Puget Custom Pentium-M Rig: A Silent WC System

Complete|Mobile Systems
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Water Cooling System

By far the most complex (and expensive) mod in the system is the water cooling system. This is much more than a simple installation of an off-the-shelf retail product: The system is assembled with parts from three separate manufacturers. The waterblocks come from Koolance, the pump is an Aquastream rev. 3.0 from Aqua-Computer, and the Radiator is an Ultra Convection Passive Radiator from Innovatek. The Aquastream is a rebadged Eheim 1046 pump with a 12V adaptor kit.

The most important part of the system is the radiator. It's almost the size of an automotive radiator, and should have no problem transferring heat away from the system passively. Innovatek claims it is large enough to generate a convection current so that it can be used without a pump!

The radiator consists of seven vertical channels that are 60 cm long. Each channel radiates heat outward through ten widely spaced aluminum fins.

The sheer size of the radiator makes it capable of dissipating heat passively.

Extruded aluminum fins radiate heat into the air.

In order to transfer the water to the radiator outside of the case, two holes (and inlet and an outlet) were drilled in the left side panel just below the power supply. This feeds the water tubing through the hard drive bay, which was unused.

Water is moved outside the case via the hard drive cage.

Water flow is provided by a mysterious, Acoustipack-covered box located on the floor of the case. It is held in place by two taught bungee cables to ensure it doesn't move around during shipping. Two water tubes and a power cable flow into the box, but it is otherwise completely nondescript. Because the box is glued together, we did not attempt to open it up, but we were told that it contains an Aquastream rev. 3.0 pump. This matches the brand name of the status indicator on the front of the case.

The foam box with the water tube going into it contains the pump.

Underneath the acoustipack is a custom-built rubber box that is glued together.

The extreme care that has been put into enclosing the pump suggests that it's probably the biggest source of noise in the system. The rubber box is made from block print rubber, and is reminiscent of Leo Quan's custom-made hard drive enclosure. One problem with this type of enclosure is that it does not dissipates heat well. However, a water pump is capable of cooling itself, so hopefully heat will not be a problem.

The Acoustipack foam that coats the exterior of the box is probably not that effective for blocking direct acoustic noise (that's what the rubber is for!), but it should insulate the case a bit from the vibration from the pump.

The choice of pump was probably influenced by the fact that it is powered from 12V DC, which can be supplied by the power supply. This means that the pump is entirely self-contained, does not require an external power source, and powers on and off automatically with the system. This adds a degree of foolproofing and makes it impossible to accidentally forget to turn on the pump with the system.

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