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Help with Rad Configuration Optimization

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blackirishmec

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2021
Hi all! I am building a machine which will have a GPU AIO and a CPU AIO integrated with each other (Alphacool's Eisbaer and Eiswolf connected together).
My Machine Components:
CasePhanteks p500a DRGB
MOBAMSI MEG z490 Unify
CPUIntel 10700kf
SSD 1Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB M.2 NVME
SSD 2Samsung 970 Evo Plus 1TB M.2 NVME
RAM 1G.Skill Trident Z RGB 8GB DDR4-4000 CL18
RAM 2G.Skill Trident Z RGB 8GB DDR4-4000 CL18
RAM 3G.Skill Trident Z RGB 8GB DDR4-4000 CL18
RAM 4G.Skill Trident Z RGB 8GB DDR4-4000 CL18
GPUZotac 3090 Trinity OC
PSUNZXT E850

I am considering two different single loop radiator+fan configurations.
Configuration A:
1. 420mm Rad as Front Intake

2. 360mm Rad as Top Exhaust

3. 140mm Fan as Rear Exhaust (PH-F140SK_DRGB_PWM)

Configuration B:
1. 280mm Rad as Front Intake

2. 140mm Fan as Front Intake (PH-F140SK_DRGB_PWM)

3. 360mm Rad as Top Exhaust

4. 140mm Fan as Rear Exhaust (PH-F140SK_DRGB_PWM)

Here is a link to a spreadsheet I've put together with information on the fans used in both of these configurations. Here are some important notes for understanding what I'm doing in the sheet:
• The first tab includes both configurations laid out incl. preset fan max values to try and strive for overall positive pressure in both configurations (seen in the summary rows in sheet 1, column F). 

• I have made a pie-in-the-sky "Radiator Resistance" value (column D) to try and guess at the airflow restrictions innate to a fan mounted to a radiator. I wanted to be conservative with this value so I make sure I'm getting positive pressure (for dust management).

• I have included column E to indicate my use of PWM % values on each of the fans involved in the system. While I will not by ANY means be locking the fans to the corresponding PWM % listed in column E, I'm considering building fan curves with the relative ratio of the values in Column E as a method of managing air flow relative to the other fans. So to say it a different way, a Column E value of less than 100% indicates PWM % relative to the PWM % of any fans with a Column E value of 100% in each configuration. That one's a doozy, sorry about that.

My first thought is go for configuration A because more Rad will be ideal for my loop. My second guessing (and preference for configuration B) comes from wanting to manage the heat of non-loop integrated components incl. the GPU backplate, the RAM, and the M.2 SSD's.
It seems that with Summary values in Column F nearly equal and indicating positive pressure (~+5.13 CFM), then:
MetricCol F: SUM Air Flow Rate (CFM)Col G: SUM Intake Air Flow Rate (CFM)Col H: SUM Absolute Loop Fan Air Flow Rate (CFM)Col I: SUM Absolute Value Loop Fan Static Pressure (mm H20)Col J: AVG Noise (db (A))
Same25.50% Worse0.69% Better2.08% Worse0.89% Worse
Configuration BSame34.05% Better0.68% Worse2.12% Better0.88% Better

[tdConfiguration A][/td]

Your thoughts?
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
First question (maybe I just need to look it up) is what kind of pump does this sytstem use? It looks like there is a pump in the CPU block, and maybe one in the GPU block. I'm not sure this pump is intended to support so many radiators. Honestly 420mm front in and 360mm top exhaust will be overkill, you can skip the 140mm rear exhaust (unless this comes with one of your kits). How much you plan to OC will impact things, but realistically 120mm (or 140) worth of rad for every 100w is a good ballpark. I believe 3090s are shipping with 360mm AIOs and 240mm seems plenty for the 10700kf. If you're set to use the alphacool system, then you want to limit the number of restrictions in the loop since you're working with an already weaker pump. Restrictions include: any single component (block or radiator), any fitting with a 90 degree bend (looking at radiators and blocks again), size of radiator, any quick disconnect fittings (looking at every component). Now I've included below a side by side comparison of the DC-LT pump used in the alphacool AIO (left) vs a common water cooling D5 pump from EK (right). You can see even two of the alphacool pumps don't stand in comparison to a D5 (which granted is more than many loops require).

d5.JPG

So maybe my first question should be why do you want to use this system? Really for similar effort you can do a flexible tubing custom loop, you clearly have the motivation! This modular AIO system is really strange, AIOs are for set it and forget it applications and you're thinking like a customizer, so just go full custom!
 
OP
blackirishmec

blackirishmec

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2021
Hi Zerileous, thank you so much for your reply!

The Eiswolf 2 Pump is a DC-LT 2 with a 75L/h flow rate.
The Eisbaer Aurora Pump also has a 75L/h flow rate.

So this configuration would have two 75L/h pumps in the loop, if that makes any difference for your analysis/understanding of my situation.

Long story short, this is my first ever PC and my long time dream build. I put it together about two months ago after finding a card and have absolutely fallen in love with PC building. The amount of decisions that can be made, the communities online, and the raw power of my system have absolutely lit me up. And because it's my first system, I shied away from a custom loop. Watching LTT, I saw that they tested the Noctua D-15 against several leading AIO's and the D15 outperformed them. So for function (and shyness towards custom loops) I went with the D15 for my CPU. The stock cooler on the Zotac 3090 Trinity OC we're simply not able to handle the heat of that card. Thermal throttling under most conditions (gaming only - not mining at all). I took the harrowing step of repad+repasting the 3090 (twice to get it to beat stock conditions - Thermalright makes great pads but their stiffness was too much for the tolerances I chose) and loved seeing a noticeable improvement. Unfortunately, I still faced thermal throttling and the GPU coolers sounded like a Jet engine to keep things operational. So I looked into water cooling. After running the EKWB configurator, I was looking at ~$500-700 to get up and running (with only the GPU block in the loop! Aka keeping the D15 for the CPU). Knowing that I only wanted to handle temps on the GPU, the Alphacool Eiswolf 2 GPU AIO at $250 seemed like a perfect fit for function and price difference. I even bought a vertical card mount, and late last week installed the AIO. Surprisingly (with my shyness for water cooling) it was an absolute piece of cake, which makes sense as it is a pre-filled AIO, but still, effortless. Additionally, the D15 ended up blocking the use of the Vertical GPU mount, and I noticed my CPU temps have increased, I believe due to the 360 Alphacool Rad being so close to the D15 rads? So now a CPU and GPU water-cooling loop seems very attractive. I can vertical mount the GPU, I'll hopefully avoid heat contamination between the rads and the CPU Air cooler rads, and damnit if water cooling isn't fun, even with AIOs. The problem is, I now have a already installed Eiswolf 2 which seems like it would be a bear to return/resell. So my quick and easy fix was to expand the AIO loop with the Eisbaer Aurora AIO. This will add a second pump to the loop and a second radiator. Of course this will bring my costs up to ~$500, which if I knew about before, I would have gone with an EKWB solution (they have an active backplate cooler on their Zotac 3090 block!). I would likely avoid hard line for now as I'm in an apartment and don't have a heat gun/shop that would be comfortable to do that work (cleanly) in. I'd strive for "perfect" bends so for now soft tubing seems more manageable. So yea, here I am thinking about going for this odd configuration.

One thing I would add is that I've run some additional numbers on the attached spreadsheet last night and the first configuration would have about ~22% more rad in the loop. It would have about ~25% less case air intake CFM, which I'm nervous about given the passive backplate on the crazy hot GPU VRM which is giving me poor Memory Junction temps since installing the Eiswolf last week. Decisions decisions! I suppose after thinking about your post I could reach out to Alphacool to see if they'd accept a refund request for the Eiswolf and then just go for a soft line EKWB custom loop. But not sure if you have a vote on that or not, given my additional information in this post?
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
I love the zeal!! Just be careful not to get caught in the minutia! :)

If you haven't already, take a look at the guides we have for water cooling, if only to start a solid foundation for when you inevitably go custom. There's some great stuff in there! :clap:

As far as your configuration, I don't imagine there to be too much difference in the end. A couple of degrees C here or there. That said, I like Confiig B personally. It gets some fresh air mixed in with the slightly warmed rad air which keeps internals and the top radiator/loop and the internals a bit cooler. :)

I can't wait to see the setup!! :)
 
OP
blackirishmec

blackirishmec

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2021
Hi EarthDog, thanks so much for replying in the thread! It's been tough to get good feedback on r/watercooling and LTT Forums so it's been incredible to hear two wonderful responses so quickly! I also super appreciate the note on minutia haha, my big reason for avoiding hardline custom loop building is that I'd literally obsess over straight runs and I can't do that to myself/freetime w/ my partner right now haha. But there are certainly diminishing returns on optimization so always good to keep in mind!

I'll absolutely take a look at those guides!

And thanks for the vote for Config B! That's the one I'm certainly leaning towards, although I second guessed it a bit after reading people talking about running dual 480's in some threads last night... But back to reality, I think that Config B will provide the necessary air flow for cooling the rest of the components (GPU Backplate, RAM, and to a lesser extent - the SSD's). So I'm really leaning towards getting the Eisbaer Aurora 280 for front mounting with a PH-F140SK_DRGB_PWM filling up the rest of the space on the front intake. I reached out to Alphacool to see if there is any possibility they'd accept a return request for the Eiswolf 2 now that I've installed it, and in the off chance that they say yes, I'll go for a full custom loop with soft tubing. I especially like the increased L/h of the pump Zerileous noted when compared to the paltry 75L/h of these AIO pumps. If not, I'll expand with the second AIO I mentioned and go for Config B. I'll make sure to post pictures once it's complete!

I suppose my last question for you would be 280rad above the 140 Phanteks fan on the front intake, or 280rad below the 140 Phanteks fan on the front intake? I was gonna say Phanteks 140 top for a straight airflow path to the rear exhaust which is at a similar height off the surface of the table, however with the top exhaust 360, I'm wondering if I should go Phanteks 140 below the 280rad to give that clean and high CFM intake air from being pulled straight up by the 360 before it reaches the other components. Back to the minutia, but again, it's so freaking fun!
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
I wonder if that is going to fit, honestly... radiators have some overhang, even on the shortest side. For example, you can line fans up as they are made to do that, but just make sure you can fit a rad and another 140.
 

BugFreak

Joined
Apr 29, 2010
Location
Central FL
A lot of forums on the web these days get hung on up on adding too many radiators and as many extra pieces like monitors and meters and just about everything else you can think of for no good reason. The bottom line is you need good blocks, a good pump and two good radiators, end of story. Like said above a 3x120 and a 4x120 would be plenty for that setup when paired with good fans. It is actually what I will be running if I add my 3080 to my loop. Right now I run a 3x120 and a 2x120 just for my CPU which is way overkill but I built this loop as more of a challenge (long story) so I used both.

As much as I like Alphacool and currently use their stand-alone radiators I don't like the modular or AIO stuff they make. It just seems silly to add extra pumps when one separate pump like a D5 will handle the whole loop without problems. Also the black tubing just looks awful imo and every time I see a build with their modular/AIO stuff the tubing is too long so it lays all over the case like an octopus. I would say buy a good pump and use normal radiators. It will give you a much better looking and cleaner look.
 
OP
blackirishmec

blackirishmec

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2021
Great point! I totally wouldn't have thought of that. I was pondering what to do about this for the last half hour and just realized that since supposedly "pull" configurations are ideal with fans on a rad, and this will be for the front intake which already has 3 140 fans, I can just use the existing fans as extra "push"ers, while also giving me the ability to mount the 280 rad with pull fans without worrying about interference!
 

Brutal-Force

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
blackirish. I recently purchased a Arctic Freezer II 420. It is pretty big and when I look at case compatibility, even though it might fit in some cases, it will only fit in certain configurations.

It looks like the P500A RGB will fit with a 420 Alphacool Ice bear, so if the radiators are similar it might work, but I would make sure that both radiators will fit in the configuration you are looking for.

https://pcpartpicker.com/products/case/?compatible_with=2dzFf7

It looks like a 420 will fit in the top (make sure your hoses will reach the motherboard). it will also fit in the front, but it looks like you have to remove some of the hardware. I think if I were going to use this case, I would go with your configuration A, but probably reverse the radiators and go with the 420 on top and the 360 in the front. Gamer's Nexus reminds you that Phanteks reminds that a 420 in front would need to have the fans and radiator inside the chassis, tubes up (not really the right way to go). The covers also conflict with radiator clearance.
 
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blackirishmec

blackirishmec

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2021
Hi Brutal-Force, thanks so much for adding your note! I'll look into that cooler, I've not heard of it before (only Titanrig, EKWB, and Alphacool so far). Great point on fit with the case, from the p500a manual it seems that I could safely run the 420 in the front but might be limited to 360 on top: https://phanteks.com/assets/manuals/PH-EC500ATG.pdf. I've not heard about tubes up vs. tubes down, but I have been wondering! What is the deal with tubes down > tubes up? I'm kind of doing the craziest thing possible and pursuing 3d modeling the p500a. I've so fallen in love with building that I figure if I can get a semi-accurate model up and running in Sketchup (Make 2017) then I can really test each component out before purchasing the next thing for my loop. After speaking with Alphacool, I'm unable to refund my Eiswolf 2, but they did note that I can build it into a full custom loop! I took some time and assembled a loop with the EKWB configurator and was looking at about $950 before taxes so... I'm exploring other options haha. But knowing that the Eiswolf 2 can be incorporated into a loop, I'm exploring building one out over time! Also I see in your sig that you've built your own PWM controller?! Freaking awesome.
 

Brutal-Force

Member
Joined
Feb 22, 2009
Hi Brutal-Force, thanks so much for adding your note! I'll look into that cooler, I've not heard of it before (only Titanrig, EKWB, and Alphacool so far). Great point on fit with the case, from the p500a manual it seems that I could safely run the 420 in the front but might be limited to 360 on top: https://phanteks.com/assets/manuals/PH-EC500ATG.pdf. I've not heard about tubes up vs. tubes down, but I have been wondering! What is the deal with tubes down > tubes up? I'm kind of doing the craziest thing possible and pursuing 3d modeling the p500a. I've so fallen in love with building that I figure if I can get a semi-accurate model up and running in Sketchup (Make 2017) then I can really test each component out before purchasing the next thing for my loop. After speaking with Alphacool, I'm unable to refund my Eiswolf 2, but they did note that I can build it into a full custom loop! I took some time and assembled a loop with the EKWB configurator and was looking at about $950 before taxes so... I'm exploring other options haha. But knowing that the Eiswolf 2 can be incorporated into a loop, I'm exploring building one out over time! Also I see in your sig that you've built your own PWM controller?! Freaking awesome.

If you are running your cooler with the tubes on top, you run the chance of getting air into the pump as all of the air bubbles to the top. This seems like its mostly a AIO problem, but I think it applies to all water cooling.

GN explains:
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
41KgHHwAHbL._SY300_.jpg
to clarify, I've included a quote from the video description.

But AIO CPU coolers should not ever be bottom-mounted with the pump at the top of the loop. Manufacturer websites (shown in this video) also commonly show front-mounted radiators with tubes at the top, which will become noisy as permeation increases, and sometimes can be noisy immediately.

Tubes on top is less likely to be a serious problem if the pump is not above the top of the radiator, and in fact some cases the tubes will not reach the bottom of the mount, or PSU shrouds obstruct such placement. Additionally in the event the OP uses the Eisbaer system, with both a top and front mounted radiator, it is a moot point as the top radiator will become the top of the entire loop. Here is a follow up video and the gist of it is, "don't panic" regarding tubes on top:
 
OP
blackirishmec

blackirishmec

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2021
Thank you Brutal Force and Zerileous for your notes on Rad orientation! Brutal Force, your note sent me down the rabbit hole of GN video(s) and other videos discussing these theories. As best as I can tell the most crucial aspect of this determination is that no pumps are located at the highest point in a loop (especially given the pump's in my config are liquid-lubricated and non-magnetic). Other than that, "tubes up" can lead to noise aggravations but that's about it. I appreciate your latest note Zerileous as I was wondering if that top rad would act as the "highest point" as you confirmed! Based on the ~$1000 cost of an EK solution, the fact that I cant return the Eiswolf 2, and the fact that the Eisbaer Aurora 280 is out of stock for a long time, I decided to buy:
1. Eisbaer Aurora 420
2. Alphacool Eisfluegel Flow Indicator with RPM-signal
3. Six pack of Alphacool HF compression TPV "metall" 12.7/7.6 Straight Black fittings
4. 2000ml Bottle of CKC Clear fluid
5. Loop Refill kit with a G1/4 fitting on the funnel
6. 500ml fill bottle
7. Alphacool Eiszapfen temperature sensor plug (G1/4)
8. Aquatuning Aquaero 5 LT controller

My plan is to create a single loop with both pumps inline, trim down excess tubing (it's truly hideous as far as soft tubing setups go), add the Eisfluegel Flow Indicator inline, add the Eiszapfen temp sensor plug in the fill port of the CPU block, and use the Aquaero 5 LT to connect the fluid temp sensor and the flow indicator RPM signal to my MOBA. From there I can monitor flow rate and set my fan curves to the fluid temp!

I can't stress how cool it has been to get feedback from members of this community who have been around for over ten years! It's an honor. I also love the enthusiasm for "chasing the lead" on some of the minutia of this hobby. It's such a blast. You all helped encourage me in my pursuit of this adventure and I can't wait to set it all up when the components arrive this week! It's a janky way to get into semi-custom loop building, but for a total cost of like $700, it's a great first step into that arena. Also Alphacool told me that they are actively developing a GPU active backplate to go with the frontplate included in the Eiswolf 2, so I'll be looking to add that asap (wrestle down those nasty 30xx VRM temps).
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Good choice on the AquaAero. Man I really struggle with Alphacool's product names. Given that by trimming your tubing you're essentially making a custom loop, I would strongly advise you to read this: https://www.overclockers.com/beginners-guide-water-cooling/. Especially scroll down and read the "Assembly and Testing" segment and make sure you complete a thorough leak test. You may need to disregard the section of fluids and remember the guide was written over 10 years ago so some things have changed. It still really does a great job with the fundamentals.

Also please be conscientious of dissimilar metals, some all in one style coolers will combine components of aluminum and copper, while custom loops shy away from this process due to galvanic corrosion. In short, please be sure that the coolant you use is designed for the specific system components that you're using.

I'm also assuming that you've verified the compression fittings will achieve the purpose you desire of them, but I'm not really certain how it works with this cooler.
 
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blackirishmec

blackirishmec

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2021
Thanks I read through the article! I just double checked and all inline metal components are copper or nickel plated copper. I believe the compression fittings will allow me to hook the soft tubing included up to a female G1/4 port.
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Do the Alphacool products use standard G1/4. Most closed loop / AIO coolers will use aluminum in the radiator. It looks like in at least in the case of the Eisbaer Aurora 420 the rad is full copper and the fittings are in fact G1/4.
 
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blackirishmec

blackirishmec

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2021
As far as I can tell they all use standard G1/4 threads on the radiator and pumps. And the Eiswolf 2 also has a full copper rad! Additionally the fittings included in these two AIOS are the same fittings I've ordered more of (to use for the flow indicator). Pretty cool that this system by Alphacool seems to be pretty by the book in terms of custom looping as well.
 
OP
blackirishmec

blackirishmec

New Member
Joined
May 26, 2021
So long story short the loop is up and running! Thank you all again for your help. I did end up getting an Aquero 5 LT and a Fluid Temperature sensor and Flow Rate sensor which I've plugged into the Aquero. I then have connected the Aquero to the MOBA via USB. I am wondering if any of you have experience adding sensors from an Aquero to Argus Monitor software. I love Argus for defining my fan curves and want to be able to control fans based on fluid temp, but need Argus to see the Aquero sensors in order to do that. Any suggestions? I'm having a tough time finding anything after some looking around online.
 

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
I've never heard of Argus software. You may need to use the aquasuite software with the Aquaero.