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Custom Loop on a Budget

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May 9, 2015
Hi all, I recently unintentionally got involved in a bit of watercooling and am about to buy the rest of the components for my first custom loop. Funny story; bought a H60 on the cheap, found that it didn't perform any much better than my D14. Came across an Alphacool XT45 560 that was so cheap it was too good to pass up so I bought that intending to mod it onto the H60. However the advice at the end of the prospect was to forget it altogether as there would be problems with pump strength and air in the loop. So here we are. Rad is about 200% too large for a C70 so we'll need to drill holes for the pipe out back and get some long *** bolts to sit on top.

I did alot of research especially into port/fitting sizes including an embarrassingly late realization that comp and barb fittings don't refer to the same thing. :eek:
It hits you very slowly how expensive WC can get but it's been awhile since I did something fun for my computer and we already have a giant rad so why not. Didn't skimp on the pump as it seems all the cheap ones on Amazon have bad reviews, not even taking a chance on those that don't have any. Other things like that slightly ghetto reservoir and plebeian barb fittings (will get clamps from hardware store) don't matter that much though I hope? Here's a shortlist of parts that'll hopefully make up a basic loop for a badly binned and pending-delid 3770K. Have I gotten it right, do they fit together?

Alphacool XT45 560
Swiftech MCP50X
LENX Raystorm
Phobya double 5.25" res
1/2" ID 3/4" OD tubing
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Ok a few things. That pump will work great. One of the top of the line premium DDC pumps in the PC H20 community. Now I don't know who that seller is nor do I usually buy from 3rd party sellers but go through a reputed site like Performance-PCS, Aquatuning, or Swiftech themselves, etc. This will add up but you're doing the right thing not cheaping out.

As for the pile of knockoffs (wanted to use a different term but don't want to upset the mods ;)), they use the terms "professional", which is far from it and "Raystorm" which is used from one of XSPC's flagship CPU block, about the same price as the pump, is a NO-NO from me and I'm sure many others will state the same. Stay the hell away from these awful products and sellers.

You could grab some barbs as they are the best way to go about for budgeted builds and some nice clamps to go along with them.
I would avoid mixing metals if at all possible (copper & aluminum especially). That radiator simply says "metal" body and fins. For me that would be a NO. It should state whether it's copper or aluminum or other.
Is the radiator you have pictured the one you received, advertised as an XT45? If it is, you've been had, and you need to contact whatever site that is for a refund. This is an XT45 560.

You can get a decent waterblock for not-so-expensive on PPCs, like this actual Raystorm.

If you indeed have an actual XT45 (NOT the one you pictured), I would grab the pump you picked, the block I suggested and a box of Primochill Primoflex Advanced LRT tubing in your choice of color, with some barbs and clamps. The only thing to make sure of is that you pick barbs and clamps that match the tubing size you pick. it should all be about the same price.

If it's not an XT45, try to return it, and go back to your D14 is my suggestion.
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where are you and did you get the rad that is pictured?
that looks like it would go right along with my zalman!!!!! I might even want it!!!!!
don't use it please, it's junk.

the block, as posted by blaylock is a cheap knock off, return it and buy a real raystorm, I have a couple of them, wonderful blocks.
Good day guys, I apologize for the late reply as I've been overseas and busy with work on my return.

Supposedly this one's a full copper radiator if the marketing materials are to be trusted...I hope? Haha.

I took that screenshot from the Alphacool site after a quick google search. Yes, it is the correct rad. Came with the box, original screws and receipt, it's quite the behemoth. :shock:
Here it is above my Corsair C70.

It is a legit Alphacool radiator. I'm not sure I understand what you mean regarding Zalman. I've only ever owned one of their CNPS from donkey years ago, have they gone downhill now?
As for the waterblock unfortunately I've already checked out on Amazon so I'll use it for a bit and upgrade the bits and pieces over time. A surprisingly large part of this budget has already been blown on high pressure 14cm fans for the radiator. :eek:
We were going based off of your pics. From your recent pic, it does look like a legit Alphacool rad. It was the risk you took but we were going off on the information that was given to us from the beginning. We've seen this happen before.
Ah yes. Actually the pics in the OP were to confirm if all the specifications for tubing and fittings well...fit together. Bought 8 chromed 1/4" clamps at 20 cents each from my local hardware store. Now we wait for the parts to arrive, fun little project so far.
What is this:



It looks like a radiator, is that the case? If it's a reservoir, I wouldn't trust it. My suggestion is to get a cheap plastic one, the "metal body" is likely aluminum at best, and that's a bad mix with that Alphacool radiator.
Beware of the Chinese imitations that water block may say Raystorm but you can clearly see it is far from an actual XSPC Raystorm which the inlet port has a formed protrusion and injects directly over the center of the CPU die area.

That pictured water block is a direct cross flow over the pin grid and I guarantee you the end results will be seriously disappointing, but to know that you would need to fully understand what the design difference actually is.

I have to admit until your post I had never seen a reservoir like that with a metal body and the concerns of mixed metal in the loop are probably 100% correct as it probably is an aluminum cylinder.

If you do use that reservoir you will need a mixed metal coolant, personally there's no way I would use it!

I know you are trying to save money, but sometimes trying to get it done on the cheap can cause you problems later on.

Good Luck in your endeavor.
Actually, you're right regarding the reservoir I can't believe it hasn't occurred to me. Yes it's probably aluminum from the looks of it. There is another thread on here talking about Toyota or VW coolant or something but I'd prefer just simple distilled water and silver coil. That res is $15 so I guess I could get another one. Real noob mistake right there lol.

As for the waterblock, it's possible to send it back since it's from Amazon. We'll just see what kind of packaging it comes in, I might even be able to test it a bit.
I have one of these reservoir/pump combos and they work great. If you're buying new then there should be no concern. If you're buying used than your main concern would be leaks.

I purchased mine used here on the forums and it worked great for about 2 years then developed a leak from repeated over tightening. This was my learning experience and not a fault of the product by any means.
That reservoir should work. Are you looking for a budget res? Many new reservoirs can be around $60-$90 depending on the style you want. Look around the classifieds here as well or other places like ebay.
Link is broke. Since you're operating on the fringe of cheap parts please repost the res link again, one that works.

I remember a Supercharging car friend... "You buy cheap parts, things go boom".

Do you really need to water cool? Are your parts overheating? If not...? Buy a game. That's less than you want to spend on watercooling.
It works fine over here. Here's the full link from my PC when logged in: http://www.overclock.net/t/1582602/for-sale-phobya-5-25-dual-bay-reservoir You may need to be logged into OC.net as it's their forum marketplace. Interestingly though, I can't see any threads in the OC.com marketplace at all - only the Rules&Reg sticky is there. Is there some minimum post count or other restriction before I can browse the marketplace here?

While the parts aren't overheating right now (at stock), I appear to be in possession of a badly binned 3770K that runs hot. In order for me to push it further (primarily for design work and flight simulation) more cooling is needed.
I appear to be in possession of a badly binned 3770K that runs hot. In order for me to push it further (primarily for design work and flight simulation) more cooling is needed.

What exactly are your load temperatures vs the clock of your 3770K and what do you expect reaching with better cooling.

I am running a 3770K myself and I have explored it's capabilities through traditional radiator water cooling and chilled water cooling and my 3770K has never been delidded.

It's capabilities are in direct relation to how cool you can keep it, however you get what you pay for when it comes to water cooling your CPU, and you seem to me to be half stepping your way there and not really ready to invest what you need to get the job done.

If you don't come to that understanding you will never even reach modest overclock goals that are 100% stable much less reaching the 5ghz range or close to it.

You mentioned delidding in your opening post but there are zero guarantees that your performance will improve even delidding the CPU, some have had great results and some saw no improvement at all.

So what do you expect or hope to reach with your 3770K and what can it do with the cooling you are presently running?
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