Since I would like to have this case for a long time I would like to set up a water loop inside of it for future builds to use. The H80i that I have is just not cutting it and its too loud for my liking. Although I am aware that the Define R4 does not have very much room inside of it for a water loop. Although If I was to get rid of the hard drive cage and switched to ssd I would be able to fit a thick 280mm rad ( 80mm) and possibly a thick 120mm rad at the bottom ( 50-60mm ). That would be decent for a heavily overclocked cpu and possibly a gpu but more rad space would be better. Although I am not sure I have anough space up top to add another 240mm radiator as my motherboard has tall mosfet heatsinks. I would like to hear your input on how I should go about doing this.
I5-3570k (4.6ghz 1.376v)
MSI z77a- GD65
MSI 7850 power edition
Remember I am only looking to cool my cpu right now but I want it to be reasonably quiet (fans below 1100 rpm) and be able to add a high end gpu later on.
Here's the approach I would take. Start with an XSPC Raystorm D5 RX240 kit for now which will take care of your CPU cooling needs with it's thick radiator. When you add a water cooled GPU later, you can add the additional 120mm rad.
Just my take here
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2| Are you absolutely guaranteed sure that you won't venture into GPU cooling?
3| Have you gone through the watercooling sticky? To determine the delta you'd want and probably expect from your loop?
4| So much hassle to accommodate all rads inside case. An internal layout looks great for some perddy facebook photography but it handicaps the rads performance due to heat recycling.
Which may happen in two ways: i| The bottom rad will draw air from the bottom of case, however heats natural tendency to rise will mean the top rad will draw its air from the warm air introduced with the bottom rad and in turn heat the loop. The colder the air entering the rads, the more heat the rad can dump. If you feed the rad with warm ambient air then the rad doesn't cool it heats the loop. Furthermore, the mesh area at the top of case is off centered. ii| We all assume that heat will exit through any opening however heat would need a slight beveled edge to accumulate and fully evacuate the chassis. Heat will be trapped at the top of case and thus be recycled via the pressure of fans drawing the air from the surrounding trapped warm air.
Having all rads draw air into case is a bad idea as the heat will seep into your components that you're trying to cool denting your loops performance. Even you did manage to isolate the parts from absorbing their own heat dump, you'd need a very powerful case fan to exhaust the back - which'll def be loud, defeating your purpose of a quieter setup.
MNPCtech as well as Martinsliquidlab have already confirmed my doubt of the mesh size and opening to hamper the effectiveness of a radiator. So you already have three strikes to consider the good amount of money going to radiators to be a waste as you're loosing on the rad full potential.
^ I also learned the above when I migrated from my initial setup with a modded H50 to the AMS(in my sig).
Best idea is to get the largest rad that should go ontop of case(360) mounted off of standoffs and call it a day. If the rad is struggling in the temps dept you can add more rads to the loop provided the pump can handle it.
I've been following the Fractal thread over at OCN and there alot of people who have mounted the rads internally. We here at Tom's suggest maximum gains from your investments.
Might want to also make sure that the GPU can be wetified if you decide to go GPU watercooling too as most MSI cards which are non reference PCB's/designs are a PITA to find blocks for.