Acheiving Optimal Noise vs. Performance for Gaming

Case: HAF 932
CPU: i5-750 Overclocked

Here's my dilemma:
-This rig will sit next to my HDTV, so noise is a concern.
-I want to be able to run games with plenty of eye candy at 1920 x 1080
-I want to OC my CPU so that it does not bottleneck the GPU
-I do not want to use Crossfire or SLI as the P55 mobo only has one 16x lane, and this will generate more heat and more noise

I would LOVE to be able to use an HD5970 as this will give my rig all the performance it needs for years to come. I would be willing to settle for an HD5850 if heat and noise become too much of an issue as this will still deliver good performance at 1080p.

For this situation, I'm considering water cooling, but I have a few questions for the community assuming I go for the HD5970:

1) What radiator size will I need? Will a pair of 120.3 radiators be enough, or can I go smaller? I'm looking for one loop to WC the CPU, and Mobo, and the second loop to WC the GPU.
2) How much noise will WCing generate with this build? Will it be quiet or will it sound like a microwave next to my computer?
3) How much radiator space can I shave off with the HD 5850 setup? Will a single 120.3 radiator work? What kind of noise can I expect here?
4) Any suggestions for mounting multiple radiators to the HAF 932? I know you can get a 120.3 in the top, and I believe you can use through-bolts to attach another to the rear of the case. Any comments/thoughts/suggestions?
4 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. OP: Could I ask you to start at the top of this forum, "Watercooling Solved" and research and learn for a week or so? The stickies is where you really need to focus.

    Might want to ask at OC Forums. There are 5-20 experianced watercoolers that frequent the WC forum. It's about 2.5 peeps here.
  2. Conumdrum said:
    OP: Could I ask you to start at the top of this forum, "Watercooling Solved" and research and learn for a week or so? The stickies is where you really need to focus.

    Might want to ask at OC Forums. There are 5-20 experianced watercoolers that frequent the WC forum. It's about 2.5 peeps here.

    Thank you for the response!

    Yeah I've been reading through the stickies (excellent articles you've written btw)

    The problem is that the components are so new that there's few resources to say how much cooling they would require. A lot of the reviews and charts max out around 600W of heat (or so) and I know this setup would generate more than that. What is clear is that an OC'd i7 setup (CPU + Mobo + MOSFET) would probably require a 120.3 radiator on its own. But is the i5 going to be any less intensive (given the lower power demands and the simpler mobo architecture)?

    I guess what I'm really really getting at is whether or not a single radiator would be enough for the i5 OC'd + HD 5970. The Feser 140.3 Monsta looks promising, but that leads to the question of where I'm going to stick such a huge beast in the HAF 932. I've seen photos of it inserted in the bottom of the case (blocking the bottom PCI slots - which isn't an issue for me); however, this is fundamentally less effective because Thermodynamics 101 says that heat rises.

    Another question that I can't seem to find a good answer to is how much noise a pump puts out (just in general). I want this system to be quiet, and a whining pump will simply not work, which means that WCing will not work, which means that I will have drastically rethink my setup. I've searched through a bit, and watched videos and read reviews, but in every video some jack*** thinks it's cool to play rave music rather than actually let the viewer hear the case noise, etc.

    Anyways I will (of course) keep looking. But before I drop this kind of money into a rig, I want to make absolutely certain I have my ducks in a row - even if it means asking a redundant question or two.
  3. Best answer
    Pumps, the DDC 3.2 or 3.25 (newer) or the D5 is VERY quiet. So don't worry about pump noise.

    If your watching a movie, a 120x3 is enough. The noise wouldn't be obtrusive unless you watch a lot of quiet movies. Gaming? Ahh you'll have the sound turned up anyway.

    What about a 120x2 times two? That gives you 120x4 rad, enough to run lower speed fans and able to fan control them to very quiet for movies.

    Look at the XSPC, Thermochill, EK (new) radiators with LOW fins per inch. They are deigned for lower speed fans.

    Don't underrad if you can help it. Don't forget summer room temps. Every degree in ambients is a degree in CPU or GPU temp increase/decrease.

    The Feser 140x3 is crazy large. Way overpriced, and the fans it needs because it's so thick are't very silent either.

    Heat rises in a perfectly still enclosure. You'll have fans, you can push the air in any direction with fans. Most still like cool air in the front, hot out the top and back. Put a 120x2 in the front, one hanging out back. Don't know much about cases anymore, I use a tech station. Ugly but functional.

    I'd say 500 watts is okay for your use. Remember many of these max loads are while running synthetic load tests like Prime 95 AND Furmark at the same time. Not gonna happen in real world usage.

    I wouldn't be working on world calss overclocks for the CPU or GPU if it's for living room use execpt to play. It will give you little if any benefit.

    I got a 965 DO stepping (can't buy it, engineering sample) and two GTX 280's in SLI. I haven't overclocked since I built this rig early this year. Link to it in the link I provided. No reason to, it plays ALL games at max res on 2 24" monitors just fine. It just uses more electricity and heats up my room. Overclocking is fun, but reality sometimes says why?
  4. Thank you! This is exactly the kind of information I needed!

    The HAF 932 has enough room in the top to handle a 120.3:

    This fella here put the Monta 140.3 in his case:
    As you stated, though, it's overpriced and not really necessary.

    So what I will probably do then is have one 120.3 rad on top like this, and then a 120.2 through-bolted to the back with end room between it and the case for decent airflow. Either that, or simply put a 120.1 over the rear fan. I may just see how well the 120.3 works on its own before deciding how much additional rad surface I need. I've read that the general rule of thumb is one 120 section generally yields a 3 degree difference, so that's the figures I'll use to decide how much additional cooling I need.

    I certainly have no intention of OCing the GPU. There's no reason to with the card I'm looking to purchase. I may try to moderately OC the CPU to see if it gives me any FPS increases. My guess will be very very little, but I'm still concerned that the i5-750 will bottleneck something as massive as the HD 5970.

    In any event, thanks again for the info! Exactly what I wanted!
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