Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Watercooling FAQ

Or rather , Watercooling FACTS

One thing about technical discussions, is how everyone has an opinion why something is good/bad. (usualy both at the same time)
It is very easy to focus on the details, and completely forget the big picture.
If you have ever read through a forum thread,, about anything realy,, You know what I mean.

So here are a few facts that people completely forget when discussing water cooling systems.

#1 - Hose size doesn't matter.
The narrowest part in your whole loop, is what it going to determine the speed of your water. This part is usually the cooling block itself.
In other words, It does not matter if you so got fire hoses connected to your system, it's all gonna have to squeeze through that block anyhow. and we all know what happens at rush hour on the motorways. one person breaks, it creates ripple effects backwards until traffic comes to a complete stop. Same thing applies here.
It is true that you generally can get a lower flow resistance of the waterloop, but the difference that makes is so small that it just doesn't matter.

#2 - Speed doesn't matter.
Unless the water is actually standing still, it's going to work anyway.
The reason for this, is really quite simple.
If water flows faster over your cooling block, it will also flow faster through your radiator block.
Example, if you got a loop where the water flows through the whole loop in 10 seconds, it takes 1 second to flow through the water block and 2 seconds to flow through the radiator block, then you get 6 complete through flows in one minute, adding up to 6 seconds of cooling block time, and 12 seconds of radiator block time in one minute. Now if you double that pump speed to make the water flow twice as fast, you halve the time it takes to flow through the loop to 5 seconds. but you also halve the time it spends on the cooling block 0,5 seconds, and the radiator block, 1 second. The total times the water flows through the loop in one minute is then 12. now add up the cooling block time and the radiator block time and you get 6 seconds of cooling block time and 12 seconds of radiator block time. exactly the same.
In other words, speed doesn't matter, since the end result is the same.

#3 - It doesn't matter what kind of water you use.
There are many discussions about what kind of water to use and why it's better than others.
Let me just point out the following facts.
As soon as you open a bottle, and pour it into your system, It WILL get exposed to bacteria and molds and all kinds of stuff. so buying distilled water is a waste of effort. if you are really paranoid, feel free to boil the water first.
De-ionized water. Well , as soon as you turn your computer on, it will start pumping water through your Copper cooling block and radiator block, ionizing it as time goes.
And guess what, it doesn't really make any difference on your cooling performance.
Sure, highly ionized water conducts electricity better than un-ioinized water. but so does any water that is contaminated with, for example the dust in your computer. If you have a leak, your main problem is most likely to be that your desk is getting wet. (or your socks if you got it on the floor.)
The one thing you Should do with your water is add something that prevents bacteria growth.
Some Glycol usually is enough. you can find it at your local gas station.
As for water, just use tap water. some might say its bad because it causes scaling, but the one thing to remember here is that you got the same water flowing through the system. there just isn't enough calcium in that small amount water to build up scales. (boil it if you are paranoid.)
Normal tap water works just fine.

In the end , the BEST way to increase performance of your water cooling loop, is to add another cooling radiator. (or a bigger one.)

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