Watercooling 201: The Waterblock

Posted on Tuesday, Jan 29 2008 @ 06:00 CET by Thomas De Maesschalck
So, before we get into that, let's take a look at what a waterblock actually does and how it works. I suppose the first part is easy – a waterblock sucks heat from the CPU, right?

Well, sort of... not really. But yes... no.

Why the confusion? Well, this is a huge misconception. Let's rephrase this properly: A waterblock obtains temperature equilibrium with the heat spreader of the underlying chip. That's it. No sucking involved.

It's the same misconception as air cooling – a heatsink doesn't actually cool the chip. It simply provides a greater surface area for the heat to spread over. Since there's more metal to heat up, there's less heat in each molecule of metal – so it seems like it's cooling. The real definition of cooling is the removal of heat from the system – no heat is being removed here, just simply spread out. Instead, it's the fluid—be it air or water—that actually does the cooling.

This probably seems pedantic – the block cools, or the block spreads the heat and thus lowers temperature. It may seem the same, but it's not – it radically changes how we need to look at water blocks. We can distil everything above down to one basic statement:

A block's function is not to cool your CPU – it's to provide the most contact with water molecules as possible."

Read on at Bit Tech.

About the Author

Thomas De Maesschalck

Thomas has been messing with computer since early childhood and firmly believes the Internet is the best thing since sliced bread. Enjoys playing with new tech, is fascinated by science, and passionate about financial markets. When not behind a computer, he can be found with running shoes on or lifting heavy weights in the weight room.

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