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Watercooling Advice for Core i7-930 & GTX285 (Please)

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May 11, 2010 11:46:19 PM

This system is already built and specced out to my satisfaction, so I'll skip the usual questions and pastebomb an info block here.
If you do have suggestions for parts that you think I should have, please let me know, but I am pretty set; just need cooling advice.

MOBO: Gigabyte EX58-UD5
PROC: Intel Core i7-930 @ 2.8 Ghz (currently; will push higher with better cooling)
RAM: 12GB Corsair XMS 3 9-9-9-24 @ 1600Mhz
VIDEO: EVGA GTX285 01G-P3-1180 1GB
HD: 1x WD 150GB Velociraptor (OS X 10.6 Boot Drive), 2x WD Caviar Black 750GB (1 for OS X Home Folder, 1 for Win7 Ultimate x64)
CASE: Antec P183
PSU: Antec CP-850
OTHER: 4 Nexus D12-SL Basic case fans
HAVE: Keyboard, mouse, speakers, OSs, etc...

Primary purpose: Run OS X as the primary OS for video transcoding, Virtual Machines, gaming, photo/video editing, coding, etc. Run Windows for occasional gaming. Ideally, I would like to have it be as quiet and understated as possible while still being beastly - I dislike loud/garish computers with side windows, turbojet fans, etc.

Hardware Goals: 4.2Ghz Core i7 @ 21x200, Memory at 8-8-8-24@1600Mhz, overclock the GTX285 (unsure of stable numbers yet, have not researched)

So, as you can see, I am building a hackintosh. I have it pretty well together except both of the WD 750GB drives arrived DOA, and their replacements are not yet here from newegg (I finished building the computer last week).

I started out with a Noctua NH-D14 aircooler, but when I overclocked the CPU at 1.3 vcore at 3.8Ghz where it was stable, I was running about 82C on one core and 74C on another core, even with the case door open and the fans running. I removed the cooler and redid the AS5 paste, but the temps didn't drop after about a day of burn in. At that point I began doing research and stumbled upon the idea of watercooling. I wasn't quite ready to jump into building an aquarium computer, but I did want to cool my CPU, and watercooling seemed the best shot. Additionally, I realized that I could cool my GPU, since it was running about 93C under FurMark, and sounding like a jet engine eating a lawnmower when I ran the benchmark. I RMA'd the Noctua, and am now doing research on watercooling before I buy parts. My goal is to hit 4.2 stable OC, so I can run a baseclock of 200Mhz and hit 1600Mhz on my memory. I would ideally also like to keep SpeedStepping enabled for moderate power savings (which may seem odd considering the amount of overclocking) but every little bit helps.

My current thinking is a Swiftech ApogeeXT CPU block, a Swiftech MCW80 + GTX285 full cover heatsink, a Swiftech MCR320QP-Res 3x120mm radiator+integrated reservoir, and a Swiftech MCP665 12V DC pump. Tygon tubing, barb fittings, more Nexus case fans for the radiator, etc. I am not terribly concerned about cost but sub-$400 would be great, since this computer is eating money faster than I can make it. ;) 

I am open to component suggestions, but am pretty sure I want the Swiftech ApogeeXT, at any rate. I am considering a ThermoChill PA120x4 radiator since it's apparently HSFBA, but I would need a different reservoir (which is fine - I had to remove the upper hard drive cradle in the P183 to make the GTX285 fit anyway, so I have space).

The radiator will probably get put into the computer much like this gentleman's did, since he has my case and a similar setup; I'm not using his components, but that's the best place to put the radiator. The fans will mount underneath in a push configuration, both to maximize cooling efficiency and reduce noise. I would cut the case in a similar manner, and build/bend/buy a shroud to make it blend into the top of the case nicely.

My questions are these:

1) Are either of the radiators going to do a good enough job with a Core i7 OC and a GTX285 in the same loop? The Tom's Hardware Watercooling Basics post indicated that one 3x120 radiator is probably not going to be sufficient, since the Core i7 is a hog and so is the GTX285. I am unable to find much corroborating information about this, though, which is one of the main reasons I am posting.

2) I am going to be running distilled water in clear tubing; color/looks are not important to me except that it be neat (you should see my cable management). What additives do you recommend to keep gunk/algae down? I am planning on cleaning the system once or twice a year, but I was thinking that 90-95% distilled water + 5-10% Swiftech HydrX would be a good solution. (I don't need or want UV reactive coolant but I've heard good things about HydrX in general - feel free to talk me out of it). I am also considering just using a Killcoil or two - I'm not vain but they would look pretty sweet when pulling the side of the case off, and they apparently work pretty well.

3) Thoughts/Comments/Critiques/Questions/Concerns/What you would do differently for the watercooling setup?

4) Why does Core 1 on my CPU run consistently 8C hotter than Core 4, and ~5C hotter than Cores 2&3?


Thank you. I eagerly await your replies.
May 12, 2010 11:52:29 PM

Further Reflections:

After researching what may have caused my issue, I realized that one of my issues may be that the CPU heatspreader is not terribly flat - when I pulled the Noctua off it had thermal paste in several areas, and not others. My preferred method of AS5 application is to put a small dot on top of the heatspreader, and then gently scrape it into an even layer with a credit card, which is what I did in this case, to ensure a nice contact layer. However, as I said, it did not appear to be even when I removed the CPU cooler.

The CPU lapping thread leads me to think that it might be because of my heatspreader and/or HS base not being flat enough.

With the watercooling components in mind, would CPU and/or waterblock lapping be appropriate?
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May 13, 2010 12:02:18 AM

Aktariel said:

I started out with a Noctua NH-D14 aircooler, but when I overclocked the CPU at 1.3 vcore at 3.8Ghz where it was stable, I was running about 82C on one core and 74C on another core, even with the case door open and the fans running.



What's ambient?

Those numbers look very wrong. I've taken several i7-920's to 4.2ghz using CM Hyper 212 Plus's and voltages ~1.4 without going over 75C on load. Ambient is ~21 C.

While overclock ceiling varies, with a Noctua NH-D14 you should not be getting temps that high at 1.3v


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May 13, 2010 12:09:39 AM

if you can return the gtx 285 i would get a 5850 or 5870, newer tech(also i don't know why but i just don't like nvidia. their price/performance ratio isn't very good right now unless you want to up to a fermi.)
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May 13, 2010 12:15:36 AM

Woah dude, somethign wrong with those temps.

The DH-14 is one of, if not the best air coolers ever made.

It's keeping my freinds i7-930 setup at 4.0+ nice and cool.

And also, Sam, he praobly got the 285 over a year ago, nobody woudl buy one afer the the 5870 was luanched.
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May 13, 2010 12:16:20 AM

banthracis said:
What's ambient?

Those numbers look very wrong. I've taken several i7-920's to 4.2ghz using CM Hyper 212 Plus's and voltages ~1.4 without going over 75C on load. Ambient is ~21 C.

While overclock ceiling varies, with a Noctua NH-D14 you should not be getting temps that high at 1.3v


No, I shouldn't. I don't have any firm idea what ambient is, but it certainly wasn't over 27C, and probably closer to 24C or 25C - inside a brick building during a cool April.

builderbobftw said:
Woah dude, somethign wrong with those temps.

The DH-14 is one of, if not the best air coolers ever made.

It's keeping my freinds i7-930 setup at 4.0+ nice and cool.


I can't disagree with you. I chose it for that very reason, and I wish that it had done what I wanted. I'm into watercooling now, and I think it will let me get my GPU temps down as well, which is the reason that I am headed down that road. As I posted earlier, I wonder if it might have to do with a) CPU heatspreader unevenness, and B) poor airflow (the case is quiet and therefore lower airflow than say, an HAF, but it shouldn't be that bad.)

builderbobftw said:
And also, Sam, he praobly got the 285 over a year ago, nobody woudl buy one afer the the 5870 was luanched.


I would. ;) 

I bought the GPU about 6 months ago on sale, and I chose it very specifically - I didn't build this rig with gaming as a primary concern, and it's currently the most powerful GPU available that Mac will talk to. It does just fine for what I need now, and if Mac Pros get updated to work with the 5800 series, then I can upgrade then, and still use the Swiftech Universal GPU waterblock. I personally dislike ATI - far too many driver issues with Linux and Windows, even though I will grant you that their hardware is top notch.

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May 13, 2010 12:20:48 AM

Hmmm...

isn't there a softmod you could do for the 5870 to make it work with OSX.
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May 13, 2010 12:24:17 AM

builderbobftw said:
Hmmm...

isn't there a softmod you could do for the 5870 to make it work with OSX.


Not that I am aware of at this time. (Believe me, I did my research - there just aren't any drivers at all for the new ATI 5xxx series in OS X).

Besides, as I mentioned, I am a little biased. Not a fan of ATI. :) 
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May 13, 2010 12:39:29 AM

Aktariel said:
Not that I am aware of at this time. (Believe me, I did my research - there just aren't any drivers at all for the new ATI 5xxx series in OS X).

Besides, as I mentioned, I am a little biased. Not a fan of ATI. :) 


Neither am I.

However, I can still reculantyl acknowledge that the 4870X2 raped the 285, and at 20$ more.

:( 
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May 13, 2010 12:48:55 AM

builderbobftw said:
Neither am I.

However, I can still reculantyl acknowledge that the 4870X2 raped the 285, and at 20$ more.

:( 



Yeah.... no lie. Not as much of an issue under OS X, but again, not a fan since I've had issues with Windows and Linux drivers. I'm happy with my card right now; if something better gets support under OS X I might consider switching to that. (I only need one GFX card; as I've said gaming isn't my primary concern) I understand that my demand for OS X compatibility doe hinder me somewhat, but I am willing to live with that.

Do you have any thoughts on why the CPU temps might be so bad?
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May 13, 2010 12:52:07 AM

Uh, imprper apliction of therm compund?

Also, Do you stil have that DH-14?

HAve a freidnd who might need it.

Also, Check CPUs section, there is a giveawy of this AWESOME paste.

I got my tube in the mail, free, and it rapes my old compund by 9.5C.
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May 13, 2010 1:11:59 AM

builderbobftw said:
Uh, imprper apliction of therm compund?


I am new to watercooling and Tom's Hardware, and I do not have a great deal of experience with building PC's, but this is certainly not the first time I have applied CPU paste and I'm no slouch; I can show you pictures of how I applied it next time I go to do it but rest assured I tried both the "pea" method and the "credit card" method and neither one seemed to affect it much.

builderbobftw said:
Also, Do you stil have that DH-14?

HAve a freidnd who might need it.


I do not, unfortunately. I RMA'd it along with my DOA HDs for a small fee, since being a poor starving student and all I needed the cash back ASAP.

builderbobftw said:
Also, Check CPUs section, there is a giveawy of this AWESOME paste.

I got my tube in the mail, free, and it rapes my old compund by 9.5C.


Sorry, which CPU paste?

I was looking at getting some IC Diamond 7, since diamond > silver in terms of thermal conductivity.


Any comments about the watercooling loop? I think I'll order it next week after my next influx of funds, and then do some setup and testing and see what kind of results I get.
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May 13, 2010 1:18:03 AM

There is some FREE! IC daimond 24 carrot for giveaway.
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May 13, 2010 1:26:05 AM

builderbobftw said:
There is some FREE! IC daimond 24 carrot for giveaway.


Guess I need to start posting to get over the 50 post limit, then.

Thanks to our little tete-a-tete, I'm well on my way.

On to the forums...
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May 15, 2010 3:46:34 AM

Further Revisions: BlackIce GTX360 + 3GTs@1850RPM -> EK Supreme HF Gold (there's a sale @ PerformancePC) -> Komodo GPU waterblock (until/unless I find something better) -> XSPC Dual Bay Res -> MCP655. (Because it's 1/2" and quiet - I plan on using 1/2"ID/3/4"OD Tygon tubing.)

Thoughts?
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May 15, 2010 12:22:25 PM

Gtx 360?

Huh?

And I know nothing about water coolin other than it's either

1. Overpriced. Think 800$ range.

2. Sucks realy hard. THink 80$ kits.
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May 15, 2010 9:16:55 PM

Black Ice GTX 360 3x120mm radiator.

I can put this whole system together for approximately $500, and that's my generous estimate. I realize that it is more expensive than aircooling and may seem ridiculous, but it is the path that I've decided on and am therefore headed down.

Is there a better section that this should be moved to for advice on watercooling?
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May 15, 2010 11:25:30 PM

^ uh, not realy.

Everybody will try to talk you out of it, including me.
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May 16, 2010 2:11:40 AM

At least you're up front about it. To be fair, I suppose a constructive reply to the question of "How do I do A?" is "A is really dumb and you shouldn't do it", even if it's not necessarily a helpful one.

Why don't you like/approve of watercooling?
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May 16, 2010 2:16:41 AM

^

1. Very Expesnive. Funds are best spent in other places.

2. Small temp benefits over air. Do not warrant cost.

3. Restricts and messes up case air flow.

4. Hard to install, can spring leak.

5. Matience fees, weekly cleanings, ewww.
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May 16, 2010 2:41:22 AM

Sounds like you've had a bad experience with watercooling. Yes, it is expensive but provides good thermal performance vs air. Yes, it's not amazingly fantastic unless you're using a phase change cooler or something, but it is good - often in the range of 10C at least. It may not be "worth it" but it is the next level in terms of performance.

Plus, especially in my case, it will cut down on temps a great deal, moreso than an aircooler ever can. This includes the GPU - which was running unacceptably hot. A full waterblock will greatly decrease temps - on the order of ~40C. It's also quieter, which is important to me - my GPU sounds like a lawnmower engine cranked up to 11 at full blast.

Hard to install? Only if you're uncertain or unfamiliar. A waterblock isn't any harder to mount than, say, the noctua I had before. Springing leaks? Yes, but only if you're not meticulous, and distilled water isn't inherently conductive anyway. (It will become slightly so over time by stripping copper ions from the waterblocks, but that can be solved by changing the fluid more frequently if you're concerned about it - it's not necessary if you install and double check everything).

Weekly cleanings? Not hardly. Distilled water + chemical or mechanical biocide = maybe twice a year.

I'm not trying to push this as a solution for everyone; it's just what I've decided on.

Since it's not well liked or supported around here, it seems like I might get better advice from overclock.net or xtremesystems.
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May 16, 2010 7:42:25 PM

^ You would be disapointed whne you re-intstall your DH014 and bach it against your water cooling.
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