I'm looking for mainly CPU overclocking, not too concerned for graphics OC atm.
My current setup:
EVGA E758-A1 motherboard
Intel core i7 920 d0
6gb triple channel corsair dominator memory
2x EVGA 896-p3-1258 AR gtx 260 Sli Setup
Corsair CMPU 750TX 750w power supply
OCZ vertex 30g SSD(OS)
WD 1tb caviar black(storage)
Alienware predator case 2.0 chasis(from old PC)
Just ordered the memory and motherboard so I haven't gotten my system built yet(not in any rush) but I did want to get a head start on understanding the cooling options available for me and order the parts so I dont have to reinstall my system.
So basically I'm looking for some serious cooling with a budget of limiting the liquid cooling to only my CPU.
I've read conundrum's guide for water cooling for beginners but I still have some questions. I understand that liquid cooling would outperform the best of air cooling with the right pricing and setup, however I'm wondering about the results if I only purchase Liquid cooling for my CPU and air cooling for the rest of my hardware(mainly video and memory).
The idea I have for cooling my memory is the corsair dominator memory fan(20$ on newegg)
Though my video cards seem to have its own fan and having two of them in SLI doesn't seem like there's room for a heatsink or fan so I'm assuming they aren't options. I'm basically leaving VGA cooling to my case fans, maybe four noctua 120mm fans with two in the front and two in the back.
Air Cooled CPU: I'm currently thinking of going with Prolimatech Megahalem Black Edition w/ two 120mm noctua fans.
With this budget liquid cooling vs the megahalem how much would you theorize I'd get from the choices in my WC parts over air cooling.
I'm Looking for a stable 4-4.2ghz OC on my system.
And for those who HAD the megahelem and upgraded to a pretty good WC system can you post the temperature difference? I'm wondering if the difference is enough to make me go the extra mile for liquid cooling.
Conundrum gives good feedback. Though the Apogee GT is an old design, it is still good. I think he means that your money will be better spent on newer blocks that have proven to be more effective than the old turbulence impingement design found in the Apogee GT.
Tygon tubing is a luxury. I have found that even with Tygon, I have to change out all tubing every 2-3 years anyway. Such is life with PVC tubing. There will always be a certain amount of osmotic fluid loss, and that fluid will coud the tubing, and over time, the tubing will become hard and may even crack it it is not taken care of properly.
Definite agreement on Hydrix. But this is where Conundrum and I differ. Yes, his suggestion is good...if you want to change your fluid every six months. I went full guinea pig two years ago and bought a case of FluidXP+ just to give it a whirl with a couple builds...and the stuff is extremely reliable. After listening to a friend of mine explain some of the trials and tribulations he had with any of the glycol blends (his dog lapped up a bowl full of the stuff while he was changing fluid, ended up with a $2000 vet bill and one VERY sick dog) I was pleased to find that the FluidXP is non-toxic. I wouldn't want to drink it, but it is safe. And since I filled my loop with the stuff, I have only had to replace fluid lost to osmosis. For two years, and this build has gone through some interesting changes (2 CPU upgrades, 2 GPU upgrades) and is currently supporting a Q6600 at 4.2 Ghz stable. My new build (Corei7 920 @ 4.6 Ghz stable, backed off from 5.1 Ghz stable but too hot for my comfort) is also using the same batch of FluidXP+ that I bought 2 years ago. Granted, I could probably get better thermal numbers if I went with distilled + antibiotic, but I like not having to drain, fill, bleed and cycle my loop every six months (usually takes me about 2 days before I have all the air pockets bled out).
As far as rads...for just the CPU, the 920 does pump out some heat when you start turning up the clock and increasing the voltage. 120x3 may seem like overkill, but it does give you a lot of room, especially if you want to add your GPUs into the loop later. If you do add the SLI GPUs, you will most certainly want to add more thermal capacity to your loop. 120x2 is adequate, though, for the 920, but IMHO, not comfortable for me if it was my rig.
As for switching from air to liquid...you have to remember that with a liquid system, all you are doing is upgrading to a more efficient heat transport system. Instead of pushing air over disparate heat sources and using available surface area from heat sinks to dissipate heat, you are collecting the heat from multiple sources into the liquid loop and then dumping the heat into the air in a more efficient manner. You are still air cooling, though, unless you add active cooling into your system (thermoelectric, phase-change or evaporative cooling, for example), so you are still tied to the vagaries of your environment.
I second hose clamps. I just don't trust zip ties to keep tubes on the barbs, especially if you have to pull hardware. A five minute job of pulling a hard drive or RAM can become a day long wait if you accidentally pull a hose off a barb. They are actually very cheap for the peace of mind that they afford. And go with metal worm-screw clamps. The plastic zip-type hose clamps are OK, but it speaks volumes that the only way a worm-screw hose clamp can come undone is if you unscrew it.
You don't need to buy full-coverage water blocks for your GPU. In fact, with as many times as I have switched graphics, I am extremely grateful that all I have had to buy are new RAMsinks for the new cards. If you do decide to go full coverage on the graphics card water blocks, be prepared to buy new water blocks every time you rev your graphics.