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First ever water cooling project

By Burty117 ยท 49 replies
Jan 2, 2013
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  1. Hello to all that are reading this.

    I am now in the process of building myself a new Rig, the specs of which are below:

    Corsair Obsidian 800D
    Asus Maximus V Formula

    Intel Core i7-3770K
    Corsair Dominator Platinum (4x4GB)
    Asus Xonar Essence STX
    MSI GeForce N680GTX Lightning
    Corsair Professional Series Gold AX 750W Modular
    OCZ Technology 256GB Vector
    1TB Western Digital VelociRaptor
    Western Digital 2TB Caviar Black

    Now I have never dabbled with water cooling before (except for the corsair H60 but that's not real water cooling) but with a rig like this I really want to get into a proper water cooling system build.

    Everything is at planning stage but I wanted to have 2 loops, one that goes through the CPU and Chipset (motherboard has water cooling block already) and another for the graphics card.

    The Reservoir I chose because the reviews say it is very good, quiet and overall very good:
    Koolance RP-452x2 Duel 5.25in Reservoir which can hold 2 pumps Link Below:

    I also went for Koolance Pumps as well to keep everything compatible, PMP-450:

    My question is, can anyone here give me a simple list of items that I would need? I can follow guides all over the net to setup everything but I'm not so confident on what else I would need other than a ton of hosing?

    Which connectors should I choose? compression? What piping thickness should I go for?
    What are the best CPU blocks and GTX 680 blocks?

    I've also got a few questions of my own, what would be the best radiator setup in that case?
    I am also going for a red and black theme and getting hold of red LED's and coolant is fine but I was wondering if they make Black coolant?

    Any help or pointers would be deeply appreciated :)
  2. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    Hey Burty,
    A couple of very good CPU blocks for you. I have used both and they are excellent. They are nonrestrictive and are not TIM dependent due to the excellent contact they make. I have the 370 in mine right now and am moving to the 380 next week.
    Here are reviews on those:
    Its a long-shot, but if I can find a review of this block and it's as good I am going to give it a try:

    One of the very good rads out there is the Alphacool NexXxos XT line. They are all copper (channels,tank,fins,tank caps, even the mounting screws) They have a very light paint job on the channels/fins and are very efficient and low restrictiveness. They also have access to all three sides of the tank giving you more routing options:
    http://www.frozencpu.com/products/1...pper_Triple_120mm_Radiator.html?tl=g30c95s161. As far as the size of tubing, pick the one that appeals to you aesthetically, and matches the need for turns and bends in your case. I prefer 1/2" ID, but it's a cosmetic thing mostly. You will not see a major difference in temps from the 3/8" - 1/2" unless you are cooling multiple GPU's in a loop.

    The fittings were an expensive trial for me. I landed on a combo of BitsPower (the best fittings on the market IMO) and Monsoon.
    Personally I won't use anything but compression, but thats just my aesthetics preference.
    As far as fans go for radiators. I don't go with anything less than 2.0 mmH2O static pressure. Short of getting into the noisy (30+ dB) range.
    I tried/tested more fans that I care to remember and ended up using these:
    http://www.coolermaster-usa.com/product.php?product_id=2965&product_name=Excalibur (R4-EXBB-20PK-R0)
    Thet run at 3.53 mmH2O and really pull a lot of air through a rad. This is not scientific, but
    observational that the static pressure curve seems very steep and they hold a disproportionate amount of their pressure at a lower RPM. Either that or Static pressure ratings are not well regulated or measured differently by various companies.
    If extremely quietness is more important. The Cougars are very good. @ 19dB they are rated @ 2.2 mmH2O:
    [​IMG] http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835553002
    Do yourself a favor and cut in a custom, easy to access drain point for yourself. It makes things much easier. :)
    This is how I did mine: ***The orange Arrow is pointing to it. I just used a acrylic block with G-1/4 fittings on three sides at the bottom of the loop. I can have it drained in 60 seconds.

    As far as tubing goes, You will get many impassioned responses to this, but I will say PrimoChill tentatively. I find it has more of a rubber feel to it, a great consistent gloss finish, and will take tighter radius's before kinking.
    You should however read the latest feedback on how the tubing you choose is working with the fittings you choose, hazing, and other properties. Fittings such as the Monsoon line are particularly dependent on the O.D. dimension being bang on for maximum effectiveness and workability.
    I tried one brand of tubing that made the Monsoon a 'non-compression' fitting because the O.D. was under sized. It's worth purchasing a 12" snip of each tubing you are interested in for a test fit IMO. :)

    Hope some of that helps.

    Also make sure you check out Chefs Watercooling Guide for all kinds of good info.
    That can be had here:
    Burty117 and UNKNOWN9122 like this.
  3. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 3,041   +793

    Thanks for all the Info! that's plenty to get me started! :)

    In regards to the drain point, if I'm going to have a duel loop system, will I need 2 of these? one for each loop?
  4. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    yup, but if you are cooling,CPU, chipset, and one graphics card: you might want to consider just going with one loop.
    as far as the drain point. go low and easy to get at.
    *** do not forget to flush your new rad(s) proir to install or you will find a heap of flux/residue sitting atop your micro-channels in the shape of your jet plate cutout***
    ...trust me on this one. I missed just one of my three rads on a build and it was not pretty :eek:
  5. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 3,041   +793

    Haha! ok I won't forget, that link to Chefs guide is amazing! One of the best Guides I've seen in fact! thanks for the CPU cooler info, helps me make a decision as I plan to buy all of this when I have the money (hopefully March time which means the spec of the PC will change to accommodate the latest Intel Processors etc...

    I was tempted by One Loop but I do plan to add graphics cards in the future and if need be overclock fairly heavily so I thought if I have 2 loops and a pump to each loop, water flow will be running at its peak.

    In the future I planned on having 2 or 3 graphics card so I would assume having a CPU, Chipset, and 3 graphics cards on one loop would be a bit of a stretch. if not though and you reckon it would it ok I don't mind lowing my stuff to run on one loop, saves me money :)

    I'm not too worried about price at the moment as I'm in planning stages but it may become an obstacle in the future. we'll see.
    I'm hoping to get it all done by august as that's when I'm going to i49 gaming festival and I plan on bringing my rig ;)
  6. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 3,041   +793

    One last question actually, What are from your view, one of the better 120mm fans out there?
    Just realized that case supports 4x 120mm and 3x 140mm...
  7. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    For case ventilation I use the Cougar 120 & 140 listed above. They are very quiet (19dB) and move as much air as many of the louder fans. The bearing system is great (300,000 MTBF) hydraulic fluid, and they are fairly focused.
  8. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 3,041   +793

    Awesome! thanks for the advice, I'll add them to the list :)
  9. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    red that is one hot rig you got there xD. Do you only use 1 cougar fan?
  10. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    There are two 120mm Cougars on the door, 1 x 140mm pulling the exhaust 120mm rad.
  11. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    what case fans do you use?
  12. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    Thats what I meant. The cougars for the case, and CoolerMaster Excalibur's for the three radiators.
  13. madboyv1

    madboyv1 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,445   +349

    I think I'll bookmark this thread... If there's anyone I'd trust for building suggestions, the first would be Red. I too am considering on setting up a "real" liquid cooling setup for my next computer. :eek:
  14. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    Awfully kind of you mad :)
    You really should have a look at the Chefs thread /guide on WC'ing
    Its excellent! :)
  15. greenyoga

    greenyoga TS Rookie

    Good advice,thanks I'll check it out.
  16. Jad Chaar

    Jad Chaar Elite Techno Geek Posts: 6,515   +974

    Oh I thought it was the opposite. I thought those cougars could only mount on radiators not cases. thanks!
  17. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 3,041   +793

    Red, just a quick bit of advise, I have now settled on a Cooler Master Cosmos II Ultra and a single loop system, I've decided on just cooling the CPU, Chipset and one Graphics card. I won't be adding any more in the future.

    My Question is this, in the cooler master, it can fit a triple radiator up top and a double down bottom.

    If I was to have the reservoir and pump (D5) in the 5.25Inch Bay, do you think the loop would be ok to go something like this:

    Res/pump > triple radiator > CPU > Chipset > GPU > Double Radiator . . . then back to res.

    Or should I go with one extra radiator as I could have a loop of:

    Res/pump > triple radiator > CPU > Chipset > Single Radiator > GPU > Double Radiator . . . then back to res

    I was wondering if having that many radiator's would have a negative affect on the loop?

    Thanks for all the wonderful advise so far (and the link to chef's guide!) been very handy, I also decided on the cougar fans ;)
  18. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    Yes that will work, how you have the loop (order has very little effect on the cooling characteristics) so set the order up according to the most efficient routing of your coolant tubes.
    as far as the three rads , no problem. I run 1 x XT45mm x 360mm, 2 x XT45mm x 240mm,( you can get 2 x 240's in the bottom if you like) 1 x XT45mm x 120mm, and the cooling results are fantastic. I do run dual D5's with that many rads in mine , but with only 1 x 240mm a single D5 should be good as long as you are not running any restrictive blocks or rads.
    If you want to throw me a WC'ing parts list I would be happy to have a look :)

    *** this is how they look in theCosmos 2 BTW :p
  19. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 3,041   +793

    I actually drooled at that picture xD

    I haven't got a definite list yet, the Rad that you originally suggested do get a lot of good praise so I guess it would be:

    Alphacool NexXxos XT (triple, single and double)

    Aqua computer full GPU Block (designed for the MSI Lightning)

    I am really struggling to find a single bay res that will house a D5 though? I don't think they exist so I may end up going for a double Bay res and probably an XSPC D5? not really sure which one to get to be honest :/
  20. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    Here is another in mid-build for ya Burty :)
  21. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 3,041   +793

    Man that is nice! Any sneaky pictures of the finished product?

    Also I have now found all the parts I'm going for :) List below:

    Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 - triple, double and single sizes (one of each).

    Koolance 380i CPU block
    EK MSI 680 Lightning full block

    Cougar fans all round (like the idea of quietness)

    XSPC D5 Duel Bay Reservoir with D5 Pump (Black)

    Now all I need to choose is the Compression fittings, not sure which ones are the best?
    and Tubing :)

    Plus I must remember a Drain point xD
  22. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    :) Looks good
    I just ordered the 380 myself. As far as fittings, go with Bitspower all the way.
    Those are exactly the same rads I have in my rig (both model and QYT) Let me know if you need help along the way.
    **don't forget to flush/backflush the rads when you get them.
    ** do a dry run for leak testing.
    ** jump your PSU or use another power source
    ** make sure the pumps are primed when you start them. dry pumps do not last long**
  23. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 3,041   +793

    Bloody hell! Is that quad Crossfire?! Your insane!
    Thanks, I will print out the list of things to do when I get all the parts in, and chefs guide as well!
    So Bitspower is the way to go for Compression fittings? Well that's decided then!

    Now just to find some Red Tubing!
  24. red1776

    red1776 Omnipotent Ruler of the Universe Posts: 5,223   +163

    It is Quadfire (4 x 7970)..and it's essential for...ya know...stufff LOL

    I prefer PrimoChill for it's feel and hi gloss look. It has more rubber feel and less plastic, but have the guys at FrozenCPU send you a few samples so you can make up your own mind. Yes I believe that BitsPowewr are far and away the best fittings made. I use a combo of them and Monsoon I also like. With Monsoon you have to be aware of the O.D. of your tubing. some manufacturers make it a bit undersized and then you lose the compression aspect of the monsoon fittings. As far as using colorants, my advice is DON"T. they are a pain n the A**. the color falls out and they clog things and residue collects in the lines and especially the pump housing/impeller. If you want color....use colored tubing...IMHO :)
    Here ya go. Bucky and the crew are great to deal with as well.

  25. Burty117

    Burty117 TechSpot Chancellor Topic Starter Posts: 3,041   +793

    Thanks Red,

    Yeah I was planning on just Distilled water so Red Tubing was exactly what I was after.
    Just to confirm then, this tubing you've linked me to, what compression fittings would link all this up?

    1/4 compression fittings I suppose?

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