Questions about Watercooling for new gaming rig

Hey guys, me again. This is the first build I've done in several years, so I'm a tad rusty. I've got my beautiful XCLIO A380PLUS-BK case here already and already installed the 1250w power supply, and I'm waiting for the rest of the parts to arrive before I continue. Yet in the meantime, I've been looking at the cooling options available. I'm going to be running an i7 950 and I'm interested in OC'ing it to 4Ghz (or higher if that's possible, but I don't really want to mess with voltage mods). Initially, I was wanting to stick with air cooling because I'm chicken, and air just generally makes me more comfortable (aside from the giant heat sinks), but the lower temp benefits of water cooling the CPU just scream out to me since I'm going to be running stuff that's heavier on the CPU than the GPU. I'm not terribly experienced at this, so I'd rather just go with the easiest yet most efficient kit possible (blocks and everything included if possible), and I'd like to keep from having to drill holes in the case (no good at modding). I'm also going to be running a pair of POWERCOLOR PCS+ AX4890 cards on the ASUS P6T Deluxe V2 board, but I'm not optimistic about the idea of water cooling them as I'm not going to be overclocking them ever. Is it a good call, or can I get away with running them on air?

Price isn't necessarily an issue (certainly choked up enough cash on the rest of it). Could anybody recommend the best suited cooler to this build for a water-cooling n00b?
6 answers Last reply
More about questions watercooling gaming
  1. Are you going to cool just the cpu, or other components under water?
  2. 1. First understand that WCing will require modding the case. I don't care what case, it will require modding 90% of the time to fit in a big 320 rad.

    2. Don't bother with prebuilt-sealed units such as the H50.

    3. A good WCing loop for CPU: GTZ + MCP655 aka D5 + 320 rad + 10ft Tygon + res will be ~$250-350.

    4. WCing require you to understand the basics first:
    Conumdrum said:
    I'll just snip the whole thing, I just redid parts of it.

    Us 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".
    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.
    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.

    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.
    Here is the poop on solid info on air/water temps. The link is to an MCR320.
    Scroll half way down and you can see the in/out air diff on the chart. It depends, like I said on fannage what the out air temp vs. the in temp is.

    You can also see the water in/out is very close in temps. No more than 1.5 C. Amazing eh? I thought so too once I deciphered the charts.

    So if you put a second rad with good airflow, you still get good results. Fannage needs to be higher to compensate for the increased air restriction. Meaning double fans on the rad setup, but it's a viable solution.

    Equilibrium (tough word) means with a set heat load (idle/load) after an amount of time temps in a WC loop will stabilize. The heat load is the same, ambient air is the same, fannage is the same, pumps are the same, size of rads are the same, temps will stabilize for those conditions. Any of these parameters change, it has to stabilize. …………………………………………………………
    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 caat 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.
    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
    Guides Pretty up to date info and buying guide Another good guide What to do once all the stuff is in the door

    Forums Not a noob site, but great stickies My fav, good peeps, know their stuff, less hardcore [...] opic=20277 A GREAT Europe site Decent site

    Tests on equipment, not reviews, truly scientific tests [...] n&ie=UTF-8 Info on rad testing More rad testing Host for Martins lab and some newer tests Test results, very technical

    Stores [...] e&Itemid=1

    5. WCing is a hobby and an artform.
  3. This is art:
    My latest rig:

    Massive unmitigated hoses and wires exposed to the world. It's umm industrial art?? If you look in the links Shadow posted there is one that shows TONS of WC rigs, very informative read. And maybe you'll find your case there!
  4. Eh hmm I think i'll let you guys take it from here,lol
  5. Conumdrum, you should build a space-shuttle-like crawler for that thing so you can remote drive it around.
  6. I can't even see it, it's 6' behind my chair and monitors. Nothin fancy, just a high end beautiful tech station.
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