  15. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi Kramer,

    I have been thinking very hard about this project and would like to run it past you.

    At the moment my HTPC is in a different room to my hifi and cinema setup, so noise has never been an issue. I now plan on putting the htpc in the cinema room. My plan is to buy a good quality soundcard such as a Maudio and rip my music CD's to the hard drive using a loss less method, and have the PC as a music server. I will also be using the PC for games (OMG have you seen Halflife 2) and to play DVD's for the HS10. Because the PC is going to be in the cinema room, it needs to be quiet. As per my prev posts, I am thinking of watercooling the PC, and installing it in a unit of some sort. You said that I would need some air flow through this to allow the watercooling rad to do its job. I thought that if I left a small 1 inch gap around the bottom of the unit, and installed a 120mm fan (maybe 2) at the top of the unit somewhere then this should create a nice flow of cool air from the bottom and the heat pushed out at the top. What do you think?

    My full setup from this PC will include a 17" LCD monitor (which I already have) installed in another room, with my wireless keyboard and mouse. This will be used for doing my uni work, and for watching TV using the tuner card in the PC. I will also need to connect a second LCD monitor which shall be installed on the wall above the unit containing the PC, to be used for selecting music and films etc, with a second USB mouse for selecting tracks etc.... (I have tested this, and you can have 2 mice connected with no problems at all) and The HS10 will be connected via DVI :)

    my questions are as follows...

    For the 2nd LCD monitor, I will not need an expensive 17" one, just a 15" or so, but this creates the first problem. I run my 1st monitor at the native res of 1280 * 1024, but I can't find any 15" LCD that will take this res. This means that I will either need to pay through the nose, and buy a 17" or can I setup a hotkey system where I can switch resolutions easily? I have heard mumblings about this, and I believe that you can use the ATI control pannel to do it.

    Secondly, I will need 2 VGA outputs from my PC, so a splitter will be required. Are these OK?

    Thirdly I could do with some pointers on what software I should use for the music distribution. I have looked at My HTPC, but are there any others? Also what software is best for ripping my CD's to the hard drive?

    Fourthly, what will the sound quality be like? This is very important and should have been my first question. I currently use a Rotel RCD-02 (I think) and am very happy with the quality, is this possible from a PC with Maudio soundcard?

    Fifth. Any good places to get watercooling parts in the UK, or LCD monitors? I would like to find a LCD monitor with a damaged case, as I could mount the monitor so that it couldn't be seen.

    Finaly, if anyone can point out any fatal flaws in my plan, please do. Any suggestions are welcomed, and I appologise for the long post.

    Cheers guys.

    Rob
     
  16. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Any thought guys?

    I forgot to ask, do the M-Audio cards have phono outputs on them?

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  17. nutcase_1uk

    nutcase_1uk
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    The studio grade one (Delta 410, 1010 etc.) do, the revo has 3.5mm jacks.
     
  18. Pulsar

    Pulsar
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    Hi nutcase_1uk,

    Are these studio grade cards expensive? If so, can you suggest an alternative card that will give good stereo sound through phono outputs?

    Cheers

    Rob
     
  19. nutcase_1uk

    nutcase_1uk
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    The delta 410 (closest equivalent to the revo) cost me £220. In theory, the Revo is better spec'd, with only the connector "letting it down". I havn't noticed any drop in quality, and ther revo is more featured.

    Not sure of any consumer grade cards with phono, except soundblaster cards with the live drive, or using a hoontech adapter.
     

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