1. TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users. Ask a question and give support. Join the community here.
    TechSpot is dedicated to computer enthusiasts and power users.
    Ask a question and give support.
    Join the community here, it only takes a minute.
    Dismiss Notice

Help a noob with water cooling!

By Tabbywabby · 15 replies
May 17, 2012
Post New Reply
  1. Hello,
    My current build consists of,
    Antec DF-85; I have done some mods to the case, ill link it as soon as I have some pics.
    Asrock Z68 Extreme 3 Gen 3
    Intel i5-2500k @ 4ghz (I want higher)
    16 Gbs of DDR3 1600
    250 GB Sata3 hardrive
    60 GB SSD for cacheing with the Z68
    I only have the stock cooler for the cpu in anticipation for water cooling.
    x2 Sapphire Radeon 6950 Dirt 3 edition, in Xfire; A full cover block does not exist for this card, or at least that I know of.

    I will post pics as soon as I have the time to get them.

    I found most of the componets using cooling configurator.

    I want this to be entirely contained in the case, except for some radiators on the exterior that resembles this build, Here. http://www.techpowerup.com/gallery/3298.html

    So what I have is all found on frozencpu.com. This is a all inclusive cooling system where aesthestics! I want as much to be red and black as possible. I have read multiple guides for liquid cooling, but I always feel like I missed something, here what I have so far.

    Magicool Extreme Dual 140mm Radiator - Slim Profile (MC-RADI280); This is to help with compatibility with the case. This is for the top dual 140mm fans on the top of the case. Also if you look at the case could you recommend other radiator placements?

    Select G 1/4" Fittings (Qty. 2): 3/8" ID Barb ($5.98)

    EK Supreme LTX CPU Liquid Cooling Block - Electroless Nickel Plated (EK-Supreme LTX - EN (Nickel))

    Select G 1/4" Fittings (Qty. 2): 3/8" ID Barb - Black ($6.50)

    x2 EK VGA Supreme HF -Bridge Edition- Universal High Performance VGA Cooling Block - Acrylic (EK-VGA Supreme HF Bridge Edition)

    Select G 1/4" Fittings (Qty. 4): 3/8" ID Barb ($5.98)

    Feser Tube Active UV Hose - 3/8" ID (1/2"OD) Anti-Kink Tubing - UV Red

    Steel Spring Hose Clamp for 1/2" OD Tubing - Black

    Enzotech BCC9 Memory Ramsinks - 8 Pack (BMR-C1L)

    Danger Den Monsoon "Premium" D5 / MCP655 Dual Bay Reservoir - Black / Black Face / Red Trim / Red LEDs (RES-304) - New Revision!!

    Swiftech MCP655-B ($89.95); Fits inside the reservoir.
    Select G 1/4" Fittings (Qty. 2): 3/8" ID Barb ($5.98)

    PrimoChill Anti-Kink Coils - 1/2 OD" Tubing - UV Red; Mostly for asthetics but I'm afraid that things will become rather cramped.

    I do wish I could find some motherboard MOSFET blocks. I have tried coolingconfig but the only recommended blocks that they have, they do not actually sell.

    My Cards have MOSFET sinks already installed however VRAM may be a problem, I don't know enough to tell

    Also if I can get kinda the same look with somewhat comparable cooling for less, and you know of these parts, or part stores, where I can get this stuff, I would really appreciate a link.

    Thanks in advance

  2. Marnomancer

    Marnomancer TS Booster Posts: 723   +51

    You may want to read Dividebyzero's water cooling guide. It's located in the Guides and Tutorials section of the Forums.
    Happy cooling!
  3. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Correct. The Sapphire 6950 "DiRT3 Editions" (both models: 100312-3SR and 11188-05-50G) are non reference with cheaper componenty. The large chokes sitting between the outputs and the GPU make it problematic for a full cover block. As a general rule, only reference cards and high specification factory designs (MSI Lightning for example) get the waterblock treatment.
    For a CPU + 2 GPU blocks, that radiator isn't going to cut it. If for some reason you're stuck on a slim radiator then the XSPC EX280 is a better proposition for the same price. Personally I'd go for a performance radiator with matched fans in push-pull (fans either side of the radiator):
    Ditch the top rear fan- it will be working against the airflow going to the radiator regardless of radiator size, and it's cooling effectiveness is pretty suspect sitting that high above the motherboard. Removing the fan will give you adequate space for an effective radiator and push-pull 25mm deep fans or a radiator plus 38mm deep fan (push or pull)
    Coolgate Dual 140 ($83) is about the best in class that is still reasonably priced, with the EKWB CoolStream XTC 280 ($83) and Phobya G-Changer 280 ($74) as reasonable alternatives, although the Coolgate's price represents excellent performance per dollar
    I have no idea what fittings you're linking to, but I'd suggest Bitspower if these aren't them. I presume you used the dropdown list of accessories on the FrozenCPU product pages.
    An "ok" block, but ideally suited for low restriction. CPU + 2 x VGA + possible MOSFET doesn't really count as low restriction.
    I'd suggest looking at the XSPC RayStorm ($50) -it's a better performer than the LTX (and cheaper), and being a high flow block is better suited to the loop you want to put together. I use the RayStorm myself and it is an excellent block. Two caveats;
    1. The hold down bracket is 5mm plexiglass and can flex if overtightened. An aluminium part is available- the actual shipping part has a blacked out centre with just the outer edge left natural aluminium
    2. The Raystorm plexiglass bracket holds four LED's -2 are supplied. They are blue:
    You can change them to red obviously -just buy the appropriate 3mm LED's

    Who is "they" -FrozenCPU ? Check Sidewinder, Performance PC's, Petra's Tech or possibly Xoxide. EKWB or Koolance universal MOSFET blocks would likely fit...the only question I'd ask is why you want to cool the power regulation on a board that doesn't really require it
    Tabbywabby likes this.
  4. Tabbywabby

    Tabbywabby TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Thanks for the VERY comprehensive help DBZ. To answer your questions, yes I just used the pull down menus to find the fittings, they, is "EK" one of the few water cooling part providers I knew of, and the reason for the MOSFET blocks is purely asthetic, as is a good bit of the system. I do however want a good bit of OC potential. For the rads, as well as my space constraint. Would you reccomend an exterior radiator? I really like the look of the raystorm with the red LEDs...

    And you know, while I'm at it, what is a good guide to show me how to single wire sleeve my cables, the sleeving that came with the PSU looks terrible.

    Working on those pics...

    I already did, it helped me a'lot, in fact it got me to the point I'm at right now.
  5. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    EKWB (Edvard König) are an excellent manufacturer of watercooling parts, but as you'll note from the guide you read, they are far from being the only source; Bitspower, Aquacomputer, Danger Den, Phobya, Swiftech, Koolance, XSPC and many other vendors exist.
    You're going to have to balance cooling with aesthetics then within your budget. You've probably already noted my preference.
    The DF-85 isn't want I would call "space constrained". For a CPU + 2 VGA + 1-2 MOSFET you should be looking at two seperate loops, which means a divided reservoir with seperate pumps if you're intent on a bay reservoir. Single pump bay reservoirs can be irritating to bleed, a dual turns irritating into infuriating.

    Depending upon how much OC'ing and heat dissipation is likely to be involved*, then a quality roof mounted 280mm and an external rear mounted 240mm would be more than adequate. A 2500K doesn't generate that much heat even at 4.7-5+ GHz. Looking to the TPU featured rig for comparision is a waster of time, effort and expense- that rig has one of the hottest running CPU's onboard along with two space heaters (HD 6990's)
    If you've never cable sleeved before, start with individual cables first for practice -fan extension cables or SATA data cables. Maybe not much less cost/time effective to but individually sleeved extension cable (BitFenix and NZXT and Modright and Performance PC's)

    * I take it you did use the wattage calculator to work out how much heat dissipation you require.
    Tabbywabby likes this.
  6. Tabbywabby

    Tabbywabby TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Okay, I have gone back recalculated the the power requirements with a 1200 mhz overclock, 4.5 ghz.* With this the power requirements end up being 628 watts, so 594 units of cooling this is about 100 watts more than you would reccomend for a 280 rad. Should I add the exterior 240 rad? if so how do I do that? In the pictures that I have seen with an exterior rad there has been some kind of mount extending the rads away from the case. Also, for killing the bacteria in the loop, I know you cant use nickel and silver in the same loop, so would you reccomend Nuke? I have the space, and a mod that would allow me to make an aesthetically pleasing build while having large amounts of equipment, I also redid some of the measurements in the top of my case and I should have enough room for a decent rad and fans, however it will be running up against the mobo MOSFET sinks.

    *Should I go higher? You mentioned 5 ghz, but I don't know what that would do to the life of the cpu, I also don't know the intricacies of overvolting, I only know what they do to enhace the overclock.

    Ps. Sorry about all of the questions, but you said that the key to a good build was pre planing.

  7. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Based on what you're attempting to achieve, yes. A 280mm roof mounted rad on it's own is going to have it's work cut out trying to dissipate that kind of heat- you are also going to need some serious airflow to get the best possible result
    Cheap and effective way: Four M3 or M4 double ended stud (bolt)- radiator and fan mounted at one end, the other end attaches to the rear fan securing holes on the rear of the chassis. Usually use two nuts at the rad/fan end to trap/secure the radiator/fan(s) between them:
    Standard method : Swiftech radbox -effective, or Koolance if it's got to be shiny
    It's the Koolance radbox I linked to
    Personally I'd get the non-Nickel plated block, but then, once bitten twice shy (I'm sure the shoddy plating issue is now resolved, but can you guarantee you aren't getting old stock?). You do realise that galvanic corrosion will occur even without silver present in the loop? The only sure method of lessening the impact is to keep the metals in the loop as homogeneous as possible. My own loops for example -radiators Alphacool NexXxos XT/UT ( copper fins, tubes and tanks- only the threaded tank sleeves are brass), blocks ( EL copper), fittings (silver). The only other metal involved is the pump chamber
    So long as there is room for both you shouldn't have a problem. If a 60mm deep rad is problematic, go with a ~55mm like the EK CoolStream XTC
    Overclocking potential isn't guaranteed. It's luck of the draw when it comes to how high a chip will clock, and what voltage it need to achieve any given speed. FPO batch numbers might lessen the needle-in-a-haystack approach, but that is far from a sure thing
    Tabbywabby likes this.
  8. Tabbywabby

    Tabbywabby TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Ok, so later for the loop layout. (for the CPU, x2 GPU, 2 MOSFET) What would the path be?

    Here are those pics

    This is the top of the case, the fans to the left are the top 140mm

    This is the entire case, again the top is the 2 140mm fans to the left.

    This is a view of the rubber rings going to the outside of the case. Relative to the GPUS this hopefully can give you an idea of where I should route the tubing to the exterior of the case.

    This is a view of the PSU shroud mod I have performed, I know I will be scoffed at for messing with the airflow or whatever, but it looks cool.

    Another reason for me working on water cooling would be to clean up some of the clearances.
  9. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    If you wanted some advice on flow order I'm not sure why you've posted all the pics tbh, especially since you haven't finalized a parts list. Assuming you're going with the parts list in post #1 -I.e. a bay reservoir/D5 pump setup:

    Res/pump > GPU's > external 240mm rad > CPU > MOSFETS > internal 280mm rad > Res/pump

    I'm not sure why you are looking at the Swiftech MCP655 if you are attaching it to a integral reservoir. A bare D5 pump is all that you require- the pump head is superfluous. I'd personally look at the Koolance PMP-450S since it's based on the D5T Strong. I couldn't find a bare pump version cheaper than the Koolance- you then have the option for a large upgrade in pumping power if you convert the pump for ~15-18V operation. With a bay reservoir, turbulance/cavitation will become a major problem at the pumps rated maximum of 24V, so I wouldn't recommend anything higher than 18V
  10. Tabbywabby

    Tabbywabby TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Okay, this was another frozen cpu pulldown menu fail... the pics were more for help with clearance issues, if you look you can see that the rad would likely get in the way of my dvd drive and my bay res, if I got one. Should I consider dual exterior rads? Ditch the bay res? It wouldn't be that difficult to mount the res and pump in the extra 3.5" drive bays, I could also place a pump under my PSU shroud and drill 2 holes in the shroud for the hoses to pass through. Right now the most important part of my part selections are the clearances.
  11. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    You seem to be approaching this from an odd angle imo. You should be fitting components around the watercooling- not picking a watercooling loop based on the placement and size of an optical drive.
    Almost any decent sized roof mounted radiator means that the top 5.25" bay or two becomes mostly unusable for devices of any great depth- which is why you see fan controllers mounted there in wc'ed chassis. My advice is to shift the optical drive to the bottom of the three drive bays (or buy a drive that doesn't have so much depth). Notice that the rig that you are aspiring to emulate -the Corsair Obsidian in the TPU link- doesn't even have an ODD fitted. This might be as much a case of placement/cable management as not needing an optical drive. Placing the reservoir/pump above shouldn't impact on the radiator clearance- it's a pretty short reservoir/pump. It might make for some tight tubing routing for inflow, but should still be easily do-able.
    On the subject of cable management, I'd also suggest moving those godawful hot-swap plastic brackets lower in the chassis-especially if you have harddrives in them. Closer to the PSU means less cable clutter- and you are likely going to need all the space you can for routing extra fan cables
    Personal taste. A roof mounted rad works, so why not use it?
    I don't use them as a general rule. They don't bleed well, they don't fill well and they are noisy. YMMV
    Pretty much. Easy enough to fit a pump/tank reservoir in the space between the PSU and 3.5" drive bays. My present chassis of choice for myself and my customers is the Switch 810 which has about the same internal/external measurements as the DF-85. As you can see a D5 (D5T/790N in this case) and XSPC tank res fit pretty easily in the space ahead of the PSU - and that's without involving the 3.5" caddy....the added advantages are that they are easy to fill, easy to bleed, quieter than just about any high flow pump top, and because of their compact size, two complete units can be mounted side-by-side for seperate loops.
    If you're drilling holes for a tubing pass through, I'd recommend installing rubber grommets to the holes to protect the tubing.
    Tabbywabby likes this.
  12. Tabbywabby

    Tabbywabby TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Alrighty, at last I think most of my questions have been answered. Your help has been priceless. I am really not trying to emulate the Obsidian build as much as I really appreciate how it looks and I want to take those traits that seem to be work it it and apply them to my build. If you have other suggestions or better systems, I would be even more grateful.

    Thanks for the suggestion on the "godawful hot-swap plastic brackets" I don't like that area of case, everything is just... ugly.

    Yes... about the cable clutter, considering that you appear to be a professional builder (at least that I can infer) would you have any other suggestions to clean it up a bit, I had expected the cable management to be a bit better with this case than it was, but what can I say... it's not Corsair.

    Thanks SO much,


    Ps. What we conversed about here you should add to you guide, at least the main points. You cant over simplfy what would appear to be, an art form. Also express you opinion a bit more, like with the bay res and such.
  13. dividebyzero

    dividebyzero trainee n00b Posts: 4,891   +1,262

    Watercooling like the TPU rig, is just as much about aesthetic as it is about cooling. The problem with showcasing a rig is that the pics you see are at the very pinnacle (I.e. newly built) of that aesthetic. Hanging a nice rad setup off the back of the chassis "looks pro"...care to know how long it takes for stackable radiators with no filters to get jammed up with dust - a matter of weeks, and those chromed Koolance reservoir brackets are an absolute pig to clean of dust buildup. Taking apart, cleaning and refitting becomes a significant part of the maintenance schedule.
    Your best bet for idea's would be to peruse the work logs at XS, bit-tech, TPU, Guru3D etc. and note what they achieve, and at what expense.
    If you don't use the hot-swap feature, then it isn't much of a problem to unscrew the backpanes and keep them with all the spare parts that you accumulate - expansion slot covers, drive bay covers etc. that you'd wish you kept when to come to sell the chassis.
    The Obsidian is a far cry from the perfect watercooling chassis. If I'd have realized how limited the options were I wouldn't have bought one (my primary-soon-to-be-secondary rig uses a 800D).
    Unfortunately, the DF-85 suffers from being a narrow chassis. You can't hide excess cables between the PSU and motherboard tray area. Having a (mostly) modular PSU helps, but good cable management will depend on multiple cables running parallel to each other wherever possible -having them crossing paths limits the natural cable channels. You also have a lot of components in the system, and that necessitates cabling/clutter. You'll note that a lot of "clean" looking show rigs tend to be devoid of a lot of the things most people actually use-I.e a lot of vacant USB, SATA, harddrive, optical ports and bays. If you fall into the trap/obsession of I'veGotABigBudgetAndChassisIMustFillItAtAllCosts-itis then there is no escaping a final look that says Terminator after the unfortunate incident with the garbage compactor. What you could do is route the excess cabling behind the mobo tray area and back into an empty 3.5" bay or two. It may not be the best for air flow, but shouldn't hinder it too much is you use bays closer to the floor of the chassis.
    The idea behind the guide was to give an unbiased overview of watercooling only. There is so much room for individuality in putting a system together- and very few "don'ts", that makes watercooling appealing (it certainly isn't the ease of use or cost) that giving an opinion in the guide runs the risk of stifling a potential water cooler's creativity. I'm happy enough giving my advice on individual threads such as this, but in a guide, who's to say that the aesthetic of a front bay reservoir (for example) doesn't outweigh the possible extra work involved in filling/bleeding or a slightly louder flow noise?

    EDIT: And you're right. I've been watercooling for a loooong time, and been a system builder for 20+ years...and putting my own systems together since the early eighties.
    Tabbywabby likes this.
  14. Tabbywabby

    Tabbywabby TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 25

    My hat is off to you Mr. DBZ. I appreciate your help more than you think. However, I may be in contact soon, pro help is just too much to resist.
  15. GeforcerFX

    GeforcerFX TS Evangelist Posts: 531   +159

    can I ask why are you so set on water cooling? A I5 2500k isn't a space heater and a good air cooler with dual 120mm fans (quiet) would easily get you too 4.5 and even 5 GHz (there's all sorts of forums and even articles on sandy bridge chips getting to 5ghz on air coolers) dependent on ambient temps. Your video cards are also not epically warm. Unless you were planning on overvolting and extreme overclocking them, LC seems like a waste of cash. I am a extreme budget builder so I always tell people to go air coolers personally, and I have only made around 5 water cooling set ups(my Alienware also has a self contained LC unit in it), Overall your system could easily be cooled with air coolers, you would see massive improvements in your OC just getting off the stock heat sinks. If your going for the look though, I understand that, I have a lot of friends who water cool just for the look, was just curious is all.

    P.S. Dividbyzero, forgot how much of a wc genius you are.
  16. Tabbywabby

    Tabbywabby TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 25

    Yeah, I know that it may not be the most productive thing to do, much less cost efficient. But when I built my computer I knew in my heart, other than for gaming, that the reason was to show it off. I know that may seem stupid or just ridiculous to some people but for me its extremely important to me, don't ask me why because I do not know. Also with this system I am thinking about building I can upgrade to a set space heaters, if you notice most of what has been recommended to me is universal and will work in most cases, CPUs, andGPUs. I know it may seem illogical to some people, but I'm not ignorant of the money and time that this will take.

Similar Topics

Add New Comment

You need to be a member to leave a comment. Join thousands of tech enthusiasts and participate.
TechSpot Account You may also...