Water Cooling GPU

Hi, I'm extremely 'new' to this, but, I feel this is the right area for my question.

My system:
◦Alienware Area-51 ALX
◦6GB 1866MHz DDR3 Kingston Tri-Channel Memory
◦Intel Core i7 980x Extreme Six Core Processor (3.33GHz, 12MB Cache)
◦Dual NVIDIA GTX 590 SLI Enabled
◦512GB Raid 0 (2x 256GB Samsung Solid State HDDs)
◦Windows 7 Home Premium
◦Creative Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium

Just to get this out of the way, I'm aware I paid a premium for the namebrand --and I'm okay with that.
I will not get rid of a GPU, let's stay away from that 'answer'.

Long story short, this is a replacement PC, which has been very nice; to an extent.
After getting all my games installed, I've discovered that after about 5 minutes, my GPU's downclock themselves and cause my games to be considered unplayable (stuttering every second or two). This only happens on very graphic intensive games (I.E. Crysis 2, Metro 2033, Battlefield 3, Witcher 2). After a lot of troubleshooting, and then finally turning both my PCI-E slot fans and GPU fans to 100%, I was capable of playing my games with NO problems! This is unacceptable though, and I must remedy my problem.

So, I've come to the conclusion I will either need to water cool my video cards, or, cram 1000 fans into my case.

Of course I'm aware that water cooling is not for the uneducated/inexperienced. I'm also aware of all the guides I've looked at online. However, I'm really not that tech-savvy (hence the reason I bought a pre-built computer). I might inevitably just have a PC specialist install whatever I decide on.

Could anyone please figure out what I'd need for an Alienware Area-51 ALX? What will fit in there (it's a pretty big case). I prefer a 'kit', instead of buying parts.

Any other suggestions are appreciated!
Thank you!
12 answers Last reply
More about water cooling
  1. It sounds like your bigger problem is poor case airflow. What temps are your cards reading when they throttle down?

    To test the airflow theory, try the following:

    Pull the side of your case, blow a desk or house fan on high into the side of your case. Go game/benchmark/etc for a good amount of time and see what your results are.

    If your temps go down or you don't encounter the cards clocking themselves down, you have a case airflow issue.
  2. http://img337.imageshack.us/img337/5633/dadk.gif

    That's a snapshot of my GPU-Z during the stuttering. Edit: Just to specify, this is a snapshot taken after alt+tabbing, so the temps went down like 2ºc by the time I was able to click the snapshot button.

    I will try the case deal, but, I'm not sure what I can do about the airflow if it turns out to be that. I'll probably have to conduct that experiment tomorrow. xD

    Thanks for your help! :)

    Edited for grammar.
  3. 84C is pretty high...I would say you could live with 70's Celsius, but 80s...you have an airflow issue. You could swap case fans with some better ones if that works for you, but not sure. If you went watercooling, do you have room for the rads you'll need?
  4. I do not know if I'd have the room required. The Area-51 ALX comes with liquid cooling, but, not GPU cooling. Just look up the 'newest' version of the Area-51 ALX on youtube and you'll get a good look into what my PC looks like. Just remember, though, the mobo has 2 PCI-E x16 slots and 1 PCI-E x8 slot. So, just because they show you their CPU's with an empty PCI-E slot in between 'their' GPU's, doesn't mean it works well. >_>

    I really can't wait till I get to go to college for this. Hands on training and learning! I WANT to make a hobby/job out of building/fixing PC's. Some IT training too, would be nice! However, I will not put my current rig in jeapordy due to being a 'newb'. xD
  5. You might not have any room inside your case for much at all. If you can find a link to your rig, post it up. I need to go run a few errands and will be back on later this evening.

    As for a career in IT, it all depends on what you really want to do...coding, network, server admin, security, etc. Most people start out at a helpdesk somewhere during HS or college as well as soon after. Again, it all depends on your major and what field you are wanting to work in.
  6. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y0Q45Ys3NxY

    At about 2:30 you get to see the inside of my PC --just replace the 5970's, with GTX 590's. xD

    I'm not sure, dabble a bit into everything and then eventually find my 'calling'? Sounds about the best I can think of. I really want to work on PC's more though. They're my version of sports cars. (Although I do own a 2007 Shelby GT Mustang, I still prefer CPU's over them sadly)

    Don't knock on Alienware too much, I know they are money grubbers, but, they do create some neat stuff! If only didn't cost twice as much as it would cost to buy the parts. (Bad ass cases though) They are the 'starting' reason for me desiring a lot more CPU knowledge!
  7. I lost respect for Alienware about 5-7 years ago when they you could get them at Best Buy instead of strictly through their site. Now they are owned by Dell...even worse (in my mind). I'm a car guy at heart, but it's tough to have so many hobbies and a family while working 60+ hrs a week. :)
  8. I don't view them as 'professionals' as I would consider them 'artists' jamming over priced goodies in your case. :)

    I love my computer, it's the ferrari of computers to me. However, It pisses me off they don't give you the BEST of EVERYTHING when you pay a HUGE premium for their goods.
  9. While water cooling certianly would be a good alternative for your cooling solution , before you get into that you could experiment with some creative fan placement. As Rubix had suggested about blowing air fro a fan placed on the side of your computer you can put a fan in the side pannel at the area where the cards sit on the motherboard. The other thing you can try is to some how put a fan so it blows in between the two cards from the end of the cards towards the rear of the case. Some velcro , some double sided tape , here is a chance for you to be creative to see what you can come uo with. To give you some idea of what you can do with a little bit of imagiation , a picture of my computer is on the side of this post and the case is a Cooler Master Half-X , now if you are able to look very close and then look at a picture of the case at the link I put on this post you will see that my case looks very different from the stock case. I just got creative because I wanted the case to look a certian way and that is what you can do with your fan placement.

  10. I just went to the Alienware site and took a look at the case and I'm not surprised you have an overheating issue :o , the inside is too closed in and I don't see where there is any air circulation , the inside looks awful :pfff: ( from the pictures I saw anyway). I think that the case was designed for water cooling only with no thought for air circulation. If the fan ideas don't work for you the only option I can see is water cooling. :heink:
  11. From what I can see from the site the inside of the case is fairly cramped. The bottom half for lighting might be able to house a radiator, but you are generating a lot of heating with 2 590s. A 360 mm radiator wouldn't be enough, and I doubt you could fit more into your case. Honestly you're probably better off getting external radiators if you want to go the watercooling route. As for air cooling, I don't see any places on the side of the case to place fans, or the front.

    Here's a post talking about how to add three new fans to the case to reduce temperatures quite a bit apparently by adding a 92mm exhaust fan and 2 120 mm fans up top, it should help improve your temps because I don't see how you can internally fit radiators to dissipate the heat from 590s:


    Hope this helps bud
  12. Ugh! I might just have to go the way of the 'fan'. I bet a lot of my problem is my room temperature and the fact my computer is in a corner. Yesterday I caught my room temperature at 82ºf. O_o

    Time to bust out the air conditioner. xD
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