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GPU's Overheating in SLI, Looking at First Time WC

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July 16, 2009 7:21:12 PM

Hello all,

I have been having some cooling issues for awhile now with my system. Let me list the specs first then I will get further into the details.

E8500
Striker II Formula
4gig Corsair
800gig HD
2x CDROM Drives
2x XFX GTX 260 Black Editions
Sound Card
Cosmos S Case
3 Top Exhaust Fans (120mm)
2 Front Intake Fans (120mm)
1 Bottom Intake Fan (120mm)
1 Rear Exhaust Fan (120mm)
1 Side Case Fan (200mm)

The problem I have is that when I run anything graphic intensive the 2x GPU's overheat extremely quickly when rocketing toward 66C+. I can run the system stable with 1 GPU at about 54C but even that is more than I would like too see. I would like to get this temp down toward 45 under load. What I have been toying with is a custom loop going res > pump > cpu > 3x rad > gpu > gpu > 2x rad > res. The case has more than enough space to do this, which was the initial reason I bought this case. I was hoping I could control these via air, but that seems to not be the case. I have never done a WC project before, but I have been reading up on them for a long time and always wanted to try one. I knew this case could handle a WC project if air cooling didn't do the trick in it, so here I am.

I was looking at using these for the GPU's, Danger Den 260 Blocks, this pump, 3x rad & a 2x rad, reservoir, cpu block, and tubing.

I haven't figured out which fans to use yet, as all the cases I have built have been air cooled screaming monsters with scythe fans, which I assume would be fine for this application as well, however, I would also like to lower the noise levels a bit if possible. Obviously I will be putting fans across each rad, but I also would like a fan controller for a drive bay to control them and I am unsure of which to get at this point.

That's as far as I have gotten so far on my shopping list. I know I need coolant as well, is there one brand better than the next, as well as for additives? Is there anything else I should consider as well? I thought about a NB/SB setup up, but the only chip coolers I can find will not work with my SLI setup, so that is sort of a back burner idea at this time. For now I would just be happy to lower the GPU's and get rid of the monster Zalman and screaming Scythes.

Any input is good input at this point. Like I said, I have never done WC before and any ideas, suggestions, comments would be well appreciated, thanks.
July 16, 2009 7:42:41 PM

Why don’t you use a water / peltier cooling system to cool it? They are not as energy efficient as a good water cooling system but the will cool it down with less noise and allow sub ambient temps. (And will require fewer fans and plumbing.)
a c 324 K Overclocking
July 16, 2009 8:22:55 PM

WC would be a good step...TEC's are going to require WC + the cooling blocks + the PSU power for those TEC's. Sooo...for someone who has never done watercooling, maybe you should only start with WC and not just jump into TECs...at least without a lot of research.

Stay away from TT bigwater, Coolit domino, zalman reserator (and others)

Look at some of the other WC threads and stickies in the coolers/heatsinks area. We have beat this 'What do I need to Watercool' topic horse to death several times.
Related resources
July 16, 2009 8:43:46 PM

rubix_1011 said:
WC would be a good step...TEC's are going to require WC + the cooling blocks + the PSU power for those TEC's. Sooo...for someone who has never done watercooling, maybe you should only start with WC and not just jump into TECs...at least without a lot of research.

Stay away from TT bigwater, Coolit domino, zalman reserator (and others)

Look at some of the other WC threads and stickies in the coolers/heatsinks area. We have beat this 'What do I need to Watercool' topic horse to death several times.


You are right about the "homework and the components" but water / peltier systems have the potential for less noise and sub-ambient cooling. I agree with you that this is not something that someone who is new to water cooling should attempt. "Beginners" kits for water cooling abound and a lot of them do not really perform that well on an overclocked system.

If this is you first attempt at water cooling then do the homework..... lots and lots of reading.... with a water cooled system you do not need a lot of screaming case fans.....
July 16, 2009 8:47:42 PM

What is your ambient temperature like? And what are you running your fan speeds on them at?

Also, I would not call 66C overheating. Two high-end GPUs in close proximity are going to create a lot of heat under load. GPUs often run very hot and the safe operating temperature for that particular video card is like 85C, so you aren't really even close to that. The max "danger" temperature according to nVidia is 105C!
a c 86 K Overclocking
July 17, 2009 3:52:53 AM

NM
a c 324 K Overclocking
July 17, 2009 3:51:01 PM

I am running 2x 260 Core 216's and they never get over ~42C at load...either of them. My CPU cores (4) don't get above ~40C on a Q6600@3.4.

If you are seeing 66C at load, that is a pretty decent temp (is that after 1+hr of load?)

I never recommend those kits to anyone. You can get some pretty good 'starter' kits from Petra's, FrozenCPU and even Newegg that are MCP655 pumps, usually a Swiftech rad and CPU block.
July 18, 2009 6:04:06 AM

spinny said:
What is your ambient temperature like? And what are you running your fan speeds on them at?

Also, I would not call 66C overheating. Two high-end GPUs in close proximity are going to create a lot of heat under load. GPUs often run very hot and the safe operating temperature for that particular video card is like 85C, so you aren't really even close to that. The max "danger" temperature according to nVidia is 105C!


Ambient temps with one card in are about 48C under moderate load, 52-54C under heavy load. With both cards in under moderate load ambient temps jump to 58C, while under a full load they crank up to 68C+

I have been able to run the system stable with one GPU in, but once I add the second card, temps start jumping fast. I realize that manufactures may say that the operating temps of these cards can do 100+, but I am not about to test whether my GPU's can boil water safely. I don't think its that far off to image running it in SLI with temps under load of nothing greater than 48C. Heck, the CPU never leaps over 32C under loads.
July 18, 2009 6:05:58 AM

shabaa said:
Why don’t you use a water / peltier cooling system to cool it? They are not as energy efficient as a good water cooling system but the will cool it down with less noise and allow sub ambient temps. (And will require fewer fans and plumbing.)


Truthfully? One, never looked into them. Two, now that I have since you brought the idea up, I think I would rather start out with a basic loop and see what the results are that I get. The TIC sounds like more that I want to get into at this time without a lot more research on my part.

Thank you for the idea however, I will keep it in mind if this loop doesn't work.
July 18, 2009 6:09:50 AM

rubix_1011 said:
WC would be a good step...TEC's are going to require WC + the cooling blocks + the PSU power for those TEC's. Sooo...for someone who has never done watercooling, maybe you should only start with WC and not just jump into TECs...at least without a lot of research.

Stay away from TT bigwater, Coolit domino, zalman reserator (and others)

Look at some of the other WC threads and stickies in the coolers/heatsinks area. We have beat this 'What do I need to Watercool' topic horse to death several times.


Rubix, thanks for the suggestions. I did take a look through the last month of posts (my eyes are bleeding now), but I found one that had some very good links and suggestions, in particular a link to EOC'ings site with the list for 2009 WC parts guide. I think this will be very helpful in choosing the proper pieces for what I have planned to build.

BTW, that 66C isn't after 1 hour of playing, that's after about 5mins of playing. As soon as I go into gaming with both cards in, it rockets. I don't even know what sort of temps it would reach, I just shut the game off. Running it with one card I am stable at 54C for the most part, sometimes it goes up higher for very short bursts during extremely graphic heavy episodes, but then drops back to 54 pretty quickly. I still think I can get these to run under 48C under load constantly with a decent loop.
July 18, 2009 7:47:47 AM

Quote:
BTW, that 66C isn't after 1 hour of playing, that's after about 5mins of playing. As soon as I go into gaming with both cards in, it rockets. I don't even know what sort of temps it would reach, I just shut the game off.


The only point I'm trying to make is that 66C is well within normal operating temps for modern GPUs. With stock cooling, they run HOT, much hotter than CPUs. If you want to invest in some water cooling to lower temperatures that's good, it will probably be fun and quiet things down. But don't freak out when your cards are running at 70C, that's nothing.
July 18, 2009 2:04:24 PM

have you turned up the fans?
July 19, 2009 12:44:45 AM

prelude2250 said:
have you turned up the fans?


Yeah, they are all on 100 duty cycle.
a c 324 K Overclocking
July 20, 2009 2:01:09 PM

66C isn't bad, even for a few minutes, and it shouldn't be going anywhere near 100C to cause major alarm. I think you have some other issues besides heat that are causing you to crash. Have you tried running a single card and game to see if you have any problems with 1 card at a time vs SLI?
July 20, 2009 3:43:18 PM

From what I understand he isn't actually crashing or having technical issues, he is just concerned about the temperature.
a c 324 K Overclocking
July 20, 2009 3:51:06 PM

Ahhh...sorry...just trying to catch back up.

I would still try the single card approach and see what temps he gets. Also, try taking the case side off, and blowing a box fan inside to see what he gets. Temps remain the same, good case flow, cards are getting hot. If temps go down, he has poor case airflow and should address that.
July 20, 2009 9:01:29 PM

rubix_1011 said:
66C isn't bad, even for a few minutes, and it shouldn't be going anywhere near 100C to cause major alarm. I think you have some other issues besides heat that are causing you to crash. Have you tried running a single card and game to see if you have any problems with 1 card at a time vs SLI?


Initially you are correct in assuming that the crash was the issue. I had already done exactly what you said though prior to your post and discovered that it was one of the cards after reaching temps in the 60's would produce major artifacts or just simply shut the system off.

Having taken that card out of the machine and running one card it ran fine. So I took out the good one, put in the bad card and the problem persisted. So that problem has been solved. XFX is already processing the RMA and I will get a new card and hopefully everything will be good.

However even if mid 60's isn't a bad temp for these cards, I still feel that I can get it lower. The ambient temp with only the good card in the system stays at roughly 45C, so I see no reason why I can't knock several degree's off while lowering the overall dB levels from the fans by installing a WC system. I wont lie, part of it is I just want to do it to say that it's WC'd. I am also looking to expand my computer knowledge and this felt like a new step that I was interested in trying and I have a good setup to build off.

Now I know that WC systems are not silent, well can be, but not all are, but I can bet that it will be more silent that my 7 Scythe Ultra Kaze fans running at 100% duty load. The case has no airflow issues, I have taken the side off before and ran a box fan next to it and the ambient temps and card temps remain the same, so I am confident on that.

With that all said, sure, I could continue to run the system most likely 100% stable once I get the new card back in SLI (assuming the new card has no issues) and it would remain within "spec" temps, but I just want to see if I can get it lower at this point while removing these fans to a more moderate cfm fan setup.

Which brings me to a question. Knowing the specs of the system, if I run a loop going res > pump > gpu > gpu > 3x rad > cpu > 2x rad > res, do you think that it would be sufficient to maintain cooling on my system, or would I need to run them on separate loops? I know this is sorta of a big question as the parts I am going to use are still up in the air (yes, I am researching it like mad and building a shopping list of quality parts based upon guides from other posts on OC WC'n).
a c 86 K Overclocking
July 21, 2009 3:25:48 AM

You might think about two seperate loops.
July 21, 2009 8:48:04 AM

Two separate loops would be a good idea if you've got the space for two rads.

FWIW, I've been using watercooling for about 3.5 years, and have been investigating TECs very intensively. They're not very efficient, they are incredibly effective, and they are power hogs. For your system you'll need a 400W TEC at least.

Please note I'm not using one, yet.
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