Water Cooling 101: Upgrading Your Loop

Maybe you’ve been using your first basic loop for a while now and feeling like it’s time to expand or maybe the need to upgrade has struck right away. Either way you’ve reached the most inevitable situation for nearly all of us who use water cooling. Upgrade day! But what to upgrade and how to go about doing it? Follow along as we take you on the next step of evolution for our loop!

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Of course depending on the constraints of your case there are nearly limitless options for getting your rig to the next level. Coming from a simple CPU only basic loop the most obvious item to get under water would be your dedicated GPU. While a CPU will benefit greatly from water cooling, a GPU can be transformed from the loudest hottest part in your rig to a silent frame rate slaying piece of silicon. Putting a waterblock on a GPU will cut out the often jet engine like noise emanating from the blower style fan and transport your gaming area into a peaceful zen space. Not only that but it will often cut load temps in half or more. It is probably the one part that benefits most greatly taking the water plunge.

One thing to consider carefully is the amount of heat you are going to be introducing into your loop. Previously our 240mm radiator only had to deal with dissipating heat from our 3770K processor. Adding to that load the heat coming from our ASUS GTX 970 Strix, it could be too much and cause the loop to become over saturated. The result would be a loop unable to clear heat using only a single 240mm radiator. Considering this, we are also going to up our radiator capacity to include an additional 360mm AlphaCool NexXxoS XT45 radiator. This of course means six more fans to flank the new radiator in Phobya 120mm G-Silent fan goodness. Let’s get started!

Breaking Down the Old Loop

Of course before we can upgrade to our new loop design we need to break down the old one. Draining and tearing down the loop is one of the reasons why we installed our drain tube. Get a bucket ready and remove the plug from the end of the tube.

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Let gravity do it’s thing and push most of the water out. Tilting the case in different directions will help to clear the rest. There will still be bit of water in the low areas. Having a good amount of paper towels handy will allow you to quickly soak up any additional trapped water as you go. Pay special attention to the CPU block as water tends to be trapped in the bottom of the block.

With the loop reasonably clear of water reverse the route you took to install the tubing. Unscrew all the compression rings on the fittings and pull the tubing off. Tubing can be reused a couple of times, but keep in mind every time it’s used again, clear tubing will become more clouded. For our builds and as a general personal rule, I rarely re-use clear tubing. Fortunately, it’s generally cheap enough to justify replacing.

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We’ve removed everything we want to change and left installed what we think will be used again.