Silent Watercooling - Component guide & Radiator shoot out

Editor: Thomas Koflach  Date: 21-08-11   4 Comment(s) - Join the discussion here
Introduction
Building a high end system is great – you can crank up all the settings in your favourite games, beat your friends in 3D mark and listen to the meaty roar of it purring away…

Actually, that’s a lie. Most systems don’t produce a meaty roar, but instead a dull, monotone hum as the fans desperately try to shift all the hot air out the back of your case. Curing this problem certainly isn’t easy – with the amount of heat that modern day GPU’s and CPU’s can expel, standard air-cooling systems begin to struggle.



So, how do you solve the problem? Well, this is where watercooling comes into play. As the heat can be transferred away from the source (in the coolant), you can massively increase the surface area with which you transfer the heat to the air. Instead of being limited to a cooler that can only hold one or two 120mm fans, you can use a radiator that holds pretty much as many as you desire, and even then you can use more than one radiator. This massive increase in heat transferring surface area allows you to dramatically reduce the speed of the fans used, or even remove them entirely – reducing the noise of the system enormously.

But, which route is best? Are you better off going down the conventional route by combining a radiator with fans, or going all out with a purpose built passive radiator? With a conventional radiator you’ll obviously need to run the fans as slowly as possible to reduce the noise, but how much of a hit will you take in terms of performance? Well, today I hope to answer those tricky questions.

Over the next few pages I will explain which major system components need liquid treatment, and give you a quick guide on how I went about cooling them for today's test setup…


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