I know that water cooling kits don't get much love around here, but I decided that because this is my first water coolong project, I wanted to get parts that were guaranteed to be compatable with each other. I ordered the Asetek WaterChill KT12A-12VX , which includes water blocks for CPU, GPU, and Northbridge, Asetek's integrated pump/reservoir/controller, a 120mm x 2 Black Ice radiator, 2 120 mm Adda fans, and 1/2" tubing.
My case already has 2 120 mm fans located inside the case right under the PSU. My thought was that I could mount the radiator outside the case, with the 2 fans behind the radiator so I had 2 fans pushing and 2 fans pulling air through the radiator. I had to get some #6 x 1 1/2" sheet metal screws, and 4 nylon standoffs in order to mount the rad and allow the side panel to fit back on the case. The Adda fans mounted onto the rad with the supplied hardware.
I had to completely disassemble the system, as the CPU block mounts with 2 standoffs that need to be bolted to the rear of the motherboard. My Zalman 9500 was pretty firmly stuck to my X2 4400 processor, it took a but of elbow grease to get it off! My motherboard has a piece of metal on the back side which is intended, I'm sure, to dissipate heat. This needed to be removed in order to install the standoffs. A little gentle presure was all that was needed, the device came off with little prodding. Getting the HSF off my ATI All In Wonder X1800XL was a piece of cake. I cleaned the CPU and GPU with alcohol to remove thermal compound residues.
After reinstalling the mb, CPU and video card, I dry mounted the CPU and GPU waterblocks. Since the Asus A8N32-SLI has the chipset cooled by heat pipes, I decided not to install the chipset block. I cut all tubing, and had plenty left over.
This is where I made my first error. I disconnected the tubes, and reconnected everything outside the case. I was smart to leak test the system outside the case, but later I had to disconnect 2 tubes in order to feed them through the grommets in my case, and that caused some water spillage. The system passed leak test, and I mounted the water blocks for real using Arctic Silver. Another leak test, and I was ready to power up the system.
This is where I made my second mistake. My last step was to add the anti algae compound, which was in a syringe. The plunger stuck, and then gave way all at once, causing about 1 cc of the agent to spray everywhere. Most wound up on the pump housing, and the bottom of the case, but a few drops splattered on the mb. I wiped up all I could, then reconnected power to the mb.
Oh No! My machine won't boot! After considerable hand-wringing, disconnection and reconnection of cables, memory, etc, and fears of having fried the motherboard because of splashed anti-algae compound, I discovered that the problem was that I had hooked the chassis fan connector into the Asetek's fan controller. Moving it to the Chassis Fan 1 connector on the mb solved the problem. It's a good thing that this happened, because I originally mounted the CPU block with the protective plastic film still on the mounting surface of the block! I discovered my error during the frantic search for a reason my system wouldn't boot.
One of my Adda fans has a bad fin, and neither of them has a connector long enough to reach the fan controller, so I have not yet hooked up the 2 external 120 mm fans. Even so, I am seeing reasonably good temps. With my Zalman, I had idle temps of around 43-45 degrees, and 53 degrees while Prime 95 torture testing. Now, I have 38 degrees at idle, and 44 degrees while torture testing. I have to think that those temps will improve by a couple of degrees when I get the 2 external fans up and running. Overall, I am happy with the temps I have achieved even without 2 fans. Also, the system is quieter. the Asetek pump and Asus mb fan (required in the case of no cpu fan) make a lot less noise than my Zalman at full speed.
Overall, my experience with the Asetek kit was positive, other than the bum fan. The instructions could be clearer and more comprehensive, for instance instructions for installing the 2 included temperature probes are absent. They could supply a few extra screws and washers in case you lose one (a distinct possibility, as some of the washers are next to invisible to my 40-something year old eyes). Extension cables for the fans would be a welcome addition as well.
I have a few questions for readers here, if you care to indulge me after reading this long post. First, how do I install the temperature sensors? Or should I just forget about them? Second, do I need a set of heat sinks for my VGA card memory?
I have some pix to post, but I cannot seem to upload them to photobucket right now, I'll do so when I get home. I will also update my temps after I get my 2 external fans up and running, and the Arctic Silver cures.