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Discussion Thread: Watercooling/Closed Loop Coolers

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a c 330 K Overclocking
November 9, 2011 10:44:40 PM

Watercooling/Liquid Cooling System - Pros/Cons/General Discussion

Alright- This is what we've been looking for on several different threads here in the watercooling forum: A watercooling/closed loop cooler pros/cons discussion thread. Depending on content and discussions, this thread might be included in the watercooling sticky.

This can be used for Q/A and discussion surrounding what is better, debates over concepts and designs or simply to provide a structured battleground for proving your point. However- there will be some rules to follow in this thread in addition to the usual forum rules of Tom's forums.

The rules are as follows:

1) I will be the primary moderator on a day-to-day basis. I will remain as unbiased as ultimately possible, but those of you who know me, you know my loyalties lie with full-blown watercooling. This being said, I also know there are infinite reasons a cooling solution may or may not be what a user actually needs. Just because I agree or disagree, doesn't mean it's due to my preference of watercooling. This should also be the stance of everyone who participates- be open-minded and know enough to know when you are wrong.

2) If you have an issue with another forum member's post, send me a PM with the information. Don't expect me to simply remove or edit a member's post because you don't agree with their response. I will not, however, put up with any slander, negativity, personal attacks, rude remarks or overall bad sportsmanship. I will make thread edits if I see this kind of activity, but if you are reporting activity from another user, be prepared to also support your stance on why it should be reported and edits/removals made.

3) If you offer information for debate, fully expect to offer links to data in order to support the claim being made by forum members wishing to debate your claims. I understand that we all are biased in some degree towards what we support, but if you are going out of your way to rock the boat- you better have the ammo to back it up. There is nothing sweeter in debate to offer up information, have someone question your stance, and then slap a link or two in a thread reply that gives irrefutable support for your statements.

4) Play nice. I expect this to get into some heated debates and everyone needs to remain level-headed and professional. I will try and toss a bone once in a while if the discussions get stale, so look for some random topics from time to time. Remember that this is a world-wide forum and expect users from all over the globe to read the information being posted. This also means that spelling, grammar and hardware availability will differ from place to place. Just be cognizant of everyone reading and posting.

a c 330 K Overclocking
November 9, 2011 11:44:20 PM

First item up for bid:
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1. Would you recommend a water/liquid solution to a friend?

2. Does this change whether the person is knowledgeable with computer hardware and/or watercooling or not?

3. What solutions would fit your recommendations, if any?

PS- Please follow the discussion thread rules.
a c 190 K Overclocking
November 10, 2011 12:47:35 AM

Yes I would recommend water to a friend/poster on here, IF thats the appropriate cooling solution to their situation.

No, I like my advice to be unbiased if possible, if learning is required to maintain/install stuff I'll point them that way as well.

I prefer real water to 'Fisher-Price' all in ones, but if thats the best option I will recommend one, under advisement ofc :-)
My turn with the popcorn hehe
Moto
Related resources
November 10, 2011 3:01:28 AM

rubix_1011 said:
First item up for bid:

1. Would you recommend a water/liquid solution to a friend?

2. Does this change whether the person is knowledgeable with computer hardware and/or watercooling or not?

3. What solutions would fit your recommendations, if any?

PS- Please follow the discussion thread rules.


1. Yes, I would recommend water cooling if the person was capable of following simple instructions.
2. No, as long as he can follow simple instructions I would still recommend.
3. MCP35X pump, Swiftech 360 Drive Rad, XSPC Raystorm waterblock, Primochill 7/16 tubing on 1/2 barbs. Around $250.
a b K Overclocking
November 10, 2011 5:42:36 AM

Quote:
1. Would you recommend a water/liquid solution to a friend?

Depends - I know several people who are skeptical of the benefits/price and are bit more practical with their money and would put it towards aesthetics. However, I do believe in full disclosure of pros and cons.

Quote:
2. Does this change whether the person is knowledgeable with computer hardware and/or watercooling or not?

Too some degree, this depends on the person. A lot of people I know that are knowledgeable with computer hardware find an interest in looking up stuff about it (i.e. benches, tests, reviews), and would most likely be interested in learning more about WC solutions.

On the other side of the spectrum, some of the people I know who aren't knowledgeable about computer-related stuff prefer to stay that way. I've honestly had people say to me that they don't care how it works as long as it does.

It's really a case-by-case thing, but as long as they're willing to learn, I'm willing to help them learn.

Quote:
3. What solutions would fit your recommendations, if any?

Depending on the goals, I'd generally recommend something around the H100/Rasa RS240 as a base. For more enthusiast-oriented users, that would expand (obviously).



Seems a little biased towards the custom WC side with all of us on here. I'm interested in what our "devil's advocates" in the WC section have to offer on the subject :) 
November 11, 2011 3:33:05 AM



1. Would you recommend a water/liquid solution to a friend?
Yes, but the friends level of expertise, patience, and desires would inform my recommendation. How much do they really want and how hard are they willing to work for it? It's not about risks if parts are properly researched and procedures followed... but if the person doesn't have the patience for that they had better stay away.

2. Does this change whether the person is knowledgeable with computer hardware and/or watercooling or not?
Certainly, but ignorance in itself should not bar a person from achieving something they are sure they want.

3. What solutions would fit your recommendations, if any?

Custom designed and separately ordered parts list.

This is for people with time, money, and a wish for excellent cooling of both CPU and GPU(s). Usually such people also want something that is aesthetically pleasing for them, but not always. Sometimes people with money and a desire want such a system, even though they are unlikely to build such themselves. There are shops that will do the job and guarantee their work, but at a premium.

Unassembled kits
These are usually relatively inexpensive and lack features and/or expandability. If someone wants to watercool but has a limited budget these are sometimes a good choice.

Pre-assembled kits or kits requiring very little assembly

People with an adequate budget that don't want to manage a complicated water loop can be quite happy with one of these. An example is the Swiftech H20-320 EDGE, just two hoses to worry about. Obviously there is still some planning needed for radiator placement.

Self-contained water coolers
Examples are the Antec KUHLER H2O 920 (REVIEW) and the Corsair H100 (REVIEW)
These rarely leak, provide performance as good or better than most air coolers, are easy to install, and do not put the stress on the motherboard that a very large air cooler will. Anyone building their own computer can consider these. They are no more dangerous than the assembly process itself.
November 11, 2011 4:18:09 AM

Thanks dear for share your great information. really you have great job............
a c 330 K Overclocking
November 22, 2011 7:42:20 PM

Next up-
Universal GPU blocks vs. full-cover blocks.
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Considerations:

Do you value flow/temp performance over cost? What is 1-3C worth to you?

Aesthetic value?

Do you have brand loyalty?

a b K Overclocking
November 22, 2011 7:57:47 PM

Although I have FC blocks on my 6950s now, I am planning on moving to universals soon (anybody want to buy a pair of 6950 2GBs?). I realize that I upgrade more often than I originally thought, and universals could help me save money on blocks while making it easier to sell off cards (not everybody wants cards with blocks, and some care about warranty, etc.)

Id probably try a universal RAM sink at least once, but will probably stick to those copper heatsink thingys.

As far as brands go, I'm attached to EK (CPU and 2 GPU blocks from them), and will probably continue with them. I like their design and they work exceptionally well. They are sometimes a bit pricey though.
a c 330 K Overclocking
November 22, 2011 8:00:03 PM

One thing I like about Swiftech is they have those universal blocks and the separate plates to use in conjunction depending on card model. However, I don't think they make a lot of model versions, which is a shame.
a b K Overclocking
November 23, 2011 12:22:46 AM

rubix_1011 said:
One thing I like about Swiftech is they have those universal blocks and the separate plates to use in conjunction depending on card model. However, I don't think they make a lot of model versions, which is a shame.


Yeah, that's what I was referring to by those full RAM sink/plates/whatever-they-call-them. I don't know if EK makes any though. The universals are also good if you buy a non-reference GPU, since sometimes you can pick those up for cheaper than the reference versions.
November 26, 2011 5:57:33 PM

Maybe some temp comparisons at overclock speeds? I've been wanting to go water cooled but every comparison I see, my current air cool setup is getting better temps. At 4.8ghz in prime blend test I average well under 64c. Plus when not in games or under full load my idle temps are much much better it seems @ mid 20c's. Water cooling seems you will always have a higher idle temp no? I'm seeing a lot of people benching their water cool setups at significantly less ghz and getting the same if not higher temps. It seems to be efficient with water cooling you have to go extreme with it.

Discuss? :) 



note: Please don't think I'm bashing, I love the idea of water cooling I just want to see a truly efficient setup that doesn't break the bank maybe?
a c 330 K Overclocking
November 26, 2011 8:05:02 PM

What watercooling loops are you talking about? There are a lot of guys on here that have a full-on CPU and SLI/Crossfire loop that never break 55-60C under constant load.

It all depends on your configuration, but it is very, very doable to have a 10-12 degree delta-T. Some folks even shoot for 5C delta, but you gotta pay to play in that league.
November 26, 2011 8:17:39 PM

That's what I mean though... what is a REAL setup? Hell go on youtube and look at the hundreds of videos of these guys showing off water cool setups with terrible temps. That's what put me off, I want to do it, but I'm not going to waste my time when my Air cool setup is working better than 85% of the WC setups out there lol. (random number I made up haha)
November 26, 2011 8:28:30 PM

Ok lets put it this way... with my current setup in my rig I want to go up to about 5ghz and stay under 50c... any ideas?
a c 330 K Overclocking
November 26, 2011 11:02:44 PM

Phase change or a water chiller and full loop. Outside of that, you'd need to over-rad like crazy and hope for a <8-5C delta.
November 26, 2011 11:38:05 PM

Bah.. not worth it. I wonder what the air cooled overclock record is....
a c 330 K Overclocking
November 30, 2011 6:01:39 PM

Questions on TDP, calculating delta-T or other loop build technical considerations-
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1) Do we need to address/evaluate information in the sticky or on the forum pertaining to these concepts?

2) Generalizing radiator size vs. potential heat dissipated for sizes other than those listed on Skinnee's charts- turning physics into simple math for the sake of sanity. How do you guys do it?

3) What is missing from the sticky that would help close gaps when it comes to answering questions on 'how do I figure out what I need to get'?
December 3, 2011 8:17:32 PM

If you need help start your own thread, This thread is for discussing water cooling.
December 3, 2011 8:22:41 PM

I don't have any good answers to your questions btw :)  Well, I suppose we could come up with a kind of guess as to how much you need for just a CPU, CPU + 1 GPU, etc. The engineering math I would rather not tackle.
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 5, 2011 4:52:24 PM

I'll admit- there isn't an easy way to try and make the physics of radiator performance as easy as I try to make it sound. There are easily several things I fudge and estimate as I try to evaluate rad sizes to a more round 1:1 comparison, but even then, it's next to impossible. It's even harder to evaluate 120 rads vs 140 rads...there are tube sizes to contend with, additional tubes per side, fin density or placement might be different and once you get that far, there are the metals used in manufacturing, thickness of metals, thickness and type of paint used...I could go on and on. I'd love to have a way to test rads in the manner I wish I could test them...but for now, I rely on Skinnee and a few others (like everyone else) to help make good guesstimates. I will say, that once you know how to make these kinds of estimations and what rads to look at for a specific thermal capacity of a loop, you are doing yourself a huge favor in the long run.
December 5, 2011 11:27:06 PM

I'm just going to build a WC setup based on the same details I use in my race cars haha
a b K Overclocking
December 5, 2011 11:42:41 PM

fah_q said:
I'm just going to build a WC setup based on the same details I use in my race cars haha


With an engine? :D 
December 5, 2011 11:45:54 PM

LOL! I wish! I would throw a nice littler turbo charger on the end of the mainboard HAHAHAH!

but I'm thinking maybe a small 3 row aluminum radiator, run some push-lock fittings with 200psi rated hose, and 6 120mm fans in push format. If I'm going to go WC then it's gotta be ridiculous. I want 5ghz and sub- 50c temps!
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 7, 2011 1:49:43 PM

Question- If you are on a budget, what corners do you cut first? What is never sacrificed, regardless of budget?

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December 7, 2011 7:01:39 PM

Zip ties work just as well as clamps :) 

Fans are another one, you can buy cheap fans that work great, they just don't last very long.
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 7, 2011 7:03:29 PM

Good points. I'd assume based on your response, you'd be a 'barb instead of compression fittings' kind of guy if it came to a budget crisis...?
December 8, 2011 3:35:45 AM

Push-lock fittings for the hotness! haha
December 8, 2011 5:58:14 AM

I use barbs. I'm not against compression fittings but have never really wanted them enough to spend the money on them... a budget constraint of sorts I suppose. I also have one zip tie in there, in a spot that was hard to use a Delrin clamp and not very visible.

10 barbs and Delrin clamps $35
10 compression fittings $80 + extra hassle & worry with leak testing.

Sure you still have to test but you don't have to worry quite as much, especially on a re-test after maintenance.
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 8, 2011 12:23:03 PM

I use barbs as well...never an issue. If you do it right, either way can look very good...just use nice clamps. I actually think barbs with very discrete clamps to 7/16" tubing over 1/2" and no clamps is cleaner looking than compression fittings...and a lot cheaper as Proximon stated. +1 for budget consciousness.
a c 190 K Overclocking
December 14, 2011 12:55:48 PM

I use a mix of barbs and comps on mine,
I'd probably skim cashflow in the following order though
Tubing/thermal paste (If I needed to buy fresh paste)
Fans
fittings
Res (Take out altogether if budget was that bad (although if the budgets 'that' tight, I would question the sense of watercooling as an option in that build)
pump
Blocks
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 14, 2011 1:12:19 PM

I've found that barbs can look very, very good with my new build. If you get good tubing, make sure you allocate enough length to fully cover the barb and use very tidy clamps, you can make almost seamless connections. If you use slightly smaller ID tubing than your barb ID, you can go the route of heat-shrinking the tubing over the barbs...which looks very professional. I used small zip-ties and it looks fantastic. I don't think I could use compressions on my MCW-60's as the tubing is just too damned thick/wide for the inlet/outlet ports on the blocks...there just isn't room, there.
a b K Overclocking
December 17, 2011 6:00:24 AM

We should make up some sort of parts/price guide for common loops (CPU, CPU/GPU, CPU/2 GPUs) with several price ranges and part choices. I feel like we tend to reiterate this kind of stuff, along with these cost saving measures, in many threads at once.
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 17, 2011 5:01:25 PM

Yeah, I agree. However, it starts to get tricky when you consider rads and the amount of cooling someone needs or recommending one radiator over another.
December 18, 2011 7:19:59 PM

1. Would you recommend a water/liquid solution to a friend?

- Yes, if its appropriate then by all means... but become aware.

2. Does this change whether the person is knowledgeable with computer hardware and/or watercooling or not?

- You bet it does. A CLC isn't like a true WC'd rig or vice versa. They address differing needs. Know the differance!!

3. What solutions would fit your recommendations, if any?

- Well despite all the bad hype for some. I'd say the Corsair line is worthy. Again, know the details.. these fit a niche for entry level moderate need quite nicely. "Fire & forget" - about as good as it gets for the moment. * The devil is always in the details.

December 18, 2011 9:24:21 PM

For the past few days I have had to revert to air... a planned water cooling upgrade hit some snags (A lack of planning on my part. Who knew you HAD to use thermal pads on full GPU blocks?). Air cooled GPUs are incredibly annoying now. That constant whine and such. I'm not going back ever.
a b K Overclocking
December 19, 2011 1:22:32 AM

Did the blocks not come with thermal pads, or did you get it used?
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 19, 2011 1:51:06 AM

^Yeah, very good question. Blocks come with the needed thermal pads in most cases, I believe. They are pretty cheap at most of the usual watercooling/mod retailers, but can cause that hitch in your build that you otherwise weren't prepared for. I recently had this with my build- but mine was needing PSU cable extensions I wasn't ready for.
December 19, 2011 11:21:37 AM

I had something overheating. When I took off the block I found the pads where not fully covering everything and had been damaged in the removal. Got my rush shipment in Saturday (thermal pads and more tubing) and got it all back together today. It's a very happy machine now. Higher CPU OC, higher GPU OC, very stable.

My point was really that water cooling is the ONLY way to get a very quiet system while still getting serious gaming performance.
a b K Overclocking
December 19, 2011 11:24:52 AM

Proximon said:
I had something overheating. When I took off the block I found the pads where not fully covering everything and had been damaged in the removal. Got my rush shipment in Saturday (thermal pads and more tubing) and got it all back together today. It's a very happy machine now. Higher CPU OC, higher GPU OC, very stable.

My point was really that water cooling is the ONLY way to get a very quiet system while still getting serious gaming performance.


Make sure to use some non-conductive thermal paste on the VRMs - that'll help get rid of heat and keep the thermal pads attached :) 
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 19, 2011 12:23:32 PM

Yeah, if you calculate your radiator area correctly, you can run quiet fans and get great performance. You will always need fans and you will always want to consider a little more radiator space than you need (rather than under-radding). While I agree you can get the best out of a rig with a good water loop, it isn't for the cheap and frugal to attempt unless you really know what you are doing.
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 20, 2011 1:43:09 PM

Question- Would you rather buy a new case that can fit watercooling gear by design, or would you rather mod a specific case to make everything fit custom to your needs?

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a b K Overclocking
December 20, 2011 2:12:44 PM

I prefer a blend of both. I tend to like fully internal loops, so the case obviously needs to be big enough to house the appropriate radiators, but drilling a few holes and cutting a bit hasn't scared me off yet; I just need to practice a bit before I start ;) 

A good design also helps too. The Ravens have a unique cooling design which rotates the motherboard so that the expansion slots are on the top. This definitely helps prevent any bending due to GPU waterblocks, though I didn't buy the case for that reason.

That said, my ultimate dream build would be in a MountainMods Extended UFO with a triple 360 rad side panel :) 
a b K Overclocking
December 20, 2011 3:24:33 PM

I agree with boiler... If i am buying a new case, I like to keep my WC components in mind, but to buy a case specifically for WC can be horrendously expensive.

We all like to dream though.
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 21, 2011 4:15:45 PM

Okay, here's something that should help stimulate some discussion.

What is a good, viable custom loop set of components for a CPU-only loop for ~$200. Also consider expansion, since we would expect to build a larger loop out of this 'base' loop. Please provide links and prices as part of your build.

For example, when posting links, use the <Item description and price goes here> and close with the URL close tag.

Why $200? We all know to recommend Rasa/Raystorm kits for under $200, but I'd like to start building some information for generic builds that we can recommend and post for reference...similar to how Tom's uses their system builds for their generalized testing and benchmarks. We could effectively use this as our recommended system build for new forum members.
a c 190 K Overclocking
December 23, 2011 2:23:04 PM

rubix_1011 said:
Question- Would you rather buy a new case that can fit watercooling gear by design, or would you rather mod a specific case to make everything fit custom to your needs?

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I think you all know my answer to this one :) 


$200 is only £127 today so W/c on that scale, I'd say forget it or trawl egay for (hopeful) bargains, I really wouldn't try a custom loop with that 'budget' lol

with pumps around £50 and blocks similar, your going to cut corners on res and fittings (first timer may not realise the option of leaving res out) it would be a real erm, 'challenge' and not worth it, I'd tell them to wait till they had a little more playdough at hand
Moto
December 23, 2011 5:27:31 PM

I tried to answer that a few days ago, and failed. I think you need about $300 to get off the ground.
a b K Overclocking
December 23, 2011 6:05:38 PM

The Rasa kits are pretty good - you get a solid pump and block (or a great block with the Raystorm) and a great radiator if you go with the RX series. It's really hard to beat for what you get.
a c 330 K Overclocking
December 23, 2011 8:38:59 PM

Yeah, I know. Maybe $250 is a better basement to start with. Damn- it does get tough when you try to build one out.
a b K Overclocking
December 24, 2011 12:26:40 AM

Especially if you want to throw in some good blocks like EK. Then you're looking at $65-80 for a CPU block.
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