Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Jump to Water Cooling My PC

I am about to venture into absolute untested territory as I make the move to PC water cooling. Since my motherboard already has a built in water block for chipset cooling, and my current passive air cooled temps are too high for my liking, this move makes sense.

The fact that numerous overclocking enthusiasts use water cooling in order to push their rigs to the limit should be assurance that water cooling is safe and easy enough to do by oneself. Since I am an industrial mechanic by trade, hydraulics are not new to me. But the thought of adding fluid to a $2500.00 maze of electronics that sits right next to me is a bit intimidating.

The intent is to start small and most likely stay that way. I only need to cool the motherboard chipset, but the current Thermalright Ultra 120 Extreme CPU cooler is sitting right on top of the built in chipset hose connections.

The only solution is to water cool the chipset AND the CPU. The easiest way to do this would be with a small kit that contains all the necessary components and is geared for the beginner.

After much searching I finally decided on the Corsair Nautilus 500. It's one neat little package with all the necessary components and was under $200.00 at NCIX. It got excellent reviews and while it is not intended for some of the extreme systems it should work very well for my needs. I will be doing a full review on the installation and results later on.

I did a search on "normal" chipset temperatures for the ASUS Maximus Formula SE and found many conflicting results. Apparently Intel says these chipsets can run up to 90C safely. That sounds a little too high to me. Most users with passive cooling report temps from 40-60C. In their review, AnandTech cites chipset failures at 47C for prolonged usage. My current temps are NB : 50-65C and SB: 45- 60C. I am just not liking that. There is really no way to air cool these chips effectively in my case. So it looks like I fork out a little more cash on this rig.


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