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Watercooling 7950GX2 + Conroe Build advice wanted

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  • Heatsinks
  • Water Cooling
  • Overclocking
Last response: in Overclocking
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September 5, 2006 12:25:29 PM

Hi,

I'm just about to watercool my new system:

Intel E6600
Leadtek 7950GX2
2GB Corsair XMS2 DDR2 800
Intel Bad Axe
XClio 550W PSU
Thermaltake Shark Case.

There is a new waterblock from aquatech I believe for the 7950GX2 that I was going to use, however i'm unsure of which other water cooling parts to use, whether to buy a whole kit and add the GPU block, or buy all the parts separately.

My main reason for overclocking is to get it as quiet as possible (though I expect I will be overclocking as well!)

Also a worry I have is that I don't really want to have to mod my case too much but I will if I have to!

Any help appreciated,

Thanks

More about : watercooling 7950gx2 conroe build advice wanted

September 5, 2006 1:31:18 PM

Hi, i went into the watercooling thing as well but started off with gigabytes watercooling kit wich is awesome and the reviews and tests with it was great, i think for a start get a for your cpu and see if its really worth watercooling your GPU's if it is you can just addon at a later stage..my case already had all the holes necessary for the gigabyte watercooling so i didnt need to do any modding.. hope it yelps a bit



AMD 3800+ x2 (2.6GHZ)
ASUS A8N-SLI
1GB Kingston
80GB Sata 2
Gigabyte Watercooling Kit
Gigabyte poseidon case
September 5, 2006 1:49:26 PM

Well it is the GPU I am most interested in cooling, simply because of the noise. I already have a relatively quiet air cooler for my CPU (Arctic Cooler Freezer 7 Pro), so there wouldn't really be a requirement for a water cooling system for the CPU alone.

I was thinking of something like the Swiftech Apex ultra kit, which has an adaptor to fit a dual radiator on the outside of one 120mm fan slot, and then adding in the 7950GX2 water block. I'm not sure if the pipe is the same size though, so it may not be possible.
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September 5, 2006 2:04:04 PM

The swiftech ones are great my one friend runs the kit in hes machine and has the MCW60 gpu waterblock wich keeps hes x1800xt very cool..
September 5, 2006 2:46:30 PM

There are two GPU waterblocks available for the 7950GX2, one by Aquacomputers - the aquagraFX - and the other is by Innovatek - the Cool-Matic 7950GX2. They are both fitted more for 1/4 ID and 3/8 ID tubing. Their design, while seemingly the only solution to watercooling the 7950s, is extremely highly restrictive to waterflow. You'd need to configure your watercooling system using 1/4 ID or 3/8 ID parts and tubing.

Since you are meerly going to be cooling the GPU in your loop, you don't necessarily need the most powerful pump. You'd do fine with the MCP350 by Swiftech. It has a small footprint, has decent pumping capabilities and is very quiet. Plus, it was designed for a 3/8 ID waterloop. There is no need to get the other 3/8 ID pump that Swiftech sells, the MCP 355 as that would be a bit of overkill and it has a noticeable noise level. according to Swiftech.
September 5, 2006 3:36:32 PM

The GPU won't be the only item in my loop, as I have decided to go for a water cooling system, I will be including the CPU and Northbridge as well.

I was only saying earlier that I didn't want to go to a watercooling system only for the CPU, as it wouldn't make a huge amount of difference for the price I'm going to be paying.

Thanks for the info on the blocks and pumps though, v.useful.

Anyone got any information or recommendations for the Thermaltake Bigwater systems, or the Asetek Waterchill systems? (Big difference in price I realise, but both would have their advantages for me!)

Would the pump on the Thermaltake Bigwater be strong enough for the CPU, northbridge and 7950GX2? Especially if the 7950 waterblocks are flow restrictive as Phreejak said.

Thanks

B
September 5, 2006 9:49:58 PM

Alot could depend on your budget for watercooling.
September 5, 2006 10:14:30 PM

Personally I think that as your 7950 is limiting you to 1/4" ID you'd be best having a seperate loop for your CPU/NB... but this means more expense.

A 1/4" ID system is going to struggle to cool 2 GPUs (or 4 if you go quad SLi) and a CPU and a NB without being a stupidly high pressure system with an extremely noisy pump (in which case you may as well stay with Air imho)
September 5, 2006 10:22:11 PM

I totally agree with that..

Which is why I asked about his budget. While the waterblocks from both companies are ideally fitted for 1/4 ID, they will accept 3/8 ID adapters but, the overall effect is going to be restrictive at best. A second loop would be much more efficent, especially if you go quad-SLI.
September 6, 2006 10:01:20 AM

My Budget is anywhere in between £130 - £250. I can understand what you are saying about having separate loops, but there is not an awful lot of room in my Thermaltake shark case to be able to handle 2 separate loops.

Could i use 2 pumps but only 1 reservoir and radiator? So for example go:

Pump - CPU - NB - Pump - GPU1 - GPU2 - Radiator - Reservoir

(I don't know if this would be the most efficient way of cooling it, I would look further into it).

Would the Swiftech dual radiator be enough to cool this loop? The Asetek Waterchill triple radiator i'm sure would do the job, but I think I would have to do some modding on my case to be able to fit it. Anyone have any experience with this?
September 6, 2006 10:21:10 AM

You could use one reservoir for two loops but you would need to use 2 different rads. There is no way to hook up two loops to one rad. I looked at a Thermaltake Shark and I see your problem - you are very limited in what you can do when considering two rads.

The difficulty that you would be having is the restrictive flow of not just the 7950 waterblock but also the 1/4 ID tubing. If you could get the Aqua Computer waterblock, the Aquagrafx, it uses G1/8 heads. At least, with that, you could find 3/8 ID tubing and components and use 3/8 ID conntectors for the waterblock. That is the best solution out of 1/4 ID and 3/8 ID choices.

Ok, suggestions...

If you are settled at having a 7950GX2 and watercooling it then it is not impossible by any means. Do you already have the 7950GX2? or were you planning on getting it? Having such restrictive waterblocks and tubing size won't give you "optimal" cooling but it will be able to get you positive results (and still better than air cooling).
September 6, 2006 10:57:50 AM

Hi,

Thanks for your help,

Yes I do already have this system up and running (I get about 14800 on 3dMark 05 on standard resolutions), but as I say, the noise of the 7950GX2 is enough to make me want to do something about it!

If I did want 2 loops I could always get a Zalman Reserator for the CPU & Northbridge, and a separate loop for the CPU and NB. I must admit, the Arctic Cooler Freezer 7 Pro is not quite as quiet as I expected.

If I went for this option (which by the way what do you think of?), which parts do you recommend for the GPU loop?

Thanks again
September 6, 2006 1:13:46 PM

Two loops - that's so much work and you are limited by the case. I figure that you're only going to be able to use, at best, a dual 120mm rad - in the back, outside, mounted with a radbox kit.

I'd hate for you to have to use something like the Reserator, not because I think ill of that particular kit but, because it is just another mess to add and it would also greatly increase your expense. So, let's try and work everything in one loop if possible.

There is a new pump that just came out - the MCP355. It is extremely powerful and no more expensive than other comparable pumps. It's a 3/8 ID pump (which would work for you). The only thing is that it is supposed to output up to 32dBa in sound - which is very noticeable. I am convinced, though, that if properly mounted, it could reduce the noise factor. I would use the foam sticky pad that comes with it but forgo bolting it down and just see how that does if you get it. It's the perfect pump for what you want otherwise - small, powerful and optimized for 3/8 ID loops. The alternative is the MCP655 - which is made for 1/2 ID loops but can be used by employing 1/2 to 3/8 reducers.

Since we are going to focus on getting you as much of the flow as possible, I'd also suggest the Swiftech Apogee for the CPU. The Storm is more favored by enthusiasts but it is a much greater restriction to flow.

The major purpose of the northbbridge is to run communications between the CPU and the video ports (pci, agp and pcie) and it also coordinates memory functions between the CPU, the FSB and your ram. You are using an Nvidia chipset board so you don't really need to add a northbridge waterblock to the loop because the on die memory controller of the AMD procs. That takes some of the use of the northbridge away so they run cooler than Intel chipsets. A decent HSF would do.

So, following this plan, you have a CPU waterblock and a GPU waterblock. You would be using 3/8 ID tubing and either the MCP355 pump OR the MCP 655 (with reducer). For your radiator, a tried and true Black Ice Xtreme II. As for a coolant, you'll need to decide between a water additive like Hydrix or the more expensive non-conductive coolants like PRIMOCHILL ICE.

WATERBLOCKS:
AquagraFX ($160)
http://www.sharkacomputers.com/aqcoaq79gx2.html

Swiftech Apogee Extreme Performance block with AM2 Support ($50)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swapexpebl.html

RADIATOR:
Black Ice Xtreme II Radiator ($43)
http://www.dangerdenstore.com/product.php?productid=2&c...

TUBING:
Tygon 3/8in. ID 1/2in. OD Laboratory Tubing #R3603 ($1.65ft)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/ty3id1odlatu.html

CLAMPS:
Breeze Miniature Hose Clamp 7/32 in. to 5/8 in (10/$3.60)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/brmihocl7int.html

PUMPS:
Swiftech MCP655 ($77)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swmc12vdcpu.html

Reducer for MCP655 ($4.50) You'll need 2 (1/2 ID to 3/8 ID)
http://www.dangerdenstore.com/product.php?productid=71&...

OR

MCP355 ($80)
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...
I'd advice you to read on this pump concerning the audible noise factor.
Here's a link to the manufacturer:
http://www.swiftnets.com/products/mcp355.asp
September 6, 2006 1:34:16 PM

I'm in the process of watercooling also, but went with parts mainly from DangerDen (BIPIII, D5 Pump w/A64 Block[combo sale for $108], tubing, etc.). If you really want information about watercooling go to ocforums.com . The guys over there are pretty helpful and they have tons of pics posted of thier rigs so you can get a general idea of what you need to do and buy.

Thiers also a coupon for 20% off at DD if you do a search on ocforums.
September 6, 2006 1:53:52 PM

Wow, Great post, thanks!

I'll be ordering over the next couple of days, just one point though,

I have an E6600 Conroe processor with an Intel D975XBX M/B, so I do still have an Intel Northbridge, which is currently passively cooled. As I'm not too bothered about overclocking, I suppose I can just leave it at that!

Thanks for all your help!
September 6, 2006 1:59:33 PM

My bad, I read someone else's specs.

I need sleep I think.

If you do get a waterblock for your northbridge then, you'll need one that uses the "clip/hook" attachment style since the default attachment for a NB HSF on your particular board does not use screws. Be mindful of putting a waterblock on it because the tubing that would be attached to it does apply awkward pressure and can, if you have tight bends, tilt the NB waterblock so that it does not sit flush with the chip. My previous ASUS board was the same way and I ended up just using the stock heatsink becuase I didn't want to take any chances with the chip going bad on me
September 7, 2006 1:14:11 AM

I know what you mean. Everyone always says be careful when adding the waterblock to the northbridge but as I see it, mines failing and only running at half speed right now. I figured that since I'm in the market for a watercooled rig I might as well do the nb too. Now the only problem is I have a 7900GTX blocking the hell out of it and I would need to also buy a waterblock for the 7900GTX if I wanted to watercool the nb. Adds another $220 to the total cost and a lot more planning to straighten out the wires/tubing.
!