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Thread: Water-cooling advice needed!

  1. #1

    Water-cooling advice needed!

    Hello everyone. I recently built my first custom water-cooled set up and I'm not sure if something is wrong. Everything seems to be working okay; no leaks, no BSODs from over-heating. I'm just not getting temps as low as I thought I would get for the $300+ investment. I'm no novice to building PCs, but like I said, this is my first custom H2O loop, so I may have missed something. My AMD Phenom II BE 3.0Ghz is what's being cooled. My max temp under load (Prime 95 for 1 hour) is about 56 C and the CPU idles between 34 and 38 C. I know this is well within safe operating temps, but after all that money and work, my temps aren't much lower than when I was air cooling with the ZALMAN CNPS 9500. I have experimented with different fan and pump speeds, different fan configurations (pulling vs pushing air through the rad) and I've reapplied the thermal paste, all without any noticeable change. I've been using Speedfan and CPUID Hardware Monitor to get my temps.
    Here are my full system specs:

    AMD Phenom II 940 BE 3.0Ghz
    6GB DDR2 RAM
    ASRock AOD790GX/128M
    PNY GeForce GTX 460
    Cooler Master Silent Pro M 600W PSU
    Sound Blaster X-Fi

    Koolance CPU-330 CPU block
    Koolance 2x120mm 30-FPI Copper Radiator
    Koolance RP-980BK Reservoir/Pump Combo
    Tygon tubing
    Fesser One Coolant
    Arctic Silver 5
    ENERMAX MAGMA UC-MA12 120mm Fans

    Cooler Master 690II Advanced case

    Are these temps normal? Am I doing something wrong? Is my CPU block 'good' enough?
    Any advice would be very much appreciated.

  2. #2

    Water-cooling advice needed!

    Basically the water, unless chilled wont get lower than - ambient room temp + the temp of the hardware. The main thing about Liquid cooling temps, is with the maximum temp reached while under load. I'll bet that when cooled with air and OCed, that CPU will reach much higher temps, and may even get dangerously high.

    My Intel 775 Q9650 is overclocked to 3.6Ghz and only reaches 60c under load (Video remdering with Sony Vegas for hours at a time!!) and idles at about the same 35-38c as your CPU.

    Hope this helps,

  3. #3
    The Main Man Dewayne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2006

    Water-cooling advice needed!

    britrb is correct.

    Unless you pre cool the air that passes through the rad you are not going to get the liquid cooler than maybe 1-2 degrees lower that the ambient temp if you are really lucky.

    The real question is do you know what your temps were before the upgrade? You need to compare them and this is where you will see if if was worth the investment.

    This is just my personal thoughts and I think other might have the same idea about us modders. Water cooling was the shittz a few years ago when all you have was a either a stock cooler or a over fanned cpu cooler screaming at 300cfm and 100 dB's. Then came the heat pipe setup, which was old technology but new to the PC world. This got you MUCH better cooling and a lot less of the noise.

    Water cooling was the in-between stage of what I mentioned. But the one thing that water cooling still has above and beyond any cooling heatsink is the freaking WOW Factor. You can take a great looking mod -that has air cooling- "Yeah that looks cool..."throw on a water cooling setup and you have just took it up a few notches in the wow factor. "Dude did you see that thing? It has four loops, 3 rads, and 4 pumps on 1inch lines and...." Come on I know you all do it, it is OK to admit it here, you are among friends.

    Me... I know I do it and in my next personal build I am looking at putting in water cooling.

    The only way to go really cooler is with a phase change setup (fancy words for basically a small refrigerator setup as during the cooling process the freon does go through a phase change or change of state) but they can be rather costly and noisy.

    Sorry back to your question...This is how I would judge it.

    1- Was it fun and exciting to put together and install?
    2- Did it lower your temps by more than one degree than your best air cooler?
    3- Did the noise from the PC decrease?
    4- Did you get that WOW factor out of it?
    5- Do you like the way it looks with you system?

    If you said yes to 3 or more then I think it was worth it.

  4. #4

    Water-cooling advice needed!

    Thanks for the replies guys.
    I can't find the files on my PC right now, but I know I tested temps before and after the install and it was about 2 or 3 degrees cooler than the Zalman. I wish I could find those docs. Maybe I deleted them.

    AF, to answer your questions:

    1- Was it fun and exciting to put together and install?

    Hells yes it was! A little nerve-wracking, but a good time.

    2- Did it lower your temps by more than one degree than your best air cooler?

    A few degrees, yes.

    3- Did the noise from the PC decrease?

    Not really. It seems about the same. I have a fan controller built into the pump/res combo, so that's nice.

    4- Did you get that WOW factor out of it?

    Yep. I know exactly what you mean. Yes, we all do it.

    5- Do you like the way it looks with you system?

    Yes. It seems more 'roomy'.

    I'm still not 100% sure it was worth the money. I could have put that $300 into a video card or a monitor. It was a great learning experience tho. I bet if I was running stock cooling before, I would have been way happier, lol.

  5. #5

    Water-cooling advice needed!

    I have to agree with AF and Chris' eventual results. The WOW factor does blow you away, especially to someone who's never seen water cooling firsthand. Most computer users are immediately turned off by the "concept" of mixing water/electricity, but they are amazed when they see it functional and working.

    For practical purposes is it really worth it? That's debatable no matter how you look at it.
    Is it expensive, yes but that's the price of being a step above the crowd and going entirely outside the box to create your own piece of functional art, which it is. I think there are cheaper and more effective cooling methods out there but honestly put, they don't deliver that gut punch thats created by water cooling. When you can make cascading waterfalls and things of that nature, what kind of a price can you put on that? It's clearly art, form and funcionality all rolled into one! Not only that but each one is completely unique! That's what modding is about!

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