GPU watercooling - With Detailed Construction Drawings

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How-To make your own — Petar Lazarevski

I’ve used water to cool my video cards for quite a while now. The first one to be watercooled was my Diamond Viper 770 and it performed much better with the waterblock mounted instead of a small heatsink with no fan on it. Details about this can be found right HERE and HERE.

The waterblock that I have used was of a simple cross-drilled type, just like this one:

Block

It has two main (collector) channels and four connecting channels of a smaller diameter. Just to let you have an idea how does it look inside, I have added this picture:

Inside

Nipples and Allen bolts that are used to plug the holes where the drill bit went through are clearly visible.

This kind of waterblock works perfectly well in case you have no memory heatsinks on your video card. If you want to make one yourself, the detailed drawings can be downloaded HERE (456K).

Enclosed in this archive you are going to find four folders, named Clip, Nipple, WB assembled and WB raw. Inside these folders are detailed draftings and cross-sectional views, all you need to make a complete setup. If you do everything following these drawings, you’ll have no trouble mounting it and your GPU is going to run a lot cooler than with any HSF you could buy.

Of course, you may have a video card with some components (like capacitors) that are going to make mounting impossible, so you first have to check if you have enough space for this waterblock.

However, if you have a video adapter with extremely fast memory, it is very likely that there are heatsinks glued onto the chips. A portion of the PCB with memory heatsinks is shown on the picture that follows (some components not shown for clarity reasons):

Mem

It is obvious that the heatsinks stay in the way of the nipples and that the simple waterblock could not be mounted. Since I have recently purchased a card that looks just like this, I thought of a way to make nipples “higher”.

Of course, I could use some bent copper tubes to make nipples, but I thought that it would be too much trouble, since the bending radius would be so small. So I used some leftover square brass bars to make four identical angle adapters, just like one on the picture below:

Adapters

The appropriate nipple could be made of a hexagonal brass bar and should have a thread that fits into the adapter. It should look something like this:

Nipple

This is a very small nipple with M8 metric thick pitch threading and 5mm inner diameter hole in it. It is quite sufficient for the flow needed to cool down the GPU perfectly.

I used four copper washers between the adapters and the waterblock body, but if you have some good thread-sealing compound (like those made by Locktite or Wurth), you won’t need washers at all. All the parts needed to assemble this kind of “upgraded” GPU waterblock are shown on this exploded view:

View

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Petar Lazarevski – Yugoslavia

After the assembly, your new waterblock ready to take away the heat produced by GPU should look something like this:

Assemble

I always use two clips to mount the waterblock on the video adapter, the one that goes under the PCB:

Strap Under

And the other that should be put over the waterblock and has a threaded hole for a tightening screw:

Strap Over

The reason for using two clips is simple: Taking the load of the PCB that would otherwise strain it and make it bend a little. When you put everything together and tighten the screw in the clip, your video card should look like this:

Done

The whole setup is less than 30mm high, so you won’t loose your second PCI slot with this unit (your first PCI slot is lost anyway with the AGP video card in place)

Thin long bolts (usually with standard M3 threading) should be made of nylon or similar non-conductive material, but since I could not find any, I insulated the plain metal bolts with thin, self-adhesive tape in the portion that has contact with holes in the PCB.

Since I used brass bars to make clips, the one that goes under the PCB has to be well insulated. It is preferred to use some thick, elastically deformable material – I cut it out from an old mouse-pad. If there are some components in the area of the PCB where the clip is going to reside, it is advisable to shape the clip with a file to make it fit better and not to make excessive pressure on a few tiny electronic components, such as capacitors or resistors.

The next picture shows how the side of the PCB opposite to the GPU should look like after assembly:

Bottom

If you decide to make this kind of waterblock, download the detailed drawings HERE (531K). Enclosed in the archive you are going to find four folders: Adapter, Assembly, WB assembled and WB raw. Inside these four folders are detailed draftings and cross-sectional views, all you need to make a complete setup.

If you are looking for a waterblock with better flow characteristics and higher efficiency, maybe this could be a solution for you:

Block

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