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Hydrocool EX w/ video waterblock


Palliator

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Well, before I get to my question I have to admit that I have been a happy user of the Hydrocool for several months now. I bought it on a whim for another machine after experimenting with several of my own water cooling setups. I wanted something low maintenance. Aside from topping off the reservoir with the coolent mixture, I have done nothing to the unit other than run it daily. Ambient temps are quite high in my room, but CPU temps remain quite reasonable under load. Very nice! Because this was to my "low maintenance" setup, I didn't do much to be my unit other than replace the bulb with a much nicer looking LED, replace the side grilles with black colored ones, and replace the top handle with a black one. My unit is more monochrome in appearance, purely my own preference over the chrome look.

 

Now, for my question. I am now running an AMD Sempron 3100+ setup with a Nvidia 6600GT AGP video card. The Sempron (Paris core) is overclocked to 2.4 GHz with a voltage increase. When it gets toasty in my room (often), idle temps are about 40-43 C. Those are the CPU readings I am getting from Speedfan, obviously not from the Hydrocool's display. I want to replace the heatsink of the video card. I would normally go with something by Arctic Cooling to lower temps, reduce noise, and not hack up my Hydrocooling lines if I ever choose to sell it. Arctic Cooling currently has no offering for AGP versions. But, there is a temptation on my part to acquire a Koolance waterblock and run it in series. Is the Hydrocool up to task of an overclocked Sempron and stock 6600GT GPU? I know the Hydrocool is rated to handle no more than 200W, but I am concerned that the GPU will drive up the coolant temps. Enough where a Zalman GPU cooler (not the passive one) would be a better choice. Any thoughts would be appreciated!

 

Image of my Hydrocool unit

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I'm running a Athlon XP Barton 2800+ OC'd to 2.3 GHz (11.5 x 200 - 1.8 volts) and a 6800GT OC'd to Ultra levels. I'm using a Koolance GPU block on the video card. I'm not having any problems cooling both the CPU and GPU with my Hydrocool 200EX. I am however, getting close to the max 200 watt cooling capacity of my Hydrocool though. I would suspect that the Sempron is probably putting out a little more heat than my Athlon, but your 6600GT should be putting out less heat than my 6800GT OC'd. You can find wattage/heat caculators on the internet to calculate the wattage of your Sempron. Finding the wattage output of your video card is a little harder. If you search around on the internet, you probably will find a user forum or such where someone has already calculated or found what the wattage output for the 6600GT is. My cpu is putting out about 78-80 watts of heat and my video card is putting out about 110 watts of heat. 6800's run hot with a stock 6800GT rated at 105 watts and a 6800 Ultra rated at 110 watts. I would suspect that since the 6600's are running at slower clock speeds and fabbed on a 90nm process as opposed to the 6800's being fabbed on a 130nm process, they would probably run somewhat cooler than the 6800's. Good luck! :biggrin:
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I'm not big on the idea of adding a reservoir (aka "pickle jar"). The great thing about the Hydrocool is that at any point I can disconnect it, pull the tubing out, remove the heatsink, and be done with it. I can't think of too many water cooling setups that are that easy to remove. I also like the fact that it is semi-transportable, appealing to look at, and compact. So I won't be adding a large gallon jar to my setup. Your idea about air conditioning ducts makes plenty sense, but unfortunately our ducts are on the ceiling. I once had a crazy thought to lower temps though; my room is above the crawl space. It's sometimes cooler down there in the summer and of course frigid in the winter. I could put a small shelf down there, drill two holes in the floor and feed the tubing there, and well you know where I am going with this. Cooler temps and no noise. Of course, there are many reasons why the whole idea is impractical.

 

Anyhow, seeing as I will be pushing the thermal limits I may just opt for a quieter heatsink/fan combination on my video card. The Arctic Cooling VGA cooler on my AIW 9700 Pro was practically inaudible. The best thing was when it came time to replace it, I didn't need to remove any hoses or waterblocks. I just moved it to another machine and slapped in the new card. So, in addition to your guys' input and just writing all of this down, I think I know what I need to do now. :roll: I'll still look into the Koolance block solution a bit more before jumping on another heatsink though, there doesn't seem to be perfect solution for the moment.

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