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  1. #1
    Senior Member Cathar's Avatar
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    The impact of tubing sizes

    I've been working on a wholistic guide to designing a water-cooling system of late. Using a mix of real-world test data, and calculating pressure drops, I've been able to put together an analysis of the impact of tubing sizes on CPU temperatures.

    The radiator and waterblocks are:

    Thermochill PA120.2 with 2 x Yate-Loon fans at 12v
    Swiftech Apogee GTX
    Conroe C2D CPU, overclocked and under load, emitting 100W of heat
    2 meters of tubing length

    Loop order is pump->radiator->waterblock->pump

    Using 1/2" ID tubing and 1/2" OD barbs, I determined the pressure-drop curve for the system. Using Swiftech's published test data for the Apogee GTX, and a flow-performance curve for the PA120.2, we're able to determine the pumping hydraulic power required to push various flow-rates. Using established typical ratios of hydraulic power to actual power draw and heat dump of known real-world pumps, we're able to throw into the mix the amount of pump heat dump required to push any flow rate. We first establish this independently of an actual pump (i.e. determine the theoretical best pump), and then select an actual real-world pump that best suits the theoretical target, and then using the PQ curve of that pump, determine the final flow rate of the system, and hence the correspondent final CPU temperature.

    Now in a wholistic model, we're modelling not just the impact of the water-flow rate on the CPU temperature, but the impact of the total heat dump of the cooling system (CPU, pump, radiator fans) has on the room environment, which in turn raises the temperature of the air in the room, and so in turn raises the water temperature because the air-in temperature into the radiator will have warmed up. The effect is very small, but I still model it.

    Global temp = 22C
    Room C/W = 0.005
    Fan Heat Dump = 2.0W

    The proposed tubing sizes and fittings we'll be investigating are:

    6.35 (1/4") ID tubing with quick-fit fittings
    8mm (5/16") ID tubing over 6mmID|8mmOD barbs
    8mm (5/16") ID tubing with quick-fit fittings
    9.6mm (3/8") ID tubing over 7.5mmID|3/8"OD barbs
    9.6mm (3/8") ID tubing with quick-fit fittings
    11.1mm (7/16") ID tubing stretched over 10.5mmID|1/2"OD barbs
    12.7mm (1/2") ID tubing over 10.5mmID|1/2"OD barbs

    Quick-fit fittings are those similar to those found on the Swiftech MCW50 (http://www.swiftech.com/products/mcw50.asp)

    Running the above range of tubing/fitting sizes through the optimal pump power estimator software I wrote, it predicts that the best pump to use is one that's consuming around 10-13W, with optimal pumping efficiency in the ranges of 3-6LPM. I won't go into the intricacies of the pump power estimator. It's not an exact science, suffice to say that it looks at the wholistic scenario given a waterblock, heatload, room C/W, radiator, system restriction, and so on, and puts out a suggestion for where the optimal range of pumping power lies for that setup. This allows us to then pick a real pump that closely matches the suggested pumping characteristics.

    Using the Laing data here: http://www.laing.de/file/66 we see that an unmodified DDC1+ (more commonly referred to in forums as the DDC2) is a very good pump fit for our scenario. Another excellent alternative would be the DDC1 with a modded top.

    Okay, so our optimised system consists of:
    Laing DDC1+ (unmodified)
    Thermochill PA120.2 with 2 x Yate-Loon fans at 12v
    Conroe C2D CPU, overclocked and under load, emitting 100W of heat
    2 meters of tubing length

    For the various tubing/fitting sizes, the PQ curves for a full system for each tubing type looks like this:



    I overlaid the curves onto the PQ graph for the Laing DDC1+

    The flow performance curves for the radiator and waterblock are illustrated on the following graphs:


    ...and...


    The total CPU heat load is 100W. The total system heat load is 114W . We assume a fixed 14W heat dump from pump which was derived from other testing. This does in fact vary a little as we can see by the Laing graph. As flow rates decrease, so does power draw, and therefore the heat-dump as well. For simplicity we'll assume a fixed 14W heat dump for now.

    The intersections all are:

    6.35mm quick fit = 4.45LPM flow, 0.0795 block c/w, 0.0374 rad c/w
    8mm barbed = 4.75LPM, 0.0783 block c/w, 0.0373 rad c/w
    8mm quick fit = 5.6LPM, 0.0770 block c/w, 0.0369 rad c/w
    9.6mm barbed = 5.7LPM, 0.0768 block c/w, 0.0369 rad c/w
    9.6mm quick fit = 6.2LPM, 0.0762 block c/w, 0.0367 rad c/w
    11.1mm barbed = 6.3LPM, 0.0761 block c/w, 0.0367 rad c/w
    12.7mm barbed = 6.35LPM, 0.0760 block c/w, 0.0366 rad c/w

    Final CPU temperature is ambient (22C) + system load (114W) * radiator C/W + CPU Load (100W) * block C/W

    The final CPU temperatures work out to be:

    6.35mm quick fit = 34.21C
    8mm barbed = 34.08C
    8mm quick fit = 33.91C
    9.6mm barbed = 33.89C
    9.6mm quick fit = 33.80C
    11.1mm barbed = 33.79C
    12.7mm barbed = 33.77C

    So there we have it. The differences between varying tubing sizes.

    Okay, the more astute of you will point out that the block C/W is really the case-to-block C/W, and that the actual CPU-die-to-block C/W is a lot higher. Even if we triple block the C/W (which would be an absolute upper limit based upon older research), we get:

    6.35mm quick fit = 50.11C
    8mm barbed = 49.74C
    8mm quick fit = 49.31
    9.6mm barbed = 49.25C
    9.6mm quick fit = 49.04C
    11.1mm barbed = 49.01C
    12.7mm barbed = 49.00C

    I'll leave it to everyone's own personal value based judgement to determine the relative importance of the differences seen....

    It's certainly not the 5C figure that people bandy about. I never expected that it ever would be myself. In my own testing with arbitrarily choking the flow-rate in a test-system, I've always been amazed at the low flow resilience of many setups. Below 2LPM is where things start getting pear shaped quickly for most systems. My recommendation is that even if you're a low-flow fanatic, always ensure that your flow-rates are above 2LPM at the very least, and preferably above 3LPM if at all possible. Still, even when given 1/4" tubing installed with quick-fits and a decent pump like a DDC2, we can see that flow-rates in excess of 4LPM aren't a problem.
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  2. #2
    Team 32 Folding Member
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    Great post Cathar!


    I think this could be stickied.
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  3. #3
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    I second the STICKY notion, definitely an interesting read, thanks for the info dude!
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  4. #4
    Member samuknow's Avatar
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    That was great.

    I feel like I just watched a better version of Mythbusters with actual scientific content.
    Sam

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  5. #5
    Registered jrafael's Avatar
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    Glad to see there is almost no difference within 7/16 and 1/2

    great job !

    ps: as side note I think adding a few "non" standard waterpumps to the test like: Via Aqua 1300, Maxi-jet 1200, eheim 1048, Mag drive 2 or 3. and see if this less powefull pump will benefit from higher id tubing ?.

    please excuse any typos or misspelling, my first lenguaje is spanish.

  6. #6
    Member samuknow's Avatar
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    After really giving this a good look, I might go back to 3/8 tubing. I have a laing D4. Should be fine.
    Sam

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  7. #7
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    So the bigger tubes win buy a little bit??

  8. #8
    Member BLOOP!'s Avatar
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    Mannn... I just bought 1/2" tygons and a custom top for my mcp350

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  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathar
    Now in a wholistic model, we're modelling not just the impact of the water-flow rate on the CPU temperature, but the impact of the total heat dump of the cooling system (CPU, pump, radiator fans) has on the room environment, which in turn raises the temperature of the air in the room, and so in turn raises the water temperature because the air-in temperature into the radiator will have warmed up. The effect is very small, but I still model it.
    Awesome. Simply awesome. Thanks for the info, and thanks for doing this sort of testing and giving us the results. In a hobby filled with conjecture and blatant misinformation, it's nice to see that emperical results are still valued and published.
    Not very active these days. PMs are the best way to reach me.

    heatware


  10. #10
    Member natewildes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BLOOP!
    Mannn... I just bought 1/2" tygons and a custom top for my mcp350
    Remember that Cathar tested flow rate on a system with only a given *length of tubing; if you position the setup horizontally (let's say on the floor), the flow rate will be much greater than if you put it vertically (like running tubing up a wall, rather than along the floor). The modified DDC top will not only give you greater flow rate, but you'll also see a pretty decent increase in head pressure, which is imperative for getting water to go against gravity. i.e.-unless your tubing is at a 0degree incline to gravity, you'll need head pressure to get it moving. The more pressure you have, the steeper (and longer) that incline can be.
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  11. #11
    Member EmAn's Avatar
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    very interesting and informative..

    i vote sticky!
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  12. #12
    Senior Member Cathar's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by natewildes
    Remember that Cathar tested flow rate on a system with only a given *length of tubing; if you position the setup horizontally (let's say on the floor), the flow rate will be much greater than if you put it vertically (like running tubing up a wall, rather than along the floor). The modified DDC top will not only give you greater flow rate, but you'll also see a pretty decent increase in head pressure, which is imperative for getting water to go against gravity. i.e.-unless your tubing is at a 0degree incline to gravity, you'll need head pressure to get it moving. The more pressure you have, the steeper (and longer) that incline can be.
    In a closed loop system, gravity has no impact. Can lay it flat, or hang it high. The path "down" counterbalances the path "up" so the net gravitational influence is zero.
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  13. #13
    Member Maviryk's Avatar
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    I think I just posted in something STICKY.
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  14. #14
    Unoriginal Macho Moderator nikhsub1's Avatar
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    I will sticky this in time, if it is done now, IT WILL NEVER BE READ AGAIN ROFL. Seriously, stickys tend to get ignored. Bumping will do this good for a while,
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  15. #15
    Member EmAn's Avatar
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    i dont ignore the stickies

    and at least we know that it will be stickied!
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  16. #16
    Member natewildes's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathar
    In a closed loop system, gravity has no impact. Can lay it flat, or hang it high. The path "down" counterbalances the path "up" so the net gravitational influence is zero.
    Damn you high school physics! haha, thanks for the clarification
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  17. #17
    Member Bageland2000's Avatar
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    Completely worthless post, what a joke *drew hits flame gnome off his computer* sorry about that...STICKY MATERIAL. That helped a lot cathar thanks. I'm currently in the process of deciding what tubing to go with. I think I know now!
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  18. #18
    Member Hazaro's Avatar
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    Hmm, I thought everyone already knew bigger is better

    Very informative post.
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  19. #19
    Retired muddocktor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cathar
    In a closed loop system, gravity has no impact. Can lay it flat, or hang it high. The path "down" counterbalances the path "up" so the net gravitational influence is zero.
    Yep, basic U-tube principle. BTW, great post Cathar. I'm glad to see you put some concrete numbers down for everyone to read.

  20. #20
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    Does a system with large tubes hold more water compared to a system that used small tubes?

    Would this difference in volume influence the temperature in any way?

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