First water cooling recommendation

rated by 0 users
This post has 8 Replies | 2 Followers

Not Ranked
Posts 15
Points 120
Joined: Jun 2009
Ramon Zarat Posted: Sat, Jun 27 2009 6:35 PM

Hello everyone! Smile

 
NOTE: If there's a thread or a FAQ that already exist and answer most of my questions, please just direct me to it.


Since my first 486, I’ve always overclocked on air. Now it’s time to try water. I’m looking for balance between low sound, low temperature and high CPU overclock. I’m not in winning benchmark/overclock contest. What I want by posting this is to avoid major and costly mistake and get decent cooling for my money. I have more or less 250.00$ for this project.

This is my shopping list for my new rig to evaluate the thermal envelope:


I7 920 @ minimum 4Ghz, 4.2 to 4.5 if possible.
Cheap but good X58 MB. The GIGABYTE GA-EX58-UD3R seem to fit my need.
6 GB Corsair uTR3X6G1333C7
4850 512MB (I’m waiting Q4 2009 to buy a big DX11 card. The XFX 4850 is only 109$ at newegg and will do until then) No CF or SLI planned.
4 X WD caviar black 1TB RAID 5
2 X WD raptor 36GB RAID 0 strip. (I already have them. Will replace by 2 X SSD when the new 32nm NAND products come out in Q3-Q4. Should be appreciably cheaper and faster than the one currently available. Worth the 3 to 6 month wait IMO)
2 X SATA DVD
PC Power & Cooling silencer 750W
Vantec Nexus 4 port fan controller (already have it and will use it to control fan on the radiator)
Everything else onboard.
Antec SX-1240 full tower (already have it)
 
So in essence, I will water cool the CPU, a single GPU (DX11, not the 4850) and maybe the northbridge in a single loop. No intention to water cool south bridge, RAM and hard drive.

 

Now, the questions:
 
1-      3/8 or ½ tubing? I have the space in the full tower and I’ve heard bigger is better, so I assume ½
2-      Worth the trouble to water cool X58 NB? It’s now only a switching hub with no FSB and already passively cooled on most motherboard. Water cool the SB in most certainly over kill.
3-      2 or 3 120MM fan radiator? I guess 3 would be safer, but it might also be completely overkill. Then again, I have the space for even a 4 fan radiator (Will dremel a hole on top of casing)
4-      What is the current best buy water pump? I don’t want NASA stuff, just a great product at a decent price.
5-      What is the best sequence to install the cooling loop?  Radiator to CPU then GPU then NB would seem logic.
6-      Distilled water? Yes absolutely, no it’s a waste, maybe good but not necessary?
7-      Water additive? Yes absolutely, no it’s a waste, maybe good but not necessary?
8-      TEC Water chiller? Yes, big difference for the price. No, expensive, consume too much power and don't chill that much. (Is there a reservoir with built-in TEC?)
9-      CPU / GPU water block recommendation? Swiftech seem to be cheap and good.
10-    FAN recommendation? I was planning to get Scythe fluid dynamic bearing fans (Closed Oil Shaft Carrier). AFAIK, they are top quality, decently priced and 1.5 Millions Hours MTBF. I've always bought Panaflo fan in the past, but since they sold their fan division, I'm not convinced anymore.
11-   Anything I forget or that I should be aware of before starting my project? Top 3 things to absolutely avoid or must do? Brand to avoid at all cost?

 
Ladies and gentleman, thank you all in advance for your precious advices!

Regards,
Ramon

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 6,181
Points 90,135
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: United States, Virginia
Moderator

Ramon Zarat:
1-      3/8 or ½ tubing? I have the space in the full tower and I’ve heard bigger is better, so I assume ½

I would go with 1/2. I actually use 1/2 barbs with 3/8 tubing. Its a nice tight fit and the tubes are a good bit easier to work with.

Ramon Zarat:
2-      Worth the trouble to water cool X58 NB? It’s now only a switching hub with no FSB and already passively cooled on most motherboard. Water cool the SB in most certainly over kill.
Most likely not. Its up to you though. If you do decide to you will need some aftermarket heatsinks for your mosfits around the CPU.

Ramon Zarat:
3-      2 or 3 120MM fan radiator? I guess 3 would be safer, but it might also be completely overkill. Then again, I have the space for even a 4 fan radiator (Will dremel a hole on top of casing)

I would say three is enough. If you want low sound then get one that does not need high airflow otherwise you will be stuck with 3 really loud fans.

Ramon Zarat:
4-      What is the current best buy water pump? I don’t want NASA stuff, just a great product at a decent price.

The swiftech 655 and 355 are both decent. I use a 355 with a XSPC top. If you go the 355 I would recommend a new top. It improves the flow quite a bit.

Ramon Zarat:
5-      What is the best sequence to install the cooling loop?  Radiator to CPU then GPU then NB would seem logic.

That sounds like a good loop. I would recommend CPU always first.

Ramon Zarat:
6-      Distilled water? Yes absolutely, no it’s a waste, maybe good but not necessary?

Its a must. Its 2 bucks at the grocery store. Tap water has minerals in it that will build up in your rad and other parts.

Ramon Zarat:
7-      Water additive? Yes absolutely, no it’s a waste, maybe good but not necessary?

Also a must. You dont need super high end stuff and you will only get 3ish degrees difference with any of it. You will need something to keep alge from growing though. A little fish tank alge killer from the pet shop works or most any additive. It's really up to you. I use this http://www.petrastechshop.com/loliredcoad.html, but my system is red and black.

Ramon Zarat:
8-      TEC Water chiller? Yes, big difference for the price. No, expensive, consume too much power and don't chill that much. (Is there a reservoir with built-in TEC?)
Not sure on res chillers. If you are not going for super overclocks then I would recommend against anything like that. They like you said add a ton of cost and some of them will chill below room temps and condensation comes into play.

Ramon Zarat:
9-      CPU / GPU water block recommendation? Swiftech seem to be cheap and good.

I use the DTek Fusion v2 CPU block. Its a fantastic block. There are other good ones out there, but I have not used them. As far as GPU blocks for the 4850 I'm not sure. There are a lot of 4870 blocks out there, but I dont know if they fit on the 4850. If you do get a universal block you will need to get heatsinks to cool the mosfets and other chips on the board.

Ramon Zarat:
10-    FAN recommendation? I was planning to get Scythe fluid dynamic bearing fans (Closed Oil Shaft Carrier). AFAIK, they are top quality, decently priced and 1.5 Millions Hours MTBF. I've always bought Panaflo fan in the past, but since they sold their fan division, I'm not convinced anymore.
Might wanna wait on someone else here. I'm not sure what fans are good and bad. I use some recommended to me by someone else, though I don't remember what brand they are.

Ramon Zarat:
11-   Anything I forget or that I should be aware of before starting my project? Top 3 things to absolutely avoid or must do? Brand to avoid at all cost?
You need to figure out if you want a reservoir or a T line. I am using a T line right now but I have a 5 1/2 drive bay from danger den that I used to use. With a res you can here the water running and see that it is with ease. If the sound of the water bothers you you may want a t line. Both are fine I find the T line a bit easier to fill and thats why I use it now.

Remember to take your time installing it and give it a full 24 hours leak test before you cut on the PC. Nothing worse than frying your nice grapics card because you didnt take your time.Embarrassed

As for shops I use Petras tech shop most of the time. They have great support and good prices. FrozenCPU has anything you could want and great support, but they are generally priced a bit high. Jabtech I have also used without trouble, but I don't know as much about them.

Feel free to ask anything I missed and good luck!

Welcome to HH forums!

Top 50 Contributor
Posts 3,017
Points 43,210
Joined: May 2005
Location: United States, Virginia
Moderator

some good advice from BobYes. I personally trust Danger Den products and EK products for the blocks. For the rad if you wanna keep the noise down you can go with a PA 120.3 rad with shroud and some low rpm fans.

  • | Post Points: 35
Not Ranked
Posts 15
Points 120
Joined: Jun 2009

bob_on_the_cob:

Remember to take your time installing it and give it a full 24 hours leak test before you cut on the PC. Nothing worse than frying your nice grapics card because you didnt take your time.Embarrassed

As for shops I use Petras tech shop most of the time. They have great support and good prices. FrozenCPU has anything you could want and great support, but they are generally priced a bit high. Jabtech I have also used without trouble, but I don't know as much about them.

Feel free to ask anything I missed and good luck!

 

Thanks, I really appreciate your input.

 

-So, the tank is optional. I could just use a T line instead. I guess you plug some tubing to the perpendicular T in order to fill the loop and to prevent overflow. Must also be less restrictive than a tank. 

-Like I said, I won't water cool the 4850. I will cool my new DirectX 11 card when it comes out in Q4 2009, which should push a lot more heat than the 4850.

-3/8 tubing with 1/2 barb? I would have thought 1/2 tubing with 1/2 barb is best. What's the advantage of choosing a smaller tube? More water pressure? At the expense of flow?

-Changing the top of the pump? Never heard of that! They sell "water pump top replacement"? Surprise If it's worth the trouble by providing measurable better performance and don't cost too much, I might go for it.

-If I understand correctly, all water additive also act as an anti-algae? I don't need to purchase both?

-I was also thinking about the 355 for the pump. I will put some arctic silver 5 under the NB/moffset and screw the heatsink back tight. It will do, no water cool for NB. The I7 don't need crazy ram speed to perform, but low latency. 1333Mhz at low CAS (5 or 6) is best anyway. As fast as 2000Mhz CAS9 according to Anadtech if I remember well.

-The pump or the radiator cost more than the CPU block! For the radiator, I was wondering if the difference between a Swiftech MCR320 at 59.00$ and another much more expensive solution like the Feser X-Changer Triple 120mm Xtreme at 139.00$ is that big. I would be curious to have hard data on this. Same loop, 1 MCR320 and 1 Feser X-Changer, same ambient temperature and fan speed. How much actual difference? 3c or 15c?? For 3c, no way I will pay 80.00$ more!

 

Thanks a lot,

 

Ramon

 

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 6,374
Points 80,315
Joined: Nov 2004
Location: United States, Arizona
Moderator

I would use DD as well... And agree with everything bob said....

"Never trust a computer you can't throw out a window."

2700K

Z77 GIGABYTE G1.SNIPER

GIGABYTE GTX670

G.Skill Ripjaws X 16gb PC2133

Antec P280

Corsair H100

Asus Blu-ray burner

Seasonic X650 PSU

Patriot Pyro 128gb SSD

  • | Post Points: 5
Not Ranked
Posts 15
Points 120
Joined: Jun 2009

nelsoncp21:
some good advice from BobYes. I personally trust Danger Den products and EK products for the blocks. For the rad if you wanna keep the noise down you can go with a PA 120.3 rad with shroud and some low rpm fans.

Hey! Thanks for the answer!

 

I've looked at my local website and they have the thermochll PA 120.3. It's 2 time more expensive than the Swiftech MCR320. In your opinion, should I also expect 2 time the performance? I guess not, but I still wonder if it would be more prudent to buy a beefier rad, just in case I decide one day to add the NB, moffset, RAM and a second video card to the loop. It also surely have an incidence on the sound level. If the PC output too much heat, I might need to run the fan at full speed because the rad can't keep up. That's one thing I would like to avoid. I guess that what I'm asking is what is the exact Wattage heat output threshold to justify the purchase of a bigger radiator?

The Swiftech website put the MCR320 at 400 Watts of heat dissipation. That's with Delta fan screaming at 2100RPM and 144CFM!!!.  I wonder, with half the CFM, do you generally get half the performance from the rad? Is it directly proportional? That would mean that running fan at 1050 rpm 72 CFM would equal to only 200 Watts of heat dissipation, right? Once overclocked to about 4.2Ghz, the CPU alone will get me in the 150 Watts zone under load (my rough estimate, please correct me if I'm wrong) and expect about the same for the near top of the line DX11 GPU. That's 300 Watts right there even without adding the potential extra stuff I could wish to add to the loop in the future.

I'm starting to doubt the MRC320 capability to follow me down the road... or even out of the box for that matter. I guess I should slack on the cheap attitude and buy a decent 100-150$ rad... I won't be able to get out of it below 300-350.00$ for the whole kit it would seems!

 

NOTE: About the shroud, that's also a must have? Much better air pressure against the rad I presume? I must account for the added thickness of the rad with the shroud on in my planning. What's the average height of a typical shroud? Are the fans integrated (flush) to the shroud once installed or the total thickness is rad + shroud + fan?

 

Thanks again,

 

Ramon

 

  • | Post Points: 5
Top 10 Contributor
Posts 6,181
Points 90,135
Joined: Aug 2003
Location: United States, Virginia
Moderator

Ramon Zarat:
-So, the tank is optional. I could just use a T line instead. I guess you plug some tubing to the perpendicular T in order to fill the loop and to prevent overflow. Must also be less restrictive than a tank. 

Yeah you got it. It's the black thing in the picture.

Also I found a good picture of one in a PC here. Its a big pic so I will just link it. It's just the T shaped thing which you can get at most watercooling shops or a local hardware store and a cap at the top to keep it from over flowing. I think it is a bit less restrictive than a tank, but the tank also gives the water time to sit and cool off more. I don't think either is wrong or right it is just which one you prefer. If you do go the t line road then do not fill it to the very top. The water goes in and out a good inch or more when the pump is turned off.

Ramon Zarat:
-3/8 tubing with 1/2 barb? I would have thought 1/2 tubing with 1/2 barb is best. What's the advantage of choosing a smaller tube? More water pressure? At the expense of flow?
It's 7/16 size tubing on 1/2 barbs that I use. I'm sorry. idk what I was thinking. The 7/16 tubes fit a bit more secure on the barbs than regular 1/2 tubing. You are fine with 1/2 though if you prefer. It again like the tline vs tank there is no wrong or right just personal preference.

Ramon Zarat:
-Changing the top of the pump? Never heard of that! They sell "water pump top replacement"? Surprise If it's worth the trouble by providing measurable better performance and don't cost too much, I might go for it.
This is the top I use. It is just four screws on the bottom of the pump. Remove them take the top off and replace it with the new one and put the screws back in. Takes 1 minute and it is a fairly cheap upgrade to the 355. It removes the 90 degree angle by moving the inlet to the top rather than the side. Here are some numbers if you would like some more info.

Ramon Zarat:
-If I understand correctly, all water additive also act as an anti-algae? I don't need to purchase both?
I think pretty much all of them do. You may wanna double check before buying because I have just stuck to the one that I always use so I have not read up on others. That or someone here will correct me.

Ramon Zarat:
-The pump or the radiator cost more than the CPU block!
These are what is doing all the work. The CPU block is nothing but a chunk of metal.

Ramon Zarat:
For the radiator, I was wondering if the difference between a Swiftech MCR320 at 59.00$ and another much more expensive solution like the Feser X-Changer Triple 120mm Xtreme at 139.00$ is that big. I would be curious to have hard data on this. Same loop, 1 MCR320 and 1 Feser X-Changer, same ambient temperature and fan speed. How much actual difference? 3c or 15c?? For 3c, no way I will pay 80.00$ more!
I can't find much on the X-Changer, but I did find a nice little write up on a good number of rads here.

 

Hope I helped you out some there. Kinda a lot of reading and articles I sent you toEmbarrassed Anyway Feel free to ask anything else. The pumps and rad are costly, but it's something you will take from PC to PC where the blocks you will have to change out from time to time as new CPUs come out. It's costy, but if your a overclocker and you love a quite PC then it is a worth while investment.

  • | Post Points: 20
Top 50 Contributor
Posts 3,017
Points 43,210
Joined: May 2005
Location: United States, Virginia
Moderator

The PA 120.3 is ideally for low rpm fans. You still get great results useing it with the shroud and low rpm fans verses throwing low rpm fans on other rads not designed for it. Other less expensive rads perform similarly just not with the lower rpm fans therefor creating much more noise. It really depends on what your primary goal is. If the noise is not a huge issue then save some money. But someone like me who will be useing 10 fans, every bit of noise reduction is a must.

As for the thickness of them yes it's the rad+shroud+fan. Now granted the shroud overlaps the rad a little but the fans mount to the front of the shroud. I would measure mine for ya but I haven't gotten them back from being painted yet.

Here's a link to my worklog which has pictures of the Pa.120.3's that may give you a better idea of the size of them.

The swiftech rad is actually a good rad. I don't want you to think I was knocking it. It is actually designed for lower rpm fans too. If you are trying to keep costs down then go with it.

  • | Post Points: 20
Not Ranked
Posts 15
Points 120
Joined: Jun 2009

nelsoncp21:

The PA 120.3 is ideally for low rpm fans. You still get great results useing it with the shroud and low rpm fans verses throwing low rpm fans on other rads not designed for it. Other less expensive rads perform similarly just not with the lower rpm fans therefor creating much more noise. It really depends on what your primary goal is. If the noise is not a huge issue then save some money. But someone like me who will be useing 10 fans, every bit of noise reduction is a must.

As for the thickness of them yes it's the rad+shroud+fan. Now granted the shroud overlaps the rad a little but the fans mount to the front of the shroud. I would measure mine for ya but I haven't gotten them back from being painted yet.

Here's a link to my worklog which has pictures of the Pa.120.3's that may give you a better idea of the size of them.

The swiftech rad is actually a good rad. I don't want you to think I was knocking it. It is actually designed for lower rpm fans too. If you are trying to keep costs down then go with it.

 

I've read everything you guys have thrown at me, thanks again for the info, it will be very useful!

 

A dual rows rad is a much more flexible solution. You can either keep the fan low and still get very adequate cooling, add stuff to the loop with no rad overload or push the fan for even more cooling if necessary. The PA 120.3 is one of the cheapest 3 fans, 2 rows rad and have great reviews on the web. One guy swapped his MCR320 for a PA 120.3 and got a 5c reduction at the lowest fan setting on the same loop! 

Speaking about review, http://www.testseek.com is very handy to find anything about hardware. Better than plain goggle in my experience!

I came across a very interesting one about the Swiftech Apogee GTZ water block HERE. The prior GT and GTX iteration were crap but believe it or not, the GTZ actually beats both the D-Tek Fuzion V2 (with 4.5mm nozzle) and EK Supreme. There is a version of the GTZ called Apogee GTZ CI7 specifically for the LGA1366 socket.The best part? It cost only 56.00$ and no 14.00$ extra LGA1366 bracket to purchase. The D-tek fusion V2 is 70.00$ + the LGA1366 bracket = 84.00$. The GTZ also have about the same low  resistance flow of the D-tek, so it's a great block for multi-block loop. Very good and cheap, just the way I like it!

 

Based on all your recommendations and my own findings, this is my purchasing list:

 

Swiftech Apogee GTZ CI7 CPU water block

Swiftech MCP355 pump

High flow pump cover replacement with 1/2 fitting

Swiftech MCRES-MICRO REV2 reservoir

Thermochill PA 120.3 radiator

Radiator shroud

Scythe S-Flex SFF21G 120mm fluid bearing FAN X 3

Arctic Silver 5 HIGH-DENSITY Polysynthetic Silver Thermal Compound.  **I'm still debating if it's the best one to use**.

Distilled water

Swiftech Hydrx Water Additive Coolant

1/2 barbs all over

1/2 tubing

VGA block (Undecided until the purchase of a DX11 card).

 

NOTE:

I've also read about water/air cooling tower to cool below ambient for free! You sprinkle the water at the top of a vertical, 4 inch diameter by 5 foot long tube filled with ping-pong balls to increase surface area with a 80mm low rpm fan blowing up from the bottom of the tube (at angle with a Y junction). The partial evaporation can theoretically cool the water slightly below ambient. But you probably already knew all that. I'm thinking about adding such an apparatus in the loop, just after the rad cooled the water as much as possible. The bottom of the tower would also act as the reservoir for the loop. A 10 liters distiled water bottle hooked to the reservoir would automatically replenish the evaporated water (Like the overflow tank in a car radiator). I wonder how long a 10 litters bottle can last before complete evaporation? weeks? months?

A third stage could also be added after the tower with a small (max 40W), passively cooled TEC before going back into the loop to the CPU. Since you already dramatically cooled the water with a rad and a tower, the TEC can be a lot smaller and still be effective. At least, that's what I hope... You sandwich the small TEC between a huge copper heatsink (I have a spare SLK-900) and a cheap CPU or GPU water block for a quick and dirty water chiller. Rad-tower-TEC, this is the poor man cascade cooling! To combat condensation, you just spray liquid neoprene around sensitive areas and add a potentiometer to the TEC to adjust the water temp to your taste. It's not like I'm phase cooling at -50c or LN cooling at -125c with ice frost all over the motherboard...

Just for the challenge and the fun, I think I will try that 3 stage cooling! The tower will only cost about 25.00$ and the TEC + block 50.00$. Water temp at 5 to 10c below ambient would be fantastic! Huge overclock, near silence and longer lasting hardware component, all without breaking the bank!

 

Happy overclocking all and thanks again,

Ramon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • | Post Points: 5
Page 1 of 1 (9 items) | RSS