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Watercooling questions and hopfully answers

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May 18, 2010 8:28:05 PM

Ok I have been debating between air cooling and water cooling. In my situation the benefits outweigh the cost of a nice water cooling system. The issue is I have never built a water cooled system and I am not sure where to look for parts or a case. The look of the system is important to me, I figure if I am going to get water cooling might as well make it look awesome :D 
So the questions I have are
1) A case recommendation, I would want a full tower case for plenty of room and something that shows the internals of the system well, maybe acrylic? I have no idea here
2) For the water cooling itself I have zip idea my new system is going to have a 480 gtx so I will get a block specifically for that. Otherwise I have no idea. I am going to use a i7 probably 930 so that should help with the cpu block. Would there be other parts that you would recommend having water cooled?
3) For the case how does the radiator/fans fit into it?
4) My new system is going to cost around 2000 so getting a 1000 dollar cooling system would be kind of ridiculous so I know that water cooling is expensive and my budget is NOT a big deal but I dont need a system to cool 3 480gtx and 980x cpu
a c 100 K Overclocking
May 18, 2010 10:35:30 PM

Well, there's a sticky thread about watercooling you need to check out and basically you have a lot of learning to do in that department. It's a custom, personal thing. You'll also need to figure out exactly what system you're putting together to know what kind of heat you're dealing with, so that you can figure out how big of a radiator to get. If you want to put the radiator inside the case, well, you'll probably want to buy the biggest case you can. Cases in particular are very personal, a good idea is to start with browsing retailers and when you find ones you like, try looking up some reviews on it. As to installing the radiator in the case, you have to custom mount it. I know my Antec 900 II comes with a metal plate that fits inside one of the 3 front bays, so I can mount a radiator there but frankly I just can't see there being enough room for a proper cooling system, and a resevoir.

Anyway, I'm not a water cooling expert maybe someone else will give you some better pointers, but I've been browsing these WC help threads and most of the time people just tell you to go read up.
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May 18, 2010 10:56:43 PM

bhk7594,

Just like Wolfram23 said please read the stickie at the top of the forum. Here is a link to it: New to watercooling? READ HERE FIRST!
Please read it over and give it some time to digest fully. Just remember this a good basic water cooling loop will cost at least $240. And that is just to cool the CPU.

-ouch1
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Related resources
May 19, 2010 1:40:20 AM

also note that the benefit of water-cooling will only become noticeable at a much higher price point than air-cooling. most mainstream water-coolers will not offer much in terms of OC, they are mostly a quiet alternative to stock cooling. however, at the same price point air-cooling will offer better cooling and OC performance.
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May 19, 2010 2:16:11 AM

Thanks a ton to the link for the sticky and the price estimate
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May 19, 2010 7:40:45 AM

i would recommend the cooler master HAF 932. it is watercooling friendly and is the case im currently using right now. it has a lower mounted PSU so your pump or pumps can chill on the bottom of the case without your vid cards getting in the way. as for rad mounts it has a grill/vent on top that you can mount a dual 120mm rad on or you can even mount 2x dual 120mm on the sides. you just have to make sure that the rad and the fans arent so thick that they hit the vid cards. if you wanted to mount it on the back of your case then theres 2 little rubber grommets that allow you to route the tubing to the outside of the case =)
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May 19, 2010 11:53:27 AM

Ok I have done some reading and I learned a ton thanks for the suggestion!
So I am going to have a antec 1200 for my case though I know its not wonderful for watercooling I was looking through some forums and I found you can mount a smallish rad on the back maybe a doulbe rad on the back and then people have managed to put a triple inside the front of their case
This would call for two loops if im thinking right

For parts I would go with
i7-930
480 gtx (second one when I get a chance)
Two 1tb drivess
One cd/dvd
6gb ddr3 ram

So would I be able to have one loop cool the cpu, northbride, and southbride while i have the other loop cooling the gpu(s)

http://www.overclockers.com/forums/showthread.php?t=600...

That seems to be the system I want to go for (cooling part)
You guys have any suggestions for the parts that I will need/comments on the idea?
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a b K Overclocking
May 19, 2010 4:29:22 PM

This is a matter of opinion. The cube case will have more options for mounting radiators, hardware and fans, however, in the long run it will cost you alot more money. A case like this should be able to support anything you can throw at it. Just remember, if you read the stated dimensions the case is rather large: be sure you can fit this in your room. A large case like the 1200 (or preferably other cases with more mounting options) are usually cheaper in the long run and are more than adequate for all but the most extreme systems. They also have the added benefit of being slightly more portable and easier to work on.

One thing i'd like to note.. cases are normally steel for a reason. someone stop me if this isn't completely accurate: A metal case acts as a ground, preventing static electricity from discharging inside of your case. This also provides an area for you to ground yourself (by touching the case) before you touch your components. An acrylic case provides no such grounding so you will need to be more carefull when handling your parts. I read about that years ago.. and have been following that mantra thus far.

I'm just about to get started with watercooling myself, except that I've been reading articles about it for years (what can I say, I love tech.) I asked for an opinion recently on how much radiator real estate I would need for a non-overclocked i7 and 470/480 (and for sli) and I was quoted a minimum of a 2x120 radiator for the cpu, 2x120 radiator for the gpu (or seperate loops 2x120 for cpu and 3x120 for gpus if you SLI.) Keep in mind that I wasn't planning on overclocking so adding another slot to those estimates might be more on target for you.

One thing you might want to look up is how different radiators perform with different fans. I've seen a few charts that might help you.. search the forums and you'll probably find them or links to sites which might have them.

A few stores which I've been to which seem to carry a decent selection of fans, radiators, tubing and accessories:

www.dangerden.com
www.newegg.com (more limited, but I love how they do business)
www.xoxide.com (I've dealt with them before, not quite newegg but I had no issues.)
www.frozencpu.com (Huge selection)

-------------

Lastly, do a google search for watercooling forums (that specialize in this subject) you will find more articles that will help you in this quest. This forum was a good starting place.. however you will find more of what you want to know elsewhere. Do follow the links posted in the sticky though.. very good information.
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May 19, 2010 7:10:37 PM

also with acrylic cases i have read somewhere on toms that it doesnt provide i ground for your speakers if you are looking at a good sound system. i chose it because steel is just bad ass =P you can drill it and make your own mounts if you needed to. the next computer im going to build is going to have the amd 6 core 3.2ghz cpu with cross fire GPUs i dunno which ones but i already have almost everything i need to do it...its just a matter of the wife letting me >.>

all i gotta do for this is drill a few holes on the right side of my case for a 3x or even 4x 120mm rad + fans. the setup is gonna be like...side of case > 1/2 inch stand offs for air flow > fan > radiator =D

if you've got the money dude then get a case that offers all the options you need to upgrade in the future. still would recommend the coolermaster HAF 932 >.>
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a b K Overclocking
May 19, 2010 8:29:20 PM

You can drill aluminum, plastic and plexiglass as well. On my first case I had to cut an 80mm fan hole in the side window, above the processor fan.

i4yue, are you planning on drilling just mounting holes, or 120mm holes for the fans as well. If the prior then I tend to agree. If you are planning on drilling fan holes then I'm not sure what the point would be as the setup would seem to be less efficient than a flush mount. Do tell.
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May 19, 2010 8:54:02 PM

im wanting to get a 4x 120mm radiator for my watercooling loop when i start crossfiring my GPUs but theres no where to mount the radiator and fans that will provide good airflow sooo ive decided to just mount it on the side of my case.

its going to be just like this


and if you look real close theres a white little spacer that gives about 1/3 inch of space between the rad and the case for air flow
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May 20, 2010 2:06:48 AM

I think im just going to dish out the cash and get that crazy acyrilic case just so its easier and then get like a steel plate for it to rest on so it grounded
Since im still pretty new to this i got a few noob questions
1) for fans you got any suggestions? do i put fans on both sides of the rad or just one?
2) Can someone just explain which way the loop should go i know it goes from the component you want the coldest first but does it go like pump to res to block to rad to res?
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May 20, 2010 7:30:58 AM

for fans you should deside what type of radiator you have if its a low cfm or high cfm type radiator. this page should give you a good idea about rads and fan types.

http://skinneelabs.com/triplesv2.html

i personally have my fans pushing against the radiator and it works fine...im sure conumdrum would know the best fan/rad combo in the best configuration but for me...just push config is working fine for my OCs =)

...pump > res > block > rad > to res....do you have two reservoirs?

it should go reservoir, pump, radiator, block, reservoir...but in my opinion the radiator and the blocks can be switched and it wont make much of a difference in cooling. you always want your reservoir to be feeding your pump or you have the possibility of cavitating your pump which is never good.

before you buy anything and i mean ANYTHING!!! you need to read conumdrum's stickies and look through skinnee lab's test results because a certain fan type will work better with a certain radiator and a certain radiator will work best at a certain GPH type pump and certain pump's gpm can be controlled...and if you set your gph to be optimal with your radiator you gotta find a block that is best suited for that gph also and the list goes on!!! its crazy if you want all your parts to work in harmony =)

if you arent overclocking then im sure throwing random parts in there wont matter to your temps but i didnt see a big difference between my setup and i guess ''pro'' watercoolers out there until i overclocked my cpu from 3.2 ghz 1.35v to 4ghz at 1.55v and my temps wherent to hot but they where higher then i expected! so do your research ebfore you buy anything
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a b K Overclocking
May 20, 2010 11:42:46 AM

A few links that I've found usefull over the last few days:

http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1467444
http://67.90.82.13/forums/showthread.php?t=226445

You can get a good idea of performance of one fan vs two fans if you read through them. Notice that as you increase fan speed the gaps between performance seems to lower.

One thing to note is the fins per inch (fpi) rating on the radiators. A higher fpi number will restrict airflow but offer better cooling performance at slower speeds. I believe for such an application you should be looking at a fan that has a higher static pressure, but don't quote me on that.

Personally I'm most likely going to get a few delta fan for my next build. I'll have them rigged to a 20w/channel controller so i'll be able to scale them back for silence when cooling performance is not required.

---

i4yue, I see what you mean. I am sure that performance would be increased over an interior mounted radiator as well. I'll keep that idea in mind when I get around to my next build.

Also keep in mind.. some of the people who get low temperatures from overclocks are using some pretty nice hardware. 5x120rads, 4x140rads, fessers, etc. Ambient air temperature also plays a big part. In a 13x15 room with the door shut and a window open on a 90 degree day is going to heat the inside of your case up no matter how many fans you use.
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May 20, 2010 11:50:27 AM

Ok so I read his guide and I think im going to go with the GTX series, I am going to get two separate loops going, one for cpu and the board and a second for the gpu(s). I understood most of the guide and he said at higher rpm fans the gtx takes the cake so those are what im going for. So what I didnt understand was the psi flowrate thing and the static pressue could someone explain. What im thinking is i would be able to have a res that is built for two loops and then have two pumps (or could i get away with one?) Then the tubing goes to the block and then to the rad and then back to the res. I would need clamps for connecting the tubes and the coolant. Am i missing a large part about like pressure and flow rates?
also with all the fans how do I power them all even if i just have them on one side thats 4 for the 480 gtx and then 3 more for the 360 and then 5 more in the back for ehaust are there psu out there that put that many molex connectors on their psu?
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May 20, 2010 1:17:50 PM

if theres a will theres a way! buy the biggest MF power supply they got =) already going for a $300+ case why not get a $300+ PSU hahah im sure there are fan controllers out there and stuff that you can use to power your fans
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May 20, 2010 4:18:02 PM

Sweet will do I think im going to get a bfg 1200 watt. More important though does anyone know some good fans because if i do a 480 gtx and a 360 gtx for my rads then i will need 8 fans and 6 fans for each one to do a push pull thingy going and then a fan controller that would allow me to control all those fans?
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May 20, 2010 4:36:05 PM

I recommend the Yate Loon fan's. They can be very quiet and move alot of air through your rad's.

-ouch1
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May 20, 2010 6:00:47 PM

yate loons are good for lower rpm radiators but for higher rpm you should look into scyth ultra kaze fans
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a b K Overclocking
May 20, 2010 6:18:14 PM

bhk7594,

You might want to invest in a decent fan controller. They usually can control anywhere from 3-7fans each. One thing to watch out for is how many watts each channel is rated for and how that applies to your fans. For example, if a high powered delta fan can draw 10w max then you do not want to buy a controller that can do 4w per channel max. I have seen controllers offer up to 30w per channel.

One solution would be to buy a 4 fan controller (knob type) with a decent watt rating per channel (18+ or so) and to split the power between two fans. This will give you the ability to control the rpms without excessive space taken up by a controller. I suppose if you use low-watt fans you could even get away with 3-4 per knob on a high rated controller (30w?) this would allow you to adjust your entire loop at once.

As to figuring out what fans you will be using... look at the rated rpm, cfm (airflow) and static pressures, then take a look at that chart I linked you to and find a match. Since you are planning on sandwiching a radiator between two fans, you shouldnt have any static pressure trouble as long as you do not buy $2 fans. The last thing you might want to look for is the decibel rating. If you're going for a silent pc you might not want a 60db+ fan (unless you greatly reduce the rpms.)

---

On the subject of power supplies, the suggested rating I received for an i7, 480sli performance system was about 850w-950w. This included 6+ fans, 12gb ram and a few decent hard drives. So in other words, a 1200 should be more than enough.

---

As for your reservoir question: I have seen systems that seem to share a large common reservoir but this defeats the purpose of having two seperate loops. With only one common tank the entire system will eventually equalize to around the same temperature. If you want true "two seperate loops" then they would each require their own reservoir. Keep in mind that some people do not have a reservoir at all, just a fill tube.

----

Wow that is quite a rant. Everything that I said you can easily find by reading articles about this subject. I might seem to be more familiar with the lingo but that is just because i've been reading about everything more than you have. In all actually i'm about to start my first watercooling system this month myself.

Good luck, keep us posted.
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May 20, 2010 6:30:21 PM

/\ +1 on the two res. never mix fluid in two loops...its just like crossing the beams in ghost busters...bad joojoo. you would be heating up your cpu with your gpu heat!!

its not recommended that you DONT have a reservoir because having that extra fluid gives quite a few added benifits

1. it takes alot more heat to raise the temp because of the extra fluid needed to be heated up

2. the air in the reservoir has air in it and allows for thermal expansion of the fluid inside your loop.

3. allows for a place for air bubbles to bleed out when you first start up your loop or w/e there is air in the system.

4. my res doubles as a flow indicator because i built it to have a small waterfall thing going and as long as the water is falling and sloshing around i know my pump and system is working fine.

5. insures that the pump has a positive supply of fluid going to it
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May 20, 2010 6:37:38 PM

Haha ghost busters
never cross the beams thats a good one
so i will get two res going
I think im going to get all med speed yate loon fans they have a 80 cfm (whatever that means) and they are rated at 1650 rpm so should i just run those on max at 1650 or should i get high speed and tone down to around there or keep it going in the 2000's
for a fan controller i saw on for about 50 bucks that runs 7 fans so that would be good cause if i got 2 of them that would control all of the fans on my rad they say they use 10 watt a channel so 70 watt max so 2 would be 140 watt but i am going to have a 1200 watt power supply so i should be good.
maybe a third fan controller for the exhaust fans in the back of the case
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May 20, 2010 11:05:29 PM

you fan selection will be determined by your radiator choice. if its a high/med/low radiator then you'll need the matching set of fans.
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a b K Overclocking
May 20, 2010 11:25:03 PM

cfm = cubic feet per minute, this is how many 1x1x1ft volumes of air the fan can push in 60 seconds time.

In your earlier post you said you were going with the gtx series of radiator. Get a fan which has the recommended (or slightly above & turn down) rpm rating. Could you find a watt rating on those fans? Instead of shelling out some mega bucks on all the controllers just buy one with more watts per channel and put more than one fan on each. for example, if the fans draw 8w each then you could put two on each channel if you bought a 20w per channel controller.. Just an idea.
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May 21, 2010 12:39:20 AM

Was looking at controllers and couldnt find one like that, do you know of any?
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May 21, 2010 2:18:06 AM

so for those controllers I can hook up more then seven fans?
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a b K Overclocking
May 21, 2010 3:48:43 AM

Don't quote me on this.. do a google search before you decide:

From what i've read as long as you are under the totals allowed for each channel you can hook up multiple fans to each rheobus. Just double check the wattage/amp draw on the fans and compare that with the controller specifications.

If the controller is a tad beefier than the draw you have on it then I dont see why there would be a problem. Some product descriptions even state that they are meant to put more than one fan on each channel.

As for the number of fans attached: i'd say the 20w 4knob should be able to handle 8 fans, the 6knob 12 fans. Check the specs to see.

I'm planning on running 7 fans on a beefy 4 knob when I get around to ordering my new equipment. I've never done it before but everything seems to check out.

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a c 86 K Overclocking
May 21, 2010 5:28:20 AM

Not too bad folks, staying out of the way seems to have show a few stars that understand the big picture, just as I started out.

Keep up the effort, help the noobs.
You pros should bookmark all these links, pass them on. I kinda hate to, we have had a few rather umm "not capable" folks on these other forums. No matter, they are brushed aside/banned, ignored as street people we pass every day on our way to work.

I'd rather help everyone first and later decide if it's worth OUR continued efforts.

NM, changed my mind, you guys do what you want. Decided no links, nomore riff raff on my home forums and people questioning me, "Why did you send xx here, OMG?

I'll pick and choose who needs to move on.

Have fun.



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May 21, 2010 5:35:53 AM

hahaha learned alot from reading your other posts dude. didnt see a need to tweek my WC loop till i tried to overclock to 4ghz+ this week. just a personal thing but i hate seeing my cpu hit 50c and it was hitting around 48c after 30mins of prime95.
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a b K Overclocking
May 21, 2010 1:23:10 PM

I was already familiar with most of the lingo, however, I was a bit unfamiliar as to what the new i7/480 cooling requirements are. Conundrum helped out in that regard. I do owe him thanks for that. I could have found it eventually, but my time is more limited during the week.

Regardless, the way he seems to regard others just makes my blood boil. Please keep in mind that this not some super elite forum and that people just getting started will stop here for advice. I can understand your frustration when people post a question that has been posted before, however, what for you might be a 2 minute answer might take them hours to figure out on their own. All i'm saying is lay off the high & mighty once in awhile.. no need to create any extra stress on here :) 

@bhk
Any luck yet?

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