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Water Cooling Newbie - Guidance needed

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June 26, 2006 10:40:42 AM

I have never watercooled a PC before, and I need the advice/guidance of any water-cooling savvy reader.

I will be getting the Thermaltake Kandalf case and I will watercool the CPU and possibly the GPUs.

Questions are:
1.) I don't really want to go drilling my case, and I also don't want radiators or pumps hanging around inside (not fixed onto anything) Is this possible?
2.) Is the thermaltake Tribe worth it ? (After I change the waterblock) Could I add another pump INSIDE the Tribe in series / parallel to the included pump?
3.) As the Tribe's CPU waterblock isn't made for AM2, can anybody tell me if any other socket's waterblock is compatible with AM2? If not can someone suggest a good AM2 waterblock? (keeping in mind that if it is flow restricting and the tribe's pump can't handle it I may need another pump)
4.) When watercooling GPU(s), especially the 7900GTXs with their huge 2-slot coolers, can I watercool just the GPU, and maybe use heatsinks on the ram? Or should I get a block for both (like the Dangerden koosah)
5.) When watercoling the GPU Do I reagain use of the other Pci Slot next to it that was coved by the stock cooler?

That's about it ... Please give me a hand as I am a new to watercooling and don't want to make any mistakes.

Thanks!

Upsetian
a c 235 K Overclocking
June 26, 2006 3:06:10 PM

Quote:
I have never watercooled a PC before, and I need the advice/guidance of any water-cooling savvy reader.

I will be getting the Thermaltake Kandalf case and I will watercool the CPU and possibly the GPUs.

Questions are:
1.) I don't really want to go drilling my case, and I also don't want radiators or pumps hanging around inside (not fixed onto anything) Is this possible?
2.) Is the thermaltake Tribe worth it ? (After I change the waterblock) Could I add another pump INSIDE the Tribe in series / parallel to the included pump?
3.) As the Tribe's CPU waterblock isn't made for AM2, can anybody tell me if any other socket's waterblock is compatible with AM2? If not can someone suggest a good AM2 waterblock? (keeping in mind that if it is flow restricting and the tribe's pump can't handle it I may need another pump)
4.) When watercooling GPU(s), especially the 7900GTXs with their huge 2-slot coolers, can I watercool just the GPU, and maybe use heatsinks on the ram? Or should I get a block for both (like the Dangerden koolash)
5.) When watercoling the GPU Do I reagain use of the other Pci Slot next to it that was coved by the stock cooler?

That's about it ... Please give me a hand as I am a new to watercooling and don't want to make any mistakes.

Thanks!

Upsetian




#1 Anythings possible but if you want the radiator and pump outside you either make allowances to get the cooling tubes through drilled holes or cut openings in the case or leave the side cover off the case, which destroys the airflow needed to cool other parts inside that are normally air cooled.
#2 ??? For what purpose 1 circulating pump is all you need.
#3 Make sure the system you're getting will do what you need it to do and that the waterblocks that come with the kit will work with what you're intending on using it on, you shouldn't be asking anyones opinion on that read what the manufacturers specs says it will do, and make your decision from that information.
#4Yes, but don't forget aircooling the heatsinks is still necessary!
For the second part of that question if you want to pay for it.
#5 NO


Note: W/Cing is a lot of work to setup so make sure you are ready for what you're getting into, coolant leaks can destroy your whole investment so test your system thoroughly for leaks before actually powering up the computer. To run your cooling solutions radiator and pump outside of the case will take case modifications to accomplish, but its no big deal to drill holes in a case just be mindful of where the metal shavings are going, magnets work great at capturing metal shavings unless its an aluminum case and its best to do drilling and cutting mods with an empty case anyway, besides with a high end system you'll be pulling the M/B to mount the CPU and Chipset cooler anyway.
June 26, 2006 3:51:56 PM

Thanks for the info:
Quote:
#1 Anythings possible but if you want the radiator and pump outside you either make allowances to get the cooling tubes through drilled holes or cut openings in the case or leave the side cover off the case, which destroys the airflow needed to cool other parts inside that are normally air cooled.

Actually the Kandalf Case already has pre-drilled rubber-bordered holes for use with external wc solutions ... what I ment was I didn't want to drill any holes so I can support the radiator and pump inside the case.
Quote:
#2 ??? For what purpose 1 circulating pump is all you need.

I don't think the thermaltake tribe's pump was selected for use in a loop with a flow-restricting (turbulance style) water block, 2 gpus and maybe 2 radiators. Maybe I need two pumps in series/parallel to cope?
Quote:
#3 Make sure the system you're getting will do what you need it to do and that the waterblocks that come with the kit will work with what you're intending on using it on, you shouldn't be asking anyones opinion on that read what the manufacturers specs says it will do, and make your decision from that information.
#4Yes, but don't forget aircooling the heatsinks is still necessary!
I havn't seen any specific AM2 waterblock from thermaltake. Maybe this means that some other socket (A, 775, 939(nah)) is compatible with the AM2 so they use the same block?. I was going to use a dangerden block but I would like to hear suggestions on that.
Quote:
#5 NO
If I don't regain use of the second slot then I don't think there is really a point in cooling it, as I don't really think I will be overclocking the GPUs right now. I only wanted use of the PCI slot blocked by the 2-slot 7900GTX

To sum up:

Is the pump inside the tribe strong enough for
a.) A CPU with a high turbulance water block?
b.) A CPU with a h.t. waterblock and 2 radiators? (One in the tribe and one in the case)
c.) A CPU with a h.t. waterblock and 2 GPU blocks?
d.) A CPU with a h.t. waterblock and 2 GPU blocks and 2 radiators?(again the one in the tribe + one in the case)

Which waterblock is highest performing for the AM2 socket with a FX-62. I will be really pushing the fx-62 for testing, and have it slightly - moderatly overclocked for normal use.

What's the advice for a dual radiator solution (the one in the tribe may not be that good)

What about tubing? I was thinking about clearflex but quite a few guide stongly recommend tygon ... what should i do?

Let me also say that my PC will probably be stationary as there are usually no lanparties on the island :-)

Thanks again! TGforums rock!
Related resources
June 26, 2006 5:06:22 PM

It sounds like you have a little bit of a problem with this setup to me. You seem to be stuck on the ThermalTake water-cooling kit, yet that kit is, in your own words, insufficient for the job at hand. You should either assemble a kit yourself, with top-quality parts from sites like Danger Den and FrozenCPU, or start with a higher-quality kit, such as the Koolance Exos 2. (As good as that kit is, it won't touch the quality of components you'll find if you mix-n-match.)

Regarding AM2 waterblock functionality: Most (though assuredly not all) Socket 939 waterblocks will work and be able to mount to the new AM2 backplate, but check with the manufacturer for compatibility.

I'm not quite sure as to your reference to a radiator inside your case. You'll get best cooling results with all of your radiators external to the case.

You are absolutely correct about the TT Tribe pump being underrated for what you're asking of it. You will need a much higher pressure (head), and flow rate to adequately cool all those components.

In answer to whether or not you will free up your PCI slot, that's a definite "Maybe." Some GPU waterblocks are extremely low-profile, which would in fact give you the use of that PCI slot. It will depend on the height of the block itself, and the orientation of the fittings.

In answer to your final question:
a) Yes
b) No
c) No
d) No

As to your dual radiators, again, use mix-n-match components from either Danger Den or FrozenCPU. They have several good stand-alone radiators. If possible, get the one at Danger Den that is the modified Heater Core. It will give you the best results, and you will not need to go with a dual radiator setup.

Clearflex and Tygon tubing are virtually the same thing; Tygon is just rated for medical uses, I believe (not sure there). There will be no operational differences between the two, only cost.

-J
June 26, 2006 6:43:24 PM

Hey cmptrdude79 thanks!

Actually, I am not stuck on the Tribe, as I don't really like the design anyway. But the fact that it's external means that I don't have to risk getting a radiator too small or getting something that doesn't fit in one of the fan sockets in the case (and I am not really into drilling to add a radiator in the case).

Thanks for the answers but I have one more:
Q: The DD koosah is supposed to be low profile and use the space between sockets. What happens with the backplate? Doesn't that use two rows ?

Also: Since I am getting a "weak" power supply (520w) I don't want to get a 12v pump to drive of the PSU. Using the online watt consumptio calc I figured that I use about 480w. Is the surplus enough for the pump?

And also:
a.) Is the DangerDen D5 a good pump?
b.) Does someone have enough knowledge /own a TT kandalf case to tell me where I can fit a radiator/heater core without drilling ? Can someone suggest a radiator (possibly from DD which I can readily find?

Thanks guys, sorry for being so pushy on the details ...

EDIT: You mentioned that most 939 are / should be compatible with am2. Didn't they use only 2 holes instead of 4 to hold in on the MB ?

Also, which waterblock should I get?
June 26, 2006 7:39:48 PM

The DangerDen AM2 TDX block is a good one but it's one of those flow restricting block and you might need a more powerful pump. I suggest the SwiftechMCP655/DangerDenD5(same pump) . But those are both 5/8 inch OD. I don't know what size your tubing is. They work with 1/2 inch inner diameter.

As for a radiator, I went DangerDen and got the new ones---120GTS and the 240GTS. DD says they (without any/little fans) perform on par with the Black Ice Pros.

Your power supply should be enough. The nominal power draw on a D5 pump is only 24 watts and if you're using a lesser pump you should be fine. But you're pushing it and later on when your PSU starts to degrade it won't be enough.


Socket 939 is not compatible with AM2. Some said that the Athlon MP/XP would work but from the picture the MP/XP hold down looks way shorter.

Watch out for the backplate on your blocks. I had to mod my Maze4 holddown screw thingys to fit on my M2N32 board.

Get your tubing and clamps from a hardware store like Home Depot or something. I got 10ft of 1/2"ID 3/4"OD tubing for 5 bucks. It's alot more on the internet and you have to pay for shipping.

For a reference:
To cool:
4400+ AM2
2x 7900GT

In/on:
M2N32-SLI
CM Stacker 830 ( bad for w/c )

I used:
Black Ice GTS 120
Black Ice GTS 240
2x DD MAZE4 low profile GPU w/ OCZ BGA ramsinks
Swiftech MCP65512v pump
DD sAM2 TDX CPU block
Typhoon Dual inlet/Dual outlet Reservoir.

Good luck.
June 26, 2006 8:42:11 PM

Get a small car radiator and put it in the basement with a temperature activated fan and a good fishtank pump. Run the in and out hoses to your compy and you are cool for life with no noise or heat at your computer station. You will have plenty of cooling capacity for your CPU, GPUs, chipset, ram, you name it. You can even put a waterblock under your mousemat to keep your hand cool while you rack up the headshots. You'll just need some airflow for your power supply and CPU voltage regulators.

Basement is usually nice and cool and the radiator is designed to disipate kilowatts so the fan will probably never even kick on.

You can get whatever size pump you want with a variable flow rate so you can easily control your component temps by running your hoses in parallel and controlling the individual flows.

Not a conventional solution, but very effective. A slightly used car radiator might even cost less than some of the name brand computer radiators.

8)
June 26, 2006 10:04:46 PM

Actually while sleeping I had this great idea I just checked out. My air conditioning unit's "outside module" (I guess thats chinese for radiator/cooler) has 1/2" copper piping that can have 8m height difference and 15m length to the indoor module. I could just use a "Y" adapter and get it through my cpu! It uses some kind of freon/cooler that is probably at 5Cel maybe less.

How's that?

Oh, and some backround info I should have given but didn't:
I live in Greece (worse --> On one of the Greek islands!)
I have to order everything from Athens, so I can only do it through the net.
From what I have seen I can order dangerden/thermaltake/coolermaster/koolance and thats it.
and I plan to get a FX-62 because AMD got me on there side after me being an intel fanboy for all my life (since I was 4 and my dad bought a 486DX for my mom). And before I get flamed let me just say that I plan to use the AM2 platform for what it was made for now a stepping stone untill i upgrade to k8l.

Let me take this moment to thank everyone who held my hand as I passed though the difficult road of watercooling. When I write a review/benchmark my PC for this Greek site I will mention you ... I'll probably PM you the url.

Thanks again ...

Upsetian (I hate the way many people -including me- sign their posts like letters)
June 26, 2006 10:26:03 PM

That would be a great idea except for two things. One, the new-found lack of coolant to your in-home condenser/cooler (located just abover the air-handler unit), which would have to be compensated for. Two, and worse, would be that you would most likely drive the processor temperature down below Ambient temperatures, which leads to condensate forming inside your computer. You would have to do a very careful insulation job to ensure that you don't end up shorting out something inside your PC. Other than that, great idea though.

It sounds like some others have stepped up with individual component recommendations, which I wholeheartedly support. Also, check DangerDen's site, as they have some externally-powered pumps (clicky, clicky) that would help keep you within your power envelope.

Again, good luck with your water cooling.

-J
June 27, 2006 9:39:40 AM

Just saw the Koolance ExosLT. Looks like I am going with that.
Whats the difference between the ExosLT and the Exos2 (apart from appearences and thermal monitoring)

And most-important: Is the radiator ALUMINIUM ? It wasn't very clear on the site. I was planning to get a copper waterblock from dangerden ...

Thats about it!
June 27, 2006 9:56:42 AM

If you plan to cool the cpu and two gpus then you better get a good pump and radiator. Check out Swiftech water cooling kits.
June 27, 2006 10:36:25 AM

The primary differences between the ExosLT and the Exos2 are thermal dissipation capacity. The ExosLT is rated at a maximum of 550 watts, whereas the Exos2 is rated for 750. The radiators in both are aluminum.

-J

Edit: for clarity.
June 27, 2006 2:08:31 PM

So if I opt to get the EXOS LT and a second radiator (to be on par with the exos2) I have to get all blocks AL instead of Cu?

Will this have a negative effect on coolong ?
June 27, 2006 2:41:22 PM

Yes but not much... copper does transmit heat better than aluminum but unless you are extreme overclocking you won't see much difference.

BTW I've got the TT Armor case, identical to the kandolf on the inside and if you want I can show you how to install a 2 x 120mm rad inside the front panel, takes up 6 drive bays. Basically I have nothing outside but I did mod the side panel to put in a 120mm fan blowing cool air in. I have eight 120mm fans and both 90mm fans going as well. It's loud but I turn down the fans with a fan controller when I'm not gaming.
June 27, 2006 7:11:46 PM

I have decided on the EXOS LT .. but it may be a better solution.
How are you going to show me?

BTW, since you have the armor case: Can you fit a 120mm radiator in the rear fan slot ?
Is there any other spot for ONE 120mm OR 150mm Radiator inside the case?

Thanks ... looks like I have to find Al waterblocks now :-S
June 28, 2006 10:43:59 PM

There might be room to put a single 120mm rad on the inside attached to the rear exhaust fan (but your tubing will be really tight, I wouldn't suggest it) but what i did was use up 6 of the inside front drive bays to install a 2 x 120mm rad with 4 fans. With the side door open you can't even see it, except for the leds on the fans. There was no holes drilled into the case, there are 3 ways to install it.

1. Get two L brackets from home depot and drill holes into it that match up with the holes in the fans and screw holes for the drives. (this is what I did)

2. Use velcro strips on one side and the bottom, get these at home depot, local arts or fabric store.

3. Cut some insulation foam and use double sided tape to hold it in place.

I chose number one because it is easy and clean.

There is no other spot for a 120mm rad unless you do one of the above.

If you want the radiator outside the case use the holes provided and the swiftech mounting kit (see link). This is pretty clean.

http://www.swiftnets.com/products/MCB-120.asp

The following is my rad installed inside the armor.



Complete system w/ side door off.



Complete system w/ side door on.

July 4, 2006 12:09:43 PM

Nice water set up!

Here is mine....






I dont quite have enough molex connections for all 6 fans on the rad yet..... will join all 6 fans to form 1 connections soon....

The best way to pipe the tubes out of the case without drilling is to get a two way barb (a half inch tube with barbs at both ends) this will fit in the PCI slot at the back of your case.... Hell knows i didnt want to drill holes into lian li.

Your lucky you had a kandalf to work with sooo much more room to put stuff in..... I would recomend you dont get a nice looking expensive case like lian li for water cooling get something that is massive in size, to fit all the stuff into I hear cool master stackers are popular with water cooling nuff nuffs...

If you are not confident with water cooling then go for 7/16 inch tubes.... they fit sung around half inch barbs and this helps prevent leaks. Also half inch tubes tend to kink way more easy so its hard to loop it around tight corners and half inch tubes also means big dril bits for big holes!...

N.B. They say Tygon is the best tubes and I must admit its costly stuff.... but its worth it.... it has some properties that will make life easier: its very clear so you can see any bacterial growth or scum build up. Its very flexable for the tight corners and bends, Its soft so you an put it over the barbs quite easily.

I would recomend you purchase things indivudually for your needs, kits often come with NB water blocks and little tiny rads that just restict flow and they limit upgrades in the future.... Remember that the best air cooling HSF will still beat the worst water cooling set up.

I recomend a nice pump swiftec is popular for noize / preformance / heat output to water ratios.

P5N32 SLI
P4 960 OC to 4.2
Crosair XMS2 Pro DDR2 (2x1Gb)
WD raptor 150Gb
Gigabyte 7900GT
Silverstone 600w

Swiftec 665 pump, Storm WB, Black Ice Extreme III
July 4, 2006 1:22:53 PM

My hose isn't close to that size, but fully cranked @2675 MHz, cooling the Northbridge, CPU , and GPU, racing 3 hours and more on EA Nascar Sim Racing I get 31-33 C on CPU , GPU 44 C.
What temps are you getting ?
I've run up to 3/4" hose, now I'm running something considerably less (you may not believe me if I tell you what size). I found that larger diameter hose was a bitch to route, you can't remove the system intact easily, didn't like the added pressure to the components it was connected to due to the way you have to flex the tubing.
Now I can remove it in 4 minutes, swap a cooling block in that time too. Cleaning my lines is easy too, 5 seconds to disconnect both supply and return lines. I didn't want the rig down for hours just for maintenence.
I've been water cooling since late 1999, found that huge hose just isn't required, even on a P4 Netbust Furnace, that is if the sytem is fed from outside the case.
One other question, I've never used an outside pump, I use submersibles, does your pump get warm and add heat to the inside of your case ?
July 4, 2006 6:41:07 PM

With the ambient temperature in my room around 30C during the day my CPU (OC'd to 2.88) is at around 33C idle and 42C under load. This drops a lot in the winter, I'm also looking at adding central air conditioning to my house as I have trouble sleeping at night right now.

My two 7800GTX's are OC'd to 500 and 1.4 and are around 40C idle and 48 under load.

I could probably drop those temps a couple of degree's by taking the rad outside the case but I'm happy with my OC and temps right now and it looks much cleaner to have the rad inside the case.

One note, I used 1/2" ID and 3/4" OD (not 5/8" which is standard), this tubing was much more expensive but will not kink unless you try to do a 90 deg turn.

I'm also going to be changing my reservoir to this one.



And I'm going to put a cold cathode right behind it.
July 5, 2006 12:51:38 AM

I hear sub pumps are bad because they heat up the water a lot.... The good thing tho is that its ultra quiet because the water is kinda insulating the noize.

A normal swiftec 665 is apparently pumping 15w per hr into the water....

I dont know what that equates to in temps tho.....

I have a pan flow fan right on top the the pump to keep it cool I think it helps.... but cant measure the diff.
!