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I have a box with a pair of ATI Radeon HD4850s. These bad boys, when in CrossFire mode, overheat like the Phoenix summer. My two options for cooling are more fans or watercooling. The case is already loud enough just keeping the CPU cool so I am opting for trying my hand at water cooling. Besides, couldn't hurt to get the CPU a smidge cooler as well.

That being the case, what are the BEST options for water cooling these two cards. How about the cards and the CPU (Core2 Duo)? What about if I am on a budget (which I'm not but others might be)? Is there an air cooled option I am missing?

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

I've done an install using one of Swiftech's top end kits which took care of GPU/Northbridge/CPU and with the radiator and pump it had, there was certainly capacity to cool more. They can get a bit pricey, but their equipment didn't play around. While your card would take a generic water block, they do have some custom water blocks for top end cards, nice stuff.

As far as air cooling, ducting may help direct airflow to where it is needed most. A complete overhaul of your air cooling could also improve performance and make it quieter. Swap out fans where possible for larger low rpm ones etc.

Also of note with water cooling - it will be a PAIN IN THE ASS your first time. Get a lot of extra tubing, it's cheap and you won't try so hard to conserve which makes curves and bends MUCH easier. Also use a non-conductive coolant on the chance that you leak. One link for those can be found below:

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This isn't specific to your hardware, but Tom's Hardware has a "Beginner's Guide For WaterCooling Your PC" which may be helpful. Looks like it does a good job of covering the basics and then some - should be helpful in guiding you toward choosing the right components for your specific application.

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I am familiar with the site and appriciate the link. I was also looking for any personal experiences with these particular cards thats why I asked the question that way. – Craig Sep 15 '09 at 18:03
Gotcha. I figured I'd add it anyway, since it sounded like you wanted this to be a good resource for others as well as yourself. – tnorthcutt Sep 15 '09 at 19:04

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