Worklog: High-Reliability Water-Cooled PC

To the best of my knowledge, this will be the first water-cooled PC using 100% aerospace-quality stainless-steel braided hose line, 100% SAE flare aircraft-aluminum anodized full-flow hose ends and fittings.

Jump to Worklog Updates below

PC Dominion Water-Cooling Axioms

This PC will align with certain best-practices that I've determined over the course of building numerous water-cooled PCs over many years; namely:

Design Goals for the High-Reliability Water-Cooled PC

Some attributes and design goals of this project:

The Current Prototype System

Here are some build shots of the prototype, which is similar but uses standard vinyl tubing. Click on images for larger views.


Case Choices

The current front-runner for the system case is the Cooler Master Stacker RC-810.  The case needs to be large, to allow attachment of the big external radiator as well as to mount the pump and drives, etc. internally.

Other cases considered:

Water-Pump Choices

I have something of a love-hate relationship with the ubiquitous Delco/Laing/Swiftech MCP350/355 pumps, but that's probably what I'll end up using (either with the Alphacool replacement plexi top, which I have on hand, or a dual-pump adapter). The Danger Den Mag II takes G1/4 fittings directly but its flow rate is much less than the Laing. Other major pumps use hose barbs which I refuse to allow in this build.

Alphacool high-flow tank top for Delco/Laing/Swiftech MCP350/355 pumps - courtesy

Radiator Choices

This comes down to 2 options: the Thermochill PA120.3 (which is superb with low airflow, and it's what I use in my current main system) or the Black Ice GTX 360.

Water-Block Choices

I recently bought the new Koolance 330 CPU block, because I thought I couldn't use a Swiftech Apogee block. Swiftech has been using a bizarre thread style called NPSM and there are no adapters in existence to fit. Luckily Swiftech just released their new Apogee GTX which finally gives in to the trend and uses G1/4 fittings.

The Koolance 330 is a very low-restriction design, with an excellent mounting mechanism, and I might have ended up using it anyway, except I was just testing a fitting with it and its plating came off. Just peeled off in a big 1/4" wide strip like old paint. This does not inspire confidence -- so I'll be sticking with the Swiftech Apogee GTX.

Swiftech Apogee GTX exploded view - courtesy Swiftech


Worklog Updates

Mar 26, 2007

Received the essential G1/4 to SAE AN -6 blue anodized aluminum fittings from Kinsler Fuel Injection. Nice folks at Kinsler, although like many in the automotive world, they haven't quite joined the 21st century. Their catalog is a PDF of page scans, and you have to call to order.

These fittings are not cheap at $10.80 apiece plus $5.00 for each sealing washer, but they're quality stuff. The sealing washers have a black composite ring on the inside which is thicker than the washer itself and provides a tight seal for the fitting.

Also in the pic below are some G1/4 spacer rings I got from Petra's Tech Shop. These are flat metal on one side, and have a recessed O-ring on the other side. Many PC water-cooling items, especially water blocks, have very shallow threads so I needed to be sure I could mount the Kinsler fittings in any device I wanted to use.

The Kinsler fittings do indeed fit all of my G1/4 items, so it looks like the concept is proven! Time to order the hose and hose-ends from Summit Racing Equipment.

I'm also looking at this sweet power steering reservoir from Summit Racing:

This baby is 7-1/4" by 2-1/4" and has 3/8" NPT threads on the inlet & outlet. It's baffled internally so it would help reduce sloshing noise and foaming. Both ends are sealed with O-ring caps.


Apr 05, 2007

A lot of the hardware has arrived, including:


Here is the Alphacool dual pump adapter which mounts 2 of the Delco/Laing/Swiftech MCP350/355 pumps for reliability and enhanced performance. The G1/4 to -6 AN fittings are installed on the dual pump adapter. Only one pump is installed in the pic, to show the internals of the dual pump adapter block. I've included the original pump top in the picture (lower right) for comparison.

The Black Ice GTX 360 radiator and Swiftech Apogee GTX waterblock, both with Kinsler G1/4 to -6 AN fittings installed.


The new Stacker stripped down for modification. Photo on right shows how I've removed the back panel of the power supply bay (see arrow) to allow longer power supplies (e.g. PC Power & Cooling 1Kw).



I never use any equipment until it's been fully inspected by my assistants, Dia (short for "El Diablo Blanco", left) and Winston (right).


Test fitting the drive-bay devices. These Silverstone CFP51 3-1/2" HD bays are snazzy and perfectly fit the gently rounded front contour of the Stacker. The Silverstone triple fan speed unit will control the three drive bay fans. I have a Cooler Master black aluminum faceplate for DVD drives which I plan to use since, as you can see in the pic below, a normal "black" DVD drive is not very black.