Although plans often have to be adapted to suit your case, the environment, and the parts you have, planning in advance is crucial to building an effective loop. And even with liquid cooling, you still need sufficient internal airflow, so removing all internal fans is a no-no.
There are a few things to consider when building a liquid-cooled loop. First and foremost, your pump should always be gravity fed by a reservoir. Think of a pump as a fan—the bearing at its center needs to be well lubricated to function. In a liquid cooling scenario, the coolant acts as lubricant. If you don’t have lubricant in the pump, you risk damaging the bearing and killing your pump.
You should also note which ports on your devices are inlets and outlets. Traditionally, on a pump, the outlet is the lowest port, and the inlet is anything above that—but check the manual. CPU blocks are usually labeled, and it often doesn’t matter for radiators and graphics cards.
Then it’s simply a case of creating a full loop. In a very simple instance, we’d run a length of tubing from the pump to the GPU, from the GPU to the CPU, the CPU to the radiator, and the radiator back down to the reservoir pump combo. If we were to add an additional radiator, we’d likely run the first radiator directly to that second rad, then back down into the reservoir again.
Radiator positioning in liquid cooling loops doesn’t actually matter. Thanks to the laws of thermodynamics, in a pressurized system such as this, the temperature of the coolant is the same across all points within the loop. So, whether you place one radiator before or after a component, it makes very little difference to internal temperatures.
On top of all this, you still need to consider your fan setup. Make sure you have either a balanced or a slightly positive setup, drawing cool air into the chassis from the front, and exhausting out of the roof or the rear of the case.
Preliminary plans for DM 2017.