The Plan


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.

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