I want to water cool my rig

By K2NsC · 18 replies
Jan 13, 2014
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  1. Thanks for this guide... I want to water cool my rig. The components I want to water cool are fallowing:
    i5 2500 K over clocked to 4.6 GHZ
    x2 MSI 680 Lightening at stock. May want to over clock it very little if any for benchmark purpose.

    I would like to create a custom loop... I did some planning in attached image that presents components I want to use and direction of air flow and water circulation.

    K2MIL PC.

    I spent hours jumping from forum to forum and discovered that general rule of thumb is 120mm radiator per component and 240mm for overclocked component in my case that would be:
    240 CPU +240 GPUs = 480 mm of radiator in total

    Now why is my diagram presenting a total of 440 mm that is because I read a 240 radiator with high pressure fans that I want to use would perform just as good as the 280mm Rad. and that is why. Also I believe just like with PSU calculator I consider that my components will never at once be 100 % Load and go with 90 % utilization instead.(Seams like everyone have its own theory on this)

    Following is a list of components I want to use with links:

    XSPC Raystorm EX240 Universal
    XSPC Raystorm 750 EX240 Extreme Universal
    Phobya Xtreme 200mm Radiator
    x2 EK MSI GeForce 680 GTX Lightning VGA Liquid
    x2 Corsair Air Series SP120
    Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition

    x2 200 mm stock Corsair Air from 650D case
    I'm seeking your expertise . I feel like I need more radiator power but I'm getting a new case and I don't want to hard mod this one. Your input will decide if I will move on with this project or stay on air until next time... The main reason why I want to go water is a challenge that comes with this project...Thanks.

  2. K2NsC

    K2NsC TS Member Topic Starter

    To moderator not sure how to edit my previous post but I just wanted to apply a correction that I am not getting a new case for my pc
  3. dividebyzero

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

    The layout and general requirements look pretty much OK. With two cards and a CPU block I'd probably steer clear of the of 'Universal Extreme" kit, and look at a Laing D5 for pumping purposes since it would better handle the loop flow restriction.
    With that in mind you're better off looking at the first kit - although FrozenCPU aren't the cheapest. I'd personally look at the AX series kit (w/ D5), as the AX rads are a lot better than the RX/EX series. Performance PC's shipping rates are comparable to FrozenCPU and also ship internationally if you aren't in the U.S.
    You can also just source the parts separately for around the same price, and then you have the ability to choose tubing sizes and fittings - you may want to use at least a couple of rotary compression fittings to alleviate any kinking/flattening of tubing issues.
    XSPC Raystorm ($50)
    XSPC Bay res ($55)
    D5 pump (you don't need the pump housing or retention ring if fitting to a bay res) ($76)
    XSPC AX240 rad ($80) , although I prefer the Alphacool NexXxos XT45 ($54). Both are full copper (fins and tubes) construction with similar heat dissipation abilities.

    I have a watercooling guide here at Techspot which may- or may not, add to your knowledge base.
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2014
    K2NsC and cliffordcooley like this.
  4. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,408   +3,418

    I witnessed a mod moving this posting from the guide.
    dividebyzero likes this.
  5. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Based on your picks already, I would personally go for XSPC Radiators over Phobya just because they seem like really good quality parts overall and ive heard less complaints from them as of recent. I use their 360 extreme kit with a 120mm added in on a 9590 and 2 HD 6990s so with your selection of radiators your going to have more than enough power to cool your system and more.

    BTW, of all the CPU blocks ive used im my time and seen, ive liked the performance and feel of the raystorm the most so I would definitely stick with that block.
  6. dividebyzero

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

    Nice to know someone is minding the store!
  7. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,408   +3,418

    One day I might build enough confidence to try water cooling myself. Until then, I love reading about others, as they do or at least question the idea. Meantime, I wish the OP the best of luck as they move forward.
  8. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Meh, its fun to me and its a fun endeavor to take on. Im actually on thursday getting the blocks for my 290X's, might post something showing them getting put into place for fun. Its a cool endeavor I took up years ago because it seemed like a fun idea for the heavy clocker in me. Just buy some of the good liquid instead of the cheap stuff and your "pretty" safe. My friends machine had a leak on his GTX 580s and motherboard because he failed to tighten a GPU connector and the machine survived just fine. Key things for me when building, check each connector 3 times for leaks and make sure they are snug, watch your tank levels as you fill the system's tubes and make sure it completes a full cycle (I watch the liquid travel while filling to make sure it does not slow down anywhere), and just make sure the reservoir stays nice and full. Its actually a very easy and fun endeavor in this day and age!
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  9. K2NsC

    K2NsC TS Member Topic Starter

    I posted this after your guide not sure why it was moved and also I sign in from twitter account and it seams I cant edit my own post....

    Any way want to thank you and others for the input ... I definitely go with the parts you recommended my only concern in the Alphacool NexXxos XT45 since its 45 mm plus 25 mm fan that's 70 mm not sure if I have a luxury of clearance in my 650D.

    I created another quick sketch presenting 1 to 10 order of all the G1/4″ Threads among the parts.
    I double check every part and
    consider in/out according to manufacture requirements.
    This is the first time water build. I read, watch videos but when it comes to connectors, fittings and tubing it can get complicated. I know for specialist/ experienced user answer would be simple. My question is: what kind of connectors I should use between 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, so on? Considering I want to go with ticker tubing 1/2'' and don't want to kink it
  10. dividebyzero

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

    The AC XT45 should fit, although if you have a motherboard with a tall MOSFET heatsink you may run into clearance problems. Generally speaking the XT45 will be compatible with most P67/Z68/Z77 boards, although you might find plugging in the boards EPS12V plug a tight fit. Here's a 650D + XT45 for your perusal.
    If you're not happy with the lack of clearance, then I'd opt for EK's CoolStream PE (a 38mm deep radiator) or if you can afford the expense, the Alphacool AX240 (40mm deep) that I linked to earlier.

    Now the fittings:
    With 1/2" ID tubing you have two options. 5/8" outer diameter or 3/4". There is more choice with the latter (both tubing brands and fittings), but the only real difference is that 5/8" tubing necessitates that you get a very good quality of tubing since the tubing wall is half the thickness of the 3/4" tubing (1/16" versus 1/8" wall thickness for the 3/4" tubing). I prefer 5/8" personally since tightening 3/4" fittings on a Raystorm is a PITA.
    [​IMG] 3/4" fittings
    [​IMG] 5/8" fittings on my system ( a slightly better view of the clearance between fittings >>here<< albeit a bit blurry)

    As for the fittings themselves, I would recommend Bitspower unreservedly.
    For the radiators and pump/res, you may want to opt for barbs + clamps, since spring loaded clamps and barbs are easier to work with in tight spaces. So 6 of each (fittings 1,2,3,8,9,10 in your diagram)
    For the SLI bridge and CPU block (4 fittings), You can go with compression or barb/clamp. Compression obviously look dressier, but either is fine. With either you also have the option of using dual (or triple) rotaries which can be adjusted to the natural curvature of the tubing layout (I've used two triples to effect a 135° bend for the inflow into the tank reservoir to allow clearance for the PSU cables and keep flow restriction -no sharp bends- to a minimum)
    Triple rotary barb fitting.
    Triple rotary compression (5/8")
    Triple rotary compression (3/4") (note the larger compression ring over the 5/8" version)
    Standard compression (5/8")
    Standard compression (3/4")
    If using standard compression, you also have the option of using fittings that are internally plated with pure silver ( the 5/8" fittings shown in my rig above are Bitspower True Silver ). Silver acts as a biocide (anti fungal/biological), and using the fittings means that you don't need to add additives or use a silver kill coil in the system - just distilled water + the fittings themselves is sufficient...along with periodic maintenance (flushing and refilling the loop) of course.

    Tubing: Any of the quality brands (lab/food standard quality) will fit the bill. If you're opting for coloured tubing then PrimoFlex LRT Advanced is a good choice. They also make transparent tubing as well. Tygon tubing is a little more expensive, but holds its clarity for longer and ages better than most other brands. Tygon don't really do colours though, although they do a silver lined antimicrobial tubing. The grey colour may not be to everyone's taste.

    One other thing to note. The Raystorm block ships with an acrylic hold down plate (and a couple of LEDs w00t!). Unless you're totally enamoured with the lightshow effect, I'd seriously consider investing in a replacement aluminium hold down bracket since the acrylic can bend alarmingly once torqued down with any great pressure. It is available in anodized black (as per the link) or brushed aluminium (see my pic above). There are also white and red faceplates available if the kit supplied black one isn't to your liking

    Hopefully this answers a few of your questions
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2014
  11. K2NsC

    K2NsC TS Member Topic Starter

    I can try to fit AX45. I updated my full system info on my page. I have ASROCK Z68 PRO 7.
    I'm planing to do the build log and post it sometime IN NEW POST. So far I have

    Corsair Hi pressure fans
    X2 EK water blocks for my SLI.

    Now I will study more on recommended fittings and over all on water cooling. I plan to purchase rest of the parts after my tax return something next month or so.

    Do you have a build log of your water cooling rig? or may I ask you to post some more pictures of overall set up
  12. dividebyzero

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

    Sorry, I don't really keep build logs as such. My fit-out tends to change reasonably frequently so unless I need to illustrate a point, or need reference points I don't usually break out a camera. The last system I got snap happy with was an old tri (later dual) -SLI 8800 Ultra setup I put into a 800D for temp testing purposes at OC3D.
    The current setup is more just a bog standard CPU-only loop with some cooling overhead built in for testing waterblocked graphics on occasion. The only thing of note is that the radiator is mounted the "wrong way round" (inlet/outlet mounted at the front to reduce tubing clutter) in the Switch 810.
    Most of the other pictures I have I took for reference purposes, trying to nudge the NZXT rep into maybe incorporating some design changes in any chassis revision (some of which seem to have made their way into the Phantom 820). The tank reservoir required a brace for mounting in the floor of the chassis- I made do with machining a cruciform baseplate out of 5mm acrylic (the shot also shows off the silver plated compression fittings quite nicely)
    ...and having the radiator inlet/outlet at the front of the chassis necessitated dremelling in two ports through the top (fixed) 5.25" bay. Sleeving the holes with grommets from the auto parts store protects the tubing from sharp edges. Luckily the newer Phantom chassis has addressed this need.

    So, as you can see, excepting a little modding which only arose from my desire to keep the chassis uncluttered - both from an aesthetic and airflow perspective, the current machine is pretty much a "by the numbers" build. The clutter is reduced further by using a Scythe Kaze Master fan controller and a distribution block (for running the ten fans), and whipping up a couple on inline SATA power cables for the drives - which keeps the PSU cabling down to the bare minimum[​IMG]

    Well, I suppose this has turned out to be a mini build log of sorts!
    K2NsC likes this.
  13. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Let me see if I can assist because I have an 800D case which is the bigger brother of your case and I run a multi-gpu setup with a raystorm CPU block.

    A couple things to note, radiator thickness also plays an important role when it comes to the 120mm per device rule. A thicker radiator provides a better heat dissipation as is and can also cause issues when cramming components in your case. Just a little warning because even after measuring things can be missed and you end up with a tight squeeze or components not fitting correctly along with it effecting your cooling.

    Now I noticed you are going with frozencpu and your first choice was one of the ex kits. Now I would say that a good kit because I got a similar one not offered anymore that had a raystorm and the Rx360 radiator by xspc along with that reservoir and the swiftech mcp655 variable pump. I'd almost say skip the variable pumps unless you have easy access to adjust it because otherwise it can be a waste of an upgrade IMO.

    Edit: Hit Post to early

    Now with 2 GPUs, another key comes into place including linking the GPU's together. My advice are the swiftech connectors like in the links below (sorry having issue with linking so ill just post links at bottom of post).

    As for tubing, I noticed a mention of colors and what not. My advice is to stick with clear tubing and just dye bomb the color you want in the liquid itself. It's more of an opinion and just aesthetic but can be more customizable and even adjustable in the long run.

    Also with tubing, if you don't plan on using angler joints or things like that (I would not recommend them unless your made of money because the price starts shooting up when you include those) to try using anti-link coils. They work, their cheap, and add a little pizzaz to your computer case. The real advantage is they can help prevent curves in the tubing from kinking up over time from all the expanding and contracting that comes when the system idles or gets under load.

    When it comes to fitting and tube size, I personally went with the 7/16 (5/8 OD) size which should be a good size in general even for the most demanding setups. Normally I would not go bigger unless you include motherboard cooling and ram in something like a 4 way gpu and CPU setup. On fittings I personally have gone with compression because the look is very clean, they give a nice snug feel to the tubing once under pressure, and just feel a little easier to deal with overall. Barbs are great and I used those in my previous builds, you would not have a problem, I just would recommend compression now.

    That's my advice, ill link you some parts I used off frozen just for a reference in case you want to see some alternative choices that worked well at least for me.


    Tubing: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/1...gh_Flex_PVC_Tubing_-_716_ID_58OD_-_Clear.html
    Block: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/1...ling_Block_-_AMD_Sockets_AM2_AM2_AM3_FM1.html (amd version mind you, but it's the same thing minus the different plate for am3)
    Fittings: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/1...ing_-_Black_Chrome.html?id=fM4pRKuz&mv_pc=170
    Reservoir: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/1...55_w_Blue_LED_Light_-_Clear_Silver_Black.html
    Pump (love this pump, it's very quiet even on high): http://www.frozencpu.com/products/6...ed_Control_and_38_Conversion_Kit_317_GPH.html
    Coolant (they actually stopped carrying the version I had and now have the newer version):http://www.frozencpu.com/products/1...UV_Red_PC-PURE2-UR.html?id=fM4pRKuz&mv_pc=866 (for the record, my friend built a system that sprung a leak spraying his video cards and motherboard while play bf3, nothing was damaged so it's good coolant in my book).
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2014
    K2NsC likes this.
  14. K2NsC

    K2NsC TS Member Topic Starter

    Sure it did! That's great thanks for sharing it with us. It's a helpful read and there is nothing better like visualizing things
    When I get closer to actually building it in very near future I'm sure I will have more questions to ask.

    Thank you so much on your input. Will consider your thoughts as you can see I'm on planing level. Would you have by any chance a build log or some helpful images of your build that you could share as well? As far as radiator goes I think I will take a chance with a ticker one since I need more cooling power. Regarding your tubing answer I think I would like to go with solid white tubing. I like this color. I heard when you use color dye it dye the tube and components overtime not sure about that what's your input on this?
  15. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Ok ill post some pics of my current and previous multi-card setup with some steps to give you some visuals once I get off work today.
    With the radiators, just make sure you can fit it with your components if all I would be cautious of especially if you plan on doing a push pull setup with fans (Just a pull or push will be more than enough). If you need extra space you can always add a fan shroud on top of the case which makes the fans go externally to your case like I did (Ill post a pic of what im talking about) to give you more room.

    With regards to color dye, it will dye the tubing a bit and leave a residue in the components but im not sure which components you are referring to. Ill show you a piece of tubing with 2 years of being in a loop with Red Dyed Cooling in it compared to a fresh piece to give you an idea. If you wanna go full white, that's all going to be up to you and its going to be cool no matter what as long as your happy with it :). I just wanted to throw my opinion on colored tubes (Mostly the transparent ones) that you can do some cool things with dye if you buy transparent (Plus it can be cheaper). There are also those liquids that look like (At least to me they look like this) shampoo running through your system which can be pretty cool (Ive seen white and orange in this style in person) for those who want to add some eye candy to look at while its running (I think its called Mayhem but ill look that up). I personally don't worry about it messing with the components or "Dyeing" them mostly because the only components that will really be effected are the tubes. My reservoir after 2 years with this color still looks clear when I did some maintenance last weak (Putting my new cards in). But again this is just my experience, I have no idea how the transparent water blocks will handle it, but I would be willing to be they would be fine.
  16. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    Here you go, I just did some maintenance so please excuse the cable management, I have not decided how im going to adjust things just yet since I went to 3 cards plus I started to have fun with my tubing layout and design as I was building so some of my methods are kinda funny.

    If you want something specific let me know im happy to post!
    K2NsC likes this.
  17. K2NsC

    K2NsC TS Member Topic Starter

    Go team red hmmm :)

    As long you have fun and it works out for you it's great. I have to admit interesting design. In above post you stated that you have a 360 rad if I'm not mistaking there is another 120 rad on the end of your case, is that all or what's your set up?

    Is your CPU overlocked? What are your temps ?
  18. GhostRyder

    GhostRyder This guy again... Posts: 2,198   +593

    In order heres my specs and setup along with Max temps seen with all systems stressed.

    FX 9590 @ 5.0ghz (No turbo, straight up), Max temp 59
    Asus Crosshair V-Z
    Gskill Trident 1866
    3x PowerColor R9 290X with EK waterblocks at 1125 Core 1350 Memory (max temps seen 61, 58, 57)
    WaterCooling System: XSPC RX 360mm Radiator and XSPC 140mm Radiator with Nickel Compression fittings and a Raystorm CPU Block. XSPC Tubing Mostly (Theres one piece of leftover I think Phobya Tubing but I can't remember off the top of my head if that was the other brand I used on this machine), swiftech Interconnectors on the GPU blocks connecting the three together. I use the Swiftech MCP655 and the XSPC Dual bay Reservoir.

    Oh and part of the reason I did my tubing that wya was because I have Quick-Disconnects by Koolance on both ends of my trio of GPU's allowing for me to break the cards out if I need to do maintenance without depressurizing or draining the system.

    Edit: Thought id add that I can give you an exact part list I used so you can see if you would like though as I said before some of your things are going to be significantly different and require you to buy different fittings and what not. A word of advice is to be careful when picking out fittings and stuff because if you start trying to do angler joints or connectors trying to do some straight cut offs on tubes the price starts to jump exponentially real fast. Curved tubes can be a bit taboo in some respects if your not careful because even though a tube will label itself as "Anti-Kink" it can still kink up and ruin your water flow. I used as you see in the pics anti-Kink coils which are very cheap and work real well when you want to curve your tubes around a bit. Though I would say it does not give a free pass to do loop de loops with your tubes it can give you a little more leniency and "protect" your flow. Plus in my book they add a little craziness to the look of a system (Mine are UV reactive as is my Liquid hence why I use black lights because at LAN parties it can be a real shall we say head turner :p).
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2014
  19. skline00

    skline00 TS Member

    Welcome to the world of custom water cooling. BE WARNED, it can be expensive and addictive but what a blast. I had 2 GTX 670 FTWs in a loop with a 3930k @4.5Ghz and used a XSPC RX 360 and originally a single 120mm rad. Temps were good but I wanted to lower them without buying a new case (I have a CoolerMaster HAF932 Adv). Since I have water cooling holes in the top rear I was able to replace the single 120mm rad with a XSPC EX360 rad mounted externally to the rear using the XSPC mounting brackets. I eventually replaced the dual 670s with a EVGA GTX780 Classified with a Hydro Copper block.
    Now the expensive part. I found online a person selling a new MO RA3-420 rad plus accessories for a great price and jumped on it. Am I over radded? SURE. But is it fun? Absolutely. Enjoy the trip.

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