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Rackmount Radiator/Desk Build

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MrLowe

New Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Location
Eastern NC
Long time lurker, first time poster here. I have been water cooling my computer since the days of Athlon64 and have gone through multiple case builds and even a few TEC/Water hybrids.

This year I am moving from a CoreX9 Case where my currrent build (three 3x140 60mm+ rads, plus a 3x120 30mm) which gets me a 2C-3C Air/H20 delta at load and under 15C CPU/Ambient during non-synthetic loads on a 4.6GHZ 6700K and a 1080TI, into a server rack/desk custom lunacy, and dumping as many left over watercooling parts as I can find in storage to it. Total RAD will include the current ones, plus four 4x120x30mm rads - maybe a couple more if I still have any additional hanging around.

The CoreX9, while quite big, has only three 5.25 bays, and after installing an old SATA HW Raid card and 24 drives, I am not happy with having the drives basically just sitting on the floor of the case. A pump failure on both of my DDC pumps over the summer forced me to reinstall my old dual D5 pump setup, in a 2x5.25 bay Koolance res/top kit sitting on motherboard tray behind front radiator. Or do a full rebuild including removing the 3x120 radiator to allow access to mount/see it.

I am well aware this is excessively over-radded, as even with my current system I only have to have the radiator fans on if I play something demanding like Cities:Skylines or Fallout4 for extended periods. Mostly this build will be "just because", and to end up with a desk, as I am moving the computer to its own room instead of being tied into the TV/Stereo in the den.

The new build will house a single 3x120x30 radiator in the center of a Rosewill 4000 series server rack case, hopefully in push/pull, along with the mb/cpu/1080/raid the drives and pump, as well an having the Aquaero6 primary fan controller return to being visible from outside the case (an older AQ5 will be mounted inside, along with boot drive). The case has 9 5.25 bays in the front, three horizontal and six vertical. The center three will be pump/res on bottom two bays, AQ6 on top, wiht left and right set of three having two 5.25x6 2.5 inch drive caddies and a single 3.5 drive. Rear panel will have in and out tubing to the external rads, maybe with QD fittings if I have the funds left after buying the case and rack. the 4x120's on either side top and bottom with the three 3x140 rads up top. All fans in exhaust, with a front panel 3x120 intake into the rack primarily to more or less contain the dust accumulation to one area. The front intake fans and case will occupy the center 7U of the rack space when viewed from the front with the case on lower part. Blanks (or wood panels - as the server blanks are looking like running $15 to 20 a piece - and i'd need a half dozen) to cover left over slots.

I have the case arrived now, but the rack will not be in for a couple weeks due to the holiday shipping delays and being such a heavy/bulky item I opted for the free shipping. All placement at this point is theoretical, based on measurements and hand sketches and will likely change once I get the rack in hand to dry-fit. I will post a build log and maybe some pics of current build once I get started if anyone is interested.

I am also open to any suggestions on ways I might route the outside-the-case tubing. I was considering splitting two 4x120 and one 1x140 per side paralell flow through the rads to help with restriction, but was't sure if necessary, as current series dual D5 pumps get me 1.8GPM through 4 rads/cpu/gpu, so I would think that even with the added four rads I'd still be around 1.25 GPM or so.

I decided to run all but one radiator (as I have an odd number) in two parallel paths to cut down on restriction to ensure good flow for rest of loop. So each side of parallel section will be four rads in series for those eight, and those in series with CPU, GPU and one other rad, for a total of 7 effective "blocks" instead of 11 Also should clean up the tube routing a bit to do it this way I think.

Any input on whether I shoudl have enough pumping power or ideas on routing tuning and cables woudl be appreciated.
 

infrared404

New Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2017
Location
Hampshire, UK
Wow, sounds like an impressive wc setup.

Your dual D5's should still be adequate, they're really strong pumps. My thoughts would be to do two separate loops, one cooling the cpu and the other cooling the GPU, that way your GPU would have no impact on cpu temps. I suppose you have enough rads that you probably won't see much of a difference though.

Good luck on getting it set up how you want it, and I'd love to see some pics when it's presentable! :D
 
OP
M

MrLowe

New Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Location
Eastern NC
Wow, sounds like an impressive wc setup.

Your dual D5's should still be adequate, they're really strong pumps. My thoughts would be to do two separate loops, one cooling the cpu and the other cooling the GPU, that way your GPU would have no impact on cpu temps. I suppose you have enough rads that you probably won't see much of a difference though.

Good luck on getting it set up how you want it, and I'd love to see some pics when it's presentable! :D


Glad to hear that the D5's should still be capable, even with all the rads. As far as seperate loops go, I thought about it, but I only have a single Flowmeter at the moment and also want to keep some level of redundancy on pumping. I have done seperate loops in the past for GPU/CPU and found that the difference in temps was basically zero, (or actually slighlty higher with dual, especially in high CPU useage workloads, since each loop had half the rads). Even in current build, at normal gaming loads, my water temps are never higher than 5C over ambient with fans ramping up to maybe 75% every now and then. With the extra added rad space (and much better possible airflow from the pretty open layout) I think I should be under that with quite a bit less fan speed. Probably with most fans not even running. In current system, if I turn all fans to max, I can get down to about 3C Delta under load. I expect that, even with all the extra rad space in the new build, even if I run every fan at 100% I'll likley see no lower than 2C Delta - those last couple degrees are SO much harder to get, since the efficiency of the rads drop off pretty quick as the Delta gets smaller. My primary restriction on temps is the CPU block itself (and the heatspreader on the cpu as well). The smaller area of CPU block contact limits the transfer you can get quite a bit compared to the rather large contact a GPU block has. Maybe one day I wil delid and maybe get a copper IHS, as I think the 6700K wasn't Intel's best effort at a good thermal transfer junction.

I have gotten the case and mounted the bays for primary storage RAID. During this I found out the horizontal three bays cannot be moved in the case, as it doesn't have proper screw holes for the front panel/switches. I'm not really feeling drilling and having the drives all on one side is probably best anyway. I hope to start on the rad mounting to the rack this weekend, and if my family can tolerate my "absence", get most of the build done, even if I just loop from the case and back in to begin with, using just the internal rad at first, as I am not sure if i have all the fittings I'll need right now.

I plan on posting some shots as I get work started on it. I have a couple mock ups of the tubing flow I'll post below I'd like to get feedback on too.



Here at the general idea I have right now on the loop. Any suggestions are welcome.


Flow Diagram.png Front View.png TopDownCase.png
 
OP
M

MrLowe

New Member
Joined
Dec 12, 2018
Location
Eastern NC
After some further measurements, the 4x120x25 Radiators will not fit between the posts along the side of case. This required a re-think of rad placement.

The new plan has the the 3x120x25 rads placed at the sides of two center 120x4 rads (all 4 horizontal, exhausting upwards) at top of case, with a 3U front panel having 2x120x38 intake fans. Lower 8U section has two 4x120x25 rads in middle, exhausting upwards behind a 2U mesh, with the three 3x140x75 rads exhausting down behind a 3U mesh, with center 3U having 2x120x38 intake fans. Bottom of case has UPS on a shelf (wish I had bought a rack mount UPS last year, but it will be living on a shelf in bottom of the rack. Below is a new picture of the flow I drew up. 400MM Tube resevoir will be mounted on the outside of rack to fill easier and to show the level at a glance without needing to remove the wooden side panels (they will be much simpler, needing to just be retangles since I switched to horizontal radiator mount).

Rear View Modiifed.png