Heat management: Water Cooling in an Apartment?

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,350
Location
Monterey, CA
For the first time in nearly a decade I have a home office. It isn't big, but is a big step up from my corner of the bedroom in California. It is also incredibly well insulated. So much so that even in the middle of winter my PC drives the room temp beyond 30C quite quickly when gaming. I haven't measured it yet, but according to the component specs heat output is likely 800W+. The office door must remain closed if at all possible because of the other family members out there.

For now I can just open the window, as it is 5-10C outside. However in the summer it will be 25C+ and humid. I don't want any part of that. The apartment does not have air conditioning, and I cannot add a window unit per the rental agreement. There is an air-air heat exchanger and forced-air circulation in the apartment, but there is no way it will keep up with this PC.

Here are my thoughts so far, from most reasonable to most cool:
0. Underclock/volt my components and deal with it. My games aren't intensive and it'll be fine.
1. Put an AC unit inside my office, and use some combination of plexiglass and clear piping to duct the hot exhaust out the window, hoping no one notices.
2. Water cool my PC. Mount a large radiator on the outside of the door to my office. Dump the heat in the main space so at least it averages out.
3. Put an AC unit in the utility room where the heat exchanger is, physically hack into that system to send the hot exhaust out the "return" duct and feed cold air into all the rooms using the fresh air ducts.
4. A combination of 2 and 3.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,886
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
I have an 1100W Threadripper for a desktop and no AC. Wear less clothes and keep hydrated.

Just to be slightly more reasonable about it, the heat is still present. You can keep your parts cool with a water loop and radiator, but the either way, you're still radiating that heat somewhere, and in an apartment, that probably means bleeding it out in the room where the computer is. One of my long-term solutions used to be using a (formerly) unoccupied bedroom for my hotter equipment, but that works less well for my personal desktop than for my file server setup. I don't have rack space for my desktop in the common room rack, so I've just decided to suck it up.

It's actually pretty nice in the winter, at least.
 
Last edited:

LunarMist

I can't believe I'm a Fixture
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
15,773
Location
USA
Welcome to Norway. Once I was sweating an ass off in Oslo during the summer. That's one reason why many people take vacations in the warmer months. How many hours per day do you really need to run at 800W? Maybe use a laptop for general computing and limit the hours of flamethrower usage. Get some fans. Don't hack into the building systems; you don't have residency yet. :lol:
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,350
Location
Monterey, CA
The 4090 and i9-13900KF have both been well documented to get most of their performance with less than half of the power consumption. I might just have to turn it down.

That said, getting the heat out of this small room and into the larger hall/living space would at least slow down the process.
 

LunarMist

I can't believe I'm a Fixture
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
15,773
Location
USA
I thought that Intel was the least efficient, followed by AMD and then MAC was by fart the most efficient.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,886
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
The -T variants of whatever Intel chip usually give about 90% of the performance for a fraction of the TDP. I used to use i5 Ts for HTPCs. DD would have to give up a little frequency peak and a lower idle but there's a lot of return on it.

As far as moving air out, a big slow fan is just what the doctor ordered. I mount a fan on my window and blow air IN for greatest relief. At the hottest times, I'll set an insulated cooler full of ice beneath that fan. That works best for the airflow in my apartment. As I've said, I have no AC, but I have plenty of time in the last 20 years to experiment.
 

LunarMist

I can't believe I'm a Fixture
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
15,773
Location
USA
You have had no A/C for 20 years? :eek: 20 years ago that probably would not have cost more than a few thousand dollars to replace.
 

jtr1962

Storage? I am Storage!
Joined
Jan 25, 2002
Messages
4,070
Location
Flushing, New York
I would literally die without A/C. On the hottest days the house would easily be over 100°F. Add in NYC's famous high humidity and you're well into the danger zone.

Can you do water cooling for all the PCs using a single loop, then run that water to a heat exchanger which exhausts the heat outside?

I guess the Nordic countries don't have enough hot days annually to merit installing air conditioning.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,886
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
I don't mind anything up to about 100F. It's fine. Just something to get used to. My office is hot. My home is hot and my bedroom is hottest of all. I've had plenty of time to learn to deal with it.
 

LunarMist

I can't believe I'm a Fixture
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
15,773
Location
USA
I would literally die without A/C. On the hottest days the house would easily be over 100°F. Add in NYC's famous high humidity and you're well into the danger zone.

Can you do water cooling for all the PCs using a single loop, then run that water to a heat exchanger which exhausts the heat outside?

I guess the Nordic countries don't have enough hot days annually to merit installing air conditioning.
Much of the world does not have A/C.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,886
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
Back on topic, I'm not a huge fan of watercooling. I understand that it can make components cooler and that's OK. But in my experience it's almost never worth the effort; parts are usually rated for temperatures well higher than they reach on air cooling, and most importantly, I've never observed it living up to the claims of silence. Pumps wind up louder than good fans.

Water Cooling in anything but an extreme loop (the kind that would involve inconvenient mods to your home) doesn't change thermodynamics. Water has a specific heat, which cools the parts very well, but heat is still being radiated off the loop and mostly from the radiator. Unless all that can specifically be moved outside the room, it's gonna be an issue.

I've been toying with putting a PC out on my balcony for a while but weatherproofing and airflow don't really go together either.
 

LunarMist

I can't believe I'm a Fixture
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
15,773
Location
USA
Back on topic, I'm not a huge fan of watercooling. I understand that it can make components cooler and that's OK. But in my experience it's almost never worth the effort; parts are usually rated for temperatures well higher than they reach on air cooling, and most importantly, I've never observed it living up to the claims of silence. Pumps wind up louder than good fans.

Water Cooling in anything but an extreme loop (the kind that would involve inconvenient mods to your home) doesn't change thermodynamics. Water has a specific heat, which cools the parts very well, but heat is still being radiated off the loop and mostly from the radiator. Unless all that can specifically be moved outside the room, it's gonna be an issue.

I've been toying with putting a PC out on my balcony for a while but weatherproofing and airflow don't really go together either.
The total energy with liquid cooling would be more since the pump uses power and generates additional heat. You can save on the hot side by using the body of water or burying in the ground, which are not likely in the above scenarios.
What security is there on a balcony or would you bring it in when not home? I could imagine birds and raccoons, etc. could also be a problem.
(Now I'm having flashbacks to sweating in West Germany in the 80s, using fans and wet towels. Of course my organs were all 100% and I was skinny like a kid still.)
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,886
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
What security is there on a balcony or would you bring it in when not home?

I live on the third story of a building that, because of the area, has a rather large number of security cameras. I have one of my own out there, mostly to keep an eye on parking spaces for my roommates. My PC would be in some sort of enclosure that would look like it belongs outside, in a place no one would likely look for a valuable computer (there's also the matter of whether or not anyone could identify ANY desktop computer as valuable). I suppose someone could parkour their way up to my balcony, but I'd judge the risk that someone can get up and down with 40lbs of bulky computer is pretty damned low.

There's currently approximately multiple cases of Whiskey, Gin and Tequila out there - the leftovers from a music festival's VIP bar area that somehow wound up in my roommate's car, which is surely a more attractive-to-human nuisance, my roommate's collection of purloined street signs and a disused cooler that I cut to allow access for power on my outdoor LEDs strings and bulbs and camera and the LAN for my outdoor AP.
 
Last edited:

Santilli

Hairy Aussie
Joined
Jan 27, 2002
Messages
5,078
Didn't you have a tower that used to use rising air to cool components in Salinas, combined with water cooling?
Seems to me you did just fine with having silent cooling, or getting the components in a place where the sound wasn't a bother...
You might post pics. That was a NEAT setup...
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,350
Location
Monterey, CA
The reason for water cooling is specifically to move the heat outside the room. I'm sorry I wasn't clear in the initial post.

The PC is next to my desk, and the water blocks capture the heat from the main components. That loop then leaves the pc case, travels along the wall, onto the door next to the hinges, through the door via holes, and to a radiator/pump/reservoir on the outside of my office door.

This puts the heat into a 1200sqft main room/hallway instead of my 85sqft office. It also takes the extra heat and noise and moves it outside the room as well.

It would involve modifying the door, but just the door, and those are easily replaced.
 

LunarMist

I can't believe I'm a Fixture
Joined
Feb 1, 2003
Messages
15,773
Location
USA
Will it have an electric fan on the radiatore like a Chevy?
Or maybe put the computer out there with cables into the office room for KVM.
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,350
Location
Monterey, CA
The radiator might have fans, or it could just be huge and passive (I have the whole size of the door for it). There really isn't a place outside the office to put the computer; it is at the end of a hallway. My monitor currently runs 4k@144hz HDR, and it is difficult to get that signal stable with cable runs longer than 2m, so keeping the computer close currently seems more practical.
 

ddrueding

Fixture
Joined
Feb 4, 2002
Messages
19,350
Location
Monterey, CA
Didn't you have a tower that used to use rising air to cool components in Salinas, combined with water cooling?
Seems to me you did just fine with having silent cooling, or getting the components in a place where the sound wasn't a bother...
You might post pics. That was a NEAT setup...
That was 13 years ago in Palo Alto and in the thread "Presenting The Coffin" on here.
 

Mercutio

Fatwah on Western Digital
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
20,886
Location
I am omnipresent
Website
s-laker.org
Maybe we can get Scythe to make a finned aluminum means of egress. Stick a couple box fans on both sides to pull air out and a water block at the bottom? :)
 
Top