Recently, I`ve been asked by one friend what is water cooling and why it`s such a big fuss around it. This question has flicked some switches inside my head, and decided to write an article about this subject. As it is a fairly big subject, this article will stretch among 3 parts. This one will be a shorter one, because, I`ll cover all the generalities, so that I will be able, in the next 2 posts, to talk at a greater level about AIOs and custom loops.
First of all, you should know that water-cooling, as the name suggests is a technique of cooling your PC components, using deionized water. This is achieved using a combination of water blocks and radiators, which are connected via some tubes made with materials ranging from PVC to metal or acrylic.
Second of all, you should know that a water-block, is not anything else, than an exchange surface, so that the water will exchange heat with the part that it`s cooling. There are a lot of designs out there, but I recommend 3 companies that, in my opinion are the big 3 in this business. My recommendations are EK Water blocks, Alpha Cool and Koolance.
Third of all, I think you should know that radiators, at the most basic level, are another exchange surface, but in this case it transfers the heat from the liquid to the air around it. Also, you should remember that there are two types of radiators: passive and active. The passive ones don`t require fans, which takes noises out of consideration, but most of the time they are not practical, as they are gigantic, and also, the performances are low. On the other hand, active radiators, need fans, which make a little bit of noise – if you have the right ones – and also have really good performance, compared to air-cooling.
There is one more benefit from water-cooling, which is eye-candy. If you ever seen a well-done water cooled PC, than you will know, what I`m talking about. It makes everything look so much cleaner, as everything is connected together in one big loop that can cool all of your power hungry parts.
But, all of this comes at a price: maintenance. The loop needs to be drained, flushed and refilled every 6 to 12 months. Also, there is the tinkering that needs to be done at the beginning.
All in all, Water-cooling is a great thing with some drawbacks like yearly maintenance, but considering the gains in performance over an air cooling setup, it`s not such a big deal.
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