Basic Water Cooling Loop Order and Components
What is a Water-cooling loop and loop order?
A PC water-cooling loop is a system comprised of water blocks that act as heat transmitters by allowing coolant liquid to be pumped through them to temperature sensitive pc components. The heat gets transferred by these water blocks into the pipes that transport the liquid to the radiator to dissipate the heat out of the system.
Loop order is the configuration of the water-cooling components in the overall system.
The standard loop order configuration of components is Reservoir-> Pump->CPU->GPU->Radiator->Back to Reservoir.
The standard loop order is motivated by having a cooler intake of liquid to the pump to minimize wear; therefore, the radiator is before the reservoir that feeds into the pump.
The above-mentioned loop order is common practice as the pump is situated in the cold cycle of the loop to extend the lifespan of the pump.
How significant is loop order to variation in overall temperatures of the system?
Loop order doesn’t contribute substantially to the overall temperature in the system since the water-cooling liquid inside a loop equalizes thanks to thermodynamics. If you would like to get the ultimate cooling by placing radiators between warm components, such as a CPU and/or GPU, to force cooler intake temperatures between them, there might be a marginal temperature difference.
Which components of the loop could influence temperatures the most?
The radiator is the only cooling component in the loop therefore we would highly recommend following the standard of 120mm radiator for each hot component in the loop and 240mm for overclocking components.
The conjunction of components in a water-cooling loop influences the temperature through flow rate. The more components and bends the slower the rate of flow is the more time the liquid has to warm up at hot components and the longer it takes to reach the radiator for cooling.
We know loop order has marginal temperature variances; however, we would recommend the standard loop order Reservoir->Pump->CPU/GPU->Radiator. Simplify your loop to increase flow rate wherever possible and practice routine loop maintenance.