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I'm planning a new boxing day build. I see, now, that liquid cooling is cheaper, safer, and far more standardized and supported than it used to be so I'd like to give it a shot. I already have my radiator picked out

NCIX.com - Buy Swiftech MCR320 Quiet Power Triple 120MM Water Cooling Radiator Black G1/4 Threaded - MCR320-QP-K In Canada.

That will be going into a CoolerMaster Cosmos 1000 case.

But I don't know what else to get. I mean, I know I need a pump and a reservoir, but which ones are good? What size tubing do I get? What fittings? I know nothing about these things. I'd really like someone to tell me a combination of these items they know works well.

TIA
 

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I don't really know what the best pump is but I prefer the Danger-Den Laing D5 12V DC pump. For the reservoir I use the Thermaltake SR100 (for no other reason than that it looks cool:p). As for the size of the tubing that really depends on the size of the fittings on the pump, radiator, and reservoir (it's best to have them all the same size). As for the coolant you can get any commercially available solution (I recommend a non-conductive fluid to increase the chances of survival in the case of a catastrophic leak). Finally, get plenty of hose clamps (preferrably strong metal ones).

Here are a few tips and safety measures:

- Make sure to test the components first. Assemble the components outside the system and run it for at least a day. Make sure nothing is leaking and nothing is broken.
- Make sure all the blocks are the same metal (preferrably copper).
- For full efficiency clean out the radiator and blocks beforehand (e.g., soak in vinegar).
- Secure all the ends with clamps.

I also recommend getting a flow and thermal indicator so you can easily check the flow strength and water temperature.
 

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You can also substitute a reservoir for a fillport/T-line. You have to check it/top off more often than a reservoir but they look pretty slick. Here's a picture of the fillport, I cut a hole through the case (forgot what diameter) and bolted it on. Here's another picture of the finished loop; yes I know it looks bad and the loop length is way too long, but the GPU block I was using at the time had bad barb placement :p. I mixed the water/antifreeze in a bowl then used a plastic syringe to put it in the fillport opening.

I agree with Demigod on the pump. The D5 is an excellent pump, some people also like the Laing DDC as it's a bit smaller and has 3/8" fittings instead of 1/2" for the D5. If you do go with the DDC, there's a variety of replacement impeller housings that make it perform better.

Now for tubing... I prefer 1/2" inner diameter myself, but 3/8" should work okay as well depending on what you'll be adding to the loop. Are you just going to cool the CPU with it, or GPU/chipset as well? The only tubing I used on my system was Tygon R-3603, which is very nice but is fairly expensive by the foot. I've heard good things about Masterkleer tubing and it's quite a bit cheaper. Both brands have tubing in 3/8", 7/16", and 1/2" ID sizes.

As for fittings, I used Danger Den's Perfect Seal fittings and they worked very well. It's a bit harder to get the hose on with those, but they seal very well. Some people have even used them without clamps, but I don't recommend doing that.

For the coolant, I used a mix of 90% distilled water and 10% antifreeze (usually Pentosin G12). For water, distilled is key. Tap/regular water is ionized and contains minerals and other crap, which can corrode the radiator interior/fittings/waterblock and makes it electrically conductive. I had one of my hoses pop off and spray water everywhere (due to my maintenance laziness), yet almost all of the computer survived it even when I tried turning it on a couple of times after the incident before I realized what happened. If I had used regular water it would have been screwed. The antifreeze additive is also non-conductive and acts as a "water wetter" as well as helping prevent algae growth.

As for everything else, read Demigod's post :).

Edit: Damn, after writing that I have the watercooling itch again. Maybe once I rebuild my Socket 939 rig (the one that I watercooled previously), I'll do that again to it. I still have all of my parts so it should be pretty easy to do again. I just need to look for a not-so-huge case that'll accommodate a dual 120 radiator.
 

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It should be okay if you use the 3/8" fittings. The pump has a similar flow rate to the DDC, no idea how much pressure it can put out though.

Are you just going to cool the CPU? I forgot to mention waterblocks. The one I recommend is the Swiftech Apogee GTZ, although the D-Tek Fuzion is also very good and may be a bit cheaper. The one issue with the Fuzion is the ports on it are rather close to each other if using bigger tubing, it was a pain in the ass to connect my tubes with the Tygon 1/2" ID stuff I was using.

Also, make sure you seal the fittings/port threads with Teflon tape, otherwise it's prone to leak. Just put on enough to wrap the fitting threads a couple of times.
 

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The advantage of cooling the northbridge is that you don't have to worry about cooling it with a fan and you can potentially hit higher FSBs. On the other hand, the waterblocks tend to be flow-restrictive and of course a more complex loop setup.

What I did on my system was prop a 120mm fan on top of the CPU waterblock, that way it cooled the RAM and CPU VRMs. The chipset on my board was way down past the video card, and didn't need to be watercooled anyway (nForce 4).

Here's an example of using Teflon tape on fittings.
 

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Yes. I didn't put them on when I first built my watercooling system, and it started leaking when I was bleeding the system a week later after doing some tweaks on it. Once I put the Teflon tape on, it never did that again.
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
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Speaking as a former plumber, Teflon tape should be used on all threaded fitting that pass liquids under pressure.
 

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No sir, I don't like it.
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The gasket only stops escaping flow when both ends connect evenly (Remember when you lapped your CPU? Same concept). Teflon tape is an additional safeguard. Besides, why put your trust in a gasket that has the potential to leak even if the fittings are snugged? Teflon tape costs like $0.99 per roll at a hardware store...

Tubing size should be equal to or larger than the smallest fitting in a pressurized system. If your smallest fitting is on, say, the CPU with 1/4" fittings, using 3/8" won't change the volumetric flow rate (VFR) across the CPU cooler, but it will decrease the VFR in the tubing and mean that there is more fluid in the loop at all times (more coolant is required to keep the system full and if a leak does occur, it'll be that much more catastrophic). All in all, I personally recommend using tubing sizes that match or come as close as possible to the smallest fitting in the system.

As for a heatsink's fitting sizes, it does't matter. The coolant channel is usually the same size no matter what, so VFR will be the same no matter what fitting size you use.
 

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since it's bspp and not bspt thread, you don't need any tape. The o-ring seals it for you. If you needed tape, you're doing it wrong or your o-ring broke. Tubing Id from 1/2 to 1/4 has less than a degree celcius difference.
 
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