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DIY combo air/water CPU heatsink setup

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New Member
Mar 4, 2006
hi all. apologies if this is in the wrong place on the forum but i had a question about a build im working on.

im looking to set up a combo air/water cooler for my cpu. basically the idea is to take a heat sink with multiple heat pipes, cut one of the pipes open to pump water through and leave the rest as is. the idea is that the water will cool the bulk of the cpu heat and the remaining (intact) heat pipes and fan will take care of the rest and more importantly serve as a backup should my pump fail. ive set up a similar system before only there i used all of the heat sink's pipes to pump water. i had a pump fail once and the cpu temps skyrocketed for a few days before i noticed something was wrong. my system will run 24/7 at 100% load (folding at home, etc.) in an office so my main reasoning for this type of setup would be for redundancy and noise reduction.

my question is that since this will probably cause uneven cooling on the heat sink base my cpu die will likely have uneven core temps. how big of an issue is this? im thinking the area of the heat sink base that has the water pipe will be much colder than the intact heat pipes. even if i line up a heat pipe so that its right over the cpu die i doubt ill be lucky enough to find a heat sink that has one heat pipe covering 100% of the cpu die, so some areas are going to be cold while others hotter. hope that makes sense. any help you guys can offer is greatly appreciated.



Uber Folding Senior
Jul 17, 2003

This all sounds unnecessarily complicated to me. I would do one or the other. A good air cooler should be able to handle your CPU heat just fine as long as you have good air flow in the case. Similarly, a good water cooler should last a good long time and also handle your heat. This particular hybrid system that you are proposing seems fraught with issues.

List your current rig in your signature and members of the forum can give you a better feel for what would be best based on budget and goals.


"That Backfired" Senior Member
Jun 5, 2013
Go Blue!
I would wager that this set-up would cool your CPU equal or less than a quality tower air cooler. I would agree with Don that your best solution would be to either go air cooler or water.

"If" you were to come up with a hybrid design I would think a heatsink mounted directly on top of a full copper waterblock would be more effective then hacking up an air cooler. This is just a guess though.


Senior Pink Member
Sep 13, 2015
If you go straight water Cooling you could always have a second pump in the system as a backup if you are worried.


Senior Member
Dec 27, 2008
Modern CPU have thermal protection that works very well to prevent damage when pumps fail. They will throttle down or shutdown to prevent damage so high temp damage is pretty rare these days. In your own words you confirm this:

"i had a pump fail once and the cpu temps skyrocketed for a few days before i noticed something was wrong."