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Opinion about first Water Cooling unit

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April 8, 2013 10:16:50 AM

I'm planning on getting my first water cooling unit (or whatever you want to call it) and I have read a few reviews and watched videos on how to install them as well as some benchmarks.

My main goal is to do some overclocking with my AMD Phenom II X4. My goal would be to reach 4.0GHz in every day use and have a stabilized system.

I have been thinking about Corsair Hydro H100i since it has had great reviews and it is easy to install. I also like how you can control the speed via desktop rather than having to open the case like in H100.

I am aware that it requires 2x120mm fan slots to be installed but I think my BitFenix Shinobi XL will do fine with them.

This will be my first Water cooling system so I'd like to be sure about what I buy first rather than spending a lot of money first and then realizing I could have done something better.

Here are my components at the moment:

BitFenix Shinobi XL
Asus M5A99X Evo
AMD Phenom II X4 970
Corsair Vengeance 2x4GB 1600MHz
Crucial m4 120GB SSD (OS installed)
750GB of storage
Corsair 500W power
Palit GTX670 JetStream GPU

Thanks in advance!
a c 121 K Overclocking
April 8, 2013 10:34:00 AM

Have you tried overclocking using your current Cooler Master Hyper TX3?
How high can you go with it?

Perhaps you can meet your 4.0 objective with a lower cost solution like a $30 hyper 212 EVO.

I am not much in favor of liquid cooling if it can be avoided.
Top liquid coolers tend to be expensive and noisy.
In a well ventilated case, like yours, they do not cool significantly better than a top air cooler like the Noctua NH-D14 or Phanteks.
I have read too many tales of woe where the liquid leaked and ruined everything.

If you are really more interested in the challenge, look for a component based cooler system, not the all-in-one type.
There are some on this forum who can give you experienced help there.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
April 8, 2013 11:36:32 AM

Strongly suggest reading through the watercooling sticky before you go much further. As geofelt mentioned, there is a decent possibility you might be able to overclock with your current cooler or with a lower cost solution.

Just to pop this bubble early, closed loop systems like Corsair H-series DO NOT perform in the same ball park as actual watercooling loops, and perform more like higher quality air coolers. This is a very common misconception since they are sold as 'liquid cooling' units.
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April 8, 2013 11:36:45 AM

geofelt said:
Have you tried overclocking using your current Cooler Master Hyper TX3?
How high can you go with it?

Perhaps you can meet your 4.0 objective with a lower cost solution like a $30 hyper 212 EVO.

I am not much in favor of liquid cooling if it can be avoided.
Top liquid coolers tend to be expensive and noisy.
In a well ventilated case, like yours, they do not cool significantly better than a top air cooler like the Noctua NH-D14 or Phanteks.
I have read too many tales of woe where the liquid leaked and ruined everything.

If you are really more interested in the challenge, look for a component based cooler system, not the all-in-one type.
There are some on this forum who can give you experienced help there.


Yes I have, actually. From the stock speed of 3.5GHz I've gotten to 3.7 or 3.8 while keeping the system steady. I reached 4.0 as well but the temps were going to 70C without even full load so I dropped them a little.

I'd like to try with all-in-one package before I start building my own system since I have only seen those in pictures and videos and not in real life.

I could get a bigger and better fan cooler of course but I have always wanted to try WC. Also as I read the review of H100i, the "tubes" are very unlikely to leak any liquid out because of the way they are built.

Review: http://www.vortez.net/articles_pages/corsair_hydro_seri...

Also the WC would allow more free space to the case even though it already is big one.

Thanks for your reply geofelt! Appreciate it :) 

edit: I will have a look at the sticky, rubix. Thanks. This time around I've decided that it's not the budget that decides what I will do so I'm good with the price of 100€ for cooling :) 
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 8, 2013 9:35:32 PM

You also might want to check out the feedback on the Corsair cooler H-100i as there have been a few complaints about the control software.

http://www.tomshardware.com/answers/id-1644702/corsair-...

I would also check out some of the other closed loop coolers and one in particular seems to have some popularity and that is the one from Swiftech. The Swiftech H220

http://www.swiftech.com/h220.aspx

The Antec KHULER H2O 920 is also one that you can check out. I realize that you may not live in the US but you can use these links for reference.

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

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April 9, 2013 2:22:41 AM

Thanks for the links, inzone :)  I will have a look at those as well. I was thinking about the KUHLER 920 also when I was reading the reviews.

Yesterday I spent a lot of time reading the WC sticky and other sites to learn a little about making a custom loop. I am now more excited than ever to start my own project of creating my own loop, but I'm still unsure if I should start building it to my current rig or an older one.

I have spent +1000$ on my current parts already so I wouldn't want a liquid cooling to destroy my parts (with leaks) only because it would be my first ever try on water cooling and I could do something wrong.

Now I was planning on getting a closed loop cooler for my current rig so I could get the most out of it. And then start a whole new project with another rig where I would have older parts so in case something breaks, I don't lose a lot of money in there.

I was thinking about Intel Core 2 Duo processor for my custom water cooling project with some other old parts. What do you guys think about that?

If my project turns out to be successful I could build one for my 24/7 computer as well later.
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a c 176 K Overclocking
April 9, 2013 3:44:33 AM

The probability of a custom water loop failing and killing your components is directly proportional to the amount of research, effort and time you put into constructing the loop. If you do a shoddy job of researching and get 3/4" tubing for 1/2" barbs, rush the construction of the loop and dont do it properly, it will leak like a sieve. Research your stuff, do it right and leak test, the loop will likely never spring a leak.
The chances of a component or fitting leaking on its own is pretty small as well, Coke bottles never leak and these components are held to a much higher standard.

If you want to do a dry run (reverse pun intended) on an older rig, why not. I would just make sure that the water-loop you put in there can be moved to your current rig without much fuss, as eventually you will want it on your real rig.
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April 9, 2013 4:34:50 AM

manofchalk said:
The probability of a custom water loop failing and killing your components is directly proportional to the amount of research, effort and time you put into constructing the loop. If you do a shoddy job of researching and get 3/4" tubing for 1/2" barbs, rush the construction of the loop and dont do it properly, it will leak like a sieve. Research your stuff, do it right and leak test, the loop will likely never spring a leak.
The chances of a component or fitting leaking on its own is pretty small as well, Coke bottles never leak and these components are held to a much higher standard.

If you want to do a dry run (reverse pun intended) on an older rig, why not. I would just make sure that the water-loop you put in there can be moved to your current rig without much fuss, as eventually you will want it on your real rig.


I usually research a lot and as I have built a few PCs from parts, I know something about checking the compatibility of the parts before buying :p 

I was going to add all the parts I wanted to a shopping cart and then ask the people here if there is everything or if I missed something :) 

Thanks for your reply.
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April 9, 2013 8:41:05 AM

Okay so I have managed to get to 4.0GHz with TX3 air cooler and I had Prime95 running for 4 hours and temperatures didn't raise above 60C so I'd say that's quite stable.

My next goal would be 4.2GHz and I would be happy there but the system can't hold Prime95 longer than 5 minutes currently. Here are my settings:



What should I change to make the system more stable? This is one of my first manual overclocks and I did read the AMD Black Edition overclocking with multiplier sticky :)  My max multiplier is 20.5.

I don't think the issue is with my cooler since the temperatures are only at 60C max. Normally 55-57C during Prime95.

Thanks!
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 9, 2013 9:43:32 AM

Normally when overclocking if you can't maintain stability and the temps are ok you would add a bit more voltage, if for some reason you don't want to add more voltage then you'll have to drop the clock speed. You are getting close to the thermal limit of an AMD cpu (62c).

On the water cooling experience is the best thing for dealing with leaks and with first starting out you may run into leaks and it would not be unusual for a beginner. You can however limit or prevent any damage by taking precautions, first thing would be to not have the power connected to the motherboard and you actually don't need it when testing the loop. What I do when connecting the loop is after putting is all together to test for leaks you take the 20+4 MB connector and put a jumper in the green and black wire ports and that turns on the power supply and you can run the pump and fans like this. If anything leaks you can easily pull the jumper and fix the leak. Now because there is no power going to the MB , video card and other components and liquid that gets on these parts can be removed and there will be no damage. I also take either paper towels or clean rags and put them where there are places of possible leaks and I also cover the MB as much as possible as well as the video card.
If an leaks happen and liquid does get on any of these parts they should be dried out completely before powering them up I have an air compressor and I use that to blow the liquid out, a can of compressed air will also help. The more connections you have the more chances of leaks and one way to prevent leaks is to make sure every fitting is seated properly and it has the rubber gasket on it before you connect it. I let it run for at least an hour for a leak check. By doing the connections at a slow deliberate pace and not rushing you will prevent most leaks.
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April 9, 2013 11:42:06 AM

inzone said:
Normally when overclocking if you can't maintain stability and the temps are ok you would add a bit more voltage, if for some reason you don't want to add more voltage then you'll have to drop the clock speed. You are getting close to the thermal limit of an AMD cpu (62c).

On the water cooling experience is the best thing for dealing with leaks and with first starting out you may run into leaks and it would not be unusual for a beginner. You can however limit or prevent any damage by taking precautions, first thing would be to not have the power connected to the motherboard and you actually don't need it when testing the loop. What I do when connecting the loop is after putting is all together to test for leaks you take the 20+4 MB connector and put a jumper in the green and black wire ports and that turns on the power supply and you can run the pump and fans like this. If anything leaks you can easily pull the jumper and fix the leak. Now because there is no power going to the MB , video card and other components and liquid that gets on these parts can be removed and there will be no damage. I also take either paper towels or clean rags and put them where there are places of possible leaks and I also cover the MB as much as possible as well as the video card.
If an leaks happen and liquid does get on any of these parts they should be dried out completely before powering them up I have an air compressor and I use that to blow the liquid out, a can of compressed air will also help. The more connections you have the more chances of leaks and one way to prevent leaks is to make sure every fitting is seated properly and it has the rubber gasket on it before you connect it. I let it run for at least an hour for a leak check. By doing the connections at a slow deliberate pace and not rushing you will prevent most leaks.


I'm learning a lot here! I just watched a series of videos by one Youtuber who built a water cooling loop. Here's a link to the Part 1: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mymNOu_wIz0

Those videos actually teached me more in an hour than I knew about water cooling before! Now I know what each component does and I have an example of what the loop could look like. The guy in the video also had paper covering his components when he was testing for leaks.

Awesome tip for getting the 24pin connector out oh the motherboard when testing, inzone. Thanks for that :) 

Now I'm only going to cool my cpu with the loop, not the gpu. That's mostly because I'm afraid I will break the GTX670 and I guess warranty doesn't cover that :p 

I have been checking out those parts I could order and I noticed there are few packets available that come with all the basic stuff needed. Do these parts look decent: http://www.ekwb.com/shop/kits-cases/kits/ek-kit-h3o-360...

Or should I just purchase each part individually? I was thinking about 2x120mm or 3x120mm radiator. Probably going with 2.

I still have things I need to figure out, though, like how do I drain the loop when necessary, and what liquid would be best for the tubes to stay clean? I've been thinking about this: http://www.ekwb.com/shop/ek-ekoolant-uv-lime-green-prem...

I'm guessing that can just be poured in to the loop without adding stilled water? Since it says "Do not mix with other liquids".

A lot have been learned today, by me, and I'm thankful for all the help you guys have been giving me :) 

You might see one more happy man using water cooling later this year!
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 9, 2013 12:27:08 PM

For the video card if the Hydro Copper model is available from Evga then I usually buy that but if I feel that it may be a long time before that model comes out I will buy the fan based one and then buy the water block separate. The fan heatsink comes off pretty easy and the water block is installed just as easily. The one thing to remember is that it was put together so it can be taken apart and with all tings electronic extra care will prevent accidents.

The EK water cooling kits are a good option and if your going for cooling one component you should be ok with a kit. You can always buy any additional parts that you may need.
For me personally since I have tried just about every part and liquid and configuration, I like to go with what is called "Ultra Pure Water" , I use clear tubing and if I want any color I add some dye. I keep silver Kilcoils in the resivoir to kill the microbs.

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
or
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...

You have the option to get colored tubing or colored liquid or go with clear tubing and clear liquid. You will also find that you need a fill point and a drain point, with liquid it's all about the highest point in the loop and the lowest point. Depending on your layout you may have to lay the case on it's side to fill or you may be able to do it while upright , it all depends.
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April 9, 2013 12:49:42 PM

I'm at least going to start off with only cpu and maybe later get the gpu to the loop as well when I get more experience with WC. I'm also very careful while handling my electronics so that I wouldn't break anything.

Those liquids look good what you linked but I'd like to order all the parts from one store and unfortunately I couldn't find those at the one I'm planning to order them from :( 

I don't know if you can understand anything about this since it's in Finnish: http://www.jimms.fi/tuote/AT-PROTECT-UV-GREEN

But it says that it prevents corrosion and the birth of bacterias. Also green is the color I'm looking to use. I could also get a clear liquid like you suggested and green tubes.

I need to do little planning on where I will place the reservoir and the pump so I can plan the tubing as well :) 

One question: the guy in the video flushed his radiator with stilled water like 5 or 6 times before using it in the loop. There were some black little things coming out of the radiator with the water, so would it be good to flush it before using?

Without that video I would've just put it straight in there.
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 9, 2013 1:02:03 PM

Yes it is a good idea to flush the radiator before using and like I said you do have choices on how you want to do your liquid and color scheme. Getting distilled water and adding green dye is also an option. If you do have plans on adding the video card then you could get the kit with the 360mm radiator and that way you can add the video card later and not have to change out the radiator.

http://www.jimms.fi/tuote/53113

http://www.jimms.fi/tuote/AT30065
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April 9, 2013 1:46:02 PM

Yeah I will have to see how I would set it up in my case. The only problem still is how do I drain it when I need to change the liquid? I tried searching for some videos but they all seemed very complicated and messy. You said something about a drain point. Where would that be best placed to?

Really appreciate that someone is actually helping a newbie without telling them to go read a 20 page article :p 
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a c 176 K Overclocking
April 9, 2013 3:12:27 PM

Were always willing to help newbs, just they should have read the 20 page article because it save us a lot of explaining :) .

I'm a fan of Distilled water (available at any supermarket) and coloured tubing, dyes eventually will stain tubing and gunk up your blocks. Just add a bit of Biocide or a Kill-Coil and that will prevent anything growing in the loop. Corrosion wont be an issue unless you get a component with abnormal metals, such as Aluminium (avoid Aluminium like the plague when it comes to water-cooling).

How to drain the loop is a good thing to think of before you assemble it, I didn't and it bit me in the arse later on.
There are a couple ways of doing, but most common is through the use of a drain valve or T-Line.
Its use should be fairly apparent, that bottom fitting can be unscrewed. This was taken from my build log (in my sig).

As makes sense, the best place for a drain is at the lowest point in the loop.

When it comes down to how everything will work in the case, punch in your case + water cooling into Google Images. Surefire the best way to see every possible configuration and its a good way to find relevant build logs.

That EK kit has a Jingway pump, interesting. Didn't think those were even available anymore.
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April 9, 2013 3:40:04 PM

Thanks for the fast input again, guys. I will see tomorrow if it would be cheaper to buy a kit + some misc. parts or all of the parts individually what I need.

I actually saw a video with that kind of valve so I think it's what I'm going to use as well. Probably the easiest.

I think this looks fantastic, even though it has 3 gpus :p 


Shows a little something about what the case is capable of when it comes to space.
Here's also the white one that I have:



And he or she has also done it with green! Haha, nice coincidence. I was also planning to get the reservoir to the 5.25" bay like in the picture above and under that a little fan controller: http://www.jimms.fi/tuote/BFA-RCN-WS-RP

Also I'd like to replace the fans for the radiator to be these: http://www.jimms.fi/tuote/R4-L2R-20AG-R2
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 9, 2013 7:22:55 PM



Uploaded with ImageShack.us



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Now if you were going with blue for a color then you could build something like this.
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April 10, 2013 12:30:20 AM

inzone said:


Uploaded with ImageShack.us



Uploaded with ImageShack.us

Now if you were going with blue for a color then you could build something like this.


That looks really awesome too! But I think blue is a little too much everywhere (LEDs) so I want to go with something else and green is a nice color. If I can manage extra budget for my project I'll get a new motherboard too with Intel's CPU (trying to look for green colors in the MB). As well as my RAM.

But that's just a dream far away and I need to get started with the WC first :p 
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April 10, 2013 8:19:58 AM

So I took my case open and took some pictures so I could make a sketch on how my loop could go. Now I have a few questions about the case and my motherboard.

1. My motherboard looks like this from behind. I never paid attention when I put my air cooler in place, is there a way to easily remove that plate from the back of the motherboard and replace it with the one that comes with the CPU block?
http://img109.imageshack.us/img109/3407/wp201304100041....

2. If I place my pump down on the same level as my PSU, do I need to remove the HDD bay (if that's the correct name for it) as shown in the down-right of this image. That is where I have my SSD at the moment but I will move it to some other place when the WC comes in. I noticed there shouldn't be anything else than screws keeping the bay attached so it should be easy to remove.
http://img191.imageshack.us/img191/267/wp201304100081.j...

3. The placing of the radiator. I've decided to go with the 3x120 radiator as suggested and it would fit easily to the top of my case, am I right? There is currently a 230mm BitFenix fan as shown in the picture below.
http://img194.imageshack.us/img194/4986/wp201304100091....

I watched a Beginner's Guide to Water Cooling video and it said that the reservoir should be next to the pump so it never runs dry. My plan would be to buy a reservoir that is attached to under my DVD drive (as shown in the pictures I linked above) and there should be still room for a fan controller as well.

So my pump would be directly under the reservoir and the tubing would go from the pump directly to my CPU block and from CPU block to the radiator in the top of the case and then down to the reservoir again.

Simple and small loop for a first timer. Any comments? Did I forget something? :p 

edit: Now when I think of it I forgot to ask is the fans can be mounted to the radiator or are they being attached separately?

At about 4:10 in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dk3V64ZSsEI

He attaches them separately. I was planning on doing that too until I took a closer look at the Shinobi XL and as shown in the picture below, there isn't much if any space between the metal and the plastic part of the top when they're hooked in. So I can't fit in the fans between them.
http://img221.imageshack.us/img221/6589/wp201304100051....

edit2: I'm way too excited about this now and I'm just spamming my own thread. So I gathered the parts into a shopping cart. There is a reservoir which includes the pump inside. Any comments on that? If that sounds bad, then I'm going to change it to external pump and pick up another reservoir.

I tried really hard to look for matching fittings and tubing (green) but couldn't find anything matching that would be in stock. So I just chose the EK EKOOLANT liquid which is lime colored and clear tubes. Fittings are EK's as well, 16/12mm as well as the tube is.

As Radiator I chose the EK Coolstream RAD XT360 (3x120) and for cpu I chose the Supremacy Acetal block.

I'd really like to hear your comments on this set and if I should change some parts or if I'm missing anything. I'd like to order the parts in April and get to work on the project in May :) 

Thanks a bunch!
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 10, 2013 12:03:19 PM

1. That plate on the back of the motherboard does not get removed, the back plate that comes with the cpu cooler just sits on that. What motherboard do you have? The MB I have (Asus Rmapage IV Extremer) has the option to change that plate to a different shape to accommodate a cooler that is for the LGA 1366 socket so you can use the same cooler on the LGA 2011 socket. It included the plate and tool to remove the screws.

2.I place my pump and reservoir any where that's convienent and one thing you can consider is the all in one pump and reservoir that fits in a dual 5.25 bay. I have not had any issues in where the pump is placed in relation to the reservoir, as a matter of fact on one of my loops I have the reservoir mounted on the rear outside of the case and the pump is on the desk shelf below the computer.

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...

3. You need to remove that fan and depending on what your using for fans , push/pull (fans on both sides) or just push (fans on one side) you would attach the radiator to the top of the case and then the fans connected to the radiator. You don't need to attach the fans on the top of the radiator and you can attach then on the bottom side. When planning the loop I would make the tubing coming from the radiator with the cooled water go to the cpu and then the warmed water go to the pump/reservoir then to the radiator, this way the cpu block gets the water at it's coolest.

That video had some very good tips and the process of connecting the loop and parts and using the test method to test for leaks. It's very important to not have power connected to the MB when testing for leaks.
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April 10, 2013 12:16:51 PM

1. I have Asus M5A99X EVO, socket is AM3. Good thing to know that it stays there so I don't go and break it right away :p 

2. I actually had that kind of reservoir in my cart which includes the pump (in case you didn't notice the edit part :) )

3. I guess I'm only going with push, and connecting them to the bottom. I had exactly the same plan what you suggested! Sounds like I'm getting the hang of it already :p 

Here is the cart I have at the moment:
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 10, 2013 12:28:32 PM

Yes I think you are and it shows that the more you research and talk to people that have experience the more you get to know what your doing before you even start. EK does have some good parts and they are getting better every year with quality and choices in parts. I can remember when first starting there was very few companies that manufactured water cooling parts and now there are a lot and coming out with new and exciting parts all the time. I keep wanting to buy new parts even though I don't need them and replacing what I have. Very addictive!
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April 10, 2013 12:53:56 PM

Exactly! I tempt to get addicted to having a good computer even though I'm not a hardcore gamer. I do more gaming on my Xbox than on my PC but I just like to work on my PC and get it to look good.

I already noticed that I was missing the fans for the radiator. Added 3 x Cooler Master 120mm fans with green LED.

Also I forgot about draining. So I think the easiest would be to put a valve somewhere on the bottom of the loop, but I couldn't find any from Jimm's :( 
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April 10, 2013 2:13:28 PM

Okay so now I decided to change the store completely. I'm going to use SpecialTech rather than Jimm's even though it's in the United Kingdom and Jimm's is a Finnish company.

I'm changing the store because SpecialTech has a lot more products in stock and the shipping costs are not huge. Also some of the parts are cheaper there, like the Cooler Master fans (almost 50% cheapaer!).

They also have green tube in 16/11mm and that fits those black EK fittings perfectly. Also I can use distilled water now.

They were currently out of stock on those EK radiators but I chose XSPC instead. I think the brand makes good parts as well? The pump+reservoir is also XSPC.

There's still one thing about draining the loop. Let's say I get this one: http://www.specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/Koolance-1...

How does that work? I'm guessing the tube goes to the hole in the picture (on the left) but then what? Is there a whole in the other end too? Does that valve just go between two pieces of tubing and the cap is screwed on when the PC is on? Then I guess those sprockets or whatever on top are used to "shut down" the loop and then the cap is opened and the liquid should drain out from there?

I really didn't find any videos on how it operates :( 
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 10, 2013 2:22:48 PM

That is just a block with 5 openings in it , one has the drain piece with the cap and the other two are just plugs which can be removed and placed in one of the other holes so you have a whole range of choices on how to use that block. I actually have a couple of those and was using them before I got the shut off valve I have now.
XSPC makes good parts and their radiators are just as good as EK.
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April 10, 2013 3:22:46 PM

inzone said:
That is just a block with 5 openings in it , one has the drain piece with the cap and the other two are just plugs which can be removed and placed in one of the other holes so you have a whole range of choices on how to use that block. I actually have a couple of those and was using them before I got the shut off valve I have now.
XSPC makes good parts and their radiators are just as good as EK.


Okay, so that block should still work for draining. Then I had another question: is it possible to put the pump on while draining? To move the liquid from the tubes and blocks to the drain point? I read that the pump shouldn't be ran dry, but how do I get all the liquid out without turning the case upside down?

The case weights 12kg even without any parts installed so it's quite heavy to start turning around.

I'm watching another build log from a Youtuber and he used dust filters with the fans on the radiator. It's probably a good idea and they are really cheap.

I'm guessing I can order these parts already during this week or the next :) 
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 10, 2013 3:29:53 PM

That's why it's a good idea to put the drain at the lowest point of the loop and it's always a good idea to open a place in he loop to let air in so the water will drain.
You can use filters if you want to and to clean then you have to remove the fan, however I prefer to have unrestricted air flow so I don't use filters.

Getting all the water out is usually a chore and I tend to drain what I can then remove parts like video cards and then drain the blocks. Some tipping of the case may be necessary depending on the loop but planning ahead may prevent it.
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April 10, 2013 3:38:06 PM

This starts to sound like it's not so hard after all. I was all the time thinking and worried about the draining part because I thought I need to clear all the liquid out.

It's all very logical when you think about it enough :D 

I'd like to have full air flow as well to the radiator and the green LEDs will show better if there is no filter.

I'm probably gonna keep cleaning the case from dust very often after the modding project since I'm moving it on the table. It's currently in an alcove under the table so it's pretty frustrating to take it out every time I'd want to clean it.

Also I'm getting a windowed side panel so I can see how it's all functioning :) 

Installing the GPU blocks didn't look like very hard either when I've seen a few examples. I guess only thing to remember is to apply thermal paste to the memory chips as well (didn't know that before watching build logs).
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 10, 2013 3:43:11 PM

There is very little that is complicated with building computers , building water systems and changing things like video cards to water cooling as long as you do the research and pay attention to what the research tells you and understanding it. Next comes real hands on experience and then it seems like, why doesn't every body do this.
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a c 176 K Overclocking
April 10, 2013 4:52:26 PM

Mega feedback post incoming (you two are so talkative when I'm asleep!).

1. AMD motherboards have a built in Backplate, any coolers that are made to be compatible with AM3/+ don't require their own and use that. With Intel they need their own backplate.

2. Depends whats most convenient where you mount everything. I bet if you cleared away those cables, you would find yourself with a lot more room to work with.
I wouldnt count on screws holding the HDD bay in, usually its pop rivets. Will need a drill to get rid of them. Though it might be different with this case, dont know.

3. The Shinobi XL claims support for a 360mm rad at the top, you might have to move your optical down a few bays though. Often with top mounted rads you lose a 5.25" bay or two.
I think given the option of push or pull, pull is better. Not for any performance reason, just that dust will build up on the rad from the direction the air comes. With pull, it will build up on the other side of the radiator, where there isn't a fan to impede you cleaning it.

Whether the fans attach to the case or the rad is actually dependent on whether you go push or pull. If you go pull, then the fans are at the top, a screw goes through them into the rad, basically sandwiching the fans at the top. In push the rad is secured to the case, and the fans screwed onto the underside of the rad.

The loop you have specced out looks good to me, but the coolant is irking me.
I really do recommend just plain Distilled water (available at any supermarket), with coloured tubing. Throw in a kill-coil or Biocide (DeadWater and PT-Nuke are popular) to stop anything growing in the loop.

With that XSPC 750 V4 pump, just be aware that its likely you will have vibration issues. I have the older V2 version of that pump, and it gives off a hum due to it vibrating in the 5.25" bays. Due to the tight clearances in there, its near impossible to pad it to reduce the vibrations. Also, you might want a stronger pump outright if you want to include a GPU at a later date. Those pumps are really only intended to run CPU loops.
I recommend getting a separate pump and reservoir, with the pump not being mounted ion the 5.25" bays.

Are those green Coolermaster fans Sickleflows?
I was using them myself until this graph was brought to my attention.


XSPC are a very good water-cooling manufacturer, near everything in my loop save some fittings are XSPC (I got one of their kits initially). I recommend you get one of their EX series radiators.

I considered that Koolance drain when I was trying to figure out draining my loop, but eventually went with my current T-Line as it offers greater flexibility since I can pull it apart and change things.

Its not vital that all water is drained out unless you intend to store the system for long periods of time (stagnant water accelerates Galvanic Corrosion). When I sub in a new part, usually just drain using my T-Line, tip my case around to get more out. Then just keep a bucket and towel handy if through random jostling some more comes out.

:lol: 
My HAF-X is 15Kg before you put anything in it, you eventually just get muscly arms and become adept at using towels to tilt the system every which way. Sure Inzone knows this more than I, he has a far more decked out system in a HAF-X, with what looks likes metal plating on... just about everything it seems :D .

With the graphics card VRAM and VRM's, the water-block should come with thermal pads to use. You dont use paste except on the GPU itself.
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April 11, 2013 2:23:37 AM

Haha. I tend to talk a lot when I'm interested in something :D 

1. Makes me wonder why Intel CPUs are so much more expensive than AMD but still AMD has a lot better accessories for installing coolers :p  I know they're better in performance but still. I'm not saying Intel is hard to install, I have done one myself.

2. If I need a drill to get it out, then I'll do it. No need for so big HDD case anyways.

3. It's a shame if I need to move the dvd drive down since I've gotten used to having it always in the top bay. But if the radiator needs the space, then the dvd drive has to give in and move downstairs!


Yes I've decided to go with only distilled water and have green tubing to give color. I'll probably get a kill-coil to the reservoir to kill the bacterials.

Those are indeed the SickleFlow fans. Good thing you brought that graph out! I'm changing them to BitFenix Spectre Pro's. Noise level is about 19 dBA and airflow is 56CFM. Should be enough for the radiator. I'd like the LEDs to be visible (that's why I'm getting the LED ones :p ) so can you see them through the radiator if they are mounted on the top to get the pull effect?

Also do you think I need bigger PSU than the 500W? I could get a 650W if my current can't take it. It's the minimum suggested for GTX670 so I think it's on the edge?
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a c 176 K Overclocking
April 11, 2013 3:01:36 AM

R&D mate, Intel literally spends billions on it. AMD by comparison operate on a shoestring R&D budget.
Its not all about the literal materials that make up what you get.

I doubt you'l see the glow through the radiator, but you should still be getting green light coming from whatever mesh is at the top of the case though.
Also when it comes to radiators, CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute, a measure of how much air is moved) isnt a useful measure of performance. You want to be looking at Static Pressure (measured in to ways, but basically how hard the air is being pushed). CFM only applies in a free airflow environment, with no impediment to airflow (such as, say, a radiator). Fans need a higher static pressure to push past that resistance.
That being said, its not overly important to have a higher static pressure unless your running higher FPI, thicker radiators. On thin rads, any decent fan will give good performance, with pressure optimized fans offering just slightly better.

A typical water-cooling pump draws about 20W, and a fan is 5W at most each, not really enough to be concerned about IMO.
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April 11, 2013 7:13:23 AM

manofchalk said:
R&D mate, Intel literally spends billions on it. AMD by comparison operate on a shoestring R&D budget.
Its not all about the literal materials that make up what you get.

I doubt you'l see the glow through the radiator, but you should still be getting green light coming from whatever mesh is at the top of the case though.
Also when it comes to radiators, CFM (Cubic Feet per Minute, a measure of how much air is moved) isnt a useful measure of performance. You want to be looking at Static Pressure (measured in to ways, but basically how hard the air is being pushed). CFM only applies in a free airflow environment, with no impediment to airflow (such as, say, a radiator). Fans need a higher static pressure to push past that resistance.
That being said, its not overly important to have a higher static pressure unless your running higher FPI, thicker radiators. On thin rads, any decent fan will give good performance, with pressure optimized fans offering just slightly better.

A typical water-cooling pump draws about 20W, and a fan is 5W at most each, not really enough to be concerned about IMO.


Is it hard to clean the radiator from dust? Of course I would need to drain the system first but if I would put it like in this image:
http://cdn.overclock.net/3/39/39f0a413_vbattach215090.j...

The LEDs would show but the fans would be pushing the possible dust into the radiator. I've had my system up for 6 months and I have only opened it once during that time when I changed my CPU cooler. There was barely any dust in the case so if I'm going to change the liquids every 6 months or so, I could clean the possible dust at the same time.

Because I'd really love to see the LED fans down there :p  Or would it be possible to do push+pull combination (putting a total of 6 fans to the radiator? If it's possible, I could use the fans that come with the radiator to be mounted on top (they're black) pulling the air out and having the LED fans push the air in.
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a c 176 K Overclocking
April 11, 2013 7:40:30 AM

I find that dust just builds up on the radiators outside, doesn't really get inside the rad. Usually I can just brush it with my hand to get rid of most of the dust buildup, though a can of compressed air never goes amiss when dusting a computer.
You dont need to drain the loop to dust it.

You could go push/pull, nothing stopping you except for maybe mobo clearance.
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April 11, 2013 8:12:39 AM

Nice! I was also just reading your build log what you have linked in your signature and I'm thinking of having similar drain point. Just one question about it. Does the liquid go down to the tube with the sealing when it's running?

Just thinking that if that is the case, when doing the first draining and taking the sealing out, the liquid comes out straight away from the drain point. I'm not afraid to get my hands dirty but just thinking if that is the right way of doing it :D 

It's only distilled water though so it's not harmful for my hands if it touches them.

I'm still bouncing between res+pump combination or if I should get an external pump. My reservoir will be attached to the drive bay either way.

If I would decide to go with external pump, which would you recommend?
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a c 176 K Overclocking
April 11, 2013 8:26:10 AM

Yea, though as far as I can tell the water doesn't flow, it just sits there.

Make the drain line long (a mistake when I first made mine, its a lot longer now) and you can have it run right into a bucket. And yea, its just water with some metals in it. Doesn't even taste that bad (don't ask :lol: ).

A pump I'm looking at buying personally is the Koolance PMP-500. Which I think is an original Koolance design, or a very modified Iwaki pump.
http://martinsliquidlab.org/2012/12/13/koolance-pmp-500...
Looks to be quite good in regards to pressure.

Otherwise, just go with a D5 variant, cant really go wrong with a D5.
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April 11, 2013 9:41:12 AM

I learned it from your log to not leave it too short :D  I will be posting a picture of the complete shopping cart I'm planning on getting today. Still need to do some research on a few parts and I should be good to order them maybe even today! I'm planning on writing a little build log too as I go on.
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April 11, 2013 10:17:37 AM

Okay, here is an overview of my plan. Forgive me about my Photoshopping skills.


That one red line is just so you can perceive the tubings.

I decided to buy an external pump and put only reservoir to the 5.25" bay.

It looks like I might not even need to detach my HDD bay in the lower right corner since there is plenty of room for the pump in front of the PSU. Also looks like I might have trouble with push+pull combination so I'm only going with push for now.

I'll try to do some cable management as well to make it look more clear (this is where I would love to have a PSU with mountable wires or whatever you call it :p )

My budget is about 300-400€ (about $400-$500) so I think I'm good to go with that setup.

Few tings to remember (note to self):
- Buying more tubing is better than less
- Get a few extra fittings in case of changes to plans when building
- Use paper towels when testing for leaks (also power off from motherboard)
- Long enough draining tube so it's easier to do

Anything else you could come up with that I should note? :p 
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 11, 2013 10:21:48 AM

When you have a drain length of tubing chances are there will not be any liquid in it because the air has no place to go and the liquid would have to displace the air in order to fill the drain tube.

The pumps that I use are the Alphacool VPP655 and they give very good liquid flow.

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...

They can also be dressed up if in your side window you put the pump in a visible spot.

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8803/ex-pmp-80/Bitspo...

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/16583/ex-pmp-199/Bits...
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April 11, 2013 10:28:20 AM

I'll check those pumps out in a minute and see what they have in stock :) 

Haha, I love those pump moddings. One more note to self: remember to get a windowed side panel.

edit: Do I need hose clamps? Or does this fitting come with one: http://specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/EK-PSC-14-Thre...
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 11, 2013 10:38:24 AM

When you buy fittings separate they don't come with hose clamps , if you buy a kit they do usually include the clamps. If your getting compression fittings then there is no need for clamps. The fitting that you linked is a compression fitting so no need for clamps, the compression ring holds the tubing and prevents liquid from leaking.
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April 11, 2013 11:30:03 AM

Here is my final shopping cart:


Two things are missing. Draining point parts and fans. I will order the BitFenix Spectre Pro fans from Jimm's since they are out of stock from the other shop.

Comments? :p 
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 11, 2013 12:09:13 PM

First I will say that I don't think that your buying enough tubing, 6m is cutting it very short, I would get at least 9m. There is nothing wrong with having too much but you know what happens if you don't have enough.
Second your going with 7/16 x 5/8 tubing and that's an odd size and you will have to get a reducer fitting for the pump that comes with 1/2" fittings.

http://specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/XSPC-12-ID---3...

http://specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/EK-PSC-14-Thre...

http://specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/Sealing-Plug--...


Now you can see that the EK 1/2" compression fitting is in stock and there is a much larger selection of fittings.
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April 11, 2013 1:23:55 PM

6m isn't enough? I thought they sell it in 1 meter quantities and I put 2 to the basket. Someone said somewhere that he bought 6 feet of tubing and it wasn't enough and he recommended 9 feet. So are you talking about feet rather than meters? :D  9 feet equals about 2.7 meters.
I'm gonna put one more of those to the basket.

I was actually curious about what sized of tubing I should get. I noticed as well that the pump has 1/2" fittings!

So I will be changing the tube size at least.

There is unfortunately only 1 of those EK fittings in stock :(  I need 8 of those.

These are even little cheaper so I guess I'm going with them: http://specialtech.co.uk/spshop/customer/14-Thread-Comp...

SO. Same cart except tubing is now 1/2" ID (3 meters) and fittings are those linked above (8 pieces).

Price went up by £5 but with this kinda budget it only feels like one hamburger less to my tummy, lol.
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a c 138 K Overclocking
April 11, 2013 2:00:45 PM

Looking better. Sorry about the measurement mix up , living in the US we generally use inches and feet and not metrics. I think I was meaning to say 9 feet so that would be 3m? (2.7m) They do sell it by the meter so if your getting 3m then you should be good. Like I said it's better to have a little extra it's very easy to make a mistake and cut the wrong size.
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April 11, 2013 2:51:31 PM

Thank you for all your input :)  I will wait until I get my paycheck and then I'll order the parts. Expect a build log in late April / early May :p 
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!