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Water Cooling, kit vs parts for a n00b!

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May 31, 2011 2:44:15 AM

Hi Guys,
Hoping for some deep and abiding insight from the smarties and heckling from the dummies, so here goes.

I posted about building a system a few weeks/months ago, link is here

http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/forum2.php?config=tom...

My PC is in a HAF-X case, 2600k i7 and 2xGTX 580 GPU's (ZOTAC AMP2 Edition 3GB), OZD RevoDrive SSD, 16 GB 1866 RAM (Corsair)

Basically I am new to home building, but I've done pretty well so far (except for a damn pesky temp gauge that stopped working last night) and I am thinking of watercooling. I have spent a lot of time on the boards, and have a long list of stickies, links etc, and I think I am ALMOST ready to buy some stuff. I'm just stuck with one thing, whether I should buy individual parts like Laing DD5 12v, Reservoir, Radiators, blocks for GPU's, tygon tubing etc or buy a kit like the Koolance Exos 2.5 and just add blocks and tubing to that.

My outline for the system goes to my CPU->GPU->GPU and thats pretty much it (THink I will stay away from NB, RAM and HDD's for now)

So, three questions

1) Should I go with something like the Koolance or build from scratch? I know from scratch seems to be preferred, but I am no "Bob the Builder" and I was thinking of going with the package fix for ease and convienience. Also, the Koolance looks cool. This is obviously not a game changer, but it helps. So, can I have a no nonsense pros vs cons based on experience please?

2) Also, I have heard from some of the guys over at Xtreme Systems that full GPU blocks are not a good way to go, as they are too heavy. Is that the case? They seem easier from my n00b perspective, but I don't want to break my GPU's or PCI slots.

3) I'm a bit worried about the composition of the blocks too, I understand I shouldn't mix Copper and Aluminium because of possible corrosion, but what about having Nickel backs, that would help yes? Basically what type of blocks do you use and how do they work for you?

Anyway, your thoughts on these issues would be appreciated.

Bonus points for your thoughts on Petra's, Danger Den, Koolance, EK etc for quality and a general "Not fulll of ***" score would also be great!
a c 280 K Overclocking
May 31, 2011 4:13:59 AM

Hi

Take a look of this: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265776-29-watercoolin...

Regarding your questions:

1- Build your custom loop, sealed aren't good and are expensive for performance that you get.
2- You can choose full cover or not, I'd go with full cover since with the 2nd one (only GPU cover or called universal GPU block) you will have to add heatsinks to the RAMs of the GPU.
3- I use full nickel for my CPU, but the components doesn't gives you a big performance difference, it's just price, how they looks inside your case and corrosion avoid.

For components I prefer EKWaterblocks, but they are having some problems with the full nickel line, 2nd place goes Koolance and after goes Swiftech
May 31, 2011 4:34:33 AM

saint19 said:
Hi

Take a look of this: http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/265776-29-watercoolin...

Regarding your questions:

1- Build your custom loop, sealed aren't good and are expensive for performance that you get.
2- You can choose full cover or not, I'd go with full cover since with the 2nd one (only GPU cover or called universal GPU block) you will have to add heatsinks to the RAMs of the GPU.
3- I use full nickel for my CPU, but the components doesn't gives you a big performance difference, it's just price, how they looks inside your case and corrosion avoid.

For components I prefer EKWaterblocks, but they are having some problems with the full nickel line, 2nd place goes Koolance and after goes Swiftech



Just a question on #1 above, I'm a little paranoid if the pump were to die while the computer was on (overheat) but I am a little daunted by making my loop contain 2 pumps. Should I just build a single loops but include two pumps for redundancy?
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a c 280 K Overclocking
May 31, 2011 1:04:40 PM

If the pump die in use your temps will rise and your rig will turn off for protect the components, maybe 2xMCP355 Swiftech pump are the way for you.
a c 324 K Overclocking
May 31, 2011 2:59:32 PM

I think OP should start with the sticky...there is a lot of info there that would answer his questions and provide good starting points for others.

In short, most quality water pumps don't die. Cheap ones do. Avoid cheap...

Full cover blocks are better performing and better flowing. Too heavy is a matter of preference, and there are ways to fix this so you don't have warping or bowing.

Galvanic corrosion happens between aluminum and brass, copper and bronze. Avoid those. Nickel is fine as it is a harder metal and is used as plating and for looks.

2600k i7, SLI 580s....you are going to need a lot of radiators.
a c 280 K Overclocking
May 31, 2011 3:23:50 PM

I think that 2x360 good radiators can handle that. GTX 360 or PrimoChill radiators are the best in this case.
a c 324 K Overclocking
May 31, 2011 3:39:09 PM

Agreed...he is going to need at least that, and depending on OC on the i7 or not...might want to consider more.
May 31, 2011 3:39:32 PM

rubix_1011 said:
I think OP should start with the sticky...there is a lot of info there that would answer his questions and provide good starting points for others.

In short, most quality water pumps don't die. Cheap ones do. Avoid cheap...

Full cover blocks are better performing and better flowing. Too heavy is a matter of preference, and there are ways to fix this so you don't have warping or bowing.

Galvanic corrosion happens between aluminum and brass, copper and bronze. Avoid those. Nickel is fine as it is a harder metal and is used as plating and for looks.

2600k i7, SLI 580s....you are going to need a lot of radiators.


I have read the sticky, and also a few others over by/at Skinee labs, Vapor and Cathar. I see most of what you are saying, however I've seen some threads recently about EK Nickel blocks and other, similar issues, and I guess I'm wondering if I should just try for straight copper (with brass fittings). Also, which of the branded Laing pumps (DDC and D5 single and vario) are the best? Swiftech, DD or some other?

Best solution

a c 324 K Overclocking
May 31, 2011 3:45:28 PM
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They different brands are different models are all the same pumps (MCP355 is a DDC 3.2, MCP655 is a D5, etc.), just rebranded with different stickers. Any of them will work well but it kind of depends on your space/mounting options/limitations. the DDC line of pumps are strong and fit in a pretty small area. They have great head pressure, but lack the higher flow of the D5/MCP655 which is higher flow, but lower head pressure. The MCP35x (DDC 3.25) out performs both, but is relatively expensive at $110+.
June 1, 2011 3:32:23 AM

Thanks for the help guys, I appreciate it.

The next question I have is about fittings. I am leaning toward 3/8" tubing (probably Tygon) and therefore I need 10mm barbs, are the all the same? are some better than others? I guess if I have 3 cooling blocks (cpu, Gpux2) then I need a MINIMUM of 6 fittings for them, plus fittings in and out of pump and rad and res correct? so without any splitters, flow rate meters or temp metres (where I have to cut the tubing again) I would need at the very least 12 fittings. Add a few for good measure and some extra rotating fittings/90 degree fittings etc and your up at 20.

Now, I'm likely using the EK copper/plexi or copper Acetal (trying to stay all copper or copper brass) blocks that have G1/4" thread. (standard yes, but better to be obvious) and thinking of the Black Ice radiator (probably in the 480 size) and just some standard resevoir (not decided) and following rubix_1011's suggestion I guess the MCP 355 from EK Waterworks. (Does that pump have variable speed, or do I have to go with the D5 for that, doesnt seem to mention it here.

http://www.ekwaterblocks.com/shop/laing-ddc-pump-12v-dd...

What about the Koolance Quick Disconnect fittings? In theory they sound good, but they are damned expensive. Have to check my wallet to see if I won the lottery.

Anything else I have forgotten on the fittings side?

a c 324 K Overclocking
June 1, 2011 1:17:49 PM

DDC (MCP350/355) pumps are not variable speed, and only the D5 (MCP655) vario is variable speed...there is also a non-vario version.

If you are going with 3/8"ID barbs then you can get by pretty cheap...G1/4 is the standard threading for almost all fittings now. Compressions can run you from $5-$15 each or so. Are you going barbs or fittings? And yes...you will need a fitting/barb for each G1/4 port in your loop.

Quick disconnects are 'nice' I suppose, but I've never used them.

And, why the BIX rad over something else? For the money, there are other options that don't require 100CFM fans to run.
June 2, 2011 1:51:26 AM

rubix_1011 said:


Quick disconnects are 'nice' I suppose, but I've never used them.

And, why the BIX rad over something else? For the money, there are other options that don't require 100CFM fans to run.


I guess I just saw Black Ice Radiators and they looked ok and some people said they were good. What others do you recommend?

I am not a huge overclocker, but depending on my setup I may try to push my cpu up over 4.5 as I've seen its possible with my motherboard (MSI Big Bang Marshall) and is pretty stable. At this stage I have no plan to overclock my gpu's, but I figure as I am already water cooling, I might as well add them for future proofing. (I live in China for work, and ordering parts will probably take a while, I'd rather have them now as it may take 6 weeks +customs for parts to arrive if I change my mind) If I'm going to do that I'd rather choose LESS radiators (=less connections and less resistance) but BIGGER ones. So I guess I'm looking at 420 or above. Or as Saint19 said, do you think I need 2x360+?

I am not super fussed about money, but obviously I don't want to go overboard. I prepared an order on Koolance with the Exos 2.5 and blocks etc, just to get an idea and it looked like just over 1000 USD, which is the very very upper limit of what I would be prepared to spend.

As for Quick Disconnects, I am thinking of adding a few (1-3) at the bottom end of my loop for draining purposes, as all the way through will be a lot of weight and resistance to flow from what I can see. I would guess the bulk of my connections will be barbs, and now I am thinking about 7/16" and 1/2" barbs as people seem to think highly of them. What are your thoughts rubix_1011?

As a P.S. I have been looking at pumps too after what you said, and I saw Iwaki's over here

http://www.customaquatic.com/estore/control/search

Can I just ask, are they really as good as the forums say, or are they just a pretty good pump that is more powerful than a Laing or D5 etc? My understanding is that pressure doesn't mean a lot for my rig (Pump>CPU>GPU>GPU>Rad>Res) unless I use a lot of bad flow fittings etc, so flow rate is pretty key correct?

I am a bit confused as the IWAKI's are 120-240v pumps, which means they run of seperate power (mains) yes? I don't mind that as the idea of fiddling with my power supply when priming makes me think "electrocution".

I guess I just want good flow, reliable but not so much pressure I blow a barb or something. Do you still recommend the D5 or DDC for me? I guess for the same price as an IWAKI (and I was only thinking of getting this one IKMD15RL-220V, which is 204 GPH @ 6 feet of head and 11.1 feet of head max) I could put two in serial (D5's I mean)
June 9, 2011 3:28:51 AM

Best answer selected by custombaby.
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