Budget Watercooling Loops from the Best Brands
When I see most newcomers to the watercooling scene try to pick out their first loop more often than not, pick parts from the same manufacturer. This is not a bad idea at all as it is a great way to ensure the best compatibility between all of your components. In light of that, I wanted to personally take some time to go over basic loop setups from all the major brands and about how much they will each cost you. In order to keep it simple, I will go over the price and components from each brand with a D5 pump/reservoir combo, CPU block, 6 compression fittings, 10ft. Soft tubing, and a 360mm thin (~30mm thick) radiator.
So here is our suggested kits:
First up, we have Alphacool. Based out of Germany, Alphacool has been in the watercooling game for quite some time now. Overall their products are both high quality and budget oriented, so they have some great picks for all of you!
CPU Block - Eisblock XPX Aurora $68.50
Pump/Res - Eisbecher D5 150mm $120.75
Fittings - Eiszapfen 16/10mm 6 Pack $44.25
Tubing - AlphaTube HF 16/10mm 9.8’ $15.95
Radiator - NexXxos ST30 Full Copper Radiator v2 $96.50
Total Cost: $345.95
The Alphacool loop starts off with a very nice block, the Alphacool Eisblock XPX Aurora. This CPU block comes in two flavors, either chrome accented or black. Both are equipped with dRGB and have nickel plated copper cold plates. The Eisbecher D5 150mm pump/reservoir combo is a solid pick for a reliable and versatile setup. With both vertical and horizontal mounting brackets, this combo will work in almost any build. For fittings, the Eiszapfen 6 pack of compression fittings is the easy choice. They come in both chrome and matte black. AlphaTube HF is a PVC tubing that is compatible with a wide range of PC coolants. This tubing also comes in UV black for the same price. The NexXxos ST30 radiator is a full copper 360mm beast of cooling potential. This will be more than enough for some heavy CPU overclocking, or even a GPU later down the road. In this end, this full setup will run you just shy of $350 USD, which is quite the bargain for what you’re getting!
Next we have Corsair on the chopping block. Newer to the watercooling scene, Corsair has not held back one bit of effort when it comes to their gear. You may even find that their products look vaguely similar to other top of the line brands.
CPU Block - Hydro X XC7 $79.99
Pump/Res - Hydro X XD5 $164.99
Fittings - Hydro X XF 4 pack 2x $26.99
Tubing - Hydro X XT Softline $16.99
Radiator - Hydro X XR5 Radiator $69.99
Total Cost: $385.94
The Hydro X XC7 RGB CPU waterblock is Corsair’s latest iteration of their unique but effective CPU block. Coming in at $80 packed with RGB and multiple socket options, this block is sure to fit just right in your system. The Hydro Series XD5 pump/reservoir combo is a D5 equipped water pump of beauty. This combo is full of RGB and offered both in black and white. XF compression fittings are equipped with rotary ends to ensure an easy install of your soft tubing. These come in chrome, black, white, and gold. Since they are only offered in 4 packs, you will need two in order to complete your CPU loop. Hydro X XT Softline tubing is a clear PVC tubing that is sure to fit perfectly with your XF fittings. The XR5 radiator is a high quality, copper tube radiator that will offer plenty of cooling for your loop. Corsair’s Hydro X series watercooling setup won’t even run you a full four Benjamin's, and with how much you get for your money, this is one deal hard to pass up.
EK Waterblocks is arguably one of the most well known brands in the world of watercooling. Many of you probably have priced out a loop using their components already, or perhaps even gotten a great deal on one of their all in one watercooling kits. Either way, here’s what a complete CPU loop would like from EK.
CPU Block - Quantum Velocity CPU Block $79.99
Pump/Res - Quantum Kinetic TBE 200 D5 PWM $189.99
Fittings - STC Classic 10/16 6x $4.50
Tubing - Duraclear Retail Pack $17.99
Radiator - Coolstream Classic SE 360 $66.99
Total Cost: $381.96
EK’s Quantum Velocity CPU Block is the perfect budget block with subtle, yet striking aesthetics. Both plexi and acetal options are available with copper cold plates, and nickel plated copper versions can be had for only $5 more. The Quantum Kinetic TBE 200 is EK’s latest iteration of their remarkable D5 pump/reservoir combo. Equipped with a PWM D5 pump and dRGB lighting, this combo is sure to stand in your rig in either plexi or acetal options. For compression fittings, EK’s STC line is a great choice in any of their numerous colors and sizes. EK-Duraclear tubing is a highly resistant PVC tubing that comes conveniently in a box with 3m of tubing. The Coolstream Classic SE 360 is another copper tubed beast that won’t shy away from even large cooling needs. Overall, this setup is under 382 USD and packs a whole bunch of premium goodies.
Thermaltake isn’t always a first choice in custom loops, however, with a wide variety of parts that do not lack in quality, they should not be overlooked!
CPU Block - Pacific W4 RGB $69.99
Pump/Res - Pacific R22-D5 $159.99
Fittings - Pacific Compression 6 Pack $34.95
Tubing - V Tubler 3T $7.99
Radiator - Pacific DIY CLD360 $109.99
Total Cost: $382.91
The Thermaltake Pacific W4 RGB CPU Block is both a beautiful and versatile option for your loop. It fits all of the latest Intel and AMD sockets and is equipped with RGB lighting along the edge of the block giving it a very simple, but stunning appearance. For a pump/reservoir combo Thermaltake brings the Pacific R22-D5 to the table. With a 200ml reservoir tube a D5 pump attached to the bottom this is a reliable combo for your rig. Thermaltake’s Pacific Compression fittings are the perfect fit for a simple soft tube loop where the builder needs a quality and easy to install fitting. The V Tubler 3T tubing is another PVC transparent tubing, perfect for your modern loop with colored coolant to show off. To top everything off, the Pacific DIY CLD360 radiator is a 40mm thick, copper radiator that has ample capacity to cool even the highest end gaming PC. As it seems to be the theme for this blog, we have another setup just under 400 USD that offers more than enough features for the most intrepid of newcomers.
Last, but not least of course, XSPC joins the show. Often overlooked, but one of my favorites for some quality and niche components, XSPC is a brand you definitely want to give a shot at some point!
CPU Block - Raystorm EDGE aRGB $89.95
Pump/Res - Photon 170 $169.99 (Discontinued)
Fittings - Compression Fitting V2 6x $4.99
Tubing - FLX Premium Grade PVC Tubing $14.99
Radiator - RX360 $89.99
Total Cost: $394.86
XSPC starts their setup off with a beautiful block called the Raystorm EDGE. With a pure copper coldplate, simple machining and mounting, as well as aRGB, this block will definitely catch your eye and cool your chip! The Photon D5 pump/res combo was always a staple from XSPC that offered amazing reliability, unique lighting, and an easy to mount setup for your loop. Sadly it is now discontinued, but we all hope to see it’s replacement from XSPC very soon. XSPC’s simple yet effective compression fittings come in three flavors, chrome, black chrome, and matte black. These are sure to seal up your loop and keep it running smoothly. The FLX Premium Grade PVC Tubing from XSPC is a great choice for a clear PVC tubing for your watercooling loop, especially if you want to use XSPC’s colored fluids. Coming in with a hefty 46mm thick copper core and multiple ports, the RX360 from XSPC is a giant for cooling and a great deal for a budget build. XSPC’s lineup is a solid copper and RGB gambit that is sure to exceed your expectations in both performance and aesthetics!
Clearly these are not all the brands we offer here at PPCs, however these are 5 major brands that offer every component for a complete CPU watercooling loop. You will definitely want to pick up some up purpose made coolant for your loop, so I urge you all to check out our video on coolants here if you have not done so already. You should also check out our “How to Pick out the Perfect Drain Setup” blog here as well. If you prefer to get all of your gear in one box, you should see our complete watercooling kits here. In the end, this was merely a way for us to show you the various options you have as far as complete CPU loops go. If you have any questions about setting up your custom loop, please do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org!