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Liquid Cooled Case - Enough Cooling Capacity?

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January 8, 2008 11:40:08 AM

Hello. I have a Thermaltake LCS liquid cooled case. It has (2) 120mm fans on the radiator. Will that be enough to cool a Core 2 CPU and (3) SLI'd GeForce 8800GTX Video cards?

Should I add another dual 120mm fan radiator? Any opinions are appreciated.
January 8, 2008 12:38:14 PM

It kind of depends on the tubing size and the capacity of water pushed in LPH by the pump. A 2x120mm radiator should be fine as long as you have a decent volume and flow of water running through the blocks. I guess you could go with something like this:

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/5946/ex-rad-123/MagiCool_XTREME_Nova_1080_Radiator.html?tl=g30c95s667

or this is more reasonable...if you decide that you really need something like this:


http://www.frozencpu.com/products/5945/ex-rad-122/MagiCool_XTREME_Quad_480_Radiator.html?tl=g30c95s667

Either way, I highly doubt that you would need either of these as water has a good thermal capacity to cool your system. Many will argue that 3 GTX's will put off enough heat to make a difference, but I will argue that I bet you wouldn't see temps above 55C over all three GPUs under load, depending on tubing size and flow rate. You will always have superior cooling ability with a properly configured water cooled system over the stock coolers, even with minimal flowrate. Please provide more information as to tubing size and flow rate.
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January 8, 2008 1:07:53 PM

I would say it would provide you with enough flow and water volume to do an adequate job. Just remember; most waterblocks for the GTX's are like $100+ each, so they will significantly add to your cost.
January 8, 2008 1:10:33 PM

I don't think so. Head over to xtreme systems forums and oc forums for more involved/knowledgeable enthusiast answers. You will need at least one high quality 3 x 120mm radiator/fans, pumps, and cooling blocks. Thermaltake water cooling is considered one of the weakest prebuilt systems. The make nice cases and power supplies though.

Toms hardware is great for general info.
January 8, 2008 1:19:23 PM

Way to discreetly suggest that I don't have any clue what I'm talking about. You are correct with the statement that they don't make the highest quality systems, but at the same time, I was simply going with the information the OP was giving and providing a response. He may not have the highest quality, best cooling waterloop with that configuration, but I would be willing to bet it would work a lot better than the stock HSF on those GTXs.
January 8, 2008 1:28:00 PM

Oops, no offense, rubix. The watts those 3 cards put out out plus a high end duo (E6600 or even Xtreme) can't be controlled by a dual rad, no matter what brand, even a Thermochill. Head on over to xtreme systems and use their handy wattage calculator to check.

When the current overclock record holder and thermal engineers spend their forum time on xtreme systems, your gonna get some science based answers.
January 8, 2008 1:34:50 PM

;)  It's alright. More than likely, he would be at the thermal exchange capacity of a 2x120mm rad and would probably suffer over longer periods of time of the water not being able to return to near-ambient temps, so it might be wiser to invest in something larger and a higher surface-to-air ratio. Also, since we are discussing this, why not just go with 1/2" diamter tubing? It will provide more water volume per second with less resistance. Trust me, watercooling hardware this expensive is going to require expensive watercooling...so be prepared to spend what it's going to take...
January 8, 2008 1:39:12 PM

Where is the wattage calculator located over at Xtreme Systems? I can't find it....
January 8, 2008 1:43:24 PM

Ack, I found it through a difficult round about. Here are some links.

Just fill in the CPU and GPU part for wattage, minus 38 watts.

http://www.extreme.outervision.com/PSUEngine
I had to figure out the wattage for just one GPU, that came to 102 watts. Total for a E6600 no OC'ed I came up with 381 watts.

Then off to another page to find what a rad can manage with that heat. A 3 x 120mm with flow rate at least 1.0 GPM would be able to handle it with good fans on med. Dropping to a 2 x 120 rad it's at it's max, your cutting it really close, depending on your ambient temps.

This is using a Thermochill radiator, undoubtably the best (and most expensive) rads on the market. About $135 for a 3 x 120.

Going to TWO 2 x 120, one for CPU/GPU, and another for GPU/GPU is the safest bet.
January 8, 2008 1:48:03 PM

Am I missing the links? I can't see them....
January 8, 2008 2:06:16 PM

Sorry vill, my bad, I was editing. To cool that down is gonna take 2 new rads (one one GOOD 3 x 120 with loud fans), 4 new blocks, fans, two high quality pumps, two res, and the associated parts. $600 in parts, if you go for full coverage blocks on the GPU's, $700+.

Spend some time on those forums reading that I mentioned and you'll get some great answers.
January 8, 2008 2:10:37 PM

Hi villious/all.

Actually studies I have read have shown that 3/8" tubing is pretty similar to 1/2" I/D tubing (it is only when you start using really small tubing that flow-rate/LPM drops off - below 1/4" I/D tubing as I remember). I understood that smaller diameter tubing/barbs can magnify the effect of restrictive blocks and rads. - especially when they are in series - right?? Someone please step in and correct me please!!

The main thing I have learnt to watch out for with watercooling (as a complete newbie):
radiators/blocks - if these are restrictive then you will kill the flowrate in your loop which is bad
pumps - I believe the head of a pump (how high it lift a column of water) is more important than the rated flowrate
You can play about in your bath tube pumping water through blocks/radiators to see this effect!!

As has already been stated the Thermaltake watercooling gear is at the budget end. The Thermochill PA series rads are acknowledged as the best rads. as they are the least restrictive to water flow. Unfortunately they use non-standard hole spacings...

I did months or research before putting together my first watercooled system... I did all the wattage calculation stuff and decided on a PA120.3 (3x120mm fan radiator) as a minimum. Even that is only rated at approx. 400Watts dissipation to achieve +10C maximum above ambient...

The system works fine (I am using it just now) but I have learnt a lot from all the mistakes I made and I am planning a bit of a refit in the near future!! (With 2 faster, dual-core processors of course :sol:  )

I think the Koolance Lian-Li kit cases are maybe the best way to start off in Watercooling if you don't want to be too ambitious and have lots of cash!! (Their waterblocks are rubbish I gather but the Koolance mod. to the Lian-Li case looks fairly elegant).

Always better to plan ahead and ask around first before laying the cash out!!

Bob

January 8, 2008 2:15:40 PM

thanks ribix. Yea, it's at it's max with even the best equipment. And TT is known for ....can I say... entry level water cooling? Not to mention aluminum radiators and copper blocks. Many corrision problems have been seen.

He'll see lists of the best parts right off the bat on those forums, from guys that know much more than me. Getting a new case is his next worry.....
January 8, 2008 2:17:04 PM

Actually, the best radiator I had was a Chevette heater core that I soldered barbs on to where the inlets were. It had really low restriction and was all bronze and copper. I got it for about $23 from O'Reilly's, but it looked pretty gawdy. I do like those extreme ones from FrozenCPU, but they are somewhat pricey...and where would you mount them...the backside (motherboard mounted side) panel of your case???
January 8, 2008 2:21:53 PM

BobWya, yep, 1/2 to 3/8 isn't a big diff. And the use of thick walled fittings are bad. Many use 3/8 or 7/16 ID tubing, methinks 1/2" is a bit overkill. Using 90 deg fittings also kill flowrate. Using full coverage GPU blocks also kill flowrate. He'll get tons of good info from those sites so maybe I'll see him there and can guide for general info. I'm no pro, but I have learned from the pros.
January 9, 2008 8:09:10 AM

villious - The Thermaltake pump will NOT be sufficient to power all 3 gpu waterblocks and cpu waterblock, along with a minimum of 3x120 radiator (If not more radiators). You would be wise to upgrade your pump to at least a DDC 3.2 or Laing D5 Vario/MCP655 , or 2 of either of these. If you get 2, be sure to buy matched pumps.

I recommend that you do NOT use ANY of the Magicool radiators, as rubix_1011 recommended. These radiators will kill your flow rates. Check Xtremesystems thread on Magicool Radiators and you will understand. There are better and cheaper options than that. You could take a look at Swiftech MCR-320-QP or Thermochill PA120.3 radiators for better options.

Another problem you will probably run into is putting heat from one component into another component in the loop. This is not a good idea with 3 8800GTX's, along with a C2D processor. You would be better off to use 2 (or more) separate radiators as Conumdrum already stated, or better yet, 2 completely separate water cooling loops.

In any case, if you truly plan on water cooling all that, then you should be prepared to spend a LOT of money and time on it all.
January 9, 2008 9:49:44 AM

Basically, here's what I have. A Thermaltake LCS case that will cool the CPU and one GPU. A Koolance Exos-2 LX External Water Cooling Kit that will cool the other two GPU's. A few fans in the case for ventilation. Is this doable?

Also. I have two Thermaltake matched pumps. Is it possible to run these pumps in-line in the same loop?

Thanks so much for the great info!
January 9, 2008 10:35:09 AM

villious said:
Basically, here's what I have. A Thermaltake LCS case that will cool the CPU and one GPU. A Koolance Exos-2 LX External Water Cooling Kit that will cool the other two GPU's. A few fans in the case for ventilation. Is this doable?

Also. I have two Thermaltake matched pumps. Is it possible to run these pumps in-line in the same loop?

Thanks so much for the great info!


Sure, you can run two pumps in a single loop, but be careful how you place them. Remember that pumps dump a little heat into a coolant loop, so I usually try to place them directly before the radiator.
January 9, 2008 10:45:54 AM

They can be ran in the same loop but it is not general practice, most people use splitter over thier pumps and another T peice after the pumps.
January 10, 2008 8:25:04 AM

Villious - Yes, using the Koolance Exos and the Thermaltake LCS as 2 separate loops will get you by, but it isn't the greatest solution. You will be stretching to the maximum cooling effectiveness of both loops in doing so. I would NOT recommend any overclocking of the gpu's with those loops, or you could be doing worse than an air cooling solution.

Using the 2nd Thermaltake pump may not be necessary. It all depends upon which waterblock you will be using for the gpu, that tells you whether or not you need it.

January 10, 2008 1:59:41 PM

You can afford 3 GTX's but not a decent water cooling kit??

Just grab youreself a thermochill 120.2mm (240mm) rad with 2 high rpm fans and youll be set.

You may also want a better pump, if you want the top performance you are going to have to spend money there is no way around it.


Dual loop would be good simply use 2 reservoirs but you'd still need 2x 120.2(240)mm radiators to cool everything.
January 10, 2008 3:31:33 PM




Hi villious

You are going to struggle with all that gear on a single PA120.3 (3x120mm fan) as it will be reaching its limit of quiet cooling.

From our trusty power calculator @:
http://www.extreme.outervision.com/index.jsp
you are looking at:
GPU 1: 115 W
GPU 2: 115 W
GPU 3: 115 W
Core 2@stock: 46 W
Pump: >2W (~20% heat dump guesstimate)

Total = 393W


Now heading over to:
http://www.thermochill.com/PATesting/#PA1203
you will see that quiet rad. cooling solutions have a ceiling of around 400W no matter what the flowrate.

Now don't forget you are going to be very tempted to tweak that Core 2 to 3.0Ghz+ - right? You've got WC so you'll want to push those GTX's with an OC to the max... But you can't because you've hit the limit of your waterloop :lol:  Also you haven't left any room for component tolerances etc. I personally would factor in at least 10% extra wattage dissipation!!

On the subject of components I gather the Swiftech Stealth is a good waterblock for those cards and the D-TEK FuZion CPU Block is a good 'un.

I think you may be struggling somewhat with that case... The builtin Thermaltake rad. (or bog standard 2-way rad. with correct hole spacing - if you got the case without rad.) would easily do the CPU and a Theromochill PA120.3 would handle the GPU's separately (just) with good fans. You would want the GPUs in 3 parallel loops in this case.

Bob

January 11, 2008 6:41:33 PM

So lets say that I have a Koolance Exos-2 LX that is rated at cooling 750 watts. All three GPU's could be cooled by the Exos......correct? That would be 345 watts for the GPU's together?
January 14, 2008 10:51:53 AM

Anyone?
January 14, 2008 11:22:42 AM

This was my solution Koolance rp-1000sl and an EHX-1000 1kw radiator.

January 15, 2008 8:42:35 AM

Villious, the one to talk to would be BadDad, as you can see that he is dealing with a very similar situation with what you describe. You should check out his build thread HERE .

@BadDad....

*cough* BENCHIES!!! *cough* :) 
Anonymous
a b ) Power supply
February 15, 2009 11:29:47 AM

Groveling_Wyrm said:

I recommend that you do NOT use ANY of the Magicool radiators, as rubix_1011 recommended.


I understand that they may not be the best for performance cooling - I want to use them as design features in an HTPC setup and just want to check that they are viable, practical units - ie they don't fail...
!