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Newbie needs some water cooling assistance...

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Stubby5000

New Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Hello all. This is my first post here. I've built a few computers before but now I'm embarking on something completely new for me: SFF case with water cooling. The latter is something I knew next-to-nothing about until a few days ago, so I have a few questions for you guys. I appreciate any assistance you might be able to provide.

First, my tentative build specs:
SilverStone Sugo SG13 case (I researched this to death and the Sugo was the best case I could find that's smaller than 360mm W x 225mm H x 358mm D, which it needs to be for my particular situation; I'd love to hear any other suggestions if you have them, as I'm not totally in love with the SilverStone)
ASRock X99E-ITX/ac motherboard
Intel Core i7-6950X processor
GeForce Titan X Pascal
Unsure on PSU or RAM yet (will get 32GB of some variety)

I need help figuring out what to do in terms of water cooling. In addition to high-end components, my priority is silence. I don't intend to do any hardcore overclocking. I've watched a number of videos online showing builds using this case, and space is at a serious premium in there; it's roughly the size of a shoebox. The case is set up for a 120/140mm rad/fan at the front, and that's it. Beyond that, it's just passive vents on the sides and top. To make matters worse, if you opt for a 140mm setup, that limits the available space for the GPU (10.5" GPUs will fit with 120mm at the front). Obviously, with a Titan X, my only option is 120mm.
I suspect most people who chose this case just use a AIO CPU cooler and call it a day, but I'd really love to get some GPU watercooling in there as well. So I guess my first question is, is there any way this would be possible?? Could I adequately cool the CPU and GPU with only 120mm at my disposal? If not, are there any other tricks I can employ to get some extra cooling power out of the case? The manual says I'd have up to 90mm depth for the rad/fan at the front. Would it make the most sense to do a 40mm thick radiator with push/pull fans? Or should I use a thicker rad and only one fan? My thought was, if I could swing a push/pull setup, maybe I could blast the rad with some high RPM, high static pressure fans (currently looking at the EK-Vardar 3000RPM). Then, what should I do about a pump/reservoir? I haven't had a chance to research this component much yet, but whatever I use it'll need to be tiny, as there will be very little space to spare. Any suggestions on this?
Again, thanks for any input you might have!!
 

Mr.Scott

Beamed Me Up!
Joined
Jun 9, 2013
Not gonna work for your situation.
A single 120 will not even be enough to cool that CPU decently.
You have no room to even think about a full on CPU/GPU loop.
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
Hello all. This is my first post here. I've built a few computers before but now I'm embarking on something completely new for me: SFF case with water cooling. The latter is something I knew next-to-nothing about until a few days ago, so I have a few questions for you guys. I appreciate any assistance you might be able to provide.

First, my tentative build specs:
SilverStone Sugo SG13 case (I researched this to death and the Sugo was the best case I could find that's smaller than 360mm W x 225mm H x 358mm D, which it needs to be for my particular situation; I'd love to hear any other suggestions if you have them, as I'm not totally in love with the SilverStone)
ASRock X99E-ITX/ac motherboard
Intel Core i7-6950X processor
GeForce Titan X Pascal
Unsure on PSU or RAM yet (will get 32GB of some variety)

I need help figuring out what to do in terms of water cooling. In addition to high-end components, my priority is silence. I don't intend to do any hardcore overclocking. I've watched a number of videos online showing builds using this case, and space is at a serious premium in there; it's roughly the size of a shoebox. The case is set up for a 120/140mm rad/fan at the front, and that's it. Beyond that, it's just passive vents on the sides and top. To make matters worse, if you opt for a 140mm setup, that limits the available space for the GPU (10.5" GPUs will fit with 120mm at the front). Obviously, with a Titan X, my only option is 120mm.
I suspect most people who chose this case just use a AIO CPU cooler and call it a day, but I'd really love to get some GPU watercooling in there as well. So I guess my first question is, is there any way this would be possible?? Could I adequately cool the CPU and GPU with only 120mm at my disposal? If not, are there any other tricks I can employ to get some extra cooling power out of the case? The manual says I'd have up to 90mm depth for the rad/fan at the front. Would it make the most sense to do a 40mm thick radiator with push/pull fans? Or should I use a thicker rad and only one fan? My thought was, if I could swing a push/pull setup, maybe I could blast the rad with some high RPM, high static pressure fans (currently looking at the EK-Vardar 3000RPM). Then, what should I do about a pump/reservoir? I haven't had a chance to research this component much yet, but whatever I use it'll need to be tiny, as there will be very little space to spare. Any suggestions on this?
Again, thanks for any input you might have!!

These statements are at cross purposes with one another. You can't have your cake and eat it too. And Mr. Scott is correct.

There is nothing magic about water cooling. A small water cooling rad is going to give you small cooling. Even a 2x120 water cooling radiator is really only in the same ballpark as the best air coolers.
 
OP
S

Stubby5000

New Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
Thanks for the replies. I was afraid of that... I was under the impression you could get high RPM fans that prioritized air flow vs. static pressure. Maybe I misunderstood that. I have a plan B. It may sound stupid, but my goal is to enclose the computer in a desk drawer with the above stated dimensions. I would put some custom vents in the sides and bottom of the drawer. There is another drawer above this one that is the same width and depth, just not as deep (105mm vs. 225mm). Perhaps I could use that space for an external radiator enclosure. Does anyone have any guidance on that? There doesn't seem to be too many retail products to choose from. And the few that I've found are too tall. What would it take to build something of my own? Would it be totally stupid to just glue fans to either side of a 50mm rad? I do have 105mm to play with. Would it be better to orient them vertically or horizontally? I plan to put a big vent on the bottom of the drawer, then probably an exhaust vent on the back panel.
I'd love to hear what people think... And don't bother telling me I'm an idiot for putting a computer in a drawer; I'm well aware of that. ;-)
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
High static pressure fans at low RPM can reduce noise while produce the same air flow as high RPM lower static pressure fans but no fan in the world will overcome a small radiator trying to cool both a hot CPU and a hot GPU. By far, the most important cooling variable in water cooling or air cooling is the surface area of the radiator. You can't make up for inadequate surface area with different fans, especially if you want quiet. And high static pressure fans yield minimal improvement on thin radiators with low fpi (fins per inch) count. Where they shine are with thick radiators with high fpi count.

Having trouble visualizing your desk drawer idea. If you could devote one drawer to the motherboard, CPU and GPU and then devote the other drawer to a large radiator it might possibly work. You would need good ventilation for both drawers, however. You need to provide air flow not only for the radiator but for the circuit boards that the GPU and the CPU mount on.

When installing water cooling radiators most any orientation works but I would avoid positioning it so that the hose outlet and inlet end of the radiator are pointing toward the ceiling. To do that encourages air bubbles to displace the water at the top end and may inhibit or block flow back into the return hose.
 
OP
S

Stubby5000

New Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2017
I get it, it's hard to visualize. Here are four photos of the desk and drawers:

https://www.dropbox.com/sh/rxs6oxt875jda6c/AADwZWfx_2tMv0a3PEM5XQmya?dl=0

Both drawers are 360mm wide and 358mm deep. The bottom drawer has ~225mm of vertical depth, and the top one has 105mm of vertical depth. The computer will go in the bottom drawer, the cooling gear in the top. As the day has gone on my plan has firmed up a bit, so I'll tell you what I'm thinking now. ;-) I want to get two 280mm rads (specifically Hardware Labs Nemesis 280 GTX) and run them horizontally, front-to-back in the top drawer. I want to do a push/pull setup with eight EK-Vardar F1 140mm 1150 RPM fans. They will be oriented in a down-firing position. I will cut a hole in the floor of the top drawer so air can flow into the bottom drawer. For intake of cool air into the top drawer, I plan to mount a couple of inward-firing fans into the back wall, and then a custom vent positioned at the back left of the footwell area (I tried to show this in the third and fourth pictures). This is near where the lateral edge of your left knee is when you sit at the desk. In the bottom drawer, I think I will probably just cut out several sections of the floor panel and put in some custom vents. So, the entire path of air starts where it is sucked into the left footwell vent, through the fans in the back panel of the top drawer, through the push/pull rad setup into the bottom drawer, then through the floor of the bottom drawer and out of the desk. The computer case has a 120mm at the front, then vents in the top and sides. I think I may plug up the top vent, since this would just be letting in the hot air being propelled downward by the rad fans above.
I'm imagining that I will set up two entirely separate circuits, one reservoir/pump/rad for the CPU, and one for the GPU. In the top drawer I will have 54mm of empty space on either side of the rads, and 45mm empty space at the back behind the rads. I envision a long, tube-like reservoir on the sides of each rad and the pump at the very back of the drawer. This will satisfy my obsessive need for symmetry. ;-) I would love input on pumps/reservoirs that would work.
One thing that occurred to me was that I'll need enough slack in the coolant tubing to be able to open one drawer while the other is closed. Where the tubing enters/exits the rear panel of each drawer I envision having some quick disconnect couplings (like this: http://koolance.com/help-quick-disconnect-shutoff-couplings) mounted into the wood. This should make removing components easier, plus then I can leave lots of slack tubing behind the drawers that never needs to be touched again. Do you see any problem with having an extra 1-2 feet of coiled tubing behind the drawers for the coolant to go through? As long as the tubing doesn't get kinked, I should be good, right?
 

trents

Senior Member
Joined
Dec 27, 2008
I would be concerned that so much modification of the drawers would weaken the physical structure of them. Would you be opening and closing them?