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Water cooling options for Core 2 X6800

Last response: in Overclocking
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August 28, 2006 11:22:09 PM

I'm looking into water cooling solutions for an "extreme" PC I'm building. I'd like to keep it reasonably quiet but efficient at cooling as I plan to overclock (memory, GPU, CPU).

Two contenders so far:

Koolance
http://www.koolance.com/shop/product_info.php?products_...

Zalman
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...

Any other contenders for relatively quiet water cooling?

The new koolance currently has the edge in my potential buy book as it provides 10 fan levels and supports the 775, 590 chipset (will be a nVidia 590 SLI Intel Edition), and has some nice memory cooling blocks (and they are releasing GPU cooling solutions for the 7950) which might replace my two 7800GTX 512MB.

I've built several Koolance systems in the past and have found them to be solid, leak proof units (one of my systems is over 4 years old and still going well) with nice interconnects. The last EXO2 system I build for a friend is working well, but does seem a little on the noisey side even at the lowest fan setting (this version only had 3 settings).

Obviously I'm partial to Koolance, but I'd like to explore other possibilities that are equal or better -- not overly concerned about price. I've noticed there are many water cooling solutions on the market these days.

Thanks, Ro.b
August 29, 2006 1:43:21 AM

Well, first you have to decide if you actually do have a budget and/or what you intend on cooling. There are many components that have waterblocks - i.e. CPU, GPU, GPU SLI, Northbridge (more important, if you are using an Intel chipset), HDD, mosfets, etc.

You will do much better going the Do-It-Yourself (D.I.Y.) route in a CPU/GPU configuration if you can afford CPU and SLI waterblocks but, that could cost you anywhere from $250 (for a basic kit) to as much as $500 (including high end CPU and Danger Den SLI waterblocks).

Those kits you mentioned use 1/4 ID tubing if I am not mistaken. 1/2 ID is better because of the increased flowrate.

Watercooling memory is not really needed and is pretty much pointless only because the aluminum heatspreaders on ramsticks do just fine - even when OCing. Watercooling memory just serves to degrade the flowrate in your cooling llop, as much because of the diameter of the tubing but also because of the quirky angles and bends of the waterblocks used in memory watercooling.

Here is my watercooling setup:

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 29, 2006 2:37:00 AM

personally I would highly recommend Koolance. My friend and I share a little compy with a koolance kit (I think it's one of those little PC3 kits) and it's pretty cool. Nice and quiet. Although... if you go to FrozenCPU.com there's that waterchilling kit there too. you might like it...
Related resources
August 29, 2006 3:17:00 AM

I'd suggest that you look at the post and let me know where I recommended that block to the poster to buy. I was just giving him an example of what a loop looked like. When people are trying to help, it does a person no good to be rude - that helps no one. I mean really, if you can't say something nice you shouldn't say anything at all.
August 29, 2006 3:49:46 AM

Thank you for the responses.

Could I get a little more info on flow rates? As I understand it the flow rate needs to match the radiator size/configuration -- meaning to high a flow rate could actually be worse for cooling as the fluid passes thru the radiator too quickly and is not cooled sufficiently. Does this sound accurate?

FYI on the new Koolance -- they use 1/2" (13mm) internal diameter tubing.

Not sure I want to go with peltier setup, adds more complexitiy than I want to deal with. I've seen reports of 3.55Ghz X6800 on air cooling, but it seems the motherboard is the limiting factor. What are overclocked X6800 owners getting -- overall performance (not just CPU)?

Where is a good source for the Swiftech MCP655 and the Danger Den GPU water block and 7900GTX voltage regulator waterblock?

I don't want to exceed $700-$800 -- the setup needs to remain quiet and relatively hassle free. I'm pretty good at fabrication so that is not an issue, but I don't like poor quality connectors/components (no frankinstein PC's in my home).

Thanks, Rob.
August 29, 2006 4:09:05 AM

Showing you my cooling solution was not meant to suggest it as an alternative - I mearly wanted to show you what one looked like.

As for flowrates - a higher flow rate moves the heat to the fins faster - heat which is removed by the fans mounted on the rad. As long as you have as few restirctions as possible (i.e. multiple waterblocks, elbow fittings, etc.) and a good pump you'll be fine. The dual-pass rads are designed to make use of high flowrates.

My cooling loop changes all the time as I just like to try out new components to see their affect on overall perfomrance. Right now, I've just got 2 waterblocks in my loop - the CPU and GPU (I just haven't updated my system specs to show for this).

I stand corrected on the Koolance tubing. I didn't realize they used 1/2 ID tubing now.

Pump:
Swiftech MCP655 12v DC Pump ($77)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swmc12vdcpu.html
Sooo quiet and yet, so powerful. 317gph, 12v standard 4-pin molex connector to your PSU

GPU waterblock:
Danger Den Tyee ($130)
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
awesome GPU waterblock, they made the channel wider (than their NV7800 or the NV6800 waterblocks) to allow for a higher flowrate, cools the video memory as well

GPU Voltage Regulator:
Alphacool Mosfet Cooler NV7800 ($40)
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
August 29, 2006 3:15:15 PM

Thank you for the sources, excellent!

During my wonderings at the site, I came across this:

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

I'm getting more motivated to add 2 or even 3 water cooling units (one for each CPU, GPU, chipset) and a 2nd PSU for the coolers. Looks like this case can accomodate. Add a USB LCD, some pots, code a little script or two....

Well you've certainly got me motivated. Any place I can find a flow rate guage or device to monitor flow rate -- all I saw was flow direction?

Thanks again for everyones help.

Rob.
August 30, 2006 4:13:29 AM

dont' get pressure meeters or flow meeters as they will always greatly reduce your flow unless you are buying high end ones (costing 1 or 2 grand)

to the OP

suggested loop

don't buy koolance or zalman, only kits worth looking at are the danger den and swiftech custom ones, and they arn't the best that can be offered either.

as phreejak said, you should build your own loop for maximum performance and still keeping the costs down.

recommended setup:

pump: laing DDC+ (18w version) with alphacool top
cpu block: swiftech storm or cooltechnica mp-05
gpu block: maze 4, mcw60, or mp-01
chipset block: not needed

VOLTAGE REGULATOR BLOCK: ITS NOT JUST UESLESS, BUT ALWAYS KILLS YOUR FLOW LIKE NO OTHER.

radiator: PA series
August 30, 2006 5:58:13 AM

Here is what I'm going with:

Swiftech Quiet Power Series Dual 120mm Radiator (2 @ $43.95 = $87.90):

Swiftech Barb Fitting, 1/2" (4 @ $1.45 = $5.80)

Swiftech Storm Performance CPU Waterblock (1 @ $77.95 = $77.95)

Swiftech MCW60 VGA Waterblock w/BGA ramsinks (2 @ $59.95 = $119.90)

Swiftech MCP655 12VDC pump (2 @ $79.95 = $159.90)

PolarFlo Single Bay Reservoir 1/2" (2 @ $19.95 = $39.90)

Noiseblocker 120 mm low noise fans (4 @ $19.95 = $79.80)

1/2" tubing 12ft (12 @ $1.55 = $18.60)

Grand total: $589.75
August 30, 2006 6:19:48 AM

You might consider adding this item as it will help protect your lines against kinking in tight bends:

Swiftech Coolsleeves 625 ($2.60)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swco625.html
helps protect tubing from kinking in tight bends
get 2
August 30, 2006 8:20:05 AM

Hi
according to my personal experience
i would recommend the following

Gigabyte 3D Aurora Case (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16811233002)

Thermaltake Big Water SE Water Pump with Blue LED Light 12cm Liquid Cooling System - Retail (http://www.newegg.com/Product/ProductList.asp?Brand=1379&N=2010110062+1294418558+50001379&Submit=ENE&Manufactory=1379&SubCategory=62)

Thermaltake AquaBay CL-W0032 Liquid Cooling System Level & Flow Indicator - Retail
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835106066)

Thermaltake CL-W0038 Liquid Cooling System 208 - Copper VGA Waterblock - Retail
(http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E16835106059)

i tried these my self and found them to be very efficient and quite.
i installed them on an AMD Athlon64 X2 4900 CPU and nVIDIA fx4900GTX GPU


have fun
August 30, 2006 3:51:25 PM

I looked into the Thermatake components, but noticed that several buyers had received faulty units and/or units that leaked. Based on the buyers descriptions it did indeed sound like sloppy assembly and/or fragile components and not the buyer's fault.

My only concern with my current list is the noise. The Swiftech Storm water block performs very well provided the pump can produce enough pressure -- since the MCP655 can be modulated it will be interesting to see the noise level to pressure ratio -- I'm hoping I can run the pump at a lower speed and still retain good cooling with the Storm water block.

As you can see from my ugly list, I'm planning on running two separate water cooling loops -- one for CPU (and maybe chipset), one for dual GPU. Memory will use simple air cooling -- finding PC8500 memory is another story, everyone is out of stock (any suggestiongs there?).

Thank you for your suggestions.

Rob.
August 30, 2006 3:57:48 PM

Even at it's highest setting, the MCP655 is dead silent. It should be at it's highest setting as a factory default (both of mine were recieved that way) and the only way I could tell it was running was by the turbulence in the reservoir - even when I got right up next to it to try and detect any sound.
August 30, 2006 4:01:39 PM

try searching for it at www.tigerdirect.com
i bougth most of my hardware from them and recieved very decent parts


regards
August 30, 2006 4:28:44 PM

Good to know the pump is quiet -- I'm probably going to go with a fan/pump control unit anyway (or build one) and see what works best in terms of noise to performance.

Cleaned up my original parts list post -- hopefully more readable.

Rob.
August 30, 2006 4:50:00 PM

I also have the MCP655 pump and agree that it is silent, you definitely will not hear it against even background noise. When I was leak testing with nothing else in the computer on I still couldn't hear it at the highest setting.

by all means get a fan controller for the fans on the radiator but you will need something that can handle very high watts/amps to control the pump, I believe it draws 18 watts or more.
August 30, 2006 5:15:21 PM

I'm using a Silverstone 650 Watt PSU -- hope that is enough. Currently my old system draws 380 Watts at full load (AMD FX57, 2GB RAM, two 10K raptors, two 7800GTX 512MB, Plextor DVD burner, 4 fans).
August 30, 2006 5:33:56 PM

Well I hope you don't have any problems but unfortunately I did. You can see my system in the sig and when I added 4 120mm fans, a couple of CCD lights and the pump my 600W Enermax couldn't handle it, therefore the new 750W silverstone.
!