How to Build an Epic Water Cooled PC on Any Budget
So you want to build an epic water cooled gaming PC but don’t want to break the bank in the process. Don’t worry, you’ve come to the right place. Water cooling your PC might sound intimidating, but we’re here to show you how easy and affordable it can be. With a few key components and a little patience, you’ll be well on your way to lower temps, less noise, and some serious overclocking.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through everything you need to build a custom water cooling loop for your PC on any budget. From choosing the right parts to step-by-step installation instructions, we’ve got you covered. By the end, you’ll have a beast of a machine that looks as good as it runs. So grab your toolkit, clear some space, and let’s get to work. Your dream PC awaits!
Choosing the Right Parts for Your Water Cooled PC Build
The key to an epic water cooled PC is choosing high-quality components that work well together. For the best performance and overclocking potential, select parts specifically designed for liquid cooling.
Radiator and Fans
The radiator dissipates the heat from your water loop. A larger radiator, like a 360mm or 420mm, will cool better than a smaller 240mm radiator. For maximum cooling, choose a radiator with copper fins and tubes.
Select high static pressure fans to pair with your radiator. Higher RPM fans will move more air, while quieter fans reduce noise. Aim for at least 2000 RPM for an optimal balance of cooling and acoustics.
The water block transfers heat from your CPU to the water loop. A high-quality copper or nickel-plated copper block with a microfin structure will provide the best cooling. Make sure to get a block compatible with your specific CPU socket and chipset.
Pump and Reservoir
A solid pump circulates the coolant at a high flow rate, typically around 750 liters per hour or more for the best performance. Look for a PWM pump so you can control the speed. The reservoir holds extra coolant and helps bleed air from the loop. A tube-style reservoir is simple but effective.
Tubing and Fittings
For tubing, opt for premium EPDM, PVC or silicone tubing with a diameter of at least 3/8 inch. Barbed or compression fittings create tight seals between components. Make sure all your fittings and tubing are compatible in terms of sizing and material.
With high-performance parts selected for your needs, you’ll have an epic water cooled PC build in no time. The result will be a quiet, overclocked system with temperatures lower than ever before. Your battlestation will be the envy of all your friends!
Designing Your Loop: Radiators, Tubing, and More
Designing your custom loop is half the fun of water cooling. The basic components you’ll need are radiators, tubing, fittings, a pump, and of course, your CPU and GPU water blocks.
Radiators transfer the heat from your components to the air. The larger the radiator, the more heat it can dissipate. For most mid-range builds, a 240mm to 360mm radiator for the CPU and a 120mm for the GPU is adequate.
Tubing carries the cooled liquid between components. Soft tubing is very pliable and easy to work with, great for beginners. Hard tubing gives a sleeker look but requires heat and bending. For soft tubing, aim for a 3/8″ to 1/2″ inner diameter.
Fittings attach tubing to other components. Compression fittings clamp down on tubing, while barb fittings rely on the tubing’s elasticity. For the best seal, use clamps with barb fittings. Match your fittings to your tubing size.
The pump circulates fluid through the loop. More powerful pumps can handle larger, more complex loops. For a basic CPU and GPU loop, a pump rated for 300 liters per hour or more will work. Place your pump after the radiator but before components.
Putting all the parts together is like a fun puzzle. Plan your loop, measure twice, cut once. With some patience, you’ll have an epic yet budget-friendly water cooled PC in no time. Liquid cooling isn’t cheap, but building your own loop lets you balance performance and value. Your gaming rig will run cooler and quieter, and you’ll have a one-of-a-kind creation to be proud of.
Installing and Maintaining Your Water Cooling Components
Installing a custom water cooling loop in your PC is easier than it seems, as long as you take it step by step. The basic components you’ll need are a water block, radiator, pump, and tubing. Once you have the parts, installing and maintaining your water cooling setup properly is key to keeping your system running cool and efficiently.
Installing the Water Block
The water block is the component that directly cools your CPU. Mount the water block onto your CPU by removing the existing cooler and applying a thermal paste – thermal compound, heat sink compound – to the CPU before placing the water block on top. Secure the water block in place with mounting brackets that should come with your specific motherboard. Connect the inlet and outlet ports on the water block to your tubing.
Adding the Radiator and Pump
The radiator acts as a heat exchanger, releasing the heat absorbed from your CPU into the air. Mount the radiator, usually in your case’s front or top fan mounts. Place fans on both sides of the radiator to maximize airflow. Connect the radiator to your water block using tubing.
The pump circulates cooled water from the radiator to the water block and back. Mount the pump in a spot that allows for easy connections to the tubing from the radiator and water block. Most pumps can be secured in place with double-sided mounting tape or screws. Connect the inlet and outlet ports on the pump to complete your loop.
Maintaining Your Cooling System
Once installed, be sure to power on your system to check for any leaks before running intensive tasks. Refill the coolant and bleed out any air bubbles as needed. Check your fans and pump regularly to ensure maximum airflow and water circulation. Dust builds up on radiators can reduce efficiency, so dust them periodically. Replace the thermal paste on your CPU water block every 6-12 months.
With some TLC and preventative maintenance, a custom water cooling loop can keep your PC running cool for years. Take it slow, follow the directions, and don’t be afraid to ask an expert for help. You’ll have an epic yet budget-friendly water cooled PC up and running in no time!
So there you have it. By picking up a few key components and assembling them yourself, you’ve built your own custom water cooled PC on a budget. Now you can push your system to the max, overclock with confidence, and do it all without the roar of fans. Your friends will be jealous of how cool and quiet your new rig is. And every time you power it on, you’ll feel a surge of satisfaction knowing you built something epic with your own hands. Not bad for a few hours of work and few bucks. Game on!