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1st time watercooling build

Last response: in Overclocking
January 1, 2008 12:36:35 AM

After going through a lot of the posts in this forum & in a couple of other forums, I assembled a plan to watercool my pc. I'm planning on doing everything in 1/2" but if I drop it down to 3/8" I could drop the pump to a Swiftech MCP355 which offers more head pressure than the DD, I'm just unsure if it is better to sacrifice the tubing size & larger water volume for the better head pressure. I'm also a little unsure as to what additives to buy & how much is needed in the system. Any comments, suggestions or pointers would be most appreciated. Thanks!

My current system:
AMD AM2 X2 4000+
Zalman 9500
Asus Crosshair mobo
Corsair TwinX 2048-6400C4
EVGA Geforce 8800 GTS 640MB
Hiper Type-R 580W Blue Modular PSU
SoundBlaster! X-Fi Xtreme Music Soundcard
WD 160GB x2 Sata 300 Hard Drives
4x Panaflo 80mm fans

Watercooling options
CPU: Swiftech Apogee GTX with copper housing
GPU: Danger Den 8800GTS
HDD: Koolance HD-57
Rad: Black Ice GTX 360
Res: XSPC 250 Passive Aluminum
Pump: Danger Den DD12V-D5 Variable Speed
Fans: CoolerMaster Y720DCD 120mm Blue LED Silent Fan x 3
Flow Indicator: Thermaltake 210
Tubing: Tygon 1/2" ID 5/8"OD Clear
Swiftech 625 Coolsleeves clear.
January 1, 2008 4:50:38 AM

Since this is your first watercooling build, it would be helpful to keep things as simplistic as possible while you "get your feet wet". The difference between the MCP355 and the DD (or MCP655) as far as head pressure and flowrate is not that much in so far as how it will affect your cooling solution. While the MCP355 performs better than the MCP655 it is doubtful that you will find yourself in a situation where that particular difference will, well, "make a difference". That being said, I'd recommend the MCP655 (Laing D5) because, by default, it is 1/2 ID prepped. It's performance characteristics are near the MCP655 and you wouldn't need to dial down to 3/8 ID or purchase an adapter to dial up to 1/2 ID.
As far as your choice of waterblocks, I don't think that cooling your HDDs is going to make any noticeable difference in their performance or safety. Adding HDD waterblocks to a cooling solution will only lessen the effectiveness of the cooling loop.

For the reservoir, I'd go with something acrylic rather than aluminum. There is a thing called galvanic erosion that occurs when you interact copper and aluminum - sort of like a battery. While it is somehting that would take a long time to actually show, no need to tempt the fates here. Now if I were to caution you about ekking every little bit of perfomance potential out of your system, I would recommend against fullbody waterblocks like those for the GPU because of how they do affect the flowrate and pressure of a cooling loop but we are trying to keep things simple here and there isn't anything really wrong with using that type of waterblock - it'll work.

Something before I go any further - do you plan to o'clock and if so, will it be ALOT or just a little? Your answer here can affect further recommendations.
January 1, 2008 3:59:28 PM

Thanks for the quick response!
So you would recommend something more like this DangerDen Res instead? I though galvanic reaction only occurs when metals are in contact with each other and in a conductive medium?
I am planning to oc, I'd like to push it as much as possible while remaining as stable as possible.

For the cooling loop is this the best method? Res at the top of the case -> Pump -> CPU -> GPU -> HDD -> Rad -> Res or is there a more effective method?

Distilled water the best liquid with something like DD's additive? How much Distilled water does a system normally take & how much additive to it so that i can get more than enough of both when i purchase everything?
Thanks again!
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January 2, 2008 1:48:26 AM

in a cooling loop there is only one hard fast rule really - the reservoir must be above the pump. The reason for this is because pumps don't have any suction power and rely on gravity to feed them. They do fine pushing coolant through a loop but, not drawing it through.

Something else for you to consider: WHen you have ALL your waterblocks one right after the other in a loop remember that, beyond the initial one, each subsequent waterblock will have to deal with the heat of its own source PLUS the heat of previous waterblocks. If you have one rad then you might rethink just how many waterblocks you plan to employ in your cooling solution. I use two rads myself, each placed right after a significant waterblock in a loop like this:

reservoir - pump - cpu - rad - gpu - rad - back to reservoir

In my 5 years of dealing with watercooling, I've pretty much just used non-conductive solutions like PC-ICE.

It is best to have the CPU immediately following the pump so that its waterblock will get the FULL benefit of pressure and flow right out of the pump.
January 3, 2008 8:38:32 AM

I am impressed. You seem to know a good deal of what you are looking for. Good job! However....

I agree with Phreejak, in that you do not need to watercool your hard drives. I also agree that you don't want to mix the aluminum with the copper. I would recommend a look at the Swiftech MCRES Micro reservoir.

The Black Ice GTX is a good radiator, but a Swiftech MCR-320-QP (Similar performance, less restriction to flow rates, 1/2 the price) or Thermochill PA120.3 (Best performance all-around, less restrictive to flow rates, most a little more expensive) will give you better results. Personally, I recommend the MCR-320-QP, because the difference in temps isn't worth twice the price in my opinion.

Like Phreejak, I also recommend using multiple radiators, so that you are getting the best cooling for each component. Using a pair of 120x2 (such as the Swiftech MCR-220-QP, HW Labs Black Ice GTX 240, Thermochill PA 12.2) radiators could be a better option, so that you are putting heat from one component into the next component in the loop.

You may wish to save yourself some money and go with MasterKleer tubing, which is the general favorite for most in the water cooling community, due to its cheap price and good performance.

For fluids, pure distilled water will give you the greatest cooling. Adding anything to it reduces its' effectiveness. However, adding biocides and anti-corrosion additives is recommended to keep nasties out of your cooling loop. I recommend a distilled water/Petra's PT-Nuke/Pentosin G11 or G12 mix. I also recommend PC-ICE, as Phreejak has stated, if you are looking for non-conductive fluid.

Also, make sure you account for the hose clamps, barbs, and other accessories you will need.

Good luck on this!!! Let us know how it goes!

January 7, 2008 1:30:16 AM

Thanks, i try to find out as much as possible before jumping into something, plus it helps when you need to ask questions and for help, as you know what to ask. Will def let you guys know how it turns out once I order the parts and get it setup. Prob be a couple of weeks as I've got to go to Dallas on work and don't want the parts to sit around where i cant test them as soon as they come in for leaks.

I'll prob go with dual 240 Swiftech rads, like you recommended as they seem to be basically the same as the blackice at half the cost like you said so i can do the dual at the same cost as the single blackice.
I found a place that sells the tygon lab grade tubing for a lot cheaper than most of the modding sites if anyone is interested, . The MasterKleer has a really good price though so its tempting.

I think I'm going to go with the distilled water and petra's pt nuke with the Pentosin g11 at least to start with and that way I'll also know the exact amount of fluid to fill the system. They if I get the PC-ICE later on I can have more than enough to fill the system with on hand. Thanks for the advice on it.
January 7, 2008 3:52:31 AM

I found that website the other day when looking for acrylic for my fan shroud. There are a lot of different types of Tygon tubing on that site. Make sure that you are getting the right one. I'm not sure which was the right one, but I did notice that some were 2.50/foot. I would suspect that to be the right one.
January 16, 2008 1:59:06 PM

rickpatbrown said:
I found that website the other day when looking for acrylic for my fan shroud. There are a lot of different types of Tygon tubing on that site. Make sure that you are getting the right one. I'm not sure which was the right one, but I did notice that some were 2.50/foot. I would suspect that to be the right one.

You want 1/2 ID 3/4 OD - and for that, this site's prices are higher than, say Danger Den. cdonato, you've probably already pulled the trigger, but a single 3x120 rad would cool your cpu and gpu very well. Dual 2x120s should be cooler, but a single 3x120 will keep your components well under limits See my sig. My Opty 185 is OC'd to 3120Mhz and with the PA120.3, load temps max at 43C. GPU max's at 44C (was hitting ovef 80C on stock cooling).

Of course, a dual rad would look way cool and give you enough headroom for SLI if you plan to go there.