Who says water and expensive electronics don't mix?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by fothermucker, Aug 8, 2010.

  1. fothermucker

    fothermucker New Member

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    Since my new good friend, HardRocker, decided to call the overclocking community, myself included, nuts, I have decided to post up a little bit about the computer system I run, so everyone else can call me crazy as well.:p

    What we have here, is a very nice specimen, an Intel Core2Quad Q6600, rated speed of 2400 megahertz. I have mine running at 3200, and have plans to push it to 3600 in the future. The video card is an EVGA GeForce 9800GT, which I only have a very slight overclock on. All in all, it is a very fast system, with 4 GB of RAM, and a total of around 800 GB of storage. Needless to say, I can play a lot of games very smoothly, and render porn videos as fast as you can say porn.:D;)

    All of these pictures were taken during the leak testing phase.
    On with the pics:
    [​IMG]

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    Some of the cabling has been changed around, so the wiring looks a little bit cleaner than it does in these pictures. Also, water cooling is something that can be completely customized, depending on your needs, so this system can actually run somewhat quiet when I want it to, all the way up to the sound of a vacuum cleaner when I really need to crank up the fans for high performance. I am quite the computer geek, in case anyone hasn't noticed. If anyone has any computer related problems or questions, my PM inbox is always open.:tup
     
  2. Hot Wheels

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    Jeeesus man....thats a more efficient cooling system than the one on my car:eek.
    You'd want to hope you didn't spring a leak in there though...
    Could get ugly real quick I'd reckon..:ugh
     
  3. fothermucker

    fothermucker New Member

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    I don't necessarily know that it is that efficient.:p The radiator (big black thing hanging off the back) is capable of removing about 1100 watts of heat when I have the fans really cranked up on it. The fans will move 130 cubic feet of air per minute, but they are very loud when I really turn them up. My pump moves around 2.5 GPM (gallons per minute, for those unfamiliar with the abbreviation), at 50 PSI. All said and done, my video card alone went from running at up to 80 degrees Celcius with a full load on stock air cooling with no overclock, to right around 51 Celcius with a 50 MHz overclock with the water cooling.

    If I were to spring a leak, it could get ugly, if I don't catch it fast enough. I actually run straight distilled water for a coolant, with a few .999 pure silver fittings working as an algaecide. The problem is, as the water passes over the copper in the water blocks on the video card and processor, it picks up copper ions, adding to the conductivity of the water. Fresh distilled water is actually non conductive, but as it passes through the system, it starts picking up those ions, which makes it conductive. I have actually leak tested the system for 24 hours before actually turning on the computer, and was completely leak free. I also do a system flush every 6 months, just to make sure things stay clean, then annually it gets completely broken down and cleaned by hand, inspected all the way around, and put back together, and leak tested again just to be sure. A system like this is a lot of maintenance, but when you push your hardware as hard as I do, it is very well worth the $400 I have put into the cooling system alone. The rest of the setup set me back close to $1500.

    I am going to take a look at my pictures and see if I can find a better pic of the radiator as well.:tup

    Edit: Found a radiator pic. The fans in the pic are no longer there. I replaced them with something that has better air pressure, and almost tripled the airflow. The pressure comes from the thickness of the fan, where the ones in the pic are 120mm (the size of a standard DVD or CD)x25mm (1") thick, where the new ones are the same 120mm, but 38mm (1.5") thick. The difference is a max of 48 CFM per fan on the thinner ones, with about 130 CFM per fan on the thicker ones.

    [​IMG]
     
    #3 fothermucker, Aug 8, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 8, 2010
  4. heelfetish

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    I've gotta ask... instead of spending all that money on expensive & loud cooling systems, why not just buy a more powerful processor in the first place? :)
     
  5. HardRocker

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    Then it wouldn't be straining the boundaries of physics. It would need supercharging.
     
  6. heelfetish

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    I can understand the carnal desire to take something and make it faster, better, cooler. But after a while you gotta sit back and ask yourself 'is it really worth it?' For most of us, the answer is a resounding 'yes'. :lol Still, I see a setup like the one above and I can't help but think that one could get the same or better performance from many off-the-shelf computer systems without the need for such drastic cooling.

    Not knockin' ya, fothermucker, I think your system is sweet. Honestly! Sadly my PC gaming days are behind me, I'm reduced to playing with our Wii. Far Cry was so much cooler on the PC!
     
  7. fothermucker

    fothermucker New Member

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    I think the difference is, I feel like I'm getting more for my money. You pay around $500 plus tax and shipping on a Dell, and get a one year warranty. That is with no upgrades. You get garbage on board graphics, whatever processors they happen to have in stock, and things like the motherboard, memory, power supply, heatsinks, and even hard drives come from the lowest bidder. My parts, on the other hand, come from some of the best companies. My Corsair Dominator memory is made specifically for overclocking. It also comes with a Lifetime warranty. As long as I own it, they will replace it with something equivalent. My motherboard is made by a company called Gigabyte, and is made specifically with overclocking in mind, and has a 3 year warranty. The power supply isn't just some $30 paperweight from a local retailer. It is certified to be over 80% efficient (helps keep it cooler and keeps the power bill down some), is modular, meaning I can remove the cables I don't need, and has a 5 year warranty. Basically, I am getting much better components than an off the shelf system, and the only common brand name between mine and an off the shelf system is Intel. Intel sells the chip only to companies like Dell, which only has 90 days worth of warranty through Intel. I spend just a little more, and get the retail package with 3 years. Same exact chip, but I get a longer warranty (although the second I overclock by even 1 MHz, warranty is voided anyway:p).

    Another thing is, when it comes to computers, technology moves fast. You can make an upgrade in your computer, and 3 months later, it's practically outdated. I built this particular system about a year and a half ago, and it's already 2 generations behind. The memory is technically only 1 generation behind, but that is probably the slower end of the spectrum. The power supply, hard drives, and DVD burner can always be reused until they die. The case standards will likely never change, and if they do, not by much. When it comes to certain types of uses, it can be expensive to keep up hardware wise. Instead of spending so much to keep up, it is easier to just make what you have work faster to keep up with those changes. I like to think of my computer in terms like a racecar. When a driver gets beat by another driver with a faster car, he doesn't just throw away his car and buy a faster one. He upgrades parts to make his car faster, and makes adjustments to make it handle better. He also spends a lot of time behind the wheel, to learn better ways to drive to shave even more time off his laps. I learn new ways to utilize the programs I use to make tasks a little faster. I do what I can to maximize the hardware I have.

    Sorry for the very poor car analogy, I just wanted to try to make it easier to understand, considering this isn't actually a technical forum. I figured that a racecar might be something a little easier to understand.:D
     
  8. heelfetish

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    You're preaching to the choir, fothermucker. :) While I've never been into overclocking (mostly due to lack of funds), I am an IT professional. I've been a network administrator for 13 years now, and personally support hundreds of desktops, several servers, and all the network infrastructure that goes along with it.

    By no means am I saying I know it all. Or even a fraction of it all! Just that I'm no n00b. I admire the work you have put into your system, and understand completely the merits of upgrading vrs. buying new. I was just making conversation is all, playing 'devil's advocate'. :)

    I'm sure I could learn a lot from you!
     
  9. fothermucker

    fothermucker New Member

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    Sounds like I could learn a bit from you as well. I have to be honest, home networking, I am decent with, put me in a managed environment (Cisco comes to mind), and I get lost very easily. When it comes to troubleshooting hardware, I have had people tell me I'm a genius. There was a time when I dabbled in compiling Linux code, but that has been roughly 10 years ago. It's mostly just something I do as a hobby, but is also something I would like to do on a professional level someday.:tup
     
  10. heelfetish

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    Yeah, Cisco networking can be complex. I'm just skimming the surface right now with it. I've been begging for formal Cisco training but so far our department doesn't have much training budget. We use Cisco for our core switches/routers, and Dell PowerConnect for our edge switches. It gets interesting trying to remember the commands for the two systems. They are very similar but not the same. I often find myself typing Cisco commands on the Dell switches and vice-versa. :)

    OK, sorry for boring you all to death! I got caught up in my nerddom for a second there. :)

    Back on-topic, I've got a decent system home... Not an overclocker's system by any stretch, but still, it performed well in it's day. It's a Dell Dimension XPS Gen3. Intel Pentium 4 3.4GHz 'Prescott' processor, 800 MHz FSB, 4 GB Dual-channel DDR2 SDRAM, ATI X800 XT PCI-E graphics, Sound Blaster Audigy Z2S Audio, 10,000 RPM Western Digital Raptor SATA HDD, etc. I bought this system in 2004, and it still keeps up nicely with today's desktops.

    [​IMG]
     
    #10 heelfetish, Aug 9, 2010
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2010
  11. HardRocker

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    I know y'all came to a understanding on this already, but I just felt the urge to throw in 2 more cents... It's a hobby!
    I was into hotrods until marriage and parenthood, but it was way too much of a money pit. These days I spend countless hours, more bucks than I have and way too much trouble building model aircraft just to smash them into the ground an speeds nearly 80 MPH. I spend more time and effort trying to patch them up and - being the hotrodder I am - squeeze more horsepower out of engines that are only meant to make less than a tenth of a horse at 20,000 RPM. Talk about busting a finger on a propeller...:eek Anyway, at any cost in blood sweat and rears and a moderate waste of money, it keeps my mind off of sex.:lol
     
  12. heelfetish

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    Totally hear ya, HR. :) I don't want to know how much I've sunk into my various hobbies... From my full-scale cars, to my R/C racers, photography equipment, musical instruments, computers, and stereo/home theatre equipment. *sigh*
     
  13. HardRocker

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    R/C racers? Do tell. Oops, but we're hijacking Fothermucker's thread! (I still can't get over that name)
     
  14. Hot Wheels

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    Mmmm...Ive been waiting for one of my friends ( bm1980) to wade into this thread...:eyes
    He's a computer nut too....and has already built a couple of water-cooled systems for serious gamers......:D
     
  15. fothermucker

    fothermucker New Member

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    Maybe a PM with a link will bring him this way. I would post a list of every part in the system, but I fear that only a few people would really appreciate it for what it is.

    About that Pentium 4 system heelie posted earlier, I think my fiancee's setup would be of interest. That one is a Pentium 4 530J, 3.0 stock, overclocked to 3.68, with a GeForce FX6200, 2 GB of PC3200 DDR1, and about 640 GB of storage. It used to be my old system, but I really wanted to run Vista, and the games I was playing at the time just wouldn't perform. It was due to the way Vista manages memory and video resources. I got tired of not being able to run Vista, and eventually moved to Windows 7, which runs like a dream on it anyway.:p

    I am not much of a serious gamer, but I do a lot of things to warrant such a powerful system. For starters, I also do a lot of video encoding, compress files for transfer via my ftp, and even some volunteer cancer research.:D The gaming is just a perk when I actually have some free time. On top of that, I am working on learning a few things about image manipulation as well. It streams video's to my PS3, as well as the other computers in my home. There are a total of 2 desktop computers, a laptop, a Playstation 3, Wii, and 2 BlackBerry's on the network. There is also plans to add an HTPC (home theater personal computer) and a file/media server as well. Needless to say, I think I may need to work my home network into a managed solution, just to handle all of the traffic, with an access point to send out the wireless. But, as HR stated, it's a hobby, and quite expensive.

    Now I just need to convince the other half to quit telling me she wants lenses for her D5000 that cost as much as my computer did, and still is.:eyes
     
  16. bm1980

    bm1980 New Member

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    Hellop... yes, one could say i am 'somewhat' of a puter nut - having said that, i think the 'nut' part alone is more fitting... (thx hot wheels)...

    Just finished off a i7 980X system for a CAD client... :) no water cooling, but a very nice 12 gig, 2x raptors, 1x black wd, and a sexy leadtek FX...

    Last gaming system we did water cooled ended up in the US funny enough!
     
  17. fothermucker

    fothermucker New Member

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    I can't believe I missed this.:p

    The last system I did was an i7 920, 12 GB of Corsair Dominator, Perc 5i RAID card, dual 60 GB OCZ Agility SSD's for OS and applications (hardware RAID0), pair of Caviar Black 640GB (software RAID1) for storage, GTX295's in SLI, and a Corsair HX1000 in a Silverstone TJ07. Without overclocking anything, it was probably one of the fastest systems I have ever laid hands on, at the time. The system was amazingly fast, but a little out of my price range for the time being.

    The only person I have done a water cooled setup for is myself. It's not because I'm selfish, or anything like that, but because the average person who asks me about water cooling doesn't realize the amount of maintenance that is really involved with a system like this. For starters, the radiator, with about 30 fins per inch, is a dust magnet. It requires me to remove the fans about every month and a half, to blow out the dust. On top of that, water levels must always be monitored. If water starts getting low, that means there might be a leak, or just air bubbles in the system. If there are air bubbles, the amount of change in the water level usually isn't much, and it usually stops dropping after a few days to a couple weeks. Also, if the water level drops enough that the pump runs dry, there's a good chance that the pump is going to die. There are just too many things that can happen with a water cooled computer, and if you don't know what to look for, it would make it that much harder to properly maintain.
     
  18. bm1980

    bm1980 New Member

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    Yep, true, true.
    We/I typically steer customers away from watercooling... Its like the old saying:
    First - meet someone.
    Then - move in together.
    Next - Buy a plant, if it lives, move on...
    To - Cat (but really who cares if the pussy dies?)... :p So make it a dog! :)
    If all goes well - then consider a child... but only IF all goes well...

    Water cooling - buy a gold fish - if u can keep it alive then, and only then may you buy a watercooled system! :)