Best liquid cooled gaming pc For Sale and How build liquid cooled gaming pc
What is liquid cooled gaming pc
Liquid cooled gaming pc also makes your computer run more quietly because you won’t have fans running constantly at high rpm. However, liquid cooling for a PC can also be dangerous if water leaks into the devices.
What is the best way to cool a CPU
Both air coolers and liquid coolers provide higher cooling performance compared to standard CPU cooler. However, the cooling solution that you decide to use inside your computer will generally depend on a variety of different factors accompanying the performance. Often things like price, compatibility, and appearance influence your decision, too.
And while liquid cooling outperforms air cooling in several scenarios, you will likely base your decision on what you really need. There’s no reason to use liquid cooling if your CPU isn’t getting hot and there’s no reason to use aftermarket air cooling if you’re not playing games. The important thing is that you know the hardware you need for the computer you are using.
There is no “best” way to cool down a CPU because it is not the “best” way to build a computer. Each computer is unique to the needs of its creator and CPU cooler is just one of many different options that it has the power to control. So I think the best way to cool down the CPU is up to you!
What do you want to liquid-cool?
It can cool anything on your computer, but the main suspects are your CPU and graphics card, as they will benefit the most from additional cooling and noise reduction. However, refrigeration requires a large amount of cooling energy, plus two blocks of water, so it is not surprising that it costs a little more. However, if you can’t cool both completely, the great thing about liquid cooling is that it’s easy to expand the cooling system to include more.
However, if you can’t cool both completely, the great thing about liquid cooling is that it’s easy to expand the cooling system to more components or upgrade later. So, if you can’t fully outfit your system with liquid cooling devices, I suggest starting with the graphics card and moving on to the processor later because the former will benefit the most.
After the processor and graphics card, the next most popular component is the motherboard, but for the purpose of this guide, I’ll focus only on the processor and graphics card, along with the main components you need, how to choose them, and, of course, how to install them on your system.
The Pros and Cons of liquid cooled gaming pc
Most CPUs include an air cooling solution as standard that blows air into the CPU. While this type of cooling is satisfactory to regular PC users, gamers often upgrade to aftermarket air coolers that provide higher cooling efficiency. Some of these builders are also updating because these CPU coolers often look better and make your PC more premium.
Aftermarket air coolers provide improved performance over standard air cooling solutions using copper base plates to distribute heat through the tubes. To further increase heat dissipation, aftermarket air coolers feature high-performance fans that draw hot air away from the CPU through specially designed fins. For most gamers, an aftermarket air cooler will provide more than enough power to keep the CPU running at optimum temperatures.
However, air cooling is not without its drawbacks. Some of these aftermarket air coolers are bulky and won’t even fit in many computer cases unless they use a specially designed case to accommodate larger CPU cooling options. Also be aware that some fan options can run louder than standard air coolers.
Liquid cooling is the best way to cool a CPU because water transfers heat more efficiently than air. Liquid cooling also makes your computer run more quietly because you won’t have fans running constantly at high rpm. However, liquid cooling for a PC can also be dangerous if water leaks into the devices.
To keep things safe and simple, I recommend an all-in-one liquid cooler that delivers all the benefits of water in one convenient package. This type of liquid cooling includes everything you could get from a custom liquid coolant solution without having to bend tubes, adjust accessories, or drill holes in your computer case. All-in-one liquid coolers are also easily available in a variety of different sizes so you can find exactly what you need.
All-in-one liquid coolers are also not limited to your CPU. With the addition of the liquid cooling mounting kit, you can get the same benefits as water in the GPU. And as any gamer can tell you, GPU cooling is often more important than CPU cooling during intense gaming sessions.
How To Build A Liquid-Cooled Gaming PC
Pick the right waterblocks
Part of the reason I chose EK Water Blocks for this guide is that the company makes it really easy to figure out what components you need for your particular machine. The company’s excellent online configurator tool allows you to enter hardware details and select the parts you need. This is especially useful for graphics card water blocks, as PCBs vary widely, which means you often have to be careful about compatibility issues.
I’ll be using MSI’s Nvidia GeForce GTX 1070 Armor graphics card, so it was a simple task to enter these details to see which water block I needed from the EK. Alternatively, you can select a kit, which will come with everything you need except for the graphic card’s water block, where you’ll need to select the appropriate kit for your model.
If you want to choose your own components, such as pipes and accessories, the processor water block is a little easier – if you have a traditional Intel system that uses one of the LGA115X processor sockets (1155, 1150, 1151), all of these uses the same size as the motherboard mounting hole, so Not only are there more options, but your waterproofing barrier is also likely to be resistant to the future. For example, if you purchased an LGA1156 water block for processors like Core i5-2500K, this waterlock would still fit in current motherboards, as well as air coolers. We used EK Water Blocks’ Supremacy Evo CPU Water Block to cool our processor.
Which radiator size do you need?
There are many options when it comes to radiators. However, much will depend on two things: your case and the device will cool down, but you also need to consider how quiet you want your computer to be. Starting with the enclosure, you need to check how much space you have for the radiators. Often manufacturers list this, but you may need to measure the gap. The Corsair Carbide 400c box I’m using here is a great water cooling box as there is space in the roof and front for the radiator, perfect for a high-end system.
Radiators come in various sizes and thicknesses and are usually indicated by the size of the fan and the number they support. For example, a coolant that can mount a 120mm fan on one side is known as a 120mm radiator. The one with three fan mounts is 360mm. A radiator with room for two fans 140 mm on one side is 280 mm and so on. Plus, they also come in a variety of thicknesses, but the general rule is that the thicker and larger they are, the more cooling they provide.
To cool the processor, you will need a radiator with a thickness of at least 30 mm 120 mm, which is what many all-in-one liquid coolers are equipped with, such as the Corsair H75. The ideal option, however, is to use a 60mm thick radiator, or even upgrade to a 240mm cooler. The larger the coolant you use, the fans will need to rotate slower to handle the heat load, so while the 30mm to 120mm cooler is running, your fans will have to rotate under load to do this against the heat. A larger radiator with more fans would cost more, but it could lower temperatures and significantly reduce noise.
If you add a graphics card to the mix like ours, to cool both the processor and a mid-range graphics card like the GTX 1070, you’ll need at least a 240mm cooler, which is what I’m using here in the form of a block of water EK, CoolStream PE. Again, this is sufficient to cool the system and allows for a very compact cooling system, but if you want to reduce the noise you should consider using a 360mm radiator or even adding a second radiator.
Pump, reservoir, fittings and tubing
Obviously, the coolant needs to go from water blocks to the radiators, and to do this you will need tubes, fittings / forks and a pump, just like you would on a car cooling system. For the pump, we chose EK Water Blocks XRES-140 Revo D5 Tank and Pump. You can purchase separate pumps and tanks, but combining the two in this way saves space and makes filling the system easier. Tanks are used to fill the system and to remove or purify air from the coolant and components.
This particular model is incredibly easy to install – you only need a 120mm fan or fan bracket and the included stand allows you to fully mount the tool. The pump is powerful enough that you can add more water blocks or pumps later if you decide to extend the cooling system or build a new one.
For pipes and fittings, we used EK Water Blocks flexible PVC pipes. You would need about 10 feet for a system like this. The size we used here has an outer diameter of 1/2 inch. And an inner diameter of 3/8 inch. (12.7mm / 9.5mm). Sizes vary, but as long as you buy matching accessories to connect the pipe with the water blocks, everything is fine. In general, if the manufacturer provides a specific size of tubes, they will also provide the correct size for fittings to match.
For our system, EK Water Blocks supplied enough ACF nickel formulations. These are known as compression fittings, with the tube sliding over a stud before securing it with a locking ring. Place the spiky part on the component first before attaching the tube and secure it to the locking ring, as you’ll see in a minute.
The water cooling system will look great, and one of the best ways to add a wow factor is to use a color chiller. One thing you cannot use is tap water, as it contains minerals and additives that can degrade its ingredients over time.
You can buy pre-blended chillers from EK Water Blocks etc which you can add directly to your system, or you can create your own chillers using distilled / deionized water, which is inexpensive to purchase. EK Water Blocks provide a concentrated dye that you can add to deionized water for some strange colors, but also to protect the interior of your cooling system from algae growth and corrosion.
Fit the processor water block
The processor’s water block in our build requires a back plate and a rubber insert, which are held in place with pins on the other side.
The water mass is above the rose and secured with springs and thumb screws.
Remove the graphics card cooler.
The graphics card cooler is usually held in place with a tiny spider and potential Torx head screws, so you may need to invest in the right tools to remove it.
Once all screws are removed, lift the radiator and don’t forget to remove the fan cable and lighting cables.
Apply thermal pads and paste
You might want to clean old thermal paste off the card before applying new paste. The EK water block I’ve used comes with thermal pads for various parts of the card too, but instructions are clear as to what needs to go where. All the screws you need are included too.
Install the graphics card water block
Follow the instructions to secure the water block in place – you’ll need to add a dozen or so screws and washers.
Install fans to the radiator
It’s usually best to have the fans blowing into the radiator, but there’s very litter difference. A lot will depend on where you are installing it. We’ll be mounting ours in the roof of the case, so you’ll need to have the fitting threads facing down on the same side as the fans.
Install the radiator
In a compact case like the Corsair 400C, it;s not possible to install the radiator in the front of the case as well as the EK pump and reservoir along with a long graphics card. So, instead, the radiator goes in the roof. With the fans already attached, use the smaller screws provided with the radiator to secure it in the upper fan mounts.
Install the pump and reservoir
The XRES-140 Revo D5 pump and reservoir can be mounted using a fan mount adaptor as shown here. Attach this to the pump and then install the whole thing into a front fan mount, leaving enough space above so you can fill it with coolant.
Install the fittings
Install the compression fittings to all the components – you should use 8 for this PC. Remove their locking rings too so you can install the tubing.
Connect the tubing
I found the tubing quite stiff fitting over the barbs, but a good trick here is to use a cup of boiling water to heat the end of the tube, making more flexible and stretching it over the barb. Once it’s on, cut the tubing to size and screw on the locking ring on to the fitting using as much force as your fingers can provide.
It doesn’t matter which order you connect the components, although if you had a separate reservoir and pump, you want to connect the outlet on the reservoir to the inlet of the pump. Due to the high flow rates, the coolant temperature tends to equalize around the loop so with a combined pump and reservoir, the component order doesn’t actually matter.
Fill with coolant
Mix the coolant with deionized or distilled water to the mix shown on the bottle – in this case one bottle to 1 liter. Open the top cap of the reservoir and fill it with coolant. I’ve used a plastic squeeze bottle as this can help prevent spills.
Most Important Leak Test: Fortunately, this can be done with the system turned off using what’s known as a jumper. A small plastic connector attaches to the main power cable of the motherboard and can force it to turn on. If only the pump is connected, without any other devices, then if there is a leak, you just need to dry your components, fix the leak and try again.
You should do this even for coolers that claim to be non-conductive. A good way to identify leaks is to wrap each connection in white paper towels. With colored coolant, even the smallest leak will be very evident. I must add that leaks are extremely rare with modern devices. Well, the latest cooling systems are nearly leak-proof.
That’s it – Including a 24-hour leak test period, it’s easy to build a liquid cooled PC in less than two days. You might want to change the coolant every six months or so, but apart from that liquid cooling systems are fairly maintenance free, plus you’ll get a much cooler, quieter system as well as a better looking one. My thanks to EK Water Blocks for providing the cooling system, Asus for the Maximus VIII Ranger motherboard, MSI for the GTX 1070 Armor graphics card and Corsair for the Carbide 400C case and ML Series LED fans.
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