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Lian Li Side Mount Distro Block

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New Member
Dec 19, 2022
I’m looking to build a custom loop in a Lian Li o11 Evo. But I want the distro block mounted on the side. Practically every distro block I see out there (for the o11-D, Mini or Evo) is designed to mount in the front of the case!

EKWB says the side mount one is ‘legacy’. And if i do find it in stock somewhere, it comes with the older, smaller 3.1 pump.

Does anyone know of a side mount distro block for an Evo case?? (Or o11-D. Pretty sure the side mounts are the same) Doesn’t have to be EKWB.


Really an 3x360mm block will work in that spot. Only thing to be sure of is depth of the pump with the side of the case. I did the same on my O11D. I just had him use one of these https://www.ebay.com/itm/222836214622?hash=item33e212cb5e:g:WOAAAOSw2SxdC6Ae and swap the holes so the pump, fill and drain were all on the back, and the cooling tubes were all on the front. I just did soft tubing so I didn't really need the distro plate feature.

I will say that this messes with the airflow of the case quite a bit, if you have a big gfx card mounted horizontally you won't get a lot of intake through to the top rad and it will be sucking air in wherever it can (not necessarily a problem, but something to keep in mind). Are you putting both CPU and GPU under water? You may be able to get around it if you use the rear fan as intake, you'll have to experiment some. You can see my build here https://www.overclockers.com/forums/threads/flexible-tubing-build-pc-011-dynamic.793395/

If I could go back I would want to put the distro plate reservoir on the front of the case personally, and have the extra airflow available. I also use clear fluid and colored tubing so that makes a difference. You should seriously consider doing the same however unless you want to do major loop maintenance every six months. Make sure to check out the fluid section of our beginners guide https://www.overclockers.com/beginners-guide-water-cooling/#Fluid. The only thing I will add is that if you're using nickel plated blocks, Silver or Copper Sulfate biocides will damage them. I just use the EK clear fluid as I got the EK blocks that are nickel plated, but I'm sure I could save money using something more simple.
Wow. Excellent detail. Thanks! I still have a few things to figure out it seems. I might start a new thread with my build proposal and ask for feedback. Couple of things here though:

- "You should seriously consider doing the same however unless you want to do major loop maintenance every six months" -> I don't quite understand. Are you saying that using products like EK's coloured coolant will require more frequent maintenance? (more than using distilled water?) (i was expecting a once-per-year flush-and-clean level of maintenance)

I do intend to put a water block on the CPU and GPU. (planning on getting both from EK, so yes, nickel plated) GPU is Asus TUF 3080 OC 12GB.

I think i get what you mean. With a side-mount distro, and front glass, the only 'good' intake is the bottom. And if i put a rad there (was thinking of a 240 there, and 360 in the top) then the airflow is restricted more. (compared to bottom fans, with no rad) And getting the volume of air needed for 3x120 in the top will be hampered. Right?

I was kinda hoping that using a water block on the GPU would reduce the impedance of airflow from the bottom (compared to the size of the stock GPU cooling system!). Coupled with the rear fan on intake - there *might* be enough air for the top rad.

Vertical GPU would help, yes? Then there wouldn't be a wall for the air to hit :)

Thanks for the help!
Re coolant: lt:dr don't trust colored coolant.

Yes the dyes in colored coolant will settle and plug up your loop. The coolant companies always come out with claims that this is improved but I have yet to see evidence of it (of course I don't really pay attention as I have little use for colored coolant anyway). Take a look at this recent thread comparing the results of running distilled vs dye https://www.overclockers.com/forums/threads/long-term-ek-gpu-wb-interior-pics.802862/#post-8188174

The worst offenders are the opaque, pastel, special effects etc. Anything like that I would advise a full flush every 3 months. With a well established transparent coolant like EK, make sure to look at peoples experiences, maybe you could push it to a year max, but every 6 months would be better.

I will say that even though I really thought I did a good job cleaning my hardware before assembling the loop (there is a segment on this in the beginners guide linked above), I still ended up with some gunk in the jet of my CPU block, and I have a small bit in the GPU block that I can see but doesn't seem to impact performance. Since I can inspect it visually and monitor performance, I haven't messed with that one. The better the blocks get, the smaller the passages and more easily stuff like this can be a problem.

Perhaps some of the anecdotes regarding dyed coolant are related to other impurities in the loop taking on the color of the dye, but personally I don't trust it. If you search through Jayz2Cents videos you can see a lot of him struggling to deal with wack coolants, all with a smile and "this is perfectly normal" attitude. Personally I'd rather not use a toothbrush and toothpaste on my blocks on a routine basis. My system has been going for 4 years now and I think I've done 3 or 4 flushes, with only the more minor issues, and only one of those times did I really drain it to get every bit of the old coolant out. (Edit: I'm not saying this is best practice, but I'm not perfect. Things happen, stuff comes up etc. I'd rather not worry about running a little long on the coolant flush or getting every drop out of a complex loop with multiple blocks and rads, as this pretty much requires disassembling the loop).

Regarding case layout: tl:dr Blocking the side and having top and bottom rads will work, but you will have a quieter rig if you have additional intake sources.

The bottom rad shouldn't be too big of an issues, especially if it's a thinner one. However it would be preferable to have additional fresh air. I'm not sure how big of a real world difference it will make, but if you want the best cooling with the lowest fan speed it is a factor. I didn't think much of it until I was running with the panels off and noted a MUCH lower fan speed under load (my loop is set up to curve the fan speed based on water temperature). On the other hand, recently I lowered my fan curve substantially (but also have not been running my GPU full out since its like 30% more power for 5%-10% more performance), and noted both that coolant temperature was not as significant an impact on cooling performance nor fan speed as significant an impact on coolant temperature as I previously thought (also keeping in mind the loop itself is under like 60W less load).

I do think vertical GPU would help in this case, but I've never tested it. Definitely water cooling the GPU will help in some ways, but while the GPU will blow hot air around it still moves air. My layout exhibits a significant airflow "shadow" above the GPU, so things like my SSD get soaked with radiant and conductive heat from the GPU without adequate flow to dissipate it (well it still runs within parameters, but I doubt a PCIe Gen 4 nVME would).

Regarding loop design: You'll want about 1x120mm worth of rad per 100w, so if you're putting the 3080 (350w stock or 400w+ OC) with a lower power CPU like the 5600x, a 240mm (bottom) and 360mm (top) should be fine, but if you're planning to run a higher power draw CPU you'll want at least a 360mm rad for both the top and bottom. If you use fans designed for radiators with adequate static pressure, you shouldn't have to worry too much about the radiator restricting airflow.
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Thanks again! Great and helpful detail. I have started a new thread with my build design / ideas. I did not appreciate the 'dead zone' behind (above?) the GPU. And considering I will be using a Gen 4 SSD, it's making more and more sense to front mount the distro block, and fill the case with air - from side mounted fans.