Watercooling 3 GTX 470

Hi guys,
I posted a while back about cooling 2 GTX 470s in SLI in my Raven RV02, and had essentially decided on using EK's 470 blocks with a HWLabs Black Ice GTX360 rad and some Yate Loon fans. However, I ended up having to spend my money elsewhere and had to scrap the project.

Just this week I purchased a third GTX 470 and a Corsair 950TX to add to the build in my sig, and I obviously fear cooling three of these GPUs. I remembered last June I had locked away $1000 in a 1 yr. CD, so I figured I may as well watercool my computer while not at college over the summer ;)

I'd like to start from scratch and design a LC system primarily for the 470s, though I would not be opposed to cooling my CPU either (was thinking 2x470s and i7 + 470 in two loops?). I am also planning on buying a different case, since we (myself and others helping) had decided that a 120.3 rad was still a stretch for 2x470s, and I would like to keep this all internal if possible.

In short, I need advice on a system to cool 3x470s (and maybe an i7, not yet OCed), and a case to put it all in.

Thanks guys!
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  1. I wouldn't run anything less than 2x XSPC RX360's for all that (not RS series). MCP35x pump, your choice of CPU and GPU blocks. Res of your choice.

    That should give you some happy temps. Push/pull fans if you have space for even happier temps.
  2. If I can fit push-pull setups on the rads, do I need to change the fan speed?
    For instance, the GTX360 performs well at > 2000RPM with 3 fans. I would expect that I could drop the RPMs to about 2000 for 6 fans, but I'm not sure.

    As for the Rads, I'm probably going to stick with the GTX360s unless I really can't afford them ($219.90 vs. $175.90 for 2 GTXs vs. RX360s).

    I think I'm going with the EK Supreme HF Full Nickel. After reading several reviews, you can't get a better performing CPU block, and for only ~$90 to boot!

    Probably will stick with the EK 470 blocks; they're on par with all of the others, and a tad bit cheaper (at least last time I checked).

    Are there any self-contained pump-res tanks that fit in a drive bay for the MCP35x? I had been looking at the MCP355 + XSPC Drive BayRes One for the older loop.

    Any case recommendations?
  3. Best answer
    MCP35x is simply a variant of the DDC pumps, or basically the big brother to the MCP350 and MCP355...all the tops should fit it as well. However, it performs very well with the top it comes with, so maybe better not to mess with a good thing and go with a bay or micro res.

    To be honest, the RX360s might perform better than the BIX rads. At a quick glance, both appear to perform almost even at heat watts for 1800rpm fans. I really didn't dig into the others, but here are the tests from Skinnee:

    Price might just be your deciding factor.
  4. Yeah, I figure I may need to buy a more expensive case with more space, but at least I have the option of spending less on the rads ;)

    Here's what I have for the main components so far:
    GPU Block (3) - EK 470 GTX Nickel + Acetal - 338.95
    Pump - Swiftech MCP35x - 99.95
    Res - Swiftech MCP35x Res Rev. 2 - 27.95
    Rad (2) - HWLabs Black Ice GTX 360 - 219.90 OR XSPC RX360 - 175.90
    Fans (6) - Yate Loon D12SH12 - 21.60
    OPTIONAL CPU Block - EK Supreme HF Full Nickel - 87.95

    Total: 796.20 (w/BIX) or 752.20 (w/RX360)

    That leaves ~$200 for the tubing and such, and potentially a new case.
  5. Tubing shouldn't run you more than $20 or so...depending on how many feet you need and what you get; give yourself 5-6 feet or so at least (minimum) for your loop at $2.50-$3 a foot.

    I know a lot of people use the Corsair 800D, but there are other cases that work as well. I like to look at build logs on the other forums I'm on: watercooling forum watercooling forum

    What about fittings? Barbs are the cheap way, compression the $$$ way.
  6. I'm just concerned as to what cases will fit 2 360 rads. Mountain Mods' cases are nice, but A) they're VERY expensive (at least for what I need) and B) I don't really like the designs. I'm also a fan of steel cases :/

    I like the HAF X, but fitting a second 360 would be very tough. I am going to consider mounting a second 360 on the back of the Raven, since it has mounts for a 360 on the bottom (I'd remove the 180mm fans), but I really don't like the look of external rads...

    I'm probably going barbs, since they obviously work as well. When I need to move my computer back to school in August I'll probably upgrade to compression fittings.
  7. Yeah, the only real problem with most cases is that even though they are advertised as watercooling ready, they really aren't designed for a large loops. They assume the average user isn't educated in what is really needed to watercool current, high-end components and think that only giving room for a 220mm rad is sufficient for someone wanting to WC an i7 and 3x SLI or Crossfire. Completely asinine.

    To be perfectly honest, this is why I mounted both of my rads on the outside of my case. However, I really am tired of that look and my options now are circling around a test bench setup, or me building my own case from the 4-5 cases I have at home along with new materials.

    Keep looking...there are a few out there that might work...don't give up just yet.
  8. I built a custom case at Mountain Mods, and it only ended up being 335 + S&H/Tax, which I could probably make work (would only need $100-200 more in the budget).
    It's the U2-UFO with the standard front (supports 120.3) and a window + 120.3 on top, and I even got a horizontal mobo tray, which will be nice. It would come in brushed aluminum, so I'd just have to paint it myself which is no biggie.

    I don't quite have the tools to build my own case...or any old cases that I can use for parts ;)
  9. To be honest, I'm planning to use some wood to create the basic structure I want and then go with some PVC or aluminum for the actual case walls, etc. Aluminum would be great, but cost will be higher. PVC or some other plastics are pretty available at most hardware superstores like Home Depot and Lowe's...stuff that you use for bathroom shower surrounds or the thicker stuff used for kitchens or easy-clean surfaces. I like DIY projects, and if I'm going to build something, I want to build what I want. If not, I'm going to find a case/test bench that suits all my needs and WC components.
  10. Depending on what you're doing with the computer, you could basically build-in your LC system. You could also build a section for an aquarium chiller that could cool your water down after it's pumped out of the case. I always thought that would be a great idea but the external chiller seemed to be a bit of an eyesore ;)
  11. It's also a bulky addition if you move your case at all, which I do on occasion. And yeah, if I build one, it's going to have a specific design to show off the WC components while showing off the rest of the hardware as well.
  12. Yeah, that and they're like ~$500 for a good one. They also support 100+ Gal depending on the model, so I feel like you wouldn't need a pump or res at that point (since they are that essentially), and you might blow some fittings if the system isn't assembled thoroughly.

    Do you have any sort of designs in mind with your case?
  13. Most people that run a chiller use a fridge or A/C compressor and coils to do this work. They are somewhat small and manageable in size, but still take up extra room. And if you don't know what you are doing, it can be dangerous.

    No real ideas other than functionality and creativity.
  14. How do you put a computer in a fridge without getting all of the condensation?

    Just got my 3rd 470 in the mail, but I can't install it without the PSU, which should be coming today via UPS. Just can't miss the delivery ;)

    Also decided to go with the RX360s and get EK backplates for the EK blocks (why not?), and all of the major components totalled is about $1150 (including the MM case). I'll wait until I actually get my parts and start planning the physical part of the build before I start ordering barbs, since I don't want to buy too many extras or not enough of the right kind (elbows etc.)
  15. Quote:
    How do you put a computer in a fridge without getting all of the condensation?

    You don't unless you own a grocery store with a huge cooler capable of pulling out that much heat. Consider what they put up with when people open/shut those doors all day.

    Most blocks have the option of adding the barbs/fittings you want at the time of purchase, but I understand what you are saying. Good planning goes a long ways in building a watercooling loop.
  16. I found a case builder known as Little Devil, and he has cases designed for dual rads and even phase change cooling. Emailed him for a products list/quote, since he doesn't have a website yet.
  17. Nice, there are a few of these guys's a matter of them getting enough people to buy from them at reasonable prices to make it onto the bigger scene. Even if that were the case, (haha...'case') there is always the issue of a company buying the rights to the design and then either locking them in a vault to avoid the competition or reproducing them under their label and totally screwing up the intended result.
  18. So I found some of the cases listed on eBay, and it turns out they're from Slovenia, and after conversion from GBP to USB the case will cost ~$760 to get it to the US. That's only a little out of my price range ;) Still going to see what he emails me back with.
  19. It's built a little more for 120.2 rads from what I've found online. I could mount them near the front of the case but then I wouldn't have any room for the HDD/Optical Drives.
  20. Best answer selected by boiler1990.
  21. I had another question: do the 120.4 rads work similarly to their 120.3 counterparts? I may just get a mountainmods pedestal, and it's really cheap to throw on the 120.4 cutouts as opposed to just the 120.3
  22. What do you mean, work similarly? A rad typically works the same as any other rad...bigger means more cooling surface area; so a x4 rad would have more cooling ability than a x3 rad.
  23. I meant does the performance of a particular brand/model correlate between the x3 and x4.

    The Black Ice GTX 480s are only like $10 more than the RX 480s.
  24. I would fully expect the performance of each 3x120 rad to scale linearly into the 4x120 in that respect, Skinnee's radiator charts should apply. Simply calculate what 33% performance of each 3x120 is, and then add that into the total for the 3x for an estimated performance of the 4x for a model of radiator.
  25. rubix_1011 said:
    I would fully expect the performance of each 3x120 rad to scale linearly into the 4x120 in that respect, Skinnee's radiator charts should apply. Simply calculate what 33% performance of each 3x120 is, and then add that into the total for the 3x for an estimated performance of the 4x for a model of radiator.

  26. Awesome, that's what I expected. The pedestal is sounding like a better option. It's a lot cheaper than getting a new case, and the Raven has holes for the tubing in the bottom.
    I could probably put it in a discreet location so I wouldn't notice that it's there (maybe near an open window during our arctic winters? ;))
  27. I personally would chose the RX's over the BIX rads...but that's my preference. BIX rads are older and most of the newer, lower-FPI rads can keep up with quieter fans in many situations. If you look at the performance charts you'll see that high-CFM fans on BIX rads still out-perform XSPC RX rads, but it's marginal, especially when you compare similar speed fans.
  28. I'll see if I can find them cheaper than jab-tech has them @ 114.95 (about the price of the 120.3 BIX).

    I can't wait to do this; I'm completely psyched for this summer when I can afford to do this. I really appreciate all of the assistance; I've been keeping a similar thread going on the forums, and they don't seem to be quite as tolerant of newbies.

    Thanks for all the help!
  29. Quote:
    I've been keeping a similar thread going on the forums, and they don't seem to be quite as tolerant of newbies

    You'll find this out on many forums where long-time users hang out. They EXPECT new people to read and thoroughly understand the concepts well as using the search functionality to find answers that have already been answered 1000's of times. I'll be honest; I really wish more folks would read stickies and do a little more research here at Tom's before asking questions that have been answered umpteen million times or have been addressed in topic 3 threads down in the forum. People simply demand that their questions be answered instead of looking for answers for themselves. You might get immediate results, but this isn't the way to learn about something. This generation of 'obligated, 'help me NOW, dammit' users' is getting a little old. (and I'm not even that old...)

    I have a lot of patience, but only for those willing to help themselves learn.
  30. No, I completely understand. I've still been doing reading since I started planning my first LC system about 6 months ago, and I still run into things I don't understand. There are just some questions that aren't necessarily addressed by some stickies, such as my case predicament. I'm an engineering student, so we're expected to ask a LOT of questions (much to others' chagrin ;))

    I'm like a bit like that in the Homebuilt/New Build sections where I hang out. I hate when people don't describe their problem properly, or don't fill out the New Build form.
  31. Yeah, it helps to know what the person has read up on and what their level of understanding is...often times there is the assumption that they have a better grasp than what they initially seem to have. I know we all start out somewhere on everything in life, so it's natural to assume that not everyone knows where to find all the answers (that is, if they are actually looking for them or looking for the answer they want right now).

    Student, eh? What kind of engineering? Where at?
  32. I'm a Nuclear Materials and Radioactive Waste Management student (yeah, it's a mouthful) at Purdue in West Lafayette IN. It's a hybrid, in a way, between materials science and nuclear engineering. I'm not really interested in radioactive waste management, so I'm trying to get some sort of materials-related job at Intel or something like that. I'd also be one of many who would appreciate hardware discounts :)
  33. Ah, Purdue...makes sense with your screenname, now. Couple of people I work with are Purdue grads. A lot of talk around here (Kansas City, MO) about your basketball coach 'reportedly' going to coach at MU, which obviously didn't happen.

    I was just curious as to what family of engineering; I happen to be an IT/network engineer.
  34. Yeah, the media really blew that one out of proportion. We didn't expect him to leave Purdue (he played basketball and went to school here), but I think getting his name out there to get our school to bump up his salary was very reasonable. We've had a Top 25 team the last few years, been to the tournament 6 of the 7 last years, and his salary was 8th out of the 11 Big Ten teams.

    I love building computers, but once you start talking about hooking up 2 of them together, you lose me ;) My dad used to build all of our computers until he switched to Mac (he built back in the day where anything could go wrong for any reason), but I got a lot of his hands-on style of learning (built 3 computers and a bicycle so far - LCing is next on the list followed by who-knows-what).
  35. boiler1990 said:
    I'm not really interested in radioactive waste management

    The way things are going it could be a lucrative career.
  36. Haha very true. I'm keeping every option open, given the job market right now.

    I'm actually glad that a lot of politicians stood up for nuclear power during the Fukushima Daiichi incident, despite most of the general public and the media going crazy. Nuclear power is going to play a bigger part in our energy portfolio in years to come, but we can't do that until more and more people in the US are educated. That's why most of the nuclear engineering jobs are overseas; China, India, and the UAE are building dozens of reactors that are going to begin coming online in 2015 at the earliest (from what I know).
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