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Advice for a first time water cooler

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riccochet

New Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Hey everyone,
So after having many issues trying to cool my 2 Asus Radeon HD 7970 DirectCU II cards, i have decided that i am going to switch over to water cooling for all the usual reasons (quieter, better heat dissipation, etc). I have been a closet enthusiast for a while but never made the jump since i wasn't really doing anything that justified the cost. I don't plan on doing any over clocking (although that could change), so i am really interested in getting my system running stable and with good temps.
GPU Block - EK-FC7970 DCII - Acetal+EN (Nickel). I have been reading a LOT about EK and their issues with corrosion on their nickel plated products, but the EN plating is supposed to resolve this from what i've read, and it really is the ONLY waterblock built for my card so i don't really think i have much choice here.
CPU Block - XSPC RayStorm High Performance Acetal CPU Liquid Cooling Block. (i'm running a core i7 3770k)
I know that its considered bad form to be mixing and matching blocks with different materials, but i really liked the raystorm CPU block, and since my radiator was going to already be made of a different material, i really didn't think it would matter.
WC Kit - Aquacomputer Aquaduct 720 XT Mark IV External Water Cooling System. If figured for sure this would cause some flags as people generally don't see the value in these systems since they are priced WAY more than the sum of their parts. The reason i went with this was because i really have nowhere to put this in my case (its an open air case) and i have zero fabrication skills to build a housing myself.
Fittings - G1/4 thread 3/8" ID 5/8" OD compression fittings
Tubing - PrimoChill PRIMOFLEX™ Advanced LRT™ Brilliant UV Blue 3/8 ID 5/8 OD Tubing.
I didn't want to get any of the colored coolants since i read a lot of people getting issues with sludge build up with it. I planned on just using regular old distilled water. I also thought about using a silver kill coil but this is generally not recommended when using anything with nickel (Not sure if the EN would change that), but i would rather avoid the use of additives to control microbes.

Well thats all i got, i have been trying to get myself informed over the last few weeks but if there is anything i'm missing due to my lack of actual experience with watercooled setups, please feel free to give me any advice.
 
OP
R

riccochet

New Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Yeah... the external unit is something people usually have some issues with. My open air case is an Inwin D-Frame. Which, unfortunately, doesn't really have anything built onto it to allow watercooling components. The unit i linked in the post was one that was cheaper than most i could find, and had good reviews, and seemed to have good heat dissipation. The only other ones i could find were from sites like Koolance, and they were way to small to be able to cool a CPU AND dual GPU's. Koolance does make an external unit that would probably work (ERM-3K3UA Liquid Cooling System), but that unit is $1000 and is an absolute monster... built mainly for cooling rack mount servers. I figured the aqua computer external unit looked decent and would do the job for me. Any particular reason you would be AGAINST an external, purpose built unit or is it mainly cost/aestetics?
 

briansun1

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2013
Location
on your window sill staring at you
yes,everything looks OK... except for the external aio thing...and you probably want PT nuke... just to be safe.(IIRC there is a version that works with mixed metals)....and yes finally some one who reads. and dose not want to use coolant...:thup:
 

Conumdrum

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Location
Small town Emlenton, PA
+1^ Musicfan. Better choice for sure.

That Koolance one is junk. Glad you checked first.

You need to buy 120x5 of radiator, a good pump(swiftech 35x), a res and all the other goodies.

You can do it ALL for $700, prolly less.

PHN Nuke. And your mixing metals, but the types we use don't react with one another on the galvanic? scale.
 
OP
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riccochet

New Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
I had not seen that before... funny how you can search around for weeks and never come across something that seems so simple... :p
Doesn't hurt to try and price out at least. In that case, i guess i would appreciate some advice on rads, fans, pumps, reservoirs, control units, etc to ensure i get good cooling for my CPU and 2 GPUs... :)
 

ThorV2

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2013
PT Nuke or Mayhems Extreme Biocide + Distilled way to go man! Distilled is great especially I'd it's your first loop.
 

musicfan

Member
Joined
May 5, 2009
Location
Oregon, USA
The stickies at the top (linked in my signature) are an excellent resource of water-cooling insider information.

For parts selection, good reviews help:

http://martinsliquidlab.org/
http://skinneelabs.com/
http://www.xtremerigs.net/

Conumdrum gave you a big hint on the Swiftech 35x pump (so look at reservoirs that service that pump). Martin reviewed the 35x and the res that Swiftech makes.

Gentle Typhoon AP-15 fans are 3-pin 1850 rpm tested at Martin's site and often used on radiators. Some motherboard software like ASUS fanxpert2 controls 3-pins well to quiet them to around 1000 rpm. If you want 4-pin PWM fans on your rads, I am not sure there is a best. The Swiftech Helix 4-pin 800 - 1800 PWM has a nice range.

There are many good radiators but some are a challenge to use with quiet fans so please do not buy before asking. Martin tested several Alphacool, which cool well at all speeds; are made in a thin 30, but also 45 or 60 mm thickness; and have a screw-guard to prevent radiator puncture when installing fans. I think Martin reviewed radiators most recently but Skinnee has many reviews also.

There is usually more than one way to water-cool so hoping others will share their thoughts too. Good luck. :)
 
OP
R

riccochet

New Member
Joined
Apr 23, 2013
Thanks for the advice guys. I have a couple questions however just so i know i'm following the right train of thought.
PMW fans or PMW pumps - I'm not sure what PMW stands for, but i get the impression that its really just a circuit board on the fan or the pump that allows it to control its fan speed or pump speed based on monitored temps? If this is the case, would that mean i just need to give these devices a connection to the motherboard and then software would control the pump/fan speed? Is there any benefit to using a controller like the NZXT Sentry LXE External Touch Screen Fan Controller / Temperature Monitor besides the fact that it looks kinda pretty?
Is the radiator thickness something i need to be concerned by? Is there a tangible benefit to getting thicker radiators? Conumdrum mentioned getting 5 120mm radiators, is there a reason i wouldn't just get 2 triple 120mm radiators instead? i would assume this would cut down on the tubing needed, and reduce the complexity. Or am i just reading it wrong?
I see a lot of setups with multiple reservoirs, is there a benefit to doing this? The swiftech MCP35X has a companion reservoir they built specifically for this pump, is there a compelling reason to get a second?
Sorry if i'm making anyone's head hurt with stupidity... just want to make sure i understand everything clearly.
 

Conumdrum

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Location
Small town Emlenton, PA
You just don't know enough yet. The best new builders decide to watercool and read for a few weeks to possibly months, hanging out in the forums and reading lots of posts almost daily and becoming one with every bit of sticky information.

When I say 120x5 I mean the total space, it's a common term used here. At least 2-3 times a week it pops up I bet.

Why don't you Wiki PWM or try PWM fan vs 3 pin fan in Goggle? Never know what your gonna get.
 

ThorV2

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2013
Thanks for the advice guys. I have a couple questions however just so i know i'm following the right train of thought.
PMW fans or PMW pumps - I'm not sure what PMW stands for, but i get the impression that its really just a circuit board on the fan or the pump that allows it to control its fan speed or pump speed based on monitored temps? If this is the case, would that mean i just need to give these devices a connection to the motherboard and then software would control the pump/fan speed? Is there any benefit to using a controller like the NZXT Sentry LXE External Touch Screen Fan Controller / Temperature Monitor besides the fact that it looks kinda pretty?
Is the radiator thickness something i need to be concerned by? Is there a tangible benefit to getting thicker radiators? Conumdrum mentioned getting 5 120mm radiators, is there a reason i wouldn't just get 2 triple 120mm radiators instead? i would assume this would cut down on the tubing needed, and reduce the complexity. Or am i just reading it wrong?
I see a lot of setups with multiple reservoirs, is there a benefit to doing this? The swiftech MCP35X has a companion reservoir they built specifically for this pump, is there a compelling reason to get a second?
Sorry if i'm making anyone's head hurt with stupidity... just want to make sure i understand everything clearly.
Before you build it I would recommend just pure research. In getting ready to build my first water cooled PC but I've been researching every single day since June 23, 2012 (still gave first article read bookmarked). I'm sure you'll do fine just read read and keep on reading. Lifehacker, the beginners guide here and many Many more places are great..
 

ASUS ROG

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Location
Republic of Texas
Before you build it I would recommend just pure research. In getting ready to build my first water cooled PC but I've been researching every single day since June 23, 2012 (still gave first article read bookmarked). I'm sure you'll do fine just read read and keep on reading. Lifehacker, the beginners guide here and many Many more places are great..

You been researching on water cooler since last year :shock:
Are you planing to build everything from scratch or what?
 

ThorV2

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2013
You been researching on water cooler since last year :shock:
Are you planing to build everything from scratch or what?
Not from scratch but I plan on a complex loop. Researching serial and parallel loops. Researched all the different brand an fluids and decided in distilled... Right now in going to need to cool 3 7970s and a 3770K so trying to decide whether to go with an MCP 35X 2 or two separate loops.. I'll be orderi parts next week or two..
 

ASUS ROG

Member
Joined
Dec 21, 2011
Location
Republic of Texas
2 loop and i would say that you go with Swiftech MCP655, the MCP655 have been a standard of excellence for a long time now, it's also the yardstick to measure other pump to, it may not be the best of the best but it sit very high
Have you decide what kind of rad you're going to use?