DIY Waterblock Contest

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Five “roll your won” waterblocks vie for top dog — Joe

SUMMARY: A “roll your own” contest – four interesting waterblock designs.

Ben was instrumental in getting some watercooling DIYs to send me waterblocks they made for testing – a friendly competition.

I thought readers would like to see what these guys did in designing and fabricating their own waterblocks.

Ben

Ben adapted a Thermaltake heatsink for watercooling. The base

Ben

is very smooth – a nice lapping job. This design makes Socket 370/A mounting a snap, although care must be used with this one. This is the only aluminum base block.

Ben1

Brook

Brook sent in two blocks. This is the larger one:

Brook

This mounting plate is set for Socket A use. The base

Brook1

is silver – looks like a silver coin was used. Brook did the same thing in a smaller version:

Brook2

The pipes are 5/8″. The base uses a smaller silver coin:

Brook3

Both of these required a lot of lapping to smooth it out.

Jonathon

Jonathon’s block uses a plastic top bolted onto a copper base.

Jon

The base has a little maze cut into it:

Jon1

The idea is to use the channels to increase turbulence inside the block. The base

Jon2

is flat and smooth – the mottling is due to coloration differences and should not impact performance.

Pudge

The smallest and lightest of the blocks – reminds me of the Union ship Monitor.

Pudge

Pudge sent a picture of what he crafted inside:

Maze

Looks like a nice pattern to keep things hopping! The base is very smooth – a very nice lapping job.

Pudge1

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THE TEST

To test the blocks, I used the same waterpump, fan and radiator and only changed waterblocks. I used the Die Simulator. The first thing I found was that Brook’s large waterblock developed a leak after about 15 minutes into the test while on the test stand. I was out of the room and came back to a flood!

The bright side is it forced me to clean up my work area – it hasn’t been this clean since I built it!

Anyhow, Brook’s large block did not make the cut. Jonathan’s block showed a very small leak at the base of one nipple; some further tightening should clear it up – not enough to warrant aborting the test.

TEST RESULTS – CPU Simulator

Waterblock
Die Temp
Ambient Temp
Delta
C/W
Jonathon
45.2 C
25.5 C
19.7 C
0.26
Brook Small
51.4 C
25.4 C
26.0 C
0.35
Pudge
50.5 C
24.5 C
26.0 C
0.35
Ben
68.1 C
24.2 C
43.9 C
0.58

Jonathon’s maze waterblock was a clear winner. As a sanity check, I ran Jonathan’s and Pudge’s blocks on an Iwill KK266+ that has been modified to read AMD’s diode, with the following results:

TEST RESULTS – Motherboard
CPU/Motherboard

CPU Die Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

C/W

CPU Back Temp

Jonathon¹

35.2 C

25.9 C

9.3

0.17

37.2 C

Pudge¹

37.2 C

25.5 C

11.7

0.21

39.8 C

¹In-socket thermistor per MBM: 31

Delta = CPU temp – Ambient Temp
C/W = Delta / CPU Watts

Interpreting C/W: For every watt (CPUw) that the CPU
consumes, the HSF will limit the CPU’s temperature rise to (C/W x CPUw)
plus the temperature at the HSF’s fan inlet. For example, at an ambient temp of 25 C, a C/W of 0.25 with a CPU radiating 50 watts means that CPU temp will increase 50 x 0.25 = 12.5 C over ambient temp, or 37.5 C. The lower the C/W, the better.

Motherboard testing confirms that Jonathon’s design works quite well. Great job!

CONCLUSIONS

An interesting range of designs from intrepid DIYers. With a bit of effort, it’s possible to “roll your own” and develop a very good waterblock.

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