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Diving into the liquid

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May 4, 2010 4:58:29 PM

I have been gathering information that has led me to the following initial configuration for my first water cooling attempt. Count me as one person who almost bought a Thermaltake water-cooling kit at Compusa because the box looked cool. Luckily I had my android phone on me, scanned the barcode on the box, and saw all the god-awful reviews about the product. Also skipped the Corsair H50 that was there. Common sense prevailed. Nothing worthwhile is ever quick or easy. That was 3 weeks ago, and I have been reading up on water cooling a lot since then.

My setup:

Silverstone Raven RV02 case (Supports a 3x120 radiator setup in the case. Bonus)

Phenom II X4 955 BE (will later move to bulldozer or an I7 if Amd doesn't get it together)

6GB Kingston HyperX PC1600 DDR3 RAM (Have decided not to cool this for now)

Asus M4A79T Deluxe Motherboard (Have decided not to cool this for now)

Corsair 750W TX Power Supply (May have to move to a 850+ depending on how many watts this ends up consuming)

2x Msi Lightning radeon 5870 (Biggest conundrum out of all the parts)

My tentative parts list:

Swiftech Apogee-XT Extreme CPU Water-block
Swiftech MCR320-QP Radiator (2x?)
Swiftech MCP355 Water-pump (2x?)
PrimoFlex PRO 1/2″ Tubing
?? Reservoir (Dual/Single?)
?? GPU water-block

The questions:

I have yet to find a water-block that will work as designed for my Msi lightning radeons. DangerDen said no way; I could only use the maze5 gpu block without memory cooling etc... Doesn't seem worth it to me if I can't cool the whole card.

Koolance just came out with a Rev.2 waterblock for non-standard 5870 PCB designs. They haven't gotten back to me about whether it will fit or not. At this point, I am thinking of trading the 2x Msi cards in (which are pretty nice) with someone who has stock/reference 5870's so I can cool them proper.

Should I go with a dual pump/dual radiator/dual reservoir setup with this type of scenario? Would a single loop be possible with a stronger pump? I am willing to put in the money if a dual setup is needed.

Have I thought this through properly?

Here are some pics of the case. Silverstone added a radiator to show how it would fit. Also a pic of the back of the case. not sure if it would make sense to mount the second radiator there since the PSU fan blows through that hole.










Here are a couple of pics of my MSI Lightning Radeon. Anyone have a solution to cool these or am I SOL?









Thanks in advance for any advice you can offer this total greenhorn!

Chris

More about : diving liquid

Best solution

May 4, 2010 9:19:51 PM

Hmmm...

Well with the amount of heat your system will put out the best bet would be to do a dual loop system. One loop for the CPU, and the other for the video cards.
For the CPU loop I recommend the following kit: Swiftech H20-220-APEX ULTIMA CPU Liquid Cooling Kit w/ Apogee XT $299.95
And since the video cards are not the reference design I think your going to be stuck with water for the GPu itself and air for the video ram. But I did find a couple different blocks from Swiftech that might work for you. One is the Swiftech Komodo HD5800 full cover block, and the other option would be to use a Swiftech MCW80 VGA Water Block along with a Swiftech HD5870-HS Full Coverage Heatsink to cool the ram.

But with the video loop I recommend at least 2 2x120mm rad with fans along with an good pump (like an MC655), and its own res.

I know that means alot of space taken up, but it will get you the best temps you can get.

-ouch1
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a c 86 K Overclocking
May 5, 2010 3:02:05 AM

Good answer ouch1!
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May 5, 2010 4:23:19 PM

Conumdrum said:
Good answer ouch1!

Thanks!!! I just figured that his would be a tough one except for the CPU loop. So I just ran with it.
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May 5, 2010 7:05:59 PM

I appreciate the response.

It seems that the kit you referenced comes with some things that I may not use such as the chipset cooling and the gpu block if I decide to go with one of the other gpu blocks you referenced. I see it also comes with a 2x120radiator. In your answer to me, were you saying that I should use (2x) 2x120 radiator for the GPU loop (in essence a 4x120 radiator)?

I have space at the bottom of my case for a 3x120 radiator setup, but was looking for some ideas on the placement of the second loop's radiator. Do you really suggest a 4x120 radiator for the gpu loop? Where would that attach to on my case?

On the subject of the GPu loop. Do you think it would even be worth it if I had to go with a gpu block that doesn't cover the ram? I've seen the copper heatsinks, but it seems like the heat would build up pretty badly there on these 5870's.

Is there a dual-reservoir kit that you would recommend I use for a dual-loop setup instead of buying two small res'?

Thanks so much!

Chris



ouch1 said:
Hmmm...

Well with the amount of heat your system will put out the best bet would be to do a dual loop system. One loop for the CPU, and the other for the video cards.
For the CPU loop I recommend the following kit: Swiftech H20-220-APEX ULTIMA CPU Liquid Cooling Kit w/ Apogee XT $299.95
And since the video cards are not the reference design I think your going to be stuck with water for the GPu itself and air for the video ram. But I did find a couple different blocks from Swiftech that might work for you. One is the Swiftech Komodo HD5800 full cover block, and the other option would be to use a Swiftech MCW80 VGA Water Block along with a Swiftech HD5870-HS Full Coverage Heatsink to cool the ram.

But with the video loop I recommend at least 2 2x120mm rad with fans along with an good pump (like an MC655), and its own res.

I know that means alot of space taken up, but it will get you the best temps you can get.

-ouch1
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May 5, 2010 10:05:23 PM

evensen007 said:
I appreciate the response.

It seems that the kit you referenced comes with some things that I may not use such as the chipset cooling and the gpu block if I decide to go with one of the other gpu blocks you referenced. I see it also comes with a 2x120radiator. In your answer to me, were you saying that I should use (2x) 2x120 radiator for the GPU loop (in essence a 4x120 radiator)?

I have space at the bottom of my case for a 3x120 radiator setup, but was looking for some ideas on the placement of the second loop's radiator. Do you really suggest a 4x120 radiator for the gpu loop? Where would that attach to on my case?

On the subject of the GPu loop. Do you think it would even be worth it if I had to go with a gpu block that doesn't cover the ram? I've seen the copper heatsinks, but it seems like the heat would build up pretty badly there on these 5870's.

Is there a dual-reservoir kit that you would recommend I use for a dual-loop setup instead of buying two small res'?

Thanks so much!

Chris


The reason I recommend 2x 2x120mm rads rather than a single 4x120mm rad is just the hassle of trying to mount a single large rad on a case can be a pain as they are usually longer than the case. If you were to get 2 of the Swiftech MCR220-QP-STACK 2X120 Rad's and stack them you would have a large cooling capability with a decent sized footprint. and you would only need 6 120mm fans to create push/pull config on it. You can easily place it on the outside of your system behind the mobo.

As for the heatsinks; as long as you have decent airflow across them (you still need fans in the case) they should keep the ram and other components decently cooled. Remember the GPU itself is the cause of most of the heat a video card creates. So as long as the heatsinks on the video cards get decent airflow you should be good.

Now as to a large res that will work for both loops at once I really don't recommend it as it can be a serious problem if you get a single leak, also you may get starvation issues on the pumps, and you could get heat crossover issues. But if you are willing to go ahead with it you could use this EK-RES250 Rev.2 Multi-Option Reservoir and change the top out for the EK Multi-Option Reservoir Rev.2 Bottom. And suddenly you have a res with 4 barbs of which 2 can be inlet and 2 outlet. Then you just have to place it levelly on its side above your rads. Just remember that res only holds 295ml of fluid. There was a 500ml version of it called the EK-RES400 Rev.2 Multi-Option Reservoir but I can't find it in stock. If you find it you can do the same thing with it and have a pretty good sized rad to serve both pumps.

-ouch1
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a b K Overclocking
May 6, 2010 12:22:36 AM

About the GPUs, those VRMs will NEED active cooling. I'd wait for word back from Koolance before making a decision on that.

I checked the EK full cover blocks, as they just came out with a cover for non-reference cards (I've got a Vapor-X 5870 v2), and it works more than perfectly for me, but it doesn't EXPLICITLY list the Lightning on the compatibility list, so I wouldn't chance it. I didn't take any pictures of when I was installing my water block (would have really helped right now), but I know that my card doesn't have NEAR that many VRMs, and only uses up half the board height instead of the full board like yours does. I'm a little jealous :p 
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May 6, 2010 12:25:09 AM

Ok, I understand. I didn't realize you could double stack the rads like that. I will set them up in a push/pull. *Dumb Question alert: If I mount them on the left side (motherboard backplate) of the case, do I set the fan direction towards the case or away from it.* You mentioned 6 120 fans. Would that be 2 on one side of the radiator, 2 in the middle of them, and 2 on the outside of the second rad?

The reason I worried about the gpu block being the only part water-cooled, is because the vrm and shaders get way hotter on the temp meter than the gpu under load. Could someone please take a look at the following pics and try to determine if this would work? It's the koolance rev.2 5870 water-block. It was made for the vapor-x and "other similar models", just not sure if it would work on my Msi lightning. I tried to ask Koolance and I have had no response for 3 days.

As for the dual-reservoir, I was hoping there was one that was actually pre-split into 2 separate chambers that maybe fits in a 5 1/2 bay. I could live with having 2 sep small res' though, or even try your idea.

Thanks again for helping me.


New Koolance Rev.2 5870 waterblock:




More pics here: http://www.koolance.com/water-cooling/product_info.php?...



Card they say it was meant for (and "others like it"):



My Msi Lightning 5870:






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May 6, 2010 12:29:52 AM

You posted while I was posting! Thanks for your response on the video card cooling. I had a feeling I needed a full solution. I wish Koolance would get back to me. I called them and they can't help over the phone with this. I emailed them the pics. I tried to reg on their forum, but never got my activation email (not in spam)...

I bought the lightning because it has a supposedly higher possible level of clocking and volting with the "right cooling". I'm starting to think I should have just gone for a stock 5870, but I didn't know I was going to water-cool at that time.

Again, thanks for the response Jedi.

Chris


jedimasterben said:
About the GPUs, those VRMs will NEED active cooling. I'd wait for word back from Koolance before making a decision on that.

I checked the EK full cover blocks, as they just came out with a cover for non-reference cards (I've got a Vapor-X 5870 v2), and it works more than perfectly for me, but it doesn't EXPLICITLY list the Lightning on the compatibility list, so I wouldn't chance it. I didn't take any pictures of when I was installing my water block (would have really helped right now), but I know that my card doesn't have NEAR that many VRMs, and only uses up half the board height instead of the full board like yours does. I'm a little jealous :p 
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a b K Overclocking
May 6, 2010 12:47:38 AM

evensen007 said:
You posted while I was posting! Thanks for your response on the video card cooling. I had a feeling I needed a full solution. I wish Koolance would get back to me. I called them and they can't help over the phone with this. I emailed them the pics. I tried to reg on their forum, but never got my activation email (not in spam)...

I bought the lightning because it has a supposedly higher possible level of clocking and volting with the "right cooling". I'm starting to think I should have just gone for a stock 5870, but I didn't know I was going to water-cool at that time.

Again, thanks for the response Jedi.

Chris

No problem, dude, just trying to help out what little I can!

I was thinking the same thing, got a Vapor-X 5870 because of the cooler, and now I had to order a more expensive block because of it, on top of paying an additional $45 for the card over reference. Boy, do I know what to do for next time!

Although I would recommend a full cover block for those VRMs (especially if you're wanting to get some amazing clocks), you can get a better heatsink for those VRMS (100% copper with large fins) and then have a case fan blowing directly on them. That's what I did with my 4830 I used to have. It had RAM on both sides of the card, and when I replaced the stock cooler with a Zalman VF900, I put 10mm copper RAMsinks on the front and 14mm sinks on the back, and I was able to bring the core and RAM clocks significantly, effectively surpassing the performance of a stock clocked 4850.

If you could find a sink that was big enough to stretch over that mass of VRMs, you could manage that just fine, methinks. And get some 14mm copper sinks for the RAM, and you should be good to go. Again, a case fan blowing on it to relieve the copper sinks.
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a b K Overclocking
May 6, 2010 2:03:19 AM

@OP:

I thank you for taking the time to do your research. Conumdrum,me,et al who reside in the "Heatsinks & Coolers" section run in to way too many people who have bought the H50,etc and complain about it (esp. the Reserators and Bigwater) or consider an H50 to be real water cooling. It's good to see not all people are like this. Anyways, seems like you have a good handle on things and ouch1 and jedimasterben seem to be handling it well so I won't put too much input in to it since it would be redundant.

Anyways:
1. If you get a big rad, you can always mount it outside the case providing the case doesn't get moved a lot.

2. DO get a full cover block for the 5870s.

3. For the res, I prefer the Micro res 2: http://www.swiftnets.com/products/MCRES-micro-Rev2.asp

4. Consider getting some thing like an Antec SpotCool to cool the MOSFETS, RAM,NB,etc on the motherboard depending on how hot things run.

5. DO NOT use dye,coloring,pre mix (ie Feser One) etc on the loop. Run Distilled water + PT Nuke or Kill Coils.

6. Just to be safe, I recommend you get a quality 850W like the 850TX or the new XFX 850W Black: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/258939-29-diving-liqu...
XFX is a new player in the PSU market, but their units are far from low quality.
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May 6, 2010 2:36:37 AM

Thank you so much for the recommendations. Now that I've read all of these posts and stickies, it makes me shudder to think that I almost grabbed that ThermalTake crap off the shelf. One good thing that came out of it, is that it got me interested in water cooling at all.

Regarding my gpu dilemma, I am going to call it a wash. I am going to build a system with a DangerDen Maze5 type of Gpu block. Studying my own pictures some more, there is no way any of those full blocks will fit.

The reason I am going to go with gpu blocks even though I can't get full coverage, is because I did some digging and found out that the vrms and mem on this card are not actively cooled anyway. There is a nifty little copper plate that is molded by MSi to fit the odd shape. It isn't connected to the heat pipe/fan system at all.

When I add the dual Gpu blocks, I will just make sure the cards are actively cooled by a system fan to air out that copper plate.

After reading the stickies, I was going to stay away from the dyes an U/v etc... Saw some pics linked to a guy who ran dye and disassemble the blocks. Yikes!

Definitely considering a higher watt PSU. Too bad, since I like the Tx750I have right now. I just think I may be at the edge of it's capability with the 2x 5870's.
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a c 86 K Overclocking
May 6, 2010 3:26:18 AM

even, your doing very well here. You'll be welcome at OCF for sure.

I must ask, are you still going with stacked rads? From tests unless you really want lots of high RPM push/pull operation please dont.

Even with lots of fannage the second rad will be getting warm air. All of our watercooling depends on air temps through the rad. You don't get nearly the performance from a stacked setup. In fact the results have been dissapointing.

I wasn't sure, so rethink that. Some have a rad sucking cool air into the case, and another rad pulling out the warm air. They still have a few intake fans. So the rad, with case leakage still gets cooler air than a pure stacked setup.
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May 6, 2010 5:10:06 PM

Thanks C, I also appreciate your help expediting my reg at XS!

Well, I was considering the stacked rads because it was suggested a little earlier in this post. I am assuming most people have far more knowledge, so I tend to be easy to talk into certain ideas. I will be more careful and research suggested ideas and their pros/cons.

I'm still digging and trying to find out what type of system would work best for my case. It is somewhat of an oddball case setup, and it is proving tricky to nail down a dual-loop setup schematic. I will definitely go for 1 3x120 rad setup, since my case has a mount for it at the bottom. The second radiator is giving me a headache trying to figure out.

Thanks,

Chris

Conumdrum said:
even, your doing very well here. You'll be welcome at OCF for sure.

I must ask, are you still going with stacked rads? From tests unless you really want lots of high RPM push/pull operation please dont.

Even with lots of fannage the second rad will be getting warm air. All of our watercooling depends on air temps through the rad. You don't get nearly the performance from a stacked setup. In fact the results have been dissapointing.

I wasn't sure, so rethink that. Some have a rad sucking cool air into the case, and another rad pulling out the warm air. They still have a few intake fans. So the rad, with case leakage still gets cooler air than a pure stacked setup.

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a c 86 K Overclocking
May 7, 2010 4:22:31 AM

You still post at this noob haven? Move up the food chain dude.
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May 7, 2010 12:37:33 PM

Roger that.

Conumdrum said:
You still post at this noob haven? Move up the food chain dude.

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a b K Overclocking
May 7, 2010 1:53:35 PM

+1. Do move on to OC Forums
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May 10, 2010 2:24:52 AM

Best answer selected by evensen007.
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