FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQs)
Liquid (water) cooling simply out performs air-cooled systems and is ideal for overclockers, gamers, high-speed processors, and those looking for consistent performance with greatly reduced fan noise. Air-cooled systems that approach the performance of liquid-cooling suffer from increased heat sink mass, extremely high RPM fans, minimum loads, and are just plain noisy.
How does liquid-cooling work?
The process is similar to a car cooling system. A small water pump circulates the water through tubing. Rather than an air-cooled heat sink and fan on the processor, a water block is attached which transfers the heat away from the CPU and on to the water block. Water flowing through the water block dissipates the heat and the water is then circulated through a small radiator which cools the water and returns to the water block.
Are all liquid-cooling systems the same?
Many liquid-cooling systems offer a similar type system, but performance and reliability vary significantly. The balance of the D-TEK kit is a completely integrated system with nothing but high-quality components fully optimized to work together efficiently. We strongly believe that a single weakness in any of the system’s components will result in poor performance therefore we offer only quality components in all our systems.
Is liquid-cooling new?
No, liquid-cooling has been around for years, used in supercomputers, overclocking, and even laptops. The military uses liquid-cooled computer systems aboard ships. The only “newness” is its recent use in mainstream PCs. Ever since high-speed processors have become affordable to the general public they have been challenged with inconsistent and noisy performance from air-cooled systems. Manufacturers of PCs never discuss the noise associated with their systems, nor do they now offer pre-installed quality liquid-cooling systems.
What are the advantages to liquid-cooling?
It cools hotter processors far better than air systems
It is much quieter and more efficient than air systems
Components are kept cooler with less heat variance, thereby extending their lifespan and allows more stable overclocks
Servers can be made smaller
Of course water and electronics are not compatible, but the key is the enclosed system. The D-TEK system uses only the highest grade materials to protect against any leaks. The system produces less than three (3) pounds of pressure (PSI) and can be leak-proof even without the use of the plastic hose clamps. D-TEK includes hose clamps simply as an added protection against leaks. The D-TEK system, when properly installed, is almost maintenance-free and will typically outlast most computers.
What are the temperature advantages with liquid-cooling?
Processors are heat sensitive and at some level they will simply fail. The hotter they run, the shorter their lifespan and the greater the risk for a system crash. In most systems, processors will fail somewhere above 80 Degrees C, yet they can become unstable even at temperatures closer to 60 Degrees C. A typical fan-cooled system will run between 45-55 Degrees C, with lots of noise from the high-speed fan and more severe temperature highs and lows, causing undue stress on the processor. Air-cooled systems are severely dependent on the room temperature and typically run 20 Degrees F hotter than the air temperature.
A liquid-cooled system typically runs between 38- 45 Degrees C, and will maintain temperatures just 9-12 Degrees F warmer than the room temperature. It has less variance between the highs and lows which helps to reduce stress on the processor, increase its lifespan, and greatly reduces the risk of a system crash.
There are many factors which contribute to heat; speed and voltage of the CPU, RPM of fan, amount of water flow, size of the radiator, and room temperature. There are simply no air-cooled systems that keep temperatures low and noise at a minimum when compared to liquid-cooling.
Can I cool other components?
Yes. For example, D-TEK Customs currently has water blocks designed for north bridge motherboard chipsets and video cards. D-TEK water blocks for other components are due for release in the near future.
Why do I need fans with a liquid-cooled system?
The fans used in a liquid-cooled system are used to draw air through the radiator and also to expel the warm air out of the computer case. These fans are typically low RPM and are very quiet and efficient even at low speeds. As opposed to an air-cooled system where the fans are used to actually cool the processor, the fans in a liquid-cooled system simply circulate the air while the water block and circulating water cool the processor.
What happens if my water pump stops pumping?
We recommend using a temperature monitoring program (i.e. Motherboard Monitor) or set your BIOS to automatically shut down the system if a certain maximum temperature is reached. This is really no different than if your fan for the air-cooled heat sink failed, except air-cooled systems will melt down quicker if the fan shuts down.
Is installation difficult?
No, but it is not for the beginner. Some familiarity with computer systems (or a knowledgeable friend!) and some good old common sense is all that is necessary (along with the D-TEK Water Cooling Installation Guide). When in doubt, the D-TEK customer service is available by e-mail to customer service firstname.lastname@example.org.
Water Flow - Which Way?
Actually, the direction of the water flow is not absolutely critical. Since the system is circular and enclosed the water will eventually cycle through the radiator where it is cooled; however, as a preference, we recommend the water run to the radiator immediately after exiting the water pump as the water pump can actually increase the water temperature slightly since it too uses water to control temperature.
Which hose barb is used for the water intake and which is the exit?
It does not matter which one of the two hose barbs is used for intake and exit on either the radiator or the reservoir. The water block depends on which type water block you purchase. If the water block has only two barbs then it does not matter which direction the water flows. Those with three hose barbs (like the White Water block) must use the center barb for the inlet and the two outside barbs are both used for exit and joined together by a “Y” fitting. The water pump has a specific direction for the water flow, and in almost all cases the hose barb on the top of the water pump is the exit.
How tight is tight when installing the water block?
It is best to use finger pressure for a snug, but not-too-tight, fit. Install the nuts on the spring loaded bolts and alternate between nuts to insure even pressure on all four corners, as though you are tightening lug nuts on a car wheel. When you think it is tight enough, it probably is.
Can I use tap water?
We strongly recommend using only deionized, distilled or purified water. For the purist, deionized is best (and most expensive) as it does not conduct electricity in the unlikely event of a leak. Typical tap water has chemicals and impurities that can cloud the water. While this will not necessarily harm the system, it is always beneficial to see the clarity of the water through the clear tubing to insure optimal performance.
Do I need to change the water or use a filter to keep the water clean?
No, this is an enclosed system that is designed to run maintenance-free for years, usually outlasting the computer system itself. If there is ever severe clouding you can always drain the system and install fresh water, but this is typically done for visual preference and not for the system performance. The use of water additives (such as SuperCool which is supplied with the kit) will help lubricate the system and maintain optimal performance.
What about preventative maintenance?
With a water-cooled system it is always prudent to periodically check the connections, tubing, and water to confirm the system is operating correctly. Over time the front of the radiator may accumulate dust which can be easily blown off with any air pressure tool. For those perfectionist, and only if you desire, draining and refilling the system every six (6) months is an optimal way to keep the water clean and maintain the best temperatures.