Water block

Water block

A water block is the watercooling equivalent of a heatsink. It can be used on many different computer components including the central processing unit (CPU), GPU, and Northbridge chipset on the motherboard. It consists of at least two main parts, the "base", which is the part that makes contact with the device being cooled, usually made of a high conductivity metal such as aluminum or copper and in some cases silver as is found in many newer blocks. The second part, the "top" ensures the water is contained safely inside the "block" and has connections that allow hosing to connect it with the water cooling loop. The top can be made of the same metal as the base, transparent Perspex, Delrin, Nylon, or HDPE. Most newer high end water blocks also contain mid-plates which serve to add jet tubes, nozzles, and other flow altering devices.

The base, top, and mid-plate(s) are sealed together to form a "block" with some sort of path for water to flow through. The ends of the path have inlet/outlet connectors for the tubing that connects it to the rest of the watercooling system. Early designs included spiral, zig-zag pattern or heatsink like fins to allow the largest possible surface area for heat to transfer from the device being cooled to the water. These designs generally were used because the conjecture was that maximum flow was required for high performance. Trial and error and the evolution of water block design has shown that trading flow for turbulence can often improve performance. The Storm series of water blocks is an example of this. Its jet tube mid plate and cupped base design makes it more restrictive to the flow of water than early maze designs but the increased turbulence results in a large increase in performance. Newer designs include "pin" style blocks, "jet cup" blocks, further refined maze designs, micro-fin designs, and variations on these designs. Increasingly restrictive designs have only been possible because of increases in maximum head pressure of commercially viable water pumps.

A water block is better at dissipating heat than an aircooled heatsink due to water's higher specific heat capacity and thermal conductivity. The water is usually pumped through to a radiator which allows a fan pushing air through it to take the heat created from the device and expel it into the air. A radiator is more efficient than a standard CPU or GPU heatsink/air cooler at removing heat because it has a much larger surface area.

Installation of a water block is also similar to that of a heatsink, with a thermal pad or thermal grease placed between it and the device being cooled to aid in heat conduction.

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Water cooling — Cooling tower and water discharge of a nuclear power plant Water cooling is a method of heat removal from components and industrial equipment. As opposed to air cooling, water is used as the heat conductor. Water cooling is commonly used for… …   Wikipedia

  • Water polo — is a team water sport. A team consists of six field players and one goalkeeper. The winner of the game is the team that scores more goals. Gameplay involves swimming, players passing the ball while being defended by opponents, and scoring by… …   Wikipedia

  • Water supply and sanitation in the United States — is provided by towns and cities, public utilities that span several jurisdictions and rural cooperatives. About 15 million Americans are served by their own wells. Public water supply and sanitation systems are regulated by state level regulatory …   Wikipedia

  • Water heating — is a thermodynamic process using an energy source to heat water above its initial temperature. Typical domestic uses of hot water are for cooking, cleaning, bathing, and space heating. In industry, both hot water and water heated to steam have… …   Wikipedia

  • Water supply and sanitation in Saudi Arabia — differs from most other countries in three significant aspects. First, it relies almost exclusively on two sources that are absent in most other countries: desalination and fossil water. Second, given the substantial oil wealth of the country,… …   Wikipedia

  • Water supply and sanitation in Canada — is nearly universal and generally of good quality. It is a municipal responsibility under the regulation of the provincial governments, in partnership with the federal government. Water use in Canada is high compared to Europe, since water… …   Wikipedia

  • Water Tower Place — is a large urban, mixed use development comprising a 758,000 sq ft shopping mall and 74 story skyscraper in Chicago, Illinois. The complex is located at 845 North Michigan Avenue, along the Magnificent Mile. It is named after the nearby Chicago… …   Wikipedia

  • Water supply — is the process of self provision or provision by third parties of water of various qualities to different users. Irrigation is covered separately. Global access to waterIn 2004 about 3.5 billion people worldwide (54% of the global population) had …   Wikipedia

  • Water supply and sanitation in Brazil — has proved to be a resilient and resourceful sector, despite tremendous challenges and persistent inequalities in the sector. A lot has been achieved during the past decades, including a sustained improvement in efficiency and improved access.… …   Wikipedia

  • Water supply and sanitation in India — continue to be inadequate, despite longstanding efforts by the various levels of government and communities at improving coverage. The situation is particularly inadequate for sanitation, since only one of three Indians has access to improved… …   Wikipedia