Need advice on Liquid cooling Dual CPU *Newbie*

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M-ManLA Posted: Mon, Mar 21 2011 4:37 PM

Hi. I'm a newb when it comes to water cooling. I need some pointers on liquid cooling (if I do decide to go with liquid cooling), and really didn't see anything that completely answers my question. I don't really overclock, but I have been interested in the "silence" factor as I record stuff in my room, and my requirements may be a little wild, but this is what I am thinking;

I'm planning a Dual Intel Xeon 1366 Workstation build, and I have been deciding on two cases, but I am most likely to go with a Rackmount case, to clean up the clutter a little bit. The Chenbro case however has only one place for one 12cm fan. I now found a Norco Case that has two 12cm fans upfront, five 8cm fans in the middle, and two 8cm fans for the exaust. It will also be more flexible, giving me more options, and have a tooless hard drive bay. I know this may give me less space also, but it seems like it is managable.

I'm not completely sure of everything I need. I believe the CPU block, radiator, fan, pump, fittings, coolant, and tubes.

I see some items say that they have a 1/4" fitting, but I they say you can install a 1/2" tube to it. Is there any benefit going from 1/4" to 1/2"?

I heard of quick connectors from Koolance. Does those work as advertised.

Water cooling could be overkill for me, but I know that for the Xeon chips, there isn't a lot of options, and I heard some of the small fans can be loud, and bigger fans can block components, especially when going with two CPUs and gobs of RAM. If there is any suggestions let me know. Thank you for your time .

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acarzt replied on Tue, Mar 22 2011 1:19 PM

First of all... why do you need 2 Xeons? Or even 1? Why not go with a Core i7 chip?

Anyway... Rackmounts are great for saving space, expecially when you need to rack a lot of equipment.... what they are NOT so great at, is being quiet... and Quiet was one of your requirement.

When these things are built... they do no have quiet in mind, since most people stuff these in a closet somewhere out of sight.

Even with liquid cooling... you will still need at least 1 fan, and a fan is going to make noise.

Depending on how powerful of a water pump you get... that will also make noise.

Your PSU, it's gonna make noise.

HDD, makes noise.

ODD, makes noise.

You have a lot of components that are going to collectively make a lot of noise... and those thin metal rackmount cases, do nothing to keep that sound inside.

You're best bet is to get a Full Tower case that had sound in mind.

the Xeon chips use the same socket as the Core i7 chips, so anything that fits the Core i7, will fit the Xeon. I recommend just getting a Corsair H50(or 2, since you want 2 chips) and call it a day. I have the H50, and it is very quiet and does a fantastic job cooling my chip.

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I have to agree with Acarzt on this. Since your not OC'ing you dont need a custom loop, a enclosed WC cooler like the H50 mentioned above would be more then adequate. The thing you going to need to look into the most the quite fans that can still give a CFM rating. Also as stated a full tower will be much quieter then a rack mount. 

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M-ManLA replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 5:21 AM

Thanks for the reply.

So the reason to go for Xeon is the stable platform. Yes the regular i7 can do more than enough, but I know since I am doing Pro Audio, Xeons have the slight edge (and can also do ECC, which can reduce errors). Besides, I can use up to five program at once (even though my Q6700 handle things good already), and I am ready to start upping the resolution of my audio to 88.2k and 96k . I can use Pro Tools, Record+Reason, Melodyne at the same time. And since I also dip in post production, I use video as well, and sometimes the clients give me HD video (and no they won't always like that we ask for a lower res version). That can definitely put stress on the CPUs, especially when you start adding plug-ins (Waves takes alot of juice, as to Reverb), and VI's, even though Record+Reason is very lean, I can go crazy with high resolution piano patches, fully modded drum machines, and synths and sampling machines will take up their share of processes. Also in the six core comparison, Intel Core i7-970 is $595, The Intel Xeon E5645 is $600. Five bucks won't hurt the bank much. Now that being said, The i7 is clocked at 3.2GHz, the Xeon is at 2.4GHz. The flip side of the coin though, i7 has a TDP of 130w, the Xeon is 80w, and I have found for what I do, more cores is a little better, and lower TDP means less heat needed to be dissapated. And the colder I can keep my brains, the longer I can be running, which I can be working on my machine for up to 20hrs at a time (yes I am insane).

The Reason for Rackmounts. Well, they look nices lol. I've always like to Rackmount things, and it will be a change from a tower. Now I haven't completely made up my mind yet. That Level 10 GT looks great, as do the NZXT Phantom, But there is something about Rackmount cases (I guess I hang around too many studios). I had found a Norco case that actually give me more options than the Chenbro, and I will update my post.

Actually, my Hard drives is damn near silent. I have a mixture of 3 WD Cavair Blues and Blacks and one OCZ Solid Series SSD, And I actually have to put my ear up to the drives itselfs to hear if they are on. Even my external drive don't make much noise.

My Sony Optiarcs make some noise, but I don't use them all the time, and they spin-down automatically when I'm not reading or writing discs. So no main problem there. They are also not too loud when spinning up. Better than the older Sony and Pioneer drives that I use to use. Now I will be upgrading to Blu-ray drives so that can changes lol.

PSU makes some noise, and is probably the noisest offender of all. I am planning to go with a Modular CM Silent Pro, and put a gasket on(or vibration reduction or whatever they call it now). All fans will have gaskets on too. Also thinking about putting sound dampening in, and that is where the liquid cooling will help the best, since sound dampening could reduce air movement. Trust me I've done my homework, and had done a few studio installs to know some of these things.

I have been reading about the Corsair H50, and I am keeping that in mind. And the reasoning for water cooling for me is just a personal thing. I didn't like water cooling at all when I started buiding computers when I heard about the stuff at first, but now things is more mature, and those Koolance quick connect started to get me thinking after reading an article on MaximumPC. So I was thining maybe I'll give it a try and show others (and possibly have future clients for future builds) that I can put together a water-cooled system. Note that even though I have a configuration, it is not final. And since I'm waiting to hear from a couple of studio jobs, I'm not going to start this until the Fall, when Intel releases the LGA2011 Ivy Bridge chips. So some of this can (and most likely will) change, especially with a EFI enabled Mobo, and maybe the Thunderbolt port. Thank you for the suggestions though acarzt! This is good stuff and I'll definitely keep these tips in mind.

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M-ManLA replied on Wed, Mar 23 2011 5:24 AM

Yes Der Meister I'll keep the CFM rating in mind. I found a new Norco case that will give me the option of more fans (including two 12cm up front) and better flexibility. I'm updating my original post right now.

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BMAN replied on Tue, May 31 2011 3:39 AM

If you're still unsure about water cooling your rack, this is a good place to start

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rmbmW-I8Bno watch all the videos (in the series), Daz is very knowledgeable when it comes to water cooling.

And if you still have questions, you can also send an email directly to him

http://www.dazmode.com/Contacts.htm

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Intel i5 3570***, ASUS Sabertooth Z77, Corsair AX850, 16GB Corsair Vengeance DDR3, Corsair Force 3 Series GT  SSD (120GB), WD VelociRaptor (300GB), water-cooled HIS Radeon HD7950, AZZA Genesis 9000, EKWB Supremacy CQ CPU block, XSPC RX360, EKWB-DCP 4.0 pump, Windows 7 H.P. - 64 bit

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mbahr replied on Mon, Aug 15 2011 8:43 PM

Sounds like you have a very interesting build going on!

One of my servers is housed in a Norco 2040 case and has a supermicro motherboard with dual xeons. 

The Norco is LOUD.  VERY LOUD.  The stock fans in a Norco case typically have high static pressure, and so end up being noisy.

I suppose that if you are going to replace everything with a liquid cooling solution this doesn't matter.  Now, there is a guy who made a conversion kit to swap out the (5) 80mm fans in the middle with (3) 120mm fans.  The purpose was to push about the same amount of air but do so more quietly.  I think his conversion plate was about $80 and than you have to also find good 120mm fans.  Some people have had good luck.  I'd have to search for his information but could find it if this is an important component for you.

Something you should be aware of:  The Norco does not have good build quality.  I've had to replace a number of parts, including the fan controller board, the front panel board, and one SAS backplace that literally had the connectors falls off it.  Also, the edges are very sharp.  Lots of bloody fingers from working in these cases.  I have a permanent scar on one finger to prove it the "monster won the match."

I also have a chenbro case which is a much better design, doesn't run hot, and has bullet proof build quality.  Of course, the case is about 3x the cost of the Norco... but I bought it on eBay and discarded the old motherboard, etc. just to get the case and dual power supplies.

Building these beasts is very fun.  And can be challenging.  There are a lot of decisions to make.  You seem to be going down the right path and being critical where it counts for your use.

Good luck!

 

 

mbahr

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M-ManLA replied on Mon, Aug 15 2011 10:30 PM

Thanks for the kind words and advice mbahr. I have since decided I'm going with the Rosewill chassis with 3 12cm fans in the middle, and lots of drive space. If you look at the Tom's Hardware site, I have some good advice from there which you can check out.

I'm glad you told me about the Noroco case. I'm not going with it anyway, but good advice, and "that" monster won't win the match.

I did considered the Chenbro case, which seems like a very good case, but I think the Rosewill gives me more for the money. Lots of room, space for about six drives, EATX Motherboard, etc. This is good because the new build I'm planning on using a dual LGA2011 board on this build, and I want this machine to be cool and quiet, since I will be using this for Music & Post Production in my room.

 

I want to start this soon, being set back by my Raidmax PSU going bad. First by getting a new case, and transporting the current "guts" over to it. That will be phase 1. Then I will start getting the LCS in piece by piece for phase 2. Then in 2012, I should be seeing the new LGA2011 chips, and complete the build, with LCS on both CPUs, and sound deadening material.

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eunoia replied on Wed, Aug 17 2011 8:30 PM

.

...pending.

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eunoia:

Wanted to chime in with the others who are trying to dissuade you from using a rackmount case if you want a quiet system.  Even with rubber washers on all the screws, we're still talking a poorly ventilated, uninsulated thin metal box on a wobbly rack none of which are designed with quiet in mind. You seem to be losing focus in the Bermuda Triangle of quiet, powerful and cool (both kinds of "cool", so really it's a Square, haha). 

The basic idea of buying the most powerful system possible and NOT overclocking is sound.  But if you're not overclocking, there's no reason to look at a water cooling loop.  My guess is that powerful is OK, but last priority for the kinds of software usage you're talking about.  It's impressive when you have a bunch of DAWs open and a Reason rack that scrolls down 8 pages, but even a Pentium 4 can run all but the most elaborate Reason racks.  You'll run out of monitor real estate before you get a computing hiccup.  A single i7 at stock speeds is many times more powerful and coupled with a quality air cooler with good (hint: beige) fans should satisfy your needs for power for many years.  When you mentioned Xeons my first though was ECC, that and stability is a plus, but I doubt you need anywhere as much power or stability as you're proposing.  Even OCed i7s are pretty darn stable.

So on to the case.  Here you're looking at the trade-off between cooling and noise.  On the louder end of the spectrum you have cases like the HAF series and Antec Lanboy that have lots of open space and many fans for cooling those overclocked gaming systems with hot graphics cards.  Even so, higher quality cases for these systems are likely to be quieter than a cheaper case with a similar design.  On the quiet end of the spectrum are the Antec P183 and Fractal Design Define R3.  Any high quality closed style case can be ordered or modded with quiet fans and sound insulation will be plenty cool for a even gaming build, so for your needs you'll be setting a new standard in quiet.  If you want to impress, look at Lian Lis or the newly released Cooler Master Cosmos II.

Your rig will only be as quiet as the loudest component, so it is worth your while to do your homework on this.  I hope this doesn't chase you away, because this is a very interesting project, but a REALLY good place to confirm this advice would be Silent PC Review Forums at http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/

Good places to start would be establishing how much computing power you're likely to realistically need within the useable lifetime of your rig, and finding out what the quietest components are.  I'm convinced the final build will still be very sexy.  I hope you can find time to follow up here, because my next system is likely to be informed by what you discover.

Very well said. Power is both a blessing and a curse if you car concerned with heat. As for it being in a confined space, adding water cooling will not do much unless you can have the radiators in a more open environment and good airflow. Bad airflow around the radiators will lead to higher water temps and therefore less cooling exchange/heat removal between the chip and the water. Also if your keep your PC in you room like I do with mine expect it to be every warm in your room. Even at stock settings on my i7,920 my room is about 5-8deg F hotter then the rest of the house. Why? because the radiators do exactly what they are suppose to do exchange the heat from the water to the air that is cooling them. Best of luck with the build thought, it should be a nice machine when you are done.

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M-ManLA replied on Sat, Aug 20 2011 12:37 AM

Thanks for the links. I'll check it out.

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M-ManLA replied on Wed, Aug 24 2011 2:42 AM

HAHHAHAHA eunoia. Use me as a guinea pig lol. Yes the next version of Reason will include 64-bits, which will be a little more demanding on the system. Melodyne already went there, and Pro Tools will surely release a 64-bit sku soon. I also don't like most of the fans that you can use with the Rack system so far. You have the Intels, but they seems pretty small, and the fans is surely to cause problems. The Noctua Coolers are big, but I will have to see if it will fit, what ever design comes with the LGA2011 version.

 

One reason I wanted to also do a LCS system is because for my type of builds, it has never been done before except for maybe once. I seen a guy on the 'net do it, but I believe that was a long time ago, since he was dealing with the Pentium 4's still. I though about the tower, but with more stuff I've been adding in my room, and two subs under my limited space already, I figure that I will gain some space back with the Rack system.

 

Most of the things should be good as far as noise. The DVD drives don't make much noise (though I do admit the door maybe helping out with that sound), and I never hear the Hard drives spinning up.

I'll post some specs what I'm planning to do to Vers.3 of my CPU build.

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mbahr replied on Wed, Aug 24 2011 7:05 AM

I agree that the fans are a problem.  Especially in a rack.  You have big vertical heat sinks and fans to move heat off the chips, and than you have other fans to horizontally move it out the back.  Lots of fans.  Lots of noise.

If you really want quiet, I would look at a mini tower case.  The amount of floor space they use up is far less than a rack, and the sound absorption and air flow are *much* better in my opinion.  Granted, I haven't seen or used everything that is on the market... but I know there are many good cases made by cooler master and the like.

You may want to consider one of the gigabyte motherboards... I forget which ones are which, but one of the series uses extra copper to move heat off the board, and provides very nice heat sinks for the other chips on the board. 

 

mbahr

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M-ManLA replied on Sun, Aug 28 2011 3:32 AM

Der Meister:

eunoia:

Wanted to chime in with the others who are trying to dissuade you from using a rackmount case if you want a quiet system.  Even with rubber washers on all the screws, we're still talking a poorly ventilated, uninsulated thin metal box on a wobbly rack none of which are designed with quiet in mind. You seem to be losing focus in the Bermuda Triangle of quiet, powerful and cool (both kinds of "cool", so really it's a Square, haha). 

The basic idea of buying the most powerful system possible and NOT overclocking is sound.  But if you're not overclocking, there's no reason to look at a water cooling loop.  My guess is that powerful is OK, but last priority for the kinds of software usage you're talking about.  It's impressive when you have a bunch of DAWs open and a Reason rack that scrolls down 8 pages, but even a Pentium 4 can run all but the most elaborate Reason racks.  You'll run out of monitor real estate before you get a computing hiccup.  A single i7 at stock speeds is many times more powerful and coupled with a quality air cooler with good (hint: beige) fans should satisfy your needs for power for many years.  When you mentioned Xeons my first though was ECC, that and stability is a plus, but I doubt you need anywhere as much power or stability as you're proposing.  Even OCed i7s are pretty darn stable.

So on to the case.  Here you're looking at the trade-off between cooling and noise.  On the louder end of the spectrum you have cases like the HAF series and Antec Lanboy that have lots of open space and many fans for cooling those overclocked gaming systems with hot graphics cards.  Even so, higher quality cases for these systems are likely to be quieter than a cheaper case with a similar design.  On the quiet end of the spectrum are the Antec P183 and Fractal Design Define R3.  Any high quality closed style case can be ordered or modded with quiet fans and sound insulation will be plenty cool for a even gaming build, so for your needs you'll be setting a new standard in quiet.  If you want to impress, look at Lian Lis or the newly released Cooler Master Cosmos II.

Your rig will only be as quiet as the loudest component, so it is worth your while to do your homework on this.  I hope this doesn't chase you away, because this is a very interesting project, but a REALLY good place to confirm this advice would be Silent PC Review Forums at http://www.silentpcreview.com/forums/

Good places to start would be establishing how much computing power you're likely to realistically need within the useable lifetime of your rig, and finding out what the quietest components are.  I'm convinced the final build will still be very sexy.  I hope you can find time to follow up here, because my next system is likely to be informed by what you discover.

Very well said. Power is both a blessing and a curse if you car concerned with heat. As for it being in a confined space, adding water cooling will not do much unless you can have the radiators in a more open environment and good airflow. Bad airflow around the radiators will lead to higher water temps and therefore less cooling exchange/heat removal between the chip and the water. Also if your keep your PC in you room like I do with mine expect it to be every warm in your room. Even at stock settings on my i7,920 my room is about 5-8deg F hotter then the rest of the house. Why? because the radiators do exactly what they are suppose to do exchange the heat from the water to the air that is cooling them. Best of luck with the build thought, it should be a nice machine when you are done.

Thanks. I'm trying to keep bills at bay so I can by the case. Hopefully I can do that soon.

 

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M-ManLA replied on Sun, Aug 28 2011 3:49 AM

Yes

mbahr:

I agree that the fans are a problem.  Especially in a rack.  You have big vertical heat sinks and fans to move heat off the chips, and than you have other fans to horizontally move it out the back.  Lots of fans.  Lots of noise.

If you really want quiet, I would look at a mini tower case.  The amount of floor space they use up is far less than a rack, and the sound absorption and air flow are *much* better in my opinion.  Granted, I haven't seen or used everything that is on the market... but I know there are many good cases made by cooler master and the like.

You may want to consider one of the gigabyte motherboards... I forget which ones are which, but one of the series uses extra copper to move heat off the board, and provides very nice heat sinks for the other chips on the board. 

 

 

I'm not sure about the mini towers. That is less space which seems to add more noise. I don't even think it is about the size of the case, as much as having places for "noise" to travel. I'm going to be using sound deading material regardless, so I doubt there will be a problem. Also, the rack would save me space, as I already have a rack that my studio gear resides, and I have about 7U free, so I doubt that there will be any extra space taken up.

 

I've thought about Gigabyte, but think that I will roll with Asus. I've been submitting some stuff to them to, so if they use those features, my choice a motherboard is a no brainer.

 

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