PC water-cooling project part one: Ordering all the parts
We ordered everything we need to put together the cooling loop, including tubing, a cutter and reamer. Here's everything we received before getting started.
As well as ordering everything you can see in a PC case with a completed setup — tubing, fittings, pump, reservoir and radiator — there are various parts and tools you need to help you connect all the components and ensure everything is secure to avoid leaks when assembling a water cooling setup. Liquid and electronics don't mix well, and that combination is absolutely the worst case scenario for any PC build. It's rare but can occur, so we'll need to make sure we're confident and take our time.
The case we will be installing everything into is the Thermaltake Core P5, which was specifically designed for this kind of cooling. Thus, we should encounter no issues, but it's a good idea to double check your own case to see if it's possible to mount a pump, reservoir, radiator and more.
Here's everything that has been delivered to our office:
- Alphacool 2-way ball valve.
- Alphacool L-Connector (x2).
- Alphacool TEE T-Piece.
- EK PETG clear tubing (500mm x8).
- EK Supremacy MX CPU block.
- EK 140 Revo D5 PWM pump/reservoir combo.
- EK-HDC fitting (12mm x8).
- XSPC EX480 radiator (480mm).
Some tools that we need for the build:
- 2,000W heat gun.
- Distilled water.
- Tube cutter.
- Silicon tube mold insert.
- Measuring tape.
- Thermal compound.
We'll have a more in-depth look at the various components and how to check that the fittings and tubing will fit with one another at a later date, though standard sizes should make it easy to match everything up.
We opted for 12mm tubing and fittings with a full EK setup for the pump, reservoir, and CPU block. XSPC was selected for the company's EX480 radiator, which isn't the thickest by any means but is solid-looking for what we need it to do.
As for tools, you will absolutely require a tube cutter and reamer of some sort. Heat guns are only required for hard tubing (like PETG and acrylic) where you won't use 90-degree fittings and will want to bend the tubing. Measuring tapes are for those who don't wish to be in the position where you've overshot or undershot a connecter by a few centimeters. CPU blocks may come with thermal compound, but it's always a good idea to have some stored away should you need to remove processor cooling for any reason.
The only thing we're missing is actual coolant to be pumped through the loop. We're still thinking about the color. The case itself is green, so would white look better with cabling or should we stick with a shade of green to match the metal? Let us know your thoughts in the comments. Cable combs will be installed to keep power delivery looking tidy alongside precisely-cut tubing, so we're not worrying about the current mess.
Part two of this project will cover tube measuring and cutting, so remain tuned for more details on installing (and failing at installing) a custom setup!
Progress in our PC water-cooling project
Get the Windows Central Newsletter
All the latest news, reviews, and guides for Windows and Xbox diehards.
Rich Edmonds was formerly a Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.