Why would you want to water cool a PC? First of all it can much more quiet and it drops the temperature of your computer greatly. My quad core went from 50C under load to 28C Idle and under load! It is also good for overclocking. When you overclock the components of a PC get hot. The more you do it the hotter they get. It gets to a point were air cooling just won't cut it.

I really enjoy water cooling and it recently became one of my new hobbies. A water cooling rig requires maintenance. You need to know your way around a computer pretty well to be able to do this. I've been building computer since I was 10 and this really pushes you to the limit. I want to go even farther and try vapor phase change cooling. It's pretty much building a refrigerator inside of your computer. Drops things to around -20C

The image shows my build before I cleaned up the wiring.

Some more pics of my computer here

Step 1: Finding Your Way Around.

First know your way around a computer. Refer to the pictures.

Step 2: Picking Out the Parts.

Deciding on the parts depends on how much you want to spend. I spent about $275 on my current setup. Its going to be about $375 once I watercool my GPU. A good kit I would recommend is this oneone from petra's tech shop for $250. It has pretty much every single part my kit has. I didn't even know there was this kit before I bought from them. The people there are really nice. ThisThis kit is better for a cheaper build or a smaller system that doesn't throw off as much heat. These kits aren't like ones you will see on newegg or other computer stores. They have a good combination of parts from different company's. The best watercooling rig has parts for all different companies.

You will also need about 10-15 gallons of distilled water. You can pick this up at your local grocery store. You also need tubing. You need to buy the right size tubing according to the type of pump, radiator, waterblock, and reservoir have. They are called barbs. I prefer 1/2 barbs. Make sure all your barbs are the same size. I recommend you use Tygon tubing. You can also use deionized water. I finally figured out the differences, I was pretty confused. Deionized water is less pure then distilled and still has some minerals and things like that in it. Both are still a bit conductive.

You also need some thermal paste. It helps create a strong bond between the CPU and water block so the heat can transfer. You can get a tube of it for about $5

Some places to buy watercooling parts
Petra's Tech Shop (My favorite)
Danger Den
Frozen Cpu

Step 3: Preparing to Install.

Once you get all your parts I would read through all the manuals. I never read manuals, but for watercooling I would. They have warnings that could really mess up your rig if you didn't pay attention to that. After you do that you need to do what is called flushing. When the parts are manufactured they have oils and grime and other things from them being made. If you just run your rig like that you will have dirt and grime flowing through all your parts and it will start to clog. Get some of your tubing cut it short and hook it up to one end of your radiator. Get a funnel and run about a gallon of distilled water through it. It helps to shake it up and around the radiator. Also heating the water helps it too. Next take apart your water block which should be pretty simple just unscrew a few screws. Get some rubbing alcohol and rub it through all the groves in your block.

Step 4: Installing

Take out all the parts of your computer you won't be using. Such as your ram HDD's and GPU if you aren't water cooling it. Your going to need to pretty much have to take apart your computer anyways to install the water block.

Take the motherboard out of your case and put it in a safe place to work on it where static won't get to it. Put a dot sized dab of the thermal paste I mentioned before only a dot or 2. Get your screws that came with the waterblock and stick them up through the bottom of where your heatsink would screw in. Put the heatsink on and secure it.

It is hard to explain since all blocks mount a bit different. Your block should come with some kind of diagram. Think through where you are going to be installing you radiator and water pump. You might have to drill some holes into your case if you are mounting your radiator outside of your case. Once you found the places mount and screw them into place. Put your computer back together with only the essentials as you won't be needing to be able to boot just turn it on.

Plan out how you are going to do the tubing and connect them all on the valves. Get some hoseclamps and tightly secure them on. You might need to use kind of lubricant to get them to slide on. Make sure have things how you want them because it is extremely hard to get the hoses back off.

Step 5: Leak Testing.

This step is crucial because if you have everything in your rig and it does happen to have a major leak it could ruining your computer. This is why you took out everything you don't need. Stuff your case with paper towels and power it on. Watch it for about 10 minutes and go do something for 30 minutes or an hour. Check on it everyonce and a while. You should leave it on for 12-24 hours. 12 is fine but more if you are really concerned. You leave it on so long because small leaks may take time to emerge. The paper towels can also help you find where the leak is. If everything is good and your computer didn't short itself out your good!

Another thing of I just thought of for leak testing is that if your pump doesn't use your PSU for power and the wall you can just plug that in. Another thing you can do is get an extra PSU and just hook the pump up to that. Then you can jump start it. Find a green and black wire on the Motherboard power connector and get a paper clip and bridge the connections. Make sure your PSU isn't plugged in when you do this.

Step 6: Putting Everthing Back In.

Put all the things you took out and put them back in. If you did everything right your computer should turn on and be fine. Monitor temperatures for a bit to see if everything is going right.

Hope this guide helped you and got you into the fun hobby of watercooling!

If you have any problems with building or watercooling feel free to contact me through instructables, IM, or email. Just don't bug me with virus and software questions. If you see something I missed please do tell me I made this thing at 3 am.

Xfire: CowGuy
AIM: Getacow123
MSN: ericrihm@hotmail.com
Email: cowsownyou@gmail.com

Also a great community to participate in is Xtremesystems. They are very helpful and just a great group of people.

Step 7: Additives

There are quite a few things you can add to your loop.

A few I recommend are:
PT nuke - It kills all kinds of bacteria and helps keep your loop from becoming dirty as fast.

Anti Freeze - There seems to be a big debate about this going on in the comment section. I use it and it does seem to help. I mix it in a 1:9 ratio to your water.

Liquid Coolants- There are a whole bunch of these, these are most of the time full water replacements. I have not had any experience with these, but I have mostly heard good things about them. Frozen Cpu stocks a whole bunch of different kinds.

Things to STAY away from:

UV dyes - Not all are bad, but some after a while will soon break down and become thick and murky and can damage pumps and reduce water flow. Make sure to look around and see if any of the reviewers of the product have been using it for a couple months before you buy it.

Step 8: Some Extra Tips.

If your wiring is a mess you can drill some holes where you motherboard rests and feed the cables behind where you motherboard sits and stick them through the hole. It really makes things look a whole lot better.

Get all the bubbles out of your reservoir. It increasing water flow.

Check your water frequently, It might start to grow some things in it or get some dirt in it if you didn't get all the crap out of it when you flushed out the parts.

Put some anti freeze in your water. Put a little in it helps with the heat transfer.

Never use Aluminum and copper or any other different kind of material on the water blocks. It can cause bad reactions. There are some chemicals you can add to protect them but I still don't recommend it.

Keep some extra tubing and distilled water around. If you don't have you reservoir sealed right or just from time the water will evaporate.

If you use black tubing it keeps things from growing in your loop.

KEEP EVERYTHING. Keep all the extra screws you have an old parts. Stuff like that. I don't know how many times all my old stuff I kept has helped me out.
Another pre-built water cooler ! I had hoped to see "home made" water blocks instead of store bought ones. Anyone with $$$ can build this. Had you made a vid with water blocks made from scrap around your home Now that would have been a video !
very nice idea.....but if any pin hole leak happens...........omg
No, your all wrong, nvidia may have been the best before, but now its ATI, much better than nvidia, ppl just stuck on it cuz no one wants to change and try something new. :P
ATI doesn't exist. It's AMD now.
Crap!!! I better grab an ATI for my desktop I'm going to order (iBUYPOWER is the bestest custom computers ever)!!
not dell? :P
Please update this ible. The 8800GTX is not the king of graphics cards anymore! It even wasn't back in 2008. There were the 3870 x2's, etcetera.
But the point of this ible is to teach someone how to watercool their desktop, not inform what the king of gpus is
Of course its outdated this guide is 3 years old
Actually deionized is purer than distilled. Distilled has just been boiled then collected in a condenser, but deionized has gone thru' a lot of filters and ion-exchange resins to remove things. Specifically, if you have any metal parts in your system, DO NOT use deionized water, as it will corrode the system, and shorten its life. All manufacturers of water baths (e.g. for use in scientific labs) specifically recommend not to use deionized water for this reason. Tap water will do, but bugs will grow in it. You can get various products to keep the system free of bugs (algicide / bath-clear etc). Having a lot of lights around will also promote bug growth, so black/colored tubing will be better than clear.
how can you get purer than pure water? I think in the water he is thinking free of contaminates. distilled water has nothing but h2o in it unless you happens to have some other liquid in the water that boils near the same temperature as water
I am a little confused, but you want distilled. It's pure water with nothing else. It keeps your system alive longer and keeps from clogging(I highly doubt some small minerals would clog your system before corrode the metal) As stated before deionized is just past through filters. Distilled is steamed and condensed so any impurities will be taken out.
OK heres the deal. I did say that distilled and deionized were the same. And they are. It's just the method they use to get PURE water. Distilled is boiled and the steam is trapped and cooled. When water is boiled at 212 degrees F (100 degrees C) all imperfections are left behind. Only the water will turn to steam. They use sterilized tubes to move that steam to another container that is cooler than the hot one. The water condenses and turns to liquid again. Deionized water is a little harder to explain as to how the process works. Basically they pass the water through a filter to remove any bacteria, viruses or other organics. Then they start the deionization process (some examples are triple filter or reverse osmosis). This, in theory, will remove every non-organic material except H3O+ and OH- (which will not hurt your system). It is essentially pure water, as it does not have any other material in it. Neither distilled or deionized water will hurt a water cooled system. Even tap water won't if you add things like anti-rust to the water.
You're kind-of correct... Yes, distilled water will theoretically get rid of impurities, but it won't get rid of ALL the salts and ions. For most applications (like cooling systems, car batteries) it is enough, but for some scientific applications (like making up solutions in a biochemistry lab, like I do), distilled is not good enough - it contains significant amounts (low micromolar concentrations) of ions such as calcium, potassium, and nitrite. When you need really well-defined ion concentrations to do biochemistry experiments, distilled is not good enough. You're correct that deionized is made by "filtering", but that's not the whole story. Deionized systems (e.g. MilliQ, made by Millipore) work first by filtering out organics and viruses etc, and then they pass the water through a series of cartridges packed with Ion-Exchange Resins. These resins are not filters per-se. They work by swapping the ions in the water (sodium, calcium etc.) for H+ and OH-. Thus, these resins eventually wear-out (e.g. their ability to soak-up Na+ and give-out H+ becomes exhausted). The resin beads are typically about 1mm diameter and the cartridges are 10cm wide by 30 cm long, and cost several hundred $$ to replace. In typical usage (10 liters a day), our cartridges last about a year before they need to be replaced. They can also be "re-charged" by passing through solutions of concentrated acid or base. Good deionized water systems will include a resistance meter, and for most life-sciences applications you must have water with greater than 18 mega-ohms of resistance, in order to be sure it has virtually no ions. Reverse osmosis (RO) is a completely different system altogether. It works by forcing the water through a selective membrane (a filter) at very high pressure. Only the water molecules can get through, nothing else. RO systems are pretty expensive for lab' use, but are sometimes used on an industrial scale to purify drinking water from sea water. The membrane technology is a pretty closely guarded secret, due to the commercial implications. Some hand-held water purification systems for camping etc. work by using RO. Regardless of the system used, it will only be as good as the water you put in. Thus, in some parts of the world with very "soft water", single distillation is enough. In other parts with hard water (i.e. a lot of calcium, lime) double-distillation is necessary. You'd be silly for example to put tap-water into an RO or deionizing system - it would clog up very quickly. We currently feed distilled water from a house system into our deionization module. You're wrong about deionized water not damaging things (just google "deionized water corrosion" if you don't believe me). Read the instruction booklet of any water-bath, incubator etc. that is designed for laboratory use. These things are built of stainless steel, and they specifically instruct you NOT to use deionized water. It has no ions at all, so will act to pull ions out of whatever it can (i.e. any metal parts of your system), thus corroding those items. The amount of corrosion will depend on the quality of the system, the coatings over the metal parts, and the specific alloys used. For example, aluminum parts will corrode very fast. Distilled water will not exert such pressure on these things, because it already contains a few ions to begin with. In addition, since some deionized systems use the acid/base back-flush method to regenerate the cartridges, this can leave residues of ions in the system that might end up in the final water. Bottom line, distilled water is better, cheaper, and safer.
so, then it begs the question; does anyone sell dionized distilled water? Why not double up for better results?
You can get a reverse osmosis water system for a kitchen, only costs about 250$, and all you taste is water. Water, and nothing else, it's fantastic.
you got that a little backward. light kills bacteria. look it up if you don't believe me.
ultra violet light kills bacteria and algae but regular light makes things grow
white light contains all spectrum of light, including uv. Think about this: have you ever seen mold growing in a very bright place? I haven't.
The black tubing has been proven to cut down on the mold. Someone did a test on a forum. They rotated tons of different types of tubing. I don't know the scientific reason as of why. Black tubing tends to look better too.
interesting. maybe mold needs light to grow, but not much, and too much kills it.
light doesn't kill all bacteria, if it did, we wouldn't have photosynthetic organisms.
why don't you look it up on a university website before you post comments.
Mold = fungi. fungi don't like light.<br/>While white light does contain the full spectrum of light, the amount of UV rays emitted is very little. There is much more UV emitted from sterilization lamps than from lightbulbs. <br/><br/>Referring to a comment earlier, white light only helps plants and other photosynthetic organisms to grow. humans grow the fastest in the womb, not much light in there. <br/><br/>And finally, what many are/may be seeing in the tubes is algae. Algae DOES need light as it's a photosynthetic organism. Black tubing will stop light and therefore algae can't grow.<br/>
Fungi don't all need light, most are not photosynthetic, but Fungi are a very wide range of organisms, and some do require light to survive. Btw light does not hurt all fungi, take your average everyday mushrooms for example, they'll grow right in the middle of your lawn even if you live in the brightest, sunniest place in the world, as long as your soil is somewhat acidic.
thanks for the thorough explanation.
UV light does kill bacteria. anyone who has taken 9th grade physical science should know that. plus they use UV lights in hospitals to steralise equipment and keep infection from happening.
Very correct! Some light kill everything that pass by. Like for drinking system. Bug grow in dark, wet, warm. Not live in light, dry, cold.
<p>NO! THE KING OF GPU İS GTX 295 YAAAAAAHHHH&nbsp; i got 1 and it didn't&nbsp; fit the pc case so i got a new pc case!</p>
No. It's the HD 5970. That is the fastest card right now.
welll ur good sir as u might know nvidia has the new gtx460 or something like zat and its simply the best so far
The GTX 460 is nothing compared to the HD 5970, or the new 6000 series, to compete with that, you need the nvidia GTX 500s series, which still cant beat ATI's best card now. For a budget build, nvidia is good, but if want some real power, you need a high end ATI.<br><br>P.S. -My Nvidia GTS 450 can run Crysis at max detail, no lag easily. And thats only a 100$ card, so I'm not sure what the point of getting a card much better than a low 500s series is.
Also, back when the 8/9K series for nvidia came out, the 8800 and the 9000 2x or what ever it was were the best cards i believe.
if i had 2 grand i would buy the king of kings video card (no its not god) the ASUS ARES/2DIS/4GD5 Radeon HD 5870 X2 4GB 256-bit GDDR5 PCI Express 2.1 x16 HDCP Ready CrossFireX Support Video Card with Eyefinity <br>so ha
ok first i like the design. now im in the prosess of building a pretty nice gaming board and i came across a useful tip for every1 on this page. instead of just the cpu fan you should have added a tec peltier those white boards in car refridgerators. thats sorta how im doing my pc but instead of just acting as a cpu cooler mine is also acting as a trusty mtn dew holder built into an old pentium II sever tower. I will be posting some pics of my computer in about a month if any1 wants to see my progress.
it increacing water flow <br>increaced
Does it really matter? everything is concealed. It's like, saying, bacteria will grow in a completely airtight, recently sterilized environment, nothing's going to happen.
actually, there's a good chance it will. Ok so distllied water and UV light? Im goin with that.
dude..!!! i wonder why u ppl are so concerned about bacteria!! wanna avoid those bugs??? just add ALCHOHOL..!!!!
If there's any acrylic stuff in your water cooling loop, such as a reservoir, alcohol will chemically react with it and cause it to break, leaking all over everything.
might i ask why you have all of this sweet stuff but yet you have an elixir 512mb ddr ram stick in this pic yet your comp usus ddr3 if im correct
Hey, is it possible to use oil as the liquid, non conductive of coarse...<br />
yes, use mineral oil or unscented baby oil, however due to the lower viscoscity of oil, it will flow through the tubes much faster and might not pick up as much heat from the components.&nbsp; you could also try sumersive oil cooling (not recomended) :)
Wouldn't oil run slower than water and be harder on the pump because its thicker?<br />
<p>It is actually exactly the opposite, ever wonder why oil floats on water? it is lass desne and has less viscosity.</p>
No. SmAsH is right. Density has absolutely no relationship with viscosity. Do your research, most vegetable oil and engine oil is 20-60 times more viscous than water, and oil will indeed flow through a pipe slower than water given the same pressure. Further more, water has much more heat capacity than oil, so even if you manage to flow the oil through tubes faster than water, it will not remove as much heat as water.<br />
Yes, thank you. IMO, water is a better option because of its thermal conductivity and flow rate compared to oil. For some reason people seem to associate water with short circuits and breaking electronics and see oil as a better choice, baffles me really...<br />
You can also get a silver coil from peta tech to put in the tubes to kill germs.
man, i wish i had some of the parts you do, i have 1 celeron rig running, but all my other builds have to have either a p1 or amd k6
hey everyone can I just buy a water block, some hose and a submersible pump to put in a computer and ice water as the coolant?

About This Instructable




Bio: I'm interested in CNC, laser cutting, 3D printing and blow glass in my spare time.
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