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First liquid cooling build, few questions

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March 9, 2012 5:18:19 PM

Hey guys, I’m looking to build my first liquid cooling loop. I’ve picked out my parts and laid out the plan on paper (res->pump->rad->cpu block->res). The res will be mounted at the top of the computer with fans over it pulling heat out. I was hoping to reach out to the community to see what you guys thought of my parts, the flow of the loop and what I really need to know is how many compressing fittings I need, what size (I’d like 3/8’s tubing I think…) and how many! Here’s the links to the part’s I’m buying!

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/14149/ex-res-303/Froz...

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/2128/ex-pmp-27/Swifte...

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/9013/ex-rad-154/Black...

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/14191/ex-blc-972/XSPC...

and it’s all going inside:

http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E168... w/ 2 top mounted 140mm fans that run at (I believe) 2500rpm (max…)

also - does anybody know if members of Toms Hardware get any discounts on any websites that sell liquid cooling parts? obviously I've picked all mine out on frozencpu...
a c 324 K Overclocking
March 9, 2012 5:59:04 PM

Not at Tom's- I have emailed them to have us added, but currently, no discounts. There are other forums that do, but as they are not 'Tom's', it kind of goes against forum rules.
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March 13, 2012 2:17:19 PM

Thanks, but the discounts are the last thing on my mind. few dollars off a $500 spring project is the least of my worries. I just really don't understand how I'm suppose to pick out barbs or compression fittings and how many I'll need... anyone?
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a c 324 K Overclocking
March 13, 2012 2:20:31 PM

You need one for every connection you are going to make...which is typically 2 per component: CPU block, radiator, (usually) GPU blocks, (usually) reservoirs. I say usually because these components also can have multiple in/out ports depending on which ones you choose and the loop layout plan.

What are your questions specifically on how to choose barbs or compression fittings?
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March 13, 2012 2:28:43 PM

well I guess I'm asking which is better to use for my situation, this is my first water loop but I'd like to build them into other computers I make for people in the future (and waste as little money the first time as possible)

So I'm guessing I'll need 2 for my Rad, 2 for my CPU block, and one my pump which I'm attaching to my Res which I'll need one for (I'm getting the frozenq res which attachs to the swiftech MCP655)... also I want to use 3/8s tubbing b/c this is a pretty small loop. what size fittings will I use? that's throwing me off too.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
March 13, 2012 2:46:40 PM

You'll likely also need one for both inlet/outlet on your pump/res...tubing as to go in and out.

3/8"ID tubing is good to start with and there really isn't much difference between 3/8", 7/16" or 1/2" when it comes to flow and overall temps. I know for a fact that the D5/MCP655 is native 1/2"ID size (I own one) but if you are adding a top/res, you can use any size fittings you want. I am assuming you are asking about about the G1/4" and the actual fitting ID? The watercooling stick discusses this:

Quote:
Tubing can be as generic as the hardware store vinyl tubing at your local Ace Hardware or as complex as the Feser, Primochill, Masterkleer or Tygon. All of these brands are very flexible and come in most commonly used ID and OD tubing sizes for watercooling. If you are needing some good bends made, consider getting good tubing, but understand most is upwards of $1.50-$2.50 per linear foot.

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.
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March 13, 2012 4:07:59 PM

okay - I've been taking some notes over the past few days (and I do have a print out of that sticky, I've been looking at relegiously!)

let me tell you how I'm invisioning the loop going and correct me where I'm wrong...

Res -1/4 to 3/8" compression fittings-> CPU block -1/4 to 3/8" fittings-> Rad 1/4 to 3/8" compression fittings -MCP655 pump-> ?? -> res

typing that out actually helped... but how will my Pump connect to my res? I'm planning on buying a "mount bracket" for the frozenq res so the connection there is confuing me. everything else as I'm looking over it a second time looks pretty cut and dry.

also these compression fittings are the more expensive choice, does that make them better? easier to work with? are they required between some parts and over kill between others? where do the barbs fit in?

what it looks like is, if I went with barbs I'd just buy a bunch of 3/8" barbs - I'm assuming they connect to G1/4 threads?
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Best solution

a c 324 K Overclocking
March 13, 2012 5:10:33 PM

Quote:
Res -1/4 to 3/8" compression fittings-> CPU block -1/4 to 3/8" fittings-> Rad 1/4 to 3/8" compression fittings -MCP655 pump-> ?? -> res

typing that out actually helped... but how will my Pump connect to my res? I'm planning on buying a "mount bracket" for the frozenq res so the connection there is confuing me. everything else as I'm looking over it a second time looks pretty cut and dry.


Loop order does not matter. It does help to have your reservoir outlet feeding into your pump inlet and have it higher so air is less apt to make it into your pump (unless you run your res really low). This makes a big difference when filling a loop. The res looks like it is a bay res, (Dual 5.25" Bay) so it fits 2x 5.25" front bays in your PC case. Your pump should have a mount with it, but it really depends on where you are going to put it...this is kind of a question you'll have to answer on your own as you'd have to determine the best place. Why the expensive T-virus res? Other than looking pretty?

Quote:
also these compression fittings are the more expensive choice, does that make them better? easier to work with? are they required between some parts and over kill between others? where do the barbs fit in?


You would use either barbs or compression fittings. You can use both if you wanted, but I don't see the need. Compression fittings look nicer for most people, but it doesn't really matter which one you choose. I could see people using compressions for some fittings to look nicer, and barbs for others that aren't visible, but it's mainly preference.

Quote:

what it looks like is, if I went with barbs I'd just buy a bunch of 3/8" barbs - I'm assuming they connect to G1/4 threads?


Yes, the threading for compression fittings and barbs are both the same G1/4". I'd just say, forget about 'G1/4' for the time being as it's the most commonly used standard threading for watercooling components. Trying to keep that in there is just going to cause more confusion than needs to be.
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March 13, 2012 5:23:43 PM

The main reason I got the super expensive T-virus res is because it's eye candy really, no other reason. so from what I'm gathering - I'll be able to get away with 5 barbs and the 1/2 to 3/8" conversion kit that comes with the pump to complete the loop... also I'll end up with an extra barb since I'll buy then in pairs... I'll favorite this and update once I start getting everything together. shooting for a May completion date. I'll see what comes of the pump to res connection as I feel like it'll be something obvious once I see the two parts next to each other.

thanks so much for sticking with me on this one Rubix! I'll keep you updated and come back to this post with more questions for the forum =D

so far Tom's has never let me down
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a c 324 K Overclocking
March 13, 2012 5:26:17 PM

NP, glad to help. Yes, a lot of it will start to sort itself out once you see the components in person. I would also suggest looking on YouTube, Google and our watercooling build gallery here on Tom's to get some ideas of what you can expect. If you wanted to minimalize some of your loop components, you could also get a pump/top/res or a bay/res for your pump.
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March 20, 2012 2:40:28 AM

well I've gotten the pump and the res put together and sitting on the desk waiting on the money for the other parts. I'm so glad the pump/res worked out so nicely b/c that was my biggest concern!

more updates as they happen!
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a c 324 K Overclocking
March 20, 2012 1:49:39 PM

Glad to hear- you should definitely post some pics of front/back of that pump/res combo as well as your thoughts and opinions on build quality, ease of install, ease to fill and operation noise levels.
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March 20, 2012 2:15:31 PM

oh that's coming. I've noticed a lack of content on youtube while I was looking it up so me, a buddy and my girlfriend are going to post a video and see how it fares.

I did have another question though, how do I know how much liquid coolent I need and what kind would anyone recommend? I'm hoping to get enough liquid to fill the loop once and have a little extra so I can top it off in a few weeks. getting close to completion - just ordered my CPU block and only need the Rad, tubing and coolent now
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a c 324 K Overclocking
March 20, 2012 2:23:07 PM

Distilled water and some biocide. That's your coolant.

You shouldn't need to top it off...you'd want to work on getting as much air out of the loop as you can when you are initially filling it. If you have to keep topping it off, you either have extra air in your loop, or you have a leak and have extra air in your loop.

(That wasn't a typo: leaks let water out, and air in- both are very bad with watercooling.)
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March 20, 2012 7:15:37 PM

hmm alright - another question. is there a real difference between the tubing at my local hardware store that's 24cents a foot and the stuff on frozencpu or xoxide for $2.50 a foot?
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a c 324 K Overclocking
March 20, 2012 7:23:31 PM

Hardware store stuff is usually cheap vinyl and very thin walled. It works- I've used it before, but it doesn't make very good bends as it tends to kink very easily due to the thin walls.

Primochill LRT is around $1.70-1.90 ft on most sites; it's a bit more flexible, comes in more colors and costs less.
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March 26, 2012 12:00:09 PM

Just ordered the last of my components, finding I'm going to need to make some case modifacations to make everything fit. nothing serious... some holes here, slim fans there. should be done by the weekend!
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March 29, 2012 11:46:38 AM

okay - loops put together and in the case now but I have a huge problem... the pump won't start at all. not even kick on and putter out, I don't know that there is any flow going from the back of the res into the pump... rest of the loop is pretty much full except between the CPU block and pump... any suggestions?

swiftech mcp655-b plugged into an antec 650w bronze rated PSU
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March 29, 2012 4:47:21 PM

I contacted Bucky, at frozencpu.com - let me tell you, we may not be on their discount list but their customor service is second to none based on my first person to person interaction when them! he gave me some great insight and when I get home tonight I'm going to see if his suggestion was right, if not he's asked that I come back with more questions ^_^
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a c 324 K Overclocking
March 29, 2012 6:09:35 PM

Pump isn't starting? Are you trying to start using jumpered PSU?

Is the molex connection good and no pins have pushed back into the female molex pump connector? (I've had this happen before.)
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March 30, 2012 12:13:03 PM

I got it to work finally! I only leak tested the loop for about 2 hours last night befor throwing all my computer parts back in the case, I've got to say I've learned alot since I built the computer. even the wires are tidier haha.

the issue witht he pump was I had it screwed to tight to the res, forcing the head of the pump to jam against the top so it wouldn't spin. I did have a small leak that I fixed with some seal all (that white tape) and it's been running solid for about 7 hours now and tonight I'm going to check for leaks one last time before I really start Overclocking or anything.

now I have another weird issue that I'm going to do some research on google on before I open up another thread, right now my temps seem to good to be true. 5 hours of Prime95 heat/power consumption testing and the damn thing hasn't gotten above 100F. I call bullshit... there is no way there is that much of a difference.

for reference:
My Phenom II x970 ran @ 3.5 stock 105F idle
160F stress testing
@4.158Ghz it ran 115-125F idle
180F stress testing

FX-6200 runs at about 60-70F idle @ stock 3.8Ghz
and stress testing it hasn't cracked 100F

to me, that's not normal but I'm pretty new to the game. also my Asus sabertooth 990FX wants to push it to 4.8Ghz on the mobo self OC, doesn't seem stable though... some crazy testing will be happening this weekend!

(needed to add something, these temps we're taken using CPU temp on a windows gadget and not with CPU-Z, downloading CPU-Z as soon as I get home... also with a max safe operating temp of 61C I'm starting to think 95F while stress testing the stock speed may be right... 60-70F @ start is still weird though... I doubt it's that cool in my bed room but I can't really check)
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a c 324 K Overclocking
March 30, 2012 2:36:37 PM

Quote:
for reference:
My Phenom II x970 ran @ 3.5 stock 105F (40.5C) idle
160F (71C)stress testing
@4.158Ghz it ran 115-125F (46C-51.5C)idle
180F (82C) stress testing


Quote:
FX-6200 runs at about 60-70F (15.5C-21C) idle @ stock 3.8Ghz
and stress testing it hasn't cracked 100F (~38C)


How are you reading these temps? Depending on software, they seem a little warm for your Phenom and a little cool for your FX-6200. (Edit: NM...here is your issue:

Quote:

needed to add something, these temps we're taken using CPU temp on a windows gadget and not with CPU-Z


I recommend CoreTemp or RealTemp (I personally use RealTemp).

Another Edit: What is your ambient room temp during temp readings? This will make a huge difference in your recorded temps to determine loop delta.
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March 30, 2012 2:58:31 PM

the Temp reader that that windows widget/gadget uses actually is CoreTemp, I was checking it this morning in disbelief. the Phenom temps I could believe b/c I would OC until they got to the max temp then back it off a few Mhz to keep it around 80C. but this new FX hasn't cracked 38C (my little brother just called from home on his lunch break, holding steady at 35C)

I opened the actual CoreTemp program to make sure there wasn't any difference between the widget and what it was actually reading.

I must admit, I don't think this is normal for a first time water cooler but these results are just to good to be true, I have to take a double and triple check ever time I look at them... I'll post pictures tonight around 6pm EST

(Edit: I'm not sure about my room temps, I'm in the basement and the computer is next to an exterior wall so I'm sure that helps. the room temps has got to float between 68-72 though, very comfortable. I've just never seen a CPU so dang close to ambiant room temps!)
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a c 324 K Overclocking
March 30, 2012 4:09:29 PM

If your room is that cool, that is likely pretty accurate. It slipped my mind that the desktop gadget actually can use CoreTemp, so my apologies on that...I recall seeing that now in the gadget setup. Just make sure you are using the latest version, or at least a version compatible with your CPU and chipset...so latest version should be good for everyone. However, temp monitoring is only as accurate as the board readings themselves, so BIOS would possibly determine if there are any issues with how that is accurately reported or not. I'm not an AMD guy, so I'm not as familiar with their idle/load and stock/OC temps...one of the other guys might be able to chime in on that.
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March 30, 2012 5:22:13 PM

Best answer selected by mcopinger.
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March 30, 2012 5:23:19 PM

alright awesome then, I'm going to check my loop/temp when I get home tonight and if all seems well I'm going to call this thread a success! thanks Rubix, had some awesome knowlegable people in my corner for this fight and I think I knocked it out!
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