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Build log: Dual SR2 360 rads in Lian Li PC-O11 (in progress)

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Sprucemoose

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Build log: Dual SR2 360 rads in Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic (finished)

PHOTOS OF FINISHED BUILD ON PAGE 2.

It's time to upgrade the old i7-2600k workhorse I've had since 2011, and it was fun posting my progress on that build here on this forum. This will be my second custom water cooled build ever, and I'll try my hands on hard tubing for the first time. Priorities for this computer will be as little noise as possible with effective (oversized?) cooling, but still powerful components with headroom for overclocking. The plan is to use radiators designed for low rpm fans to reduce noise as much as possible. I'll try to cram in some RGB heaven (hell) too. Some components are in shipment, so I'll update the post from time to time during the build. First thing will be to check that all components works with stock air cooling, then I'll dismantle everything and start the water job. The size of the radiators will make this a tight fit, but I hope I'll be able to connect everything.

Components:
Case: Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic - white
PSU: BeQuiet Dark Power Pro 11 850W
Motherboard: Gigabyte X570 Aorus Elite (non-WiFi)
CPU: AMD Ryzen 9 3900X
RAM: G.Skill Trident Z DDR4 RGB 2x16GB 3200Mhz CL14 (F4-3200C14D-32GTZR)
M.2: Samsung 970 EVO Plus 2TB
GPU: Gigabyte 2080 Ti Gaming OC
Cables: ATX, CPU and 2x 8-pin GPU extension cables from Mainframe customs (Black, carbon fibre, fusion gold/black)
Etc: Low profile USB 3.0 + 2x 9-pin USB 2.0 extension cables

Cooling:
Radiator top: Hardware Labs 360 SR2 (fans configured as push - exhaust)
Radiator bottom: Hardware Labs 360 SR2 (fans configured as pull - intake)
Pump: EK D5 PWM sleeved
Reservoir: Singularity computer Protium 100mm cylindrical - clear acrylic top
Reservoir mount: Singularity computer Core - black
Pump top: Singularity computer clear acrylic
Pump cover: Singularity computer black/silver
Fans: 9x Corsair ML120 RGB (3x top, 3x bottom, 3x side)
CPU water block: Heatkiller IV PRO (AMD, AM4 ready) Acetal
GPU water block: Heatkiller IV for RTX 2080 Ti - Acetal/Nickel w/ backplate
Thermal grease: T-Grizzly Kryonaut
Tubing: EK 12mm PETG
Fittings: EK HTC Classic Black Nickel 12mm
Coolant: EK Cryofuel clear

Fan/RGB/pump control:
Fan controller: Aquacomputer Aquaero 6LT
Fan controller cooling: Aquacomputer passive heatsink - black
Water temperature probe: Aquacomputer G1/4 plug for Aquaero
Air temperature probe: Aquacomputer probes included with Aquaero
Flow meter: Koolance INS-FM19
Fan RGB controller: 2x Corsair Lightning Node Pro + 2x Corsair RGB hub
Fan splitter - 3x EK 3to1 PWM splitters
 
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maxfly

Member
Joined
May 7, 2005
Subd thats one of my favorite cases. I look forward to seeing how you trick it out!
 
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Sprucemoose

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Finally, I've received all the computer components. I was a bit disappointed that my CPU was delivered with a bent pin, but I managed to bend it back (separate forum post). Tested everything on air, just to check that all components were working. Managed to boot, install Windows and mess around a little bit.

I've still not decided the loop order, tubing run, tube diameter (12/16mm) or fittings, but I've imagined something like the sketch below. The three alternative loop runs I've imagined are:

1) Pump > Bottom rad > GPU > CPU > Top rad > Res (sketch below)
2) Pump > CPU > Top rad > GPU > bottom rad > Res
3) Pump > CPU > GPU > Bottom rad > Top rad (ports facing towards front) > Res

In any case, the side ports of the multiport SR2 radiators should be perfect for a drain port and water temperature sensor. I plugged two of the ports on the bottom radiator to be able to mount it level in the chassis (separate forum post), but I don't think I need to do that on the top radiator. Being able to vent one of the ports on top should also make it easier to drain the loop.

Does anybody have an opinion on which airflow would be best for the bottom rad? Originally, I plan to configure the fans in a pull configuration here, but I'm a little worried about the noise the fans will make (During my last build, I experienced a high-pitched noise in pull config (probably because the low air pressure between rad and fans), and I'd like to prevent that. If I can safely switch to a push configuration at the bottom, I think the noise would be better. But then I'll be exhausting air both at the top and bottom, which might not be the best thing. Anyway, I will have 3x120mm fan intake on the side panel (behind the pump, not in the sketch), and I'd like to generate a slightly positive air pressure in the case to prevent dust.

View attachment 207516

- - - Auto-Merged Double Post - - -

Today, I also started the work with preparing the build for water cooling. First up was the graphics card. No problem removing the heatsink/fans and backplate from the card. Cleaned off the old thermal paste and applied new Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut together with the included thermal pads. It's always fiddly and time consuming working with the pads, but it came together nicely:

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Sprucemoose

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
More shiny parts today! Time for the CPU waterblock. Taking off the stock cooler, rinsing off the CPU and installing the block was way faster than working with the GPU. I installed the block with the outlet located at the top (to prevent air from being trapped).

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Time to take a look at the fans. Installed the three intake fan at the side. I installed the fans in the main chamber instead of the rear since I need the holes to mount the res/pump. I might choose to remount the fans in the rear chamber, but then I need to get hold of some longer screws. I also need to look at how far into the main chamber the res/pump should be located.

View attachment 207541

Lastly I had to check out the cables from Mainframe customs. They look pretty good :)

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MaddMutt

Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2015
My Opinion - I like everything except the Gigabyte parts. :)
On running your loop - are you planning to OC?? If so, it will help to have the CPU hit a rad before going into the GPU.
Don't forget to update your sig also :)
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Actually I can't fully say that my experience differs from MaddMutt's suggestion because I haven't tested that configuration.

My experience with the O11D is that even though its a bottom intake and top exhaust, the GPU ends up diverting some of the air that comes in the bottom rad out the back. Air for the top rad is then either supplied by the fans from the side intakes (or in my case where that is blocked entirely by my pump/res panel, passively from the vent holes next to the IO shield. All of that said, you still want to avoid putting heat from the bottom rad into the top rad.

That would be the concept of heat rejection, and at least for the GTX rads, which are essentially two slim rads sandwiched one on top of another, HL cautions users about it. They have instructions to configure the inlet and outlet such that the airflow through the rad goes through the inlet water after going through the outlet water. I don't know if I'm doing a good job of explaining this, but in theory, the hotter water will be cooled by the air that was already exposed to the less hot water. In other words the inlet goes to the top of the rad (exhausting out the top) and flows across the entire top of the rad, then through the end cap, and then flows across the entire bottom of the rad. Air enters in a push config from the bottom and out the top.

I don't have any data to back this up, but I wanted to share my reasoning and configuration since were using the same case. I chose to extend this same principle through the entire case. Aside from the pump which really contributes minimal heat to the loop, there are no heat sources in between my rads. As I mentioned above, the inlet goes into the top of the top rad, then through the end cap into the bottom of the top rad, then through the pump/res and straight into the bottom rad. In other words the coolest air (fresh intake) contacts the coolest water in the bottom rad, then the water that has already made one pass through the top chamber of the top rad contacts the air that has already been through the bottom rad (mixed with the passive intake air from next to the IO shield), and finally the hottest water straight from the GPU and CPU passes directly through the top chamber of the top rad and is contacted by air that has (partially) already been through the bottom rad, and then also already been through the bottom chamber of the top rad.

I'm not even sure if loop order matters at all tbh. Especially in terms of the temperature of the water from a specific component contributing to or degrading the performance of a subsequent component in the loop. On the other hand, I doubt my GTX rad would have had a special card stuck to the ports cautioning users about configuring the radiator correctly to avoid "heat rejection" if there wasn't something to it, at least for a specific radiator. I think the impact in treating the whole system in the same way is much more questionable, but the whole strategy is more concerned about air temperatures than water temperatures. With your side intake fans, I don't think it will matter as much compared to my system (that is if it matters at all).

Just thought I'd share some food for thought specific to having intake and exhaust radiators in the same loop.
 
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Sprucemoose

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
My Opinion - I like everything except the Gigabyte parts. :)
On running your loop - are you planning to OC?? If so, it will help to have the CPU hit a rad before going into the GPU.
Don't forget to update your sig also :)

I don't know much about Gigabyte, but the motherboard was the cheapest X570 that still had the VRMs good enough for OC-ing the X3900. I got the 2080Ti-card pre-owned, so I saved some bucks on that too. When it comes to loop order, it doesn't matter. This has been debunked several times over (I can admit that there are theoretical differences, but in practice, it has no impact). This will be my first ever attempt of bending hard tubes, and I'd rather make a run that is easy to create. I can't wait to update the sig, though. Doesn't seem right to do it until the build is finished ;).

- - - Auto-Merged Double Post - - -

Actually I can't fully say that my experience differs from MaddMutt's suggestion because I haven't tested that configuration.

My experience with the O11D is that even though its a bottom intake and top exhaust, the GPU ends up diverting some of the air that comes in the bottom rad out the back. Air for the top rad is then either supplied by the fans from the side intakes (or in my case where that is blocked entirely by my pump/res panel, passively from the vent holes next to the IO shield. All of that said, you still want to avoid putting heat from the bottom rad into the top rad.

That would be the concept of heat rejection, and at least for the GTX rads, which are essentially two slim rads sandwiched one on top of another, HL cautions users about it. They have instructions to configure the inlet and outlet such that the airflow through the rad goes through the inlet water after going through the outlet water. I don't know if I'm doing a good job of explaining this, but in theory, the hotter water will be cooled by the air that was already exposed to the less hot water. In other words the inlet goes to the top of the rad (exhausting out the top) and flows across the entire top of the rad, then through the end cap, and then flows across the entire bottom of the rad. Air enters in a push config from the bottom and out the top.

I don't have any data to back this up, but I wanted to share my reasoning and configuration since were using the same case. I chose to extend this same principle through the entire case. Aside from the pump which really contributes minimal heat to the loop, there are no heat sources in between my rads. As I mentioned above, the inlet goes into the top of the top rad, then through the end cap into the bottom of the top rad, then through the pump/res and straight into the bottom rad. In other words the coolest air (fresh intake) contacts the coolest water in the bottom rad, then the water that has already made one pass through the top chamber of the top rad contacts the air that has already been through the bottom rad (mixed with the passive intake air from next to the IO shield), and finally the hottest water straight from the GPU and CPU passes directly through the top chamber of the top rad and is contacted by air that has (partially) already been through the bottom rad, and then also already been through the bottom chamber of the top rad.

I'm not even sure if loop order matters at all tbh. Especially in terms of the temperature of the water from a specific component contributing to or degrading the performance of a subsequent component in the loop. On the other hand, I doubt my GTX rad would have had a special card stuck to the ports cautioning users about configuring the radiator correctly to avoid "heat rejection" if there wasn't something to it, at least for a specific radiator. I think the impact in treating the whole system in the same way is much more questionable, but the whole strategy is more concerned about air temperatures than water temperatures. With your side intake fans, I don't think it will matter as much compared to my system (that is if it matters at all).

Just thought I'd share some food for thought specific to having intake and exhaust radiators in the same loop.

I think I've heard about these radiators, and that they have a specific airflow requirement. If I understand you correctly here, you indicate that exhausting air both through the top and bottom radiator may be the right way. The thing I'm worried about in that regard would be a negative air pressure in the case. Then I have to increase the rpm of the side intake fans with more noise as a result. Also, some of the hot exhausted air at the bottom will rise outside the case and recycled into the case by the side fans. I'd love to hear more conciderations regarding airflow in my build. For both estethic reasons (RGB) and preventing the high-pitched noise of pull configuration, I'd love to be able to use the bottom rad as an exhaust.
 
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Sprucemoose

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Some small work this morning. I mounted the pump/res. I think Singularity computers only thinks that the reservoir should be mounted directly on radiators as the included screws didn't fit the holes in the fans. I had to buy some M4x40mm machine screws with nuts to fasten the reservoir mount to the fans. I painted the screw heads matte black so that they don't stand out too much.

View attachment 207594

In my current computer, I've used the Aquaero fan controller, which I just love. The ability to automatically ramp up the fans/pump based on temp-sensors (even virtual "sensors" like Delta-T) is real nice. I bought the Aquaero 6LT and put the optional passive heatsink on it. Instead of drilling holes in the chassis, I bought some screw-on magnets. This way I can mount it anywhere I like in the rear chamber.

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Then on to another problem. I made an error when ordering the cables from Mainfram custom. These guys make the cables with a proper bend, so that the cables on the inside of the bend is a little shorter than on the outside. Trying to force the bend the other way ruins the appearance of the cables. I ordered my GPU cables so that they should run from underneath the card bending upwards towards the connectors. I now see that room between the GPU and the bottom rad/fans will be too tight to run the cables this way (fans will be hitting the cable). So now, I've ordered an ATX-pin removal tool to see if I can switch the connector orientation. This way the cables will come from the top of the GPU bending downwards.

View attachment 207599

I forgot how I hate pre-flushing the radiators, but it has to be done. I'd rather pay extra to get factory-cleaned radiators, though. Wish the manufacturers could provide such a service. Boiled tap-water and got out a whole lot of particles from the rads. I had to flush each radiator (along with rigorous shaking) ten times to get everything out. Concluded with rinsing them with anionized water. Now, they wait in the window sill to dry out as much as possible before installing.

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Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
I wrote this once then it got deleted by some touchpad witchcraft and lack of coffee :(

Actually I don't think exhausting top and bottom would be terrible. The bottom rad might be a little choked off by the GPU though (as you mentioned clearance is tight), but I'm not sure if flow direction will matter for that. Negative pressure probably isn't as bad as we all used to think. I know we would all open up OEM PCs back in the day with no case fans that used the PSU as exhaust, and blame negative pressure for the dust and temp problems. Reality it was likely just poor airflow in general and poor maintenance.

My loop goes from GPU, CPU, top rad, res, pump, bottom rad, back to GPU. This way the fresh air from under the case first goes through the rad that is last in loop order, or furthest from the components. Then the air goes through the top rad, and the flow of water through the top rad is such that water first goes through the top part of it, then through the bottom part, thus keeping in the theory of having the coolest air first passing through water that is farthest from the components. I believe this takes the most heat out of the water before it returns to to the components, and there is still a delta between water and air for the water closer to the components to add heat before the air is exhausted.

In terms of rad orientation, this may be specific to the GTX. Most rads are shaped like a U. Imagine drawing a line down the middle of the rad, if you're looking straight on the fins. This line bisects the whole rad including the tanks with the ports in them, and only excludes the far end tank. Water enters one side of the U, flows across one side of the radiator, enters the end tank where it can cross over, then returns back the other side and out the port. The GTX is constructed such that the U is on its side. Water isn't split side to side, but rather in a horizontally mounted configuration, it is split up and down. You can tell by putting something in there and gauging the depth of the ports. I believe this is why the GTX doesn't have extra ports on it like the SR2.

As an example, say ambient is 24C and the loop is 40C. Say the water goes through the bottom of the GTX first and heats the air to 39C just on the bottom of the GTX, and also cools the water to 39C. Now the top portion of the rad is not doing anything. Meanwhile if you have the same temps and the water first goes through the top and gets cooled to 39C, then the air enters the bottom of the rad and gets heated to 38C, then goes to the top part of the rad and contacts liquid that is 40C. Now I apply the same idea to both rads.

At the end of the day I don't think it will make a major difference, but in general I want the coolest air farthest from the components generating heat, and the warmest air closest to them, in a setup where air is going to flow through multiple rads. We know this is relevant to air, (eg, a closed loop cooler in a case in either intake or exhaust with a hot GPU is going to impact CPU temps), we just don't know how significant it is with this specific problem of multiple rads and if order matters at all in this case. So if it seems obnoxiously difficult don't bother, but it looks like the way you're set up that this will be the easiest loop order anyway.

Edit: I would also be careful with the filters. I use them but it's a notable difference to performance. https://www.gamersnexus.net/hwreviews/3336-lian-li-o11-air-case-review-benchmarks
 
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Sprucemoose

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
Installed the radiators with port facing to the front. Water temperature sensor is installed in the side port of the top rad. I had to seal off the top ports in the top radiator, as they collided with the chassis. Right now, the bottom fans are pulling air in, but I still have the option of reversing them. I swapped the reservoir top for the flat one, this will give me a little more room at the top. The reservoir is not mounted completely vertical, as it only has one point of contact with the fans. I could swap the mount with two single mounts (Singulairy computers) instead of the "core mount" I have. But I'll see what I can do about it first.

Now, for the loop order. I have diverted somewhat from my original sketch earlier in the post. Now, I'm thinking about connecting the two radiators directly with a straight tube in the front. I see that there are many ways of doing the loop here, but I want to go for a loop that I can make (I haven't bent a single hard tube yet) and that calls for as few restrictive fittings as possible. Still don't know if 12mm or 16mm would look best here.

EDIT: I now see that the two radiators are not in line when viewed from the front. The bottom radiator is offset more towards the side glass panel. Don't know why they designed it like that, it would make more sense if a tube could run straight between the two rads without angled fittings or bending.

EDIT 2: The GPU block ports line up perfectly with one of the inlet ports of the bottom rads. Also, one of the ports of the upper rad can be lined up with the reservoir inlet. I think it would be smart to use these two runs as the basis for the loop. The res/pump can be moved up/down a bit, and the top rad can be moved back and forth somewhat, which may help in adjusting some of the runs. Furthermore, I'll settled on using 12mm PETG tubing for this. I had ordered both a 12 and a 16mm test-tube just to get an impression of the look. Since it's already pretty cramped in the case, 12mm actually looks better/cleaner. Also, I think there will be some tight bends, and if I can reduce the bending radius by choosing 12mm, all the better.

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Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Looking good. I never noticed that the top and bottom rads don't line up before. I can think of many reasons to have the bottom rad as close to the glass as possible, but I can not think of any reasons to not do the same with the top rad. Clearance of the GPU actually looks better than I thought it would with a 60mm in the bottom.

I'm with you at this point I would worry more about the most elegant / efficient bends than loop order. I also see that the forward port on the GPU (ideally the outflow although this is not a huge deal) lines up perfectly with the CPU ports. If you have room to run from the rad (nearest the glass panel) to use the GPU inlet on the bottom side, I think that would be a nice run (similar to what I've done with flexible tubing here). I would use a 90 degree fitting on the GPU. I would not worry about having a few angled fittings in your loop, your D5 should be more than adequate despite a few fittings. But try the double bend if you want the extra credit. This sets you up for a simple 90 degree bend to the CPU block from the top of the GPU block. I think you're on the right track.
 
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Sprucemoose

Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2011
@Zerileous, thanks for the suggestions. Outputting from the bottom rad to the GPU is one of the alternatives that might work the best. Then the 90 degree simple bend from GPU to CPU as you said. If I remount the res/pump with some spacers to move it a little bit further away from the side fans, I can rotate the pump top 90 degrees (outlet facing the front) and maybe get a straight line down from the pump outlet to the inlet port at the bottom rad. Also, this will facilitate a simple 90 degree bend from the top rad to the reservoir inlet (it's a few milimeters off right now).

I can't do any more work on the build until I receive the fittings and tubes that I ordered today, though. Also, I'm waiting for a couple of internal USB extension cables stuck in customs right now. When tubing is installed, I won't have access to the USB ports on the motherboard unless I remove the bottom radiator. So it's important that I install the extension cables before finalizing the build. Going to a work convention this weekend and part of next week too, so hopefully I have the final parts ready when I get back.
 

TeslaHUN

New Member
Joined
Jun 15, 2019
Looking good !
One advice , use both radiaor fans exhaust or intake ,doesnt matter ,just same direction.
I tested different configurations ,started with front rad intake -top rad exhaust in a TT Core W100 case . Water temp 33C after 1hour stress test (aida64 +heaven loop) /overkill rad surface (540 /3x180mm/ + 420 rads)
Best when both rad was intake (3x180mm on top and 3x140mm in front) and rear 140mm fan alone exhaust. Now my water temp is 30C in stress test. With less surface like your 2x360 rad the results will be even bigger.

I imagine both rad exhaust is the same ,since u can have 3 intake fan on side to feed the rads . But as it was mentioned before , 2 rad working against each other isnt good idea.
 

Blaylock

"That Backfired" Senior Member
Joined
Jun 5, 2013
Location
Go Blue!
This is not always the case TeslaHUN. If you're looking for the lower water temp than yes, you are correct but then you're potentially not cooling the other components in the rig such as the VRMs, HHD's, etc. Every case will provide mildly different results. Generally speaking, the ideal situation would be intake front & bottom (when available) and exhaust top and rear with a little more intake than exhaust. Naturally, there are times when you need to deviate from this formula.
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
This is not always the case TeslaHUN. If you're looking for the lower water temp than yes, you are correct but then you're potentially not cooling the other components in the rig such as the VRMs, HHD's, etc. Every case will provide mildly different results. Generally speaking, the ideal situation would be intake front & bottom (when available) and exhaust top and rear with a little more intake than exhaust. Naturally, there are times when you need to deviate from this formula.

+1

Not to be rude here but people need to brush on their intro to custom H20 basics before giving advise, only adding more confusion plus I thought this was someone's build log, not an advise thread.

- Loop order doesn't matter since the loop will reach a equilibrium (equalize).

- Positive pressure is preferred. Positive pressure gives best performance on rads, not from the inside out.

- Filters are great so you don't cake your components with dust which will eventually trap heat.

Do your thing OP. I used to frequent here but I'll keep an eye on your build. No worries as nothing's final as anything can change. Enjoy!
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Its funny, because the 'pressure' thing isn't proven either way either... about the only thing people can say there is positive keeps some dust out by not taking air in through unfiltered cracks in the case. But remember, pressure is a negligible thing considering a PC case isn't remotely sealed. :)