Thursday, August 26, 2010

Birthday Build – Pumps are not just shoes for women

In order to get water into the nice fancy radiator you need a nice fancy pump! So, as fate would have it, some kind soul bought me one for my birthday. I have a kind soul, I swear.

Just like the radiator, you have to go through a checklist of trade offs to determine what is the right choice.

  1. How hot are the things you are going to cool. Flow Rate is the measurement that seems to drive how well things cool. The more water you can push through the system, the better it cools.
  2. But, the longer the loop, the more corners the water has to turn and the more restrictions to flow (such as water blocks … next post) the more pressure the pump has to be able to produce to maintain the same flow rate. Biggest, badest pump is the best right?
  3. Not so fast… Due to some strange laws of physics it isn’t always that straight forward. For example if you split the flow in to two loops, you can maintain separate pressures in each loop, allowing a pump to move massively more water than it could in a single loop. In a short loop with minimal impingements, a smaller pump might actually be drastically more efficient. Remember beating the water with the pump actually heats up the water.
  4. Are you going to run multiple loops? The answer for me is yes.
  5. Again with the noise vs power question.
  6. And, a major influencer for me was this question; Is the pump supported by lots of after market doodads to make my water cooling experience more enjoyable?

There is a ton more technical type arguing that I found when trying to pick a pump. But the answer turned out to be fairly easy in the end. I’m going to be running multiple loops and the community has pretty much defacto standardized the DC5 for mid flow systems. So, there are tons of after market products for it. This is actually a Swiftech MCP655, which is just an US distro version of the pump.

Notice it looks a heck of a lot like a fish tank pump. That seems to be where most of the pumps came from in the early days of water cooled PCs. The radiators came from 70s era Chevy heat pumps. I know you were dying to know stuff like that.

Man, am I glad I didn’t try to make a living as a hand model.

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