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New custom Water cooling build in the works

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May 4, 2011
Well, It's official, I'm starting my Water cooling build. This is a project that will likely take about two months to fully get into gear, because my current budget is too strained to get into the business of water cooling at this time. SO, I shall plan it all out now!

Starting off with what I have:

Intel I7 6700k - What we will be cooling with this loop

Corsair Air 540 Case: This case supports three internal rads. I will be opting for the largest space to enhance cooling capability. We will choose a rad first because we are on the subject of rads.

The Rad size it supports are:
Front: 2 x 140mm , 3 x 120mm
Top: 2 x 140mm or 2 x 120mm
Rear: 1 x 140mm or 1 x 120mm

I will be using the Front slot, and the fans would be configured as intake, as they are now, so it will be pulling cold air from outside and pushing that through the rad fins. Is there any reason I should not do it this way?

Rad choices: a 2x140, or 3x120...which do you think would be best?

Dual 140mm choice: EK-CoolStream CE 280 - $75.99

Triple 120mm choice: EK-CoolStream PE 360 - $79.99

- Copper fins
- 90% copper tubing (H90)
- Brass chambers
- Aluminum housing

The guide said try to keep from mixing metal types...so the fact that they use three different types here is annoying. Is this reason enough to refrain from using this rad?

Fan choice(140mm): 2x140mm ThermalTake Riing fans
*please tell me if these fans should be avoided. Has pretty decent reviews, and its the only orange 140mm fan I'm finding so far. I just want orange led fans with high static pressure.* - $40

Fan choice(120mm): Maybe this one? Very hard to find orange fans... 3x120mm Cougar 12CM CFD - $56.97(ouch)

Total cost of 140mm setup: $115.99 (Rad and fans only!)

Total cost of 120mm setup: $136.96(Rad and fans only!)


Next up is the Reservoir. I need a smallish reservoir in order to keep it in sight(to monitor the water levels.)

With that in mind, and also to cut costs down more, I'm eyeing this:

EK-XRES 100 SPC-60 - $84.99

Materials used in construction: Acryllic and ABS Plastic. 450l/h capability.

I am open to other suggestions, of course, and am looking for alternatives. I would like to have a res/pump combo to simplify the build, but again, open for discussion!


Next up, the fittings!

I...don't really know what material/color to choose for this one.

Case is silver with a black accent, orange led's.

I need 6, and am going with Compression fittings, for both looks and sanity.

Cost estimate from EKWB is $44.94


Next up is the cpu block itself.

I'm going for looks before performance, and this one caught my eye*Namely, the amber led version*

XSPC Raystorm pro - $69.94

I do know there are better options out there, like the Heatkiller IV, or EK supremacy Evo, but I like the look of this block, and it does perform well enough for my means.


More to come!

Need Feedback on choices so Far!

Current Cost total(140mm setup):$315.86(no tubing, fittings or water)
Cost total(120mm setup): $336.83 (no tubing, fittings or water)

Eventually, I want to have my video card share into the loop, but I'm aware that I'll need a better pump to do so. I may do two separate loops, as I have the rad space for it, in which case the cpu loop will go for top mounted 2x140mm setup.

All input is accepted!

RX480 Block question(Thread origin)

So far, I'm not seeing any that are full cover blocks that are labeled as "compatible".

I was looking at this one, but I'm not sure if this card follows reference design enough to be used: http://www.swiftech.com/komodo-rx480.aspx

Any idea on if this would be compatible?

Once we find a vga block, I'll be looking at the cpu blocks next.

Was looking at this one, but I'm open to suggestions: http://www.swiftech.com/ApogeeXL2.aspx

Finally, I'm looking for a Res/Rad combo so that I can visually monitor the fluid levels in my case, which has very limited room to support those larger reservoirs. 3x120, and 2x140 are both supported.

This, I have not yet found.

Thanks for the help!

Budget is $200, but the video card block is optional if we can't find a full cover block, and budget can be raised a little bit if necessary. Original post
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You won't find what you need unless you grab everything used on a $200 budget unfortunately.

Aside from that, check EK's cooling configurator to see if there's a full size waterblock for your GPU.

As for CPU blocks, I really like Swiftech's blocks but not a fan of acrylic threaded ports. Just not worth the risk. I use a acrylic reservoir and lost a threaded port already a while back. Same thing happened to me with a small cylinder acrylic res. I would just recommend in looking into acetal ported cooling gear.
I actually used EK's cooling config last night before posting, and found that only universal blocks were supported. I figured that EK would only show their own products, however, so maybe some other company made a block for my particular RX480.

I looked at EK and swiftech's options first because my dad uses swiftech and swears by it, and my nephew uses EK parts, and recommended them.

I know next to nothing about water cooling, but wanted to at least get a list of parts going to see what the total cost would be.

Lets Axe the Video card loop for now, and focus on the cpu loop i guess.

The Shopping list:

-CPU Block(with optional pump)
-Reservoir/Rad combo(with optional pump if above isn't utilized) I don't have much real estate to fit a resivor in my Corsair Air 540, so Ideally, the rad would have a small res attached so I can view the levels and refill as necessary
-Pump(If above two aren't utilized)
-Fittings(Compression? Quantity?)
-Orange tinted UV Reactive Tubing(3/8ths? 1/2? Does that matter so much anymore?)
-Premix fluids(Quantity? Colors do not matter, as the tubing will be tinted orange)

Total cost: Enter price here

Thanks for noting about the acrylic threading. I'll look into other options for the block.

I did see this AIO: http://www.cryorig.com/a-series_us.php

A gimmick?

It is an AIO unit, so it isn't ideally what I wanted to go for initially, but i was curious how it would perform in relation to custom loops. According to this review, it performs better than the Corsair H110I GTX cooler., but does not include optimal rad size that my case would support.

Finally, Ideally, I'd like to keep the system as quiet as possible. Part of the going Watercooling is to limit the noise produced by my system. It is already very quiet, but I'm getting annoyed by the fan oscillations. I have 3x120 fans on intake in the front, two 140's on top as exhaust, one 140 in the rear as exhaust, a 140mm fan in the psu,, 1 140mm slim fan on the cpu cooler and of course the two 90mm fans on the video card.

I wanted initially to replace the fans on the video card, as they are the loudest under load, but budget being what it is, that isn't exactly an option.
If you're serious on going into custom watercooling, have a read into our intro to watercooling stickies for more basic knowledge. It's a fun hobby and can bring great temps as well as low audibles since that's of your main concerns.

Companies to look for are Swiftech as already noted, XSPC, EK and Alphacool to name a few. Have a look at previous Corsair 540 custom water cooling build logs to see how they were configured to give you a sense in what type of direction you want to go to with this. The 540 is a great case and can handle a CPU + GPU(s) loop no issue.

Here's a great video to help lead you the way.

If budget is still an issue, maybe you should head the AIO route by getting one of the CPU and the GPU. There are brackets for GPU's out there from Corsair and NZXT for example along with the AIO's. You'll just have to make sure your GPU is compatible.
Yes, I'm serous about it. Appreciate the video! It made the whole process significantly less intimidating.

I would definitely buy the Compression connectors though, I don't really want to have to deal with tubes coming loose if I can avoid it. For a single loop, I would need 2 fittings for cpu block, 2 for rad, 2 for res? So 6 total needed?

I have a heat gun I use for soldering, Is the temp produced too high to act as a heatsource to bend hard tubing/tighten seal on fittings?
The only thing that i don't like about the kit is the tubing color really. Tubing is cheap though, so not a big deal I guess. Plus I can use the black tubing to fill the res when it gets low :p

I probably wouldn't use the included coolant either, only 100 ml, and I don't think one bottle will fill the loop completely, so I'd have to buy more, idk, thoughts?

EDIT: And the whole project just got put on hold for another month or two. My mother was just diagnosed with tendinitis, and I want to make sure she doesn't worry about bills. :(
I have used the rubber before, it is very nice to work with and no need to worry about plasticizer mucking up your blocks

However if you do decide you want clear tubing or another color the PrimoChill Advanced LRT is nice

That coolant is a concentrate, you just need to mix with distilled water
I have used the rubber before, it is very nice to work with and no need to worry about plasticizer mucking up your blocks

However if you do decide you want clear tubing or another color the PrimoChill Advanced LRT is nice

That coolant is a concentrate, you just need to mix with distilled water

Ah, Okay.

I was eyeing that primochill uv reactive orange tubing. Pearl orange UV?

Idk though, not sure if you can have "too much orange."

Anyone play with one of these before? How well do they work? UV and RGB leds side by side. Methinks, orange leds and uv leds in one strip could be pretty :)
this is my air 540, you can see the pump/res combo mounted in the back (look real hard).
I had to make a platform to raise the pump outlet so the tube would pass through the wiring cutouts.



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I see that res peeking its head through those wires!

I also see you have similar issues with wire management as me :)

My wires were meant for full tower cases,(PSU is from my old nxxt phantom build.) they are very VERY long, and the sata cable is all used up*1ssd, 2 hdd's, 1 dvd drive(I'm going to look into an external dvd drive in the future, and free up some of that clutter.)*

Maybe get a 5.25 bay res/pump combo for easy monitoring/filling.

I really want to shorten the cables, but I don't have the heatshrink handy to sate my asthetic needs...Plus soldering wires to other wires is Annoyingly difficult until I get a helping hands tool. Those wires get HOT.
Here is a picture from when I had my loop in the air 540. I kept my res out front as well. Don't mind the ugly fans hanging on the back of the rad. I was benching during that picture.


You and I have very similar taste :)

Those tubes are SEXY.

The funny thing is that you are using the water block I was looking at, XSPC Raystorm. I was looking at their newer revision though.

is that a 60mm thick rad?

And what is that second short card?

And I couldn't help but notice the use of barbs with the clips on them. Braver man than I.