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General Liquid/Water Cooling Discussion For discussion about Full Cooling System kits, or general cooling topics. Keep specific cooling items like pumps, radiators, etc... in their specific forums.

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Unread 09-18-2009, 11:45 AM   #1
arkon
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Default First w/c setup - Please help!

Hi All,

Just stumbled across your excellent site. I've read many w/c guides back to front, and have done some research on my own - but I'm still a little overwhelmed by the sheer number of component permutations available!

I'll keep it short and sweet:

- My goal
- Build a silent PC
- Be able to overclock my CPU (and possibly GPU(s) ) whilst keeping the noise to a low (silent PC) level.
- Use robust components and build techniques to ensure a safe (leak and corrosion-free) system.
- Ensure the system looks sleek and stylish (not necessarily bling it out with UV lights galore... just smart)
- Not to do any case modding (unless simple and absolutely necessary)

- My starting hardware
- Coolermaster RC-1100 Cosmos S case
- ASUS X58 mobo
- Intel Core i7 920 CPU
- 2 x NVIDIA gfx cards in SLI (or perhaps just a single GTX295...)

- My questions (apologies for the number of them - but I'm stuck)!
- Is the Coolermaster case above the best one for watercooling?
- Can the case accept a three (triple) 120mm fan radiator at the top WITHOUT case mods?
- Is there enough room to fit all the watercooling components in the case (might use a t-line rather than reservoir).
- Is watercooling two gfx cards in SLI a pain in the A*$E? Should I just stick to one? I've heard people say that you should go for a second separate loop for the GPUs - is this strictly necessary if your w/c setup is good enough (and your fan/rad combo sufficient)?
- I've heard people say that car heater cores are the best (in terms of heat dissipation etc.): If I wanted to fit a enthusiasts (COTS) rad in the Cosmos RC-1100 S case instead, what is the best in terms of overall performance? (I know they cost a bit more...)
- The ASUS X58 mobos seem to have a northbridge HS already attached (some with heat pipes joining other components etc.) How on earth do I (or even should I?) go about w/c that? (Without breaking the mobo!) Should I just rely on v quiet case fans to take that heat away? (Bear in mind I want to o/c the i7 920 CPU to about 3.2 - 3.6GHz...)
- Thinking of spot-cooling the memory - is there anything else I should spot cool (I guess the NB and attached heatpipe fins might be worth spot cooling)?
- Could you tell me what the best CPU block, GPU block, and pump combination would be for my system? I want to use nice 1/2" (ID?) tubing, but am worried that the components won't have the right barb sizes.
- Is there any way that you could spec the components (above) ensuring they are all made of the same metal to avoid galvanic corrosion? (This includes the inside of the rad etc.) I've seen some blocks that are made of nickle, some al, some copper - argh!
- What is the best (circa 1000W) "silent" (just low noise will do!) PSU?
- What is the best site in the UK to get all this stuff from? (Many sites I've visited seem to have closed down... Are there any stalwarts that will be around in a few years to come?)
- How on earth do I mount (quietly) the pump in the Cosmos case? Are there any decent off-the-shelf pump mounts that I could get to do the job (again without case modding if poss.)?
- If there isn't a good rad to fit the case above - is there a better one that I could mount externally (via the two holes in the back of the Cosmos case)? Are there rad mounts for that scenario?
- Should I go with a t-line or a reservoir? If a res, then what would be the best one for the setup - and where and how on earth would I install/mount it?!
- I'd quite like to include an in-line flow rate and temperature monitoring device - can anyone suggest the best one for my setup - and also whether it might restrict the flow too much?
- Is it OK to mix a few drops of biocide with WaterWetter (or other coolant/antifreeze)?
- I plan to use metal jubilee clips for maximum security around hose-barb connections. Do I need PTFE (plumber's) tape wrapped around the barbs before I put the hose on and tighten the clamp? Or is this only necessary for certain tube materials?
- When the system is plumbed together and you are leak-testing it for 24hrs - they say you should not have the mobo in place (of course!) to avoid water damage. However, when you have finished the testing and need to connect all the water blocks (CPU and GPU(s) ) back onto their respective components - how on Earth do you do that in-place?! I find putting a newly thermal-pasted HSF assembly onto a CPU seated in a mobo sitting on my desk problematic enough without having to do this inside a case (and sideways)! Is there a trick to it, or am I missing something?
- Lastly (sorry!) - I'd like to use some nice Tygon 1/2" ID tubing for the system. Can any1 tell me where I can get this in the UK? Also, I presume some softer silicon tubing would be useful either side of the in-line pump (for silence)?

Again, apologies for the number of questions - I'm a total newbie (but one that is up for a challenge!) and my head is primed to explode... I really don't want to go for a Zalman LQ1000 - but the all-in-one solution is looking tempting! (Although I'm worried about the reported flow-rate gauge sticking issues, seemingly lower-than-expected/spec'd pump flow rates, and that I'd need to re-plumb everything anyway to add GPU cooling...)

Many thanks in advance for your expert advice,

4rkon
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Unread 09-18-2009, 09:23 PM   #2
jaydee
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Default Re: First w/c setup - Please help!

I don't think you came to the right site... Silence in one sentence then 3-120mm fans and overclocking in other sentences don't add up.

Maybe try http://www.silentpcreview.com/ They seem to be the kings of silence.
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Unread 09-18-2009, 10:55 PM   #3
billbartuska
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Default Re: First w/c setup - Please help!

My, you ask a lot of questions!

From reading them I suspect that (through no faut of your own) you would not understand some of the answers. So, instead of addressing each separately, I'll try and give you some general concepts and suggestions where further info can be found.

High end air cooling is as good, if not better than, mid range watercooling. Stay away from any "prebuilt" watercooling, it will accomplish neither of the following, much less both at the same time.

There are only two reasons to watercool.
1.) If your overclock is heat limited (ie. you need increased voltages to clock higher).
2.) Quiet.

Perhaps you should get your system up and running and work on overclocking first, to see if watercooling is really required.

High performance water cooling and silence are mutually exclusive concepts. While there are good pumps that are sufficiently quiet, radiator performance is directly related to how much air is flowing through the radiator(s). Within reason, it takes a certain CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute) to remove a certain amount of heat. Whether that air flows through one radiator or through six radiators doesn't matter, except that one radiator will require very high CFM fans (and the attendant noise), while six radiators would be served sufficiently by much lower CFM fans producing much less noise. If you start looking at CFM/db ratings of fans keep in mind that 3 db = twice as loud.

As for case modding, it will probably be necessary, at least some additional holes for tubing and radiator mounting (standoffs).

Again, if you need extra cooling for your video card(s) to overclock further, or want to eliminate the fans for quiet, then watercool.

Heater corres are fine, except that they take a lot of air pressure (and hence higher CFM fans) than WC radiators.

As for NB, SB, mosfets, and memory, watercool if you need more cooling to overclock further. In all but the most extreme cases a WC'd NB is all that is necessary. WCing memory is a waste, just remove the heat spreaders and put a fan on the memory.

As for the best components, you have to determine how much heat you will be generating and then pick the components that will remove at least that amount of heat with the water flow rates and fan CFMs you will be using. Have a look at Martin's Liquid Lab.

I prefer a T-line. It's much less hastle to install and, though slower for bleeding air out, you only do that infrequently.

Currently there ar no reasonbly priced (less that $500) flow meters with sufficiently low flow restriction. An option is to install a flow meter on a bypass loop so it can be valved into and out of the loop. Then you can check the effects of new components on flow rates while not having to live with the restriction of the meter all the time. But then flow rates never change. A simple "bucket test" (pumping from a bucket, through the system, and into another bucket and measuring the volume in the recieving bucket and timing how long it took to get that amount of water) will be sufficient if performed before the components are actually mounted in the case to verify that yoy are getting the flow rate for which you designed. Note that if you want a flow meter to just know whether there is/isn't flow, a pressure guage can do the same. There also are inexpensive flow switches that can be set up to only supply power to the system after the punp has started, or to cut the power if pressure (flow) stops. Flow monitoring is pretty much useless as AMD CPUs will shut off and Intel CPUs will throttle down on overheat.

A for liquid in the loop, distilled water and a bioside ---ONLY!

Jubilee clips, great. See if you can find some with thinner bands though.

Contrary to popular beleif, plumbers tape (ie teflon tape) is not a leak preventative. It lubricates threads so that proper thread tightening/sealing is achieved. The only place I've ever used it is on the threads of radiator barbs.

Ah! Leak testing. An inexact science. There are many methods. Some people even use air and a pressure guage! Persomally, I mount the motherboard in the case, then hang the CPU waterblock near it's final resting place(s), mount the blocks to the video card(s), but not the cards to the motherboard (keep then out of the way), fill the system and run the pump. After the test I mount the components. Some thing to keep in mind: Plain distilled water (w/o bioside) in non-conductive. A few well placed paper towels can prevent leaks from reaching components. You can always break a connection from a component that is near the bottom of the case for ease in getting blocks/cards mounted, and then leak test that connection again with the mounting completed.

I hope this helps get you started off in the right direction...
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Unread 09-19-2009, 04:31 AM   #4
arkon
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Default Re: First w/c setup - Please help!

Thanks for your quick responses guys!

@jaydee :-

I do appreciate the difference between the two camps - Xtreme O/Cers vs SilenceFreaks (I did also cross-post between the two fora/forums to leverage all of your expertise!)

Two things I would say:

- Are you absolutely sure you cannot underpower the fans in a three or four fan/rad setup to allow sufficient cooling whilst keeping the noise down? Given that you can get whisper-quiet fans (with fluid bearings/whatever) as well. (I know the sound of air rushing through a rad might be loud when the fans are turned up to max...)
- I'm really trying to get the best of both worlds: When I am (only modestly) O/C'ing I hope to be able to set the fan speeds so that the noise is minimal, when I want to go crazy and see what the rig can do I don't mind a bit of noise (I'll put headphones on!), but when I've got a hangover I want to reduce everything to stock speeds and make the system whisper-quiet.


@billbartuska :-

>> From reading them I suspect that (through no faut of your own) you would not understand some of the answers.
Try me! I have a Physics degree and am a reasonably experienced air O/Cer - it's just that there's such a range of components on offer, so many permutations possible, and I wanted to get this right "first time" from getting advice from ppl who have done this before - rather than find out the hard way and destroy expensive equipment (I have a budget too!), or at the very least waste money on components that don't fit together. I did sound a bit "blonde" in my series of questions though

>> Perhaps you should get your system up and running and work on overclocking first, to see if watercooling is really required.
I've never had the guts to use an after-market cooler on a gfx card... and I'm sick of my gfx cards overheating and causing BSODs when I'm in the middle of a Crysis (or other gfx-taxing) game in the summer months - especially when the ambient temp is up to 27-30degC (yes it can get that high in the UK!).

>> High performance water cooling and silence are mutually exclusive concepts.
See my point/question above... I guess I should have said I wanted a hybrid system with the flexibility to tune the noise levels...

Can you name some of the good quiet pumps you mention? That would be v useful, thanks.

>> As for case modding, it will probably be necessary, at least some additional holes for tubing and radiator mounting (standoffs).
Doesn't the Cosmos case at least have two holes for the tubing to exit the back of the system? I'm up for drilling a couple of holes though...
What case would you recommend for my needs (that's sweet as well!)?

>> I prefer a T-line. It's much less hastle to install and, though slower for bleeding air out, you only do that infrequently.
Thanks. I also read that you get better flow not using a res - as the pump doesn't have to accelerate static water in a (semi-)closed system.

>> There also are inexpensive flow switches that can be set up to only supply power to the system after the punp has started, or to cut the power if pressure (flow) stops.
Hmm... I was kinda hoping I could power the pump from the ATX PSU - although admittedly I haven't actually looked at the ratings of the pumps! (Might require too much current on a single rail...)

Do you power your pump from an external source then?

Great info on the flow gauges, thanks.

I've also heard that the flow gauge in the Zalman LQ1000 can get stuck, and also seems to read very low (1.5 litres/hr) rates compared to the rated value of the pump (~300litres/hr). This worries me. The performance of the pre-built system does look good though (from reviews). Maybe something to do with the large 240mm fan in the side...

On that note, can you get rads that support one or two 240mm fans (as opposed to the 120mm ones?). Would look big, but would reduce the noise as you could obviously undervolt the fans due to the large surface area.

Bypass loops - great tip. Can you recommend any valves for this purpose?

>> A for liquid in the loop, distilled water and a bioside ---ONLY!
Oh... I've heard people put anti-corrosion agents (like coolant/antifreeze) in there as well. What's the problem with mixing a biocide as well? Don't you also want agents in the liquid to stop galvanic corrosion?

>> I mount the motherboard in the case, then hang the CPU waterblock near it's final resting place(s)...
So when you want to seat the CPU block on the CPU, do you have to turn your system flat on its side so the motherboard is horizontal? Won't this cause a leak from somewhere? (This is my most feared part of w/c!)

Thanks for the info. on Martin's Liquid Lab etc., and trying to work out the amount of heat produced/dissipated. V useful! I will attempt to do just that.

4rkon
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Unread 09-25-2009, 12:27 AM   #5
billbartuska
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Default Re: First w/c setup - Please help!

Quote:
Originally Posted by arkon View Post
Thanks for your quick responses guys!

@billbartuska :-

I have a Physics degree and am a reasonably experienced air O/Cer - it's just that there's such a range of components on offer, so many permutations possible, and I wanted to get this right "first time" from getting advice from ppl who have done this before - rather than find out the hard way and destroy expensive equipment (I have a budget too!), or at the very least waste money on components that don't fit together.

Typically, your third build will be where you get what you started out to do

>> High performance water cooling and silence are mutually exclusive concepts.
See my point/question above... I guess I should have said I wanted a hybrid system with the flexibility to tune the noise levels...

I'm thinking you're going to have multiple rads with high CFM fans on rheostats

Can you name some of the good quiet pumps you mention? That would be v useful, thanks.

I've used an Eheim 1048 and found it to be near silent.


Doesn't the Cosmos case at least have two holes for the tubing to exit the back of the system? I'm up for drilling a couple of holes though...
What case would you recommend for my needs (that's sweet as well!)?

Lian Li

>> I prefer a T-line. It's much less hastle to install and, though slower for bleeding air out, you only do that infrequently.

Thanks. I also read that you get better flow not using a res - as the pump doesn't have to accelerate static water in a (semi-)closed system.

No matter what you put in the system, the potential energy of the water is the same. Gravity has no effect either.

I was kinda hoping I could power the pump from the ATX PSU - although admittedly I haven't actually looked at the ratings of the pumps! (Might require too much current on a single rail...)

No, a lot of people (I'd even say most) power their pumps off of their power supplies. You just have to account for the extra load of the pump whan yoy spec the PSU. Note that the Eheim 1048 in a 110v pump, as are some of the others used in WCing

Do you power your pump from an external source then?

Well, yes. I've used the aformentioned Ehein and an Iwaki MD20-RZT (NOT QUIET!) and both wwere 110v pumps. Kind of simplifies things.

When I was overclocking I powered the motherboard (CPU, Video cards and memory) off of a 1000 watt PSU and everything else (HDDs, fans, temp sensors, etc. off of a 700 watt PSU)

Bypass loops - great tip. Can you recommend any valves for this purpose?

Well, since the largest tubing typically used in WCing is ½" ID, a PVC, 3/4", full flow ball valve works fine.

By the way, copper, 3/4", long radius ells make nice 90° bends. http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/5P089

And 1/2" or 3/4" returns are great for watercooled crossfire or SLI video cards
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/items/5P139


>> A for liquid in the loop, distilled water and a bioside ---ONLY!
Oh... I've heard people put anti-corrosion agents (like coolant/antifreeze) in there as well. What's the problem with mixing a biocide as well? Don't you also want agents in the liquid to stop galvanic corrosion?

Don't put any parts that are not plastic or copper in contact with the water and corossion isn't an issue.

So when you want to seat the CPU block on the CPU, do you have to turn your system flat on its side so the motherboard is horizontal? Won't this cause a leak from somewhere? (This is my most feared part of w/c!)

Leaks are over rated. If you're the least bit mechanically inclind the worst you'll get is a slow drip
You may also find some help on quiet here.
SilentPC

Hope that helps.
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Last edited by billbartuska; 09-25-2009 at 12:52 AM.
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Unread 11-03-2009, 03:23 PM   #6
pdf27
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Default Re: First w/c setup - Please help!

Just wandered in here and noticed this post (I come by here very irregularly nowadays). I'm on my second silent watercooled system now - first one is the first post in the silent section of this forum.

For pumps, I've been running a Laing DDC for some years now, and so far as I can tell it's inaudible.

Electronics usually work fine after a drenching if you dry them out properly. I had a hose come off when I built my first WC system (1/2" tubing on old-style 1/2" Danger-Den barbs - never again, they were NOT secure IMHO). Properly dried out everything worked fine.

Some air flow over the motherboard is usually enough to keep the memory, northbridge, etc. cool - it is rarely worth trying to cool unless you're going for a fanless system.
Graphics cards seem to overclock very happily when watercooled - largely due I suspect to just how bad the stock coolers are (restricted air paths).

Some pumps (Laing DDC I know about, probably others) give a fan-type signal when they're turning to the motherboard - this is probably as good as a flow meter for your purposes, and doesn't add an additional restriction to the loop.

For 1/2" ID tubing you really want to use 5/8" barbs to ensure a good tight fit (when I've used 1/2" barbs with it, they always felt wrong. Unfortunately, you can only get these for 3/8" BSP threads - which very little comes with nowadays. Unless you're prepared to drill and tap your own threads (actually very easy into Delrin - I've done two this evening) then you're probably better off using 7/16" tubing and 1/2" barbs.

PTFE tape goes on the screw thread, not the bit of the barb that goes into the tube.
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Unread 04-16-2010, 04:48 AM   #7
arkon
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Re: First w/c setup - Please help!

Thanks pdf27! Just checked back on this forum to see your reply.

I've been waiting for the (fail?) release of the GTX480 to start my build. Here we go... I'll post a build log on this and Xtreme fora to let you know how it goes.

Thanks for your reply - I've decided to go for 1/2" ID tubing, but using BitsPower compression fittings everywhere (instead of barbs + jubilee clamps) - I reckon that'll be a winner.

I've also been thinking about Quick Release Disconnects (especially the Koolance VL3N no drip ones - see Skinnee labs article on the topic: http://skinneelabs.com/qdc.html). Seems like they'll be useful to enable easy swapping out of components in the future without having to drain a loop. Just need to figure out the best placement of them based on my planned new system config:

- Silverstone TJ07 case (being sent to Tom@ChilledPC for black powdercoating the internals of the case, and doing a triple-rad roof mod). Lead time ~ 3 weeks (he's just moved premises). I still prefer the aesthetics of this case - not sure about the 80's look of the Fortress and Raven ones...
- Two separate loops (CPU and GPU) using XSPC dual-bay dual loop Liang DDC Ultra restop (separated chambers for the loops with integrated pumps).
- 1/2" ID tubing with compression fittings (probably BitsPower). Possibly QRDs. Not sure if I should go for Tygon with UV dye in the water, or UV reactive tubing. Can you put UV dye AND biocide in to the water?
- CPU loop to use a triple rad in the top of the case: Black Ice GT Stealth 360, with 3 x Xigmateks 1800rpm fans in pull (only 20db and ~60CFM!).
- CPU waterblock: Swiftech Apogee XT Rev 2
- GPU loop to use a quad rad in the bottom side of the case (the other side of the PSU): XSPC RX480 Quad with 4 x Xigmateks (1800rpm again) in pull.
- GPU block - might see what the EVGA water cooled GTX480 is like... don't fancy putting my own block on... maybe another day.
- Mobo: Asus Rampage III Extreme (not out yet...)
- CPU: Intel 980X hexacore (I've been saving for this build for 5 years OK?)
- GFX: GTX480, probably w/c EVGA one (I know it doesn't stack up quite against the ATI dual-gpu card, but I want to use CUDA and OpenCL etc.)
- Memory: 12GB kit Corsair Dominator PC3-12800 (1600) CAS 8-8-8-24 2T
- OS HDD: Intel SSD G2 160GB (considering RAID 0'ing two 80GB drives instead for this... sick speeds but no TRIM support...)
- Data HDD: Western Digital Caviar Black 1TB SATA 6Gb/s (really silly - drive cannot max out SATA 3Gb/s, but got it for the 64MB of cache on this drive). Again, possibly have two of these in RAID1 - but I have a slow NAS solution (100Mb/s ethernet) for backups, so not sure.
- PSU: Silverstone Strider 1500W 80Plus Silver.
- Fan/temp controller: Not sure yet. Looking at the NZXT dual-bay one, or the single bay touchscreen one. I would like to be able to monitor/control the pumps as well - if they have fan connectors, is this for rpm monitoring AND control, or just monitoring? Any suggestions for controllers welcome...

Based on these components (I think a lot of the internals, like the rads, are brass/copper) do you think there will be a problem with galvanic corrosion? I know that putting Aluminium into the mix is a bad idea - don't think any of the above use that material though...

Still got to worry about sleeving and all that gubbins, but am closing in on the final main components.

Let me know what you think...

4rkon

Last edited by arkon; 05-04-2010 at 07:03 AM.
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Unread 04-17-2010, 03:35 AM   #8
pdf27
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Default Re: First w/c setup - Please help!

The only real comment to make is that all that is going to be enormous, as well as very complicated to build and plumb. Tubing always takes up more space than you think it will, and getting the bends right is something of a pain in a confined space. When you get your case back, it's probably worth doing a cardboard mock-up of the internal parts and putting the tubing in to give you an idea for where it will all go - I've got quite a good 3-D mind, and even then can never plumb a case well without trying it out to see how things like bend radii work.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 07:02 AM   #9
arkon
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Default Re: First w/c setup - Please help!

Thanks pdf - I'll give that a try.

I was hoping that by using the right tubing I could avoid kinks etc., and make the tube bending easier... Have probably bitten off more than I can chew for a first w/c build... time will tell!

Cheers,

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