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Water cooling loop check/review

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January 1, 2012 5:29:29 AM

Ok, so I'm new water cooling. I decided I really wanted to try it with my new computer build. I've been reading up in the stickie threads and suggested other sites and such. I think I've got it straight but I wanted to let the experts give it a once over.

I'm planning on doing a CPU and GPU loop. It's an i7-2600k that I'll be overclocking and GTX 580 (maybe SLI it later). I already ordered the parts for the computer and am looking to order the water cooling parts here in the next week or so. TDP is about 350W for all and would be about 600W if SLI.

Pump: Swiftech MCP-35X
Add-ons: Heatsink & Noctua NF-R8 80mm
Top: EK DDC X-Top Rev. 2

Reservoir: XSPC 5.25" Bay Reservoir

CPU Block: XSPC Raystorm

GPU Block: EK 580 GTX EN + Acetal
Question: Is the Back Plate worth having at all on this?

Radiators: 1) XSPC EX240 mounted at the top of the case horizontal with push/pull fans.
2) XSPC RX240 mounted vertically outside the back of the case on some stand-offs & having a just a pair of pull fans. Well the case exhaust 120mm would still be hitting it some.
Note: If I eventually go to SLI, I figure I can switch out the back radiator for a 360 to make up for the extra watts, part of the reason for having it outside there.

Fans: Six Scythe Gentle Typhoon (AP-15) I'll probably have them dialed down with the fan controller most of the time.

Controller: Lamptron FC-5V2
Note: I was thinking that I would double up a few of the fans, mainly each pair push/pull fans on one control each for the top radiator.

The flow I like would be this: Res (top bay)>Pump (bottom of the case at a fan port)>GPU>Radiator (back)>CPU>Radiator (top)>Res

So how does it look? My one concern is that the flow order that I want for my loop causes it not to be a nice, smooth loop. Should this matter too much? I chose the flow because I thought it might bring temps down a little on the components by having the radiators cool between the GPU & CPU. The optimum flow would have the two radiators back-to-back and CPU/GPU back-to-back.

Also, recommendations for tubing? I was just going to go with the standard 3/8" ID and barbs. But is there any particular brand of those I should get or avoid?

The links mainly come from FrozenCPU just because it was more convenient to pull from one sight. But I'll be shopping around some, so if anyone knows some good deals going on somewhere for any of these parts, please let me know. :) 

Thanks

*EDIT: Forgot the TDP and added one more question
a c 324 K Overclocking
January 2, 2012 3:23:35 PM

Loop order does not matter (I say this enough, it should be part of my signature).

You'll need to consider more radiator space if you add another 580 in that loop.
a c 138 K Overclocking
January 2, 2012 4:07:25 PM

I had shopped at Frozencpu for a few years as I liked thier selection of water cooling parts untill I found this site which is less expensive and has a bigger selection. http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php
I tend to use Feser tubing and Bitspower fittings and if you go with barbs Phobya and Lampron make some nice looking clamps. The back plate for the video card is a good idea as it does help with the cooling. Even though you are water cooling you still want to maintain a good air flow through your case.
Related resources
a c 190 K Overclocking
January 2, 2012 4:17:33 PM

I would either put the RX240 on the top, or swap it for another ex rather than hanging it off the rear, just a balance thing :p 
and if as Rubix says you decide to add more rad, you could even make the one on top a 360
And
*Even though you are water cooling you still want to maintain a good air flow through your case.*
so many people don't think of this it should be illegal lol
I don't see any mention of your case but we will make things fit hehe
Moto
January 3, 2012 1:32:14 AM

Motopsychojdn said:
I would either put the RX240 on the top, or swap it for another ex rather than hanging it off the rear, just a balance thing :p 
and if as Rubix says you decide to add more rad, you could even make the one on top a 360
And
*Even though you are water cooling you still want to maintain a good air flow through your case.*
so many people don't think of this it should be illegal lol
I don't see any mention of your case but we will make things fit hehe
Moto

Yea I was thinking I'd switch the back for a 360 if/when I go to SLI 580. The case is a Level 10 GT (white). I bought it before I had fully decided on going the water cooling route but was thinking about it. So it was nice that it was partially setup for it and I loved how it looked! :D 

So the airflow is pretty decent from what I've read. It came with 200mm fans mounted as intake in front of the HDD and on the side door, and a 140mm exhaust. The top has a setup for another 200mm to be an exhaust, but the rad will be there and still be acting as an exhaust. I could change those fans out for ones that may be better suited if needed.

As for the top rad, I might be able to work in a 360 up there, but I think with the 2x240 it definitely isn't necessary before doing the SLI. I put the EX240 in the top instead of the RX240 because of the thickness issue. I could do some mod work but I was trying to minimize that. The pull fans for the top are actually going to be mounted outside the case, but that is a simple and easy thing to do. Of course, maybe I could mount the rad outside on the top and put the RX240 there then. Do you think there is any advantage other than the weight issue you brought up for the backside?
rubix_1011 said:
Loop order does not matter (I say this enough, it should be part of my signature).

lol I know rubix. You're stuff has been an amazing help for me. I'm just being extra cautious since it's my first time out. And something inside me keeps screaming it should be a nice, smooth round loop but I also shouldn't have the rads back-to-back. Guts vs brains and I guess my brains are just not so hot. :na:  Thanks for all the things you've written around here and all the advice you give to everyone.

@inzone Thanks for the site and brands. I'll take a look at them. :D 

*EDIT* Added in the topside rad question
a c 190 K Overclocking
January 3, 2012 1:50:33 AM

Yuk, a GT.....
Don't worry, its just a pet peeve of mine hehe,
I'll post a better answer in the am when I get to a real pc, on phone right now
Moto
a c 190 K Overclocking
January 3, 2012 4:55:34 AM

Ok, disregard my lack of artistic ability insofar as paint is concerned, but I meant something like this once you've upgraded to the 360, the RX240 is on top, not inside the top, on top


as mentioned earlier, I would be concerned about balance so either some counterweight in the front lower of the case may be needed, or an extension of the rad at the back to support it,
a res could either be mounted on top, at the rear, or even on the far side panel (right hand side as you look from the front) if you wanted one, or a drivebay res if preferred (Depends how many optical drives you want/need)
Again, sorry for being a bad drawerist hehe :) 
*Found a rear shot, the 360 wouldn't actually be that far off the ground/desk by the time you took the bracket angle into account,( http://www.frozencpu.com/products/10347/ex-rad-179/XSPC...)
a small support maybe underneath would suffice
http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=thermaltake+10+gt&v...
Moto
a c 324 K Overclocking
January 3, 2012 12:48:15 PM

Quote:
And something inside me keeps screaming it should be a nice, smooth round loop but I also shouldn't have the rads back-to-back


Do you mean mounted to one another like a sandwich or simply one after another in loop order? One of these is a definite no-no and the other is perfectly fine. (Can you guess which one?)
a c 190 K Overclocking
January 3, 2012 3:36:44 PM

Nice neat smooth flowing loop, as opposed to a jumbled nest of tubes,wires and wtfisthat? :p 
back to back (Sandwich) rads bad, in case Rubix' wasn't clear enough hehe
The interesting thing with this build is going to be your routing for the tubes, assuming you have a drivebay res and pump, you need to get the tubes from there, to the cpu and gpu, then to the radiators and back, it will be reasonably interesting with the GT as its a single compartment case, the hardest part will be getting the tubes through the case and to the rads and back neatly,
@Rubix, this is just making me want the 'proper' level 10 now :p  (£565 in uk)
Moto
a c 324 K Overclocking
January 3, 2012 4:42:18 PM

Yeah, I haven't seen any builds in a Level 10 yet...but I haven't gone out and looked, either. Would be pretty interesting to do a high-level build in one...
January 3, 2012 6:42:34 PM

lol back-to-back as in one rad after another in the line, not a sandwich....although a sandwich might be tasty :kaola: 

and moto, your drawing skills top mine! that is essentially what I planning to do, but I actually had the top radiator inside. Although, because of your drawing I may move it on top. It would be an easier fit that way, and then I could get 2 RX240's which would probably be better than an the combo I had chosen. Of course, I could do like you said earlier and put the EX on back to save on weight.

As for tubing, I was planning on having the pump at the bottom of the case, with the optional heatsink and fan (since it has some heat issues I understand) and then a single drive bay res. The tubing to go to the rads won't be a problem I believe, since there are already 3 premade holes for tubing on the back. If I put the top rad outside that means at least one extra hole needed in back which leads to more crossing of the tubes. But I could (and am leaning towards doing it this way) put 2 holes in top more towards the front of the case. That would make for shorter tubing and less crossing.

So many decisions, but at least I feel that I'm getting real close to having it all planned.

I'm fixing to head into work. Tonight when I get back, I'll try to draw a diagram of how I was thinking of doing the layout.

Thanks
a c 190 K Overclocking
January 3, 2012 6:50:54 PM

Using original holes,
one tube goes out into rad at rear, then the one from that goes to the next rad, finally the output from rad two goes back into the case, easiest option, not neatest though as you'll have to route the tube from rad to rad outside the case,
drilling your own holes to suit will make for a neater build overall but can be a pain hehe, you'll want to drill about 2-3mm larger than the O/d of your tubes, this allows flex-room and grommets to be used so for 16mm O/d, use a 19/20mm drill bit,
then you can use the holes at the back for that rad, in and return
I vote for the drill yourself option but be prepared to take the case to bits and re-rivet or screw it back together :p 
Moto
January 4, 2012 4:53:47 AM



Behold my almighty paint skills!!! In thumbnail format :D 

This layout is what I'm leaning towards. This would involve drilling holes on the top of the case to go from rad to res (points 5 to 6). There is also a 200mm fan on the side of the case for more air intake. The front fan is 200mm also. All the exhaust fans are 120mm (except the pump has an 80mm).

Would the difference in the temperature be much if I decided to mount the 2nd rad on the side of the case instead of the back? I wouldn't think so myself. I think the fans would still be best served in a pull fashion. Although depending on how it's mounted, a push/pull might be had there too.

a c 190 K Overclocking
January 4, 2012 5:06:09 AM

Won't affect temps no,
if you don't want to drill the case though, have the ports for the top rad towards the rear of the case, run one tube out of the case into the rear rad, output from the to the input of second rad, then the output from that back into the case, wouldn't look shabby at all, I reckon it'd look fairly good tbh,
If you mount it on those legs I linked, you give yourself a little more room to play


Better pic


and the 'best' config for the fan depends on the radiator, some like a push only, some pull only and some would prefer your fans to have a spacer, a shroud to perform best, Rubix knows more technical ways to say it though :p 
Moto
January 4, 2012 5:20:06 AM

That does look pretty good. Is that yours?
a c 324 K Overclocking
January 4, 2012 1:00:10 PM

Pull is best if you only have fans on one side of the rad, but push is almost as effective...almost a wash.

If you have a shroud, push might be a tad bit better, but pull is better without a shroud (again, by a tiny bit)
!