So I have decided to build my dream rig. I know the parts I want but I am not sure how I want to configure the water-cooling.
Here's what I've got:
Case: Corsair Obsidian 800d
PSU: CORSAIR HX Series CMPSU-750HX 750W - 80 PLUS SILVER Certified Modular
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB (2 x 2GB) 240-Pin DDR3 SDRAM DDR3 1600
MOBO: MSI Big Bang-XPower LGA 1366 Intel X58 SATA 6Gb/s USB 3.0 ATX Intel Motherboard
CPU: Intel Core i7-930 Bloomfield 2.8GHz LGA 1366 130W Quad-Core Desktop Processor
GPUs: 2X GIGABYTE GV-N460OC-1GI GeForce GTX 460 (Fermi) 1GB
Hard drive: WD Caviar Black 640 GB
*Haven't chosen the optical drive yet*
So what parts should I get for the water cooling? Blocks, tubing, coolant, reservoir, pump, etc?
My budget is not unlimited, but I do want a nice setup.
Also, obviously I want to cool the CPU, but should I cool the GPU's too or the MOBO? The MOBO is supposedly quite cool on it's own.
I'm thinking aesthetically here so I want nice color coordinations (red).
There are three very good reasons why most people want to watercool.
1) They are looking for the best overclock they can possibly obtain without going too far into the extreme (ie, phase-change, thermoelectric, LN2, etc.)
2) They have limited space for cooling, such as a small build with limited space, and need to provide more cooling than the internal space would allow. This is the situation with some extreme modders who like to fit computers inside things like toaster ovens
3) They need something that doesn't sound like a 747 getting ready to take off. Most watercool builds, since they use low RPM/high CFM fans, are very good at keeping the noise level down while providing sufficient cooling
Keep this in mind, because I am about to show you your budget. If you want to build a CPU loop only, you need (at minimum):
CPU waterblock (~$50-60)
radiator and fans (~$90-100)
tubing (~$20 for 2 meters)
fittings and connectors (~$30-40)
PT Nuke and/or Killcoils and distilled H2O($10-20).
Conservative estimate, roughly $270-320.
And this doesn't even take into account if you want to add the GPU into the loop, which will run you another $130-150 depending on what waterblock and how much additional radiator you buy.
Add to that, you are now going to add a lot of time spent learning the best way to put all this together. If you are after the best overclock possible, then you will spend a lot of time learning how to lap your CPU spreader and waterblock to a mirror finish, as well as what types of impingement you loop could be facing as you add more and more devices into the loop, and how that will affect the head pressure on your pump.
A reservoir is optional, since you can do most of your refilling and bleeding using a T-line, but if you want to add a reservoir, expect to add another $50-60 to your build.
With regards to cooling the Northbridge/Southbridge on the mainboard...you don't have to. Most of the mainboard components are designed to endure higher temperatures that would kill your CPU and GPU. If you wnt to do anything, then add a good set of case fans and put in good heat sinks on the northbridge/southbridge if the mainboard doesn't already have some.
Stay away from premix coolants. Some of them use bad bad stuff like glycol alcohol that will kill your pets, and maybe even yourself if you aren't careful. Instead, use distilled H2O and a biocide (PT Nuke, Silver Killcoils, or both). Use dyes sparingly if you want to have color in your fluid.
If you are doing it for the WOW factor, just be warned. It will significantly increase your build cost, not to mention your build time. I have several builds under my belt, and even with a number of years' experience, it still takes me twice as long to finish a WC build than an air-cooled build, including the time it takes to fine-tune and overclock a good system.
Also note that you had best plan on throwing your warranties away as soon as you decide to watercool and overclock. With your graphics cards, you will be removing the factory-installed HSF, which will (technically) void your warranty.
Thank you houndsteeth.
I know there are risks involved but I really want to build a liquid cooled rig. So could you tell me how and what to configure my components with?
Ex: Do you recommend 1/2" tubing or 1/4"... Or what fittings should I be using?
Also I have had a difficult time understanding how to make the components compatible-- are 1/4" reservoirs capable of fitting onto 1/2" tubing etc...
1) Make sure your fitting all throughout your loop are the same. Using sizing reducers just adds impingement to your loop, thereby reducing the flow rate. You will have plenty of impingement once you factor in your water blocks and radiators.
2) As far as which components are compatible...most parts are compatible as long as the tube size remains the same. Don't mix metals in your loop (i.e., don't add aluminum blocks with copper blocks and brass fittings), with a few exceptions. Some copper parts are nickel-coated and will resist galvanic corrosion. You can also safely mix copper with brass without any issues. But most definitely avoid mixing aluminium, as this will lead to galvanic corrosion and turn your loop into a mess.
3) There are some brands you need to avoid, since the quality will leave you with a cooling solution that is essentially no better than high-end air cooling (for a whole lot more money). This includes Thermaltake, Koolance and Zalman. Granted, some components are better, but take for instance the Thermaltake Bigwater radiator that imposes a tubing reduction from 3/8" to less than 1/4", thereby effectively introducing impingement and reducing flow rate for no reason.
4) Don't buy cheap...buy quality. Sometimes you can get quality for a good price, though. Xoxide and FrozenCPU are great sites to start shopping, and add Petra's Tech Shop and DangerDen to your list as well. You are also goign to be doing a lot of reading. Conundrum put this thread up on the site quite a while back, but the information is all still very relevant.
5) Read read read READ! Ask questions, but before you start to ask questions READ or some of the folks who do know will refuse to share their wisdom with you. Why? Because a lot of us took a lot of effort to put the information you are looking for up on the web in several different places (forums, review sites, etc.). It's there, you just have to dig a little rather than expect it to be spoon-fed to you just because you are curious. Conundrum's guide has some very good site links if you decide you want to study further.
One other thing. Do most barbs/compression fittings have the same diameter screws? (By screws I mean the side which is screwed into the waterblock/reservoir/pump)
I ask this because I have revised some components and am checking compatibility, here's what I've got:
1. Radiator: Swiftech MCR-320 Quiet Power Series Radiator - Black
2. Water block: Swiftech Apogee XT CPU Waterblock (1/2in., Intel Socket 1366/1156)
3. Pump: Laing D5 Basic/Swiftech MCP655-B Inline 12V DC Pump
4. Reservoir: EK Waterblocks EK-RES150 Rev.2 Multi-Option Reservoir
5. Tubing:1/2in. ID (3/4in. OD) Feser Flexible PVC Tubing - UV Blue
So basically I am asking if all 1/2" compression fittings will be compatible with this configuration?
Edit: And I have not decided on the blocks for GPUs yet. I plan to cool the CPU first, then the GPUs. The motherboard is built to run cooler than most so I'm not worried there.
Also. Do you recommend putting in temperature/flow rate modules or is that overkill?
@Houndsteeth- I think the parts I have chosen so far do not mix metals. Also, thank you for linking me to Conundrum's post -very helpful with great links.