Calling all water cooling experts!

mas0nmas0n howdy Icrontian
edited October 2007 in Hardware
Well, we're all noobs at something, and this is one of my areas of noob-dom.

After holding back for years, I finally pulled the trigger on what I hope is a good water cooling loop. My parts are as follows:

ThermoChill PA120.3
3 Scythe S-Flex SFF21E 49CFM @ 20.1dBA
Swiftech MCP655-B @ 1200 liters/hour
DangerDen TDX775 CPU block
DangerDen single bay reservoir

...and I have no idea what I'm doing. This is going into my main rig which has been recently upgraded with an ASUS Maximus SE & Q6600. I guess what I would like some feedback regarding is:

a) what order should my loop be in? I was undoubtedly thinking pump>CPU>RAD>RES until some yahoo told me I was crazy if I didn't put the RAD before the CPU in order to "deliver the coolest possible water to the CPU" which I guess in a way makes sense, but my order of thinking was that I want the hottest water to hit the RAD as soon as possible. At .3 liters/second, does it really matter?

b) this ASUS board has barbs built in to the chipset heatsink, but they are 3/8". My intuition tells me to put a fan on that bitch and not degrade the loop by putting a 3/8" kink in it.

c) I have no interest whatsoever in UV reactive fluid. Do I need the other additives they put in that crap to protect the fluid from molds, etc. or am I fine with additive-free distilled water?

d) the DangerDen Block has one barb dead center and one barb offset. I assume I want cold water hitting dead center, yes? EDIT: Found a picture of it without the acrylic top, center is blaring obvious point of entry.

I know the Scythe fans I bought don't move too much air, but at that CFM:dBA ratio I just had to try them out. I would love to have a much quieter living room. Hopefully that was not a mistake, but I guess worst case is I exchange them later.

Thanks in advance for any feedback!:respect:


  • edited October 2007
    Welcome to the world of watercooling, mas0n. :)

    What are you planning to use as tubing for your loop? There are some very good choices and some not so good choices. And what case are you planning to use for your system?

    The most preferred order of the loop is pump > radiator > cpu > vid card (if cooling it with the loop > nb block > reservoir > pump, but I really don't think it makes that much difference putting the radiator before the cpu block. The reason most commonly stated for this is to get rid of the heat dump from the waterpump, but I don't think you get much of that from your waterpump selection. And if you have to add significantly more length or restrictions to your loop to do this (set up in the preferred order), I would go the way you origianlly planned your loop. I would definitely put the cpu before the nb or vid card. As for cooling a northbridge or vid card, I've never seen the need to do this either. But with that PA120.3 you will have the cooling capacity to do this.

    As for tubing size, I would recommend going with 7/16 ID tubing with 1/2 barbs instead of 1/2 ID tubing. This is because the 7/16 tubing will give a much tighter fit on the barbs, lessening greatly the chance of leaks. And the ID of 1/2 barbs is actually very close to the ID of the 7/16 tubing and would give a smoother transition at the interface between tubing and barb. I just reworked my watercooled machine with the 7/16 tubing and it worked out real well. Another plus is that the 7/16 tubing is easier to route inside your case without kinking. As for what kind of tubing to use, I would recommend the black 7/16 Tygon R3400, which is what I went with in my loop, or the silver 1/2 Tygon Antimicrobial tubing. The black inhibits any light transmission, which should help stop any algae growth and the silver stuff will do that too and also keep any other critters from growing in your loop.

    For your block, I would have chosen a more modern block design that can better handle the heatloads from C2D or C2Q but it isn't a bad block by any means. Present top choices for a Quad are the Dtek Fuzion and the Apogee GTX. And I'm using a Storm Rev 2 on my watercooled system and it's working great, with loaded temps no more than 42-43 C running an E6300 at over 3400 MHz and using an old Dtek single fan rad.

    As for what to use in the loop, if you use the 2 tubings that I linked to you won't need much besides pure distilled water. Some people also add an algaecide like you can get for aquariums and a little iodine for bacteria inhibition. I use a little water wetter in my loop for bacteria inhibition/algaecide use, but I am just using up the supply I bought years ago when I did my first loop. And the silver Antimicrobial Tygon is supposed to suppress bacteria and algae growth by itself. But use pure, distilled in your loop and not tap water.

    I think that with that giant radiator you are going to use, those Scythe fans should do just fine.

    Hope this helps you out.
  • edited October 2007
    Just a quick note, with your radiator you may want to have the fans blowing onto the raiator instead of pulling the air through. With low CFM fans tests have shown this type of setup to get the most out of Thermochill radiators. You can read through the test results over at XS forums or at the Thermochill site it's self.
  • Your-Amish-DaddyYour-Amish-Daddy The heart of Texas
    edited October 2007
    I've been thinking of playing with water, but I'm so scared of it. Yeah, I'm scared. Amazingly enough. Water inside of a device that is weak to water just doesn't make sense to me. I've been long-time designing something that'd work great with the water idea, but with no engineers to help me, it'll just be a dream.

    Because if I could get it to work...I could turn my Cooler Master Gemini 2 into a waterblock of sorts, leave the fans on it, use it as a waterblock and a radiator at the same time. Only reason I want an engineer to help me is because I won't know where to start, or how to start. But imagine..The HUGE surface of the Gemini 2 coupled with whatever fans, as your waterblock in your water loop. That would kick awesome, and you know it.
  • mmonninmmonnin Centreville, VA
    edited October 2007
    I think the loops I have seen the most have the CPU after the Pump. As far as having the coolest wafer going to your CPU the pump is really the only thing adding to your temp and its minor compared to your CPU thermal output.

    Tygon is #1 recommended.

    Good choice in the Swifty Pump but remember lpm isnt always the most important stat in a pump but rather the amount of head or basically force upward. How many feat can it pump verically. Any pump can make water flow along a horizontal pipe but add some resistive blocks, rads and some pumps will cry for mercy. :) The swifty though has 10ft if I remember.

    And getting your loop airtight is important. :) Take my word on it. After awhile a nice film grows inside. haha.
  • mas0nmas0n howdy Icrontian
    edited October 2007
    Thanks to all for your responses. Right now I am using black nylon tubing from Home Depot, ID=1/2" OD=5/8" It's pretty stiff, but manageable and is getting the job done for now. I like the suggestion of 7/16" tubing and I'll be ordering at least 8 feet of the Tygon within the hour as it has been recommended a dozen times now.

    The Swiftech has a head of ~10' so yeah it's perfect for me.

    Due to where my RAD is positioned my fans can only be set up to pull. Seems to be working OK. I will move the RAD later and try push, see what happens...

    Q6600 @ Stock under load and core temps are 40-43-35-36C. Idle temps are 31-32-24-29. I have a terribly uneven IHS. I reseated the block, which is perfectly flat, at least 4 times and 1/5 of the IHS is not even coming into contact with the block. I was having the same problem with the Zalman 9700 that was on it earlier.:sad2:

    Oh well, another project!:beer:I'll lap it this weekend and see if I can get them all down to the 35C, then it's time to torture it :D

    And as far as air in the loop, other than tightening the hell out of all the connections what can I do to make sure there is no air? There is some air at the top of the reservior, but it doesn't look like any of it is circulating. Is that OK?

    Thanks all.
  • edited October 2007
    mas0n, did your TDX come with some kind of backplate? If not, you can fix yourself one up real easy with the Thermalright 775 backplate that Sidewindercomputers sells for $3.95. The only problem, if you could call it that, is that the TR backplate is threaded in metric threads and your TDX most probably uses 6-32 studs or screws. But that's easy to fix; just get a 6-32 tap at Home Depot and tap the bracket holes out on the TR 775 backplate. Then thread the 6-32 studs into the backplate and lock them in place with some 6-32 nuts on the back side of the backplate and you have a very nice mount that will take away any bending moment on the mobo, no matter how tight you screw down on the waterblock. I am very happy with the way the TR backplate now supports my Storm and I don't worry about warping or cracking the mobo around the socket area, even though I have the springs in coil bind. :)
  • mas0nmas0n howdy Icrontian
    edited October 2007
    I replaced most of what came with it and added a plastic backplate i had lying around.
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