Thinking about going liquid cooled and need advice.

I'm thinking of upgrading my system to include liquid cooling. My current system is as follows.

- Core 2 Extreme QX6700
- Point of View GeForce 8800GTX
- OCZ Platinum 4gb PC2-6400
- Abit IN9 32X-MAX
- OCZ 850w Power Supply
- NZXT Lexa Case

I'm thinking of buying a new case with integrated liquid cooling and a new power supply with 4x 6pin PCI-E connectors to go with a second 8800GTX. This is what I have my eye on.

Koolance PC4-1026BK
Koolance 1200W Liquid-Cooled Power Supply

I want to Liquid cool the CPU and GPU's obviously but I'm wondering about the rest of my components.

My motherboard has 3 heatsinks each connected with a heat pipe. One is for the northbridge, one is for the southbridge and one is for the voltage regulator. Koolance make cooling blocks to fit the nothbridge and southbrige chipsets but not the voltage regulator - what can i do about this? Will leaving it passively cooled seriously limit my maximum overclock?

My RAM's heatspreaders are not removable. Even if I do manage to remove them without damaging the RAM my warranty would be void. Will leaving my ram passively cooled seriously limit my maximum overclock or will a fan suffice, I would like to avoid having to buy entirely new RAM.
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More about thinking liquid cooled advice
  1. Alright, youre taking a really big dive into watercooling. Those products that you are looking at are quite expensive. I think that you need to be made aware of some things - things to think about that you may not have considered.

    I think that once a person has committed to liquid cooling then it is important that they do the research and decide on what they really want to cool. You've decided on the CPU and GPU - which most people do - but, you're considering a few other components (i.e. PSU, ram, chipsets and regulators).

    I don't know if you are considering these components because you think you HAVE to or if it is just because you want to.

    The northbridge, on Intel machines, is used as a communications hub between the CPU and the various PCI lanes (PCI-E, PCI, etc.). It is also responsible for traffic between the CPU and various memory functions like the cache and system memory. Liquid cooling this part is, for the most part, a luxury as a decent HSF can handle the heat here. I would only consider liquid cooling here if I did some major o'clocking.

    Liquid cooling ram is a flowrate killer. The heatspreaders on a stick of ram do just fine actually. Having decent airflow will do just fine here. If you want to do something to help here then try something like this:

    OCZ XTC Memory Cooler

    Liquid cooling the PSU, while pretty interesting, I don't think is practical. The PCI-E 2.0 Standard was just accepted and it allows for 8-pin GPU connectors for future graphics cards. I did nto notice any of those on that PSU you were considering. Besides, PSUs add little to the actual overall system heat. They dispense heat externally and have ample cooling solutions for themselves.

    Cooling the southbridge, that's a waste.

    Liquid cooling the voltage regulators, though, I can't say anything against. I liquid cool the voltage regulators on my MB. One of the VR, though, was a large concentration and I had to actually make my own waterblock for it. Also, I have a totally independent second cooling loop just for them. Again, though, having good airflow and using heatsinks probably would have done fine.

    Now, something I think you need to consider before purchasing that case with the built in cooling loop. When cooling the various components in a computer I like to divide the loop into sections, of which the CPU and GPU are in sections of their own. Now consider this, when you run a cooling loop, especially one with one radiator, the heat from the CPU will carry through the loop until it reaches the GPU. Now the GPU waterblock has to remove heat from the GPU with heated coolant that came from the CPU - not a very favorable prospect. Now imagine adding other components further down the line and the collective heat that is being added to the loop. Each component in this loop is having to deal with its own heat PLUS the heat from the previous components. See the mounting problem here?

    Now, back to the sections idea. I always advocate adding radiators for each MAJOR section. A typical cooling loop using this type of setup might look like this:

    Reservoir - pump - CPU Waterblock - Radiator - GPU Waterblock - Radiator - back to reservoir

    See the advantage of this method? No single component has to deal with the heat from another component directly as the heat is first dissipated by a rad before reaching the next component.
  2. Normally, water cooling a northbridge or southbridge provides negligable performance increases over decent air cooling, but does add more heat to your water cooling loop. Personally, I don't recommend spending the extra money for that. Instead, simply go with a fan on your heatpipes. Those heatpipes work pretty good as long as you have decent air flow around them.

    Water cooling RAM is only something that the most extreme overclockers do. It doesn't provide hardly any better overhead than good air cooling unless you are going to massively overclock. It would also add heat to your already crowded water cooling loop.

    Also, to use that case and psu you listed, you will need to look for water blocks for the cpu and gpu. You will most likely need 3/8 adapters for the water blocks, to match your system.

    On a side note....I would be very concerned if you intend on water cooling 2 8800 GTX's, an overclocked processor, and that water cooled psu, all with that water cooling kit. That is a LOT of heat to be putting into a single water cooling loop, and that system may not be able to handle it very well. You might consider a second water cooling loop, or going with a system that includes 1/2" tubing, rather than the 3/8" tube.
  3. Thanks for the advice. The psu has it's own independent radiator so it will not need to be hooked into the main loop. And if i just air cool the ram and mb that leaves me with just the Cpu and two Gpus

    This is the setup i was thinking of.

    Radiator -Pump - Cpu 10mm-ysplitter<6mm (Gpu)x2 6mm>y splitter10mm Radiator

    That way the liquid only cools the cpu and 1 gpu before it goes back to the radiator.

    The radiator is fairly large, its got 3 120mm fans and it's supposed to be able to cool multi cpu and gpu systems.
  4. Oh and the pump is actually a dual pump that churns out 8 litres a minute, so I don't expect any flow problems.

    Do you think thats not enough?
  5. 8 litres a minute = 2.1 gallons/minute = 126 gph

    As far as pumps go that's relatively weak. Compared to the MCP655/Laing D5 which pumps liquid at 317 gph.

    I see your configuration but remember, the GPU will not just be dealing with its own heat but must deal with the superheated coolant coming from the CPU as well. Is it that you want to get that case because the cooling loop is already setup or do you have any problems with setting one up yourself? If you desire to go with a 3/8 ID (10mm) then I'd advocate for the MCP355 which is the most powerful pump in its class for 3/8 ID.
  6. I like the case because it's already got the cooling loop set up and it's professionally built. As I don't have the tools nor the experience to start choping a aluminum case apart, it will be far more aesthetically pleasing than something I knock up myself.

    I did a bit of research and found that the pump used is infact the MCP350, is there alot of preformance difference between this and the MCP355?

    Here is a review of the smaller case but with the same cooler.
  7. Big difference. The MCP355 has about twice the max headroom as the MCP350 which translates into a greater flowrate over a longer distance. The MCP355 is every bit as powerful as the MCP 655 - it was just ideally suited for 3/8ID cooling loops.

    About that case....

    Am I mistaken or does it appear to use 1 triple 120mm rad on top, one single 120mm rad bottom back and one single 120mm rad bottom front?
  8. No they're just case fans for sucking the air in.
  9. It would be really beneficial if you could adapt one of those - the front one I am thinking - to have a single 120mm rad with it.
  10. I could put it after the first graphics card before the second, but would that require a more powerfull pump? Could I just add a second identical pump or would I need a second resovoir?
  11. Well, I felt the need to add a comment, too. I'm noob to WC, just still going with my first kit.
    I'd be really concerned with your cooling choices too.
    For overclocking the QX6700, if you're looking for extreme overclocking, remmeber that the CPU alone will give you near 250W.
    Cooling two GPUs (the 8800GTX furthermore) and if you want to overclock them, you're going on a so big deception.

    The pump is weak for such a circuit. The Y splits will also add much resistance, the 3 WB, a triple Rad and maybe later a second rad... you're on the red side...

    Your setup will run you hot on idle and any good aircooling solutions will run cooler and quieter than your loop (yes, you will need the 3 fans on +12v full speed all the time to cool your system)

    I'd listen to what you was already advises: two loops is a minimum, a better pump is vital. A dual rad (triple rad if you like more silence or more overclock headroom) for the CPU alone. A three rad is recommended for your SLI setup.

    Also, something related to water physics: the only important order in a loop is the reservoir above the pump. The radiators position (after or before the WB) won't change anything in practice (even if it logically seem to cool better if you put a rad after every WB). It will drop the temperature maybe by less than 1/4 °C. So don't expect any mesuarable improvement. But, freash air coming to the rad is important. If your rad is give hot air from inside the case, your performance will decrease by many degrees.

    Well, if I'm wrong, some more experimented members will correct me.

    Remember, a high end air cooler is far better than any low end/cheap watercooling setup
  12. Could I just watercool the two 8800GTX's with that radiator and pump and use a Ultra-120 extreme for the cpu? Or would the two 8800GTX's still run too hot?
  13. They should be nice and chilly...
  14. nice...but that still sounds like alot of money. Im very interested if anyone knows of a comparable cheaper water cooling kit.
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