• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Monthly roundup of water cooling's best components[Retired Sticky]

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
The purpose of this thread is to help those people who have read the tutorial stickies and know the basics of water cooling, and just need help in picking out the components. This thread will be updated monthly based on availability of old, current, and new parts.

WORK IN PROGRESS

Components are ordered in terms of overall performance.

Pumps (12V DC):

  1. Laing D5 (AKA Swiftech MCP655), cost ~$75

    Pros: Good free flow performance, good reliability, adjustable speed, now a low noise pump with the D5 revision. May be best for single block systems.
    Cons: A bit bulky for some possibly, also has noticable motor noise, weak if run at lower speeds.

    [*]Laing DDC/DDC+ (AKA Swiftech MCP350/355), ~cost $70. The Laing DDC+ is the 18W version vs the 10W for the non Plus. With inlet/top modifications the 18W bests the MCP655 for flow performance at slightly lower noise levels.

    Pros: Very good pressure capability, very low noise (Eheim 1048 level), good for multiblock systems.
    Cons: Low free flow rate (can be helped from this mod LINK or with these tops which can use the center for the inlet: Petra's Top

    [*]Aquaxtreme 50Z (AKA Swiftech MCP600 Rev. 2), cost ~$80

    Pros: Good free flow performance, reasonably low noise, 2 year warrantee.
    Cons: Less pressure than DDC, potential reliability problem, less overall performance of a modded DDC, only runs down to 10V or so. A bit less overall performance than the D5. No reason to get this over the MCP655 now for noise and performance unless you're strapped for cash.

I am making an educated guess that for most systems, the 655 will outperform in all flow scenarios because the 655's PQ curve bests the unmodded 350s from 0LPM to maximum, though it consumes three times the power. From most data I have read, this would mean that for high power CPUs, the 655 would be the pump of choice. For low power CPUs (e.g. Dothan, undervolted Venice, Mobile Bartons non-OCed), the 350 should be used as it's power draw is lower.

Waterblocks:

  1. Dtek Fuzion, $65 Dtek Customs

    Pros: Excellent performance. Nozzle mod helps even more.
    Cons: A bit on the pricey side.

    [*]Swiftech Apogee GT/GTX, cost $45 GT, GTX

    Pros: Identical performance to a Storm on IHS-equipped CPUs, excellent value for performance.
    Cons: Made in China, cost for GTX.

    [*]Swiftech Storm, $80 Storm

    Pros: Extremely good performance, universal mounting.
    Cons: Cost (now available through mass production by Swiftech).

    [*]AquaXtreme MP-05 SP/LE, cost $75 Cooltechnica

    Pros: Excellent performance, on par with a Storm
    Cons: Very pricey.

    [*]Dtek Whitewater, cost $20-30 depending on version

    Pros: Excellent performance/dollar, universal mounting.
    Cons: 3 barb arrangement can make tubing routing more difficult.

    [*]Danger Den RBX (3 barb), TDX (2 barb), cost ~$55

    Pros: Good performance, tweakability (different nozzles).
    Cons: Less performance than other blocks, tweakability (if you don’t like dismantling the system to change nozzles).

Graphics Waterblocks:

I'm ridding the ranking for this, as the blocks have become more specialized. People now need to choose their blocks based on the GPU they are using. If you want a full cover block, your choices are limited. EK, Swiftech and Danger Den all make full cover blocks for high end visual processors. It is questionable if cooling memory makes any difference as opposed to cooling the BGA chips with passive heatsinks. Swiftech and Enzotech both supply nicely made forged copper BGA heatsinks. If you want to simply cool the GPU itself, you may want to cool the BGAs using this method. Furthermore, Swiftech, Dtek Customs and Danger Den all make nice GPU blocks for chip-only cooling.


Radiators:

NOTE: The radiators will be ranked in terms of absolute performance first with high power fans (>90cfm rated), with secondary ordering for performance in low noise conditions. It should also be noted that in the automotive world the saying is "There is no replacement for displacement", which for you n00bs means the bigger the better. The same holds true for rads, surface area is king.

High power fans (e.g. San Ace 120mm, Delta FFB/TFB, Panaflo H1A/U1A 120x38mm):

In high airflow applications, note that the temperature differences between radiators of similar fan and surface area arrangements will be quite small, such as 1C or less.


  1. Blackice Extreme 2/3 or Thermochill 120.2/3

    Pros: Very good performance with axial fans, easy to mount in most tower cases.
    Cons: Price.

    [*]Blackice GT Series

    Pros: Very good performance with axial fans, easy to mount in most tower cases. Nice price.
    Cons: High FPI will trap a lot of dust. HERE. Take note, regardless of the GT's performance, it will be a dust trap due to it's high FPI and will be very hard to clean without removing the rad and hosing the fins with water. I have to do this with my HE120.3. The PA series and much easier to blow out with air due to their low FPI.

    [*]Double heater core

    Pros: Cheap alternative to prebuilt computer radiators.
    Cons: More awkward to mount, need shrouds to perform well, painting for aesthetics.

    [*]Blackice Pro 2/3

    Pros: Good performance, cheaper than Extreme or Thermochills.
    Cons: Price.

    [*]Blackice Extreme 120x1, Thermochill 120.1

    Pros: Good performance, less space required.
    Cons: Less performance than larger counterparts.

    [*]Single heater core

    Pros: Cheaper alternative to BIX1, Thermochill 120.1
    Cons: More awkward to mount, need shrouds to perform well, painting for aesthetics.

    [*]Blackice Pro

    Pros: Cheaper than thicker counterparts.
    Cons: Worst performance relative to all others.

Low power fans (e.g. undervolted Panaflo L1A 120mm, Delta EFB, 120x25mm fans):

In these applications, the thickness of the radiator will determine best performance, where thinner is better because of the lower pressure capabilities of these fans. Coupled with the higher air resistance of thicker radiators, they perform worse with slower fans. It should be realized that for quiet operation, your priorities should be frontal area of the radiator followed by thickness, which should be lower for less restriction with a low pressure fan. For high power fans, thickness and total surface area is desired. Please keep in mind that performance numbers are hard to relate to current articles available and lack of testbeds for radiator testing, so this is going off of my knowledge of what works and what doesn't work so well. In other words, don't take it as The Word.

It should be mentioned that the PA series rads by Thermochill are the best performing rads with low speed quiet fans. You can see Marci's comparison HERE. The jury is still out on the new BI GT series, HWlabs went in the polar opposite direction of Thermochill in terms of quiet rad cooling. HWlabs went with higher FPI (fins per inch) with their new 'micro fin' design which are very fine densely packed fins. These rads are extremely thin where the PA series are very thick with a very low FPI (9 IIRC). IMO the GT will not outperform the PA series, but this is just conjecture at this point.

Note: Still need to figure out where the GTX series fits in.

Ranking for low noise applications:

  1. Thermochill PA120.3
    [*]Blackice GT Series
    [*]Blackice Pro 3
    [*]Blackice Extreme 3
    [*]Thermochill PA160
    [*]Blackice Pro 2
    [*]Thermochill 120.2
    [*]Blackice Extreme 2
    [*]Double heater core
    [*]Blackice Pro 1
    [*]Thermochill 120.1
    [*]Blackice Extreme 1
    [*]Single heater core




Resources:

http://www.procooling.com/html/pro_testing.php - interactive waterblock testing results
http://www.overclockers.com waterblock testing
http://www.systemcooling.com for Laing DDC mod

BillA and Greenman100 for radiator clarification.
 
Last edited:
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
I've never been big on aesthetics with regards to posts or reports I do. I'd be glad to take suggestions on how to make it look better.
 

David

Forums Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 20, 2001
If you want to make the formatting a little clearer, try increasing the size of the section headings using size tags and perhaps bold the name of each component. Also using [+list=1] and then [*] for each item and [/list+] to close (minus the +s) will make a formatted numebered list like this:

  1. Item 1
  2. Item 2
  3. Item 3
 

OutS|der

Member
Joined
Feb 3, 2004
Location
Crackatoea
also add in best GPU block and best Chipset Blocks
Maybe even add in perfered Addititves as well
otherwise great job
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
I might work on those in the future. I need to gather more info on them first.

Thanks.
 

Achilles17

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Location
New York City
yeah GPU block info would be good too. The big Three are the Silverprop Fusion HL, Swiftech MCW50, and the DangerDen Maze4. Heres my take on the three, from best to worst (although none are bad):

1) Fusion HL (Cost ~$50)

Pros:
1) All Copper
2) Preforms Very Well, best of the three
3) Can fit on any card with 6800 adapter kit

Cons:
1) Shipping can be expensive from Australia (If you order from Silverprop)
2) Expensive
3) Adapter kit costs extra

2) MCW50 (Cost ~$40)

Pros:
1) Cheapest of the Three
2) Preforms Well, about the same as the Maze4

Cons:
1) Uses 3/8" ID tubing, can be restricting for a 1/2" setup
2) 6800 Adapter costs extra
3) Contains Aluminum

3) Maze4 (Cost ~$45)

Pros:
1) Fits on any card, adapter kits are cheap ($2-$5)
2) 1/2" or 3/8" barbs available
3) Preforms well, about the same as the MCW50

Cons:
1) Contains Aluminum
2) More Expensive than the MCW50

Theres also a polarflo block, but I dont know much about it, other than the fact that its not quite as good as these three. Anything else that I know of isnt up to par. If you want to just copy and paste this up there, go for it, or if I am dead wrong about somethind, someone please point it out and I will edit this ASAP. Hope this helps!
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Joe's reviews on the main page of the MCW50 and the Maze4 GPU place them very close together, might as well be a matter of preference.

Do you know of any good reviews of the Silverprop block? What I've read makes it look good but hard to find a test bench review of it.
 

Achilles17

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Location
New York City
I know I read a couple before I bought it, let me search around and try to find some for you. I can tell you from experience that it is great (gave me a 36*C drop on my 6800 ultra) but I'll look for a review.
 

Achilles17

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Location
New York City
Wow, no reviews of the Fusion HL anywhere. In one place I read that Jeremy (over at Silverprop) is reluctant to lend out blocks just to reviewers, maybe he had a bad experience or something. But not to despair! I do come bearing some positive news! It seems that pHaestus over at Pro Cooling is making a big GPU block roundup, and comparing all the blocks against each other, specifically the Fusion HL, Maze4, and MCW50, among others. He has most of the blocks, and the Fusion HL is in transit from Silverprop, along with one of their CPU blocks (apparently Jeremy agreed to send them). So in a few weeks time we will probably see this review, which will show us once and for all which block is king. The thread at Pro Cooling can be found here:

http://forums.procooling.com/vbb/showthread.php?t=10670
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Excellent.

Once pH posts the review I'll append my list. I would bet that your ordering is an accurate guess to what the results will be. ;)
 
OP
Voodoo Rufus

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Joined
Sep 20, 2001
Don't see a need to update anything for April yet, but the new Dtek Csystems Mag pump will be something to keep an eye out for once reviews are available.
 

mgoode

Member
Joined
Jan 26, 2005
Location
The MotherShip
I would add the fusions take about a month to actually recieve from silverprop as a con. Still waiting for mine four weeks and counting.
 

Achilles17

Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2004
Location
New York City
mgoode said:
I would add the fusions take about a month to actually recieve from silverprop as a con. Still waiting for mine four weeks and counting.

Really? Mine took 2 weeks tops, more like one and a half. Call them, or email Jeremy, hes real helpful. Maybe theyre just out of stock too...