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Ideas for cooling my new PC: air conditioned case with watercooled SLI

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May 5, 2008 2:48:22 AM

I had a spare core 2 duo e6400 processor sitting in my desk and I just recently decided to use it to upgrade my PC. Ironically, this called for a complete overhaul of my system, so now the only thing original left in the case is, well... the case. My new system consists of said processor OCed to 2.9ghz at 1.3v/// 2x evga e-Gforce 8800GT cards in SLI OCed as well/// 4gb corsair xms2 dhx ddr2 memory clocked at 55512 with 2v/// 650w bfg powersupply used in conjunction with a 450w powersupply (specifically for my graphics cards)/// evga 680i mainboard.

The main reason for this message is to determine the best possible cooling solution: with the system decently overclocked, things get a little warm. average system temp is around 30c, with processor/gpu temps idling at 40c/50c respectively, and under load measure around 55c/80c respectively. I would like to conserve the integrity of my stuff, so a cooling overhaul is going to be put into effect.

The temps I am reading now are with the following cooling setup: 120mm intake fan at front, 120mm exhaust fan at rear, 80mm side fan intake for positive pressure flow. I have removed the hard drive cage to provide uninterrupted airflow to the graphics cards, and the side fan is pushing fresh air onto the ram (both sticks have stock heatsinks on them). Moved the hard drive into a spare floppy slot. I bought a cooling card to put between my graphics cards, but it blows air onto only one card so I feel that it is pretty much useless, obstructing air that could be circulating between the cards. The case I am using is an xblade, not sure on the model, just a standard case.

I wanted to upgrade my case to the masscool nextherm air conditioned type, but I wanted to know whether or not I could use a custom watercooling setup for my graphics cards... Looking at the case, It seems like things would be tight, so I would most likely have to rig up a custom setup outside of the case, which is no problem. I dont want to get a drivebay kit, I would much rather stick to throwing the parts together myself.

Would water cooled GPUs be overkill? I am unsure of the performance of the A/C, but I want to keep temps as low as possible without getting a water block for the CPU (doesnt really get hot with the non-stock HSF that I am using). I keep my room fairly cool, at around 65degrees farenheit, just for the PC.

Sorry for the long post, just wanted to make sure that I included as much info off the top of my head that I could.

Any help would be greatly appreciated, thanks in advance.
May 5, 2008 2:03:13 PM

IMO, a total waste of money for 3.6ghz o/c. My suggestion is to sell the cpu, pick up an E7200/E7300, a TRUE (ultra 120 extreme) + 1/2 Scythe Kaze 120mm fans, a DS3L/IP35-E ($90/$70) and you're all set for a 4ghz o/c. TCO = $320-ish.

$320 4Ghz 45nm VS $200-ish (for A/C case alone+CPU+MOBO+RAM) 3.6Ghz 65nm

No brainer. If your ambient is high, pick up a $150-200 H2O kit. Or look for a Coolit Freezone for $150 shipped on ebay.
May 5, 2008 7:54:34 PM

Im not really getting what youre saying here. Im not going to OC the cpu any more than it is, at 2.9g it runs any game i play perfectly fine at max settings, so the processing power isnt an issue. Also, Ive never heard of an e6400 being OCed to 3.6g on normal cooling solutions, but I might not have studied enough.

My original post was to cool my GPUs, as it stands right now the 8800gt is known to put off a lot of heat, and I have two of them. I am in need of a new case, so I wouldnt mind picking up the masscool nextherm. It only cools slightly better than air, which in any case is a plus for not TOO much more money (atm, price is about 170 on tiger without a ps) and if needed, I would configure my OWN water loop for my SLI setup. Anyone who knows about water cooling understands that kits arent really known for quality, just bang for the buck at the time of purchase. Later down the road, odds are that the pump will fail or some similar problem will arise, so it is smarter to just invest in quality items in the beginning that are sure to last.

Also, the mainboard and HSF that I have are more than enough for OCing, Im not really going for world record overclocking here (if I really wanted to, the only thing I would need to upgrade is my cpu realistically). A new CPU setup would be a COMPLETE waste of money, noting that I wouldnt accomplish my cooling problem, and what I have now is plenty for the time being. Later down the road, I will upgrade to a quad when more games are utilizing it to its fullest.

So back to the original question: would adding a watercooling unit to my 8800gt cards be needed with an air conditioned case, or is there a better method?

I apologize, maybe the long post made it hard to answer a single distinct question : )
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