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Looking into watercooling, need help

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December 21, 2006 2:58:52 AM

I am trying to look into water cooling. I tried to use google to find information, but that didn't work. I tried to look in these forums, but that didn't help much either. So I was hoping someone could answer my questions.

1)Can someone recommend some sites/specific reviews to look at?

2) How much will a decent CPU + VGA loop cost (total for everything I would be getting)

3) How much noise will a water cooling system make?

4) What are the chances of something really bad happening to my system because my watercooling system fails when I'm at school/asleep with my computer still on?

5) I'm almost certain my current case (link) won't be able to fit anything more than I already have (don't beleive me? loot at my mess of cables). Should I buy a new case with more room or what would be the best course of action?

More about : watercooling

December 21, 2006 5:27:06 PM

You might want to look at an external kit from Koolance, or Zalman, or CoolerMaster. As this will take up very little room in the case. I my self have been using a Gigabyte Galaxy liquid cooling kit for 1 year now and I love it. I have recently flushed it but the CPU temps never went above 29C even before the flush. And I lveave my system turned on for weeks at a time and (knocks on wood) have not had a leak with this kit. Unlike my old Thermaltake kit which went through 3 resivours in under a year.

-ouch1
December 21, 2006 8:57:39 PM

Everyone says that a custom built water cooling system is superior. Is that just not the way to go because I'm 1) a noob and 2) I don't have the proper case. How do external kits work? Do I just have some random thing with tubes coming out of my case? How would the tubing get in/out of my case? Are they as effective as internal kits? I've been looking into getting a new case anyways so I could put some of my old parts in it and have a second computer.
Related resources
December 21, 2006 9:34:30 PM

The nice thing about kits is that everything is pretty much already picked out for you. As for the kits I talked about most of the time they have I/O slots covers that have holes already drilled into them for the tubingto go through. In the case of the Zalman kits they go to a fairly stylish tower that houses the radiator, pump, and ALOT of coolant. The only things in the case that are connected to the tower are the tubing, and water blocks.

The Koolance kits sit on top of the case and are self contained; like the Zalman. But unlike the Zalman they have fans to increase thier cooling capability. But the stock Zalman is no slouch when it comes to cooling.

The [uel=http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.asp?Item=N82E1683...]CoolerMaster[/url] kits fix inside the case but take up 2 5.25" bays in the front of your case. But from what I have read it is not a good performing kit.

The choice is yours, but the kits I linked are for the most part complete kits that include cpu block (except the Koolance thats a separate purchase), tubing, and coolant. The Zalman even includes a gpu block for cooling your video card.

-ouch1
December 21, 2006 10:07:03 PM

How much of a pain would the zalman/koolance kits be to bring to a LAN party? Also the koolance has 1/4" tubing, would that be sufficient flow to cool a cpu and a gpu? How loud would those systems be?
December 21, 2006 10:23:40 PM

I would just purchase your own. I was in the same delima as you and I decided to build my own and I am glad that I did. Here is what I used and other options that you could use:

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

CPU waterblock:
Swiftech STORM Rev 2 ($80)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swstunhipebl.html
The top of the line CPU waterblock

Reservoirs:
Danger Den Single 5 1/4" Bay Reservoir ($30)
http://www.dangerdenstore.com/product.php?productid=52&...

PrimoChill - Single Floppy Bay Reservoir ($10)
http://www.voyeurmods.com/index.php?action=item&id=1697...

Cyclone 120 External mounted ($33)
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...;cPat

Radiators:
Single 120mm
Black Ice Xtreme Radiator ($34)
http://www.dangerdenstore.com/product.php?productid=1&c...

Dual 120mm
Black Ice Xtreme II Radiator ($43)
http://www.dangerdenstore.com/product.php?productid=2&c...


Tubing:
Tygon 1/2in. ID 11/16in. OD Laboratory Tubing #R3603 ($2.25/ft)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/ty1idx11odx3.html
Get, at least, ten feet. Best tubing around and you won't find it cheaper anywhere else


Clamps:
Breeze Miniature Hose Clamp 7/16 in. to 25/32 in. (10/#3.60)
to secure the tubing to the fittings
get 20


Kinks:
Swiftech Coolsleeves 625 ($2.60)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swco625.html
helps protect tubing from kinking in tight bends
get 2


Coolant:
Regular
HydrX Extreme-Duty UV Coolant ($3.29)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/hyexduco.html
UV Reactive, biological preventative - must mix with distilled water
get 2

OR

Non-conductive
PrimoChill ICE 32oz ($20)
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...;cPat
lubricant, non-conductive, corrosive inhibitant, non-toxic, biodegradeable, biological preventative
get 2


EDIT: This list does not include the required 120mm fans for whatever size rad you might choose nor does it include the radbox assembly for externally mounted radiators.


Of course this is the best of the best...I figure if you are going to do something do it right!
December 21, 2006 10:26:16 PM

The Zalman kit would be a bear to take to a lan-party. But the nice thing about it is that it has sealed disconnect adapters. They allow you to disconenct the tower from your system when you want to move it. The Koolance kit has available straps for stapping it to your case for when you move it.

Yeah the Koolance kit uses 1/4" tubing but so far I have heard fairly good reviews of it from people who have it. I don't know how loud it ism but I find it hard to believe that it would be very loud at all. But the nice thing about the Zalman kit is that it shold be darn near silent since it does not use any fans.

I use a Gigabyte kit and love it. But it is completely internal (except the radiator) and I don't think you have room in your case for it.

-ouch1
December 21, 2006 11:22:29 PM

Mad_Cow20, how loud would that system be? Noise is a fairly large concern for me because I have trouble sleeping with my loud computer on. If I know I'm going to leave it on I'll sometimes even move it outside my room so I don't lose any sleep. I don't know if I really want to spend $261 on a cooling system... Of course every time I've gone cheap I've been unsatisfied and ended up buying something more expensive anyways. Is it really that big of difference between a $261 custom build loop and a $179 pre-built system?

Also is the advantage of a 2 x 120mm radiator over a 1 x 120 mm radiator that noticeable?

Would there be a way of fitting a water cooling system inside my case? I can use a screw driver and that's pretty much the limit of my technical abilities. I would like to avoid having stuff outside my case. If it can't fit I might just get a new case as well as a water cooling system.
December 22, 2006 1:06:21 AM

Yes there is a difference between custom and prebuilt... the biggest one is the POS pumps that come with the prebuilts, usually at least 1/4 less powerfull than the MCP655.

How much you want to spend on your water cooling is up to you but just like with your computer do you want the best, worst or something in between? The worst prebuilt kits perform just slightly better than the best air cooling at twice the cost and ten times the headache. The best custom kit will perform 50-100% better at five times the cost and ten times the headache...

If you want to go completely internal, thermaltake and other makers have custom towers with built in water cooling but they are on par with the worst to mid water cooling.

Look at it this way... if you enjoy buildng your own computer then you'll enjoy DIY custom water cooling, the prebuilt kits for water cooling are like dells for computers....
December 22, 2006 1:34:48 AM

Koolance also has 3/8" kits too. I just forgot where. Does anybody know? I thought it was on NEWEGG, but I can't find it now.....
December 22, 2006 2:35:17 AM

Your setup has actually many inconsistencies.

The 655 isnt the best for the STORM as you need over 10 ft of head (paired with good flow of course) for it to start to shine, otherwise you might as well get a Apogee. The 355 with a modded top from Alphacool or PetrasTechShop is actually the best as it increases its flow while keep the head height, Cathar rated it as the "the ideal AC pump".

You would need incredibly loud fans (over 100CFM) to extract the performance out of the BIX, while a rad from Swiftech or a CoolRad (this being my favorite) will outperform it for cheaper and will be quiet while doing so.

Hydrx is a very nice additives, as Zerex Racing Coolant. But all those so called non-conductive arent really totally non-conductive and they will increase your temperatures, maybe for only 2-3c but if youre going with water already you want the lowest possible temperature.
December 22, 2006 3:00:43 AM

I'm not really after an extremely high performing cooling system. I want more of a low noise solution that's better than air. I would like something that's totally internal, but if that's no possible I guess I could just put together some parts I have sitting around in a spare case and take that places and leave my nice water cooled comp at home. And again my technical skills are limited to about a screwdriver.

I really don't want to spend a large amount of money. Is there a sweet spot in cost/performance ratio in water cooling like there is in pretty much everything else?
December 22, 2006 3:13:49 AM

Quote:
And again my technical skills are limited to about a screwdriver.
How about a dremel? Nothing fancy, just a couple of holes to save you $20.

Whats your exactly your budget for CPU/GPU?
December 22, 2006 3:26:20 AM

If I knew what a dremel was, it would help. If it's nothing to hard I could probably do it. I don't really have a set budget, I wasn't planning on getting it right now, I was going to wait some time and learn about stuff and talk to people and try to learn as much as possible. I've made one bad choice after another about what to buy (the irony is I bought a crappy video card, motherboard, and RAM; the only good thing I bought was my power supply). Plus water cooling is (as far as I've heard at least) a real investment. Most computer hardware changes from week to week, but a water cooling system will do me good for (hopefully) years.

So I've looked on wiki at a dremel and it doesn't look to hard to handle.
December 22, 2006 4:03:24 AM

You will always want your radiators to have fresh air you can either do this by placing them outside or drilling huge holes for them to intake to inside the fan, Here's a picture if im not being clear enough.
The Swiftech Radbox has become widely popular for placing the rads outside the case, but its $20... with some heavy duty double sided tape you could do something like this:

Water cooling is definetly an investment not only because you want the best out of you several bucks but because even the experts have agreed that WC has reached a point where incredible gains cannot be achieved anymore, so you would be getting the best and it would stay the best for years to come.

Since you have time and the enthusiast I advice to read and read all the articles you can. Going over every single component would be tiering and non-effective as tons has been written about them. Start by the sticky in this forum and head over to Procooling.com, overclockers.com has a very informative water cooling section but its rather outdated, their forumz however are active and full of information.
December 22, 2006 4:26:29 AM

If you want a quiet setup the BIX isnt the right radiator to use. The BI pro will do better with quiet fans in the Black Ice range and the PA models from Thermcchill are probably the best for use with lower powered fans with the Swiftech rads probably a little better than the BIPs,

With that case you should have no problems top mounting a rad but would lose the use of the top 2 drive bays.

Also the apogee would save some moner over the Storm and may perform better on a cpu with IHS (there has been a lot of discussion on the subject but from what I have seen they seem to be about equal in performance and how well they are mounted would make far more difference than the difference in design.

I am not biased against the storm since I have these.



Also here are a couple pics of my setup in a rather small case for watercooling







I have since changed to a socket 775 board and replaced my RBX with the Storm G4 with a 3rd barb added to keep it setup the same.

This setup has been running 24/7 for just about 3 years with no leaks or any real maintaining needed.

I use Xerex racing super coolant with distilled water in a 10 to 1 mix and it is as clear (slight pink color) as the day I last changed it over 2 years ago.
December 22, 2006 4:32:22 AM

My system is not that loud...the 120 fans do make some noise. All in all though I am very happy with my selection, I am running it on a FX57 which at idle runs at 28c. I do have a duo6800 that I will use on it, but I am waiting on a motherboard to get and then I will also OC it.
December 22, 2006 4:56:24 AM

The case looks wicked cool, but why does the Zerex looks so bright? Did you add UV dye or something?
December 22, 2006 5:08:28 AM

Go to 3Dgameman.com for some video reviews with some of the best water cooling components. As for buying stuff you can go to Frozencpu.com, Xoxide.com and CrazyPC.com. You can spend up to $100 to $300 depending how much cooling you need and with the noise, water cooling is not made to combat noise in the first place but to provide lower temps for overclocking. But if you want both high performance cooling and no noise setup then get them high quality components/kits. For you cpu/vga loop you can even get the H20-220 from Swiftech and that should be good enough for your system. But there are many components out there to choose from and are more better than just kits. How much are you willing to spend for this loop?
December 22, 2006 5:17:43 AM

Jab-Tech.com, PetrasTechShop.com (know the owner), and even PerformancePCs.com are other great stores with good prices and excellent customer support. Without mentioning their large stock of WC components.
December 22, 2006 5:26:45 AM

I have found the coolermaster miniR120 for cpu cooling to be quite fine.The rad will fit in the back of your case and help to keep it kool.But I don't know if they have a cpu and vga combo cooler.Check out their site at www.coolermaster-usa.com .Hopefully they will have somethng along the lines you are looking for.Goodluck.P.S.My cooler master kept my X2-4400+ at around 50 celcius when I overclocked it from 2.2 ghz.to 2.7ghz.And I ran 3DMARK05 ver.1.3.0,and never got above 52 celcius.

Dahak

AMD X2-4400+@2.4 S-939
EVGA NF4 SLI MB
2X EVGA 7800GT IN SLI
2X1GIG DDR IN DC MODE
WD300GIG HD
EXTREME 19IN.MONITOR 1280X1024
ACE 520WATT PSU
COOLERMASTER MINI R120
December 22, 2006 5:51:51 PM

Quote:
Koolance also has 3/8" kits too. I just forgot where. Does anybody know? I thought it was on NEWEGG, but I can't find it now.....


No they don't, what they have are 3/8" adaptors for their 1/4" lines.... this means that you still have a restriction point of 1/4" even if you use 3/8" tubing. Look closely at the connection points to the hardware for koolance, thermaltake and gigibyte kits. They are all DESIGNED for 1/4" but can accept 3/8" adaptors to use 3/8" hose BUT the line in and out of their hardware is still 1/4". I found this out the hard way... stupid crap sitting around in my computer hardware junk pile.

To the OP:

I've also attached a picture of my cpu+SLI water cooled system.
December 22, 2006 6:01:38 PM

Quote:


With that case you should have no problems top mounting a rad but would lose the use of the top 2 drive bays.



Do you mean my hard drive bays or my cd drive bays? My top 3 cd bays are empty and I doubt I will use them anytime in the future. I would probably take one out for a total of 4 empty eventually.

I could always just stick my hard drives in external enclosure and get a sata pci bracket if necessary.

I tried to clean up my cables a little bit. My case isn't the best at making organizing cables easy so this is the best I could do.



I could take out my 2 pci cards if I need to, I don't use them except on occasion.

I don't need a silent silent system, just a quiet one. I don't know really how to find out what level of sound I want, but 45dB is for sure too loud. I was hoping to find something that's downward from 25dB.

Am I right in thinking that it's the fans on the radiator that makes most of the noise? If that's the case then couldn't I just put in some adjustable fans? I don't need it ultra quiet all the time, just when I'm sleeping/doing homework/just feel like quiet for some reason. When I'm gaming or doing anything that would bring my cpu usage above 5% I would probably have music on anyways. When I'm gaming etc. I could care less if it's even like 40dB, but when I'm sleeping I want it pretty quiet.
December 22, 2006 6:53:59 PM

Chack out DangerDen for great products and information.
December 22, 2006 8:08:34 PM

Quote:
The case looks wicked cool, but why does the Zerex looks so bright? Did you add UV dye or something?

Yes in that pic I did have some red UV die in it. But shortly after I replaced with straight water/zerex mix. I one day decided to clean all my tubing and boiled them which did a good job but there were a couple spots that didnt come clean so I added a little radiator cleaner to the mix and that turned my nice clear Tygon to a milky color similar to silicone. Since then I just have used the zerex/water mix.


Quote:
Do you mean my hard drive bays or my cd drive bays? My top 3 cd bays are empty and I doubt I will use them anytime in the future. I would probably take one out for a total of 4 empty eventually.

Yes I mean the top 5 1/4 bays. I would cut a hole in the top of the case and would mount the rad to it, then the fans to the rad (a double 120 rad would extend into the drive bay space is the reason you would lose the use of the top two) with them drawing air through the rad from the outside and make sure that all other case fans were exhausting.

You wont have to remove anything from the bottom half of the case that way, there will be plenty of room for the pump to set with everything as you have it. Here is a closer pic of my pump and pci cards, and you have room between the cards and HD for the pump to set.



Here is a shot of a how a top mounted rad can look.

December 22, 2006 8:28:04 PM

I would like to avoid cutting into my case too much. Eventually I'm going to put together a basic computer with spare parts to take to lan parties and move around, and keep my nice one at home. If I cut a hole into this case I would have to keep my good parts in my current case with water cooling. I don't think having a hole in my case would help too much when I move my WC system to a new case.
December 22, 2006 8:57:31 PM

Then I would use the Swiftech Radbox to mount it to the back of the case. Some of the Swiftech kits include it, and I would think about getting one of those if I were you then (they have a good quality components). You can always remount it inside later if you do find a case that you think would keep for a while. Here is a link to a kit I would suggest for you.
December 22, 2006 9:08:48 PM

Quote:

No they don't, what they have are 3/8" adaptors for their 1/4" lines.... this means that you still have a restriction point of 1/4" even if you use 3/8" tubing. Look closely at the connection points to the hardware for koolance, thermaltake and gigibyte kits. They are all DESIGNED for 1/4" but can accept 3/8" adaptors to use 3/8" hose BUT the line in and out of their hardware is still 1/4". I found this out the hard way... stupid crap sitting around in my computer hardware junk pile.


Actually Gigabyte kits such as the 3d Galaxy and 3d Galaxy II use 1/2"ID tubing on the CPU loop. I should know I use a 3d Galaxy myself and have used it for a year now with no problems. Heck my CPU rarely goes over 30C under load, and sits around 22C at idle. And that is an oc's A64 3200+ running @ 2.5GHz. The only changes I might do to it is buy the chipset block kit to cool my NB, and maybe lap the CPU block to see if I can get the temps lower. So I am pretty sure I know what I am talking about when it comes to Gigabyte kits.

-ouch1
December 22, 2006 9:16:53 PM

I would highly advice you to use Yate Loon or Nexus low speed fans. Their specs might not look impressive but theyre widely used by the water cooling gurus for their extremely low vibration (theyre inaudible at ~27") and price ($4).
December 22, 2006 10:15:36 PM

For the radiator mount what if I put it on top of my case and then run tubes through one of my 5.25" bays. Then I wouldn't have to cut anything out of my case. I know it wouldn't be as effective as cutting through my case, but as of right now I really don't want to destroy my case.
December 22, 2006 10:31:06 PM

Yeah that would work perfectly, its practically what im going to do but at the top.
December 22, 2006 10:33:00 PM

That would work fine also as long as you have enough clearance for good airflow through the rad. There are quite a few people that mount their rads that way, but usually run the tubes through the top or the back and into the case.

You mean something like this.

December 22, 2006 11:44:53 PM

Where would I find a yate loon fan?

Ancient 1, yes that was what I was thinking, except maybe running the tubes through my 5.25" bay.

For the design of the loop I was thinking: 5.25" bay reservoir -> pump on the bottom of my case -> cpu block -> radiator tubing going through a 5.25" bay-> reservoir

Would it be better to insert my VGA block after my cpu block, making a longer loop because it would have to go up form the bottom to the cpu then back down to the VGA card then back up to the radiator; or putting the VGA block before the CPU block, minimizing the length of the loop but providing warming water to my CPU?

Or I could do it like this: reservoir -> pump on the bottom of my case -> radiator through the back of my case -> CPU -> VGA -> reservoir.

Which of my 2 plans would work better do you think, or are they both crap?

Also, would I have to cut stuff to get the tubes through the back of my case? Like I said before I would like to avoid this, and also I can handle a screw driver and that's about it sadly.
December 23, 2006 12:07:25 AM

Order makes basically no difference (the water moves fast enough that in the loop the warmest to coolest is less than 1 degree). It is better for the pump somewhat to have the res just before it but not needed.

Routing your loop to have the least tubing and sharp bends means more and even the length of tubing isnt that big of deal (if I remember a sharp 90 has as much restriction as 1' of length).

As for the Yate Loons unless you are going for complete silence I would suggest stronger fans. Personally I sleep with my puter aprox 2' from my head and I have 2 Delta VHEs on my rad and a 108cfm sanace on top all running @ 12v and would have trouble sleeping without the noise (I think I got used to the sound of rushing air as a kid when the main air conditioner duct went through my bedroom closet).

Quote:
Also, would I have to cut stuff to get the tubes through the back of my case? Like I said before I would like to avoid this, and also I can handle a screw driver and that's about it sadly


Sorry I missed this. Best would be to drill two 7/8~1" holes and put in grommets to keep the tubing from rubbing on the sharp metal. Then if you removed the water cooling you could just use snap-in plastic plugs to cover. I would guess that both the grommets and plugs would be available at most auto parts or hardware stores. I am pretty sure the grommets are included in the Swiftech kit.
December 23, 2006 7:59:31 PM

Thinking about liquid cooling too but not keen on drilling anything. Was considering using these unless someone advises against it
December 23, 2006 8:52:26 PM

what size is that? if it's smaller than your tubing/other parts then it will constrict your flow and probably wouldn't be a good idea.
December 25, 2006 2:23:31 AM

Quote:
I would just purchase your own. I was in the same delima as you and I decided to build my own and I am glad that I did. Here is what I used and other options that you could use:

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

CPU waterblock:
Swiftech STORM Rev 2 ($80)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swstunhipebl.html
The top of the line CPU waterblock

Reservoirs:
Danger Den Single 5 1/4" Bay Reservoir ($30)
http://www.dangerdenstore.com/product.php?productid=52&...

PrimoChill - Single Floppy Bay Reservoir ($10)
http://www.voyeurmods.com/index.php?action=item&id=1697...

Cyclone 120 External mounted ($33)
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...;cPat

Radiators:
Single 120mm
Black Ice Xtreme Radiator ($34)
http://www.dangerdenstore.com/product.php?productid=1&c...

Dual 120mm
Black Ice Xtreme II Radiator ($43)
http://www.dangerdenstore.com/product.php?productid=2&c...


Tubing:
Tygon 1/2in. ID 11/16in. OD Laboratory Tubing #R3603 ($2.25/ft)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/ty1idx11odx3.html
Get, at least, ten feet. Best tubing around and you won't find it cheaper anywhere else


Clamps:
Breeze Miniature Hose Clamp 7/16 in. to 25/32 in. (10/#3.60)
to secure the tubing to the fittings
get 20


Kinks:
Swiftech Coolsleeves 625 ($2.60)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/swco625.html
helps protect tubing from kinking in tight bends
get 2


Coolant:
Regular
HydrX Extreme-Duty UV Coolant ($3.29)
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/hyexduco.html
UV Reactive, biological preventative - must mix with distilled water
get 2

OR

Non-conductive
PrimoChill ICE 32oz ($20)
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...;cPat
lubricant, non-conductive, corrosive inhibitant, non-toxic, biodegradeable, biological preventative
get 2


EDIT: This list does not include the required 120mm fans for whatever size rad you might choose nor does it include the radbox assembly for externally mounted radiators.


Of course this is the best of the best...I figure if you are going to do something do it right!


would this water cooling setup be the sort that could be removed from a current computer once it got outdated and stuck in a new comp.?
!