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RocketSquid's avatar

What is your opinion on liquid cooling for computers?

Asked by RocketSquid (3470points) May 5th, 2010

When I upgraded my computer, I upgraded the fans as well. Everything stays cool enough, but I’m tired of listening to the “super quiet” fans hum all night.
I was originally opposed to it because at the time I did a lot of lan parties, but those have died down quite a bit. I rarely move my computer (if ever) and would love to have it run dead silent.

What’s your opinion on liquid cooling? Can I get my PC to run silently, or would I still need a fan for the radiator? Is the hassle/risk more than it’s worth? I’m looking for any and all info people can give me.

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25 Answers

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The_Idler's avatar

The systems now are effective and quiet and very neat.

Not really worth it unless you have a powerhouse rig, but if you must have quiet…. go for it!

Lightlyseared's avatar

Liquid cooled systems have fans too particularly if they are performance systems. The only way to have a silent system is to use low power components that can be passively cooled. You could probably run HD video on such a system.

Alternatively, why not turn the damn thing off at night.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

Sounds high risk to me when one leak can destroy your system.
Water cooling is also expensive.

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jaytkay's avatar

My opinion is that it’s not worth the hassle, but then again I don’t run gaming machines.

I prefer cases with high-volume low-velocity fans.

Silent PC Review is dedicated to lower power components and careful case design. The authors collaborate with Antec in producing cases like the P193

richardhenry's avatar

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The_Idler's avatar

Yeah, the 120mm fans are good.

The bigger the fan, the larger the volume of air can be moved per revolution, allowing lower fans speeds, and so quieter running.

I’ve often thought about building in a desk fan. Replacing a whole side panel, like.

Lightlyseared's avatar

If you want a really quiet system that you can overclock to within an inch of its life then you could go for oil cooling. Get a big plastic box (the bigger the better) drop the motherboard into the box then use long wires so that you can leave the PSU, HD and DVD outside the box. Fill the box with oil (cooking oil for example) and then off you go. You can get away some extreme overclocks.

The_Idler's avatar

@Lightlyseared For real? That is totally insane.

Captain_Fantasy's avatar

I’m not doing that. Someone else can try but I’m anxious to see pics of that ghetto rig.

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Lightlyseared's avatar

@The_Idler Yep. Oil is non conductive so it doesn’t effect the electronics (well… it can corrode circuit boards and if you use cooking oil it begins to smell a bit funny after a while)

How to from Tom’s Hardware

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coogan's avatar

I have the P183, which is basically the P193 without the monstrous 200mm side fan. I have a Noctua heatsink and fans and it’s quiet, but you still hear the air rushing out since it’s near a wall. It definitely works, any room it’s in becomes a sauna.

The oil cooled rig actually doesn’t look ghetto. There are builds utilizing a fish tank posted online. And if you have a girl over, you don’t need to retrieve that embarrassing bottle of KY. Then tell her you’re about to oil cool her internals.

DarkScribe's avatar

Liquid cooling is effective but not as reliable as fan cooling. They are fine if you upgrade your system every year or two, but are likely to fail if you expect it to last indefinitely. I stay away from them – too many bad experiences with catastrophic failure when used in very hot climates. In the office I don’t worry, but in my home office I use a soundproof computer cabinet with a high volume exhaust fan aiding air circulation. The exhaust fan is in the ceiling and quite silent.

lilikoi's avatar

Better make sure it’s watertight…

Pretty_Lilly's avatar

I know someone who has the set-up and it cost him an arm and a leg ! Plus it looks like something out of a Frankenstein movie ! Maybe in the future they could use some kind of a gel instead of water and lower the price ! Otherwise in my opinion it is not worth it !

LeotCol's avatar

You could just get a big fish tank and fill it with vegetable oil. Take out all your fans and make some sort of extension for the hard disk and DVD drive. Keeps it cool and dead silent. The hot oil at the bottom rises to the top pushing the cool oil down. Pretty awesome.

jerv's avatar

Personally, I feel that they are overkill unless you are going for a serious overclocking.

It’s not terribly quiet; a well-designed air-cooled rig can achieve decent temps for a stock rig, A slow-spinning 120mm fan and plenty of fin area gets the job done and generally for less $$$ than a liquid-cooling rig.

CMaz's avatar

It works, but I see it more as just a cool factor.

RocketSquid's avatar

I was hoping to find something dead silent, but it sounds like there’d still be some noise with liquid cooling. I’m not really overclocking or having a problem with overheating, so I think I’m gonna stick with the setup I’ve got now.

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