My brother Misha, 18, has just outfitted his computer with a water-cooling system, which consists of tubes with cold water running through them.
Here’s what it looked like before the installation:
Here’s what it looks like now:
According to Misha, water cooling (versus the heat sinks and fans that cool most PC’s) allows his computer to run 25 percent faster (or “overclock”).
But the system is dangerous: if one tube springs a small leak, the whole computer can be ruined; and it cost Misha about $1,200 of his own money to build. (Though he says he “went overboard a little.”)
Water cooling in PC’s is still a niche market. As my brother puts it: “only us geeks take the time to set it up.”
Though more companies are offering similar, prebuilt technology, like water-cooled computer cases.
Computer makers like IBM have started introducing water-cooled servers, which can cut data center energy costs by 40 to 50 percent, according to ITWorld.
And researchers at IBM’s Zurich laboratory have been running experiments water cooling stacked computer chips, and are looking into using the water heated up by computers to heat houses, an Economist article reports.
My brother still lives at home and doesn’t have to worry about footing the energy bills; so besides a faster computer — and considering the costs and dangers — what’s the primary motivation for Misha and his water-cooling friends?
Pretty much just bragging rights to be honest with you.
There are, incidentally, competitions for people like my brother — sponsored by the people really cashing in on this hobby: PC hardware companies.