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i7 960 needs a new cooler! Looking at the XSPC 450 Rasa kit

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June 20, 2011 4:09:30 PM

Hey there guys,
Over in a another thread (http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/307282-10-overclock...), it became apparent that my CPU (an Intel i7 960 @ 3.20 ghz) runs way too hot (70c during a 5 min stress test, and it's not even overclocked!).

My PC came with an all-in-one water cooler (it's unbranded, but it looks just like one of Corsair's but with a different shell around the pump, so I'd say it's a modified Corsair), but there must be something rather wrong with it, as it gets the temps I mentioned before. So it sounds like I should replace it. I was thinking I'd replace it with another all-in-one water cooled system since it would neatly take the place of my current one (i.e same radiator size and everything) like say the Corsair Cooling Hydro Series H60, but I was also thinking maybe a proper water-cooled system with more water would be a better idea. The Thermaltake Pro Water 850i is that one that appeals to me in that case, as it's a complete kit, and got some good reviews (no leaks! Just what a water-cooling newbie wants to hear!). But the problem with this would be where to fit the pump and reservoir, as my case is kinda cramped.

It would probably (I'd need to get the measurements to to be sure) fit under my drive bays, but this would mean removing my PCI fan, which means no air intake and less cooling for my graphics card. I guess I could move the PCI fan more towards the front of the case but:
1) I have no idea if I could attach it there
2) I have no idea how this might impact my graphics cards, since the pump and reservoir would be sitting in front of it and blocking some of the air. Plus, now the fan is further away from the graphics card

The pump and reservoir might also possibly fit in the gap between my PCI fan and my graphics card if I turn it 90 degrees, but again, this brings me back to 2), might partially blocking the PCI fan be bad for the graphics card?

Hmmmm, I guess if I could attach the PCI fan to the end of the graphics card somehow then the pump and reservoir might be able to fit in the space that the PCI fan once occupied. This would also mean a cooler graphics card since the PCI fan is right next to it! Bonus!

Either way, if I use a water-cooled solution, this would make my CPU suitable for overclocking right? I'm not sure how much of an impact overclocking from 3.20ghz would make for games, but I'd sure like Windows to be snappier. Plus, if I could get it to 4ghz+, there's bragging rights to be had there :p 

So I guess my basic questions are:
1) What cooling solution would be best for my system? Keep in mind that a non-all-in-one solution may not fit my case due to needing somewhere to put the pump and reservoir.
2) Would this cooling solution allow my CPU to be overclocked, and what kind of performance gains would I expect to see if I went into this uncharted territory? I'd guess that the all-in-one system would only allow for a smaller overclock?

Here's some hardware info for you in case you need it
CPU: Intel core i7 960
RAM: 9208MB DDR3 (I THINK they're 1333 speed...)
Video: eVGA NVIDIA GTX 570 SC

OK, I've been reading up on XSPC's water cooling kits. I'm feeling a bit braver, so I'm thinking I'm gonna... GO CUSTOM! Well kinda, I like the kits that XSPC have, but I can't seem to find a kit that has all the feature I want. So I guess I'd have to copy what their kit normally has, but swap out the parts I want. The biggest change I want to make is to the reservoir, I'm not a fan of the little box that the XSPC Rasa 450 RS120 kit comes with, as I have no idea where to fit the thing, and the most likely place means partially blocking my PCI fan. The XSPC Rasa 750 RS240 comes with a reservoir that fits in a drive bay, meaning it would fit neatly in my case and not block my PCI fan. It also means that I can check the coolent level without having to open up my case. And the pump is contained inside the reservoir, so that's more space saved! So what's stopping me from just getting the XSPC Rasa 750 RS240 and forgetting about customizing? The reservoir in this kit needs two drive bays. I only have one to spare! Luckily, XSPC make a single bay version, but that doesn't come in a kit, hence why I'll need to make my own kit. I thought I'd run my plan past you guys:

Pump: X2O 200 Single 5.25” Bay Reservoir Pump
Reservoir: See above! (while I see that there's the option of buying an empty reservoir and adding your own pump, is there any advantage in doing this?)
Radiator: UNKNOWN. Looking at the top of my case, I can see a bunch of those hexagonal phillips head screws on the mesh. I suspect that this would be for attaching a radiator. Which would be good news, since the top of my case is basically one huge vent, so this would be the ideal place for hot air to be escaping. I think the maximum size my case would support would be a dual radiator. Failing this, I can always use the single.
Block: XSPC RASA CPU Block (Acetal) - Black
Tubing: UNKNOWN. I dunno, 7/16? That seems to be a normal size. Keep in mind, my case is cramped, so thick tubes would probably end up kinking.
Fittings: UNKNOWN. Maybe those type that you lock shut by shoving the tube in the turning a metal dealy? I think they're called "compression" fittings. They sound a little more secure than the old "shove tube onto barb, attach clamp and hope it stays there :p 
Fluid: UNKNOWN. I've been reading that there's such as thing as "Non-Conductive Coolant". Some of this sounds great! Would make the concept of water-cooling a lot less terrifying :)  I was reading on the forums that it's not a good idea to get dyed fluids, is that always true? I was looking at a coolant that said "dyes are stable and are designed not to separate", so might it just be the poor-quality dyed coolants that cause trouble? While I don't have clear sides on my case, it would be nice if on the occasion I opened the case that I could see some cool colors. But if not, no big loss.

Anything I've missed? Thoughts? HERE'S THE AUSTRALIAN WEBSITE I WAS TALKING ABOUT, they have quite a big range, so have a look yourself if you want.
June 20, 2011 8:14:19 PM

What case do you have? Also, for your gpu issue, have you considered water cooling it as well?
June 21, 2011 12:52:40 AM

I have an Alienware Aurora ALX case. I had actually considered watercooling the GPU too, but:
1) I'm having trouble finding a waterblock for it. I see thermaltake have a universal VGA waterblock, but there's no mention of the 500 series
2) I'm planning on going SLI in the future. I was reading that there's very little temperature difference in in having the GPU and CPU cooled by the same water loop, but might that change if you're cooling a third device?
Related resources
June 21, 2011 5:44:32 AM

All depends on the cooling gear you have, I have CPU, 2xGPU, RAM, Northbridge, PSU, the pump and some transistors all WC; they all keep within 1-5 Celsius of each other. Let me see if I can find a descent first time WC setup, on the net for you.
a c 190 K Overclocking
June 21, 2011 5:48:51 AM

Check out xspc.com their Rasa kits are designed just for folks like you and I, get the Rx rads though, Rs ones are a bit thin
Moto
June 21, 2011 6:49:04 AM

Keep in mind that I'm based in Australia guys, I'm kinda limited to what stores I can visit. Umart (http://www.umart.com.au/newindex2.phtml?bid=2) would be my best choice.

*EDIT* Having read around a bit, it seems like these water-cooling kits (be they all-in-one or more traditional) often don't perform as well as you would like, often being similar in temprature to an air-cooled system, or if they're cooler, they're much much louder. For me personally, the higher price of water cooling, it's extra noise, higher price, required maintence and the ever looming danger of leakage, makes me think an air-cooler would be more suitable for me.

*EDIT* Or maybe not, a good air cooler is rather large!
a c 324 K Overclocking
June 21, 2011 2:05:18 PM

^Not sure where you are getting your information...can you provide a link? I can guarantee you that you won't see mid 40C load temps on CPU/GPU with normal air cooling...unless you have a very cold room.
a c 324 K Overclocking
June 21, 2011 2:45:55 PM

H70 and other LCS coolers aren't really the same category as actual watercooling loops. The concept is somewhat similar, but those coolers perform about as well as good air coolers. A good water loop will beat either, hands down.
June 21, 2011 3:04:14 PM

A "good water loop" would set me back quite of scratch a bit sadly. And I'm still not so keen on the work required to setup and maintain one...
a c 324 K Overclocking
June 21, 2011 3:29:25 PM

No offense, but most people don't associate LCS and watercooling to be the same and don't expect the same results from each. But, that's the reason LSC cooler exist.
June 21, 2011 9:58:16 PM

Fair enough then :p  In your opinion, which would be the best choice as a "LCS" (I assume I'm using that abbreviation correctly) for me? The Corsair H70 (it got temps very similar to some of the best air coolers) or something that's a bit more like a real water-cooling system (pump, reservoir, tubes etc) such as the Thermaltake Pro Water 850i?
a b K Overclocking
June 21, 2011 10:10:04 PM

I used an tt850 on my old e8400 it worked fine. I know some reviews you read say it sucks but it did a good job cooling my cpu. I didn't like the pump being hooked to the res cause I did have much room in my case. I would say for bang for buck go with a xspc set up I picked mine up from frozen cpu for 130 or so and have been happy with it except a little pump noise. All in all it good for the money. Good luck..
June 21, 2011 11:32:02 PM

I know nothing in those lesser cooling options but I certainly hope you'll get what you want.

I still say that as moto said, the rasa kits seem easy and low maintenance. A good beginners option.
June 22, 2011 6:41:27 AM

I've found an Australian website that sells the XSPC Rasa 450 RS120 for a lot cheaper than the Thermaltake 850! How does it compare though? I had been reading that the TT only gets temps similar to that of a decent air cooling system, would this one be better or about the same? It also looks like this kit doesn't come with liquid for some weird reason, where would I get that?

I also notice the pump lives inside the reservoir, hows does this impact noise? I've had many aquariums over the years, and there's nothing I hate more than pump vibration. Speaking of the reservoir, how do you attach it to your case? I can't see any screw holes or anything like that. Speaking of noise, do you think this would be louder or quieter than the TT 850? I heard reviews of the 850 that said it was a little on the noisy side.

Also, I'm kinda worried about how the tubes connect to everything, it appears that you simply slip the tubes over a little metal connector then attach a little clamp to on. The TT on the other hand looks to be a little more secure, that way you jam the tube into a metal device and screw the thing shut tightly. I know it shouldn't leak, but I can't get past the fact that I'm putting WATER into my computer :p 

*EDIT*
OK, I've been reading up on XSPC's water cooling kits. I'm feeling a bit braver, so I'm thinking I'm gonna... GO CUSTOM! Well kinda, I like the kits that XSPC have, but I can't seem to find a kit that has all the feature I want. So I guess I'd have to copy what their kit normally has, but swap out the parts I want. The biggest change I want to make is to the reservoir, I'm not a fan of the little box that the XSPC Rasa 450 RS120 kit comes with, as I have no idea where to fit the thing, and the most likely place means partially blocking my PCI fan. The XSPC Rasa 750 RS240 comes with a reservoir that fits in a drive bay, meaning it would fit neatly in my case and not block my PCI fan. It also means that I can check the coolent level without having to open up my case. And the pump is contained inside the reservoir, so that's more space saved! So what's stopping me from just getting the XSPC Rasa 750 RS240 and forgetting about customizing? The reservoir in this kit needs two drive bays. I only have one to spare! Luckily, XSPC make a single bay version, but that doesn't come in a kit, hence why I'll need to make my own kit. I thought I'd run my plan past you guys:

Pump: X2O 200 Single 5.25” Bay Reservoir Pump
Reservoir: See above! (while I see that there's the option of buying an empty reservoir and adding your own pump, is there any advantage in doing this?)
Radiator: UNKNOWN. Looking at the top of my case, I can see a bunch of those hexagonal phillips head screws on the mesh. I suspect that this would be for attaching a radiator. Which would be good news, since the top of my case is basically one huge vent, so this would be the ideal place for hot air to be escaping. I think the maximum size my case would support would be a dual radiator. Failing this, I can always use the single.
Block: XSPC RASA CPU Block (Acetal) - Black
Tubing: UNKNOWN. I dunno, 7/16? That seems to be a normal size. Keep in mind, my case is cramped, so thick tubes would probably end up kinking.
Fittings: UNKNOWN. Maybe those type that you lock shut by shoving the tube in the turning a metal dealy? I think they're called "compression" fittings. They sound a little more secure than the old "shove tube onto barb, attach clamp and hope it stays there :p 
Fluid: UNKNOWN. I've been reading that there's such as thing as "Non-Conductive Coolant". Some of this sounds great! Would make the concept of water-cooling a lot less terrifying :)  I was reading on the forums that it's not a good idea to get dyed fluids, is that always true? I was looking at a coolant that said "dyes are stable and are designed not to separate", so might it just be the poor-quality dyed coolants that cause trouble? While I don't have clear sides on my case, it would be nice if on the occasion I opened the case that I could see some cool colors. But if not, no big loss.

Anything I've missed? Thoughts? HERE'S THE AUSTRALIAN WEBSITE I WAS TALKING ABOUT, they have quite a big range, so have a look yourself if you want.
a c 324 K Overclocking
June 22, 2011 1:31:25 PM

You'll want to avoid anything Thermaltake makes in a watercooling kit. They make good air coolers...poor water kits. I've had 2 friends personally go against my advice and get Bigwater kits...both had pump failures, one had a cracked block and leaked...killed his GPU and motherboard. Poor quality...better money can be spent elsewhere.

Like it has been suggested, XSPC Rasa kits for anything under $150, unless you want the simplicity of a LCS cooler.

It looks like you might want to read the WC sticky...I've covered some of the things you are 'discovering'...like barbs and compression fittings. Many questions you are posting are covered in the sticky with links throughout with additional information.

Edit: If you are looking for a simple, great starter watercooling kit, this is the one you'd want: XSPC RX360 kit

Otherwise, you might reconsider the X20 200 pump...it's underpowered. I'm not sure what 'features' you feel are missing from these kits, so give me your thoughts and we can help you with alternate choices if you still wish to go with a custom loop.

Sounds like you might be better off with a Rasa kit until you get a little more knowledge under your belt.
June 22, 2011 2:19:15 PM

Thanks for all the info, I'll be sure to check out the sticky again!

My biggest need is for a reservoir that will only take up one drive bay, as that's all I have to spare (the RX360 takes up two), as far as I know, the X20 200 is the only one like this. Though, I'm pretty sure it's possible to buy an empty single bay reservoir and choose the pump you want to add, so I guess that's an option.
a c 324 K Overclocking
June 22, 2011 2:35:53 PM

You don't need a bay res unless that's what you want and there are some options out there if that is truly what you want. Otherwise, you can go the route of a pump and res/top to satisfy the needs of both with smaller space requirements.
June 23, 2011 1:09:18 AM

"res/top"? A reservoir that fits in the top of your case or something like that?

*EDIT* I've read my PC's service manual, and it turns out the screws in the top of the case I mention are to hold the vents to the case. A larger radiator sounds like it's out of the question, so I should probably stick with the single radiator, at least I know that will fit :p 

*EDIT* It's sounding more and more like the XSPC Rasa 450 is my best (only?) choice, I can't fit a double size radiator, so all of XSPC's other kits are out. What about fluids? gammods.com.au is sold out of the only additive they sell, so buying some de-ionised water and adding a micro organism killer isn't really an option ATM. They do have some pre-mixed coolants however, some Thermochill EC6. I read a review on this stuff, and although they did some experiments to see if they could get the dye to cause trouble (clumping, staining etc) and found no issues, I think I'll still go for the "clear" (and assumingly dye-free) option. It got slightly cooler temps on the test, and since I won't be looking at it very option, I figure I should go dye-free to be on the safe size. What do you guys think?

Also, I'm still not a fan of XSPC's clamp system, I was thinking I would ignore it and use a few zip ties to really make sure that tube stays put, it would also look tidier. Or maybe compression barbs instead. A good idea, or should I stick with the clamps? I also see that you can buy tubing that's slightly smaller (Tygon I think the brand is) that you heat up then stretch over the barbs, which tightens as it cools. Is this a worthwhile thing to look into?

I was also looking to get some anti-kink coils (my case is pretty small, so kinking will very likely be an issue. Plus, they look cool!), but I'm having trouble working out what size I need. The 450 kit comes with "7/16" Hose", but I don't see a 7/16 size option for anti-kink coils. But, I notice the 450 kit mentions it's barbs are "G1/4" to 1/2", so this means 1/2 is the I.D of the hose that 450 uses right? Because there is an option for 1/2 anti-kink coils.
a c 324 K Overclocking
June 23, 2011 1:17:47 PM

I covered almost everything you are asking about in the sticky...

Res/top... reservoir top that goes on your pump in replacement of the stock top...most commonly used on Laing DDC pumps.

Like this:


Why are you so persistent on using some kind of coolant? Simply use distilled water and a killcoil and/or PTNuke. If you want color, get colored tubing...save yourself some headaches

Barbs and compression fittings...use what you feel you want to use. You can go which ever route you wish...zip ties work alright, I use worm-gear clamps...some use compression clamps...all of which work with barbs. If you use compression fittings, you don't need these, obviously. (Covered in the sticky)

Why do you need kink coils? I guess if you like the look...ok. Good tubing doesn't need these and is very flexible.

Barb size - G1/4" and the difference of ID size...this is covered in detail in the sticky...which leads me to believe you didn't read it.

Quote:
Fittings are one that cause a lot of confusion for most newcomers. Here is a simple way to understand the terminology that accompanys each:

I.D. - Inside diameter, most commonly referring to the ID of the tubing to be used. 1/2"ID means that wall to wall, the inside of the tubing measures 1/2" (metric is also used and is measured in millimeters or mm)

O.D.- Outside diameter, similar to the ID, the OD simply is the measurement of the tubing through the cross-section from one side of the outer wall to the other.

G1/4" - This is the one that confuses the most people. This refers to the threaded fitting standard that is used by almost all waterblocks and radiators. It is the end of the fitting that gets screwed into the block or rad; the other end of this same fitting is measured with the I.D. standard for tubing size.


And not sure what you mean by tubing tightening while it cools...cools from what?
!