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Thinking of going Water Cooled

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Apr 2, 2003
Tampa, FL
Hey all,

I am thinking of converting my sistem from air cooled to water cooled and knowing almost nothing about watercooling I was wondering are there any good guides out there on what components I need to get for water cooling and how to put em all together. Also I was wondering how much it would cost me to water cool my machine? My budget is around $200 max right now. Thank you all for your help!


Feb 23, 2003
I too am just learning, read the stickies there is a wealth of knowledge in them.


Senior Moment
Jan 12, 2001
Kansas, USA
I just ordered my first water cooling system a few days ago, so I'm a H2O newbie and don't having much personal experience, but I have researched the heck out of the subject. There is a ton of info available if you search the forum or look out on the web. My impression is this... don't skimp on the water block or the pump. The Dangerden Maze water block is a worthy consideration. The radiator is one thing you can save some cash on if you scrounge around and find a decent car heater core for cheap. Modding your own case will save you cash too. Having a $200 budget will be tight, but you can do it with patience and lots of shopping around. PM people with water cooling rigs (preferably guys that have been successfully doing this a long time). Several of the senior members here at the forum are water cooling experts. Good luck!

EDIT: If you haven't been to this link before, it's well worth checking out. Especially read the "stickies" by Cathar and Jono.

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Nov 12, 2001
$150 $150 $150.

Guides and how to's are everywhere... Read the section devoted to watercooling on the frontpage LoL!
Get the general idea of what's going on, then post questioins...


Jul 7, 2002
Hi Batboy, What an eye opener! Now I am rethinking my plans. Thanks for the link. Jono listed options I didn't know existed. Cathar has a great overview. ...Rich
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Linux challenged Senior, not that it stops me...
Dec 28, 2001
Corner of No and Where
Water cooling sounds a lot more difficult than it needs to be, and it sounds a lot more expensive too.
It does not have to be either, really, but it can be hard, costly and ineffective if you do NOT do the homework :)

For the best results that are possible make your own system; to do this you will need to read and learn quite a bit but you will save money and should have a very effective, SAFE water cooled pc when you are done:)
If you just want to get watercooled FAST I recommend getting a kit- there are many out there and some perform extremely well and need almost no knowledge to install: Swiftech makes great stuff.
I started with a Swifty kit. It was not cheap but it performed flawlessly and I still am using all the components from it although they are not used as a "kit" anymore.

If you do decide to go with a kit spend the money on a good one- there are cheap kits that stink around now and then and they will make you hate H2O. Avoid them.

If you make your own system get a good block(blocks- if you cool the northbridge and gpu too), strong, reliable pump and a good radiator.

A word on radiators:
Most people who build their own system use automotive heater cores for the radiator, but you need to solder or JBWeld barbs on the heater core for the tubing. You can also buy radiators that are heatercores with barbs for specific tubing sizes already mounted: these cost about twice as much as a non-modded heater core.

When looking at pc radiators there are two common types:
1) a copper tube coiling back and forth with cooling vanes soldered or pressed onto the tubing. These usually suck.
2) A pair of coolant tanks (one for inlet, one for outlet) with vanes that contains internal coolant passages in the vanes themselves. These are good! This is the design automotive heater cores and the engine radiator use. There are some pc-specific radiators made to this design as well.