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A warning against using Plexi/Acrylic water blocks...

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Locla

Registered
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
You good people helped me put together my first water cooled build a couple of years back; I thought I'd share some updates. (https://www.overclockers.com/forums...t-water-cooled-build!-Please-advise?p=8088148).

I'm sure most of you already know the dangers of plexi cracking but I didn't, and this is for anyone else who doesn't know. Basically a few months ago the threads cracked on my EVO Supremacy MX and water leaked onto my EVGA 1070ti FTW2. Now, I was doing a fair bit of transporting the PC at the time, and maybe vibrations from the car's engine didn't help - or maybe I over-tightened it when refilling after a journey. For anyone considering a new water block, I'd seriously recommend either acetal or, preferably, metal blocks. I know metal is normally a bit pricey, but I managed to find a used Ek Supreme HF Full Nickel water block for just over £30 on eBay. My temps are now way better than with the Supremacy MX and there's no chance for the threads to crack. The Supreme HF is a little dated sure, but it's running nice, cool and compatible with a Z390 MB and i5-8600k, so who cares if it's an older model? :D

The GPU seemed almost fully dead in that it wasn't providing anything from any source, the only life it showed was through LEDs and one fan spinning up. By the blessings of the Machine God I was able to revive it back to full functionality (disassembling and cleaning it with isopropyl 90% probably helped), however, others may not be so lucky.

Other than that, I found that a noisy little doohickey nestled within (but not affixed to) my pump impeller appeared to serve no purpose.

View attachment 211734

The AA battery is only there for size reference - this is another thing that I couldn't find much info on, why it was in there and whether it might have once been attached but came loose. I wonder if the previous owner decided to sell it because one day it started sounding like a mini combustion engine. Either way my temps are great without it, previously it was making some considerable noise for about a year, rattling around in there. If anyone else has this noise issue, you may want to consider removing this piece :thup:

Hope something here helps someone :D
 

gregmacknass

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
I have been using a plexi res in multiple systems for over a decade (danger den rad res) with no issues. I have always gone by the rule of hand tight + a 1/4 turn for all water cooling fittings. I have used both plexi cpu and gpu block in that time. I have never experienced a crack of any kind. I would suggest that it is a user error or a potential manufacturing defect. The former being much more likely. As far as your "extra" piece, I have no clue.....
 

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
Appreciate the heads up. I would say it was the brand versus the actual plexi/acrylic more than anything though. I know ek is popular but there are many, many threads on the internet about quality issues with ek items. Everything from fluid, nickel, plexi and general quality problems. Not to mention I have been a victim of their crap items myself. Do yourself a favor and buy other brands, you will be better off for it.
 

joedreamliner78

Registered
Joined
Dec 4, 2016
I've been using ekwb blocks, fittings for over 8 years and never had a plexi block crack. This is result of cranking the fitting too much. Once that o ring hit the plexi all you need is a 1/4 turn.
 
OP
L

Locla

Registered
Joined
Jun 25, 2018
Thanks for your responses, it's good to get info on people's different experiences.

gregmacknass you're absolutely right - it's probably 99% likely that through clumsy user error I overtightened the fittings enough to crack the plexi threads after a flush. Having said that, it's also probably 99% likely that the threads would not have cracked had they not been acrylic. I guess my hindsight is mainly for newbies without a decade of experience, who are on the fence about what loop components to get, potentially nervously overtightening fittings like I probably did. I'm not saying that acrylic has no aesthetic value as that's entirely subjective - personally I rarely find myself looking at my CPU block so moving to metal was an easy decision. I'll admit that I was a bit bummed out when, upon cracking the threads after 2 years, I noticed that there were a couple of holes that I could have put LEDs into.

Thanks for the info BugFreak, it's useful as I'm looking into upgrading the GPU + expanding the loop, and I'd want a GPU water block to get for a 2080. Maybe I'll lean away from EK, although to be honest I'm loving their Supreme HF full nickel. I'm hoping there will soon be a few 2080s on the second hand market, or at least when the 3080s aren't out of stock...

joedreamliner78 I agree, I just can't ignore the logic in removing a potential point of failure from something, unless aesthetic subjectivity makes a clear case for acrylic. (see what I did there? :rolleyes:) It makes me wonder if the inherent brittleness of acrylic raises the likelihood of there being eventual damage after the Nth tightening, even when done so correctly as you and others clearly have.

I'll always opt for metal blocks where I can now, but if people choose to go for acrylic there's some solid confidence + advice here for them to have peace of mind and hopefully avoid my mistake. Thanks all :)
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Yeah.. just seems logical. It's....acrylic. It will crack/fail sooner than metal. Have to be careful. :)

Some people simply prefer to see the inner workings which is tough to do with metal.

I also haven't had any issues with ek. Call me lucky, or simply aware that manu issues are user caused than product failures or shortcomings..:)
 

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
I also haven't had any issues with ek. Call me lucky, or simply aware that manu issues are user caused than product failures or shortcomings..
Not sure I could say that user error causes the nickel to come off. Unless you buy into their excuse of only using ek fluids to prevent it of course. Seems like an all to easy excuse and plug for their own garbage fluid to me.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Not sure I could say that user error causes the nickel to come off. Unless you buy into their excuse of only using ek fluids to prevent it of course. Seems like an all to easy excuse and plug for their own garbage fluid to me.
oh yeah! I remember that from some time back. Hasn't that been resolved though?
 

maxfly

Member
Joined
May 7, 2005
Not all acrylic is created equal in my experience. Ive had a pair of ek supremacy evo acrylic tops crack after only a few months but never had any issues with their acrylic gpu blocks cracking or even having micro fractures after many years of use.
The cpu block tops were very very thin in comparison to the gpu blocks especially around the barbs mounts. No matter how delicate i was in threading the barbs onto the cpu tops they immediately formed micro fractures. EK replaced the first cracked top no questions asked. And after telling them i was again seeing the second one fracture in the same way they refunded the cost of a new top. Which covered all but $5 of the nickel replacement top i bought. Not ideal but far better than some companies ive dealt with.
 

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
oh yeah! I remember that from some time back. Hasn't that been resolved though?

Not that I know of. Still see plenty of posts about it and they still don't honor any warranty unless using their fluids. The same fluid that breaks apart when used. There was a pretty nasty thread about it not too long ago on another oc forum where the ek rep tried to defend the problems...It didn't go well.

I can't speak to any recent personal use because I haven't used their product for many years.
 

Keith Myers

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2015
I purchased an acetal top cpu block from a new company that didn't offer metal. I had always purchased metal top blocks prior. The acetal top has not cracked but you can tell that is a softer material than acrylic.

But my next two blocks were acrylic tops because of the user testimonials that the acrylic used was a better version than any competing brand. I have reefed the fittings into the acrylic tops and have not seen any signs of cracks or micro fractures.

Benefit is that you can see any fouling of the fins on the coldplate. The new company is Optimus PC.
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
Every single plexi/acrylic CPU block that I had cracked within some weeks/months, regardless of brand. In most cases there are visible little cracks but it doesn't leak. However, there are new series with mixed materials or acetal or other material "ring" around threads. This seems like the best option if anyone wants transparent block as it doesn't crack or at least is barely visible and doesn't leak.

In 24/7 build which I gave my brother, there are Watercool full nickel CPU and GPU blocks and no issues for about 3 years.

Just a short conclusion is that you have to be careful with acrylic/plexi blocks and don't put too much pressure or simply pick acetal or any metal version and don't worry about cracks.
 

Keith Myers

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2015
The reason why I shouldn't have to worry about my cpu blocks or reservoirs from Optimus is they use cast acrylic instead of the common extruded acrylic which is prone to cracks from embedded stresses caused by the extrusion process.
This is their blurb about their materials.

https://optimuspc.com/pages/materials

So far after 9 months, no cracking has appeared in any of the acrylic bits, so at this point, tend to believe their spiel.
 

Woomack

Benching Team Leader
Joined
Jan 2, 2005
I guess this brand is working mostly on the US market as, even though I'm deep into various products/brands including Chinese etc., then I haven't heard about Optimus.

Since I mentioned Chinese brands, there are many cheap and good quality blocks from Bykski or Barrow. There are some exceptions but everything I purchased cost me 1/2 or 1/3 of EK and everything was perfect. I have Bykski Vega56 Nano block which has no cracks and works for over a year 24/7. Can't say much about others as for example Barrow block is a mix of acryl and POM+nickel plated brass while acryl is in the middle with RGB LEDs. Looks pretty good, works well with new CPUs with large dies and cost me around $40 (inc. 23% tax). Something like this http://www.barrowint.com/product/cpuslt/Barrow_cpu_water_block/1490.html
 

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
Optimus has a big fanboy base on another forum I go to. Not sure if that is the company's main haunt but they sure are active there. I like the designs but their prices seem a little ridiculous to me.
 

Keith Myers

Member
Joined
Aug 11, 2015
They have only been on the custom water cooling scene since the end of last year. Primarily a CNC shop doing parts for aerospace. This is just their new sideline gig. They make no apologies for their pricing, they charge what the products are worth in materials and time to be produced.

I learned about them back when the Zen chiplet design emerged with offset heat sources compared to any previous cpu and I asked the question, 'when are the cpu block manufacturers going to produce a new block design to accommodate the new cpus?'

They were the first company to produce a coldplate that completely covered all the dies of the Threadripper and Ryzen Zen cpus. The radiative surface area of their microfine coldplates are much larger than the competition. I immediately saw a 6-8° C. reduction in all-core crunching temps. Unless you have a high wattage use case whether from overclocking or all-core 24/7 crunching, you probably won't see that much a difference in temps compared to the competition under more common occasional gaming or normal PC use cases. It is when you have high wattages that need to be cooled does the Optimus block produce results way ahead of the competition.
 
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Redman372004

New Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2021
I have been using a plexi res in multiple systems for over a decade (danger den rad res) with no issues. I have always gone by the rule of hand tight + a 1/4 turn for all water cooling fittings. I have used both plexi cpu and gpu block in that time. I have never experienced a crack of any kind. I would suggest that it is a user error or a potential manufacturing defect. The former being much more likely. As far as your "extra" piece, I have no clue.....
Could you pm me? And also, do you still have the DD res/pump unit? Let me know.
 

gregmacknass

Member
Joined
Feb 18, 2010
Could you pm me? And also, do you still have the DD res/pump unit? Let me know.
Sorry, I am just seeing this now. I gave this setup to my brother with a brand new swiftech x50 pump. There are several options that are similar that are still available. D5 pumps are just as reliable for about the same cost. Do not be afraid of either pump choice or the corresponding res. Both are reliable fo the most part. Just remember 1/4 turn past hand tight and you will be golden with acrylic parts.