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Watercooling Recommendations for New i7 Build

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July 17, 2009 12:12:36 AM

Hello all,

This is my first time to build my own computer and I would like to try to watercool it because I would like to overclock my processor and it is something I would like to try as a fun(hopefully) and learning experience.

So here is a basic rundown of the parts I just ordered:
CASE: XCLIO WTBK ADVANCED
MOBO: ASUS P6T6 WS Revolution X58
CPU: Intel Core i7-920
GPU: EVGA GTX 275
PSU: Zalman ZM1000-HP
RAM: OCZ Gold 6GB 1600MHz DDR3

and of course a hard drive and optical drive.

So I am thinking I would like to liquid cool the CPU, GPU, and Northbridge and Southbridge but CPU & GPU at the minimum. I have been reading a lot of reviews and forum posts about various liquid cooling manufacturers, DIY, kits, etc, etc and just when I think I've got it figured out I read something else and change my mind.

I started out thinking I would go with a Koolance EXOS-2 V2 external system because that appealed to me as a flexible system (I could get a new case and not having to worry about reinstalling everything). But, while reviews I read were positive, lots of forum posts said Koolance parts were lower quality and/or overpriced. I'm not adverse to paying more as long as it ends up being worth it... and my interpretation was that it would not be worth it.

Now I'm looking at a Swiftech Apex Ultima kit or ultimately recreating the kit but with a few changes. I like that kit because a large portion of the system is still external (so I don't have to drill holes or do obnoxious things inside my case to get the parts to fit).

My price range for all the cooling parts is probably $600 max. I was originally looking for something easy, but now I'm mostly focused on something that works the best for the money (and will last for future upgrades).

Sorry that was so long, but I have tried to do my research but I've really ended up confusing myself probably more than it's worth. I'd appreciate any and all comments and suggestions/recommendations for how I should proceed.

Thank you!
a c 86 K Overclocking
July 17, 2009 3:50:17 AM

Here ya go. My standard cut n paste linked here ohh 20-30 times for peeps that don't need to look through 50+ posts to learn in the last 5 months. Lots on info, have fun, good luck, learn to read TONS and TONS of posts at the forums I linked.

Take your time, it's a lot of fun!

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lUs guys have done the WC thing, there are basics you gotta know. Take a look, don't take it as a diss on you or a rebuttal, look at as a friend saying "Dude, you gotta know what to say and how to communicate".
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CPU HS $65
GPU HS and air HS for vram and mosfets $95, full cover block, $100-$200
Radiator $60 min, up to $130
Pump $50 +
Resiviour $25
Hose, some barbs and clamps etc (min $25, more like $35)
Fans $15-30

I went top notch and spent close to $600 to cool my CPU and GPU.
First you gotta learn about WC. It's not like walking into Best Buy.
Spend a while (weeks is best for your sanity) at these links.
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.
And you should spend a few hours on the listed sites reading threads. It's how we learn. Once the goodies show up on your doorstep your on your own.
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. Look here too…. http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=22...
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Edit: The next paragraph was from 2008. With the advent of the HOT i7 and bigger GPU's, it has changed. A 220 size MIN rad for an i7, you want big overclocks, better go 320 sized rad.
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IF you just cool your CPU and your NB if you want, you can get by with a 120.2 sized radiator (RAD). And MAYBE fit in inside depending on your mod skillz. You want to cool your GPU too, you'll need a 120.3 sized rad, and it probably won't fit inside. The rear external rad really works great. No matter what your adding 10lbs to your PC.

Once you got an idea of what is good/bad then start getting your system for WC put together and we'll be glad to help.
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Cleaning a loop, not a new loop: I do this once a year, I drain and refill at 6 months, the next time I do this……
Wash hands very well, getting rid of hand oils.
For pumps and blocks, fittings, clamps, acrylic res/block parts.... not hose, tear it to smallest pieces, put in a bowl, heat water up not to boiling add 10% vinegar, when hot, pour over parts. Rinse in 10 min or so. Put aside.
The bocks will probably have some black oxidation. Take the copper parts out of the pile of parts you took out of the water. Dry well and pour ketchup on them, and set aside. Only the copper parts need this.
Rad cleaning: fill with very almost boiling hot water. Let sit 10 minutes, drain half out and shake for 5 min. Repeat till liquid is clean.
All the pump, block, fittings, and clamps, inspect, get in the tiniest corners with a tooth brush. Kind of meditative, time consuming, you learn a lot about o-ring size, how it all feels. Run a rag using a coat hanger and dish soap through the tubing, rinse well.
Rinse all the parts and hose with distilled, dry then really dry with an air compressor (nice extra step to get rid of water spots). Don’t need to dry the inside of the hose.
Now on to the copper parts, they should have been soaking an hour or two. A toothbrush and ketchup should clean much of the oxidation. It probably won’t be like new, but pretty darn good. Rinse, dry, and blow the parts.
That’s it.
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Benching software and such is very varied. I use these for each purpose:
These are pretty standard and used by many.
Monitoring the PC temps overall: HWmonitor aka hardware monitor
CPUZ for CPU info
GPUZ for GPU info
CPU only: RealTemp
GPU only: ATI Tool, I have a Nivida GTX280, so it works on Nvidia

Loading/benching tools:
CPU loaders: Prime95 and OCCT
GPU Loaders: ATI Tool and the best one is Furmark, nothing pushes the GPU harder right now.
Benching for overall graphics/gaming performance is 3DMark06
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Guides
http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=... Pretty up to date info and buying guide
 verclocking-and-cooling&Itemid=86" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://gilgameshreviews.com/index.php?option=com_conten... Another good guide
http://forums.extremeoverclocking.com/showthread.php?t=... What to do once all the stuff is in the door
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=22... Many build logs on MANY cases, great learning tool.

My latest rig:
http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=604016

Forums
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/index.php? Not a noob site, but great stickies
http://www.ocforums.com/ My fav, good peeps, know their stuff, less hardcore
http://www.over-clock.com/ivb/inde [...] opic=20277 A GREAT Europe site
http://www.overclock.net/water-cooling/ Decent site

Tests on equipment, not reviews, truly scientific tests
http://translate.google.com/transl [...] n&ie=UTF-8 Info on rad testing
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?t=22... More rad testing
http://skinneelabs.com/ Host for Martins lab and some newer tests
http://www.skinneelabs.com/MartinsLiquidLab/ Test results, very technical


Stores
http://www.dangerden.com
http://www.petrastechshop.com/
http://www.sidewindercomputers.com/
http://www.jab-tech.com/
http://www.performance-pcs.com
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All you need is a new Air heatsink for $50 or so. A basic 'good' CPU only watercooling setup thats better than a great air cooled heatsink will set you back about $200, maybe a bit less. That's not the great stuff, but wayyy better than any TT stuff.

A proper WC loop of top parts starts here for a GREAT CPU loop.
A pump for watercooling that you can keep for a longgg time will set you back about $70+. A rad you can build on is about $60, up to $130. A good CPU block, $60. A res, $25+. Hose etc 30+.

You could benefit BIG time for watercooling the GPU's. Noise is gone and GPU's scream. If your gonna do the GPU's, might as well to the CPU too. But now we are talking over $500 very easily. Depending on the GPU's heatload, you might need TWO rads and possibly a fully second loop. Price really climbs then.

Please ohh please DON'T think of buying a Thermaltake kit. I can put you on many forums where every single one of the hundreds of watercoolers will tell you please don't. It's crap.

The TT kit you linked to will reduce your temps on the CPU. It's only a 120x2 size rad, a very inefficient one at that. It, just by physics can't handle the heat from the GPU's added to the loop. Impossible. The TT pump isn't known to be powerful, and the teeny hose won't help flow rates when you attempt to add any more blocks to it.

You DON'T need a watercooling loop. You need a better heatsink and probably better case airflow due to the GPU's. Modern hobby cases have more than two fans. If they are 80mm fans on your case you really really need a new case.

For support and help on getting a new air cooler, learning about watercooling, and maybe a new case, here is a buncha links. OC Forums is my home forum, and a bunch of great folks there.

!