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Water Cooling the Thermaltake Level 10...ideas...

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September 8, 2010 3:11:15 PM

So my Level 10 is on order and my initial purchase included air cooling components like the MSI N470GTX Twin Frozr II GeForce GTX 470 and Noctua NH-D14 Heatpipe Cooler, as well as Noctua replacement fans for the ones that come with the Level 10. Since it will be fitted with Twin 470’s and an i7 980x, it will be interesting to see how well it does on air.

Now, while I wait for delivery, my thoughts are going towards water cooling possibilities. I’ve read so many reviews claiming the case sucks for water cooling. This despite the fact that iBuyPower ships a pre-built Level 10 with an Asetek 550LC (equivalent to the Corsair H50). The complaint over that solution seems to be the capacity, since the radiator could only be a single 140mm fan space.

My first thought, even before water cooling, was how the PSU position sucked. The power cord has to hang all the way from the top of the box down to the outlet. That’s going to look ugly. I’ve been wondering whether I could mount the PSU external to the Level 10…how will I get the PSU cables into the box?? Well, suffice it to say I should be able to find a way, even if it means drilling a hole in the back cover (behind the Mobo) and then sleeve all of the cables to make it look cleaner. That led me to look into what sort of case I could put the PSU in…

That got me to Mountain Mods Tower Pedestal 24.

Then it hit me! What if I use the Level 10’s PSU compartment as a reservoir container! If I mount the PSU and Radiator(s) in the Mountain Mod extension, we’d have space for everything without too many dramatic mods. I’ve been wondering whether the base of the Level 10 is hollow to the point I could route the PSU cabling and water cooling tubing up out the top of the Mountain Mod extension through the base of the Level 10 into the cable management compartment. Worst case I come out the fan opening in the PSU compartment and in through the area above the GPUs (on the back of the Mobo compartment) and back out again and into the back of the Mountain Mod.

What do you think of the initial idea? That PSU compartment is certainly large enough for a big reservoir, and could possibly even hold the radiator too, but since I still have to put the PSU into something it might as well be that Mountain Mod extension. Of course I’m concerned as to whether or not the extension will be strong enough to sit the 60lb+ (fully loaded) Level 10 on but I can check that out with Mountain Mod.

One issue I haven’t resolved yet is how to handle the HDD fan noise. Everyone says they are loud, and when removed there’s the drive noise itself in its little acoustic chamber. I thought to try some sound dampening material in the bay cover, but then I’d be concerned about heat. Standard HDD water blocks probably won’t fit in those little drive bay covers, especially with tubing/tube connectors.

I’ve ordered a couple of HDD twin fan kits, as that was the only place I could find 60x60x15mm fans available. Each kit gives me 2 fans, so I’ve enough now for all 6 HDDs. But if these turn out to be too loud, what to do?

The Level 10 HDD fan enclosures are removable. With them out, I wondered about the possibility of attaching something like the Koolance HDD water block, to the top of each HDD drive bay. Since they are aluminum that placement should dissipate a fair amount of the HDD heat. Then I could run a single run of tubing down the face of those bays (down the curved end)…might look pretty cool. I would probably route the tubing out the top of the Mobo compartment and across to the top HDD array, then down through each one to the bottom HDD and back into the Mobo compartment and into the Mountain Mod extension to a separate radiator just for the HDD loop.

Forget price, the question is whether this sounds like it would work. I've got to believe I could have as much cooling as I want with this sort of setup.
a b B Homebuilt system
September 8, 2010 4:25:12 PM

Most watercooling enthusiasts dont count factor sealed units like the H50 as watercoolers. They are pre-assembled units without reservoirs and pumps that just cool the CPU and use a standard 120mm fan/radiator and dont cool any better than the top end air-coolers like the Noctua 14.

I really doubt you are going to have any heat problems with those good air coolers unless you have environmental issues.
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