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W-C Explained

Water cooling of computer components, as against air cooling, is no longer the privilege of the underground enthusiast and overclocker. Well developed, tested and proven equipment is now available that can be fitted successfully by any computer user with average DIY competance. And if you are DIY challenged, then we have fully built up units and cases.

Why water cooling?

Water is about 20 times more efficient than air at removing the heat from a hot body by convection. Water holds 4 times more heat than air, weight for weight, but water is around 1000 times more dense than air. So a very small amount of water can hold much more heat energy compared to a large volume of air. This results in the ability to run component temperatures closer to ambient, typically around 40C, with little temperature change under varying heat loads. And water, and therefore waste heat, can be precisely funnelled down a pipe to, say, a radiator, where the heat is rejected to the open air.


The System

The system consists of;

  • Waterblocks (Cooling Modules)
  • Header Tank or Reservoir
  • Pump
  • Radiator
  • Radiator Fan and Grille
  • Flow Sensor
  • Tubing
  • Connectors
  • Coolant

Basically the pump drives the coolant through the waterblocks, to absorb the waste heat, and into the radiator where the waste heat is rejected. The coolant then flows to the header tank and back to the pump to complete the circuit.



A waterblock can be a hollow copper and/or aluminium device or a copper or aluminium base with a plastic cover, sometimes transparent. It can be attached to any hot component to absorb the waste heat when a coolant flows through itself. The waterblock replaces the classic air cooled heatsink. The innovatek waterblocks mainly fit universally and the clamp is chosen to suit the socket type. (The G-Flow range and the Xeon processors have dedicated fittings). All waterblocks will handle any processor speed, but the more efficient waterblocks will run at a lower temperature.


Header Tank

A header tank is required to fill the system and to aid in bleeding the circuit. It is usually attached to the pump. If the pump can be immersed in the coolant, this form of tank is termed a reservoir. Header tanks can also be mounted remotely from the pump, if, for example, an external passive radiator is being used.



A pump is required to force the coolant around the circuit and is of the centrifugal type with a magnetic drive. The coolant actually provides the bearing support so if there is no liquid the pump will not run. Pumps are available for 12 volt DC and 240 volt AC operation.

The pump can be fitted in-line with a header tank or submersed in the reservoir (only the 240 volt Eheim pumps are submersible). The most popular pump is made by Eheim with the 1046 model providing a free flow rate of 300 litres/hour. This is adequate for virtually all systems.

One of the myths of water cooling is that the faster the flow rate, the better the cooling. This is true, up to a point, for the waterblocks but not for the radiator. So a balance must be found. The ideal arrangement is to have a radiator with a large liquid capacity and a waterblock with a small capacity. Oversized pumps will result in a strain on the motor and premature failure of the pump.

A flow sensor is fitted into the circuit to give a visual indication that the coolant is circulating. An electronic version can feed a signal back into the 3 pin motherboard header to warn if the flow ceases, so resulting in an immediate alarm or shut down. Flow turbines can offer the same protection but will read the flow rate in litres/min in the BIOS instead of a fan's revs/min.



The radiator or heat exchanger rejects the waste heat to the air. There are two active types used. The ''flat tube" design has flat tubes and fins running between two tanks. This is the most efficient design. The other variety is the "coiled tube and fin" design. This has a continuous coiled tube with fins attached. Slightly less efficient than the flat tube design but cheaper to produce. These units generally require fans (see below).

Passive, fanless radiators, of bespoke design, are used externally outside the case, and rely entirely on natural convection for cooling. There are three sizes of the innovaKonvekt-O-Matic passive radiator to cover all heat demands. There is also an executive desk top passive radiator, the HTCS.


Radiator Fan & Grill

To cool the standard radiator a 12 volt DC fan is used.  The usual size is 120 mm and this is undervolted to run slowly. It is therefore very quiet in operation. A grille prevents finger contact with the fan blades. For maximum performance the fan sucks through the radiator matrix. This results in a very slight pressure drop in the matrix which improves heat transfer.



The tubing is made of PVC. It must be durable and bend easily without kinking. If there is a danger of kinking, either fit an angled connector to the component, an anti kink spring and nut (this nut replaces the item on the connector) or a loose anti kink spring that fits externally over the plastic tubing. Its size is 8x1; 8 mm bore with a 1 mm wall. Springs can also be used as anti chafing devices.



The key to avoiding water leaks is in the quality of the connections. A universal connector is used that provides a virtually fool proof compression joint. It is easily connected and disconnected for, say, upgrading. All components have gaskets or O rings.



The actual fluid or coolant used in the system is water based. Distilled water is added to innovProtect protection fluid which reduces the surface tension, to aid bubble removal when bleeding and to improve heat conduction. Other additives include corrosion inhibitors, anti algicide, anti bacterial agents and anti freeze.

No other coolants nor additives are recommended on any basis. If you wish for a coloured effect, use UV reactive tubing.


Pros & Cons

1. The equipment is very QUIET. There is a virtually silent water pump (which is flexibly mounted) and large, slow 120 mm fan(s) are used to cool the radiator. These are the only moving parts in the system.

2. All the parts of the system are interchangeable and modular. Choose what you need and it will fit. Fit a basic system and you can upgrade it easily later on. It is also instantly demountable when you want to build a new system.

3. Waterblocks are available to cool the full range of AMD, socket A (462), Athlon 64 (754, 639, 640) and AM2, processors, Intel Pentium 4, (478) processors and Intel Xeon, (603,604,771) processors. Further modules cool chipsets, VGA cards and hard drives.

4. Connections are made with professional compression fittings using quality low kink tubing. Simple to fit, simple to upgrade and simple to undo.

5. As the system runs cooler compared to forced air convection, the life of components is considerably increased. The interior of the case runs cooler and software operates in a more stable fashion.

6. Electronic devices can be fitted to switch the system on automatically (for 240 VAC pumps) when the computer starts up and to monitor coolant flow.

The only potential problem is with water leaks but with the quality of the connections used, the fact that every component and joint is 'O' ringed and by running an extended initial test period before starting the computer, there need be no dramas.


How to Choose Your Water Cooling Components

With innovatek components you are able to mix and match as all the connectors used are the same. This make installation and upgrading very simple. The manufacturers have also tested their components as a complete system, so they know what the performance will be. When you choose parts from different sources, their combined performance is unknown and untested. And with innovatek, you have a world market leader in this field.

Where components are coloured, they are generally provided in BLUE.


The choice of CPU waterblocks is as follows;

innovaFlatFlow SL       The entry level waterblock. Aluminium base. Use for an average system where you require low operating temperatures and quietness. Economically priced. Rev 1.5 can be used with Athlon 64.

innovaFlatFlow             Copper base. Upgraded version of the SL. Use for any processor.

Both of these waterblocks have similar performance and will handle any processor.

X-Flow                            Low profile.

Plex-O-Matic                  A transparent visual item, designed to wow your friends if you have a window in the side of your case. Reacts to UV light.

i-COOL                           A chunky overclockers unit, rev 3.0. And the new restyled rev 4.0.

V6                                   The ultimate waterblock for petrol heads, shaped like a V6 engine block.

All the above four items have similar performances. 

XX-Flow                          Top performer. Ultra low profile. Worth between 2 and 4 degC lower coolant flow temperature compared with the previous group.

G-Flow                            Top of the range. An industrial quality waterblock. Comes complete - no separate clamp required.

Xeon                                Dedicated fitting for sockets 603,604 and 771)

Note: All waterblocks are common to both the Intel and AMD platforms (except G-Flow). Only the clamp changes and these are available as individual items.

VGA and Chipset.

innovaGraph-O-Matic Rev2.0     This single item will handle VGA cards and chipsets, such as the North Bridge. Comes complete with a bracket for GeForce 4/FX cards.

Cool-Matic ATI                            Designed for the latest Radeon 9500 VGA cards. Covers the GPU and the RAM.

Cool-Matic FX                             Designed for the latest GeForceFX VGA cards. Covers the GPU and the RAM.

Cool-Matic NV40                         The latest waterblock for NVIDIA NV40 GPUs (GeForce 9800).

Cool-Matic X800                          The latest waterblock for the RADEON X800 video card.

Hard Drives

HDD-O-Matic                    Two blocks fit either side of the hard drive. The whole assembly then fits into a 5.25" bay. Use for the hottest drives.

HDD-O-Matic MICRO       Fits under a hard drive, which remains in a 3.5" bay. 15 mm thick.


We only offer the Eheim range of pumps as these are the undisputed market leaders and, above all, the most reliable.

HPPS 12v DC  PLUS         The Holy Grail of water cooling, the 12 volt DC water pump. Accepts a standard Molex power connector.

Eheim 1046 240v AC         The standard mains operated pump. 300L/hr open circuit rating.

A Conversion Kit is available to convert an existing mains operated Eheim 1046 pump to 12 volt DC operation.

Eheim 1048 240v AC          600L/hr open circuit rating.

Anti Vibration Kit               Isolate the pump from case with these high spec 'cotton reel' insulators and fixings.

Anti Vibration Kit locost     As above, but an economy version with grommets and fixings.


The Eheim pumps use a header tank.

AGB-O-Matic blue               Transparent blue body with a blue cap. Push on fitment.

PLUGON internal, short     Anodised aluminium base, clear cylindrical body and coloured cap. Push on fitment. Also a long version.

PLUGON external, long      Fits externally with bespoke brackets. Ideal for use with a passive radiator.

Other tanks are available to special order.


Radiators vary in size and type according to the heat load they can handle. Radiators are ideally mounted in the roof of a tower case if other fan mounts are not suitable.

innovaRADI single 120 mm           Single 120 mm fan. Efficient flat tube design and with standard 8x1 connectors. Fans can mount both sides.

innovaRADI dual 120 mm             As above but twice the size for two fans. Fans can mount both sides.

innovaKonvekt-O-Matic                A totally PASSIVE radiator for external mounting. Would suit an average domestic installation. NO fan = NO noise.

innovaKonvekt-O-Matic MAXI      A larger version of the above.

innovaKonvekt-O-Matic ULTRA    The largest in the range. Do not lift without a Doctor's certificate. May require a fork lift truck.

HTCS                                               The ultimater executive cooling tower! A passive radiator that stands on your desk. Very efficient.

Note: A booster is available for the K-O-M MAXI and ULTRA. This has an axial fan and can raise the performance by a factor of 3-4 times!


Papst 4412F/2GM 120 mm      The standard fan bundled with innovatek kits

Globe Fan 120 mm                   Good quality, a badged NMB fan. Thermally controlled.


The ideal tubing will take a tight bend without kinking. All the tubing has an 8 mm bore and 1 mm wall thickness. This matches the standard connector.

PVC Tubing 8x1              The standard clear PVC tubing.

PVCS Tubing 8x1             innovaSpezial. UV reactive, top of the range tubing in blue that glows under UV light..


innovaProtect protection fluid must be used to maintain warranty on innovatek components.

innovaProtect 250 ml          A heat conductive fluid with anti freeze, anti algicide and anti corrosion properties. Ideal where there are mixed metals in the system. Requires dilution with distilled water. Provided as standard with all innovatek kits.

innovaProtect 1 litre           A readimix of 250 ml of innovaProtect and 750 ml of distilled water (the ideal dilution ratio).

innovaProtect PRO 250 ml  Is added to tap water.

InnovaProtect N 250 ml      This product is food safe.


Various items are available to enhance the system.

Flow Sensor                             A visual indicator showing that the coolant is flowing. Barbed, push on connections.

Flow-O-Matic electronic         An electronic flow sensor that provides the motherboard with the identical signal to the fan on a standard heatsink. Connects via a 3 pin plug. Results in shut down or an alarm in the event of flow failure. Barbed, push on connections.

Inline Temperature Sender      Connects to the tubing with standard 8x1 connectors. Requires a Digi Doc, innovaFan-O-Matic or similar, to read the sensor.

PumpControl-O-Matic            If you are using a 240 volt mains pump, this 12 volt operated relay will switch on the supply to the pump when the computer is switched on. Connects to a 3 pin motherboard header.

Flow-Meter Rev 2.0 Turbine   Will read the fow rate in litres per minute given a suitable reader.

Pulse Converter for above      Fit between your turbine and a 3 pin header and you can read the flow in litres per minute in your BIOS.

Various connectors are available. If it improves the tubing installation, right angled connectors can be used on the waterblocks and radiators. There are bulkhead connectors and grommets that allow the tubing to be taken outside of the case. We also offer connectors for 3/8" and 1/2" tubing. Where the standard tubing has tight bends, the following products will help,

anti kink Spring                       Fits over the tubing to prevent kinking.

anti kink Nut & Spring            The spring is attached to a compression nut which is fixed directly to the waterblock/radiator connector. Ideal where the tight bend in the tubing is close to the waterblock/radiator. Can be fitted everywhere for the visual effect.


To make life even easier, complete kits are available with everything needed for installation, excluding distilled water. Just choose your processor type (some kits are bundled with all three clamps) and the desired CPU waterblock and radiator, and the kit comes ready to fit.

All professional kits include;

CPU Waterblock and clamps for Socket A, P4 (478) and Athlon 64

HPPS 12 volt DC Water Pump and flexible mounts

AGB-O-Matic Header Tank

120 mm Papst Fan and Grille

250 ml innovaProtect

Sundry fixings, connectors, low voltage cable, thermal compound, tie wraps etc.

Entry level kits are available with the mains version of the Eheim pump and the entry level aluminium waterblock..


Waterblock - a device that is attached to a hot body that requires cooling and through which the coolant flows.

Coolant - the liquid that flows around the system and which, typically, comprises water and an inhibitor.

Inhibitor - a water additive that improves heat flow and is anti freeze, anti corrosion and anti algicide. eg innovaProtect

Header Tank - a device, inline with the pump, for filling the system.

Reservoir - a water tank, for filling the system, into which the pump is submerged.

Radiator - should really be called a convector. The device that rejects the heat, to the room, that has been absorbed by the waterblocks.

Passive - a description that involves no moving parts nor energy.

Active - a description that involves moving parts and energy. eg a fan.


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