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Building Building a Completet Cooling System
Date Posted: May 6 2001
Author: OnDaEdg
Posting Type: Article
Category: H2O and Evap
Page: 1 of 1
Article Rank:No Rank Yet
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Note: This is a legacy article, imported from old code. Due to this some items on the page may not function as expected. Links, Colors, and some images may not be set correctly.
Building a Completet Cooling System By: OnDaEdg

OnDaEdg's Complete H2O Cooling Machine

By : OnDaEdg
Date: 5/6/01

I know a lot of you have been waiting patiently for me to finish the water cooling system that I have been writing about over the last six months. Since it has been awhile, let's go back and review what we have done so far. First off, I laid out some goals for this water cooling system

  1. It must operate as reliably as an air cooled heatsink for extended periods of time
  2. It must be fully enclosed inside the case itself.
  3. There must be no leakage or condensation whatsoever.
  4. It must run quietly.
  5. The ladies must dig it! (In other words, it must look good

Once again, I have laid out the ground rules for the system. Let's look at what we have completed so far:

First , I went ahead and mounted the radiator. The radiator was mounted on top of the case. Here is the article that illustrates how to mount it.

How to Mount a radiator on your case

Once the radiator was mounted, I went ahead and made a cross drilled copper water block. You can catch that article here.

Make'n a Cu WaterBlock yerself

Once the block was done, I had to design a clamp to hold down the water block and peltier. I also modified my water block by bringing the coolant in from the top of the block. Here is that article.

Mounting the Block

Since the beginning of this project, there have been a few changes and I think I should explain what they involve. The first major change was I went from a celeron system to an Athlon system. The reason for this is that I felt the Athlon would pose a greater challenge due to the higher heat output of the chip. The second major change is the mounting device. Despite the excellent design of the device in the picture above, the mounting lugs on the socket were not strong enough for the high mounting pressure that a peltier/water block require. The end result was a busted lug. I firmly believe that the water block hold down device is the most important part of the entire water cooling system. Why do I feel this way? First of all, if the hold down device fails and the water block comes off of the cpu, the athlon will undoubtedly burn up in a few seconds. Secondly, mounting pressure is extremely important. The water cooling system could be perfect, but if the block is not correctly mounted to the cpu with plenty of pressure, then all that hard work has gone to waste. One last change I should mention is that I switched from the cross drilled block to a water block designed by Danger Den. The block I am currently using is the Danger Den Maze block. It seems to perform about 2-4 degrees better than the cross drilled block I made. Danger Den just keeps pumping out good water blocks and I can't recommend then enough. Ok then, let's look at the new mounting device. 

            First of all, let me point out that I chose to use the new motherboard mounting specification that the Athlon and Pentium4 motherboards are coming equipped with. I decided I was going to make a tower/platform device directly above the socket with a centered thumbscrew to exert pressure on the water block. The theory is actually similar to the one I designed before. The difference being is that instead of using the socket lugs, I was going to use the motherboard mounts. Theory is where the similarities end though. Let's take a look at what we're going to need to create this new mounting device:

  1. (4) 8-32 2inch brass screws with washers and nuts
  2. (4)  1inch aluminum spacers. They will fit 8-32 screws
  3. (4) 1/4inch aluminum spacers. They will fit 8-32 screws
  4. (1) 2x3.5in copper plate (1/8in thick)
  5. (1) nylon thumbscrew from Home Depot
  6. (2) 3/8hose-1/8 pipe thread barbs for water block.

First off, I place the 8-32 brass screws up through the motherboard

Next, it is time to put the spacers over the screws

Looking good so far. The spacers I purchased were threaded so I was able to hand tighten them to the motherboard. You don't want to tighten them too much. Just enough to prevent the screws from moving around. Also, if you look close enough, I put small pieces of electrical tape between the spacers and the motherboard. This was just a precaution, but it doesn't hurt to be cautious here. Ok, time to mount the copper plate and water block. So let's throw them on here.

The Danger Den Maze block and the 1/8in copper plate placed on top of it.

The mounting of the block is a success. To illustrate how strong this hold down device is, I can carry the motherboard by it and swing it around wildly without any type of movement of play from the device or the water block. (Yes, I actually did this! )  With Arctic Silver Thermal Compound between the block and cpu, I slowly turn the thumbscrew until it can not be turned easily. Then I give it a good final twist to make sure it is on super tight, yet not so tight that it cracks the core. It looks like the final piece of the puzzle is now in place. So let's take a look at the finished product.

First, here is the radiator and fans with hoses connected. Notice how I ran the hosing along the top, then down the sides of the case. Still tons of room up there even with all that cooling equipment.

Now, let's take a look at the motherboard and reservoir with the hoses connected.

Now I know a lot of you are wondering where I got that reservoir. The reservoir was hand made by myself. Taking 1/8in thick smoked plexiglass, I cut up some sides and glued it together at the joints and inner seams using Plumbers Goop. It has been in use for two months without  a single leak.  Despite the fact that my Mag Drive pump can be used inline, I chose to use a reservoir because of the leaky threads that are common with Mag Drive Pumps. Just hand tightening a hose fitting onto a Mag Drive Pump can cause the inlets to separate allowing water to leak. How do I know this? Cause that is what happened to mine and I believe the same thing happened to Joe's. Other than the poor inlet designs, these pumps are amazing and serve my cooling purposes as well as can be expected.

 I believe I followed my guidelines as strictly as possible. The only thing that is left is to monitor some temperatures and see what kind of overclocking benefit the water cooling system will offer.

 The cpu I am using is a 1.2 gig AXIA Tbird.  To achieve its maximum heat potential, I am going to run Prime 95 for one hour straight. This will give me a good idea as to not only how well the cpu is cooled, but how well the coolant is being cooled as well. The coolant I am using is a 10%antifreeze 90%distilled water mixture. First off, let's take some measurements at default speed and voltage.

System : AMD Tbird 1.2ghz, Abit KT7A, 128 meg Infineon RAM, Hercules Geforce2MX

Tbird at 1.2 ghz (default voltage)
Ambient: 70.5:
Idle:        cpu: 75 F Water temp: 71.0 F *
Prime95: cpu: 89 F Water temp: 72.1 F *

*note: a thermal probe was placed onto the brass hose inlet on the waterblock in order to monitor water temperatures

Let's take some temperatures with the cpu overclocked now.

Tbird at 1.5 ghz (1.85 volts)
Ambient: 70.7 F
Idle:         cpu:78 F  Water temp : 71.5 F *
Prime95 : cpu 96 F  Water temp : 72.8 F *

*note: a thermal probe was placed onto the brass hose inlet on the waterblock in order to monitor water temperatures

here you have it. I have put together a water cooling system that I am satisfied with. It can run for days on end, it is as quiet as a whisper, and it looks good.  From what I have read around the internet at various overclocking sites is that the KT7A socket probe is fairly accurate. Some sites have gone as far as to say that the KT7A socket probe's  accuracy is within 2 degrees of the actual core temperature. If you are using the in-socket thermistor of a different motherboard, do not compare  these results with your own. 

 I am using the KT7A socket temp-probe because it has been proven to be accurate enough to warrant its use.  In my opinion, the best way to tell if your cooling system is working as efficiently and effectively as possible is to place a thermal probe on to the water block itself. If the water block is getting warm, then the water cooling system has a flaw in it somewhere, whether it is in the efficiency of the block, or the water temp is getting too high. At 1500 mhz running prime95, the temperature probe I placed on the Danger Den Maze never went more than one degree above the actual water temperature. What does this tell me? This tells me that the greatest challenge in lowering cpu temperatures right now is pulling such a large amount of  heat off of such a small piece of silicone. The water cooling system I have put together is obviously more than capable enough of cooling a heat source of 120 watts or more. 

The weakness of today's water cooling systems lies within the actual heat transfer from cpu to water block. Sure, some blocks perform a little better than others. But why continue to improve  these blocks when it is resulting in only a two or three degree improvement in temperature. We should be working on trying to improve the heat transfer to the block. I do not believe that I can lower my temperatures by an appreciable amount without going to a different form of water cooling. The evidence for my statement is this: at 1500 mhz with the cpu under 100% utilization, my water temperature is no more than  2 degrees above room temperature and  my waterblock is less than one degree above water temperature all coupled to a mounting system that is placing a maximum amount of pressure onto the cpu, yet my cpu is a full 26 degreees (F)  above room temperature.  The only solution that I can see in the near future would be  direct-water cooling where water is channeled directly onto the cpu core. This would eliminate the efficiency loss when the water block and cpu have to be bonded together using some kind of heat conductive paste or thermal interface material. Will that  be my next venture? Possibly. Anyways, enough of my rant.  I know a lot of you are wondering where I obtained a lot of my supplies and equipment so I am going to provide a list of items and where they can be purchased.

 Thanks for reading my latest venture into water cooling and stay tuned for when I add a 172 watt peltier to this system. Until then, OnDaEdg is out!

That about wraps this article up,  If you have Questions please post them on the ProCooling Forums (recommended), or Email OnDaEdg directly.

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