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Best i7 Watercooling setup for under $250

Last response: in Overclocking
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July 29, 2009 6:32:32 PM

Ok, First off, yes, I have done lots of research, yes I have spent a couple weeks looking at stuff/doing reseach/learning so please don't ask me to come back after doing more research, This IS more research so please don't just copy/paste your same post from another thread with research sites (I'm looking at you Conundrum o.O)

Secondly, Thank you in advance for all your suggestions and help.

Ok, on to the good stuff:

I'm thinking about watercooling my i7 920. I just want a basic, good performance setup for only the i7, to start out with. No gpu block, but I would like to have that as an optional upgrade later on down the line.

I currently have an NZXT Tempest case, with an ASUS P6T motherboard.

From what I have been looking at This is what I was thinking to start out with:

Swiftech MCR 320 aprox. $55
Swiftech Apogee GTZ aprox $65
Swiftech mcp655 aprox. $80


And Then I would need a radiator which I'm not sure which I would want/what is a good one.
And I would need tubing, but That's pretty well easy to find/decide upon, so I'm not including that in this.

Total before rad+tubing aprox $200

The $250 should include:
Good Pump (capable of pushing enough water to support the i7 and a beefy Gfx card)
Radiator (capable of supporting the i7)
CPU Block (with support for socket 1366)
Reservoir (or if you don't mention one, leave enough in the price to get a decent one plz)

You can recommend a second/better radiator for future upgrade for the Gfx card.

Yes, everything I am thinking about is swiftech, but from everything I've read, they have good quality parts and everything I've chosen appears (to me at least) to be a pretty good value for the parts.

Now what are your expert opinions from those of you who have been doing this for years?

More about : watercooling setup 250

a c 324 K Overclocking
July 29, 2009 7:10:27 PM

Rad might be at the point of thermal threshold on that i7 by itself. I wouldn't OC that chip, otherwise you won't get that great of temps. If you are going to add more into your loop, consider getting the MCP320 now for the CPU and using/adding the MCP220 later when you add your GPU.
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a b K Overclocking
July 29, 2009 7:25:41 PM

Well as far as cooling the i7 (regardless of the OC) the MCP220 is more than enough, he never stated that he was going to WC the whole rig.... If you are thinking of watercooling the GPU's as well then thats another story.....

I have a co-worker here @ my company that is using the same rad (MCP220) pushing a 920 to 4.3Ghz @ 60c (load)....Basically using that same Kit.....(ambient 24c 24/7)

Unless you are planning on breaking the world record for an i7 920 overclock, this kit is more than enough....
July 29, 2009 7:29:35 PM

As stated earlier, I plan on just WC the cpu first, possibly adding in the gpu (currently a gtx 260, planning to upgrade when the gtx 300 series comes out) later (i.e. several months down the road).

Also, any recommendations on a good reservoir or comments on tubing?
a b K Overclocking
July 29, 2009 7:30:34 PM

Either of those setups should work great for you.
You can defiantly save some cash getting the kit but I would probably go with the larger radiator.
The extra cooling from the larger radiator may help you get a little better overclock and will probably keep your temps a little lower regardless.
If/when you decide to add a GPU or two to the loop, you will defiantly want to add another radiator or a second loop.
You will probably be hitting the limit with a single 2 or 3x120 rad with an i7 and hefty GPU...
a b K Overclocking
July 29, 2009 7:39:38 PM

Then I guess my post is worthless since i cannot reccommend a WC solution for both the i7 and future GPU/GPU's at a pricerange of 250.00$ All I can say is save, save, save.........
July 29, 2009 7:47:55 PM

@OvrClkr If you want to recommend a kit that will only work for CPU right now, that's fine, I didn't intend the $250 price to include the extra I would need to add in the GPU.

The $250 should include:
Good Pump (capable of pushing enough water to support the i7 and a beefy Gfx card)
Radiator (capable of supporting the i7)
CPU Block (with support for socket 1366)
Reservoir (or if you don't mention one, leave enough in the price to get a decent one plz)

You can recommend a second/better radiator for future upgrade for the Gfx card.

I will edit my original post to say that.
a c 324 K Overclocking
July 29, 2009 7:55:10 PM

MCP655 is a beast. I use it and i'm running a lot of gear in a single loop.
a b K Overclocking
July 29, 2009 8:00:00 PM

OrderChaos said:
@OvrClkr If you want to recommend a kit that will only work for CPU right now, that's fine, I didn't intend the $250 price to include the extra I would need to add in the GPU.

The $250 should include:
Good Pump (capable of pushing enough water to support the i7 and a beefy Gfx card)
Radiator (capable of supporting the i7)
CPU Block (with support for socket 1366)
Reservoir (or if you don't mention one, leave enough in the price to get a decent one plz)

You can recommend a second/better radiator for future upgrade for the Gfx card.

I will edit my original post to say that.


Yea i guess that was my bad... trying to help 6 at the same time....

Well, with a 250.00$ budget it won't be an easy task... thats all I can say... more like 350.00$ or more....
a c 324 K Overclocking
July 29, 2009 8:04:03 PM

MCP655 pump
MCR320 rad
CPU block (~$55)
Swiftech micro-res (if you want, easy for beginners) - or - T-line
Feser/Tygon tubing, but I know that Conumdrum likes Primochill tubing. All should be thick walled, very flexy and 1/2"
a c 86 K Overclocking
July 30, 2009 5:59:20 AM

Looks like the op has done his homework. many good suggestions, just go with what you have read and got input. Should be just fine.

Make sure you get a min 120x3 rad and pay attention to heatload vs cooling on the GPU. A really hot GPU will really hurt the CPU temps. If a BIG overclocker on the i7 and getting a HOT GPU (bigger than an 4870 or a GTX 260) type look at a 120x4 or TWO 120x2 rads to start with, your gonna need it if it's a 4870 x2 or a GTX 295. You can never overrad with issues, but if you push overclocks, or have terrible ambient temps, you can underrad easily. There are soooo many variables to play with.

Don't forget Martins or Skinnees tests on what a rad can do under xx heatload.
It's physics. Can't win over that wishes or not.
!