Watercooling Motherboard Voltage Regulators

Like it says – Nick Poirier

The other day I started to cut up a big heatsink to get small heatsinks for the six CPU voltage regulators on my NF7-S (rev 2.0) motherboard. As I was cutting up the heatsink I said to myself, “It must be possible to water cool these instead!” So over the next day or two, while at work, I conjured up a design in my head. And now that design has been built 🙂

These pictures show the intended target: the six CPU voltage regulators (VRs):

  • Without any cooling these guys get incredibly hot (I measured them at 65’C!!)
  • Those round donut shaped components got even hotter

  • Even those four big capacitors got real toasty


    This is the VR water block I made:

  • The base of the block is a piece of 1″ wide copper flat-bar (1/8″ thick)
  • It was cut (moulded) to fit around those four big capacitors located between the VRs
  • The water chamber is made of a piece of standard 1/2″ copper pipe cut in half lengthwise
  • Small pieces of the copper flat-bar were used to “cap” the open ends
  • Holes were drilled into the top for the 3/8″ OD (1/4″ ID) inlet and outlet pipes
  • The inlet/outlet pipes were rounded on the end to conform to the inside of the water chamber
  • The base of the block has many starter-holes drilled into it (on the inside where the water flows)
  • These holes do not go all the way through of course
  • The holes were made to disrupt the water flow and to increase heat transfer
  • I realize I could have spent more time removing excess solder and cleaning up the block 🙂

    These pictures show the hose I am going to use with the block:

  • The hose is very “rubbery”, extremely flexible, and has dimensions of 3/8″ OD (1/4″ ID)


  • Once pushed over the 3/8″ OD pipes it does NOT want to come off (ie no need for hose clamps)

    Nick Poirier

    Some pictures at different angles of the block placed on the VRs:

    On Mobo1
  • It’s a tight fit for sure, but the block drops in easily

    On Mobo2
  • The six VRs below all contact the underside of the block (thanks Abit for making them the all same height!)
  • Those four big capacitors on one side are not squeezed at all by the block

    On Mobo3
  • Those three donut shaped components on the other side are not in contact with the block either

    On Mobo4
  • You can also see my lapped nForce2 Ultra 400 northbridge chip in some of these pictures

    This picture shows the actual installation of the block:

  • Arctic Alumina thermal epoxy was used to secure the block in place
  • A “C” clamp was used to apply pressure
  • A mouse pad was placed under the motherboard to prevent it from flexing due to the uneven solder points on the underside

    Nick Poirier

    These pictures show the block fully installed in its final working state:

  • I drilled a 3/8″ hole into my 1″ flow splitter from my Laguna pump
  • The exiting coolant from the VR block simply dumps back into my reservoir below

  • That is not the best way to handle the heated coolant, but for right now it is sufficient

  • I expect this block will help reduce my CPU temperature as well due to less heat around the socket area

    Initial Results

  • The flow through the block is very acceptable
  • A pretty powerful jet of coolant shoots out the end of the returning hose when I pull it out of the reservoir (causing extreme bubbles when the jet hits the surface of the coolant in the reservoir)
  • I have not measured the temperature of the VRs or other components with my digital thermal sensor yet, but I can say for sure that the temperature of those components has SIGNIFICANTLY been reduced!!!
  • Before the VR block was installed, touching the VRs or especially those donut-shaped components with your bare fingertip resulted in instant pain
  • Now I can hold my fingertip on the donuts forever without worry of pain
  • The donuts are warm to the touch but by no means as hot as before (I would estimate 40’C now)
  • The capacitors as well feel cooler too

    Nick Poirier

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