With the popularization of high performance processors – that reach much higher temperatures than lower clock processors – cooler manufacturers have launched high performance solutions for processor cooling.  One of such solutions is the water cooler, which uses water to refrigerate the processor (as well as other parts of the computer).

The idea of using water to cool processors is not new, but lately several new products have been launched at a relatively low price (an Iceberg water cooler kit from Ahanix – – cost a little less than USD 100).

The water cooler operates using the same principle of the car radiators.  It is a closed system that contains water, in which a pump circulates that water.  The water heats when it runs by the processor and is taken to a radiator (also called heat exchanger).  In this radiator the water is cooled using a fan.  The cold water leaves it and runs by the processor again, re-feeding the system. 

Water Cooler

Figure 1: Parts of a water cooler system.

In reality, the system doesn’t use only water, rather it uses water and a car radiator additive. Some manufacturers also add UV-responsive pigments in their additives, which makes the water glow in case you have a UV neon light (black light) inside your case, which is quite popular among users who modify their cases (case mod).

There are several types of water coolers on the market.  In some of them, there is an external radiator (outside the computer), in others it is internal (fitted to the front of the case).  After installing the basic kit to refrigerate the processor, you may use the same pump and radiator to cool other parts of the computer.  Most manufacturers supply motherboard chipset, video card graphic chip, and hard disk water coolers as optionals to be used in the same system.

If you are interested in knowing more about this type of solution, we suggest that you visit the manufacturers’ sites.  Besides Ahanix, another famous manufacturer is Koolance ( It is worth visiting Gainward’s website ( They have released a GeForce FX 5900 Ultra with water cooler, with optional parts to use the water cooler to refrigerate the processor and the motherboard chipset, too.

Of course such a system is not for everybody, due to its price. The water cooler system is recommended to the users who are into overclocking.  According to Ahanix’s site, Iceberg may reduce the temperature of a Pentium 4 from 85º F (47º C) to 61º F (34º C), which certainly permits a higher level of overclocking than the one normally reached using conventional coolers.

Gabriel Torres is a Brazilian best-selling ICT expert, with 24 books published. He started his online career in 1996, when he launched Clube do Hardware, which is one of the oldest and largest websites about technology in Brazil. He created Hardware Secrets in 1999 to expand his knowledge outside his home country.