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Need advice on Liquid cooling Dual CPU Rackmount *Newbie*

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March 25, 2011 5:53:14 PM

Hi. I'm a newb when it comes to water cooling. I need some pointers on liquid cooling (if I do decide to go with liquid cooling), and really didn't see anything that completely answers my question. I don't really overclock, but I have been interested in the "silence" factor as I record stuff in my room, and my requirements may be a little wild, but this is what I am thinking;

I'm planning a Dual Intel Xeon 1366 Workstation build, and I have been deciding on two cases, but I am most likely to go with a Chenbro Rackmount case,to clean up the clutter a little bit. The Chenbro case however has only one place for one 12cm fan. I know this may give me less space also, but it seems like it is managable. *Update* I now found a Norco Case that has two 12cm fans upfront, five 8cm fans in the middle, and two 8cm fans for the exaust. It will also be more flexible, giving me more options, and have a tooless hard drive bay. I know this may give me less space also, but it seems like it is managable. *Update* A guy suggested another case to me, which seems to have space like the Norco, but instead of five 8cm fans, this Rosewill Case has 3 12cm fans in the middle.


I'm not completely sure of everything I need. I believe the CPU block, radiator, fan, pump, fittings, coolant, and tubes.

I see some items say that they have a 1/4" fitting, but I they say you can install a 1/2" tube to it. Is there any benefit going from 1/4" to 1/2"?

I heard of quick connectors from Koolance. Does those work as advertised.

Water cooling could be overkill for me, but I know that for the Xeon chips, there isn't a lot of options, and I heard some of the small fans can be loud, and bigger fans can block components, especially when going with two CPUs and gobs of RAM. If there is any suggestions let me know. Thank you for your time .
a c 324 K Overclocking
March 25, 2011 6:01:30 PM

Few questions:

Are you set on wanting a rack-mount ? If so, where are you planning to house the watercooling gear? Typically, this is inside a normal case, outside via some mounting or both. I'm not saying it isn't possible, because it is very possible...depending on your expectations, budget and ability to mod or 'be creative'.

What is your budget? Watercooling gear budget? Overall budget?

G1/4" is the fitting size/type of each fitting...the barb/compression fitting screws into this. The 1/2" ID size of the fitting is where the tubing fits over. Same fitting; different ends of the fitting...

I know that Xeon sockets are a little more tricky to find aftermarket cooler (especially waterblocks) but if you contact manufacturers, they can tell you exactly what will work.
March 25, 2011 6:31:48 PM

rubix_1011 said:
Few questions:

Are you set on wanting a rack-mount ? If so, where are you planning to house the watercooling gear? Typically, this is inside a normal case, outside via some mounting or both. I'm not saying it isn't possible, because it is very possible...depending on your expectations, budget and ability to mod or 'be creative'.

What is your budget? Watercooling gear budget? Overall budget?

G1/4" is the fitting size/type of each fitting...the barb/compression fitting screws into this. The 1/2" ID size of the fitting is where the tubing fits over. Same fitting; different ends of the fitting...

I know that Xeon sockets are a little more tricky to find aftermarket cooler (especially waterblocks) but if you contact manufacturers, they can tell you exactly what will work.


I'm about 85% set on a rack case (if not rack, might go with the Level 10GT, or the NXZT Phantom). I'm not looking for any overclocking (except for Turbo Boost). I just really want to keep the CPUs as cool and quiet as possible. I know Rackmount is bad for this, but I want to try and attempt it. I would like to keep everything self contained. Someone on another forum suggested to me this Rosewill case, which has three middle 12cm fans. . Now the Xeon E5645 is about 80watts,, which two will give me a TDP of 160w.

My budget, well won't be alot. But I am building this system around November, so I have time to spare. Things like the Case, I will get sooner and put my existing parts in it. That will also give me a chance to see if I need to do any mods and measure before the new build (maybe the LGA2011 Ivy Bridge chips will be out by then, and gives me time to see if I wanna think about going with WC still).

The Xeon chips won't really be a big challenge for the block. I just need the 1366 socket block, which I'm looking at the Koolance CPU-3, and get these bolts with it.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
March 25, 2011 7:00:50 PM

For a dual CPU loop, you'll likely run in the $200-$300 range depending on gear you select to run.

You'll want/need to run at least:

-2x CPU blocks
-1x pump
-1x reservoir...optional; T-line can be used instead, res is easier for most people
-2x120mm radiators for EACH CPU in the loop.
-tubing
-compression fittings or barbs; no real advantage to either...simply style and cost difference

You could possibly get away with a single 3x120 radiator with some good fans; depends on the radiator, depends on the fans. Something like a XSPC RX360 (not the RS version) or a Thermochill...etc. SkinneeLabs.com has a great comparison of radiators...poke around there a bit and see what you think.
March 26, 2011 1:13:44 AM

rubix_1011 said:
For a dual CPU loop, you'll likely run in the $200-$300 range depending on gear you select to run.

You'll want/need to run at least:

-2x CPU blocks
-1x pump
-1x reservoir...optional; T-line can be used instead, res is easier for most people
-2x120mm radiators for EACH CPU in the loop.
-tubing
-compression fittings or barbs; no real advantage to either...simply style and cost difference

You could possibly get away with a single 3x120 radiator with some good fans; depends on the radiator, depends on the fans. Something like a XSPC RX360 (not the RS version) or a Thermochill...etc. SkinneeLabs.com has a great comparison of radiators...poke around there a bit and see what you think.


Cool. And I'm guess a 3 fan radiator is better than two right? I'll also check out the site.
a c 324 K Overclocking
March 27, 2011 3:10:33 PM

Yes, more radiator is better if you have room for it. Radiators are low restriction and therefore adding more won't make much negative impact on your flow rates. Having more radiator space also allows you to run slower fans if you wish, resulting in a quieter setup.
March 27, 2011 7:18:56 PM

rubix_1011 said:
Yes, more radiator is better if you have room for it. Radiators are low restriction and therefore adding more won't make much negative impact on your flow rates. Having more radiator space also allows you to run slower fans if you wish, resulting in a quieter setup.


YES! That is what I'm aiming for is as silent as possible. I might go with Thermaltake fans which is rated around 1800RPM, and since their 12cm, they should be fairly quiet. And like I said, since the CPUs only are 80w running at 2.4GHz, those things should stay fairly chilly, allowing me to use the system for long hours at a time. I'll most likely by the case in the next couple of weeks, so then I can see how to set everything up with the WC. I don't see much rackmounted cases with Water cooling, and most solutions resulted in an external configuration, but I may be the few that have everything "inside the box". I'm mostly going to go with a Koolance set. Seems pretty pricey when I added everything up, but I can start building it by pieces. Might even start getting parts before my new build so I can get use to WC on my 775 socket. Thinking about going with this Koolance Drive Bay combo with this Koolance Radiator.
a c 324 K Overclocking
March 27, 2011 9:41:54 PM

That Koolance rad is fairly med-high FPI at 20 fins per inch. For the cost of that, you might consider the XSPC RS rads or Swiftech rads. With the XSPC RX series (thicker rads, good FPI for low speed fans) you'd be well off on a 2-CPU loop. I've never been a fan of Koolance; they have some decent blocks these days, but they've had issues (5-10) years ago with galvanic corrosion (mixed metals) but using aluminium in some of their components. Most good watercooling components should only contain copper or brass. Anything shiny and silver should only be nickel plated.

That pump combo might be alright; I haven't checked into it. You might also consider a MCP355 or MCP35x (otherwise known as the DDC line of Laing pumps). They are very small and you could run a bay reservoir up front...there are even some reservoirs that will fit that pump in the back.
March 28, 2011 12:45:21 AM

rubix_1011 said:
That Koolance rad is fairly med-high FPI at 20 fins per inch. For the cost of that, you might consider the XSPC RS rads or Swiftech rads. With the XSPC RX series (thicker rads, good FPI for low speed fans) you'd be well off on a 2-CPU loop. I've never been a fan of Koolance; they have some decent blocks these days, but they've had issues (5-10) years ago with galvanic corrosion (mixed metals) but using aluminium in some of their components. Most good watercooling components should only contain copper or brass. Anything shiny and silver should only be nickel plated.

That pump combo might be alright; I haven't checked into it. You might also consider a MCP355 or MCP35x (otherwise known as the DDC line of Laing pumps). They are very small and you could run a bay reservoir up front...there are even some reservoirs that will fit that pump in the back.


First off, I wanna say thank you for all the info. You have really been helpful.

That XSPC RS360 radiator looks like a good buy. Maybe I'll consider that instead. I've read some reviews of the Koolance rads last nite and they said they are ok, but not the best.

The pump combo was featured by this guy on youtube. It seems cool, has a fan controller, and it says it shuts off the system when the CPU gets too hot, but most motherboards can do that now a days anyway. But I'm curious because while looking at your suggestions, I came across this http://www.xs-pc.com/products/pumps/x2o-200-single-bay-reservoir-pump/. What you think?
March 28, 2011 5:05:25 AM

I use a MCP 350 + XSPC restop. It powers though an Apogee XT and two MCW60 (4870 heatpipe variant) blocks without issue.

Unless you're clearing the 4 block point and are expecting super low temperatures, either pump (355/655) will do the job. With appropriate radiator space these pumps will perform much better than than average forum poster will give credit. (Rubix knows his shiat)
March 28, 2011 7:35:30 AM

d0gr0ck said:
I use a MCP 350 + XSPC restop. It powers though an Apogee XT and two MCW60 (4870 heatpipe variant) blocks without issue.

Unless you're clearing the 4 block point and are expecting super low temperatures, either pump (355/655) will do the job. With appropriate radiator space these pumps will perform much better than than average forum poster will give credit. (Rubix knows his shiat)


Cool. I'm kind of getting excited now :D 

Yea. I have posted this in other forums, and people told me I have to go outside of the case and use another 4U rack to hold this and that and the other. I know I'm a n00b, but I'm sure I don't need THAT much cooling. I'm only planning to run two 80watt CPU, and they will only overclock themselves when in Turbo Boost mode. I know that double and triple stacking rads won't do a whole world of difference unless I had more workstations to wc. (And Yes, Rubix is the man).
March 28, 2011 8:49:55 AM

OK now that most questions have been answered, how do you guys feel about coolant and tubing? I heard some people put just plain distilled water, but I know that will just evaporate like no ones business. Any "colored" coolant, preferably in blue?
March 28, 2011 9:29:19 AM

I'd strongly recommend against any dyes in a water cooled system. They have a nasty habit of falling out of solution at the least opportune moment, resulting in gunked up blocks. If you want blue, buy colored tubing instead. Primochill has a range of colored tubing to suit your desire.

I use straight distilled in my loop. Most people use a silver killcoil or PTNuke (copper sulfate) as an antifungal additive. Running straight distilled caused no problems for me. My only issue was caused by poor radiator cleaning before use.

Distilled evaporates as fast as any other water, but in a sealed loop this shouldn't be an issue worthy of noting. Even with the little XSPC restop I could have likely run my system for a few years if I didn't disassemble it for spring cleaning. Quickly disappearing water is more a sign of a leak or a t-line that isn't plugged properly. Also, some people will blame a reservoir drop on evaporation when they didn't get the air out of their system properly in the first place. (unless you move that case around air pockets in radiators can hide for ages)
a c 324 K Overclocking
March 28, 2011 1:46:42 PM

^Yep. Distilled only would be my suggestion. You can go the route of dyes (they don't precipitate out as bad like pre-mixes or additives do) but you are already going to buy tubing anyway...why not just get the color you want? Personally, I like pure white or black, but whatever works for you. Even plain old clear good tubing looks clean. Don't forget your killcoil and biocide. Both should run you under $12 and last for many years to forever.

I'd stick to the 2x120mm rads for each CPU, whether that be 2 rads or a single 480 (4x120) if that works for you. It's likely more than you need...and if space is really an issue, a 3x120 with some good fans will likely be just fine if you aren't OC'ing.

Thanks to you both for the kind words; I am in no way an expert...I do a lot of reading and keep up on a few different forums. My main purpose is to try and get new folks headed in the right direction...Tom's is seriously lacking a dedicated watercooling forum.
March 28, 2011 10:15:35 PM

d0gr0ck said:
I'd strongly recommend against any dyes in a water cooled system. They have a nasty habit of falling out of solution at the least opportune moment, resulting in gunked up blocks. If you want blue, buy colored tubing instead. Primochill has a range of colored tubing to suit your desire.

I use straight distilled in my loop. Most people use a silver killcoil or PTNuke (copper sulfate) as an antifungal additive. Running straight distilled caused no problems for me. My only issue was caused by poor radiator cleaning before use.

Distilled evaporates as fast as any other water, but in a sealed loop this shouldn't be an issue worthy of noting. Even with the little XSPC restop I could have likely run my system for a few years if I didn't disassemble it for spring cleaning. Quickly disappearing water is more a sign of a leak or a t-line that isn't plugged properly. Also, some people will blame a reservoir drop on evaporation when they didn't get the air out of their system properly in the first place. (unless you move that case around air pockets in radiators can hide for ages)



Yea you shake the case left to right until all the air bubbles is out right? At least that is what I have read. I'll look up that Silver Killcoil stuff. Yea I was thinking about doing the blue tube, maybe a clear blue one.

So the Distilled water works pretty good? That should cost me $1 at my local grocery store :D 
March 28, 2011 10:37:24 PM

Yup, I just flick the pump on and off a few times and tilt my case/radiators around at silly looking angles. That should get almost all the air pockets out. Flicking the tubes gently also breaks bubbles off the tube walls.

Distilled water is great, I use the 93¢ gallon containers from Walmart. (frugal!)
March 28, 2011 11:07:12 PM

rubix_1011 said:
^Yep. Distilled only would be my suggestion. You can go the route of dyes (they don't precipitate out as bad like pre-mixes or additives do) but you are already going to buy tubing anyway...why not just get the color you want? Personally, I like pure white or black, but whatever works for you. Even plain old clear good tubing looks clean. Don't forget your killcoil and biocide. Both should run you under $12 and last for many years to forever.

I'd stick to the 2x120mm rads for each CPU, whether that be 2 rads or a single 480 (4x120) if that works for you. It's likely more than you need...and if space is really an issue, a 3x120 with some good fans will likely be just fine if you aren't OC'ing.

Thanks to you both for the kind words; I am in no way an expert...I do a lot of reading and keep up on a few different forums. My main purpose is to try and get new folks headed in the right direction...Tom's is seriously lacking a dedicated watercooling forum.


Yea. I just thought it would be better to see the water, but maybe I'll go with a transparent blue. Do I need both the Biocide and Killcoil, or just the Killcoil?

Yea I'm not gonna do any overclocking, so I think the triples would be fine. I was going to choose the Thermaltake fans, but I think these Cooler Masters are a little better and a little quieter.

Yea man you pointed me in the right direction, and have been more help than most of the other forums. I think people think I was crazy that I wanted to first use a Rackmount case, and then try to watercool it. I'm a DIY guy. I build my on custom cables for my speakers and equipment when possible, and I love to build computers. I use to turn my head away from watercooling, but especially when I heard about the quick connecters from Koolance, It got me thinking. And the quieter performance with it. I like to be different, and have something no one else haves. And If I'm the first person to use water cooling in a case, all self contained, then so be it. Maybe in the future I'll build multiple workstations (when I have bigger pockets), with an external wc system, but for now this is my first forray into this thing. Maybe this can later become a sticky when I first get everything started. I might start before I even get the new CPU's and MOBO just to get the hang of things.
March 28, 2011 11:09:10 PM

d0gr0ck said:
Yup, I just flick the pump on and off a few times and tilt my case/radiators around at silly looking angles. That should get almost all the air pockets out. Flicking the tubes gently also breaks bubbles off the tube walls.

Distilled water is great, I use the 93¢ gallon containers from Walmart. (frugal!)


Sweet hahaha.
March 28, 2011 11:22:37 PM

OK this is what I have so far.

Swiftech Pump MCP355
XSPC Reservoir 1 Bay
Koolance CPU block CPU-360 rev 1.2
XSPC Radiator RX360
Cooler Master 120mm Fans R4-L2R-20-AC-GP
Koolance QDC connectors
Distilled Water
Killcoil
Still looking at tubing

This thing is shaping to be a beast of a cooling system.

Here is some pics of where it will be staying at:


a c 324 K Overclocking
March 29, 2011 12:41:15 AM

You can run simply PTNuke or other biocide if you want; many people run a killcoil, some do not. You'll want at least one or the other...together they cost about $12 and the killcoil lasts basically forever. Biocide- you only need a couple drops, which means a bottle should last you several years.

Good luck...sorry for the quick post; if there is anything you wanted me to check out specifically, let me know.
March 29, 2011 1:26:49 AM

rubix_1011 said:
You can run simply PTNuke or other biocide if you want; many people run a killcoil, some do not. You'll want at least one or the other...together they cost about $12 and the killcoil lasts basically forever. Biocide- you only need a couple drops, which means a bottle should last you several years.

Good luck...sorry for the quick post; if there is anything you wanted me to check out specifically, let me know.


Cool. Yea man I'll probably start a few light pieces of the build soon. A new GPU, Hard drive, Blu-ray drive, and the Case is what I'm aiming for in the near future. Maybe since RAM prices are down, upgrade that too until the big build later this year. I will also most likely start build for the WC system thoughout the next few months as well, which will gauge how much temps come down on my Q56700. Right now It runs around 44°C. It will be interesting what WC will do. Thanks for the help!
a c 324 K Overclocking
October 17, 2011 1:50:43 PM

Might have been better to send him a PM...he might not have email notifications turned on for this thread.

!