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Views on Liquid Cooling

Eric127212
Level 9
Over the past week or so i've been really interested and eager to give liquid cooling a shot. I've looked at all kinds of stuff ranging from the Corsair closed loop systems like the h100 to custom water loops. It looks like it would be fun to setup your own custom loop. The main concern i have had is the chance of springing a leak and trashing your system. I understand that it's necessary to do leak tests and let the cooler run for a while before running it in a live system. I was just wondering the likeliness of experiencing a major problem and if any of you have had any bad experiences with liquid cooling yourselves. Thanks in advance for your input 🙂
14,908 Views
23 REPLIES 23

Granger wrote:
I saw that vid too, did make me chuckle 😉

I know a lot of people here advise compression fittings (I might buy some one day?) I'm using plain barbs with either screw on or clip on collars (screw ons at the moment) with 13/19 tubing.
Never had a problem with them, although I do admit that the compression fittings look nicer.
Yeah compression fittings do look nice, they have some pretty cool ones that i have seen.

modmytoys makes carbon fiber fittings that look pretty cool. http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=59_346_1172

WHO_FARTED? wrote:
modmytoys makes carbon fiber fittings that look pretty cool. http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=59_346_1172
Those would probably look awsome, especially with some lights shining on them!

Granger wrote:
It is quite easy to do the custom loops, like you, I was quite worried about leaks and stuff before starting on my loop.
But if you follow all the advice you can find on these forums, its not a problem.

Once you have decided on your components, the way I did things was to build the loop in the case with everything else (minus the PSU, leave the PSU out of the case as it will be the only thing with power going through it when you leak test))
Under all the possible leak points (joints etc...) place paper towels.
Fill the loop as much as you can without the pump.
Use a jumper on the PSU 24pin connector (either you buy one especially for this or you just use a piece of wire to bridge between the green wire and any black wire)
Fire up the pump, finish filling the loop and let it run for a few hours checking for leaks and topping up as a top up will be needed when the pump pushes out any air that was in the loop.

If you put things together right, you have no leaks and all you need to do is put the PSU back in the case, connect all the wires and fire her up.
If you have a leak somewhere, stop everything, sort out the leaky joint and start the leek test again (not forgetting to top up the loop again)

Any liquid on the components, either leave to dry naturally, or steal the wifes hairdryer for a few minutes 😉

A good way to go if you want to start out by cooling just the CPU is a kit (Swiftech/XSPC/EK all do them) You get everything you need for cooling the CPU and you can build on it later to add VGA/Mobo etc...

I'm no plumber, and touch wood, I've rebuilt my loop 4 or 5 times now and never had a leak 🙂


edit: One very important thing, never run the pump with no liquid, I've been told the pump doesn't like this 😉

Thanks you for such a thorough response! It was quite helpful. I think if i go to liquid cooling i will probably look into those kits. Seems like you build a pretty solid water loop to never have had any leaks 🙂 Regarding the pump, i watched a youtube video a few days back where a guy was demonstrating how to fill up his loop, he didn't exactly know what he was doing, he started running it with the pump dry, and the pump quickly came down with a case of bronchitis. It was pretty amusing because he was saying how the awful noise was being caused by air bubbles in the loop. Thanks again for the help! 🙂

Raja
Level 13
The Koolance Exos range might be a compromise between going full custom and closed loop. Not cheap, but makes for easy intro to water-cooling.

Eric127212
Level 9
Thanks to everyone for your input, I really appreciate!

graphic
Level 11
If you think you do have a budget for a custom loop, then go for it,
you wont regret it 🙂
Its a good idea to look into all your options, read heaps of reviews
here's something you can read
http://skinneelabs.com/news/
http://rog.asus.com/forum/showthread.php?11951-Asus-Rampage-IV-Formula&p=198120#post198120

They do make non conductive liquids for the "just in case" moments. But to me, it's still a liquid and i dont put my trust in them, atleast not a 100%. But say in 3 months, you get a trickle, if it does it's job you wont have to worry much. I'm not sure if something was to short out even w/ water, if you can dry it off and it still be good. Someone might know, but thats probly a case where every incident is different.

WHO_FARTED? wrote:
They do make non conductive liquids for the "just in case" moments. But to me, it's still a liquid and i dont put my trust in them, atleast not a 100%. But say in 3 months, you get a trickle, if it does it's job you wont have to worry much. I'm not sure if something was to short out even w/ water, if you can dry it off and it still be good. Someone might know, but thats probly a case where every incident is different.

Yeah i was looking into the non conductive liquids which look pretty cool, according to one source they are mainly distilled water based and have a similar effect that distilled water would have. I am not sure if thats correct or not but i would definitely probably use non conductive fluids just to be safe 🙂

Eric127212 wrote:
Yeah i was looking into the non conductive liquids which look pretty cool, according to one source they are mainly distilled water based and have a similar effect that distilled water would have. I am not sure if thats correct or not but i would definitely probably use non conductive fluids just to be safe 🙂


Yes, unless it is some sort of exotic fluid that contains no water it will eventually ionize contaminants and become conductive. Pre-mixes are sometimes higher viscosity which will make your pump work harder and they tend to break down which will leave stains and gunk in your loop. After several builds I've settled on colored tubing and pure distilled water with a silver kill coil.

Regarding leaks, I've been there. I've had several small and inconsequential leaks due to the fitting not being screwed into a block or rad tight enough or a low quality O ring. If something comes with a flimsy O ring, replace it. They aren't expensive so don't mess around with those. You definitely want to go as tight as you can hand tight and I'm not shy about wrapping a cloth around it and turning a bit more with a wrench if it backs off easily. My problems didn't come from failing to screw the fittings in all the way, they came from monkeying with the tubes and the motion causing the fittings to back out because they weren't tight enough.

Use compression fittings. They look nice and they won't leak. Your only concern will be the g1/4 threads on the other side of the fitting and if you have them good and tight they won't leak either.

The only time I've ever had a serious problem was when a BFG card with a factory block leaked at the gasket. Nothing I could have done about that.
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