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First Watercooling Setup... Evaluate this Build Please

Last response: in Overclocking
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August 25, 2006 5:13:29 PM

So, I'm new to the whole watercooling setup thing. I've read the guide to it stickied in this forum, and some other posts, which have helped me greatly. At first, I thought most setups were created equal and was going to buy a cheap kit... bad idea.

Im planning on using it to cool a E6600 and also put a X1900XTX in the loop. All of this is going inside (radiator might go outside) of a Thermaltake Armor case. I am going to OC the E6600 to at least 3.5ghz, and hopefully more. The X1900XTX probably wont be overclocked, but I hear that the fans on them are pretty damn loud and they generate a lot of heat so I would like a better solution. Im also trying to get this setup to run pretty quitely. So I picked out my own parts and this is what I have so far:

Pump:
Swiftech MCP350 12 VDC Pump

Radiator:
[/img] Swiftech "Quiet Power" series MCR-220

Resevoir:
Thermaltake Aquabay M1 2U

CPU Block:
Swiftech Apogee Water Block

VGA Block:
Swiftech MCW60-B VGA Water Block

Liquid:
PrimoChill PC ICE Non-Conductive Water Cooling Fluid

Fans:
PEVIA(ASPIRE) CF12SL-UBL 120mm

Tubing:
PrimoFlex 3/8in ID 5/8in OD


I think its all set... with a total price tag of around $285 plus tubeing costs.

So... my questions:
1) Is this a good setup? Any problems anyone can see, or parts they wouldn't recommend?

2) I'm going with 3/8 fittings and tubing. Is this close to 1/2 performance or should I go to 1/2"?

3) I heard a lot of good things about Fluid XP+, but the PrimoChill seems to be the same thing for almost half the price. Any thoughts?

4) I'm not sure if I need a shround for the radiator/fans. The product description sounds like I don't need one. Anyone have an idea?

5) Would 10' of tubing be sufficient? Im planning on mounting my radiator to the top-underside of my case if I can, and if not, on top of it on the outside. Or possibly even mount it on the side of the case, towards the top. I don't mind getting extra, cause its better than not having enough, but I don't want to end up buying twice as much as I need.

6) With a total price tag of about $300, would I be better off buying a kit like Swiftech H2O-120 and just going with the stock cooler for the X1900XTX?


Thanks in advance for any help you guys can give. It is much appreciated.
August 25, 2006 6:09:35 PM

PUMP:
Swiftech MCP655 12v DC Pump ($76)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swmc12vdcpu.html
More than twice as powerful as the 350 and dead silent. 317gph. Even when it is running and you put your ear next to it you can't tell if it is on.


RADIATOR:
Black Ice Xtreme II ($42)
http://www.dangerdenstore.com/product.php?productid=2&c...
One of the most popular rads on the market because of its performance

CPU WATERBLOCK:
Swiftech Apogee ($50)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swapexpebl.html
excellent CPU Waterblock
It is out of stock on the site you linked

GPU WATERBLOCK:
Swiftech MCW60-B ($45)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swmcvgacowim.html
Just listed it because I'm recommending several items from this site

TUBING:
Tygon 1/2in. ID 11/16in. OD Laboratory Tubing #R3603 ($2.25/ft - $22.50/10)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/ty1idx11odx3.html
best tubing around. I'm recommending the 11/16 over any other size 1/2ID because of it's strength
You won't find this tubing at this price anywhere else

CLAMPS:
Breeze Miniature Hose Clamp 7/16 in. to 25/32 in. ($3.60/10)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/brmihocl7int1.html
you'll need to figure out how many you will need

EXTRA:
Swiftech Coolsleeves 625 ($2.65per 40in length)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swco625.html
Helps to prevent kinking in tight bend areas

RESERVOIR:
CoolingWorks™ Single Bay Reservoir ($10)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/cosibayre.html
Designed to trap air flowing through your cooling loop


3/8 ID is ok but you'll be missing the higher flow characteristics that 1/2ID offers. I'd go with 1/2 if I were you - especially since you are making this much of an investment. Almost all of this equiptment I am using myself.

My watercooling system:

1/2 ID inch tygon tubing (11/16 OD R3603)
Swiftech MCP655 Pump
Danger Den Koolsah GPU Waterblock
Voltage Regulator waterblock for 7900 GTX
Maze 4 Northbridge Waterblock
Custom Drivebay Reservoir
Swiftech Peltier 226watt waterblock
Bay drive voltage adjuster for CPU Peltier Waterblock
(2) dual 120mm rads (mounted externally) - each has 4 120mm fans in a "push-pull" configuration
Meanwell 600 SE12 Secondary PSU (for peltier)


Watercooling loop:

Reservoir - Pump - CPU waterblock (peltier) - 1st external dual 120mm rad - GPU waterblock - NB waterblock - 2nd external dual 120mm rad - back to reservoir
August 25, 2006 6:49:00 PM

The DD-12VD5 pump is the exact same as the MCP-665, which is all based off of the Laing D5 pump, the best one in the market right now.

Both the swiftech and Danger Den radiators are nice. Alphacool also makes a decent radiator and waterblock, might want to check those out. Peltier is most likely overcool, can cause condensation problems, probably don't need to go with that if you have a good watercooling set-up already.

If you get a double radiator, might have problems mounting it inside your case. Might want to take a look at the Swiftech RadBox, designed to mount radiators outside a case.

Everything else that Phreejak said should be fine. Apogee is marginally better than the Maze I would say, better than the Nexxos too... shrug, but lots of people could argue that.

If you really wanted to, get the Swiftech H20-220 Apex Plus, has everything you need, best of everything, plus a vga cooler and a northbridge cooler. Check it out.
Related resources
August 25, 2006 8:45:45 PM

TYVM for going through all the trouble to link all that stuff. I think I will get that pump since it's not much more, and also the Black Ice Extreme II. I also saw shrouds on that site, so I'll get a couple of those too.

Anyone get a chance to check out the liquid I linked? Still wondering if that stuff is any good compared to Fluid XP+. Thanks again.

Edit: Also, although the resevoir says 3/8 inch fittings, will the 1/2 tubing still work?
August 25, 2006 8:59:41 PM

I use Primochill PC ICE in my cooling solution. It really is non conductive.
August 25, 2006 10:13:09 PM

Quote:
Ahh... I need a couple of 3/8in. NPT thread to 1/2in. barb fittings then.


Actually you can't use that, the thermaltake products use a quick attach and release mechanism where you just feed the tube in and tighten a bolt. That reservoir won't work with a 1/2" system unless you get an adaptor like this. I don't like doing this though as thermaltake products work best with 1/4" tubing as the inner diameter of the quick connect is only 1/4". Even if you use 1/2" tubing for the rest of the system this connection will produce a restriction point.

http://www.xoxide.com/bl1to3re.html

I like most of the suggestions given, but I'm going to say don't use that thermaltake reservoir, I had one from them and lots of bubbles in my loop. Get something that is designed to remove the bubbles.

If you have a full size case like the armor/kandolf or stacker, I'll show you how you can mount the 2 x 120mm radiator inside, otherwise get the radbox that swiftech makes. If you mount it outside make sure to get some rubber grommets like this.

http://www.frozencpu.com/ex-tub-95.html

They will prevent the edges of the hole in your computer case from cutting the tubing.

If you can afford it I'd move up to the storm water block, more expensive but much better performance. It'll take advantage of the flow rates that you can produce with the MCP655.

My other suggestion is to get a fan controller, this will allow you to put the fans at full blast while gaming but reduce the noise of those 35dba fans when you aren't.
August 27, 2006 6:15:42 PM

you have a good pump, buy a custom top for it, alphacool or radical, and it'll run circles around the d5

don't get the apogee as its just as good as a mcw5000 which is outdated years ago. instead get a swiftech storm or if you don't want to pay the premium, at least the cooltechnical mp-5.

don't get 3/8 inch tubing, as it decreases your performance dramatically, get 1/2 ID tubing or 7/16 ID if you want to make tighter bends.
August 27, 2006 9:01:43 PM

another member and i are currently working on this updated guide, hopefully we'll finish soon =P
August 28, 2006 1:53:13 PM

I was refering to the resevoir that Phree linked, but thanks for letting me know that since I was still debating on whether or not to go fancy or just plain. Thats very helpful information.

As for the storm, it sounds like it would perform a lot better than the apogee since my system would be a high flow system... over 1gpm (im assuming, not entirely sure how to calculate that but with 1/2" tubing and that monster pump, seems to me that it would be) But I'm not sure if what I'm planning on using it for would justify the $35 more. Do you think I would see a large performance boost?

Since this sounds like an extreme performer (at least i hope it is for $300 :)  anyone think this would be the type of setup that you would need to attempt 4gz on a E6600? I'm just curious, not planning on leaving it there even if I can, but that would still be fun, and I'm trying to get a good idea of what I can expect to see performanc ewise from this setup.

And waylander, if you know how to mount that rad inside the box, that'd be awesome. I have some ideas already. Would you recommend cutting out exausht vents on the top of the case for it, or how would you go about letting out exhaust air?


Thanks a lot for the help guys!
August 29, 2006 12:19:11 PM

One of the nice aspects of having watercooling is that it reduces the overall system heat. If you cool the CPU and GPU then you are cooling 2 main sources of heat (besides the northbridge and HDDs). The southbridge doesn't really produce as much heat (unless you run various arrays in a busy system). A concern, initially, would be that a top mounted rad would be using system heated air to blow through it but that won't really be as much a concern here. If you can mod your case - the top specifically, with 120mm fan blowholes, you can directly attach the rad to them. the fans could be added to the underside of the rad to blow out the top and it would serve two purposes - cooling the rad and aiding in the air circulation of your system. Make sure to put some form of grill over the blowholes as protection. This configuration, being internal, also free you from having to clean out the fan/rad of dust particles which can collect over time and hamper the cooling. It would be prudent to have some form of fan filter on any fans which draw air into the case such as one of these:

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/2634/ffi-16/FrozenCPU...

. The reason I suggest this is that it traps dust particles from entering your system, depositing material and/or clogging up your internfal fan/rad assembly. As dust collects on these fan filter all you need to do is get a vacuum cleaner and suck it off and your good as new.
August 29, 2006 1:40:13 PM

The Armor series case has an area on the top of it with extra ventilation and some other things, so I was thinking I could put it on the top-side of the case (if that makes any sense) Basically, I hope to mod it lengthwise along the side of my case, close to the top.

This actualy brings up another question I had... since I'm mounting that towards the top of my case, and the resevoir is going to be slightly lower, will it matter or cause any concerns? I've read that the resevoir should be at the highest point in your loop, but I'm not sure how much flexability there is for different situations.
August 29, 2006 2:58:10 PM

Actually, the idea about the reservoir and height really only has to do with the pump. If the rad is mounted higher than the reservoir, the flowrate would only be affected if you had a weak pump. The idea is related to the head of the pump and the flow rate along the loop. Your pump (I'm guessing the MCP655?) is more than up for the task so you wouldn't notice any dropoff. Ideally, as long as your reservoir is above the pump itself (the higher the better but that's all relative) the downward path of the water to the intake of the pump is what is ideal.

In my cooling loop, I have 2 externally mounted dual 120mm rads - one on top of my Coolermaster Stacker, the other in the back. Both are further suspended by radboxes. So, one of my rads is above my reservoir in a position that is not too unlike what yours would be. My flowrate is fine and my results are totally good.

It's always good to try and have a setup that will get you optimal flowrate and there are so many things you can do to achieve this. But, there are always going to be conditions that will affect this like case design, personal philosophy for watercooling, etc. So, you can drive yourself crazy trying to micromanage things. People will give you advice and it is always good to listen because there is no replacement for experience and these forums give people an ability to learn. Just don't worry about what anyone says if it doesn't sit well with your own opinions. You know, it doesn't always have to be about the BEST or OPTIMAL flowrate. The real differences between OPTIMAL and what someone actually has is sometimes so miniscule that it won't matter - you'll still achieve good results.

Ultimately, it just needs to be about what you like.
August 29, 2006 4:17:32 PM

Awesome, thanks for all the advice. Now I just need to get a couple paychecks and order everything. I'll probably start a new thread detailing my OC'ing excapades once I get everything together. Thanks again for the help!!!
August 29, 2006 4:31:27 PM

There are a bunch of good guys here that are always willing to help out

Good luck
!