WC Noob Needs Help!

Hello, I have done a little bit of research on watercooling awhile back and decided that I did not like it. However, I now am starting to get interested in it, and I own a Silverstone TJ07 so why the hell not. Problem is after days of researching I have yet to truly grasp how watercooling works, the parts involved, best brands, what to look for in parts, things to be cautious about, and how to use the parts. I know a little bit, but I am not even close to comfortable with what I currently know. If you could post some explanations, or even some links to modern watercooling guides, it would help a lot.

Thank you.
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  1. There is a pretty good sticky at the top of 'coolers and heatsinks':


    One tip: stay away from kits like the BigWater or other bay/res/pump units. They are notorious for being underpowered. For the price of them, you can almost buy much better Swiftech (or similar) kits. I wouldn't go with anything less than 3/8" or even 1/2" tubing and fitting size...including the native pump in/outs.

    Something like this:http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835108076 is a good starter kit...or similar components.

    What is your budget?...that is the best place to begin.
  2. Yeah I read some of that article before, but it looks real dated so I did not take it too seriously. Is it dated, or does that information still apply today? Anyway, I have not decided anything yet, but I would like to try out a kit first, like the Swiftech H240 that I hear is good, but I am thinking about getting into custom WC systems later with a 360 or 480 radiator maybe, or even a car radiator. I know a few things, but I have been unable to learn the more advanced stuff. For instance, I read somewhere that thinner tubing would increase pressure, but wider tubing would allow more liquid distribution at a given time. The problem is I do not directly understand what impact this would have, and what components would benefit from either method. I'm not even sure if there aren't any bigger pros and cons to the size of the tubing. I do not know how to set up a WC system, I know I need a radiator, pump, reservoir, clamps, tubing, blocks, and some fans, but I do not know what order they would go in or how to determine that. I also do not know what components work well together, though the Black Ice GTX 480 radiator seems to keep coming up as a cult favorite. At this point, I am not even sure what a cheap budget is or an outrageous budget is, though I would like to keep things inside my Silverstone TJ07 as much as possible. Please feel free to ask more questions about what I know or do not know, thanks.

    Edit: I am also kind of curious about how multiple radiators impact performance and if two 240 radiators could perform as well or close to a 480 radiator. Multiple radiators is a subject I have yet to find anywhere, so I have a feeling its a bad idea.
  3. It still applies to some degree...some of the recommended components might have changed. I would suggest a 1/2" pump that pushes over 450 l/hr if you can...most of the 3/8" run 300-400. Stay away from Bigwater and those types of kits.

    I wouldn't recommend a car radiator...too big and more than likely much more of a pain to set up. I would recommend at minimum a 2x120 radiator...3x or even dual 2x's would be better instead of expanding later.

    If tubing fits, components can be used together...make doesn't matter. Good fans make a big difference on your radiators...so at least consider that.

    pump > cpu > NB (if applicable) > gpu > radiator > reservoir (if applicable) > pump

    A reservoir is handy for first builders, but they can be a pain and take up room. They will allow for more fluid capacity, but a fillport and t-line are much easier to use. Place a t-line just before your pump so you can fill and prime with it, plus top off your levels.

    Dual pass radiators...fluid goes in one end...down to the far end...loops back to the entrance end. Single pass doesn't quite do the job as well, but dual pass slows your flow rate a little.

    Dual rads are fine...just make sure you have a decent pump. The MCP655 would be highly recommended for a loop like this.
  4. Wow, that really helps. I assume that in the diagram you meant that the system should have 1 pump, even though you mentioned 2 in the diagram. Is the MCP655 the best, because I do not mind spending more on a pump. A theoretical system that I would like to WC would be a extremely overclocked Quadcore and 2 4870 X2s, this would amount in some extreme heat and would require some extreme cooling. Looking here:


    The Black Ice GTX 480 seems to fit in the RJ07, but is very tight. I'm thinking of using a 3x120mm radiator at the bottom, and a 2x120mm radiator at the top of the case. Being a complete noob here, I am not sure how good (or terrible) this idea is. I think I have an idea about the major components, but the actual placement of these things and the tubing is totally lost on me, though I know that the Reservoir should be as high as possible, atleast I think so. I also would not even know how best to secure the tubing, I keep seeing old guides saying one thing then all the modern WC rigs using something else. I don't know much about blocks either.

    I hear this is a good 3x120mm radiator:

    I have no idea what 2x120mm radiator is good and I do not want to assume that the GTX 240 is good because the GTX 480 is good. Thank you, again.
  5. Thermochills are really pretty good...so you would do quite fine with them. I have heard good things about both the GTX's, but I cannot say personally. If you have room on the top and bottom inside, you are doing quite well on space. And yes, a resevoir close to the top (or high up) makes it easier...just have your 'out' from the res feed your pump, so you can use it to prime and fill...unless you use a T-line as a fillport. (I sorta do both...my reservoirs are home made).

    I have used the vinyl tubing before (I think I actually referred to it as PVC last night...late...sorry) and it *works* but I have found that Feser (or other quality tubing) actually flexes a lot better and has much thicker walls so it doesn't collapse. With vinyl tubing, when your coolant warms up, it causes your tubing walls to collapse because it creates memory in places where you have bends. It also stains, kinks and stretches quite easily.

  6. I am starting to understand this. Doing some basic shopping and researching now I would like to know how good or bad these components are:

    Radiator 2x120:

    Radiator 3x120:


    CPU Block (theoretical for an 775 based system, but would most likely be a nehalem system): http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=199&products_id=23991&zenid=bb152a9296e64cd1ffc3edbc45f379ff

    GPU Block(s) (Note that I'm not sure if this will be the one I want, but its the only I can find with a price. The company getting the type of GDDR used on the 4870 X2 wrong in the description is not encouraging): http://www.dangerden.com/store/product.php?productid=361&cat=47&page=1

    Tubing (10 FT of it should be plenty?): http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=414&products_id=2729

    Clamps (20 should be more than enough): http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=298&products_id=21716

    Shrouds (5 of them): http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=335&products_id=3511

    Flow Indicator (this looks great!): http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=239&products_id=3544

    Fans (5 of these): http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=403&products_id=22540

    Total with estimates shipping is about $900, Yikes! I have a feeling that's a lot for a WC system. That would be manageable, but if I can go lower and still be able to cool a pretty heavily OC'd Quad (EX: Q9550 @ 3.8-40), 2 moderately OC'd 4870 X2s, and a pretty hot NB with a single 3x120mm radiator I'll be happy. Seeing that this is a pretty expensive total, I would like to know what parts I am being extravagant with, if any... Also what are the pros and cons to having a big or small reservoir? Thank you for all your help rubix_1011!
  7. Update: Looking online, I can shave about $100 off that price by doing some smart shopping. $800 is about the maximum I could ever pay for a WC'ng system. However $500-$600 would sound so much better. I understand that a WC'ng system is a good investment, because the components stay the same, but only the blocks have to be changed out. Knowing this, spending over $100 on a water block seems a bit silly, what do you guys think?
  8. Pump, and CPU blocks look good. Your radiators are good ones, but they do get expensive. If you want to do any side mounting, they make these:


    I think where you are seeing a large chunk of your money are the X2 blocks. Normally I suggest a single block like the MCW60, but you have 2 dual cards...

    Hose clamps...forget those...just run to your hardware store and pick up some worm gear tubing clamps and save yourself shipping costs.

    You don't need fan shrouds unless you really want them.

    10ft of tubing should be plenty.

    That reservoir is nice looking...although it doesn't look like it holds much coolant.

    I usually try not to spend that much on a water block because those full coverage blocks often don't match from one generation of card to the next. You have the issue where its a dual GPU card...and you have two of them.
  9. That is what I thought, I guess it will depend on what happens later down the road. Besides the 2nd 4870 X2 is totally theoretical. I might get another when they are real cheap, and by then whatever water block I get should be much cheaper at that point as well. What I am most interested in at this point is if I would need the extra 2x120mm radiator for that setup, or would a Black Ice GTX 360 with 3 133CFM fans cover that. Also is there a way I can set up a push/pull system with 6 120mm fans on a 3x120mm radiator? I think if that were possible 6 133 CFM fans or, 6 88 CFM fans on a BI GTX 360 would be plenty. Also how would I set up this theoretical system?

    You said:
    pump > cpu > NB (if applicable) > gpu > radiator > reservoir > pump

    So in a single radiator system I would have the reservoir at the absolute top, I guess some how slapped on the top 2 5 1/4" bays. That would gravity feed liquid into the pump which would then pump the liquid to the CPU, then NB, then the GPU, and finally into the radiator where it would go back into another pump which would pump the cooled liquid back into the reservoir? I really don't think I get this part. Do I need 2 pumps, I can not think of how I would get the water from the radiator to the reservoir from the bottom to the top of the case... As you can see I am pretty confused...
  10. No, you only need one pump...I only put that there to symbolize that the loop was completed, but it actually made it more convoluted. 1 pump would work fine.

    I would think that a 3x120mm with 3 high flow fans would work very well...if you are going to add the second X2 card...I would go and say you need another 2x120mm.

    Its just easier to have the reservoir at the top so when you fill your system for the first time, it flows directly down and feeds your pump and elmininates (reduces) air bubbles. I have a diagram I threw together...the NB is optional...I didn't start using one until about 2 years ago. You shouldn't worry too much about how the water is being pushed or pulled...as long as you don't go nuts and add 20ft of tubing you should be fine. Remember, as much as that water is pushing uphill, there is water being pulled downhill to pull that water up...the cycle supports itself.

  11. I understand the setup you provided, however mine is slightly different...

    As you can see, in that current state I have no idea how to get the liquid to flow from the radiator to the reservoir... such is my problem... The only thing I can think of without moving the reservoir is to get a weak pump and have it pump the liquid from the radiator to the reservoir. What do you think? Am I just overreacting and the power of the pump is strong enough to get the liquid through the radiator and carry it up to the pump? Also you can see from the diagram that the rectangle at the top is a placement for 2 120mm fans and I could pretty easily slap a 2x120mm radiator up there. Just in case you are not familiar with the Silverstone TJ07, here is a pretty good picture of what I want to do:

  12. You will be fine with the pump/radiator setup you have there. Don't stress about it. You could always run the reservoir lower in the setup if you wanted...just as long as its above your pump so you don't push air through the pump.
  13. Ok so how is this:

    I think that should work alright. Another question that comes to mind is the liquid I should use. I know distilled water with various additives is the most common. However, I remember reading about some coolant that is non-conductive, and performs pretty close to distilled water. What do you think? Rubix_1011, for being the only one who feels like helping me, you have helped me immensely, thank you very much.

    Edit: After some research I have found that the Feser One performs as well and even sometimes better than distilled water and seems to be non-conductive. The UV dye seems to be very strong and does not stain easily. What do you think?
  14. Don't feel as though no one else cares to help you. I've been following this thread since it went up. However, I know that Rubix knows what he is talking about and relates to people here well. Perhaps we just knew that you were in good enough hands.

    Rubix is a righteous guy so you are doing well heeding his advice.

    BTW: PCI-ICE is an excellent non-conductive liquid coolant - I've been using it for the better part of 7 years now - exclusively. It is non-conductive, acts as a lubricant for the pump and has a built-in anti-biological. You can get it clear or in several colors.
  15. Haha, phreejak I don't mind. I was more commenting about the lack of replies for Rubix's sake than mine, after all he had to teach a noob how to water cool! I'll check out that PCI-ICE, sounds good. Since I see "(each with four 120mm fans in "push-pull" )" in your sig., can I ask how much this push/pull configuration would increase the radiators performance?
  16. well, I don't have any percentages for you about the exact benefits but, I had to run this "push-pull" configuration when I was using two TEC waterblocks for my CPU and GPU. They produced alot of heat and I need to maximize my two dual 120 rads as much as I can and it worked fine. I've probably been using this setup for about 5 years now.

    As I am typing this my temp is 28 degrees Celsius on the CPU (Q6600 at 2.8)
  17. Somewhere I read that you want 38mm thick fans for the radiator, instead of the common 25mm, is this true? Do you think that 6 88 CFM fans in a push pull configuration on a 3x120mm radiator would be worth it over 3 133 CFM fans? Thats 6 fans that push a combined 528 CFM vs. 3 fans that push a combined 399 CFM. (those are rough measurements since you can not add the CFM of each fan and get a truly accurate answer, but it should be a decent indicator.)

    As I am typing this my temp is 40c on my E6750 @ 3.6 Ghz, some room for improvement. Your temps are very nice considering your cooling a GPU as well.
  18. I am aided by the fact that both my rads are external....

    As you can see, I am using 4 25mm fans on each rad (with the exception of the very back in which I am using two 38mm fans for the CPU) and the setup is whisper quiet. I am sure that the 133cfm fans are nice but audible. I am a fan of the "push-pull" method so I would opt for the 6 fans. That is, however, a personal preference because I do favor a silent system.
  19. I don't care much about noise, but I might as well spend the extra money and get 6 fans, they should be slightly quieter and should provide better performance. With the 2 bottom vents in my TJ07 I will have no problem with this setup. Thank you phreejak.
  20. Sorry guys, I wasn't on much the last couple days...trying to enjoy the weather a bit. Thanks Phreejak...brings a tear to my eye *sniffle*. :)

    But in all honesty, Phreejak probably knows more than I about WC, so you would have been in quite capable hands. I think your layout you posted above is just fine, actually, I am using pretty much that same loop design, just different radiator placement.

    If you are only going for fans on 1 side of your radiator...usually a push...get high CFM fans if you can. If you are going for push/pull, you can probably get away with lower CFM fans and help keep noise down. If noise isn't an issue...high CFM fans all around...of course!

    My 4 side 120mm's are rated at 74CFM and they are actually pretty quiet. I am also the same guy that says my Raptor isn't loud either...but I use rubber mounts for it. I am a firm believer that a silent PC is one that isn't the highest performing...if it were, you would definately need decent cooling. Again, silent is not the same as 'quiet' in this sense.

    I was also just thinking...unless you really want to push your system, getting a NB block isn't a necessity. You can get by if you add a fan to your NB or even replacing it with a better NB heatsink and fan. In all honesty, a new heatsink/fan will run you about the same $$$ as a NB water block...just make sure you find one that works with your board. Some have hooks and loops, others have the push pin style.
  21. I totally agree about the NB point, Rubix. I'm just keeping in mind that I have absolutely no idea how hot an X58's NB or other future motherboard's NB will be. Thank you both, I now do not feel like a complete noob when it comes to water cooling.
  22. NP...it really is hard to say. I am running a P35 and I never really used the NB cooler that came with it, I have always used my NB block.

    Hey, look on the bright side, I did most of my learning through trial and error...which can end up being expensive depending on what you buy and how many times you buy it...at least you did the smart thing and asked around...something I didn't do.

    Let us know when you get your gear setup. Post up some pics.

    Good luck!
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