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I am thinking of putting together a gaming computer with a home-built cooling system. I was wondering what I should use in order to not have it freeze up.

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Home-built cooling system? As in home-built from scratch? –  Dennis Dec 17 '11 at 22:18
Well, yes. I mean get the parts (mobo, graphics, processor etc.) and put them together in a box (old macG4 case) and have it be liquid cooled. –  fr00ty_l00ps Dec 17 '11 at 22:21
I know how to build a computer. You mentioned a home-built cooling system. What do you mean by that? –  Dennis Dec 17 '11 at 22:22
The cooling system? Yeah. I mean soldering (with map gas torch) copper pipe, hooking it up to a five gallon bucket, and slap a pump onto it. –  fr00ty_l00ps Dec 17 '11 at 22:23
Freezing isn't a problem unless your cooling solution can cool the liquid below zero. The common coolant used for this is water, with a little bit of anti-algae solution. –  kbyrd Dec 17 '11 at 23:00

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up vote 2 down vote accepted

Its quite unusual for liquid cooling systems to freeze up (they are connected to a heat source), unless your radiator is outdoors, but you could add antifreeze to water to keep that from happening. The quantity seems to vary from 10% to 75% according to this thread. It has the bonus of being anti corrosion and possibly being a biocide. Antifreeze is nasty, so, you'd want a sealed setup rather than the bucket.

The only reasonable alternative i have heard of is mineral oil, but thats usually used for immersion cooling, due to its viscosity

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Thank you so much. I will take that into consideration when I make my cooling system. –  fr00ty_l00ps Dec 19 '11 at 13:35
As anti-freeze is non-conductive, you don't want to go overboard with it. When I ran my WC setup based on the research at the time I elected to go with a 5:1 ratio of water:AF. I used distilled water to ensure no contaminants and optimum conductivity, and also added a few drops of biocide to prevent algae growth. –  Garrett Dec 21 '11 at 18:08
isn't non conductive good? –  Journeyman Geek Dec 21 '11 at 23:41

Water is much better at conducting heat than most alternatives.

  • If your coolant is not exposed to sunlight, you can just use distilled water.

  • If your coolant is exposed to sunlight, you have to add something to kill algae (like KillCoil).

Mercury is even better at conducting heat, but I don't know if it's viable otherwise...

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A mercury coolant ought to be possible. After all, some nuclear power plants use another liquid metal (liquid sodium) for cooling. Neither of them are substances you'd really want leaking onto your home carpet though. However at CodeAdmiral's location this isn't an issue. –  RedGrittyBrick Dec 18 '11 at 9:55
If you wanted to go for liquid metal cooling, one of the non toxic fusible allows might be a better idea. Galistan perhaps, or field's metal –  Journeyman Geek Dec 21 '11 at 23:42

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