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Good starting point for liquid cooling

mertesnmertesn I am Bobby MillerYukon, OK Icrontian
edited Jan 2012 in Hardware
I'm pretty familiar with air cooling, but water cooling kits are a bit of a mystery. My experience so far is with the AMD FX water cooling kit (based on an Asetek design and similar to an H60), but it's tremendously noisy when things heat up and it's nowhere near as effective as a Noctua NH-D14.

I'd like to start with CPU cooling and possibly branch into GPU cooling as well but that may not be for a while.

Where is a good place to start?
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Comments

  • GargoyleGargoyle Purveyor of Lincoln Nightmares Illinois Icrontian
    What are your goals with the watercooling? Performance that beats a Noctua? Silence? Both?
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  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited Jan 2012
    Here is a good reference as far as design/implementation.

    Here is a link I used where the guy puts together budget, mid and "extreme" recommendations for the various parts involved.

    Take this with a grain of salt, as I have only planned, not built a W/C system. I think @Gargoyle had the right kinda questions to determine what sort of system you are building and what parts to use.
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  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    I may have an eheim pump and a decentish (older black ice 120mm) radiator that i'd sell you on the cheap. I'll have to check my box of stuff.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    What are your goals with the watercooling? Performance that beats a Noctua? Silence? Both?
    The ultimate goal is to have both.

    Thanks for the links @Tushon. I'll take a look at them.

    @shwaip, what kind of performance can I expect from those parts?
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  • _k_k P-Town, Texas Icrontian
    List up your system specs.

    GPU block, http://www.swiftech.com/mcw82vgawaterblock.aspx#tab3, gives you a lot of options and cheaper if you keep it and in general compared to full PCB blocks.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    It'll either be an Intel Core i7 2600K or AMD FX-8150. Both have 16GB DDR3 and Radeon HD 6950/70. 850+ watt PSU for both as well.
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  • shwaipshwaip bluffin' with my muffin Icrontian
    The radiator may not be good enough for your system, but the pump is an eheim 1260 iirc, which is probably one of the best that you can get
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  • _k_k P-Town, Texas Icrontian
    edited Jan 2012
    Has Thermochill gone under?

    EDIT: Given that it looks like Thermochill is out of the business for a while Black Ice GTX 120.3 http://www.frozencpu.com/products/5326/ex-rad-109/Black_Ice_GTX_Xtreme_360_Radiator_-_Black.html?tl=g30c95s161
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  • TushonTushon I'm scared, Coach Alexandria, VA Icrontian
    edited Jan 2012
    It'll either be an Intel Core i7 2600K or AMD FX-8150. Both have 16GB DDR3 and Radeon HD 6950/70. 850+ watt PSU for both as well.
    CPU blocks look to be between $45-80 depending on what you are looking for (and the price can go up for the "custom" options that are available)
    Two examples:
    Danger Den (more custom options)
    FrozenCPU ( ~$50-60 variety) (I searched for 1155 and got mostly good results. you may limit it to 1156 and see which of them have 1155 fittings available.

    GPU blocks that are made to fit for your specific part are going to run $100-120, vs @_k_'s example of a generic one.
    Examples:
    DangerDen (there are two possible for the 6950, but the more expensive one should work on either)
    FrozenCPU (more variety, same price range)

    EDIT: You will get better performance from the "custom" blocks made for a particular GPU, but make sure to check out that it works with the exact GPU you have as the DD block works with some but not others, as one example)
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    edited Jan 2012
    EDIT: You will get better performance from the "custom" blocks made for a particular GPU, but make sure to check out that it works with the exact GPU you have as the DD block works with some but not others, as one example)
    Both cards are reference HD 6950s, so I'd imagine anything made for an HD 6970 will work.

    Right now I'm thinking the AMD FX platform may be the best candidate for the cooling system. It'll be able to handle both GPUs at dual x16. Sadly the P67 chipset can't give it more than dual x8 :(
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    Ok, this is what I'm looking at right now:
    Swiftech Apogee HD High Performance Water Block
    Phobya Dual 5.25" bay resovoir
    Koolance Triple 140mm Copper radiator
    Shwaip's Eheim pump (if it's still available)

    Also looking for coolant recommendations.

    This is all going in the NZXT Switch 810 case.

    Good? Bad?

    Also, I'm trying to figure out what size tubing and fittings are needed...I've looked at the specs for the CPU block, and I'm a bit lost as to just what sizes are best.

    I've decided to hold off on GPU cooling for now, but this should leave enough room for expansion, right?
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  • Good deal.

    I've always used Tygon 7/16. You can fit it on the 1/2" barbs yet it takes up less space in the case than 1/2" tubing.

    http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/ty7id11odlat.html
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    Don't forget clamps and fittings. I like to use Dangerden or Dtek as much as possible for those items. Personally I prefer to use a "Y" fitting and extra hose rather than a reservoir. If you'd like me to embellish on that I can give better details if you like.

    On this latest hose change I just picked up a 20' prepackaged/precut section of 1/2" OD tinted hose at Petsmart for under $20. It was an excellent value which you can usually find at any pet store or home garden supply.

    Also, what fluid will you use?
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    Ice Dragon is sending a review sample. I'm going to try a couple other fluid brands as well.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Good deal.

    I've always used Tygon 7/16. You can fit it on the 1/2" barbs yet it takes up less space in the case than 1/2" tubing.

    http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/ty7id11odlat.html
    Is there a major difference between the tubing you've linked and the 7/16" ID, 5/8" OD tubing of the same brand? The wall is about 1/32" thicker, but would it make a big difference?
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    Too thin is more likely to crimp. Thinner makes a tighter turn radius.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Ok, so thicker walls are better. Think I'll go with this one just to keep everything on one order.
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    Thinner is best as long as it doesn't crimp. You'll have a few bends to make. Let's say your choices of tubing were pvc pipe or clear flex tubing. The pvc pipe would require tees & elbows to make bends and turns which would cause flow restrictions. Each bend would multiply this factor.

    The flex tubing will simply make a radius which will smooth the transition, thus smoothing the restriction/flow. However, if the tubing is too thick the transition will be too slight and the bend radius will increase and you probably won't be able to close the side of the case, or you'll have too much pressure on parts to force the bend.

    Chances are if you read the reviews before making the purchase you will have a hint at the success and failures of others using the said products. I suppose there is a happy medium someplace.

    On another note, tinted or solid colored tubing will retard algae growth as opposed to clear. I like tinted best because it allows me to inspect for air bubbles, which is another factor to consider. Usually this is what is sold for outdoor fountains and such for that particular reason.
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    As far as the Apogee HD waterblock is concerned, I would put the the Enzotech SCW Rev.A http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835708019 up against it any day. At practically half the cost it will provide as good or better flow. This is just my honest opinion.

    The Apogee HD would be my first choice if I were going to build a mixed serial + parallel loop. This is where this block really excels and is innovative. However, given the flexibility of the case you you've selected, a single loop for the cpu and a seperate loop for the gpu at a later date could provide the best performance results overall. This way you are not dumping heat from one component to another before removing it from the box.
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  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI Icrontian
    There are also special sleeving-type materials created to give your tubing extra rigidity in places where it does start crimping, so if you buy too thin, you can always grab one of those after the fact to try and help straighten it out. Hard to go the other direction, though.
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  • I would go with the original tubing you linked to.

    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/10473/ex-tub-633/Tygon_R-3603_716_ID_58_OD_-_Laboratory_Tubing.html

    3/4" OD is really big and will eat up your case space quick. As well, the 5/8 OD tubing there will work great while saving a little space.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Thanks for all the help, it's very much appreciated.

    It looks like I'll need to get a pump. I was thinking about dropping the Phobya dual bay reservoir and going with a pump/reservoir combo.

    I'm looking at these as possibilities:
    Koolance RP-1005BK comes with Koolance PMP-400 pump $237.99 plus fittings
    XSPC Dual 5.25" bay comes with Alphacool VPP655 $159.95 plus fittings
    EK D5 X-Res Top 140 Pump Top comes with Alphacool VPP655 $172.99 plus fittings

    Is there a benefit to going with a dual bay reservoir over a single bay? Would the extra coolant capacity be a benefit?
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  • SnarkasmSnarkasm Madison, WI Icrontian
    More coolant can technically spread heat over a larger volume and thus provide some manner of extra heat reduction, but that really only comes into play if you get a good bit extra surface area the extra volume comes in contact with so that it can disperse that heat outside of the system. They sell reservoirs with fins for this kind of purpose, but generally speaking, as long as the walls transmit heat decently and they're thin enough, you'll keep temps down.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Next question: I've seen that using aluminum and copper in the same loop is bad. I have copper CPU block and radiator selected. Most of the pumps I've seen use aluminum. Will this be a problem?
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  • boasistboasist Troy
    edited Feb 2012
    This combo looks pretty sweet. And the pump is top notch.

    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/14199/ex-res-308/FrozenQ_Liquid_Fusion_Dual_Bay_Reservoir_w_Swiftech_MCP655_Series_Pump_Installed.html?tl=g30c107s152#blank

    Also use code xtreme at checkout and get 5.1% off of your order.
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    This pump is hard to beat.
    http://www.dangerden.com/store/dd12v-d5_pump-fixed-speed-by-laing.html

    I'm sure you can find the same pump under different names. Laing is very hard to beat IMO.

    In a closed loop you should have little to no evaporation, therefore there should be little to no need for a reservoir. If you do use a reservoir however, absolutely do not route your loop into it as this will restrict the flow. Rather, you should "T" off to the reservoir. This way the extra fluid will only contribute to the loop as needed.

    At any rate, the line that you use to tee off to the reservoir should suffice enough for a reservoir itself and will replenish fluid as needed just the same. On the end of the reservoir hose you can cap it easily with a fillport like this. It will make filling and draining a breeze also.

    http://www.dangerden.com/store/delrin-fillport.html

    Here is an older video that shows excellent technique in assembling a watercooling setup. Notice how the fill tube is off of a "T" fitting and thus is not in the flow loop. This is essential for good performance.

    http://www.dangerden.com/Videos/system-install-part-2.html

    Filling the loop with coolant and working out the bubbles. I don't use this technique, I just flip the case and let the bubbles rise to the "T" and out of the fillport, but this video is pretty helpful in showing how to remove bubbles. Just jump your PSU so that you don't actually put power to any other components except for the pump.

    http://www.dangerden.com/Videos/fill-a-system-with-coolant.html

    Oh yeah, don't mix metals in the loop, it will cause corrosion quickly.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    This combo looks pretty sweet. And the pump is top notch.

    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/14199/ex-res-308/FrozenQ_Liquid_Fusion_Dual_Bay_Reservoir_w_Swiftech_MCP655_Series_Pump_Installed.html?tl=g30c107s152#blank

    Also use code xtreme at checkout and get 5.1% off of your order.
    That one is pretty cool, though the blue and red are out of stock. Just wouldn't feel right to have green on an AMD system ;)
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Oh yeah, don't mix metals in the loop, it will cause corrosion quickly.
    So I need to find a pump that uses copper instead of aluminum?
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    Oh yeah, don't mix metals in the loop, it will cause corrosion quickly.

    So I need to find a pump that uses copper instead of aluminum?
    Only if it contacts the fluid.
    Lots of pumps use delrin and similar plastics. If you have all like metals in the loop you won't have to worry about galvanic corrosion, at least not for a long time. Most people go with copper because most radiators are constructed of copper.

    "Dissimilar metal corrosion is well known to most designers, specifiers and fabricators, but often the only rule in force is 'don't mix metals'." Excerpt http://www.corrosionist.com/dissimilar_metal_corrosion.htm

    In a watercooling system your enemies are galvanic corrosion, air bubbles (especially the ones that are unseen in the block and rad), and algae. Know your enemies and how to avoid them.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    How do I know whether a pump contacts the fluid?
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    Open it a check the impeller area. Typically the only components to contact the fluid are then inner housing and the impeller. Impellers are typically delrin/plasic nowdays however, a center fastener screw head may be a culprit. Usually if there is a review of the pump the review will check for stuff like that.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    So I pretty much have to buy the pump to find out if it's going to cause problems? That doesn't sound like a very efficient way to do things :/

    The two frontrunners right now for a pump/reservoir combo are these two:
    Koolance single bay with Koolance PMP-400 pump
    FrozenQ Liquid Fusion Dual Bay Reservoir w/ Swiftech MCP655 Series Pump Installed
    Any ideas whether these are safe?
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    So I pretty much have to buy the pump to find out if it's going to cause problems? That doesn't sound like a very efficient way to do things :/

    The two frontrunners right now for a pump/reservoir combo are these two:
    Koolance single bay with Koolance PMP-400 pump
    FrozenQ Liquid Fusion Dual Bay Reservoir w/ Swiftech MCP655 Series Pump Installed
    Any ideas whether these are safe?
    Not necessarily.
    http://www.koolance.com/water-cooling/product_info.php?product_id=334
    "•Wetted Materials: PPO, Carbon/Allumina Ceramic, EPDM or Viton, 316 SS or Plastic."

    http://www.swiftech.com/mcp655.aspx
    "WARNING - CUSTOM TOP VOIDS WARRENTY
    Nader Shehata(Miami, FL)9/19/2011 11:41 PM
    WARNING - CUSTOM TOP VOIDS WARRENTY my brand new pump died after a few hours of use and because i used a custom top(XSPC Dual 5.25" Bay Reservoir ) , swiftech would'nt warrenty it and i lost $104"

    Notice any similarities between the swiftech pump you refer to and the dangerden I linked to? The only difference is that the swiftech is variable speed whereas mine is fixed. The varaible speed version is available but it has been recommended to run these pumps full speed. My current laing pump is variable speed and I have never run it at anything other than full speed.
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    Last night when I was surfing for information I came across an external radiator mounting bracket kit that I cannot find today. If you have a clue of what I'm talking about please let me know ...this has been making me insane all morning.

    The clip shows the brackets being used either on the back or top of the case.

    Sorry for the highjack Mert.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Saw something like that on YouTube. If I come across it I'll post the link.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    edited Feb 2012
    Change of plans. The Enzotech Sapphire SCW Rev. A has been discontinued.

    I'm looking at the Enzotech LUNA as a possible replacement. FrozenCPU also recommended the XSPC Rasa as an alternative.

    Thoughts? I prefer the looks of the Luna, but I'm more concerned with good performance than appearances.
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    Honestly, the Enzotech Sapphire SCW Rev.A was a fluke of a great performer for both flow and temps. It was the only block I would own from them frankly.

    I would go with the XSPC Rasa ...might be a fluke too but it performs well.
    http://www.overclock.net/t/749693/review-22-cpu-waterblocks-tested-roundup
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Ok, I'll go with that one. Thanks!
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    How is your cooling project coming along Mertesn?
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    It's going pretty well. I'm working on a couple of articles covering the project, so it may be a couple weeks before it gets assembled completely.
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  • csimoncsimon Acadiana Icrontian
    I'm looking forward to those articles now! Thanks.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Update:

    I had to switch to the Intel system because the AMD system was being a PITA with overclocking. Of course without looking at the XSPC Rasa to see if it was compatible (it is as I found out later), I ordered the XSPC Raystorm. Reviews say it should perform even better, so I'm ok with that.

    Finally got the build started, and learned the only real problem part is the reservoir - it's two bays tall, but my case has metal runners between the bays making it impossible to fit without cutting the case...which I don't want to do. I've instead settled on the Aquacomputer Aquabox Professional 5.25" bay reservoir. It'll fit in a single bay and still looks good.

    Once the part comes in I'll be able to finish the build.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Found another issue. The pump uses 3/8" connections. I have 1/2" barbs :shake:
    I'm sure it's better to switch out to 3/8" tubing and barbs to match the pump, but would there be any harm in using 1/2" -> 3/8" reducers?
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  • Straight_ManStraight_Man Geeky, in my own way Punta Gorda, FL Icrontian
    Pressure load on tubing would decrease some with input being smaller than flow size, but so would flow volume. Other than that, probably not going the way you want to go. 3/8 connector, short piece of 3/8 tube, 3/8 to 1/2 step up adapter/reducer reversed, and then main flow 1/2" tube would be safest way to adapt. Pump might run a bit more if it is pressure switch controlled though.
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  • RyanFodderRyanFodder Detroit, MI Icrontian
    edited Sep 2012
    Aside from another leakpoint, and larger hoses to route, not really.

    Edit: Based on other fluid systems for non-computer based cooling.
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  • mertesnmertesn I am Bobby Miller Yukon, OK Icrontian
    Ok, I'll just switch out to 3/8" everything. Sounds like less of a problem waiting to happen.
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