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High Performance Cooling

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September 2, 2009 1:45:31 AM

Hello, recently I was asked to build a customer an extreme high performance build. I've dealt with semi-high performance rigs before, but I have always been partial to air cooling systems. He wants a liquid cooling system however.

Here is the build I currently have.

CASE: Thermaltake Armor+
CPU: Core i7-950 @ 3.06GHZ (Will most definitely OC)
MOTHERBOARD: Asus P6T6 WS Revolution
MEMORY: 12GB Corsair XMS3 DDR3 1600MHZ
VIDEO CARDS: 3x ASUS GTX285
HARD DRIVES: 2x 150GB WD VelociRaptors
STORAGE HARD DRIVES: 2x 1TB WD Caviar Black
POWER SUPPLY: Corsair CMPSU-1000HX 1000W

That's most of the important questions. The biggest question I have is about the water cooling system. I definitely am in need of some suggestions. First of all, I obviously need a pump powerful enough to pump fluid across at least 4 chips, possibly 5 if I decide to liquid cool the chipset. I was considering this pump http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168...

If that pump is acceptable, my next question is if one massive radiator would be good (a 3x 120MM) or if two 2x 120 radiators would work better. I would imagine that after the fluid cools the first component or two it would begin to heat up and cool the remaining chips less effectively. If so, would it be better to have multiple radiators or would one suffice?

Finally, are there any overall suggestions on the build? Money is not too much of an issue, though the current build is near $3500. I wanted to us eVGA cards but at the time of posting the ASUS were much cheaper, any thoughts on that particular card? How is the thermaltake case for being able to mount and install liquid cooling hardware? Thanks a lot for any and all help.
September 2, 2009 1:53:00 AM

IMHO, the i7-950 isn't worth it over the 920. Get the 920 (or the 975 if you must have the absolute best).
September 2, 2009 1:56:25 AM

I agree with you whole heartedly CJL. Problem is, said customer has made it clear that he wants top performance and that money should not be the deciding factor. I was able to convince him to drop the 975 Extreme for the 950 to save some money.

This all started when he picked out an alienware PC for $5000+. I told him I would build it better and cheaper. He saw that one had the 975 and that's what he wanted. I highly doubt he would drop the CPU, just because of the stock numbers on paper. All he knows is he wants crazy performance, it doesn't matter if I tell him I could still get the performance off the cheaper part. Thanks for the suggestion though!
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September 4, 2009 2:55:17 AM

Could definitely still use some help. Any suggestions on liquid cooling are appreciated.
September 4, 2009 4:47:35 AM

The Swiftech pump you have picked is a good choice for what your wanting to put together. I would skip the NB and south bridge water cooling if you had thought about doing that. The mother board you have should have very good cooling in those two areas. If you plan on cooling three card with water cooling you may want to go with two 320's rads or go with on very high performance feazer Rad.

Have you done water cooling at all before? It is not rocket science but you will need to do your home work to pull this off and a system of this price range is not something to be done with out really researching everything water cooling. Do you plan on going with pre bougth cards with waterblocks on them or do you plan on mounting the grafix card blocks yourself?

I am not sure about the case you've picked out, I will have to look at it to see what can be done with WC and modding it. I built my own case to make sure I could do what I wanted with it. I made it out of Aluminum and lined it with Granite. I am getting ready to build another one from ground up. Heres my rig

check out the video





Temps are unreal in this case.... better then any case I have ever worked with. With this set up I would feel that the 320 could handle up to two 4870's in CF but a third I think would push it. Maybe, Maybe not only one way to find out. :D 
September 4, 2009 5:06:43 AM

Quote:
Charge him for the 950, Order the 920, Overclock it to 4Ghz and pocket the difference :) 

I would also drop the 285's and go with 4890's instead.

As for the W/C loop. There are pumps available that can handle 5 different waterblocks. W/C loop alone is going to be 600+ dollars




Point #1 He would never know the difference because performance would be just as good :whistle: 

Point #2 that is what I would do also, or go with just two 4870x2 because water cooling three card is going to be atleast $150 dollars more expensive then just two 4870 x 2 cards.

I believe a swiftech 655 can handle the CPU block and a three way setup and up to two Radiators. 600+dollars sounds about right.


I also believe Cjl has a a very good point, either go all out for the 975 if he just has to have the best, or talk some sense to him, and if you get a DO stepping 920 you should be able to OC the hell of it, matching or beating the 975 and saving $300-700 dollars. I wouldn't buy the middle binned I7 or the 975 if it was me. Its just not worth it and the money saved could be put towards better things, even SSD hard drives?
September 4, 2009 5:17:41 AM

I also really like it, got it from the Den, if you get one make sure it is the Double bay, the single bay has problems with not enough room for fluid. It was $35 or $45, I can't recall. I used to have a fill line with a cylinder style bay. I like this one much better.
September 4, 2009 5:24:39 AM

To the OP, If your looking for a case that has alot of options including being ready to install a tripple radiator then the new Corsair full tower case that is going to be out in a few days might be a good choice over the one you picked. If I didn't build my own case's, I might just pick this one up, and I still may and just mod it with granite anyways. It is going for around $279 dollars and you would not have to mod it at all for the Water cooling you want to do. It is a very sharp case, you can find it on Newegg under corsair, and look for there one and only case.


Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Newegg has it listed as a mid tower but it is a full tower. I know this case is high dollar but I think it will give you the most trouble free install of the water cooling system you can find in a store bought case. It also has filters on all inlets that are washable.
September 4, 2009 6:10:41 AM

If your looking for parts heres a few to get you started.


Monsta TFC XChanger 360/420 Radiator
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Click to enlarge


A new super radiator with Carbon Fiber sides! The fins and water channels consist of high-grade copper (e-Cu). The water chambers consist of a brass alloy. The layer of the black paint remains very thin, thus optimizing the heat-air transfer.

Click the Features tab for more information

0%



FeaturesReviewsSend to a Friend
Specifications:D imensions: 18.74" x 5.85" x 4.10" LxWxD (476 x148.6 x104.2mm)
Copper Water Channels and FinsBrass Water ChambersIncludes 50ml of Feser Corrosion Blocker and 3/8" x 5/8" compression fittings
Black Finish (5µm) with Carbon Fiber sides
G1/4" Threads in four locations
Mounting Screws for Case (12)Mounting Screws for Fan (12)140mm Fan Spacing = 15mm120mm Fan Spacing = 35mmSilicon Pad
Bleed Valve ScrewStamped TFC – Xchanger Logo - Monsta in Carbon Fiber sides
Color Box PackagingWarranty CardSerial Number with Holographic StickerSealed in VCI Bag - 5 Year corrosion protection3 Year WarrantyCompatible with all available watercooling systemsNote: Requires 1.2 liters of coolant for the radiator. Please plan accordingly.

EXTREME PERFORMANCE
The newly developed technology and patented design brings you double the cooling power to your system. Better materials, the newest technology and a cool design prove to be an outstanding product.

NOISELESS - SILENT OPERATION
By using larger spacing between the copper fins the air flow rate is increased improving heat transfer. This allow allows the use or fans at a lower speed. The lower the speed, the lower the noise level.

HIGH-FLOW OPTIMIZED
The radiators are especially designed to run with a High Flow system configuration. High Flow Systems are recommended to maximize your heat dissipation.

MAXIMUM SYSTEM COMPATIBILITY
The radiator inlet and outlet ports are G1/4” BSPP threaded allowing multiple fitting options. The X-CHANGER can replace any previous radiator used in a system loop.

PERFECT HEAT TRANSMISSION
The water channels and fins are made out of pure copper allowing for maximum transfer of heat out of the water.

INSTALLATION - EASY OF USE
Enough srews are provided to install the radiator properly. The radiator position (vertical / horizontal) will not effect the cooling performance.

ENERGY EFFICIENT
Due to the ability of using low speed fans, and less water resistance for the pump, the operating system reduces energy consumption.

PATENTED DESIGN
This new designed radiator gives the opportunity to use inlet and outlet port from both sides and opens new ideas for installation. Now it is possible to use either 140mm or 120mm fans.

CARBON FIBRE TECHNOLOGY
The side panels are made out of real carbon fibre and decreases the weight of this huge radiator. Furthermore the panels give an astonishing look with the engraved top-notch monsta logos.

Details

SKU RAD-3550
Weight 10.00 lbs
Price: $259.95

If you go with this Rad, I believe you could hook up all the Blocks your wanting to it. If you go with the corsair case you would have to mount this very thick radiator to the top of the case on the outside. you could do a push pull with the fans also.

or you could go with this Radiator much thiner and might be a better choice and still give very good performance and might even fit on the inside of the corsair case

TFC X-Changer Triple Radiator 360
Our price: $139.95


Danger Den Dual 5 1/4" Bay Reservoir
Our price: $31.95


DD-GTX285 Version 2
Our price: $129.95 X3=$390 just for blocks on cards



DD-4870-X2 Water Block
Our price: $139.95x 2 = $280 dollars vs $390


Tygon 3603 Tubing
Our price: $2.95 @ 10 feet= $23

Feser One - UV RED - F1 - Coolant
Our price: $19.95 x 2 bottles= $40

MCP655 Water Cooling
MCP655 Water Cooling [61N82E16835108082]
Swiftech MCP655 12 VDC Pump Liquid Cooling System - Retail
Type: Pump
Pump Bearing: MTBF
Tube Dimensions: 1/2" Barb fittings
Features: The MCP655™ pump is a high reliability, high pressure industrial pump, featuring a 50,000 hour MTBF (5 year lifetime). Such reliability is afforded by the unique design of this pump, which contains only one moving part: the magnetically driven spherical impeller spins on a single ceramic bearing, thus extending the
Package Contents: Pump Bolts
Parts: 1 year
Labor: 1 year
Model #: MCP655
Item #: N82E16835108082
Return Policy: Standard Return Policy

Your Price:$74.99
i7, Nehalem, 1366 Socket
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Sort by: Product Price Default


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MC-TDX for Intel I7/Nehalem/1366
Our price: $59.95


Going with the less expensive Feaser Rad, and his choice of Three 285's to be cooled with water loop your looking at $760 dollars, and that is with out shipping and some extra charges for barbs and fittings. You might be looking at no more then $800 dollars going that way.

Going with 2 of the 4870 X 2 in CF you would be looking at around $680 bucks for everything he needs.

Im not sure does anyone have any thought on the 285's in threeway SLI, do they just pawn two 4870x2 in CF? Might be something to consider.

Hope this helps you and your friend out.














September 5, 2009 3:52:35 AM

Thanks everyone for the replies! This is more what I was hoping for.

Medjohnson: I have not done water cooling before, but I have worked with it. I've seen it and and worked on PC's that were watercooled, but I have never pieced one together from the ground up.

To address the Core i7 issue: I will most definitely see what I can do to talk him out of the 950. I would much rather put in the 920. I also had no idea the cooling system would cost that much, so that may sway his opinion.

What are the thoughts on 3x 285 vs 3x 4890? My reasoning for 3x 285 of 2 x 295 is that Tri SLI'ed 285 outperform the dual 295 in most scenarios. Are 3x 4890 better than 3x 285? From what I've seen, Quad Crossfire/SLI has dirver issues and the 3 cards generally scale better than Crossfire/SLI dual cards. Thoughts?

I would love to build my own case, but I lack the tools to do it at the moment. No space for them in my apartment :(  Someday though.

I can't believe the waterblocks for the cards are that much money. I may skip liquid on the GPU's altogether, we'll see. It's something I would like to do, but if the price is going to be so astronomical, I'm not sure. Thanks again for all the help.
September 5, 2009 4:11:14 AM

medjohnson77 said:
To the OP, If your looking for a case that has alot of options including being ready to install a tripple radiator then the new Corsair full tower case that is going to be out in a few days might be a good choice over the one you picked. If I didn't build my own case's, I might just pick this one up, and I still may and just mod it with granite anyways. It is going for around $279 dollars and you would not have to mod it at all for the Water cooling you want to do. It is a very sharp case, you can find it on Newegg under corsair, and look for there one and only case.


Corsair Obsidian Series 800D CC800DW Black Aluminum / Steel ATX Mid Tower Computer Case - Retail

Newegg has it listed as a mid tower but it is a full tower. I know this case is high dollar but I think it will give you the most trouble free install of the water cooling system you can find in a store bought case. It also has filters on all inlets that are washable.


The Corsair Obsidian is seriously overpriced. I would pay $200 tops for a steel case. For watercooling, I'd take a TJ07 over that any day. The TJ07 can fit a PA120.4 and a 120.1 in the bottom compartment, as well as another 360 rad with a little modding in the top. You could consider a Mountain Mods case. Very easy to install mutiple rads in.
September 5, 2009 5:23:16 AM

ShtBrix said:
The Corsair Obsidian is seriously overpriced. I would pay $200 tops for a steel case. For watercooling, I'd take a TJ07 over that any day. The TJ07 can fit a PA120.4 and a 120.1 in the bottom compartment, as well as another 360 rad with a little modding in the top. You could consider a Mountain Mods case. Very easy to install mutiple rads in.



I will agree with you that it is over priced at this time. It has not even been released yet, however it still is a very nice case. The cheapest mountain mod case is around the same price as the new corsair, and well, the mountain mod UFO series is pushing almost $500 or better if you add any thing to it that isn't stock. I almost bought a mountain mod case before I built mine, If you have checked out my video of my case then you should see were I got the rough Idea of what I wanted.



To Road,

you could scale down the water cooling a bit if you wanted to do your own mods to keep the ram cool on the cards and just use swiftech blocks to cool the GPUs which would save you around $220. The prices I gave you were thru Danger Den on the lines and fluid, and the blocks, and the Feazer Radiator, which can be very expensive to go with. There are other water blocks that may be cheaper and still do a good job. If I had my choice I would go with a case like I recomended or one with good air flow, and just get three of the 4890's if you have to build it right away. Vapor X brand ones from what I hear are very good at staying cooler then standard cards. If you can wait a few days, you will have the option of going with the 5800 series coming out and I think they may be a better option depending on how they perform vs Nvida's offerings and the 4800 series cards. I have thought about water cooling my cards, but to be honest with you, I really don't see the need to, they stay pretty cool with my setup and I think it would be overkill to be honest. If you was near IL I could give you a hand with setting the water cooling up if you thought you needed it.
September 5, 2009 10:31:17 PM

Actually Med, it may be a few months until I actually get the build going. I work with this guy and we've got some things going on at the moment that may make this build a few months down the road. I'm currently just trying to educate myself for when the time comes.

Processors and GPUs may be completely different when the time comes, I'm just trying to get educated on cooling now. Thanks again for your help.
September 6, 2009 1:47:46 AM

If your customer wants extreme performance and price is not an object, why don't you have a Solid state drive? You will get great performance, plus they sound sexy.

September 6, 2009 8:36:45 AM

^^^ within reason I have to agree, and if you friend really wants highend, was willing to part with $5000+ to get a alien ware to begin with before he talked to you. Why not go with the I7 920, Oc to the 3.6-4.0 Water cool only the processor, pick up two 5800 series top end cards when they come out and crossfire them if they are going to have the kinda of performance that most think they will and go with some solid state drives In raid 0, corsiar 128 gb drives perform very well from what I hear, 3 or 4 of them in raid 0 would be very fast! There Have been test with the Intel chipset on board raid controller and it does not bottle neck a raid system up to 500-600mb read speed I believe is what the test showed. You wouldn't even need a raid card, and would see very high performance. If the 5870's or 5870x2 perform like we all hope they will there going to blow every thing out of the water and a set up like this even with the SSD's should keep you below the $5000 he was going to spend in the first place and give him a system that would just be unreal in speed, and performance. If He needed more then the 360-480gb the SSD's in raid 0 could provide then you could always add 2 WD black 1tb drive for storage to the setup.

With the money you could save on not watercooling to the card blocks and just going with only two 5800 series cards and only goig with the i7 920 processor and OC it to 3.6-4ghz and the SSD's in Raid 0 this would be a system you could really see a difference in performance over what you have listed if he was really wanting to spend $5000 in the first place.
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