1. What is it and why should I bother?
The most common questions are what exactly watercooling is and why you may want to use it. Most computer parts radiate heat, as known. Some of them, like the CPU (central processing unit), video card GPU (graphics processing unit) and motherboard chipset need cooling to operate properly, due to the extreme amount of heat they radiate which is caused by the power they consume. On most cases, that’s achieved with a heatsink, most usually paired with a fan as most components radiate so much heat that even the heatsink alone is not efficient.
The heatsink, which is nothing more than a metallic object made usually either from aluminum or copper, pulls the heat off the component on itself and then spreads it on the enviroment, on the air that is. A fan helps the process by pushing cooler air continually over the heatsink, which extracts the heat much more efficiently this way.
The most notable advantages of watercooling over conventional air cooling come on 3 parts. First, water is a much better conductor of heat than air, which means that it will pull the heat much faster and also will release it much faster when needed. Second, when using watercooling we transfer the heat from the components to the radiator, which in turn releases the heat on the enviroment. This way heat can be removed from the system much more efficiently, since the radiator can be out of the case, or mounted on it as an exhaust. Air cooling will release the heat from the heatsink directly on the air, which air will be trapped in the case so every component gets hotter, especially in cases with no or little airflow. Third, watercooling systems usually need slow fans or in a few situations no fans at all, so noise is dramatically reduced.
The drawbacks come on 3 parts as well. Enough larger systems than air cooling heatsinks, even the smallest are large enough to be hard to fit in any case smaller than a super midi tower. Most cases will need modifications in order to be capable to mount one. They are more complex, making even the easiest for install kits to require the user to have knowledge of a few basics, plus they do need maintenance, however not frequently. Last but not least, they are substantially more expensive than air cooling setups, with the price depending on the watercooling system that will fit your needs.
The most common reason that a person would like watercooling is because of its heat absorbing properties. Even more simple words, it’s mostly made for the overclockers market. However, because of the ability to keep a system cool with a minimal to no amount of noise, it’s also sought after those that want a very quiet PC, as a silent but effective cooling solution.
2. Watercooling kits?
There are many watercooling kits on the market nowadays, since watercooling is becoming more and more common. However, most of them are severely overpriced or ineffective. The mere advantage of those kits most of the time is that they can save a user that doesn’t want to bother too much or feels insecure about making his own system from all the trouble.
I highly recommend that users must do their research first and then buy specifically the components that suit their needs. Not every user has the same needs, budget or goals. Also there are kits that may fill your needs, although expensive most of the time, however there are kits that are a complete waste of money and some can be even dangerous for your PC.
3. Is it dangerous?
If installed properly and the equipment is not damaged in any way, not at all. Always set it up with care and take your time. Always use equipment and tubing of proper quality at least and always secure the tubing well around the fittings. If those precautions are taken, there is an extremely low chance or even no chance at all to ever have a problem with such a setup. Anyway, even using conventional air cooling there are dangers, like if the fan stops or the heatsink slips off the socket, the CPU in a few seconds or even instantly dies.