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Antec P180 - Watercooling 101

Last response: in Overclocking
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May 5, 2007 4:45:34 AM

Due to many requests and positive feedback, I've decided to post my new P180 liquid setup here. Thanks to everyone here that helped answer my questions, sent me pics of their P180 setup, and provided some sage advice in my quest ;) 

My original air cooling setup and cable management can be found here for reference:
http://forumz.tomshardware.com/hardware/modules.php?nam...

The P180 case is not the most water-friendly, but I was determined to do a job I could be proud of. So after a lot of research and planning, I finally got my new WC setup bought and installed in my P180 case.

First and foremost my build had to QUIET. And affordable. And completely internal, as my 1 year old kid loves to grab and chew on things.....and an external rad/hoses/fans would be irresistable to him :eek:  So the setup had to be sleek and clean. And I didn't want to hack up my case either, so a 240mm rad wasn't gonna work internally. And lastly, the new setup had keep things cool.

Setup:
-Swiftech MCP350 (I know, I know.....3/8" will do me just fine, not to worry)
-Apogee GT
-2 x MCR120's
-Micro Reservoir
-distilled water with HydrX
-3/8" Clearflex, Smartcoils
-C2D 6300 OC'd to 3.2ghz
-8800GTS
-4 hard drives
-Noctua Fans, Fan Controller
-Thermaltake northbridge heatsink fan
-etc.

Loop:
Res > Pump > Rad1 > CPU > Rad2 > Res

Pics:
Overall. Added a bunch of additional noise dampening foam to the interior and exterior of the P180:


Side. The "extra" smart coils you may notice if you look carefully.....are not part of the loop.....they're used to disguise the USB cables and maintain a consistent aesthetic LOL. And no, the CPU > Rad hose is not kinked....it's just the angle of the pic. Next pic shows a smooth bend.


Upper chamber. Noctuas, more noise dampening, cable management.


Lower chamber. Tight fit but works alright I think. High output fan is connected to fan controller.


Front. Added 2 intake fans, 1 each for upper and lower chamber to increase airflow to the rads. Very minor modification.....some rubber grommet for clearances, some noise matting for separation.


Back. How to bypass the chamber isolation flange...




My upper rad is an exhaust configuration right now. Temps seems pretty good considering it's venting the case air. I'm gonna try flipping the fan to make it an intake and compare temps. Then for whichever is better, I may do a push-pull on the rad with 2 fans instead of just one.


TEMPS:
When the case was running on air, I used a Scythe Ninja, and then tried a Zalman 9500. My case is near the furnace vent, so my ambient temps are kinda high (29C/80F). Temps on air for each HSF were virtually identical.....53C idle / 65C load in TAT :?

Now, I am VERY PLEASED to say that my idle temps are 9C cooler at idle, and 18C cooler at load!

Also runs VERY quiet at low fan rpm's, highest isn't too bad.....I only use that setting when I'm gaming for a long time and have the headphones on anyways.

So, overall I think it's a clean setup, all internal, temps have dropped HUGE, didn't have any major problems, rig is still very quiet, and managed to do it all in a P180 case that isn't the easiest to cable or install water cooling :) 


Hope this helps anyone thinking of watercooling a P180/182.
May 5, 2007 6:03:41 AM

amazing! Just bought this case for my setup. I love the aesthetics of the case to begin with and i'm happy there will be an option to upgrade to water cooling in the future. Congrats, job well done.
May 5, 2007 7:15:52 AM

Nice. Looks very neat and compact.
I was dumb enough to try and fit a 120 rad, 220 rad, plus accessories and 1/2in tubing inside a stacker 830.
I had to bust out the dremel for some major mods.
I wish I had someone to slap my hand away from that one...
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June 13, 2007 5:32:45 PM

Too bad the P182 wasn't out when you built your computer. I'm sure it would have made your life a whole lot easier. :tongue:

Did you ever place your computer somewhere else where it's not next to a furnace?

My CPU idles around 40C and load (Orthos) 55C. I'll have to check again tonight.

And that's with a 25% overclock and Scythe Ninja *shudders*

I was thinking about watercooling it too though :?
June 13, 2007 6:42:26 PM

what fan did you put in the bottom front of the case...
I find any 120mm fans I tried are too thick... and it hits the drive cage...
June 13, 2007 8:27:50 PM

Eurasian: Tell me about it!!! Man, after all that work, they basically do what I did in the P182. I kinda got a bit pissed off about that......oh well, such is life I guess.

Mad: Good question! What a pain.......I got a standard 25mm thick fan, but you are correct, they don't fit due to the hard drive. So here's where I got fancy.......flip over the bottom drive cage. See the black plastic "rail" where it slides in? Well, I got the ol' hacksaw out and took about 5/8" or so off the entire length of that plastic rail. When I slid it back in, there was then enough room to put a 120mm fan in the front. Only ONE problem.....the drive cage wanted to push back forward into the fan to its natural position (the position before I cut off some of the rail to create clearance). So I just put a piece of foam noise insulation against the cage as a spacer to keep it away from the fan. No biggie.

Was a bit of a picky thing, but worth the effort. Getting another 120mm fan in that front lower slot makes a big difference in boosting the airflow over my 4 hard drives and feeding fresh air to the lower rad for cooling. Definitely helped with the cooling.

If you're not that ambitious though, you can order a narrower fan....tougher to find, but they do exist. Might have to order from a specialty store. I believe they are 19mm instead of 25mm, low-profile fans if I recall correctly.

Hope that helps!
June 13, 2007 9:10:01 PM

I had a thin 80mm fan that I pulled out of a power supply that i killed.
I put in there and it works OK... more air is better...
when i water cooled my PC i just drilled some holes in the bottom of my case and put a rad box underneath...
June 13, 2007 11:35:24 PM

Correct, I have 2 - 120mm rads. The rest of that kit is very good, but I simply CANNOT imagine putting in just 1 80mm rad....that's basically just good enough for a CPU only. After spending the money on a good setup, you'd basically be crippling it with a crappy rad. Either go with 1 120mm, 2 120mm or if you can, a single 240mm rad would be ideal. But as I said with mine, I didn't want to hack up the case and it HAD to be internal so my toddler wouldn't wreck it.....so 2 120's was the way to go. Not ideal, but definitely a HUGE improvement over a single 80mm.

That'd be like putting a governor on a Ferrari so it could only go 45 mph. A crying shame. Same if you did that to a Swiftech setup, would be a shame.
June 14, 2007 3:07:05 AM

Hmm... would 1 120 radiator w/ fan be sufficient for cooling a dual core, north bridge, and south bridge chip?
June 16, 2007 11:10:02 PM

I wouldnt try it myself. Perhaps if it was a PA160.1, but thats pretty much a 120mm Rad on steroids. Not a bad build if i do say so myself... How do you like those Noctua Fans? How much air do they put out in CFM? I couldnt find it on the interwebs....
June 17, 2007 7:00:14 PM

Ya, I looked at a 160mm rad but would have been too much case modding involved to get it to fit, so I went with 2 - 120mm rads. Worked out well I think.

The Noctua fans are great......dead silent......push about 48 cfm for airflow. Pretty good, considering they can't be heard at all. Bottom rad has a high-output fan connected though, but it's hooked to my fan controller, so I can keep the noise down.
August 19, 2009 9:32:46 PM

This is awesome !! I've modded my P180 to add a side fan such that it blows directing only my ThermalTake Big Typhoon :)  and covered the hole with a 6" speaker cover bought at the local auto shop. Used a CD spindle case as a duct. It works great and lowered by temps by ~5 celcius (on air..)

I just spend the entire night yesterday trying to figure how to fit a fan in front of the HDD in the lower cage, I guess you had to saw off the little cage that's there, right ? What a PITA, this case is so awesome but frustrating at times, wish they had made it 2" bigger in all directions :p 

Kudos on the setup, you rock !
August 20, 2009 9:52:36 AM

Nice rig!
August 23, 2009 1:49:01 AM

magnois don't do a 2 year bump...
!