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Seeking Help For My First Water Cooling System?

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May 5, 2013 5:41:42 PM

I have spent most of the day searching the internet, including your forums, for information on water cooling, and its still like a foreign language to me. Instead of making a dozen posts in the forums, would someone mind helping me one one one to figure everything out?
May 5, 2013 5:49:57 PM

Well what exactly do you not understand about it? There are several different parts to water cooling that you may need help understanding. You need to be more specific.
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May 5, 2013 5:59:27 PM

I understand all the concepts, and basically fully understand the sticky forum here, but as far as technical sizing so things. for example, I started by looking at radiators, and I understand that you choose one based on things such as the amount of room you have available for the overall size. So lets say i have room in my case for a radiator that has two 120mm fans. then I choose one that has a specific FPI. I want quiet, so i go with lets say a 10FPI. I know my TDP is about 590. are those the main things I Pick my Radiator based on?
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Related resources
May 5, 2013 6:00:47 PM

http://koolance.com/
Have to rewrite this post. If you look at their radiators you will see they have radiators based on how many watts of heat they will dissipate. The FPI is only fins per inch, which really doesn't matter, just stick to how many watts it can dissipate.
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May 5, 2013 6:04:19 PM

Well I think we should begin by figuring out our water cooling product. There should be YouTube videos that explain how to install it into your system , make sure its compatible.
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May 5, 2013 6:15:21 PM

RabidSnail said:
I understand all the concepts, and basically fully understand the sticky forum here, but as far as technical sizing so things. for example, I started by looking at radiators, and I understand that you choose one based on things such as the amount of room you have available for the overall size. So lets say i have room in my case for a radiator that has two 120mm fans. then I choose one that has a specific FPI. I want quiet, so i go with lets say a 10FPI. I know my TDP is about 590. are those the main things I Pick my Radiator based on?

Like navysealbrian said, FPI doesn't really matter, only the heat dissipation. FrozenCPU.com is a great place to start looking at water cooling parts. Knowing what case you'll be using will be VERY helpful for us.
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May 5, 2013 7:07:02 PM

RabidSnail said:
Not that this is my final decision for a case, but its one im looking at. So for now lets assume its the one im getting. http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...


And Im looking at FrozenCPU, but the Radiators im looking at seem to lack specs pertaining to the heat they are able to disperse. I just picked this one...

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/4085/ex-rad-86/Black_...

As far as the case goes, you may want to get something with more radiator support. The NZXT Phantom really only has support for a single 240mm (Dual 120mm) radiator, which will definitely not be enough to dissipate the amount of heat you want it to. If you're going for a water-cooling case and still want the phantom look, you may want to bump up to a phantom 630 or a phantom 820.
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May 5, 2013 8:07:29 PM

I have been looking into them and will problaly end up with that. NZXT is launching a new case tomorrow i believe and i wanted to wait to see it before i decided
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May 5, 2013 8:17:16 PM

RabidSnail said:
I have been looking into them and will problaly end up with that. NZXT is launching a new case tomorrow i believe and i wanted to wait to see it before i decided

Quite right. It looks like it might be another entry to the Switch line, which could mean it is something like a switch 630 which would be fine for water cooling, considering the water cooling support differences between the phantom 820 and the phantom 630
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 6, 2013 11:49:15 PM

Can you provide some details what we can help with that the sticky didn't help to fully address?
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May 7, 2013 8:16:40 AM

the sticky did a great job of making me understand what goes into a water cooled system, but lacks details (maybe for the better) on what to choose and why. For example I have no clue what flow rates and flow drops mean in terms of pumps.
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May 7, 2013 2:27:28 PM

RabidSnail said:
the sticky did a great job of making me understand what goes into a water cooled system, but lacks details (maybe for the better) on what to choose and why. For example I have no clue what flow rates and flow drops mean in terms of pumps.

You probably won't have to worry too much about about things like that. That being said, what's your opinion on the new H630 case by NZXT? It seems like it would be great for watercooling.
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May 7, 2013 2:46:24 PM

It is a beautiful design. I think they hit the nail on the head for a specific target market there with the classy design. I am most likely going to go with that case, especially for the price that it is!

In regards to the example i gave of flow rates and such, From what I have been reading, or i guess in this case haven't been reading, it does seam like more of an enthusiast thing as opposed to a necessity for designing a loop. But I would like to have a complete understanding of all the components I purchase for my loop. I just like to be completely informed before I purchase something. Admittingly with it seeming slightly complex and to most people irrelevant, Its probably a good thing its not in the sticky. But another thread with a more detailed breakdown might also be nice.
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a c 176 K Overclocking
May 7, 2013 3:54:03 PM

TBH most people who run a water loop (including I) dont really know the finer details about flow rates and what causes them. From my understanding, the head pressure (how hard the water is being pushed) interacts with the restriction (resistance against movement of water) of the loop to give you a flow rate (how much water is moving).

Typically if you make good part choices and figure out the right way to hook everything up (multiple graphics cards in Parallel versus Series) then you dont have too much to worry about when it comes to flow rates with a typical D5/DDC pump. On larger loops that incorporate 3 or more blocks, it might be worth looking into getting an auxiliary pump.
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May 7, 2013 4:47:40 PM

RabidSnail said:
It is a beautiful design. I think they hit the nail on the head for a specific target market there with the classy design. I am most likely going to go with that case, especially for the price that it is!

In regards to the example i gave of flow rates and such, From what I have been reading, or i guess in this case haven't been reading, it does seam like more of an enthusiast thing as opposed to a necessity for designing a loop. But I would like to have a complete understanding of all the components I purchase for my loop. I just like to be completely informed before I purchase something. Admittingly with it seeming slightly complex and to most people irrelevant, Its probably a good thing its not in the sticky. But another thread with a more detailed breakdown might also be nice.


manofchalk said:
TBH most people who run a water loop (including I) dont really know the finer details about flow rates and what causes them. From my understanding, the head pressure (how hard the water is being pushed) interacts with the restriction (resistance against movement of water) of the loop to give you a flow rate (how much water is moving).

Typically if you make good part choices and figure out the right way to hook everything up (multiple graphics cards in Parallel versus Series) then you dont have too much to worry about when it comes to flow rates with a typical D5/DDC pump. On larger loops that incorporate 3 or more blocks, it might be worth looking into getting an auxiliary pump.

What this guy said. The pump flow rate isn't very necessary in most cases if you get a decent pump. That being said, I also have a question about the NZXT H630 and you getting it. What loop do you plan on doing? You can fit two 360mm rads in there quite easily, but there's other options too.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
May 7, 2013 4:53:30 PM

The idea is that the necessary data to learn more about each of the topics in the sticky is made available if you wish you read more in-depth into it. The sticky contains a massive amount of data and continues to live and grow based on the needs of the TH Forum community.

The sticky will not offer quick answers on 'just tell me what to buy'- this is not the intent and generally is the stance by most of us that frequent this forum. The purpose of the sticky is to offer a place for the first-timer, novices and even experts to seek knowledge on topics. My intent is to help people learn as much as possible when considering different aspects of watercooling. Hopefully it has at least offered a place to begin as well as given you some ideas on where to start planning.

Can you start with budget?

What components will be cooled by the loop? Total TDP?

Watercooling gear being currently considered...and why?
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May 7, 2013 5:42:13 PM

Im unsure what I want to do with it. I was originally planning on a one loop, emcompasing the CPU and 2 GPUs with the radiator mounted on the top. But with the avalible room in this im kinda of thinking about giving the 2 GPUs their own loop, and putting the CPU and RAM on a Loop. Id mount the CPU Rad on the top and the GPU on the bottom. THen use the front fans to push air through and the rear fan to push air out.

My CPU TDP is 130, I have 2 GPUs at 230 each, and if I include the RAM, I plan on having 8 Dimms. My budget is Kind of open just because I dont know what i want to limit myself to. Preferably less than $300.
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May 7, 2013 5:48:40 PM

RabidSnail said:
Im unsure what I want to do with it. I was originally planning on a one loop, emcompasing the CPU and 2 GPUs with the radiator mounted on the top. But with the avalible room in this im kinda of thinking about giving the 2 GPUs their own loop, and putting the CPU and RAM on a Loop. Id mount the CPU Rad on the top and the GPU on the bottom. THen use the front fans to push air through and the rear fan to push air out.

My CPU TDP is 130, I have 2 GPUs at 230 each, and if I include the RAM, I plan on having 8 Dimms. My budget is Kind of open just because I dont know what i want to limit myself to. Preferably less than $300.

Less than $300 is RIDICULOUSLY underestimating the cost, especially if you want to do two loops. A more realistic budget would be around $600 for two loops, $400-500 for a single loop.
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May 7, 2013 5:53:34 PM

Which is exactly why I was afraid to give a price that I was considering. I am more concerned with doing it right then I am the cost of it.
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May 7, 2013 5:59:02 PM

RabidSnail said:
Which is exactly why I was afraid to give a price that I was considering. I am more concerned with doing it right then I am the cost of it.

Alright sounds good. Any ideas for the rad setup? Like rad sizes. The H630 has quite a few different options. I believe if you're using a mechanical HDD, you could probably mount a top 360, a bottom 120, and a front 280 and still have room for 3.5" drives.
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May 8, 2013 7:04:46 AM

I took a closer look at the case this morning and I think the setup I would try to do is a 280mm on the Top and 280mm on the bottom, leaving the from the pull air in. When I was looking through pictures of it, the drive bays can be hung from the top, so I would probably mount my ssd on the back of the mobo, and put a 3 bay hdd cage that was hanging inside with 1 HDD and the other 2 bays for a reservoir.
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May 8, 2013 11:58:26 AM

Sounds good. Next is to decide the layout of the loop (EG: where you are putting the pump/reservoir)
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May 8, 2013 6:42:22 PM

So if the Res is in the HDD cage, then the pump should be below it, correct? I dont know how or where it would be mounted
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May 8, 2013 6:57:53 PM

RabidSnail said:
So if the Res is in the HDD cage, then the pump should be below it, correct? I dont know how or where it would be mounted

Usually using industrial grade velcro works very well for mounting your pump. And yes you are correct. The reservoir should ALWAYS go above the pump and have a tube connected directly to it. This is for purposes of priming the pump. If the pump operates without being primed (filled with liquid) it could result in massive consequences IE kill your pump. What reservoir are you looking at if you are looking at any? You don't have to mount it in your HDD cage; most people like to mount theirs to the right of the motherboard, depending on what kind it is of course. Here's an example: http://goo.gl/muP86
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May 8, 2013 7:14:55 PM

Actually for a Res, I was just thinking about making my own... I dont know the difficulty involved, but what if I was to take a HDD cage from the H630 and coat the interior with Plexy? It would mount easily, and with some customization down the road look really sweet. This kinda leads me to my next question... If im doing two loops, how many pumps and reservoirs do I need? I feel as though I need 1 (potentially larger) res that has 2 incoming feeds, and one outgoing feed. The outgoing would then lead into the pump, and the pump would then split it into two loops. The loops would then stay separate untill them merge again at the res. this would allow them to take advantage of separate radiators still but minimize pump space. Will this work or is it an impractical idea?
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May 8, 2013 7:25:49 PM

RabidSnail said:
Actually for a Res, I was just thinking about making my own... I dont know the difficulty involved, but what if I was to take a HDD cage from the H630 and coat the interior with Plexy? It would mount easily, and with some customization down the road look really sweet. This kinda leads me to my next question... If im doing two loops, how many pumps and reservoirs do I need? I feel as though I need 1 (potentially larger) res that has 2 incoming feeds, and one outgoing feed. The outgoing would then lead into the pump, and the pump would then split it into two loops. The loops would then stay separate untill them merge again at the res. this would allow them to take advantage of separate radiators still but minimize pump space. Will this work or is it an impractical idea?

This is an idea that I've never really seen done before, but it will work. Also, building your own res is pretty risky. It is actually somewhat difficult. If you're looking for a compact reservoir, they definitely exist. This one by Swiftech could mount just about anywhere in the case.

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8336/ex-res-144/Swift...
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a b K Overclocking
May 8, 2013 7:37:12 PM

Wow, your all over the place here, have you slowed down any and looked at other builds, that people here at toms have done. Some of them are rather elaborate builds like mine, here have a look if you like if you are serious we will be glade to help, but information without implementation is no fun for anyone!

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/274855-29-experimenta...
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May 8, 2013 7:52:11 PM

I have actually been looking through a lot of people's builds and have gotten a few ideas aesthetically. Sorry I have been all over the place, Im in school for Architecture, and we are kind of expected to design and think at the same time, often times resulting incomplete ideas because another gets spawned from the previous incomplete one.

I can definitely understand why making my own Reservoir is a dangerous thing. If something goes wrong with it I am screwed... Im kind of trying to figure out the best way to do this aesthetically and creatively, and have some ideas if I was able to create my own Res. Well see if that works out, but for now lets just assume I will use the one you showed me.

As far as a pump, is it feasible to use one and then split it, or should I have two for what I plan on doing? I would like to plan for my first loop to be able to handle 8 Dimms of RAM and 1 CPU, and my second loop to handle 2 GPUs. I feel as though that requires a lot of pressure, although I am lost as to how much i should size my Pump for, or if i should in fact have 2.
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a b K Overclocking
May 8, 2013 8:07:08 PM

I would like to plan for my first loop to be able to handle 8 Dimms of RAM and 1 CPU, and my second loop to handle 2 GPUs.

that is how I would build it, I would use a thick rad 80mm X 360mm or better for the Video card blocks loop. As for the CPU loop a thick 80mm X 240mm or a thin 35mm X 360mm rad will work fine, but that is a choice thing I am only considering performance here. So with that stated there are many options open for you as far as hardware configuration are concerned and types that can be used for this kind of build.
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May 8, 2013 8:33:48 PM

I'n my case I was planning on using 2 240mm Rads, one for easy loop.
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May 8, 2013 8:36:13 PM

RabidSnail said:
I have actually been looking through a lot of people's builds and have gotten a few ideas aesthetically. Sorry I have been all over the place, Im in school for Architecture, and we are kind of expected to design and think at the same time, often times resulting incomplete ideas because another gets spawned from the previous incomplete one.

I can definitely understand why making my own Reservoir is a dangerous thing. If something goes wrong with it I am screwed... Im kind of trying to figure out the best way to do this aesthetically and creatively, and have some ideas if I was able to create my own Res. Well see if that works out, but for now lets just assume I will use the one you showed me.

As far as a pump, is it feasible to use one and then split it, or should I have two for what I plan on doing? I would like to plan for my first loop to be able to handle 8 Dimms of RAM and 1 CPU, and my second loop to handle 2 GPUs. I feel as though that requires a lot of pressure, although I am lost as to how much i should size my Pump for, or if i should in fact have 2.


toolmaker_03 said:
I would like to plan for my first loop to be able to handle 8 Dimms of RAM and 1 CPU, and my second loop to handle 2 GPUs.

that is how I would build it, I would use a thick rad 80mm X 360mm or better for the Video card blocks loop. As for the CPU loop a thick 80mm X 240mm or a thin 35mm X 360mm rad will work fine, but that is a choice thing I am only considering performance here. So with that stated there are many options open for you as far as hardware configuration are concerned and types that can be used for this kind of build.

+1 to this ^. Also, yes. Using a single pump would be fine as long as you don't cheap out on it. The Swiftech MCP655 has a max pressure amount of 50 PSI, which will work just fine for the loop you wish to do.
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a b K Overclocking
May 9, 2013 4:02:59 AM

Yea, but he hadn't bought it yet! So I wanted to throw out a couple of other choices that I would also consider before buying.
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May 9, 2013 5:48:38 AM

Im actually fairly set on the NZXT H630. I love the design, but i am probably going to mod it to add a window. other than that I think the case fits my needs well. Thank you for the other recommendations.

For the pump sizing, were there any rules of thumb or something that you used for determining the pressure needed?
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a b K Overclocking
May 9, 2013 6:31:18 AM

The more the better, I use 655 pumps.
The rule that use if there is one is to keep my flow rate as high as possible.
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May 9, 2013 6:44:32 AM

I assumed something like that, but lets say I was only cooling a CPU, I assume a 22psi would be fine. at what point should i get a larger one?
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a b K Overclocking
May 9, 2013 8:15:22 AM

well I have two loops running on my system currently both with the same 655 pump yes a smaller pump would have worked on my CPU loop, but not as well. I have always bought the larger pumps. I have never owned anything smaller than a 450 pump that was the predecessor to the 655 pump that is common today. I like the 35X pump as well but I have never owned one, it is two smaller pumps linked together but it does cost more than one 655, but if room is a issue the 35X is flat, with opens up a lot of mounting options.
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May 9, 2013 9:15:50 AM

Yeah I was looking at the 355 pump i believe, but I assumed i would have to get two pumps there. I like the flat aspect of it, but the price of 2 is kinda pushing me towards the 655. If both are a viable option, I think I will get my case first and decide later.

As far as Radiators, I am looking at these two. There are 3 different versions of each, and it seems the main difference is FPI. The ones in the links below have 9FPI, would that be enough? the next option with the same rad has a 22FPI, but im really trying to make a quiet system
http://www.frozencpu.com/products/10464/ex-rad-181/Blac...
http://www.frozencpu.com/products/10465/ex-rad-182/Blac...

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a b K Overclocking
May 9, 2013 9:33:16 AM

Well try to bear with me here I have a communication issue!
Thin radiators are restrictive by design this fact can not be altered.
Cooling blocks with a pin matrix or grove matrix within them are restrictive by design this again can not be altered.
A 655 pump with nothing on the loop but the pump and a flow meter will run at 8000RPM or if you where to dead head the pump it would have about 50PSI at the outlet.
After adding only one thin radiator to the loop (240mm or 360mm) your flow will drop to 4000RPM. if you add a reservoir to the loop the flow will drop again to 3500RPM. If you add a CPU block to the loop the flow will drop again to 2500RPM I tried to show this in My build log of my CPU loop but I think I missed the point some ware along the way. I then tried to fix the issue that was occurring with my video card loop, in with I did succeed in doing so. If I had linked all of the hardware in series on my video cards loop the flow was only 900RPM through the loop and that is too slow to remove the heat from the cards as it is being produced.
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May 9, 2013 10:13:01 AM

Ok so what your saying is I should be concerned with the rpm and the amount that each component would drop it. The benefit to doing components in parallel is the pressure drop is isolated to each loop. Is this correct?
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May 9, 2013 10:18:19 AM

RabidSnail said:
Yeah I was looking at the 355 pump i believe, but I assumed i would have to get two pumps there. I like the flat aspect of it, but the price of 2 is kinda pushing me towards the 655. If both are a viable option, I think I will get my case first and decide later.

As far as Radiators, I am looking at these two. There are 3 different versions of each, and it seems the main difference is FPI. The ones in the links below have 9FPI, would that be enough? the next option with the same rad has a 22FPI, but im really trying to make a quiet system
http://www.frozencpu.com/products/10464/ex-rad-181/Blac...
http://www.frozencpu.com/products/10465/ex-rad-182/Blac...


A 280 mm radiator won't be as efficient as a 360 mm radiator. Here's the math for it:

140^2=19600
19600*2=39200 Square millimeters

120^2=14400
14400*3=43200 Square millimeters

43200-39200=4000 Square millimeters

That's a whole 4000 Square millimeters of space for cooling that you're losing by putting one of your rads down at 280. I suggest having the top at 360 and the bottom at 280 if you want to use a drive cage down there. You want to take advantage of the space given to you, so use it! A 120 mm rad could go on the bottom too, if you so desire. Like toolmaker said, you'll also want some thicker rads.
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May 9, 2013 10:27:33 AM

Since the case I'm looking at is new, I haven't found the exact space restraints for it. It looks like I can fit a 360 rad on Top and a 240 on bottom. So that's what I was hoping I could use. When you say thicker, what does that mean size wise. The rads I was looking at are 55mm thick. Is that too thin?
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May 9, 2013 10:40:03 AM

RabidSnail said:
Since the case I'm looking at is new, I haven't found the exact space restraints for it. It looks like I can fit a 360 rad on Top and a 240 on bottom. So that's what I was hoping I could use. When you say thicker, what does that mean size wise. The rads I was looking at are 55mm thick. Is that too thin?

The NZXT H630 has space for a bottom mounted 280/240, a front mounted 360/280, and a top mounted 360/280. There's more details on it on the NZXT website. Here's a copypasta of it's constraints for water cooling:

Cooling System:
Front 2 x 200 or 2 x 140 or 3 x 120mm ( 1 x 200mm included )
Top 2 x 200 or 2 x 140 or 3 x 120mm
Rear 1 x 140/120mm ( 1 x 140mm included )
Bottom 2 x 140/120mm
HDD Pivot 2 x 140/120mm
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a b K Overclocking
May 9, 2013 11:00:29 AM

I would say yes it is still restrictive, 55mm is pushing the channels to the max on that type of design on radiators. The 60mm - 80mm radiators are not as restrictive, so as a example a single 80mm thick radiator will give the same flow as two 35mm thick radiators linked in parallel with each other with is about 6000RPM through it. A 60mm radiator will be a little less than that at about 5500RPM through it and so on, a 55mm radiator will have a flow of 4500RPM through it. As each new component is added to the loop the flow will continue to drop on the loop if linked in series with one another but if linked in parallel the high flows can be maintained in order to remove the heat from your components. I hope this is helping!
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May 9, 2013 12:39:56 PM

yea its actually helping a lot, especially being able to put numbers to something. Would you mind explaining RPMs? I assume its rotations per minute but im confused on what its referring to. I immediately associate it with a fan speed, but an air fan speed doesnt drop. Is it the rotations per minute of the fan in the pump? and the the more resistance the components add results in more pressure, restricting the water flow and thus reducing the pumps fan speed?
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May 9, 2013 12:52:56 PM

RabidSnail said:
yea its actually helping a lot, especially being able to put numbers to something. Would you mind explaining RPMs? I assume its rotations per minute but im confused on what its referring to. I immediately associate it with a fan speed, but an air fan speed doesnt drop. Is it the rotations per minute of the fan in the pump? and the the more resistance the components add results in more pressure, restricting the water flow and thus reducing the pumps fan speed?

Precisely. The more restiveness there is in the build due to rads, blocks, etc, the lower RPM the motor in the pump gets.
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