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Choosing a radiator

Hello! I've been reading about water cooling and would appreciate if someone could enlighten me. :)

This is still a project, so nothing is set on stone.

I decided to use a single loop for a i5-3570K and a Radeon HD 7970 Ghz Edition. My objectives are a Delta-T of 10°C and a quiet computer.

So, first I calculated the TDP: 77W (CPU) + 215W (GPU) + 18W (pump) = 310W (without overclocking)
As I don't have any experience in this field, I will assume a 400W TDP considering a mild overclock, which is fine by me.

To keep it quiet, I'm assuming (again, lack of experience...) fan speeds between 1000 and 1400 RPM.

Looking at the SkinneeLabs charts, I found 4 radiators that would get the job done: HWLabs SR1-360, Swiftech MCR320-QP, ThermoChill PA120.3 and XSPC RX360.
At FrozenCPU, the only place that I know that ships internationally , the only one I couldn't find was the ThermoChill, assuming (again...) that Black Ice SR1 is the HWLabs SR1-360. After I saw the prices, I chose the Swiftech MCR320-QP!

Anyways, my doubts are:

1) Is there something wrong with my methodology for choosing this radiator and, therefore, the choice itself?

2) Can I safely assume (yeah!) that a 3x120 radiator performs the same way as a 2x120 and an 1x120 radiators together? That would help me choose a case to fit the custom water cooling internally.

3) SkinneeLabs charts are based on pull configuration. I read in the sticky that push/pull performs better, but how much better it would be? Could I change my choice to a 2x120 radiator with push/pull and still obtain the same results?
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  1. Best answer
    I own 2x MCR320's...they are decent for the money, but I wouldn't personally buy them again if I were to buy new rads right now. If you can find them for a great price, sure, but you might consider shopping for some newer models.

    1. Nope, from just a glance that looks like you have an idea of what you want to do.

    2. Yes, that is typically the consensus. There might be some minor total volume differences between a 360 and a 120+240 of the same make/models but it would be fairly minor.

    3. You would really have to start looking at some pretty extreme 240 rads to pull that off with that setup as well as some good fans. It's a matter of spending more on a great 240 and great fans or spending ballpark the same on a good 360 and good fans. You could pull it off, but you might have to live with some minor delta adjustments.
  2. Thanks for the reply , rubix_1011! Those answers will help planning my build better. Just another couple of doubts came up with them and I would appreciate it if you could answer them as well.

    1) So there are newer and better alternatives than the Swiftech MCR320-QP, right? Which radiator would you suggest, given my objective? I liked the Swiftech because it was thinner compared to the other 3, giving me a wider range of cases to choose from.

    2) And about your third answer, what do you mean by "extreme 240 rads"? More expensive? Higher FPI coupled with higher RPM fans? I don't think I will go with the one 240 radiator solution, but I really would like to know how that would be possible. :)

    By the way, nice sticky you made there! You were already helping me even before answering me! :p
  3. Though I know nowhere near as much as Rubix, might be able to guess what he meant.

    1. Noticed a lot of XSPC rads being suggested recently, I myself have my eyes on the EX360. According to Martin, it performs similarly to the RX series when paired with low-medium speed fans and is a lot thinner.

    2. Probably referring to the really thick rads out there, like this.
    Or the thick rads with Copper fins.
  4. Thanks for the reply, manofchalk!

    Just read the MartinsLiquidLab's test about the XSPC EX360 Radiator and I'm impressed! A 35.5mm-thick radiator that has a good performance at low speed fans? Nice! Seems the way to go here, as I will never use high speed fans. I like it quiet. :p
    But, I must say, I got a little intrigued by the fact that it is a 19-FPI radiator and has that kind of performance at low speed fans. It contradicts what I have been reading! But hey, it was tested, so I will assume it is true. :p

    Dear god, "extreme rads" are way to big! It would make decisions harder when picking a case! It's like a brick! Must be as heavy as one, too!
    And that Aquacomputer radiator price is terrifying! Copper fins? More likely Gold fins... :p Way out of my league.
  5. After reading MartinsLiquidLab's tests too, I finally decided on which radiators I will use. I will use XSPC RX and/or EX series. I will give preference to the RX over the EX series, depending on which case I choose. I will probably go with a 360 or an 120 + 240 radiators. Maybe I could go with a 120 + 360 or 240 + 240, giving me a little more headroom to overclock. The case will define it all. :p

    Once again, thanks for sharing your knowledge, rubix_1011 and manofchalk. I really appreciated it.
  6. Best answer selected by doraemon.
  7. This topic has been closed by Rubix_1011
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