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Dual R9 290 Loop (first timer)

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Feb 25, 2014
3/14/14 (Happy Pi day) Parts are on order! List is below. I'll post more updates when they come in!
3/25/14 Picking up the parts today, I'll post before pictures when I get home. (Wooo! Over 1k reviews on first thread :D) And Made my loop!!
3/26/14 Leak test today! (Added 4 pictures to the one drive link, they should be in order, so, the last 4), more on my results on my last post.
3/27/14 Finally resized the pictures! They should show up below. I only grabbed a couple. The rest are still available in full size on the onedrive website (link below).
3/28/14 Benchmark temps! And added final pictures.

Link to many more pictures of the build: https://onedrive.live.com/redir?res...3&authkey=!AG83U-hqBWjHC0o&ithint=folder,.JPG

Benchmark results:
Ambient: ~21 C
CPU Idle: 26 C
GPU Idle: 30 C

Prime95 In-place Large FFT (v27.9)
Furmark Burn-in Benchmark 1920x1080 15 min.

(before fan adjustments 100% at 65C and 20% at 30C)
CPU Load: 60 C (max 65 C)
GPU Load: 52 C (max 54 C)

(After playing around with the fan speeds, 20% fan speed at 30C, 50% at 40C, 100% at 60C)
CPU Load: 54 C
GPU Load: 47 C

The Asus AI Suite that I installed for the motherboard has the CPU peaking at 40C. I'm not sure which temp is more accurate. And a weird thing is that I can't run Core Temp on my computer, otherwise the whole thing locks up for some reason.

I have the Real Temp and GPU-Z logs on the onedrive to see temps. I changed the fans speeds at around 16:07.

Post after initial build.
Ok, so, I'll be posting the main points, before and after on here so you don't have to click the suspicious (not really I swear) link below. This is all of the pictures I have taken so far, they are all really large, so I'll be resizing them for this forum when I get the chance. Maybe later tomorrow, when I'll be bleeding my system. The case has gained a few pounds, and with the radiators on the side, it, kind of tips over. So, I have little rubber stands holding it up right now. I'll have to find a way to counter balance it... Not sure if I want to add more weight to it though.


Ah, 2 things I had a lot of fun with when putting the tubing on. #1, don't forget the compression screw when putting on the tubing. That is quite important. And that leads into #2. It is very hard to take off the tubing from the fittings once they have been put on. Anyone know of a good way to take them off?

This is my parts list and pricing.
Qty. Item Link Cost Subtotal
2 EK-FC R9-290X Link $106.95 $213.90
2 EK-FC R9-290X Backplate Link $28.95 $57.90
2 Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 Full Copper 360mm Link $75.99 $151.98
6 Noiseblocker NB-eLoop B12-P 120mm x 25mm PWM Fan - 800-2000 RPM Link $26.95 $161.70
1 XSPC Raystorm CPU Waterblock - Intel Link $49.99 $49.99
1 Swiftech MCP35X-BK™ 12 VDC Pump Link $84.99 $84.99
1 Swiftech MCP35X Reservoir Link $29.95 $29.95
7 EK-CSQ Fitting 10/13mm G1/4 - Black Link $4.95 $34.65
1 Phobya Screw Plug G1/4 Inch Link $1.95 $1.95
5 Phobya 13/10mm (10x1.5mm) Compression Fitting 90° Revolvable G1/4 Link $5.95 $35.70
1 Swiftech G¼ Male-Male Lok-Seal™ Medium Extension Fitting Link $6.49 $6.49
5 PrimoFlex Advanced LRT Tubing - 3/8in. ID x 1/2in. OD - Crystal Clear Link $2.50 $12.50
1 Phobya HeGrease Extreme Thermal Paste - 1.0g Link $3.50 $3.50
1 "Silver Bullet" G1/4 Plug Link $5.95 $5.95
1 IandH Dead-Water Copper Sulfate Biocidal PC Coolant Additive Link $1.99 $1.99
5 Black 0.50 (1/2") PET Cable Sleeving Link $0.89 $4.45
2 Phobya 13/10mm (3/8-1/2) (10x1.5mm) Compression Fitting 45° Revolvable G1/4 Link $5.95 $11.90
1 ModMyToys 4-Pin PWM Power Distribution PCB - 6-Way Block Link $5.50 $5.50
1 Evercool 3x 4pin PWM Splitter Cable Link $3.95 $3.95
1 Alphacool Y-45° Connector - G1/4 Revolvable - 2x Inner - 1x Outer Thread - Deep Black Link $5.99 $5.99
1 Alphacool HF L-connector G1/4 outer thread to G1/4 inner thread - Deep Black Link $3.95 $3.95
2 Alphacool Bulkhead Connector G1/4 - Deep Black Link $4.95 $9.90
Total Cost including shipping: $934.53

Stuff to buy locally: Distilled water, flat iron bars (to make into brackets)

Below is my actual first post, if you would like to read through it and see my progression with parts picking and whatnot. (basically, I didn't have a clue what I was doing without the other guy's or gal's posts in the rest of this thread)
I have a pair of R9 290's that I want to put a water cooled loop on. This is going to be my first time building a water cooling system, and I wanted a little help with the parts list and get any help when I get stuck. I've looked through a few guide, including the one stickied at the top, but, I still haven't done one and was hoping I could get any tips and tricks from any more experienced builders.

My thoughts on what to do:
First, my budget for this is going to be around $500. With the current parts, it comes in to $432 without shipping. My case is a bit cramped (Silverstone SG02 (Link) but in black) so I am going to mod the back of the case right above the PCI slots to let the tubing through. I'll be making a plate that will come out from the bottom and have the pump and radiator external on this side in this picture (if that doesn't make sense, I'll be doing a simple CAD drawing soon). That would let me be able to still remove case cover without me having to remove the loop.

I am open for any suggestions anyone else has to offer, if I'm missing anything or there would be a better part to replace any of the below items. Thanks in advanced for anyone that can give me any input.

I tried sticking to as few manufacturers as possible, and to as few websites as possible, just to make things (hopefully) a little easier.
---------- (Updated List in Post 8)
Current Parts list:
2x EK-FC R9-290X - Link
2x EK-FC R9-290X Backplate - Link (maybe)
1x EK-CoolStream PE 240 (Dual) - Link (if this isn't enough, go to a triple 120)
2x Scythe Gentle Typhoon 120 mm - Link
1x EK-DCP 2.2 (12V DC Water Pump) - Link
1x EK-DCP 2.2 X-RES Combo Reservoir Unit for EK-DCP 2.2 - Link
6x EK-CSQ Fitting 10/13mm G1/4 - Black Nickel - Link
4x EK G1/4 plug with O-ring - Link
1x EK-PSC Adapter 90° G1/4 Black Nickel - Link
2x "Silver Bullet" G1/4 Plug - Link or 1x IandH KillCoil - Link
2ft PrimoFlex Pro LRT Black Tubing -3/8in. ID X 1/2in. OD - Link

I'll still be on the lookout for my guides, especially focused around the R9 290s.

Time for sleep now... -.-.....

Picture Descriptions:
1. Original Case with no mods in it.
2. Completely bare case.
3. How I mounted the radiator to the case, with 4 custom L brackets I made and screwed it to the bottom.
4. The internal loop.
5. Leak testing with full loop.


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Your parts list looks pretty good, one of those silver bullets in the loop should be plenty, in combo with a biocide like ptnuke or deadwater just to be safe.

A the EK PE240 will work, but your temps are probably going to be a tad high, I would guess in the 60-70°C range (which obviously isn't dangerous... but you're spending the cash on watercooling, so why settle for aircooling temps?)
A 360mm radiator will work better, and won't really cost much more over the 240.

Are you set on EK for everything? You may be able to save a little money by mixing up manufacturers.. For example, the XSPC AX and EX radiators are excellent performance for the price, and work great with medium/low speed fans.
Tatsugen, before you go spending $500.00 on a loop that may not meet your satisfaction or goals, I suggest reading the whole sticky section then read it again. You need to calculate your heatload and figure out how much raddage and fans you're going to need to remove that heat. Unless you put some serious fans on the radiator you chose I doubt highly it's going to cut it with 2 R9 290's on it. Also look at reviews on pupms, the one you listed is poor at best. Look through websites like martins, skinnee and other radiator reviews like this one. You will get a better idea of how much heatload you will be able to dissipate with specific radiators and fans.
You have at least 500W to cool there... a 2x120 is not enough, and a 3x120 you will not have great temps (like I loki said) or high speed (read: noisey) fans to keep things cooler.
I am suggest you to consider Black Ice GTX 360 radiator and delta fan pwm. With pwm fan, you can set your fan idle at 2000rpm and pwm ramps the fan speed up to what ever your heart desired. A single GTX 480 can dissipate 800w of heats, a GTX 360 can surely can dissipat way over 500w of heats. Just a note, you do not want to run those scythe gentle typhoon at 3000rpm full tilt at all time. That would be to loud. You want high speed fan with pwm, that make a world of a different in noise and much more tolerable. I love my Delta fan 5500rpm pwm. The only time I see the fan at full tilt is when I am priming or benching. Othervise it run around 2400-3500rpm. No issue with loudness. Plus, pwm fan sound much nicer than the none pwm fan. Every body here love their PC super quiet, using whimpy fans. But to me , I find it super boring. I guess, every body got their own liking in noise.
Hey Guys, thanks for the quick responses.

I'm not really set on EK for everything, I'd really rather spend the extra time researching into a better radiator and fans, and if they cost a little more for that much better performance, I'll definitely do that. I'll read though the links Mandrake4565 gave me and include your recommendation for the radiator and fans. I did pretty much throw this list together, so I'd rather take anyone else's recommendation over my guesses.
(And, as for the CPU, I'll have to my wattage calculation, but I don't know if a 4x120 radiator would be enough, I might have to move to 140 fan size radiators, but I'll look more into and get a parts list update sometime this week)

Thanks for the links, I'll read through those and take in consideration what they have to say. I did have another pump and reservoir (here) which does 800 l/h, but I was hoping for a reservoir/pump combo, so I'll have to look into those to see what one would have a good flow rate for the 2 290's, and look for one that could handle my cpu as well.

Thanks, I'll use the links to research into a better radiator. My goal was to have the over all system quieter than the R9 290's fan speeds at 80%, which isn't too hard. A bigger radiator would let me run the fans speeds lower.

I was thinking about getting PWM fans, I wasn't exactly sure how I wire it into my system. I'll probably have to look into getting a fan controller, or somehow sneak the pwm wire onto my motherboard. Luckily (at least for me), Asus has some software I can change the fan speeds without going into the UEFI/BIOS.

Thanks for your input guys. I'll try an get an updated parts list after I do the research a bit more.
You don't need to wire any extra wiring with pwm fan. If your mbo cpu header got a 4 pins is all you need. PWM fan are 4 wires. Just plug it in to the mbo cpu header. If you are going to use high speed fan such as Delta fan, you will need to cut the fan power wire and ground wire and connect it to your psu 12v. I got a fan controller with 45w per channel and I don't use it. I like using pwm over a fan controller any day of the week. As I said earlier post. The high speed fan with pwm is sound different than a none pwm fan or with the fan controller.
So, just a small(ish) update.
I changed out the 2x120 EK for the XSPC RX360. It seems to do better than the Black Ice GTX360 at lower RPM speeds, but the GTx360 does win at the higher speeds. With the 2 R2 290's on the power calculator, it produces around 470 Watts, just about the same as the Skinnee's test bed. So, I'd probably want to go with a larger one if I do include my cpu.

Replaced the Scythe GT fans with some PWM Deltas that can go up to 3400 rpm. If the cards do run warmer than I expected, I'll have the extra rpms (and airflow) if I need them. If I can spare the room, I'll look into 3D printing some 30mm Shrouds. I'll have to look into getting the power for the fans, and pump, outside the case. I'll probably follow the coolant tubes.

I added in a Swiftech Extension fitting, so I don't have to play with any tubing linking my two cards together. Also some Prolimatech PK-1. I have some Arctic Silver 5 around, but reviews had this and Phobya HeGrease rated a lot higher.

Qty Item Link
2 EK-FC R9-290X Link
2 EK-FC R9-290X Backplate Link
1 XSPC RX360 Triple-Fan Radiator V3 Link
3 Delta AFC1212D-PWM 120x25mm Extreme Speed 4-Pin PWM Fan- Sleeved Link
1 Pump (See below) No Link
6 EK-CSQ Fitting 10/13mm G1/4 - Black Nickel Link
2 EK G1/4 plug with O-ring Link
1 EK-PSC Adapter 90° G1/4 Black Nicke Link
1 Swiftech G¼ Male-Male Lok-Seal™ Medium Extension Fitting (20-33mm Range) Link
2 "Silver Bullet" G1/4 Plug Link
2ft PrimoFlex Pro LRT Black Tubing -3/8in. ID X 1/2in. OD Link
1 Prolimatech PK-1 Nano Aluminum Thermal Compound Link

For the coolant pump, I wanted to have the reservoir built into it, and have some mounting screws on the bottom. If possible, I'd like some second opinions on these.
First option, the EK-DCP 4.0 X-RES - Link. It has 800 l/h throughput, but still might be a little weak, especially if I want to consider putting a cpu block.
Second option(s), the EK-DDC 3.2 Link, 3.25 Link, or D5 Link X-RES 140 - . On the "Beginner's Guide" the DDC 3.1, 3.2 and DC5 were recommended, but the DDC 3.25 has a bit higher throughput.
The reviews and performance of that pump are all highly rated and has a smaller footprint than the EK-DCP 4.0, so I will probably be going with that one. The PWM portion is also a great plus.

I do need to go to homedepot and get some sheet metal... Those do look a little overkill. I'm trying to keep the radiator as long as my case (just about 400mm). Get me some performance reviews on those and I'll consider them :D.

Does anyone have any thoughts on any dual 180mm radiators? I was thinking the extra width would be useful, but I can't seem to find any good performance reviews on these. The two on Performance-pcs are the Magicool and Alphacool. And the fan that I've seen in a few places to place on it is the Silverstone AP182 - Link.
The problem with wider than 120mm rads are the fans available for them... They are not the best.

As far as radiator performance, you can check out Martin's lab and see if it is listed there.
The best 180mm out there is said to be the Silverstone AP182.
But, if I was going to stray away from 180mm fans, how about smaller fans? I could do a 3x120mm and 6x60mm or do a 9x92mm configuration (and make custom brackets for both). The noise would be higher, but possibly more airflow? (Still looking reviews/posts of people doing this) The fan qualities could be higher, but I'm not sure if I want more fans...

Or maybe I'm over thinking this and a dual radiator configuration is just better for the amount of heat that is generated.
Sorry guys, some nights I just think of things and post em.

I'll do something silly in the future I'm sure, but I imagine I irritate the WC forums now and then.

The reviews and performance of that pump are all highly rated and has a smaller footprint than the EK-DCP 4.0, so I will probably be going with that one. The PWM portion is also a great plus.

I do need to go to homedepot and get some sheet metal... Those do look a little overkill. I'm trying to keep the radiator as long as my case (just about 400mm). Get me some performance reviews on those and I'll consider them :D.

Does anyone have any thoughts on any dual 180mm radiators? I was thinking the extra width would be useful, but I can't seem to find any good performance reviews on these. The two on Performance-pcs are the Magicool and Alphacool. And the fan that I've seen in a few places to place on it is the Silverstone AP182 - Link.

180 mm rads are nice. But limit thermal performance considering the price of the rads etc. The fans ain't up to it. Some use the 180mm fans for really nice HTPC builds, but they are pros usually.

Get a nice big case made for 120mm fans, get the right fans, your goldem. Silence.

Keep learning and reading. In my stickes I state and in a bazillion posts here, it took me 3 months to buy my WC parts once I decided.
If you're looking for a silent build on load with good delta temps, you'll need to rethink this over. Get low FPI radiators and low to medium RPM fans. Its not about the CFM but the static pressure that is important. Take a look at those links that's been given to you numerous times a better look at the fans and radiator testing. If you don't really care for noise level, than carry on otherwise I'd stay away from those deltas and look at the specially designed 120mm good static pressure low/mid RPM fans. Calculate the total heat load and the heat surface needed. Match it up with a good affordable CPU block (XSPC raystorm), a great pump (MCP-35x), fittings (barbs or compressions), tubing (Primochill Advanced) and you should be heading in the right direction.
Alright, so... Baby steps. I wasn't originally going to WC my CPU because I knew I was going to be pushing high temps with just my graphics cards alone. Also being unreasonable, I was going to try and keep my case, Silverstone SG02, and have the Radiator mounted by an external bracket to the side. I attached a sketchup screenshot of my plan (I think the Rx360 is the one in the picture with the MCP35x behind it)... But, back to one step at a time.

According to the eXtreme Power Supply Calc, I put in an i5-4670k and 2 AMD R9 290s, and it brings the recommended PSU wattage (minus the 34) to 540 Watts.

The peak noise for my R9 290's are anywhere from 50-65 dB, so, I'm aiming for a 30-35 dB with WC for gaming (I usually wear my headphones, which surprisingly block out the current setup), any under stress tests or benchmarking (like Heavens Benchmark or FurMark) probably up to 40 dB.

For temperatures, I know I won't have the greatest DeltaTs most people are looking for, but as of right now with the current stock fans, I set CCC to a max of 85 C and fan speeds reach up to 90% in FurMark. I was looking for a DeltaT range of 15-20 C, not the best, but a lot better than it is now.

Again... Thanks for the input, I don't want to drag this out for too long, work picks up for me in the summer and I'll be gone for 3-5 months with practically no time off and be traveling. I want to try and pull this off early-mid April, but come May if I haven't decided anything, I'll have to put it off until late September/October.

(Food for thought, actually found 1 review with pretty much the prev. gen of my cards (7970) and cpu (3570k), here )


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Just another chiming in on the RAD issue.
Good rule of thumb is a 240 for each item your cooling with an extra 120 as a buffer.

So with 2 GPU's and a CPU you need a total of 840.
So you would be looking at a 480 + 360 solution.
How would a 480mm go up against a dual 180mm? I was looking at this one, but I can't really find any reviews for it. The only other dual 180mm that I can find is a magicool one. And the best review I found for it was posted above that had temps that I was kinda expecting with the setup I was planning.

I was thinking of having 2x 360s on the outside of the case with a 92mm in a push+pull config that would fit in my drive bay. But, that would still be $50-75 more for just the radiators, and then 6 120mm fans ($15-20? each) $40-70 more, which is still way over my budget I set... (with an order starting from the pump-->gpu1-->gpu2-->rad1.360-->rad2.360-->cpu-->rad3.92-->pump, or I can place the pump outside after the 2 rads)

So, it looks like I will still be going over budget.. (didn't think I would do much with $500 anyways) But, again, I'm not looking for super amazing temps, maybe a 15-20 DeltaT would make me happy.

Attached is the current parts list I have. Kinda feeling lazy to type it up right now.


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you know, since you dont mind to have an external rad, just get one of these

You can put 9 or 18 120mm fans OR 4 or 8 180mm fans on one of those

Normally it needs some feet if you want to stand it up; but with some creativity you could bolt it to the wall OR hang it underneath your desk-- which would assure a gentle breeze over your nether parts :)

If one of those cannot handle the load of two R9's, then nothing can.

Of course there is always THIS: http://shop.aquacomputer.de/product_info.php?products_id=3125 which makes for a nice conversation piece :)