You never know what you might stumble upon on the web, and today I came across something I've never seen before—a video of a guy submerging his CPU air cooler into a tank of icy cold water.
It's never been done (to my knowledge) because there really isn't much utility in it—you might as well go whole hog on a liquid cooling setup if you want to lower temps below what you're getting with an air cooler. But that's hardly the point.
Modding is as much about the journey as it is the final result, or even the practicality of what you're modifying. For James, a mechanical engineer by day, he simply "thought it would be cool" to build a water cooling tank around his Hyper 212 Evo, one of the best CPU coolers (in terms of bang for buck) on the market. And so that's what he did.
He posted the video to his Major Hardware channel on YouTube, and in it he explains that he set about building a sort of "glorified fish tank" around the cooler, minus any actual fish. His first attempt was met with a small leak around one of the heatpipes protruding from the bottom. Caking the bottom in silicone took care of the issue.
Using ice water flowing from a pitcher, he saw idle temps drop into 30C territory, and maintained a stress temp of around 44C. Unfortunately, he didn't post any recorded temps from before the mod.
"For the most part, this is just a proof of concept. I wanted to be able to design something that was able to cool an air cooler, and do it in the least invasive way possible. I wanted to still be able to use my first PCI Express slot, I wanted to be able to use all of the DIMM slots," James explains.
So, what's next? Depending on the interest in his video, James is thinking about a followup design using a higher end air cooler, better tubing, and a stronger pump. The plastic pitcher is likely to go as well, as he envisions building something that he could actually mount inside a case as a neat showpiece. He'd basically be building an actual liquid cooler, but with an air cooler serving as a giant water block (or a water block with a mounted radiator).