PC Liquid Cooling System

The cooling system is a vital part of every personal computer. The processor and other components generate a considerable amount of heat that needs to be removed. If this is not done, problems start to occur when the components become too hot. A processor can even be destroyed if it operates without a heat sink for too long. Air cooling is the most common method of removing heat, but liquid cooling is the most efficient method. A liquid cooling system for a computer is similar to the system used for every motor vehicle engine. It consists of a waterblock, radiator, pump, reservoir tank, tubing, and coolant.

For a while now, computer enthusiasts have known that processors can be made to run faster than their rated speed. The process of increasing the speed of a processor is called overclocking, and the enthusiasts who do this are called overclockers. The fastest processors are also the most expensive, so it makes sense to buy a cheaper one and run it at a faster speed. The only serious problem to deal with is the extra heat generated, which needs to removed before the processor is damaged. Air cooling is adequate for small increases in speed, but most enthusiasts prefer to use a liquid cooling system to reach the higher speeds.

The standard heatsink and fan assembly is replaced by a waterblock made from a solid block of copper. It is mounted directly on top of the processor, just like a heatsink. The high conductivity and low cost of copper make it an ideal material for cooling. Inside the waterblock, there is a network of milled channels through which the coolant flows. On the top surface, there is an inlet and outlet connector for the plastic tubing. The joints of the waterblock are brazed together to form a watertight seal, which stops coolant from leaking out and shorting the electronics inside the computer.

The waterblock transfers heat from the processor to the coolant, but that heat needs to be removed before the coolant returns to the waterblock. A small radiator mounted outside of the computer is connected to the waterblock by plastic tubing. The air pushed through the radiator by a fan absorbs the heat and carries it away. Choosing the right size of radiator is important because a small one may not remove enough heat. To avoid problems from overheating on hot days, it is always better to get a radiator that is slightly larger than what is actually required.

The other parts of a liquid cooling system are the coolant pump and reservoir tank. Without a pump, the coolant would not circulate and no heat would be removed. The processor would soon overheat and the computer would experience problems, like graphical glitches or random reboots. The small tank filled with coolant ensures that no air bubbles get into the system, and it makes the job of keeping the coolant topped up much easier. Some systems also have an flow meter that shows when coolant is moving through the tubing. It is similar to the meter on a gasoline bowser, which has a small impeller that spins when fluid flows past it.

There is a sizable industry dedicated to making advanced cooling systems for computers. Companies such as Thermaltake and Swiftech sell all the components needed to assemble a liquid cooling system, including the coolant. While liquid cooling is adequate for most overclocked computers, some enthusiasts go to the extreme of using liquid nitrogen to directly cool the processor. The speeds that they reach with this method are quite amazing but the cost involved is much higher too. Another benefit of a liquid cooling system is that it makes your computer interesting and attracts attention at LAN parties.

This PC Liquid Cooling System Review is Written/Updated on Nov 19th, 2010 and filed under Computer Hardware. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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