New water cooling setup

Hello people!
I'm a great fan of this site, and particularly to the forum... almost always found the answer to my question without needing to post!

I have an older setup that i think would greatly benefit from water cooling, giving me a much-needed performance boost. Thing is, I've always flirted with the idea of water cooling without ever really looking into it... So in other words, I'm not very knowledgeable...

I managed to put together a custom setup that would make sense from Danger Den...

I would like your comments and recommendations on this.

My setup:
Mobo: DFI Lanparty nf4 sli-dr expert
CPU: Opteron 185
Gpu: 2x nVidia 8800 GTS G92 512mb

My watercooling setup:
Chipset MPC DFI EXPERT Chipset Block Danger Den $38.50
CPU MAZE4 for Athlon64 & Opteron 754/939/940 Danger Den $35.95
GPU 2x IONE for NVIDIA G92 GT and GTS Danger Den $219.90
2x Single slot PCI bracket Danger Den $10.00
Pump DD12V-D5 Pump Variable Speed by Laing Danger Den $91.45
Tubing Tygon 3603 Tubing Danger Den $11.40
Radiator X-Flow Stealth GTS 360 Black Ice Danger Den $59.95
Reservoir Danger Den Single 5 1/4" Bay Reservoir Danger Den $29.95

My questions:
1. Should i use 1/2 or 3/8 tubes?
2. What is a SLI fitting? I probably need one but I don't know what it does.
3. The big question: Is it really worth it? I mean, for that price, I could easily upgrade for a few extra bills... What do you guys think?

Thanks for your input!!!
16 answers Last reply
More about water cooling setup
  1. A few changes:

    Swiftech MCW60 waterblocks for your GTS's with some RAM sinks. (Little heatsinks for your GPU RAM...they typically have thermal tape on them to stick)

    MAZE4 blocks are pretty might check into the D-Tek or Swiftech Apogee blocks...I am pretty sure they have mounting options for most processors and would do much better in terms of cooling.

    What chipset block is that cooler for? Northbridge? If so, you don't really need it. If it is for MOSFETS, etc, scrap don't need it and will kill your flow.

    Good pump, but check out, I am pretty sure you can find them there for $25-$30 cheaper. Looks like about $10-$12...I have seen them as cheap as $59 on there at times. that a cross-flow radiator? If so, you want a dual-pass design...water goes in one end, up and back (like a horseshoe path) and out the same end. You will want at minimum a radiator size of 4x120mm surface area with a CPU and SLI cards or 2 rads with same or more surface area.

    Reservior is OK, but there is a Swiftech micro-res that works well and is easy to fill that many people like. I have used it and its very handy to prime and fill just prior to the pump.

    1/2" tubing. Your pump is native 1/2" fittings, and make sure you get 1/2" on all your blocks. All good quality blocks have interchangeable fittings, make sure you get 1/2" size...might as well make use of the tubing size. Some even say to use 7/16" tubing for a tight fit over 1/2" fittings, but that is preference...hose clamps (quality ones) work just fine.

    SLI fitting is to run from one card to the lower card, typically is a metal fitting. Do you have a link to the blocks you mentioned? They seem a little pricey for a G92, but I am not familiar with IONE? Are those DD full cover blocks?

    I know that Shadow or Conumdrum will be here and post the usual informational links, so I don't want to steal their thunder. But, read up on what they post, its good stuff.

    Check out:
  2. thanks for the reply!

    As for the tube size, my guess is that it has to do with flow rate, and the slower flow rate the quieter the loop... I'm not going for quiet though, although I wouldn't mind... My dual 8800 are SCREAMING at 65% fan speed... So If I go with 1/2, would there be noticeable sound difference?

    Here's the link for IONE GPU block:

    And yes, it IS pricey... a cheaper alternative would be very appreciated!! Althoug i think it makes more sense to go with a full coverage block rather than mess with heatsinks... I'm done with air.

    here are the SLI fittings I mentioned:

    So if I understand correctly, i would use the SLI fitting instead of tubing, right?
  3. Oh yea, here's the rad:

    What about heater cores?? worth it?
  4. Ok...for the SLI fittings, they aren't necessarily needed. On those types of blocks, you can swap the fittings from one side to the other using the plugs and o-rings. You would run one fitting up and one down on each one with a short piece of tubing in between each. The SLI fittings are mainly just metal that would attach between the blocks to take the place of the short piece of tubing, but might be a little work to get attached.

    The radiator is a cross-flow design and while allowing higher flow rates, would sacrifice your cooling ability.

    I have 2 of these and they work great. They also have a 220 design and would highly suggest at least 2 of the 220's or similar. Even a 220 and a 320 (or equivalent rad surface area) would be beneficial with SLI and CPU.

    As for heater cores, I have used them before, and for your setup, I wouldn't use anything less than 2 Bonneville ('77-'78 I think?) but it will require a lot more modification for barb and fan attachment as well as mounts. On top of that, they are kind of ugly. They work alright and have decent flow, but for the cost and work involved to make them work, you are almost better off just getting rads designed for watercooling.
  5. Thanks for the info rubix!

    Now let's suppose I get 2 220's like you suggested, what would my setup look like? 2 loops or 2 rads in series?? I have no idea how to configure the placement of pump, reservoir, rad, etc...
  6. You could probably run them all in the same loop without any problems. I run 2 of those 320s in series, but I also only have one GPU. Many might suggest 2 loops which would be ideal, but you also need another pump, etc to completely separate them out. With 2x220s, you would be OK with your setup, but I wouldn't try to OC as you are getting close to the cooling threshold of those rads at that point.

    I haven't seen the typical Shadow or Conumdrum reply post yet with all the links, but OC forums has a lot of seasoned veterans there with a lot of experience.

    Typically your res is either a bay res or a micro res and the micro can go about anywhere. Typically, your res will feed directly into your pump inlet and your pump out will go straight to CPU first. I have my rads mounted on the side of my case, but some have room in the top and back to mount up with their 120mm fans. Look up your case model on Google and cross check it with watercooling and see if you get back any matches. Sometimes people have Photobucket accts with pics or someone did a review.
  7. Mr xxxxman,

    The IONE is a very good full cover block for the GPU. The SLI fittings are a lot easier than using the hose between cards. Running FC blocks for SLI is much easier than GPU only cooling.

    You want good flow rate, don't know where you heard slow flow is better, but if the flow is too low your temps will suffer.

    I'd run no less than a total of 120x4 rad in total size. Or run TWO loops, each 220 rad in size, and think about a 320 size for the GPU loop. Meaning TWO pumps, rads, res blocks completely seperate from each other. Reason two seperate loops is best is the GPUs no matter how big the rad will increase the water temp and your CPU temps will suffer somewhat. Keeping the GPU's out of the loop will keep the CPU water temps lower.

    Look at the hundreds of loops close to your case and components in the stickies, read a couple 50 or so threads over the next week or so, you'll be on the ball to make the right choices and by then know how to put it together.

    Not 'Roket Sience', but basic knowledge is required.

    For your benefit please spend a few days reading a LOT. At the busiest places for WC masters. Guys who have done it for YEARS at OC forums and xtreme forums. It took me a while (I was OCing on air, aftermarket stuff, bios settings, best chipsets etc etc) to learn the language and the tricks to a easy install.

    Don't expect miracles or SUPER DOOPER over clocks. What you will get is a quiet system that can handle OC to the max of your hardware IF you buy quality and buy smart. And minor maintenance too, a bonus for the water cooler.

    Also while there please read on case mods etc. The radiators are not for small cases, pumps and hose routing, wire management and other things are important. Google your planned case and the word water-cooled in one line. You might get lucky. Not a noob site, but great stickies My fav, good peeps, know their stuff, less hardcore [...] opic=20277 A GREAT Europe site [...] n&ie=UTF-8 Info on rad testing

    Stores [...] e&Itemid=1
  8. Thanks Conumdrum for the valuable info, I will be reading a lot in the next couple of days...
    I need your opinion on my last question though: is it really worth it for my specs? I mean, the price is pretty steep, and I don't know what kind of performance boost I can get from water cooling.
    For that price, I feel like I should invest in an upgrade! What do you guys think?
  9. Watercooling does help on temps for sure, if done right. Meaning $$ and some research for the good stuff. Big overclocks on water can be the same as a great air system, or a bit higher, usually always a OC gain. What you get is less noise and the fun. Thats pretty much it. Seen a few get no more OC out of their system by spending $400+ for water for the CPU/GPU, but the noise level is Much lower.
  10. Slightly modified my water cooling components after having delved into the forums, and upon your recommendations. So here goes:

    First off, I scratched the NB block, will look into it in the case of a 2 loop setup, will run it in the CPU loop.

    I'm favoring the 1-loop approach, as doing 2 loops will increase the cost and make the whole thing just too pricey.

    CPU: D-TEK FuZion v2 Universal CPU Waterblock - 1/2"
    GPU: 2x IONE for NVIDIA G92 GT and GTS
    Pump: Laing D5 Vario/Swiftech MCP655 Inline 12V DC Pump
    Tubing: Tygon 3603 1/2" Tubing
    Radiator: HW Labs Black Ice GT Xtreme 480
    Reservoir: Swiftech MCRES-MICRO Rev2 Reservoir

    I'm going for a 4x120mm rad, as I have SLI.
    My loop will look like this: PUMP>CPU>GPU>GPU>RAD>RES>PUMP

    does this look alright? Will this rad handle some major OC (Mainly on the GPUs which will be pretty HOT)??

    Also, does anyone know if this setup fits in a thermaltake Soprano case with window? Couldn't find anything myself about this case water-cooled...
    I will probably have to mod the case for the rad... it already looks crammed with my 8800 GTS's...
  11. I am also considering a parallel loop with 1 pump as illustrated in the link below (except that in my case I only have 1 CPU... but same principle applies)

    Do you guys think that temps will be lower due to the parallel paths?
  12. why invest all that money in water cooling to get a small percentage improvement? Just get a gtx295 or a 4870x2, and sell your existing cards.
  13. I somewhat agree with that, but on the other hand, I can carry whatever water cooling system I install forward with every upgrade (and spend more dough on water blocks... :( )
    I am still evaluating whether I will go ahead with this, but in the meanwhile I would like to ensure that I know exactly how my water cooling setup would look like (components, number of loops, component placement) so that I can have a good idea of the cost involved.
  14. I have moved my initial water loop from 4 different systems, but have expanded and upgraded blocks and pumps in the process. Yes, it costs more than normal air coolers, but it is by far more of a DIY and hobbist solution than just attach and forget.

    For the question about the loops in the image provided, the main issue is that you don't really have 2 separate loops, just a parallel, so you aren't going to benefit from lower temps on either are using the same 'pool' of coolant for everything. In a setup like the one you have shown above, they would need 2 separate loops due to having dual CPU and dual GPU just makes better sense. If you ran that setup in a single loop, you would need to run at least dual 3x120 rads...maybe even dual 4x120s.
  15. Thanks for the input rubix, as always!

    How can I calculate the rate of heat dissipation required for a given system? In other words, how can I base my purchases on concrete numbers??

    2 4x120 rads will be an absolute MONSTER of a system! I can get a PS3 for that price!!!
  16. A good rule of thumb is to estimate about 1.5x120mm surface area per component like CPU or GPU. So, in that case, you could get away with dual 3x120 rads and probably be fine with good fans. I have the Swiftech MCR320's and they work well for about $53 each.

    Or you could get ones with the fans installed, might save you a few bucks:

    I would think this could get you going as long as you don't try to OC them all to the ceiling. Since you are only running a single CPU and dual GPU, you should be fine...and they aren't dual GPU cards each, so running them in series would be your best bet...make sure you have a good pump...MCP655, DangerDen12v (Laing rebrands).
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