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Help me build my first loop

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a b K Overclocking
July 4, 2012 5:32:30 AM

So, I just landed an awesome new job and will be doing some major upgrades to my system in about two months. Among other things, I'm replacing my 2500k with a 3770k, and the 6950 with a 670 GTX (both will be water cooled). Every overclockable component will be pushed to its limit. May even try chilling the water, been dying for an embedded development project, and a chiller that stops at ambient temps sounds like a fantastic use of my free time.

Cost isn't an issue for the water cooling. I don't need the best of the best, but I want something that can handle SLI in the future without needing to upgrade too much. No interest in GPU blocks that aren't full cover. I've done some initial research, and here's what I've come up with.

CPU Block: Koolance CPU-370
GPU Block: EK-FC670 GTX (not on sale until the 20th)
Radiator: Black Ice GTX 240 Radiator (can't fit 360mm in my case)
Reservoir: XSPC Acrylic Dual 5.25”
Pump: Swiftech MCP35X

A bit pricey, and probably overshooting what I need by a bit. But hey, why work so hard if you're not going to play just as hard, right? If I can save some money and not lose performance, that's fine, but I don't want to cut corners if it will limit my max overclock.

I'm least sure about the reservoir. Seems like it would have little impact on the overall performance, beyond needing a certain capacity. If there's a good reason to get a different res, I'm open to it. The pump needs to be able to handle a second GPU block (single loop) in the future.

As far as fans, I haven't done my research yet, but it seems like Yate Loons are the way to go. I've currently got a pair of Cougar 120mm fans, which are dead silent but I'm not sure about their static pressure. I'm willing to pay a premium for silence, and the high performance Yate Loons at 40dB are a touch loud for my tastes. I'd be thrilled if I could recycle my Cougars, but if they aren't suitable to pushing through a thick radiator, they'll be replaced.

More about : build loop

a c 190 K Overclocking
July 4, 2012 6:02:59 AM

First call is the W/c sticky up top, it will answer most of your questions and inspire a few more no doubt,
Theres also a Cpu section fan comparison sticky to suss out some quiet contenders,
I'd up the pump to a mcp655 vario for future duties as well
And is that gpu block nickel?
Google 'EK nickle plating problems' and maybe consider alternate blocks, may I ask why F/c blocks are non negotiable at this point?
Looks, performance or something else?
And you'll see in the sticky why a single 240 isn't enough rad for your plans :-)
Moto
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a b K Overclocking
July 4, 2012 8:28:56 PM

Motopsychojdn said:
First call is the W/c sticky up top, it will answer most of your questions and inspire a few more no doubt

I'll be honest, I only skimmed it last night. Spent several hours reading stickies in other forums and reviews of blocks, radiators and pumps before coming here, and I was pretty exhausted by it all. I'll be giving it a more thorough read later today.

Quote:
I'd up the pump to a mcp655 vario for future duties as well

Will do.

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And is that gpu block nickel?

Nope, copper base with an acetal top. It was the only full cover 670 block I could find. Turns out it's a pain in the ass to find compatible full cover GPU blocks. Was going to add a second 6950 rather than get a 670, but full cover blocks aren't even made for my model (MSI R6950 PE/OC Twin Frozr III). Buying two blocks along with the second 6950 isn't much cheaper than a 670 and a single block, so I figured I'll just go ahead and replace it and have a better upgrade path in the future.

Quote:
may I ask why F/c blocks are non negotiable at this point?

Mainly for looks, though I would assume a good full cover block would perform somewhat better as well. If there's a good case to be made for non full cover blocks, then I may well change my mind, but it just seems like the better option. Of course, I'm a total newbie to this, so if I'm wrong, please do correct me.

Quote:
And you'll see in the sticky why a single 240 isn't enough rad for your plans

I wouldn't expect it to be enough for a pair of 670s, but I was under the impression that a good 240mm rad would be enough for a CPU and GPU, though maybe not with the overclocking I'll be doing. I was planning to upgrade the radiator, and potentially case, when I add a second 670 in the future.

My case is the Rosewill Thor v2, so anything bigger than a 240mm rad will need special mounting consideration. I've been considering using a big 4x120 or 9x120 radiator outside the case, but it seems that they might be louder due to the lack of a case to muffle the fans. Of course, with so many fans each one can run at a much lower RPM, so it may well end up being fairly quiet. Again, something I just don't know about.
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a c 325 K Overclocking
July 5, 2012 2:03:53 PM

MCP35x is as close to a D5 equivalent you can get in a DDC. Either are a very good choice.

If you are going to cool your i5 running at 5+ ghz, you are seriously going to want to consider a minimum of a 220 rad just for the CPU (as you are looking at an overclocked TDP of 200w)...then add in the GPU (170w). Overall, you should consider a 320 rad at minimum or other comparable volume of rad space.


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a b K Overclocking
July 5, 2012 5:40:43 PM

Quote:
I'll be honest, I only skimmed it last night. Spent several hours reading stickies in other forums and reviews of blocks, radiators and pumps before coming here, and I was pretty exhausted by it all. I'll be giving it a more thorough read later today.

A lot of stickies and guides cross-reference each other, so you may find some duplicates here. Where you really want to focus is the amount of heat that you need to dissipate in order to cool properly. The other components begin to fall into place once you determine how much rad space you need.

Quote:
Nope, copper base with an acetal top. It was the only full cover 670 block I could find. Turns out it's a pain in the ass to find compatible full cover GPU blocks. Was going to add a second 6950 rather than get a 670, but full cover blocks aren't even made for my model (MSI R6950 PE/OC Twin Frozr III). Buying two blocks along with the second 6950 isn't much cheaper than a 670 and a single block, so I figured I'll just go ahead and replace it and have a better upgrade path in the future.

FC blocks are difficult to find thanks to the different PCB designs. In general, the GTX x70 is the same card as the GTX x80 but with disable cores, less VRAM, etc. In the case of the GTX 670/680, the PCBs are completely different for the reference models, meaning that two reference blocks would need to be made for the 670 and 680, rather than one block being applicable to both models.

Quote:
Mainly for looks, though I would assume a good full cover block would perform somewhat better as well. If there's a good case to be made for non full cover blocks, then I may well change my mind, but it just seems like the better option. Of course, I'm a total newbie to this, so if I'm wrong, please do correct me.

TBH there isn't much of a cooling difference (not even 5C). The universal blocks are slightly more restrictive, but mine has cooled pretty well and that restriction won't matter with a strong pump like the MCP35X or 655.

I personally chose to upgrade because I like to upgrade often (once a year has been the pattern so far), and it is significantly easier to resell cards without being stuck with a FC block only compatible with that one card, and I spent $55 on the block and $5-10 on each new bracket rather than $110 per new block.
When I upgraded to my 670 a few weeks ago, I bought a $7 bracket on eBay (which technically came with the block, so I wouldn't have had to spend any money) and reattached it and was good to go. Running at 35C during games (crappy fans right now).

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I wouldn't expect it to be enough for a pair of 670s, but I was under the impression that a good 240mm rad would be enough for a CPU and GPU, though maybe not with the overclocking I'll be doing. I was planning to upgrade the radiator, and potentially case, when I add a second 670 in the future.

If you run the TDP numbers for your components' heat production and your loops' heat removal, you'll find that running a 240 rad would require some very high speed fans. A good 360 would probably do the job nicely with some good fans (not necessarily fast/loud) - something like an RX360 + Gentle Typhoon AP15s.


Something else you could do with the fans is get some of the stronger fans with very high static pressure ratings (important in WC) and tone them down with a fan controller. Rubix currently does this with his Ultra Kaze 3000s, and in about a week I will have the same type of setup with the same model fans. I've heard (no pun intended ;) ) that certain fans have better tones than others, so even if they start to break the 30 dB mark, the sound is less noticeable (think white noise).
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a c 325 K Overclocking
July 5, 2012 6:00:59 PM

I'm quite happy with my 3000rpm Ultra Kazes- they do quite well on a fan controller and dial down to 1500rpm nicely (pretty quiet at 1200-1500) and while they are a bit louder at 3000rpm, they cool like a beast. I'm happy with the investment, but not everyone wants 38mm thick fans.
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a b K Overclocking
July 5, 2012 7:44:42 PM

I think they will fit - it will be a tight squeeze but it should work. Any fans are better than my cheapo Cooler Masters :) 
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a b K Overclocking
July 5, 2012 11:36:25 PM

Thanks guys, this is exactly the info I needed. I think I'll be going with a much larger externally mounted rad. Right now my top contenders for a radiator are:

XSPC RX480 Quad (4x120mm)
Phobya XTREME Quad 480 (4x120mm)
MagiCool XTREME Hexa 720 (6x120mm)
MO-RA3 360 Core LC Extreme Radiator (9x140mm)

Leaning toward the XSPC rad right now. Seems like anything bigger than 4x120mm is probably going to be a waste, and nine fans sitting outside my case would drive me bonkers (though the prospect of that much cooling potential has me salivating). I've got ten in my case right now and that's bad enough as it is. Planning to remove all but one 230mm intake once I go with water cooling.
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a c 325 K Overclocking
July 5, 2012 11:42:14 PM

You still need good case airflow since other components will still be generating heat.
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a b K Overclocking
July 5, 2012 11:48:23 PM

A good quad like the RX480 should be plenty capable for the 670 and CPU. If you go for the bigger rads, get one that can handle larger fans (180mm or larger) - the larger fans don't have to spin as fast to generate the same airflow, so they're quieter. The only issue is the static pressure, but if you've got much more rad space that you truly need, it doesn't matter much.
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a c 325 K Overclocking
July 5, 2012 11:54:29 PM

You could also consider 140mm rads if you have the room.
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