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Summer’s coming - have you water-cooled your PC?

Posted on 3rd Jun 2009 at 10:53 by Antony Leather with 9 comments

Antony Leather
It was a hot summer six years ago that resulted in me doing the crazy thing of mixing water with some expensive electronic components in my PC. I’d overclocked my AMD Athlon CPU and it had a massive effect on my system, boosting frame rates considerably. Unfortunately, the hefty vcore meant my system started overheating in the 30 degree+ temperatures of my room and I had to downclock.

Clearly that sucked, so I looked into more exotic forms of cooling and two months later I had water-cooled my PC and I had my CPU overclocked even further. Parts were pretty scarce back then but these days there are shops popping up all the time. Which brings me on to two exciting bits of news for those of us in the UK.


Firstly, we read about the sad demise of Aqua-pcs online store and forums back in March. Luckily, its former owner, Pascal Bregeon has stayed in the business and is now the UK’s sales manager for Aqua-tuning.de, with a UK version of the site recently going live at www.aqua-tuning.co.uk

Summer’s coming - have you water-cooled your PC?

Where Aqua-tuning differs from many other UK stores is in the fact it offers a vast array of kit from German manufacturers, such as Watercool, Mips-computer and Alphacool, much of which has been unavailable or expensive to ship to the UK until now. I spent my whole lunch hour last Friday just browsing the huge selection of CPU blocks.

Summer’s coming - have you water-cooled your PC?
Mips make some stunning water-blocks but they've been hard to get hold of, until now

Aqua-tuning also have a free postage offer on at the moment for all UK customers who spend of £50, which is always a good incentive to buy those super-heavy water-cooling component. There's more info on all that in this thread, should you want it.

Free postage aside, it’s an impressive site and a great addition to the UK scene. Be sure to check it out if you’re considering a cooling upgrade.

The second bit of news regards UK water-cooling radiator manufacturer, Thermochill. Previously owned by the folks at over-clock.co.uk, Thermochill radiators have widely been regarded as the best money can buy, with the PA range making great partners for low and high rpm fans.

While they were also reasonably priced, they suffered from short supply and the fact that they used different fittings and had different fan spacing to most other radiators. This meant that accessories like fan grills aren't as widely available as they are for other radiators.

Summer’s coming - have you water-cooled your PC?
The bleed screw is useful for draining a radiator without removing it from the case or disconnecting it from the cooling loop. However, it can leak and adds to production costs.

These things are set to change though because Manchester-based Watercoolinguk.co.uk has acquired the Thermochill brand and has pledged standardised fan spacing, getting rid of the bleed screw to reduce the chance of leaks and also to continue the development of the new 140mm range of Thermochill radiators.

This is great news, especially for those of us in the UK because Thernochill radiators have traditionally offered very good value for money and aren't just shipped in from China. With a more common fan spacing, they should appeal more to modders too, as well as being able to fit in a large number of cases and the removal of the bleed screw (while I actually found it quite useful) can only help to lower production costs.

The UK water-cooling scene is about to be shaken up significantly but one thing's for sure, the addition of Aqua-tuning and revitalisation of Thermochill mean there's never been more water-cooling hardware available to those of us in Blighty which can only be a good thing.

9 Comments

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mooseguy 3rd June 2009, 15:02 Quote
That is an awesome site - thanks for the heads up!
thEcat 3rd June 2009, 15:18 Quote
I've used Aqua-tuning.de in the past, expensive shipping was compensated for by getting everything I wanted from a single supplier, that and the good price they had on some of the fittings. In all the process was totally painless. I'll pop over to the UK site when I have a moment, could spell trouble for some of our native retailers.

More info on the ThreomoChill buyout for anyone interested...

http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=224377

... including a surprise appearance by Marci :o

Edit:
Aqua-t, prices look ok if nothing special - hope the £ keeps rising :). Looks like the UK misses out on some the .de sections, Benchtables, Overclocking...
Skiddywinks 3rd June 2009, 23:10 Quote
I read about Rob's acquisition of Thermochill a few weeks back. I was shocked when I saw his name. I used WCUK for my current loop, and not only did they have the best prices, but they also gave me free delivery, and allowed me to mess them about a bit with wanted to arrnage an order but pay a few months later. They even ordered me in a nickel coated 4870X2 block for a decent price. I would definitely recoomend them to everyone interested. The guys on the forums are also very good people, and more than willing to help with any questions.

Going to have to check out aqua-tuning.de when I get a chance. Do they do any of those bits power blocks i read about? I need one for my Rampage Extreme.
Combatus 4th June 2009, 00:23 Quote
I don't think they do but they do the EK and MIPS versions - the MIPS one looks good. clicky
Skiddywinks 4th June 2009, 13:56 Quote
Yeh, was just looking at a set for my RE. Two mosfet blocks, and a NB and SB would set me back about £160. Brutal. Although they do look sexy as.

I don't know if this is the right place to ask, but do you think I could get away with only passively cooling my SB? I plan on overclocking, so that needs to be considered.
Combatus 4th June 2009, 22:52 Quote
I'd imagine so - depends how much you're thinking of overvolting it and what the air flow is like inside the case. Definitely need a fairly beefy sink on it though. (presumably core2/i7?)
Skiddywinks 5th June 2009, 10:51 Quote
Core 2, aye. I don't plan on overclocking to the extent that the SB voltage will need to be changed. I only plan on overvolting the CPU, NB and likely the memory, all of which except the memory is going to be water cooled.
ZERO <ibis> 6th June 2009, 01:09 Quote
Removing bleed screw=bad, making screw low leak=good. I have 2 rads with bleed screws and they made removing the last air pockets easy when placed so the screw was facing up. I have multiple places in my loops that are bleed screws or some sort of cap, they have never leaked. It is called o-rings. Think of all the fittings people have in loops, any worry of those leaking no because they are made correctly. I would hope that they keep the bleed screw and improve it just as they claim they are with the rest of the design.

On a note of water cooling it is a great learning experience my first wc computer has ran fine for years and the loop is not very well designed. My newer computer definitely learned from the mistakes of my first one but overall I have found wc a great experience and I only wish had the money to wc all my computers.
Sterkenburg 7th June 2009, 22:47 Quote
The bleed screw doesn't NEED to go, really. I mean, look at air compressors, their bleed screws hold their own under hundreds of PSI.

I've been thinking of water cooling my own rig, as it's i7 and summer is upon us, but I've always thought it would be noisy. I dunno why, that's just something I've always thought.
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