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Best liquid cooling system? (With HAF X)

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December 14, 2012 4:27:10 AM

Hey everyone, I'll just get right into it.

I have a Cooler Master HAF X case and I'm looking to build a high end liquid cooled system in it, but I've never done one of these before and thus I do not know exactly what I'm looking for. I don't think that I'm going to liquid cool the chipset, RAM, PSU, or SSD (cause that seems useless), but I do want to liquid cool an intel 3930k (or higher) and maybe 2 GPUs. (at least 1) I was thinking of doing it in a single loop and fitting everything inside the case.

I want to put a GeForce GTX 680 FTW+ 4GB card (the one with the backplate) in this machine (2 of them could be an option), but I can't seem to find a suitable waterblock (or liquid cooling system for that matter). I know that EVGA sells the card with the waterblock already installed, but the price is absolutely outrageous, plus I'd rather get the experience of installing it myself.

I would just go with an EK or Koolance, but from what I understand EVGA does not make their cards reference, so I'm pretty sure that I can't do that. I'm completely new to liquid cooling, so I'm not sure how to confirm that a waterblock will fit a card in the first place.

I've been looking at XSPC (especially their raystorm CPU waterblock) as well as stuff by EK primarily, I am open to any and all suggestions though.

So, keeping in mind that I'm looking for heavy duty, and reliable components, here is what I need to know.

In your opinion, what is the best...

GPU waterblock for an EVGA 680? (and any suggestions you might have on one that will fit the specific card I am looking for)
CPU waterblock? (I will use a 3930k or higher grade chip)
Water Pump? (I keep hearing horror stories of these things dying)
Radiator?
Reservoir? (preferrably something that will fit on top of the optical drive bays or in one or in a few of them)
Hose? (I'm looking for something that doesn't leak, color is not a huge concern)


And of course, let me know if I haven't thought of anything in this liquid cooling system. :-)

Thanks!

December 14, 2012 4:54:03 AM

dDave said:
but I do want to liquid cool an intel 3930k (or higher)


Or higher? Willing to spend $1000 on a CPU, eh? Well high end components need some high end cooling. Have you read the sticky yet? It is very helpful.
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a c 176 K Overclocking
December 14, 2012 5:15:51 AM

Yep, read the watercooling sticky at the top of the forum.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/277130-29-read-first-...

Luckily I have actually water-cooled in the HAF-X, so I can give some tips. A 3930k and 2 GPU's (presumably overclocked) will require a lot of rad space, more than a HAF-X can handle internally (A 360mm and 120mm). You will have to externally mount some radiators or find a rad-box solution.
Also, using a triple rad (with push/pull fans) will require the top 5.25" bay to be clear.

Heres my build log if it will help visualize what it will be like, though my loop is nowhere near as complicated.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/279384-29-water-cooli...
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a c 150 K Overclocking
December 14, 2012 6:45:01 AM

STAY AWAY FROM EK NICKEL! That is all.
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December 14, 2012 7:18:47 AM

amuffin said:
STAY AWAY FROM EK NICKEL! That is all.


Is that like your catch phrase? Second time seeing you running in the room, screaming bloody murder to stay away from EK nickel haha
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a b K Overclocking
December 14, 2012 7:23:58 AM

AcidElement said:
Is that like your catch phrase? Second time seeing you running in the room, screaming bloody murder to stay away from EK nickel haha



The truth hurts. LOL
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a c 78 K Overclocking
December 14, 2012 10:31:54 AM

@ acid element - if you've read the sticky(as per your suggestions to everyone else) then you'll realize there's a part in there that warns users of having EK nickeled parts in their loop. Boiler_1990 and I've contributed to that info - so the bloody murder catch phrase isn't an urban legend.

@ OP - whats your projected budget for your watercooling endeavor?
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December 14, 2012 3:32:05 PM

manofchalk said:
Yep, read the watercooling sticky at the top of the forum.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/277130-29-read-first-...

Luckily I have actually water-cooled in the HAF-X, so I can give some tips. A 3930k and 2 GPU's (presumably overclocked) will require a lot of rad space, more than a HAF-X can handle internally (A 360mm and 120mm). You will have to externally mount some radiators or find a rad-box solution.
Also, using a triple rad (with push/pull fans) will require the top 5.25" bay to be clear.

Heres my build log if it will help visualize what it will be like, though my loop is nowhere near as complicated.
http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/279384-29-water-cooli...



So, assume that I went with a 3930k and one EVGA 4GB GTX 680. Would I only need one radiator at the top of the case if I wanted to liquid cool this?

I think that I only want to put one big radiator at the top of the case. (and I'm fine with it if it blocks out one or two optical drive slots.) If one radiator is impossible in a single cpu and single gpu setup, just let me know.

Thanks!

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December 14, 2012 3:35:27 PM

Lutfij said:
@ acid element - if you've read the sticky(as per your suggestions to everyone else) then you'll realize there's a part in there that warns users of having EK nickeled parts in their loop. Boiler_1990 and I've contributed to that info - so the bloody murder catch phrase isn't an urban legend.

@ OP - whats your projected budget for your watercooling endeavor?


For the liquid cooling itself, I'm projecting something like $400.

I actually built a new rig for myself last month (with a 3930k and an ASUS Matrix 3GB graphics card). The build described above is for a friend of mine that I'm helping (he's not quite as into building computers, he is a heavy gamer though).

I'm essentially on the search for the best reasonable liquid cooling system. (and as I've mentioned before, it'd be preferable if it all fit inside the case.)

And actually, the sticky was one of the reasons that I was looking at EK.
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a c 190 K Overclocking
December 14, 2012 3:42:39 PM

Ek's fine, just not their Nickel offerings
I have two of the Hf Vga Copper/acrylic blocks on my loop and they are fine
Moto
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a c 78 K Overclocking
December 14, 2012 3:53:56 PM

$ 400 is more like custom territory :)  however, finding a block for the card will be tricky - might want to drop both the block makers and EVGA a mail asking for block compatiblity. There's also cooling configurator.

there are others who make blocks too you know, like
XSPC (razer)
Heatkiller (GPU-X)
Swiftech (universal)
Koolance
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December 14, 2012 10:27:38 PM

Lutfij said:
$ 400 is more like custom territory :)  however, finding a block for the card will be tricky - might want to drop both the block makers and EVGA a mail asking for block compatiblity. There's also cooling configurator.

there are others who make blocks too you know, like
XSPC (razer)
Heatkiller (GPU-X)
Swiftech (universal)
Koolance


No, of course. I'm definitely not sold on anything (except for that raystorm CPU block I think.)

Yes, finding a block for that card will be tricky, it looks like there are a lot of GPU only blocks, but then I'd have to figure out the cooling for the rest of the card. I'd prefer to get a full cover if I can find a good one somewhere (the only one that EK makes is the nickel one, you guys have convinced me that nickel is not the way to go.) I know that EVGA makes their own Hydro Copper full cover GPU waterblock, they seem to be very difficult to locate though.

I wish that EVGA would just make all of their cards reference, it would certainly make watercooling one of these a lot easier.


What about the rest of the stuff though?

a. A radiator that will fit in the top of the HAF X case (maybe blocking the optical drive bays), that can handle a single CPU and GPU (I have looked at XSPC and EK for this, both seem to have some great radiators, but I'm not sure what will fit.)

b. A good loop order - I do not know how to build a proper loop yet, the sticky thread didn't really touch on this. I was thinking to do this order. Reservoir> Pump> Radiator> CPU> GPU > Back to the reservoir.

c. A good reservoir and pump? (I was going to fill the system with distilled water using a killcoil) I want to make sure that the pump has enough power though, will a D5 work well for a CPU and GPU?

d. Good tubing/barbs - I really don't want this thing to leak, that would be very bad.


Thanks for the help so far! I've learned a lot.
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a c 78 K Overclocking
December 14, 2012 10:49:32 PM

hehe, raystorms :) 

FYI - the block used on the EVGA hydro coppers are Komodo's by swiftech and are available in distribution channels/online for the AMD cards, specifically.

a| you might want to reconsider having the rads mounted internally - and if you're still hell bent on doing it, then you need to solve the issue, maybe remove ODD...?
b| no order is a good order, as long as your rad and pump are chosen properly the loop will function and the heat will be dissipated via the rads.
c| D5 are one of the cream of the crops, mentioned in the sticky btw, about point b - you skimmed through the sticky :)  go down to the FAQ section!!!
d| tubing is your choice, just remember D5's apparently like 3/8's and above ID. fittings, just remember the ID/OD rule.

^ your welcome, now keep reading and finding the end to your list, so we can see a build log soon!

this should help you in your quest with manufacturers regarding vid card compatibility
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December 16, 2012 9:43:17 PM

Lutfij said:
hehe, raystorms :) 

FYI - the block used on the EVGA hydro coppers are Komodo's by swiftech and are available in distribution channels/online for the AMD cards, specifically.

a| you might want to reconsider having the rads mounted internally - and if you're still hell bent on doing it, then you need to solve the issue, maybe remove ODD...?
b| no order is a good order, as long as your rad and pump are chosen properly the loop will function and the heat will be dissipated via the rads.
c| D5 are one of the cream of the crops, mentioned in the sticky btw, about point b - you skimmed through the sticky :)  go down to the FAQ section!!!
d| tubing is your choice, just remember D5's apparently like 3/8's and above ID. fittings, just remember the ID/OD rule.

^ your welcome, now keep reading and finding the end to your list, so we can see a build log soon!

this should help you in your quest with manufacturers regarding vid card compatibility


I had actually checked out the Komodo's, unfortunately they are not compatible with nvidia cards, the problem is that there is a slight variance in the way that the GPU is situated on the card and thus it's in the wrong spot on a Komodo to be compatible with a GTX 680. They flipped it 45 degrees on the AMD cards, sort of annoying. In reality, the block does fit the card, they are 100% identical except for the artwork on the block and the positioning of the GPU.

Here's what I was thinking for a liquid cooling system (whenever we finally get this thing built I will post it here for all to see.)

This is what my research has yielded thus far. (I'm trying to avoid Brass and Nickel)

CPU BLOCK: XSPC Raystorm
GPU BLOCK: EVGA Hydro Copper (full cover block for EVGA GTX 680)
WATER PUMP: Koolance Laing D5 Vario (or the Swiftech, fitting sizes need to be confirmed)
RESERVOIR: XSPC Dual 5.25" for Laing D5 (will use a killcoil, still need to confirm fitting sizes)
RADIATOR: XSPC EX360 (and possibly an RX120 over the stock 140mm fan in the case to add to cooling performance)
HOSE: 1/2"ID & 5/8" OD (color would be red to match the rest of the system)
LIQUID: Distilled Water (to prevent corrosion)

I was considering getting a Koolance reservoir and pump with a digital readout instead of the pump and reservoir listed above.

I'm pretty sure that I can fit all of that into a HAF X case. Like you said, I will have to sacrifice 1 or 2 ODDs, but that's not really a problem, this case has 6 slots, I'm pretty sure that's enough room. I only wanted to do 1 ODD anyway.
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a c 78 K Overclocking
December 16, 2012 9:55:36 PM

I don't opt nor prefer internal mounts because the rads will be drawing air from inside the case, which'll mean being fed by warmer air from HDD's and mobo components. If the above mentioned rad is in pull or push in exhaust mode. If its going to draw air into the case aka intake then you'll feed you own loop with heat...kinda like that recycle logo;

but with the heat in the picture
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August 25, 2013 9:06:51 PM

I am a refrigeration technician I build pc's as a hobby. Heat transfer is everything with pc's, the theory is that water(glycol) transfers heat better its more dense especially since glycol is used to make equipment ( not pc's) below zero you have to have outlet and a inlet in laymen terms the heat has to be absorbed and replaced by cool and the radiator is where the heat is replaced by cool if you read on wiki basic heat transfer building your own cooling is far easier its just easier for me cause that's all I work on for career
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