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1st Water Cooling Build w/ Pics

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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
Figured I would document my first W-C so others can give advice as I go. Its different as the rad will most likely not be mounted and be external. I will TLDR everything at the end if anyone wants to skip my rambles and see specs/build. Thanks to everyone in advance this forum makes a fairly complex hobby accessible to all. The advice on my other thread was well appreciated.

Been wanting a high-end gaming for since Windows 98 but never had the financial ability. Im in my 30's and spent around a year saving for it. Though saving for something thats not out yet is alot less tedious then saving for something that is available. With the 2080ti and 9900k release I figured nows the time. My build as of now is finished with just the water cooling loop to go. Cable management is horrible ATM because I knew build was not final and e-atx is supported by my case. I plan to switch out my motherboard to the EVGA z390 Dark. Its pre-ordered and my Gigabyte Auros Extreme is going back tomorrow. The gigabyte board had unfixable issues and needed RMA.

My computer lays on its side on the bottom shelf of an entertainment unit w/ the back facing me (check pic). I feel as if this makes an external mount easier. The hoses are well protected and can go out the front drive bay without being seen. Aesthetics are not important. RGB is my enemy, one of the reasons I love the z390 dark. I love the look alot but it distracts me and kills immersion. Its also annoying to turn off, defaults to "on", and sometimes need to be turned off every boot.
I once had a landlord want to charge me 200$ extra in rent for electric bill when I had RGB and the v71 case. I bought the v31 case and turned off RGB, told her I got a new pc and she stopped bothering me.


Im very happy with my current air build. My 9900k runs at 4.8 mhz w/ a 400 watt gpu. Fans dont go above 60% with cpu/gpu @ 75c and its in a small/light easily manageable case. I used to have a v-71 and see alot of similiar huge case with the same specs or less the my pc. Linux and jaytwocents both had videos on "all-out" pc builds similiar to mine. The cases are HUGE and insanely heavy. Like 2.5x times the size and weight. So air cooling definetly does have its benefits. As components are smaller and weigh far far less. So my goal is to hit 5.0 on the cpu, lessen fan noise from GPU because 60% is still loud, and not have to use EVGA x1 software (only program that can control fans on gpu). Looks is not inportant.



TLDR/SPECS

Currently my build is

9900k with NH-D15
EVGA z390 Dark
4600 mhz cl 18 G. Skill Trident Z - Only been able to post at 3900mhz and stopped trying because of M-B RMA for separate issues. Z390 Dark is pretty optimized for Ram speed so Im excitied to see the outcome.
EVGA 2080 TI FTW3
1200 watt EVGA P2 Power Supply - Had from an old build and the fan broke. EVGA sent replacement so it was new, free, and good quality. The 850w is much smaller and lighter thus preferable but not free :D.
Thermaltake x31 Mid-Tower - Love this case. Favorite part of my build. Its small even for a mid-tower, fits everything, and is great with thermals.
Drives soley for Steam/Games - Samsung NVME 970 1tb, 2tb 850 ssd, 500 gb 850 ssd.
Other Drives - 10tb WD HDD Gold, 4TB WD HDD Gold, 500 gb 850 ssd for C: drive

Water cooling supplies

400x200x85 v2 full copper rad- It was on sale for 100$, I already have 4 extra 200mm fans, and it fits my case. I can mount on top of case but will most likely not mount and have sitting as on its own. It actually sits really well on its own (pic)
EVGA 2080ti FTW Waterblock
Pump/Res d5 combo from ekwb - Not Yet Purchased
EKWB full nickel water block - Not Yet Purchased
Tubing/Fitings - Not Yet Purchased


I was planning on mounting on top of my case but will most likely just have it sit on its own. It will cooler better, reduce dust in case, easier to work/maintenance and be easier to transport via external quick connects. I may do hard and soft tubing. Hard tubing inside to a EK pass-thru mounted into the metal front drive vent. The front of my case isnt seen but the pass-thru will still give a clean look and add sturdiness. After the pass thru I will have 7" of soft tubing then a quick connect coupling with another 7" soft tubing connecting to rad for intake/return. Im trying to make it look "clean" with the hard tubing inside and mounted pass-thru. Cheaper/Easier option is soft tubing for everything with the drive bay open.

I can also mount on top of case with push/pull. But I only see negatives at the moment in doing so. I can mount it to the case in 15 minutes by shortening hose length and 8 screws. As long as there isnt a major reason to do so, I will leave the rad unmounted. On a completely separate note, having it mounted external would be a more stable variable to compare to other rads (open test bench theory). So I can hook my buddies 360x35mm and compare thermals in same environment.

Im not sure what Im going to do with pump/res. Noise is the main factor. I most likely will mount inside of case to contain noise. This is my main concern ATM. I have everything map'd out besides pump type, wether to use a combo, and whether to use two pumps. With a larger loop and rad would it be quieter to run two pumps at 30% then one at 60%? I really like the idea of redundancy and have price saved on other things so I have the budget.

So my main questions would be -
Do you see anything inherently wrong with my build?
With a larger loop and rad like mine would it be quieter to run two pumps at 30% then one at 60%?
Is a d5 or ddc preferable? I would prefer the quitest set-up, even if it means two pumps.





Pics - Included pics of my gaming room and pc. Will take better/more pics of pc going foward. Annnnd about my ugly recliner. I get free/new furniture left-over from houses i stage. This recliner was ugly but by far the most comfortable, so I decided to drill into after being inspired by the Acer Predator Thornos.
 

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UltraTaco

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Oct 28, 2017
Looks good! Taco is wondering, is the case very small or the components are just starting to become awful big?:shrug:
 

Witchdoctor

Member
Joined
Apr 12, 2014
As far as hardware goes it would be difficult to try to get a better set up.
In the other thread I posted a link to a DDC2 pump combo
That is a nice set up and the pump is a monster. You will hear the pump but it is far from obtrusive. They do make a dual, just not convinced it is worth it for your circumstances.
The Ek fittings are nice, I prefer working with them over the Bits Power. The EK ZMT tubing is very durable and is very forgiving on tight bends, also no worries of plasticizers with rubber tubing.
You have some serious cash invested into hardware, make it look good. Anyone can slap hardware together and pull some tubing around a build. Take some pride in the build you will not regret doing a nice job. It is the least any self-respecting Overclockers Forum member would do …….
Take your time and have some fun and this will be a rewarding experience.

Good luck
 
OP
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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
As far as hardware goes it would be difficult to try to get a better set up.
In the other thread I posted a link to a DDC2 pump combo
That is a nice set up and the pump is a monster. You will hear the pump but it is far from obtrusive. They do make a dual, just not convinced it is worth it for your circumstances.
The Ek fittings are nice, I prefer working with them over the Bits Power. The EK ZMT tubing is very durable and is very forgiving on tight bends, also no worries of plasticizers with rubber tubing.
You have some serious cash invested into hardware, make it look good. Anyone can slap hardware together and pull some tubing around a build. Take some pride in the build you will not regret doing a nice job. It is the least any self-respecting Overclockers Forum member would do …….
Take your time and have some fun and this will be a rewarding experience.

Good luck


I was on the fence with the EK ZMT tubing but I think im going to use it. From everything I know and heard its easier to work with. I at first was turned off by the look but it actually will go nice in a z390 dark build.

Compression fitting are superior IMO. Barbed fittings have less chance of failure due to human error but compression can be easily done and undone.

Rubber tubing and compression fittings are always nice to work with in construction. The soft rubber conforms easily to the compression giving a tight seal. The compression nut is also easier to compress down on the soft rubber. Making for less chance of human error and a better seal.
 
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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
Made some purchases last night.
Alphacool Eiszapfen Quick Release Connector Kit G1/4 Inner Thread - Deep Black (17282)
Phobya Xtreme 400 Fan Grill 2x180/200mm - Black (38345) - Rad only comes with one side

Im definetly not going to mount it. The only hold back to leaving it unmounted was the quick connect fittings. The quick connect fittings I found had 10 perfect ratings on one site alone. Couldnt find a single bad review. I can easily disconnect the rad for transport with pc which I do semi-often for work. I have a sata fan power controller that can also easly disconnect.

I feel as if having it mounted would make the pc akward and top heavy to move. I hated the v71 case for that reason. I flip houses and sometimes reside in them during the work week. Really a good deal because at night I get disruption free gaming which is hard at home. So transporting the pc without a huge hassle is vital. Im really hoping the QConnects work because it will make transport super easy.
 

Witchdoctor

Member
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Apr 12, 2014
Water cooling makes transport problematic reguardless
You may want to consider throwing together a cheap mitx grinder or a cheap lappy if they would meet the requirements you need
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Would you transport a loop without draining it Witchdoctor? My heart skips a beat if I bump my desk, much less throw my PC in a car lol.
 

Witchdoctor

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Apr 12, 2014
I have already, just so heavy when the loop, res and rads are full

quick connect on the rad will save some weight, but still may be less than idea for transport on a regular basis ???
 
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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
Would you transport a loop without draining it Witchdoctor? My heart skips a beat if I bump my desk, much less throw my PC in a car lol.

I dont understand this. Im not trying to be obnoxious or presumptuous, I just dont understand why this would be so. The only reason I can imagine is a PC's water systems are inferior or fragile is for aesthetics. Im using high end parts and there is no glass or hard tubing for aesthetics. I think PC's hold alot of personal value to people, even more then items of higher $$$ value. So there is heightened precaution. How often do people care about the water system in their car, a more expensive item?

I've worked with water systems for over 12 years. They are not delicate. A bathroom sink springing a leak in an upstair bedroom could cause 10's of thousands of dollars damage. I say that because water systems need to be extremely reliable, durable, and resilient. Think of the radiator in your car and the day to day beating that system takes. A correctly built W-C PC, say from a company, is not built to lesser standards but higher. Unless it uses glass. Which if so is usually just the res, which is inside. So besides stabbing the fins or enough brute force that would already destroy everything in your PC. From everything I've seen in WC taken from the real-world applications is OverKill, which is great.

Water Cooling loop have a very low wear and tear compared to other systems. Relatively low heat, low pressure, low UV exposure, no salt, no chlorine, and high quality metal/materials.

It would take alot of force to remove a clamped barb or compressed fitting. If you ripped at your gpu from the loop most likely the gpu would rip from the mobo. I've seen 250lbs guys do pull-up bars from a bar made of barb fittings and similar PVC tubing.


I would end saying this. If you value your PC and you believe your loop is so fragile that bumbs in a car or regular transport would result in failure then you should remove your loop immediately. But I dont believe that to be the case. Companies wouldnt ship such a product and people would build such things. PC's are shipped full from companies, I asked when shopping for a pre-built as I didnt want to anything. As far as plumbing goes, water cooling loops look really solid and well thought out. Water cooling systems rely on durability.

My main concern with transport is glass, so I used a plexi res. The next weakest point would be res top, which can come loss due to vibrations during transport. A piece of tape and routine checking will prevent res top from coming looses. Compression fitting shouldnt get loose because they have pressure from the tube. Then of course freezing.

Im always delicate with my PC. But nothing like a stress test. Im will put in a loop into case without valuable components and due some durability testing. I have a crappy mobo/chipset that fits my cpu block. So I can stress test it pretty hard with only the gpu missing.

If something goes wrong during or after tests I'll post the outcome for a warning to others. I dont mean to sound conceded or not heading the good advice of others. But via my trade I've learned to trust water systems. Im repairing a house that froze-out from the cold blast tomorrow. I used to not be able to sleep thinking all the things that could go wrong from a large repair like that. But after time I learned that systems built right do not fail.
 
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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
I have an old case and old mobo, so im gonna do some stress testing. I can test everything in the loop but the GPU block with only risking the pump/res. The rad wont be on the case so no need to stress test that, if it fails it will leak exterior. I may just buy a really cheap cpu block and res off Amazon so I can be really rough with the stress test. I imagine the EKWB materials will be more durable then the cheap Amazon one. So if the amazon one passes it will be good.

Ill try to upload the stress test, it would take a few weeks tho.
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
All fair points, I only asked someone more experienced because I am new to watercooling. As wonderful as it is and something I have wanted to do for a long time, the idea of putting water next to my components still has a cringe factor. That said most high end companies will fill a PC with a certain kind of foam, or even CNC their own braces for things like large heatsinks. I used to Lan a PC with a 2lbs copper heatsink, and I was always careful to transport it horizontally to reduce stress on the motherboard. In otherwords I would be concerned about transport damage before the added weight of water. Just caused me to be cautious, that is all. As Witchdoctor states, he's already transported full loops and the only problem was that it was obnoxiously heavy. You'll probably be Ok.
 
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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
All fair points, I only asked someone more experienced because I am new to watercooling. As wonderful as it is and something I have wanted to do for a long time, the idea of putting water next to my components still has a cringe factor. That said most high end companies will fill a PC with a certain kind of foam, or even CNC their own braces for things like large heatsinks. I used to Lan a PC with a 2lbs copper heatsink, and I was always careful to transport it horizontally to reduce stress on the motherboard. In otherwords I would be concerned about transport damage before the added weight of water. Just caused me to be cautious, that is all. As Witchdoctor states, he's already transported full loops and the only problem was that it was obnoxiously heavy. You'll probably be Ok.

Yeah I took some precautions due to advice though. First I set up my build on a test bench so I have more time to stress test. Then I switched out some parts on the order sheet and eliminated some potential points of failure (Shiz I dont need).

I switched from compression to barbed. There are some really nice gold clamps from bitspower then make it super secure. I also used a very easy to work with tubing the rubber all black from EKWB.

Finally I used an all metal to metal connections, like an all nickle water block from EKWB. I find metal on metal fits better then metal on plexi in other water system I worked on. You can feel it tighten better and have less chance of stripping or cracking. Im imagine EKWB uses stong enough plexi that is nearly equal to the copper, but I saw on vids some generic heart heatsink plexi cracking or cheaper plastic components like flow meters.
 
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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
Order is complete from EKWB. Man did this whole thing go over budget. I was thinking 400$, all together it was about 1,000. Fittings cost way more then I expected, shipping combined was over 100$ from EVGA, EKWB, and Performanc PCs, liquid metal, fan controller, and the FTW3 2080 ti water block being 200$ compared to the FE 125$ I priced in.

9900k is going out to Silicone Lottery to be delidded w/ liquid metal applied and binned. I will then re-delid it again and mount it with the Deaur direct die mount w/ liquid metal. They have a process in which they use a solution to disolve the solder instead of scraping it. This method with-out a scraping with a razer doesnt require sanding after to remove grooves. They polish the die top before putting liquid metal but they dont remove any hieght off the die. The De8auer direct die mount wont work if you sand the die down, so Im told.

Heres a rough breakdown of how much this Overclocking adventure cost.

GPU block- 200
Fittings - 250 include 3 quick connects sets at 30$ each
Rad - 100
CPU block - 115
hoses and fluid - 75
Res/Pump - 175
Silicon Lottery delid - 100$

I could of cut cost by about 300$ using generic parts but I really liked ekwb and didnt want to risk low-end parts
 
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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
I ended up deciding on building my old parts into a PC for my younger brother with a new 500 gb ssd, power supply and a RTX 2080 for only 250$!!!!!!!!!! Hes turning 18 so I wanted to get him something nice and found a website that leases GPU's for relatively cheap. A 2080 for a year is 100$. Got a little of buyer remorse of new PC when I compared the cost vs performance of my upgraded old build vs my i9-9900k completely new build.

As far as cost go Im gonna compare two builds I could of done. Upgrading my old build vs new build w/ 9900k and 2080ti

My build from 4 years ago
i7 4790k- Noctua DH-15
Asus Hero vii mobo-
32gb 2100 mhz ddr3
GTX 1080 EVGA SC2 (Was a 980ti but fans blew up. EVGA replaced with a 1080)

For 100$ I could of upgraded to 2080 for a year from Cutting Edge Gamer, they dont lease 2080tis. The computer would be around 35%-50% slower as far as FPS goes.
For 1500$ I could of upgraded to a 2080ti. The computer would be around 5-10% slower as far as FPS goes. In some games it would be more extereme gap around 30-40% due to CPU bottleneck. Games like hunt, far cry, and battlefield did see pretty big gains with the 9900k.

My new build will be about 4200$ with using alot of old parts. No new drives, case, power supply, perif, and sound card.

When both PC's are built Ill do a more in depth benchmarking and price breakdown. But its a little food for thought for those looking to go high-end, the price to performance drop-off is like the Mariana trench.
 
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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
Just got EKWB shipment. Let me say their hose clips are garbage. Literally garbage. Would never use those in a water system, they fail at every level.

Hose clamps are supposed to put continues pressure on the hose while being easy to remove. EKWB's do not fully clamp down and are not easy to remove. fail.


Welp- Just went to website and all those hose clamps are out of stock. Im guessing they realized they got a bad batch and immediately pulled them all of the site. I dont think every size would go out of sale in the 2 days since i last checked.
 

Witchdoctor

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Apr 12, 2014
never used their clamps, typically use their compression fittings
So you are just using barbed fittings ? back in the day just used zip ties on those
 

maxfly

Member
Joined
May 7, 2005
look for worm drive hose clamps that match the outside diameter of your tubing. all of those plastic clamps are junk. youll never have a leak with worm drive clamps. just go easy on how tight you go. they can eat into the tubing.
 
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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
Yes thanks. I got spring lock which match and secure well.

My real question would be why does EKWB sell the worse type of clamp with a 20x write up? Lets forget the ridiculous price write up. If people from the community did I blind test spring and worm would win out easily. For human error spring is the best, you cant under or over tighten. So for me spring is what I would sell.
 
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WildArmsfx

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Jan 27, 2019
Start EKWB rant. Project is now delayed due to EKWB parts failing leak/endurance test horribly. Their compression fittings are so bad on every level. Basic common sense did not go into the engineering of EKWB fittings.

Let me start rant by saying a "fail" to be doesnt have to be catasphroic failure. If something if more likely to fail then it should be, then I consider it a fail. Its not about something definitely going wrong, its about getting percentage of failures down to the smallest possible. So Im not saying EKWB compression fittings will fail every time on use. Just that they did in my situation and will in other situation due to poor design.


Whats wrong. EKWB compression fittings do not give a secure fitting when used with their ZMT matte tubing. It being sold to be "hand tightened" makes EKWB soft tubing compression fittings a even bigger fail. To experiment after the failure I used two wrenches to secure compression nut fully down, I was still able to manipulate the tubing out of the fitting fairly easily. Far far less secure then the barb fitting w/o a clamp.

You cannot tighten them more then "hand tightened" due to poor design. When I over-tighten compression nut I noticed the whole fitting would come out instead of just the nut loosening. This is just a face-plant because it could be prevented so easily. First by having a compression fittings with a different thread type. Second and most obvious, you cant have a smaller thread going in the same direction of a larger thread that takes more force to remove. This design would of worked as is if the 1/4 fitting had more threads and went in deeper thus requiring more force to remove. But just on sight as is with the 3mm deep threads its blantly obvious which thread takes more force to remove and its not the g 1/4. Third would be to be to have a small hexagon around the bottom so a wrench can apply counter pressure. Its not much force so the tool to apply counter pressure could be small and easy to maneuver. So its 100% a part meant to be applied with hand pressure, as it is not designed to be tighten with tools. A hand tightened seal is definetly not secure with this tube and fitting.

To make things worse I kinda feel this is by design. So people can easily remove the tubing after removing the compression clamp.

EKWB is really not a good a company. Inflated prices of horrible products. Its one of best in the industry but thats because the industries bar is incredibly low. I feel the bar is "it works" not "this is the most efficient way with the least chance of failure". I understand doing aesthetics over reliability but this is not that. Those compression fittings could be made better without losing aesthetics. Alot of EKWB parts would not be getting sold if water cooling pc parts had to go thru board approval like plumbing parts used in your house. So for me, a plumber by trade, its super frustrating seeing something in which any average joe tradesmen know is defective but EKWB some how does not. People love their PC's and hold huge sentimental value for them, companies should only be selling the best when they charge premier prices.

Humans have spent millions of bureaucratic hours debating, testing, monitoring and doing real life trials on water systems to decrease their fail rate significantly. The end results of this testing is codes and regulations all producers, suppliers, and builders must conform to greatly reducing error. I think at very least EKWB should call on the insane amount of information available on water systems to make sure their products conform to established standards. At very most there should be a non-governmental board of reviewers setting industry standards as suggestions.
 
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