New water cooler, need help and advice!

Hey guys, deciding on my parts for my first water cooling build, my build as is below..

CPU: Intel i7-3770K LGA 1155
Mobo: Asus P8Z77-V Deluxe Z77 Chipset
RAM: 16GB Corsair Dominator GT @ 2100MHz and 1.5V
Case: Corsaid Obsidian 800D
GPU: GeForce 560 ti (480 core)
PSU: Corsair (not sure on the wattage yet)
SSD: 60GB for boot and high-traffic apps
HDD: 1TB storage
DVD Drvie: 24x Asus Writer/Reader
Blu-Ray Drive: 12x Asus Writer/Reader
Cooling: HELP!!!

So, as you can see, I've taken a lot of time to come up with this parts list, and spent a lot of money doing so. This being said, I definitely don't want to go mess it all up with an inadequate air system, or a poorly build water system.

I've read all of the stickies on water and air cooling, and checked out many threads. I am overwhelmed big time. I definitely want to water cool my CPU and GPU, and my board if I can (I really would like to do this too). I've read the reviews on the skinees website, and I feel that I can adequately choose a CPU block. I obviously can't find a closed-loop system that has blocks for my CPU and GPU, so I'm gonna have to go custom on this one.

First off, the case I'm getting (Obsidian 800D) is pretty roomy, and I need opinions if I should use a reservoir that fits in a drive bay (like this:
or a standing reservoir (like this:,r:16,s:0,i:123&tx=42&ty=91)

Next, I need help choosing a radiator, there are so many options my head is spinning. Should I go with one large bulky radiator, two smaller ones, or one large and one small? And also, I have no idea if I'll need a 360, 120, 180, or what size fans and how many at all. I need help with clarification here.

After that, choosing a pump is the next step. This part is relatively easy, there are a lot of pumps but it's a pretty simple concept. Any suggestions on pumps? I'm looking for a quieter pump, but I won't sacrifice efficiency for noise, so go ahead and recommend whatever.

Next: waterblocks. Choosing a CPU waterblock is straight forward, as is the block for a GPU. Find the model and chipset = you're golden. HOWEVER, as I said earlier, I want to cool my board as well, and the blocks for those are confusing as crap. Do I need a full board model, or what?

Finally, the barb and tubing system totally slips past my brain. Do the barbs on the blocks have to be the same size as both the barbs on the pump, reservoir, and conjoining blocks as well? If so, I think this would be very hard to find...

Thanks for anyone who was willing to read through this post to help me out, I really do appreciate it a lot. Please post helpful comments, suggestions, or recommendations.

34 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. i honestly don't know much about water cooling, but i have 1 suggestion
    did you buy the RAM yet? because i would go for 1333MHz or 1600MHz, there is no justifiable reason to go above that for there is no performance increase
  2. I didn't buy the RAM yet. Do you really think that low of a MHz would perform at the same rate?
  3. it's been proven all over the web :P it looks nice but it's really just a waste of money in the end
  4. Have you built the PC yet? What is it going to be used for (curious about the i7 + 560Ti combo)?

    As for the cooling, there are a few ways you could go about this:
    1) A good air setup (using a well-designed case like the Silverstone RV02/FT02)
    2) A combo water/air setup in a good case
    3) full water setup

    To help you decide how practical the full water setup would be, go back to the sticky where they talk about calculating the total heat you need to remove from the system (this is really just the total max thermal design power [TDP]). Your loop needs to be able to remove as much heat as is put into the loop, and the max heat input is the max TDP generated by the components.

    Once you determine the TDP of all the components, determine if you care about noise. Quieter setups (read: slower fans) will require rads with a lower FPI (~8-12), while higher speed fans will work well with higher FPI rads (~20). Find these rads in the reviews, and look at the graph that shows Delta vs. Heat Dissipated. There will be multiple lines for each rad which denote different fan speeds. A good Delta is around 5C (difference between coolant and room temps), so just find where that line crosses the 5C mark (or whatever delta you want), and that will tell you how much heat the rad will dissipate.

    Remember that heat dissipation is additive, so if a 120.3 rad dissipates 400W, two of those rads will dissipate 800W.

    That should be enough to get you started on the important parts.
  5. boiler1990, thanks for so much feedback and help, I really appreciate it. It helped more than you probably know.

    I didn't build it yet, I'm in the process. I've already got my CPU and Case, making some last minute decision on mobo and RAM. I'm going to be using the computer as a workstation, a lot of file transfer and video processing, and a lot of multitasking. Is the CPU/GPU combo really that abnormal? I'm getting that GPU because I don't need it for gaming but the 560 ti (448) has CUDA and it almost surpasses the 570, since I'll be using it for a lot of video processing, I needed one with CUDA technology.

    Anyways, the case I'm using is a Corsair Obsidian 800D. I know the case is not very good for air cooling, so I'll either be doing a combo setup or full setup. I took all your advice, and figured out that my TDP will be around 1000W (including an overclocked CPU, aging, and leaving a little room for upgrades). Also, I was wondering what FPI means (is it fins per inch)?

    I looked at some of the radiators on Skineelabs and found some interesting charts. I couldn't find any at 5C, they were all graphed at 10C.

    In addition, I noticed that pressure drop is a large factor, is that something that I will have to worry about hugely, or what exactly do I do for that?

    Lastly, I will be using the computer in a small space (approximately 18' x 12' is the room I will be using) where I will also need to spend a lot of time doing other work, and sleep. With that being said, I would prefer a quieter setup so I can sleep in peace and my roommate won't complain. Are radiators with a lower FPI and slower fans considered to be less effective than radiators with a high FPI and quicker fans?

    Thanks again
  6. If you want to build watercool motherboard VRM as well as CPU and possibly 1 video card, I suggest at least a 360 mm radiator with 60 mm thickness, 80 mm thickness would be ideal like the alphacool nexxus monsta one. If possible, a 420 mm radiator (3 x 140 mm) with 60 mm thickness is even better (Airplex Revolution or Black Ice GTX Gen 2 420 mm for example).

    Also, Asus has just released the ROG motherboard Maximus V Formula with Z77 chipset and is preequiped with watercooled port so you don't need to buy any off the market. The price would be the same as the Z77 Deluxe plus the price of off market waterblock for the VRM, so might as well get that one instead.
  7. Now that I've started to look for blocks for the motherboard for 1155 socket, I realized that there haven't been many, if any, made for it. In that case, the Maximus would be my only option. In your guys' opinion, is water cooling the board worth it?
  8. Without the cpu fan cooling the area arround the cpu ,yes.
    Otherwise you would still need a fan to cool the chipset and voltage regulators, which means another fan and more noise. Negating the reason to watercool..
  9. Best answer
    That CPU/GPU setup makes sense for that work. Didn't know if it was for gaming (in which case it would be a bad setup).

    1000W seems very high for your TDP. A 560Ti + i7 should barely reach 400W stock. Throw in the VRMs and the OCs and you're looking around 600W.

    FPI is fins per inch. Higher FPI rads need more powerful fans to push the air since there's more stuff in the way.

    The newer Skinnee reviews don't include the chart I'm talking about. This is more what I'm talking about (for the XSPC RX360):

    Pressure drop might play a role in your loop. Radiators and most blocks aren't very restrictive (i.e. hard to push water through), but motherboard blocks generally are since they're very small and the channels are complex. You will most likely have to go for the Swiftech MCP35X pump, since you'll get a much higher pressure coming out of the pump. That will help with the mobo block.

    I can't say definitively whether or not the high FPI/RPM or low FPI/RPM setup will cool better, but all that matters is that your loop dissipates more heat than is input into the loop. In the end, you're only concerned about the energy balance in the coolant.

    We had another guy here, Manzooka, who WCed his CPU + 2xGTX 580s using an RX360 and RX240 with lower speed fans in an 800D, and he was getting some ridiculously low temps. His build log should be in the compiled list at the top of the forum.

    The 1155 CPU blocks use the same mounting as the 1156 CPU, so they're interchangeable.
  10. Thanks for the CPU block info, are the board blocks the same by any chance?

    I know 1000W seems pretty high, but I may add a dual card in SLI at some point, as well as raiding two harddrives, and it's also calculated from some PSU aging.

    Thanks for the info on the log build too, I'll check it out.

    boiler, in your opinion do I need to watercool the board or should the stock radiators on it do just fine? And also, is watercooling the chipset necessary?
  11. Have you considered the GTX 480?
  12. I haven't considered the 480, but it's similarly priced to the 560 ti 448 and has less cores. What makes it better?
  13. The 480 is faster than the 570. Plus, there are great waterblocks out for it!
  14. But the 480 has 480 cores, whereas the 560 ti 448 has eight more, uses less power, and from I hear, it's a lot quieter.
  15. But the 480 has 480 cores, whereas the 560 ti 448 has eight more, uses less power, and from I hear, it's a lot quieter.

    Might want to check your math.

    New GPU architecture also is equivalent or more powerful while using less in power consumption, which is the point boiler is trying to make.
  16. Good call, I was thinking 440 and 448, not 480 and 448. I should read more carefully.
  17. This is so frustrating. I didn't think choosing the components for a water cooled system would be so difficult.
  18. It's really only difficult getting up to speed initially, and also because we *sort of* make you do most of the work. Pretty much all of us have been here before, so we feel ya. It's a rite of passage, of sorts ;)

    The reason we do this is because we want you and others to actually understand why we would recommend what we would recommend. We could pick out parts all day, but if we did all the work for you, you'd have no idea how any of it worked so you most likely wouldn't be able to troubleshoot problems or even set it up properly. More importantly, we want to help you do it right.

    The only reason you see us rattling off approximate TDPs and part models is because we have spent a decent chunk of time here learning all of these things so we can draw on our knowledge and experience. Maybe soon, you'll be one of us :D
  19. Thanks for the encouragement boiler.

    Back to the cooling system. So I'm looking around 750-800W here, after upgrades. I checked a lot of charts, and most of them include only 10C instead of 5C. I really want to get a good radiator to keep me at 5C. I'm still choosing between the P8Z77-V Deluxe, the Maximus V Formula, and the Maximus V Extreme. Both Maximus boards already have built in VRM blocks so that's a good option for me, because I'm not finding much on VRM for the P8Z77.

    Like I said earlier, I'll probably look for a radiator/fan combo with a lower FPI because I'll be sleeping right next to the thing and I don't want it really loud all night and waking me up - possibly my roommate as well. Are there any pages you could link me to that fit kind of a description of what I'm looking for? I can do research from there out, but I'm a little overwhelmed at the moment.
  20. The XSPC RX and EX series rads are some of the best low FPI rads out there. I'd probably consider those and look for competitors.

    In terms of heat dissipation, you're looking at something around the output of this (a smidge more),:

    That build was done in an 800D with ~700W dissipation, an RX360 and RX240, and very little modification (I think he just took a bracket out or something simple).
  21. I see the mod he did on the case. I'm a little nervous about the mod though, because it eliminates two air intakes and replaces them with outtakes. With that done, there leave only one intake left on the case, and I'm worried that there won't be enough flow left to cool my RAM, chipset, and GPU. Getting a block for my GPU is no big deal, and I know the Z77 chipset doesn't generate a whole lot of heat. But, I know that a 4 x 4GB set of RAM could generate some heat, and I'm not really interested in RAM waterblocks.
  22. The airflow setup is actually very efficient in his diagram. All the air is going upward, and it's being pushed from the bottom and pulled from the top.

    RAM generates almost no heat, and the fans at the top can generate enough flow to cool it even if it needed active cooling.
  23. I thought in his diagram the second 360 rad was pointed downward?
  24. What do you mean pointed downward? It's all about fan airflow direction.
  25. I dunno, if you look how he did the mod, it looks as if he's pointed the second rad downward out of the case. I don't know how efficient it would be to reblow the air all the way back up through the case again
  26. Post the link to the post in question (the permalink of the post, should have the date stamp)
  27. This is the picture:

    I may be seeing it wrong, and it actually could be pointed upward. I'm looking at it on my phone so it could be I'm missing it.

    Anyways, even if it is pointed upward, that would still be blowing hot air all the way through the case, which isn't what we want, correct?
  28. Radiator air isn't fact, it's rarely even lukewarm. In this instance, he likely has the radiator fan as pulling cool air in from below and blowing upward. This is very common.
  29. Oh, so this would actually be a very efficient push pull system then. Thanks! That is something I might look into doing on my build!
  30. I noticed that he couldn't fit two 360 rads in you think I could if I didn't use such a large PSU?
  31. Maybe, but you'd have to measure and make sure there's enough grating for the air to flow through. Two 360s would be great for your cooling, and would allow you to use much quieter fans.

    There are shorter PSUs, since you only need a ~600W unit for your system.
  32. Best answer selected by BoRealBobadilla.
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