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Water vs air: FX-62, crosshair v1, 8800gt SLI

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May 10, 2011 9:43:23 PM

Hello, I'm having a temp/performance/cost dilemma with my "legacy" am2 build.

Rig:
Lian Li PC-60(b?) Plus (mid tower)
PCP&C Silencer 750w
Asus Crosshair v1.04
AMD FX-62 (AM2, 2.8GHz)
2x2Gb PNY DDR2@800MHz, dual channel
1x 8800gt g92 512mb (soon to be 2x)
2x SATA-II hdd's

Ambient temps will likely be ~80F, peaking close to ~90F, for the next 4-5 months.


Building a new system is out of my range, so i decided to add a second 8800gt for SLI, and go for the best cooling per cost, so i can squeeze the last bit of life out of my cpu... while i wait and gather resources for my eventual new-full-build.

I want my fx-62 @ 3.2, and my (soon to be)2x8800gt to not melt.

I have a zalman 9700cnps (the nickel plated one w/ the green led... not the oldest/smallest, or the newest/biggest), and it's just not enough for any 'useful' OC. I can hit ~3.0+, but anything 3.1 or higher is just too hot. My current single evga 8800gt (g92 512mb) almost melts itself with any modern game. I've seen it break 100C, several times... yet it hasn't died, so far.

My question is this:
With the newer Air coolers available, is there any real reason to water-cool this?

My options are a custom WC build, including 2 DD-IONE blocks, and mostly koolance blocks for the CPU/MB/NB/SB...

Or...

1x thermalright 120 (or maybe a "silver arrow")
2x T-rad2 GTX (fits 8800gt-512mb-g92, according to compatibility chart)
?x "many fans"

I have no prior experience with water cooling, but have been doing research for several days, and it looks quite appealing.

Air is cheaper, but case gets full of dust, and might not cool as well, or even enough for an OC.

Air requires little maintenance, but requires purchase of either canned air, or a compressor, or bringing my tower to someone who has one.

Water is usually more effective, more complicated, more risky, more expensive... but i wouldn't have to bring the tower anywhere to purge/refill/burp.

Water? Air? OC as-is, let it melt, and just have no PC until the end of the year? lol. :) 

Idk what to do.
I really want to go WC, but it seems to expensive.
I really like some of the air-cooling products i've seen recently, but with my unavoidable high ambient-temps, i doubt air will be enough.

Help! :) 
a c 330 K Overclocking
May 11, 2011 3:41:03 PM

What is your cooling budget? That will be the biggest indicator if watercooling is possible/reasonable for your build.
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May 11, 2011 5:18:27 PM

I don't really have a "set number," but i would like to go WC, if the difference in performance is worth the difference in price. I am rather doubtful that it is. I doubt a max-OC'd FX-62 is worth the effort. I could probably just build a new passive rig that kicks this one's teeth in, for less than building a WC setup.

Example:

without WC, i would need at least $200 worth of high-end heatsinks and fans, such as a Thermalright ultra-120-extreme, silver-arrow, or a prolimatech genesis... plus a pair of the best SLI-8800gt-compatible sinks, such as the T-rad2 GTX. 1x CPU, 2x GPU, would already be over $200, not including extra fans.

With WC, i'd probably have to build an external housing unit for most of the system, and i'm not sure how many radiators, of what size, i would need, to justify the extra cost of better cooling... if it's even that much better.

My main issue is my ambient temps. Living near the gulf of mexico with all this heat and humidity, plus all the dust that gets into Air cooled cases.

I would like to be able to OC my FX-62, and my 2x8800gt... but i'm doubting that air cooling would be sufficient in my environment. If it would be, then i'd opt for that, since it's cheaper and easier. If a custom WC setup would be more than twice as much, but not effective enough to maintain a stable, long-term OC, then there's no point in WC... other than the practice of doing it once, for the first time, and the "cool factor." (excuse the pun.)

The best available full coverage block for an 8800gt, is the DD-IONE, and those are ~$120 each, brand new.

So perhaps this will help, the most:

How many radiators would i need, to sufficiently cool:
MoBo mosfets + ram
N/S-bridges
CPU
2x VGA
?

I would like to use no more than 3 loops... but i'm not sure which things can be combined, without generating too much heat per loop.

My idea for loops is something like this:

1. CPU
2. 2x VGA
3. MoBo (bridges, mosfets) + ram

I'm not sure that's the most efficient way, but that's the general idea of what i'd do, if i go WC.

Now... is it possible to max-OC an FX-62, or perhaps a 9950, on air, with ambient temps hovering around ~80F?

I have also recently learned about phase change cooling, but know very little about it, other than the fact that cooling below ambient will cause condensation, especially in such a humid environment.
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a b K Overclocking
May 11, 2011 8:00:36 PM

Wow your gonna LCS an FX-62, and two 8800 cards...For the price of the setup of LCS, just build an Athlon II rig and wait til the end of the year as you put it to get a new rig
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a b K Overclocking
May 11, 2011 8:21:43 PM

With my Fx-62, i was able to hit 3.15Ghz one shot, I could run at 3.1 stable but it was definitely too hot for my tastes. Thermals ran close to 50C idle/60 load.
I was using a TRU 120 which was the best available at that time.
I switched to a Phenom 1 9850 quad core and was much happier. I was able to achieve a 500Mhz overclock, had two more cores and my temp problems disappeared. Benchmarks showed my system to be much more powerful, even though Phenom I got such a bad rap.

Don't bother watercooling this chip. Its time to put that old nag to pasture. Listen to LowJack, for a much lower investment you can have a much faster and higher overclocking chip.

You can get the same CPU I'm using, a X4 940 Phenom II at 3.0 GHz you can overclock to 3.8Ghz on air and drop it into an AM2+ motherboard. $100:

http://www.tigerdirect.com/applications/searchtools/ite...

You can do this until bulldozer comes out. Believe me, as a former oven owner (fx-62) you'll be amazed how much faster your machine will be.

Also don't bother sli with the 8800GT. Wait and get a modern card when you have the funds. Or save the several hundred dollars from the WC and just get an HD 6950.
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a b K Overclocking
May 11, 2011 8:24:04 PM

Oh yeah, BTW I had a crosshair 1 mobo w/ my fx-62.
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a c 330 K Overclocking
May 12, 2011 4:45:44 PM

You don't need to run full-cover GPU blocks...you can run universals that run $50 each...In fact, I had the same MCW60 GPU blocks on 5 different versions of cards including a 8800GTS 640.

I think your understanding of what is needed for watercooling is largely a misconception. The best full cover block for the 8800's are not DangerDen blocks. Not sure why you'd need an external housing, but I'm not familiar with your case, and I don't know your preference for all internally mounted radiators, external or side mounts.

For instance, I have my Q6600 (3.4ghz, stock is 2.4) CPU and SLI GTX 260's all watercooled. My CPU runs at about 35-40C at load. My GPUs run at about the same temps...at load. Most GPUs run in the neighborhood of high 60's-80's C at load, depending on case airflow. I run two 3x120 radiators.

I have a lot of information in my signature, including the Tom's sticky that I wrote. Give them a good read-through...there is a ton of information to help answer all your questions to provide you a way to determine what is best for you. Without knowing where to find the info, you really are hard-pressed to make a decision one way or another, especially if you ARE considering watercooling as an option.
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a b K Overclocking
May 12, 2011 4:48:59 PM

Putting any money into that "Legacy" would be a waste imo.

Save that money and put it into something modern and efficient.
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a c 330 K Overclocking
May 12, 2011 4:57:26 PM

It depends in the OP feels it is relevant. I would agree (from my point of view) that I would rather upgrade hardware than to put that much money into maintaining older hardware...but not everyone agrees on this. I think there are several valid reasons for both opinions...so let's focus on the wants/needs of the OP vs. our own wants/needs in the same situation.
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a b K Overclocking
May 12, 2011 7:34:22 PM

I was giving him my opinion.

I also didn't realize the FX-62 was a dual core, I was thinking single core.
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a b K Overclocking
May 12, 2011 10:31:33 PM

I would recommend not buying another 8800GT and water cooling just get a cooler running card like a 5770 it should out perform 2x8800GT's
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May 13, 2011 12:03:43 PM

Just a suggestion, if its in your budget just get a good air cooling case. Something like an Antec 900 or Haf932. I dont know much about your case but it looks a little restrictive. I know in my 900 everything runs damn cool but it sounds like a tornado cause i have my fans on high. If the fans are on low or med, its not bad at all.


Either of which, when you upgrade will be good for your new system also.
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a c 330 K Overclocking
May 13, 2011 4:22:20 PM

^I would agree this might be a better long-term solution than a massive cooling overhaul.

Regardless of which cooling option you use (water/air) you still need good/great air flow to take advantage of any cooler. Try this test:

Open the side of your case. Blow a house or desk fan (on high) into the case. Benchmark, game, encode video, etc...note your temps.

If your temps get better, you have an airflow problem. If your temps stay the same, you have OK airflow...and if you want cooler temps, look at better coolers.
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May 14, 2011 12:00:11 AM

^ Good call
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a c 330 K Overclocking
May 16, 2011 8:05:20 PM

Most people that come on the forum looking/asking for 'what cooler should I get' need to evaluate if their case airflow is not the bigger issue at hand. You can buy the best air cooler out there...or even watercooling. But, if you don't have good airflow to the heat exchanger, you won't get the temps you should for the performance ability of that cooler.
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May 21, 2011 1:23:58 AM

Wow. I had almost forgotten this thread. I didn't realize there were any further replies. I must have mis-configured my notification setting.

Thank you for your opinions and suggestions.

It seems a consensus of my "peers" is telling me "don't do it, get something new!"

Well... My response to that would have to be something like this: If i got something "new," "right now," i'd just be right back in the same place i am now, but once again down the road. The next time i "get something new," "right now," i want to do it all at once, brand new everything, and go way big... or not do it at all. I don't have the budget for that, right now... so i'll be making what i already have, work as well as it can, and ride it as far as i can tolerate, until that one, glorious day, when i can finally blow five grand on a brand new build.

While i had almost forgotten this thread, i was spending most of my time researching water cooling, and have decided to go for it... since what i "really want" to upgrade to, isn't out yet, and i want to have some prior experience w/ water cooling, before doing my "super-mega-ultra-" Epic, monster-build, in the near(-ish) future. You know... the "maybe next year" build we all fantasize about, sometimes, while making due with our aging hardware.

Therefore... i will do a "rebuild" of my current rig, instead of just wishing for a brand new lambo-puter that i may never afford.

I've already got it all planned out, except for now, i'm hung-up on push-vs.-pull. I'm not sure which way is really best, or if it really just comes down to each radiator/fan combo, or even simply aesthetics or space constraints.

I'm dropping a 9950 in it, i scored a rather cheap (imo) pair of twin gtx275's w/ koolance FC blocks already mounted, planning on a DD-MC-TDX (AM2), 1/2" ID x 3/4" OD throughout, have weighed the risk/aesthetic of premixes and coloring, and have decided to do it anyway. If i "find out the hard way," i'd rather it be on something worth replacing. ;) 

So, considering cost, available color choices, and push-vs.-pull...

I'm gonna need either 4 or 8 fans... and i don't want to go broke buying them. :) 


recap:
I've been studying water cooling since my last post.
FX-62 is becoming 9950 BE 125w, w/ a DD-MC-TDX block.
8800gt SLI happened, but are becoming 2x gtx275's w/ FC blocks.
Decided on W/C, undecided on color and fan strategy.


Currently:
I'm thinking all "green," but it's "been done to death."
So, perhaps something a little more varied/coordinated.
I like yellow/green, white/UV, or maybe a mix of some/all of those.
I'm trying to stay away from red and blue, and i don't want anything too bright.

My old, hot, dusty, unfinished "FX-62/crosshair/8800gt" rig, will become a clean, fresh, water-cooled "9950/crosshair/gtx275-SLI" rig.

I'm doing it for the "cool factor," for the knowledge, experience, and practice, as well as the potential performance benefits.

I'm using "older" hardware because that's what i have, and while it's still quite functional, it can be better than it is, without having to build a whole new rig... which i can't afford anyway. ^^

I think i'll be happier making this rig closer to what i always hoped it'd be, rather than building a "compromise" system.
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Best solution

a c 330 K Overclocking
May 24, 2011 10:01:37 PM

Push vs. pull won't really net you much difference either way; I have run both on my rads and pull seems to be a little quieter. It's a draw as to performance.

As for the DD TDX, it isn't the newest/greatest CPU block (I used to run one) but it will work fine for your build, especially if you got it at good price.

Just remember that when adding components to your loop, you need the rads in order to cool them. I usually suggest a typical 2x120 rad worth per CPU or GPU in the loop. A CPU + SLI 8800's will have you looking at three 2x120's or two 3x120's. If you opt for bigger (thicker) rads, like TC PA or XSPC RX rads, you can run a little less.

Do we want this moved to the watercooling forum?
Share
May 24, 2011 11:22:45 PM

rubix_1011 said:
Push vs. pull won't really net you much difference either way; I have run both on my rads and pull seems to be a little quieter. It's a draw as to performance.

As for the DD TDX, it isn't the newest/greatest CPU block (I used to run one) but it will work fine for your build, especially if you got it at good price.

Just remember that when adding components to your loop, you need the rads in order to cool them. I usually suggest a typical 2x120 rad worth per CPU or GPU in the loop. A CPU + SLI 8800's will have you looking at three 2x120's or two 3x120's. If you opt for bigger (thicker) rads, like TC PA or XSPC RX rads, you can run a little less.

Do we want this moved to the watercooling forum?


Might as well move it. ^^

Here's my current plan:

Rad > pci-passthrough(in) > T > Pump > CPU > VGA1 > VGA2 > pci-passthrough(out) > back to Rad

MC-TDX - 9950
Koolance FC blocked SLI gtx275 (was a package deal, i am satisfied w/ the price i got.)
DD-CPX-PRO
MCR-420 (quad 120mm) rad., externally mobile-mounted (ie: not mounted, QDC's on the pci-passthrough plate i'll be using, and enough tube length to be moved from behind monitor, to top of PC, safely, in the event i need to move it.)
4x cheapest 120mm fan i can find, 8x if they're cheap enough (4x 40cfm rosewill's for $10, might be cheap enough. I plan to mod/experiment with them, before i try to mod a "pro-fan." :p  ). I would like to go with higher cfm x38mm's, but that's looking like a future upgrade, at this point.
All 1/2" ID x 3/4" OD Tygon tubing: Norprene outside case, 3603 inside.
Mostly dd fat boy fittings, not counting the couple places i need 90's (1x under VGA#2, 1x pci-passthrough) or a T-line (which will be in the corner, just before the pump).

As for the MC-TDX... it's the best combination of performance, looks, and cost, that i've been able to find, anywhere. It's "pretty good," "looks nice," and "costs less" than pretty much every other block i've looked at. If it does what it needs to do, looks nice, and costs less, that's all i really need.

CPX pro should be able to handle my 3-block serial loop.
Quad rad should be plenty for my setup.

I'm skipping the mobo blocks for now, as i feel they aren't totally necessary, and mosfet blocks are apparently kinda hard to find, for this old crosshair v1. I would like to cool everything, but if i do, it will have to wait. I've got more design and routing ideas than i can afford to attempt, so i'm going with the simplest, most effective solution, for the least cost. I'm still a little torn between clear or green tubing inside, but as i keep reminding myself: "looking faster doesn't make it run any faster..." i keep coming back to the idea that the easiest way to adjust the color scheme of the setup is liquid in clear tubing, and that should only require a bleed/flush/fill, and adding more coolant w/ a different dye (yes, i know... i'm doing it anyway.). I've also been toying around with the idea of "invisible UV" paint, and custom lighting... such as things like making a normally all-black fan glow white, or making a clear tube a different color under UV, but remain clear under normal light. That would allow me to have 2 different color schemes, simultaneously. That could get terribly messy and expensive. :) 

Maybe this should move to the water cooling section for a while, and once that part is established, it can move again to a "general case modding" section. :) 

So, for now, i've decided to go with simple and effective, with a dash of bling, but very little. :) 

At this point, i'm about to order everything, but i'm still deciding which fittings to use. It's either gonna be all fatboys, or mostly fatboys and a few compressions, in strategic places, and a couple QDC's on the outside, because i think it would be advantageous to be able to quickly disconnect my radiator, since it will usually be laying horizontally on my desk. It's about as long as my monitor is, wide, so it will be the perfect spot, and i don't have to drill any holes or buy any mounting hardware.

I started out thinking "green AMD/Nvidia monster," and have drifted over toward a more... stealth-ish kind of look, but still want some green in it, somewhere. :) 
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a c 330 K Overclocking
May 25, 2011 2:42:15 PM

I have a DD TDX I could sell you for cheap. :)  PM me if interested.

Moved to the WC forum. Let's all chip in guys.
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May 26, 2011 12:27:49 AM

Hmm... I didn't realize this existed: Phobya Xtreme Nova 1080. It's huge. It's kinda cheap, for how much radiator space it is. Imagine pushing 1k cfm through that. ^^

Seems a little unwieldy though. :) 
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a c 330 K Overclocking
May 26, 2011 12:44:31 AM

Ah...you found the Nova. :)  It's huge, and you could get a way with a lot quieter fans with it...
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May 27, 2011 9:59:51 AM

Man, that Nova is tempting, but it's gonna end up putting me over budget.

However... I rather like the idea that i would have FAR more cooling capacity with the Nova, than with the MCR-420, and i would be somewhat "future-proofed" with such a massive radiator. The equivalent of having a triple rad for each of my 3 blocks. I just don't like that it weighs 8 pounds... empty... with no fans. lol. If that were to ever fall... things would definitely be broken. lol.

I've been radiator shopping, and it seems i really only have 2 options:

A) The MCR-420
B) The Nova 1080


The MCR-420 is the cheapest quad radiator i can find, and seems to pretty much hold it's own vs. the other quads out there, except for maybe the SR1, or the XSPC 480. It seems like with plenty of cfm, the MCR-420 should be able to at least keep my temps well below what they currently are, on air. BIOS always showed high 40's, mid-50's, and on particularly warm, dusty days, even 60 at idle. I'm almost certain, even the "cheapest" quad will, at the very least, bring my temps down to acceptable levels, at load, which would be a drastic, positive effect, even if it can't cool a 1GHz OC on a 9950, with 2x GTX275 blocks in the same loop. I have a feeling even just the MCR-420 will do what i need it to do, whereas my current air-cooling cannot. I just can't help but wonder how much further things could be pushed, if there were excess cooling capacity.

The Nova 1080 is the most radiator-face, the "biggest" radiator i can get, per unit of currency... and it would be perfect for a long-term fixture in future water-cooling setups.

The big question i guess, is:

Is the Nova 1080 worth $50 more than the MCR-420?

I would say "yes" would be the answer... but do i Need more than the MCR-420 (with 8x ~88cfm Loon's), in order to sustain acceptable temps for moderate OC on 3 components?

Can the MCR-420 (with ~80+ cfm, push+pull) handle my components? Or do i HAVE to get a bigger radiator, forcing me to spend more, which forces the Nova to be the best choice, instead of the MCR?

Yes, i've looked at other radiators, in many different places, and These two seem to be my best options.

If anyone knows where to get something better, for less, i'd love to know about it. :) 



Now, while we're figuring out which radiator i need, I've also been slowly realizing that i still have lots of questions about fans. Not so much "which fan to get," as "how to chain, power, control, and monitor them," and how to accomplish this without having a mess of wires everywhere.

I would like to:

1) route their cables cleanly
2) power them
3) control them
4) monitor them
5) perhaps both separately, independently, and also as a group

I've seen some very nice looking power/control/monitor solutions, but i'm not really sure what i need.

It's a Lian-Li PC-60b PLUS. I could probably cram several small rads in it, if i wanted to cut it up, or mod/create a new side panel for it... but i'm not doing that, for now, and it's cheaper to just get the big-scary-radiator, anyway. :) 
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May 27, 2011 4:55:40 PM

Yeah, i saw the Hex rad too... but it's about the same price as the 1080, so since i have no real space constraints, plenty of desk-real-estate for a Large radiator... i can't think of a reason to pay more, for a smaller radiator. ^^

There would have to be one better and cheaper, and i haven't found one. Every other "better" radiator is in the same price range as the Nova, or higher. Does anything beat the Nova, for a lower price? I'm seeing it at ~$120 shipped.

I'm still wondering if the MCR-420 could actually handle my setup, with the right fans. If the MCR can do it, w/ the "88cfm" high speed loon's i found, then i probably really should skip the house-radiator.

I would rather have the Nova, i just don't know if i can afford it, at the expense of other components.

I might be better-off going w/ the MCR, and getting some 1066 ram to go with my 9950, to replace my "normal" 800MHz ram. I've tried running what i have (2x2Gb PNY ddr2 800MHz, cl 5), at 1066, and it doesn't. Maybe i don't "need" to overclock so much as to require a giant radiator. Maybe the MCR can handle a modest OC and 3 blocks, with enough fans.

Or, maybe i can skip the ram, and get the 1080, and OC the @#%$ out of my cpu and both cards... but if i do that, it probably won't look nice. It'll be a like a turbocharged rat-rod... which is actually ok w/ me, if it allows me to push my components harder enough to feel the difference, with less risk of melting my rig.

So... MCR-420 + 8 fans + ram?
Nova 1080 + 8-9 fans, no ram?

Thoughts?

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a c 330 K Overclocking
May 27, 2011 6:01:11 PM

Well, either way, your RAM might be limiting your OC, depending on your MB capabilities. I know on mine, I can bounce the FSB and leave the RAM where I want, but not all are like this.

Push/Pull on the MCR420 and some RAM might get you where you want at the price you want. You can always add another radiator later.
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May 27, 2011 6:45:02 PM

I just found a little budget-room. Gotta go w/ the 1080 now... and some ram, too. :) 

The Crosshair BIOS has quite a few options, including a plethora of RAM-related options.

Once i dropped in the 9950, a new option for setting RAM speed at "1066," showed up.

I tried to make my best-buy-emergency-RAM run at 1066, but even at the most slacked out, super loose timings it would allow me to set, it just wouldn't do it.

I was able to run 3.0 for about 24 hours on air, w/ a cpu freq of 215, and a 14x multi, before it reached shutdown temp. At least, i THINK that's what's happening. BIOS is reading mid-50's at boot/idle, high 50's and climbing, gradually, while OC'd on my inadequate, dust-clogged zalman cooler. (CNPS9700, nickel/green). I've tried blowing it out, but near the pipes, where the fins are very close, the stuff just sticks. There is just too much particulate matter in the air, here, and i don't want it in my fins, anymore. I will devise some kind of filtration system for my radiator, and i plan to acquire a compressor, at some point.

*Edit: I wonder if the CPX-PRO can still handle this loop, alone, with the Nova, instead of the MCR... I'd rather not run more than 1 pump. Maybe i should skip the Nova, and get 4x Delta's on the MCR?
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a c 330 K Overclocking
May 27, 2011 8:06:30 PM

Yeah, it will handle it. Radiators are the least restrictive component in your loop, minus tubing.
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June 3, 2011 12:04:44 AM

Best answer selected by gumbology.
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July 8, 2011 9:09:59 PM

So, for anyone who may have been curious...

I had fantastic results with the 9950 in the crosshair v1. The performance was pretty much just what i was hoping it would be, compared to the FX-62. The 9950 was very competent and satisfying @3.0...

However, what i ended up with was something quite different, and IMO, quite better.

Here it is:

Lian-Li PC-60 Plus (black) (same)
PCP&C Silencer 750 (same)
1090t@3.8, under a DD-MC-TDX (temps uncertain. mobo seems high, but reasonable, coretemp obviously reading way low, only showing caps of mid/high 20's, usually).
Asus Sabertooth 990fx
gtx275OC-SLI, w/ koolance fc blocks (good deal at the right time, couldn't pass it)
1x 320Gb barracuda, 1x 1Tb barracuda (sata II, 3.0)
DD-CPX-PRO (jingway dp1200)
tygon r-3603 1/2"x3/4" tube, inside case
tygon black norprene outside
phobya xtreme nova 1080
9x yate loon 120mm high speed

and a 24" asus monitor, just for the 1920x1080.
And yes, i did think 2' would be enough... and now i know better.

I think i'm gonna need 4' :) 
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