What radiator do I need for my custom PC case?

So I am working on a custom wooden case mod, is pretty much a rectangle box. I am planning to watercool this rig and I need help on the airflow design:



I want to use UV green fans and currently own 3 of these:
http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=36_221&products_id=24962

Specs about my case/build:
i5 2500k
Radeon HD 7950
ADATA 16gb RAM
A few HDD's
650watt PSU modular
I own this pump: http://www.dangerden.com/store/dd-cpx1-12v_pump.html

Case:
7x7x38 (inches)
Front window (long side of rectangle) plexi
Material: MDF Wood

I dont intend on OCing like crazy, only slightly.


My question is what kind of radiator do I need for my setup? I want to use 2x120 (fits best), but will that run too hot (was planning single loop)? Only the GPU and CPU will be watercooled

What thickness of tubes should I use?

How does my airflow look in the case? I originally wanted to use a 2x120mm to push air out of case via radiator, and have 1 fan to push air INTO case.
41 answers Last reply
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  1. Flagging to respond in the morning
    Can't answer specifically enough from mobile (nightshift)
    Moto
  2. Motopsychojdn said:
    Flagging to respond in the morning
    Can't answer specifically enough from mobile (nightshift)
    Moto


    Awesome thanks, look forward to your help!
  3. I think you're going to need a bit more rad space (probably a good 360) if you want to cool the CPU and GPU.

    Also, have you considered having the radiator mounted sideways in a way such that all the fans blow the same direction? You'd have much better airflow through the case.
  4. Is there any specific reason for the sizing there? just wondering is all,
    and I couldn't link this from my phone but I built a wooden radbox recently so maybe you could adapt it to fit the Mobo/Psu in,
    http://www.tomshardware.co.uk/forum/274180-11-psycho-rider-radbox-project#bas
    I agree on the 360 minimum radspace as well, you could have two in the roof of the box above the Mobo and leave the sides narrower if you need/wish, or even underneath the Mobo,
    as you have drawn it the box is 120mm high? that needs adjusting as radiators tend to be around 120-125mm wide so that may be your minimum\ height, depending on the Gpu height ofc
    this is an interesting project though and I'm happy to contribute in any way I can man
    Moto
  5. Its going to be a component of inside my desk, hence why the weird size.

    When you guys say 360 radiator, I assume you are saying a 3x120 Rad?

    Are you guys suggesting I buy 2 360 rads to cool the GPU and CPU....would 1 not suffice?

    Any recommendations for a good 360 RAD cooler?

    And would the 3 UV fans I posted in first post be good enough? I dont want to do a push/pull config.
    The actual case dimensions are 7x7x38 inches...I just had it drawn in the diagram that this is where I could fit a 120mm fan.


    Unfortuantley, there is no way I can angle the radiator (unless it was just a 120mm one) across from the intake fan, so this is my only choice. It can't be under mobo either as there is not enough room.
  6. Edit: Another question, with the 3 fans for the 360 rad, does this mean I will need 3 intake fans also?
  7. One 360 would do, and perform better in pushpull, thats why we suggest it, maximum performance possible from that would negate the need for another rad, at least until you overclock a bit more seriously at least
    Can you post a pic of desk please?
    I'm off to sleep now but will look back later today when I get up :)
    Check out the W/c sticky as well if you haven't already,
    Moto
  8. Was reading up on em :)

    So what is a good radiator for my fans? From looking around it seems this one is a favorite:
    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8523/ex-rad-146/XSPC_RX360_Triple_120mm_Radiator_Rev_2.html

    I dont want to get something with too much FPI because I dont know if my fans can handle it, nor do I want to spend more on fans/hate extra noise.

    This radiator is pricey though, is there a cheaper alternative? Maybe a thinner one that can do the job for me?

    Here are the pictures:




    Hopefully my diagram will make more sense :)

    On the top there will be 3x monitors for my eyeinfity setup so it wont be possible to exhaust air from the top. The front side of the desk will have plexiglass wall instead of wood.
  9. I see the three monitors are already mounted on the frame hehe
    I'm hoping the desk is going against the wall, theres going to be a lot of weight and it may not be stable free standing,
    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/14328/ex-rad-316/XSPC_EX360_Triple_120mm_Low_Profile_Split_Fin_Radiator.html
    almost as good as the RX series rads, although I can squeeze two rads into the plan easily here, and use the saving to grab some XSpc 2000Rpm fans,
    quick tip here, the more rads and fans you have, the slower you can run the fans to get the best cooling overall with near silent noise levels
    My fourteen on my two Ex360's are never above 25% unless I'm having a mad O/c session and its silent
    check the video here
    http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q172/Motopsychojdn/Tomsdiagrams/th_VIDEO0011.jpg
    thats two EX360's in the box underneath
    I have a plan for the build, but I'll get back to you later after trying to sleep and draw something into your picture for you,
    Are you certain the M-Atx mobo is going to fit in there ok?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MicroATX
    Micro-Atx dimensions are 244X244mm which is more than seven inches,
    Not to worry though, Moto has ways of making things happen..... :)
    Moto
  10. Motopsychojdn said:
    I see the three monitors are already mounted on the frame hehe
    I'm hoping the desk is going against the wall, theres going to be a lot of weight and it may not be stable free standing,
    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/14328/ex-rad-316/XSPC_EX360_Triple_120mm_Low_Profile_Split_Fin_Radiator.html
    almost as good as the RX series rads, although I can squeeze two rads into the plan easily here, and use the saving to grab some XSpc 2000Rpm fans,
    quick tip here, the more rads and fans you have, the slower you can run the fans to get the best cooling overall with near silent noise levels
    My fourteen on my two Ex360's are never above 25% unless I'm having a mad O/c session and its silent
    http://i136.photobucket.com/albums/q172/Motopsychojdn/Tomsdiagrams/th_VIDEO0011.jpg
    thats two EX360's in the box underneath
    I have a plan for the build, but I'll get back to you later after trying to sleep and draw something into your picture for you,
    Are you certain the M-Atx mobo is going to fit in there ok?
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MicroATX
    Micro-Atx dimensions are 244X244mm which is more than seven inches,
    Not to worry though, Moto has ways of making things happen..... :)
    Moto


    Thanks bud really appreciate your help!

    Yes the desk is going to be up against the wall so the trimonitor stand will be stable (i might harness it to the wall to prevent it from falling forward).

    This is more of how the mobo will place with the desk (the picture is the side of the desk). It will have to extend a few inches, I dont mind a small expansion from the back:


    Would a 120x4 radiator be a better choice compared to 2 differ radiators? I dont know how we could fit 2 3x120 radiators in o.O
  11. Ok, a single 480 would be another option, but I like the visual balance here of two 360's, plus the cooling power/ silence potential is increased as I mentioned earlier,
    Red boxes are intake fans, Orange is the rads and the fans on them would be pulling out of the box,

    pushpull is the most effective setup and will allow maximum cooling here
    I don't understand how you say the I/o ports will be set up, I would have the mobo set in the middle of the two rads and the I/o at the rear of the set up, then you can run the wires out of sight behind the box, and it also allows for the extra length on the mobo
    if you wanted extra intakes for any reason you can always mount a couple of fans in the acrylic/plexi at the front
    I'd start the project with installing the acrylic at the front and the two side panels, as they are not likely to ever move/ be removed, so you can probably weld them on and get them solid,
    the fun part is designing the rear panel to be removable, to allow access for routine cleaning,
    Screws would be my choice of fastener here,
    *Edit, I'm thinking the Psu vent should be one of the sidepanels or maybe between the rads, you're definitely looking at some custom cables/extensions I reckon though
    and with a little thought we can keep most of the cables out of sight, had you any plans for the tubing? Uv reactive to light the box up a bit maybe?
    Moto
  12. There was one big problem with keeping the mobo in the middle, the length of the graphics card (7950) is too long. Having the IO ports @ the rear means I can position the card along the length of the space without having further increase the width of the case.

    I took pictures of this here:
    http://imgur.com/a/oSlrS

    As for the tubing/color scheme this was my inspiration...I really want to go with the UV green liquid/fans and Blue UV cathode lights:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDvic-srFnc
  13. Playing a bit more around with your idea, after looking at it, it is very possible to have 2x120mm intake fans on the TOP.

    And just throwing the idea out there, it would be possible to keep the PSU outside the case if we just cant make it fit...should the PSU be placed in such a way where it takes intake from inside the case, and exhausts air outside?

  14. Yup, looks like the gfx cards going to dictate here how the mobo sits,
    the options are either extend to the front, difficult and possibly you don't want anything coming that way,
    or have the excess coming out of the rear, which I think is the way to go with this, keep the front looking tidy and clean
    **Edit you posted as I was writing up :)
    Yes, possible to have the Psu outside, but where can it go thats nonobtrusive and safe?
    I think as the acrylic shows the internals, you would be well advised to try and keep a balance but its non essential obviously, it would just look prettier
    and I'm all for some intakes on the top level too
    Moto
  15. I'll play around with the positioning when the mobo comes in, but do you think if I cant fit in 2 radiators, I would be safe with a 360mm rad?
  16. Without overclocking the chip too much yes, but if you want to heavily O/c it and the card you'll need more rad, but a single 480 should handle that,
    At work now so answers may be sporadic :-)
    Moto
  17. Is my pump good enough? (linked in OP)

    Also, how many intakes fans should I have, given i have 4 exhausts?
  18. At least two intakes should be enough on top, theres endless debate as to air pressure balance, some say have more intakes, some say more exhaust
    For no particular reason I'm a bit towards the positive pressure side, three intakes to one exhaust, and on the box its Six intakes to two exhaust
    That works on my set up but yours is very different again from mine (which is far from 'standard')
    We need to ensure you get enough air flowing through the entire section, not just in one or two spots,
    I'll redraw the sketch in the morning with some ideas for fan placement
    And the pump is ok as long as we keep to the outlined loop, if you add more in the future I would definitely add another identical pump about halfway through the loop
    *Edit for spellfail
    Moto
  19. I was considering adding a fan say in the middle of the case to help direct the flow of air within the case? I dont know if this is a viable solution or a waste

    And can you suggest me a good 4x120 rad?
  20. I'd look at either the RX/EX 480's or the Phobya G-changer, if its the RX it will define where that is placed as its a fat rad before you throw 50mm of fan on there, (standard fans are 25mm thick)
    So it would have to be down the far end away from the rest of the kit, the EX or Phobya units are thinner and could be made to co-exist with the mobo, I'll sketch both plans out though
    Wait till I post up in the morning and see what you think
    Moto
  21. Awesome, really appreciate your help

  22. Ok, the red box is where the RX would have to go due to the overall size,
    yellow is Psu with vent to the rear, I'd mount that a few Cm off the floor level to allow good airflow
    Blue is where a thinner 360 or 480 could go
    and purple are ideas for top fan locations, as well as the previously discuss endfans, the mobo end one would have to be mounted high up in the panel to clear the I/o shield/gfx card and I'm not certain it will work tbh
    once the gears here its a lot easier to put things into place and figure it out though,
    then we can see where we really are for spacing etc
    green is mobo obviously, the only issue I see with you wanting it there is that the M-atx is larger than 7 inches as I mentioned earlier


    Moto
  23. Doublepost
    Moto
  24. According to the specs a RX 480 is about 21" long...that would only give me about 17" left to work with the PSU/Mobo/HDD's etc.. (radiator would span over half the desk).

    My thinking is the 480mm radiator would make everything a super tight and ugly fit...it may be better to go for a thicker 360mm rad?

    What are your thoughts about this one:
    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/8523/ex-rad-146/XSPC_RX360_Triple_120mm_Radiator_Rev_2.html?tl=g30c95s161
  25. Thats the RX360 I was referring to, good rads, I have a 240 and it handled my Cpu only loop at 4.5GHz fine, as I said though, they are appx 60mm thick before you add 50mm of fan so would probably need to go down the far end so as not to interfere with other components,
    but yes, that would handle your gear at modest overclocking, I'd want to add another rad for more serious attempts though,
    at which point an external radbox would be a great addition, it could even double as a footrest :)
    Moto
  26. So got my mobo in today, after playing around I found it I could actually mount the PSU above the mobo, and it works pretty well...for demonstration I have the PSU rested on the stock cooler, but I intend to mount it to the top wall.







    Its quite a snug fit. The top will be intake fan for PSU.

    I am worred about the RAM now, should I throw a waterblock on it too? I dont want my RAM to overheat or anything.
  27. Flip the Psu, I would rather it was taking air from on top of the Mobo and helping to keep flow going over that, but yes, good placement and use of space there man, see how its easier once you have the bits to hand? :P
    Can you see how the mobo fits diagonally for me? just as a wonder...
    you would have to put it down the other end though, mobo low at front, and raised at the rear, I think the Gfx card might be ok for clearance as well, but can't visualise it without measurements as its mentally reversing and inverting it, 7am here and brain is fried hehe
    just thinking that that may negate the overspill of the mobo and contain it all within the 7x7 area we have to play in, plus it would be a nice view of the mobo through the acrylic once done (you can use below/behind it to hide a few cables too :P)
    Ram cooling no, the restriction is not worth the 'benefits' maybe in the future you could do a separate loop for chipset block and ram though, but it would mostly be a visual thing rather than an actual performance boost
    Moto
  28. The PSU fan should be facing the mobo? Wouldn't it be better for cooling the PSU if it was facing outward (towards top of the case)?

    I tried the mobo diagonal, and it does not fit the 7x7 box, it does however take less than 9inches in width...but I cant then find a reasonable spot to place the PSU...I'll play with it more and get you pics if you want.
  29. No worries on the diagonal idea, just a possibility and you should always try to explore them hehe
    yes, in my opinion the Psu fan should be facing the mobo as it will take heat from there and push it out the chosen side, every little bit of cooling is going to help in this build
    if the Psu isn't on top of the mobo then some way of having it exhaust out of the rear but as you say its a bit of experimenting to find the 'best' spot for it, remember you can always get extensions for cables if needed,
    have fun and post back some pics when you find an idea that fits, I do think that we're going to need to extend the front or rear section a bit though
    Moto
  30. I am concerned at this point about the airflow...it would seem that I would need fans inside the case to help guide the direction of airflow from RIGHT to LEFT (to the radiators).
  31. It makes more sense to have all the INTAKE fans on the right side of case with mobo, and have all the air pushed to the left/towards radiators...agreed?
  32. The rads will pull air out if they are set to exhaust from the case,
    it may be worth having the rad at the side of the mobo and all intakes at the other end to direct the flow towards the mobo, like a tunnel effect
    Moto
  33. Hmmm thats not a bad idea, but I want to show off the innards of the case, it would be no fun to make it external :P
  34. Actually it may be worth trying to isolate the fans towards the front with plexiglass (creating a sort of a tunnel).

    So the rad would still be in the case, but the exhaust would be tunneled to the front of the case via plexi :)
  35. You would still see that the rad was there, it would just give you more room to play with,
    how about the radfans blowing into the case with some intakes where you wished, and the other end of the case has exhaust fans?
    the Psu wouldn't affect that airflow too much
    Moto
  36. Hmmm blowing hot air into the case...I dont know if thats a good idea :P...plus it would be a dust magnet
  37. By the time you are set up, the air going into the case isn't going to be hot, maybe 1-2'c difference between that air and ambient at the most
    you are pulling fresh cold in from the rear of the desk, the air that gets through the rads not heated massively and you can always filter the intake side if you want to prevent a dust storm,
    dust unfortunately is a given where fans and electricity are present, as long as the room itself is relatively clean and dust-free, the Pc will be
    We have three cats in our house, and I don't get masses of cat fur in the Pc despite having all those intake fans,
    Moto
  38. Alright big update...got my parts in, did the first setup of the wood....

    album images here:
    http://imgur.com/a/0OfX3

    I decided to split the case internally in 2 seperated by a plexiglass in middle.

    The right side will have mobo and compnents

    The left side will have radiator.

    This is mainly because of the airflow problems and fan placements.

    The rightside will have 1/2 intake fans and the PSU will be the exhaust, which will blow out to the left side of the case where radiators are blowing out (see pics)..

    Just wanted your feedback on this setup/idea (didnt want to blow air in case from rads).
  39. I wouldn't have the plexi separator, but if you throw some intakes at the mobo end thats looking good mate :-)
    That way the airflow is going over the mobo and Hdd's, through the tunnel to be exhausted by the rad/Psu, good set up
    Moto
  40. Would 2 intakes and 4 exhausts be bad?
  41. Nope, not at all,
    You'll have a slightly negative pressure in there but do it and see how the temps are and you can always add intake as you see fit,
    the beauty of a custom set up is, there is no 'right' way until you make it do what you want it to
    Moto
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