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My 1st Water Cooling Setup

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Porvalsh

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
Colorado
Porvalsh's Water Cooling Setup - Updated

Updated Build
Since purchasing the Apex kit I've expanded this build with a more complex mod of mounting 120.3 and 120.2 radiators internally. To do this I decided to take the entire case apart and flip it so that the power supply is mounted on the bottom like most of the newer "gamer" cases. With everything internal the build looks much nicer although the tubing routing isn't splendid by any means. This update starts at Post #17.

10 Pics

I got some money for my birthday and decided to get into water cooling. I've been wanting to do it for a long time but had other priorities with my money. Since I got a bunch for my birthday, I decided to take the plunge. (I'm 28 but still get birthday money...ironic).

After pricing out a few of my own self-made kits, I decided to just start out with the Swiftech H20-220 Apex Ultima Kit. What I couldn't decide between was a triple radiator or double. I made a kit with the triple and it was about 310 bucks. This double kit was 245. Considering this was my first go, I decided to just stick with 1 loop for now, but I have the option of replacing the radiator down the road for a triple or introducing a single radiator when I add GPU cooling.

My difficulties came in case modding because I wanted to include all the components inside the case, rather than hanging off the back. I also have a very old case, probably at least 4 years, so I knew it was going to be a very custom build. I want to get a new side window but I have no idea what the case is to order one. My only sacrifice it seems has been losing 3 hard drive slots (which I don't use) and having to move the radiator fans onto the top of the case. I ended up needing about 1/4" more room to fit the fans on the inside...such a drag.

Here are some pics so far of what I've got. I'm testing the loop while I wait for the adapter plate to arrive. (Another drag).

Naked Aluminum Chassis (Full Tower)
cimg3355.jpg

Preliminary Placement of Res/Pump
cimg3360.jpg

Preliminary Placement of Res/Pump With Side Panel
cimg3361.jpg

Top Fan Holes Cut
cimg3365.jpg

Fan/Radiator Installed
cimg3366c.jpg

cimg3367.jpg

Up and Running
At the last second I decided to move the Res back over the pump more so its not in the way. I thought it would be cool to have it showing in the window, like bam - watercooled, and you can watch the undulating water as it comes in. But then I thought it would be cleaner to keep it off to the side. After sleeping, I decided to move it back, to allow for another 80mm fan.
cimg3375.jpg

cimg3386.jpg

Moved Back to Original Location
cimg3388.jpg

cimg3393.jpg


Thoughts on the Kit
The kit came with everything that I needed to complete the setup...if I were to do it according to the manual. Of course I went a bit more custom so the manual went out the window. The hardest parts were:

  • Lining up fan holes with radiator holes through the top of the case.
  • Length of the screws holding the radiator was very important so as not to puncture the fins.
  • Locating the pump. I had to remove some metal above the pump so that it would fit.
  • Figuring out how to load fluid into the system with such a low reservoir location.
Perhaps you can comment on the reservoir location, and whether you like it pushed back to the side, or more pronounced and in the middle. If it is in the middle there is an added benefit of having another 80mm fan in the front, blowing over the pump.

Overall Impressions

  • Screwing ports into acrylic always scares me. Easily stripped or cracked.
  • Dislike how the distilled water additive is green. Would rather have clear. Swiftech doesn't really give you an option here.
  • Radiator mounting works great for their "hang off the back" solution but is not easily adapted to custom situations. It seems too easy to misjudge screw length and drive a screw into the radiator fin.
  • Color scheme isn't consistent. Clear tubing, green fluid, and blue tube coil.
  • Adapter plate for Socket AM2 does not ship with the kit. The kit is designed for i7, and you have to call to get the adapter plate for your application sent to you. This is retarded.
  • Not related to the kit, but the red fluid I used, is pink. I will probably drain and just go clear in the future.
  • Fans on radiator are very quiet, but push little air. May upgrade fans to my 70CFM coolermaster ones once I see temps.
  • Kit very complete, when used as outlined by the instructions.
  • The entire solution is very quiet. I can't even tell its running.
  • 7/16" Tubing over 1/2" connections was really snug. I have not seen any leaks at all and I think it helps that these connections may not even require clamps they are so tight!
I will post again once I get my components in so you can see how it looks. I like to keep things very clean so hopefully with the extra tubing, I can still accomplish this look. I'll be sure to post my temps too of course.

On a side not, I wish I had gone to water cooling a long, long time ago (although it would have been harder in the early stages of water cooling) because it is so quiet. Love it.

Album: http://img243.imageshack.us/gal.php?g=53635072tx2.jpg
 
Last edited:

jr1

Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2005
Location
norway
Nice and clean :)
To make it easyer to fill and bleed you can add a barb and a piece of tubing onto the top of the res and put in a fillport in the top of the case
If i'm not remembering wrong from a similar case i had a year or two ago you can mod it to fit a 120X2 rad between the psu and the cd-drives lying on its side and another just upfront of the mobo to get them internally and haveing just the fans outside
i used to have pretty much the same setup internally in my case ( same pump and res but different rads a bix2 and a mist rad )
 
OP
Porvalsh

Porvalsh

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
Colorado
Nice and clean :)
To make it easyer to fill and bleed you can add a barb and a piece of tubing onto the top of the res and put in a fillport in the top of the case
If i'm not remembering wrong from a similar case i had a year or two ago you can mod it to fit a 120X2 rad between the psu and the cd-drives lying on its side and another just upfront of the mobo to get them internally and haveing just the fans outside
i used to have pretty much the same setup internally in my case ( same pump and res but different rads a bix2 and a mist rad )

I'm not sure what you mean. Here are pics of the radiator after I've installed the power supply. The radiator has enough room up top, but there isn't enough room to fit a fan. That is why I had to move the fans on the outside.

I could possibly move the radiator more towards the front of the case, because there is probably an inch or so room in the plastic front. I was going to cover those top 3 bays though and have a nice front...

Here are pics showing the radiator at the front of the case, and the clearance issue with the power supply. In the future, if I keep the same scheme I can put a triple up top. I don't understand how I could put the radiator on its side.

cimg3397.jpg

cimg3394.jpg
 

aphellyon

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
I was going to ask what coolant your were using, but then read it was distilled with some green additive. What was it? Looks kinda brownish on my screen, weird.
 
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Porvalsh

Porvalsh

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
Colorado
I was going to ask what coolant your were using, but then read it was distilled with some green additive. What was it? Looks kinda brownish on my screen, weird.

The Swiftech kit comes with a green dye/additive that I did not use. Instead, I got some PC Pure stuff, that was red in the bottle, but pink in my comp. In your case, looks brown. lol.

Gonna drain it and switch it I think...
 

aphellyon

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
Primochill went pink on ya, eh? :) What are you thinking about replacing it with? It seems wc'ers are trending towards straight distilled these days... kinda on the fence myself.
 
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Porvalsh

Porvalsh

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
Colorado
Primochill went pink on ya, eh? :) What are you thinking about replacing it with? It seems wc'ers are trending towards straight distilled these days... kinda on the fence myself.

I'm going to run distilled with this mixer that came with the kit and see how it goes. Supposed to extend the life of the pump, while limiting corrosion, mold and mineral deposits on parts.

http://www.petrastechshop.com/swhyexduco.html
 
Last edited:

Spawn-Inc

Member
Joined
Jun 13, 2007
nicely done, they still include there hydrex, but its not needed. plain distilled with some biocide works best.
 
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Porvalsh

Porvalsh

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
Colorado
I'll get some pics of the finished product later today. I had it up and running last night.

When I changed the adapter plate for the Apogee GTZ, I found there was dirt deposited in the block. I felt lucky to have seen it purely by chance. I cleaned it the best I could using a new toothbrush and ketchup, then rinsing with distilled water. Even with some intense scrubbing I couldn't quite get all the discolorations off of the inside of the block. its a lot better than it was before, just not pristine.

Since I had the block off I drained the system and flushed it with distilled water. Then I mixed up the HydreX and added it to the loop. The loop takes about .5L to fill up...not very much.

The block was a real ***** to get on. I could not place the mobo in and then just attach the block because the back plate would fall to the back of the case. I found myself with the mobo upside down, attaching the block in a very weird, retarded manner. I got it on there, but am not sure about how well the thermal paste got distributed on my core. It would probably be helpful to reseat the sucker. Sigh.

I also took the chance to change out the top fans. I pulled one off and compared the airflow to a coolermaster 120 I had. The CM fan seemed to be pushing twice as much air, so I switched them out.

Once I got it running it felt like 1 of the CM fans was blowing well while the other one seemed to be acting very beta. Top it all off, the old radiator fan is now on the side of my case and it blows like a dang hurricane.

I thought maybe having everything on the same 12v rail might be bad, so I split the pump and 1 80mm fan off on its own, knowing the pump pulls 2 amps. The other rail has 2 80mm fans and 2 120mm fans, the third 120 pulling power off the motherboard. I'm not sure why sometimes the fans blow a lot, and other times not. Miffed.

Anyways, I got everything running and here are some temps recorded from last night...by memory, so might be a bit off.

3.584Ghz, 2240 CPU/NB, Stock voltages, Cool N Quiet.
Ambient 18C
Idle 24c
Load 40c
Delta 16c

3.808ghz, 2464 CPU/NB, 1.45 Vcore, 1.4 CPU/NB.
Ambient 18C
Idle 31c
Load 42c
Delta 11c

At this point I was very happy, because running that high of volts was not stable on air, and produced 60c temps during stability testing. I was only able to bench at that speed before.

My overall goal though, was to run at 4.0ghz 24/7, which is a 20% overclock. 20% has always been achievable for me in the past. So naturally I bumped it up to 4.0ghz and CPU/NB at 2600. Unstable, required more voltage. No problem, I'm on water right.

Brought votages up to 1.47vcore, 1.4 CPU/NB but could not get it stable. In my excitement, I had gotten away from the systematic approach required to acheive good results. I was just throwing settings out there trying to get it to work. I decided that it was late enough, that I really needed to wait until I had enough time to work at it the right way so I let it go for the night.

It seems like I can run 1.5v on the processor without hitting the heat wall. I'm not even close to hitting 50c yet in my shotty testing. So far it looks like 2x120 radiator for the CPU is going to be enough. I've read a lot about how it might not handle the heat load. Perhaps it was the ambient temp that was helping me out so much. 65F, 18C, is kinda cold, especially with that fan blowing exhaust air on me all night. I know my wife isn't going to like it that cold in the house in the winter, but we'll see... but now I have an excuse, "Baby, the cool air helps my computer run faster"!

Edit: I just re-read Dolks guide, because earlier I had skipped the 4.0ghz range. It seems that the heat wall is a curve that gets lower and lower the higher the speed of the processor is going. In my case, it may be 45c that is preventing me to overclock higher than 3.9ghz, even though its not close to AMD max of 60c yet. I'll have to reconsider my goals and the cooling that I've setup.
 
Last edited:
OP
Porvalsh

Porvalsh

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
Colorado
Pic update for above post.

Initial Water Installation With Hydrex
cimg3398.jpg


CPU
cimg3403.jpg


Finish on the GTZ Block
cimg3404v.jpg


Finished Installation
cimg3405.jpg


Nice Cable Management
cimg3410p.jpg


All Closed Up For Now
cimg3412t.jpg


Now I just want to replace the window, maybe throw a cathode tube at the base or something. Nothing fancy. I believe the case is an older Apevia one. The new ones look like they have the same case window.
 
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Porvalsh

Porvalsh

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
Colorado
Clean build, I like it. :):thup:

Any thoughts on doing the gpu down the line?

About the graphics card. It gets really hot, because the fan speed does not seem to adjust when in auto. I can manually set it, which I do for certain programs but dang that sucker can get loud fast.

So down the road I will definitely cool it with water, but in order to get my wife to not spend money like crazy, and in order to acheive our financial goals, I'm on a strict budget with a limited amount of spending money haha.

Once I do spend the 120 bucks or whatever for a block, I'll need to increase my cooling capacity with more radiator space. I plan to replace the top radiator with a 120.3, then try and then find some place for the 120.2. I really like looking at the motherboard and internal components of a computer, so my two ideas for this are:

1.) Mod the motherboard tray to mount the radiator between the hard drive slots and the back of the case, with air entrance on the other side. This could be a lot of work, but I think that it would fit very nicely there, and stay discrete.

2.) Mod the front wall of the case so that I can fit the 120.2 vertically and flat against the front bezel. This would require moving the existing hard drive holder up into the 5-1/4" bay which wouldn't be a problem, but would limit me to only 1 hard drive capacity. I have never ran raid, so this isn't really that bad, but I usually have one OS drive and one data storage so I'm not sure how that would work. I guess I could mod, yet again, seperate hard drive holders and mount them off of the front in a slim, sort of design, pressed up against the side panel.

Actually the more I think about it, the more I want to keep modding this case. Thanks a lot. lol.


Do you think that I the MCP655 pump is ok with pushing water through a 120.3 and a 120.2 on its own?

What would be the best configuration?

a.) pump>cpu>120.2>gpu>120.3>res>pump

b.) pump>cpu>gpu>120.3>120.2>res>pump
 
Last edited:

ricflairw000

Member
Joined
Aug 6, 2009
I have a similar set up to your future plans

I went
Res > pump > 120.3 > 120.2 > CPU > GPU > RES
i did this because of how my case was layed out. I would have liked 120.3 > CPU 120.2 > GPU

and i too ran hot on the GPU 80*C and after water 46* is the highest i have seen
justify it by "protecting your investment on the GPU"
 

aphellyon

Member
Joined
Jun 20, 2009
About the graphics card. It gets really hot, because the fan speed does not seem to adjust when in auto. I can manually set it, which I do for certain programs but dang that sucker can get loud fast.

Do you think that I the MCP655 pump is ok with pushing water through a 120.3 and a 120.2 on its own?

What would be the best configuration?

a.) pump>cpu>120.2>gpu>120.3>res>pump

b.) pump>cpu>gpu>120.3>120.2>res>pump

Yea, it didn't take me long to make the wc decision for my sli setup. I have an open case, stock air wasn't an option.

About the 655... I think that would be fine but I'm not 100% sure, better left for the gurus here to answer. I think Spawn runs two of them... and he has 3x MCR320s.

I don't think the order matters that much. Your loop will achieve equilibrium pretty quickly, so it prolly won't make more than a degree or two difference. The main thing is to use the order that allows you to run less tubing, (myth?), and will help avoid tight bends or kinks. Just make sure your res feeds the pump... don't want it to go dry.
 
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Porvalsh

Porvalsh

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
Colorado
Updates

I just got finished adding a 120.3 into the loop. The loop order is now:

Pump > CPU > 120.3 > 120.2 > Res > Pump

This was a lot of work, but I'm happy with how it turned out. Results are 4C under load.

Details of Work

The first thing I had to do was take the case apart, literally. After some planning I decided that probably the easiest way to make this all fit inside the case was to move the power supply to the bottom like a lot of the modern cases are doing these days. This way I could mount the 120.3 radiator up top, and the 120.2 in the front of the case.

I drilled out all the rivets holding the case together and moved all the parts around so that the power supply was at the bottom. The first time I did it I didn't notice that the clips for the front of the case aren't centered, so I had to do it again. Weeee. :)

After rebuilding the case structure, I drilled out the third hole for the top radiator. I decided to get a little artsy, which isn't my thing, and I cut a bit of a design into the top of the case, rather than just 3 holes. I thought abotu putting some sort of screen up there but decided to just go with the covers. You can look through and see th black radiator, looks rad I think.

cimg3429g.jpg

cimg3434f.jpg


I like how the top looks a lot better than it did before with the fans visible.

cimg3428.jpg


Once I got the top radiator mounted, I cut away at the front of the case for the 120.2. You can that not only did I measure wrong, but I can't cut metal very nicely with a hand dremel and jig saw. The jig saw goes in straight lines while the dremel hops all over the place, lol. It didn't matter here though because this was going to be covered up.

cimg3435.jpg

cimg3430s.jpg


After I got those two guys in I planned the tubing, and mounted the resevoir and pump. I decided to just put the pump roughly midway between the front Rad and the power supply. I just threw it down there and then mounted the resevoir above it so that I didn't have to change the tubing. Pulling tubing off of barbs is a SONOFAB! I ended up only having to cut 1 piece to add the second radiator, so I was happy about that.

Here we are with everything plumbed and ready to fill the system with fluid.

cimg3436.jpg


Pretty simple addition from a plumbing standpoint.

Leak testing
cimg3440.jpg


Cont...
 
OP
Porvalsh

Porvalsh

Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2009
Location
Colorado
Building the Comp Side...

So the only drawback of this is that the top radiator and fans cover the MSI motherboard buttons (like the OC dial and CMOS Reset). I only really care about the CMOS reset button. That one comes in handy every once in a while. But to build this sytem I had to install the radiator fans last because they ended up covering up the pegs for the power sw, pwr led, hdd led, speaker, etc. So... if I ever have to pull the motherboard out, its gonna a heck of a task.

One of the things I did do though was cut a hole in the motherboard tray so that the back mount for the heatsink could be changed. Well that was the idea, but I cut the hole too small ... so now its just well ... a way to air it out.

It just so happens too that all the power connecters for the device are all within an inch of each other. So it makes it look more cluttered than it really is in the case.

The other thing is that I can run crossfire but I lose my PCI slot. Heh. Not that I have dual graphics cards or ever had but that sort of went out the window with this mod. Initially I didn't think it was going to interfere that much, but...it does. Oh well.

cimg3446y.jpg

cimg3448p.jpg


Here's where my single hard drive went. I'll have to get creative if I want to add a few more drives. Typically I run two...

cimg3471k.jpg


Unfortunately, I can't find the spare drive shields so I'll just keep the door closed.

The last thing I did was replace the window. I had cut a hole in the old one because the fan stopped on an old graphics card of mine. I no longer have that problem. Plus...with the new config, I wasn't going to be able to have a side fan because of the layout. So bye, bye fan and hello nice a clear plexi glass.

cimg3452f.jpg

cimg3455r.jpg

cimg3456m.jpg


The case has a few scratches from the years as its seens 3 different generations of AMD chips. XP, 64 and now Phenom ii. Thinkin about maybe painting it one of these days... hmm

The natural lighting from the fans and motherboard.
cimg3470t.jpg