Greg's Watercooling Journey

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Well, I guess that I started just like all of you overclockers out there. When the first pushable chips
came out, I have been trying to push the chips to
the max, any time that I could. Well, my latest
project is to take an AMD 1.3 thunderbird and
try to push it to around 1.6 or higher.

The first
thing that I did was to read all that I could about
overclocking on Overclockers.com. Then I saw
all the articles on water-cooling. I thought to my
self “Hmmm.. What a concept!!”

I set myself a goal to try and find as many of the
parts that I could right here in town. And much to
my surprise I found EVERY thing except the
cooling block. Here is an list of the parts that I
used:

  1. A Hayden transmission oil cooler that I
    found at a local parts store – Part # 401. It
    measures 11″ x 5 ” x ¾” thick. I found it for
    around $25.00

  2. A Rio Aqua pump #600 that I got from
    a local aquarium store. It pumps around 180 gph
    and it was only 21.00. Not bad!

  3. An underground electrical box that’s
    about 5″ x 5″ x 5″ with a seal on for the lid.
    It cost me about $15.00 and the local electrical
    supply house.

  4. Two 120 mm cooling fans that I pulled out
    of some power supplies that I had laying
    around the house.

  5. The cooling block and the hold down I
    ordered from 2CoolComputer. I was very
    happy about the block, but the hold down is
    another story. I will talk about that later.

  6. And for the rest of the parts I was able to
    Find at my friendly neighborhood Ace hardware store.

Mounted

As you can see above, I mounted my
cooling block to the chip and motherboard using
2CoolComputer’s mounting strap. I also mounted
a thermal sensor from my bay cooler.

Hoses

Here you can see the cooling hoses attached
to the cooling block. And for a little more insurance, I also used hose claps. In fact, I used hose clamps on all of my connections – better safe then sorry, I always say.

So far, my cooling system is just like all the rest of them. But I went a few steps farther. As you know,
the purpose of water cooling is to lower the temp of the chip, right? Well, how about also lowering the temp of the case too?

That’s why I decided to put the rest of my system outside of the case. It actually lowered the inside temperature by 35 degrees F. I really did notice a big difference in the performance of my computer. It
Also helped lower the temperature of my video card, a Hercules 3D Prophet 2 GTS 64 meg. Note the
heatsink and cooling fan mod that I did below. I mounted a heat sink from a Pentium pro and a bigger fan. Lower my temp of my card by 25-35 F.

Vid mod

Here’s a picture of my outside cooling unit. The base and all the mounts are made of Plexiglas that I had laying around the house. The rest of the pictures are self-explanatory.

Radiator

Top View

Finished

In Use

The mother board that I am using is an Abit KT7A-RAID. I am running the chip at 1.3 GHz right now at 1.85 v. I will be pushing it farther as soon as I buy my new motherboard. The chip at idle runs at 85 F, compared to the heat sink and cooling fan at 116-120 F.

The big test!!

I thought about playing QUAKE 3 or UNREAL TOURNAMENT GOLD. But I went on step farther. I thought to my self “What would really push the chip?”
I Finally came up with 3D Benchmark 2001. It would make the strongest systems beg for mercy! Well, after benchmarking about 15 min or so,
I checked out the temp. Well, much to my surprise – only 115 F! And talk about some awesome frame rates!

Now to the part that hurt the most.

I’m sure that you all have had it happen to you one time or another:

CHIP MELT DOWN!!!!!!!!!

That’s right, My $145 AMD 1.3 GHz. OUCH! What a setback! That is why I am now running an 1 GHz – I couldn’t afford another 1.3. I’m not sure of the reason; either I tightened the holddown too much, or the bad design of hold down was at fault. Either way, it broke the hold down tab on the socket; either way, I was out a 1.3 GHz chip and a big hole in my wallet.

Al Clamp

Well, not to get too depressed about the chip, I found a new way to mount the cooler to the chip, I found it while I was reading through Overclockers.com. Good ole Plexiglas, as you have seen done before. Well, I can tell you that it worked GREAT!!

Plexi Clamp

Greg Biloff

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