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Watercooling essentials
By: Sverre Sjøthun, September 27, 2000  Print this article


The most common used cooling methods for PC’s today is forced air convention, i.e. a heatsink with one or more fans to provide proper airflow through the fins of the heatsink. It is cheap, easy to make and have a low power-consumption.

Since water has a much higher capabilities of transferring heat from one place to another than air, this is a great and very efficient way to cool hot faces. It’s frequently used on Cray machines and a lot of other mainframes, especially old ones since these produced a lot of heat because of poor technology. Some of them even had water ducts through the CPU itself to cool the core.

What a plain and simple watercooler consist of are a waterblock, a pump, a radiator and some hoses. The waterblock is just a replacement of the heatsink, and is normally made out of copper or aluminum. The two most common ways of making the waterblock is either to drill a few holes through a massive metal block, or milling/welding. Either way, you get channels so that the water can flow through.

To make the water circulate, you’ll need a pump. The more powerful pump i.e. higher waterflow, the higher heat transferal. Now that you have the waterblock on the CPU, and the water circulating you only need a way to get rid of the heat carried away by the water. You need a radiator. Please don’t get fooled by some of the unbelievably poor “plug-and-play” watercoolers available on the net without a radiator.

Ok, so it’s cheap, but it’s torture to your CPU. What you end up with here is that the water slowly but surely gets hotter and hotter until your CPU gets overheated and your computer hangs. Besides, there’s no way that you’ll achieve some really hefty speeds from a waterblock, a pump and a 2 l. “Mickey Mouse” plastic-box containing the water. I spurn those as I would spurn a rabid dog.

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  Watercooling essentials
  Thermo Electric Acceleration
  Putting things together
  The waterblock
  The Radiator
  The temperatures and fine-tuning the TECs

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