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Radiator needs for 2 block loop

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Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Hi, this will be my first build in 14 or 15 years, also my first water build. Trying to do a lot of catching up. The last system I built (in my sig) screamed like a banshee.

For this build I would like to have a system that is near silent with a moderate OC. When I learned that CPUs are once again sold with unlocked multipliers, I realized that I had to take advantage of this and OC. I always wanted to do a custom loop, however it is expensive, and I would gladly entertain other options if they allow me to meet my goal of near silent operation with a moderate OC. I know there are some large HSF combinations as well as CLCs, but my understanding with those is you can either have quiet or OC, not both.

For general specs: Ryzen 2600x (might do the non-x and try my luck with OC, but the guarantee of binned speed is appealing) and GeForce 1070. I don't have any peripherals right now, and I'm not going to be purchasing a 4k monitor anytime soon, so this should be more than adequate. I'm planning to have the GPU on water because afaik they tend to be loud (if an ASUS strix or other "quiet" GPU would meet my goals I would be glad to leave it on air and avoid unnecessary complexity on my first loop).

How much radiator (thickness, etc) will be required? Would 120.3 be enough or does the GPU need its own 120.2? Could I get away with using 2 blocks 2 rads on one loop? Is 140 substantially better than 120, either in terms of noise or performance? I've been looking at the EK kits as a starting point, and they also seem to sell plenty of GPU blocks. Once I figure out what my radiator needs are, I will settle on a case, though I find the NZXT H440 appealing.

Any tips or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
I would look at the EK, Swiftech and XSPC kits for one. Most likely EK has everything ready to go but I personally think you could do better by getting them separately.

CPU Block - EK, XPSC, Swiftech (Since its AMD, those options might be limited.)

GPU Block - EK

Rads - BlackIce, Alphacool (They have many brands of different thickness to fit one's case.) and EK.

120.3 or 120.4 total rad surface should be enough with any CPU + GPU combo.

Fans - Up to you really and what you're budget is. I personally would go with any of these but they almost double of budgeted fans or you can stick with the fans with the kits which EK has which are pretty good (Vardars) for example. If you want RGB, it will obviously be a bit more.

As for the GPU, it all depends what you game on. What Res and Hz? 1070 is nice but for a $130-$150 more, I'd rather go with the new gen RTX 2070 that just came out but again, that's all up to you.

Of course you could scratch all that and just go with a CPU AIO and GPU AIO hybrid solutions to cut costs but you won't get the same delta's or audibles you'd get with a custom loop.
 
OP
Zerileous

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Thanks for the tip Maxfly, that is indeed a good price, however I would like to stick to reference pcb so that I can add a full coverage video block later.

EK does have everything, but I was a bit sticker shocked after running their configurator. I figured out that it tried to put as much radiator in your case as will fit though, so this is part of it. If I can do a 120.3 in the front to start, that would be best. The NZXT h440 also has room for a slim 140.2 or 120.3 on top if needed.

For the GPU, I would love to have the 2070, and I appreciate the advice. I do have a budget to consider so this is all about compromise. Initially anyway I will be running 1080p 60hz. I honestly don't think I can tell the difference over 60fps. I also want 3200 DDR4 with 16-16-16 timings and a board that can support solid OCing. Maybe I would be better off compromising on those components and getting a stronger card. That's part of why I'm posting. Probably money spent on a GPU block would be better spent on a 2070. On the other hand Cyber Monday could treat me really well and I could have my cake and eat it too.

Regarding the hybrid cards, I worry that the single radiators that come with them are insufficient. I'm also not sure of the DIY hybrid adaptors, they are much more affordable than full blocks though.

I still definitely want to do an open loop, but I am considering delaying it until after the build. I see 3 potential options:
1) Cry once. Go ahead and put together an open loop for everything / leave the GPU out of it and see how it does on air (will I really need to OC it) ~budget approx 500$
2) Air now, water later. Bump the CPU up to the 2600x and run it on stock air for a while. Then go full open loop after saving a bit more.
3) Cool the CPU with the swiftech drive x3 3x120 AIO/CLC now, add on later. Main concern with that approach is that I don't know if the pump will be enough to push a second block. It's rated 11lpm or roughly half a D5. After adding a second pump will I be short money in the long run?
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
To be honest, I never bothered looking at the case in use here and after doing so, for me personally it doesn't look like a case that can fit everything without some type of modding. I don't see many custom liquid cooling loops with this case except for a few (Google Search) but of course it looked like some modding had to be done. I would strongly advise on another case if possible as there a ton amazing cases out there nowadays. On top of NZXT cases, have a look at Corsair as they make a great assortment of custom cooling ready cases. For example, have a look at their 500D.

Are you strictly set on mid size cases or you're flexible? I ask because I would recommend a large size case if you're hands aren't small and mobile enough to work in tight places like the mid size and under. I know having a large case has allowed me to design without things getting too much in the way along with room for a refill point (I"ll be changing that soon so its easier ironically. lol) and drain valve, which you should have to plan for.

Anyways, seeing you're on a $500 budget, does that include PC and cooling hardware combined? If so, don't think you'll have enough and I had no idea you already had a AIO from Swiftech. Yeah those pumps are usually weak and enough for AIOs even though they say you can add more to it. I'd maybe add a rad but don't know if adding a block and than some will be sufficient enough in flow to my liking.

So many decisions and yes, I agree that black friday week and cyber monday are the best times to go shopping. :D
 
OP
Zerileous

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Sorry if I wasn't totally clear. Budget for hardware is < $2k (peripherals included, coming from a laptop). $500 of that for a custom loop. I don't currently have the swiftech, but I would consider buying one as a starter if I fall short on funds to get the custom loop off the bat.

Thanks for your feedback on the case. I saw it and it looked cool, read a few reviews (mainly from THG, they admittedly don't put custom loops in cases they review though) and it seemed like it was okay for custom. Glad to hear that it might not be before I already have the thing. I'm not opposed to something larger, I just didn't think it was necessary with my only "drive" being a 2.5" SSD. My understanding is that the front drive bays are fully removable on the h440, but I might be incorrect about that (could be a different case, been reading a lot of reviews).

Only hard rules I have for a case is for it have a fairly clean design and not have an open vent on top. My desk is messy and I'm clumsy sometimes. I know I can be more careful, but an open vent on top is just asking for trouble (either something on top of it or a spill). I'd rather not spend a whole lot more than $100 on a case as well, however if that's what it takes to avoid major headaches then I can make it work. I've had my eye on a couple from Fractal Design. Do you think insulation is helpful or does it just lead to extra heat which requires more rpm to remove? edit: one thing I really don't care about is RGB.

Just to clarify here is my build list so far: Ryzen 2600, ASUS ROG Strix X470-F, MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, G.SKILL TridentZ 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3200, Crucial MX500 1TB SATA SSD, Dell S2319H Black/Silver 23" (60hz IPS), Seasonic Flagship Prime Series SSR-750PD 750W (overkill?).
 
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Dolk

I once overclocked an Intel
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
For a GPU + CPU water loop, I like to split my rads into two: 1x Beefy 120.2 Rad to be the primary cooler, than a second 120.1 for the CPU. This way the CPU and GPU both get dedicated coolers. Its sometimes a bit easier to mount these two smaller types than a really big one. Bonus is that with this setup, you can set different fan speeds and use different fans in a zoning scenario if you want to attempt to keep noise down.

I also like to put quick disconnects on my GPU block to make upgrades easier if you dont plan on keeping the 1070 for long.
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
Sorry if I wasn't totally clear. Budget for hardware is < $2k (peripherals included, coming from a laptop). $500 of that for a custom loop. I don't currently have the swiftech, but I would consider buying one as a starter if I fall short on funds to get the custom loop off the bat.

Thanks for your feedback on the case. I saw it and it looked cool, read a few reviews (mainly from THG, they admittedly don't put custom loops in cases they review though) and it seemed like it was okay for custom. Glad to hear that it might not be before I already have the thing. I'm not opposed to something larger, I just didn't think it was necessary with my only "drive" being a 2.5" SSD. My understanding is that the front drive bays are fully removable on the h440, but I might be incorrect about that (could be a different case, been reading a lot of reviews).

Only hard rules I have for a case is for it have a fairly clean design and not have an open vent on top. My desk is messy and I'm clumsy sometimes. I know I can be more careful, but an open vent on top is just asking for trouble (either something on top of it or a spill). I'd rather not spend a whole lot more than $100 on a case as well, however if that's what it takes to avoid major headaches then I can make it work. I've had my eye on a couple from Fractal Design. Do you think insulation is helpful or does it just lead to extra heat which requires more rpm to remove? edit: one thing I really don't care about is RGB.

Just to clarify here is my build list so far: Ryzen 2600, ASUS ROG Strix X470-F, MSI GeForce GTX 1070 Ti, G.SKILL TridentZ 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4 3200, Crucial MX500 1TB SATA SSD, Dell S2319H Black/Silver 23" (60hz IPS), Seasonic Flagship Prime Series SSR-750PD 750W (overkill?).

$2500 is more than enough to build you a nice rig with a nice case and a nice custom liquid cooling loop. Great choice on your parts list btw. :thup: So far what does that total to, to give us an idea where you're at on the budget. Dependent where you're at, I might upgrade the CPU to the 2600X for overclocking capabilities and the screen to a 1080p 144hz Gsync (That's if you want a smooth gaming experience).

Just take your time and plan this out before pulling the trigger on any piece of the puzzle as things can change and yes, I'd have one ready in a few weeks for those nice sales.


For a GPU + CPU water loop, I like to split my rads into two: 1x Beefy 120.2 Rad to be the primary cooler, than a second 120.1 for the CPU. This way the CPU and GPU both get dedicated coolers. Its sometimes a bit easier to mount these two smaller types than a really big one. Bonus is that with this setup, you can set different fan speeds and use different fans in a zoning scenario if you want to attempt to keep noise down.

I also like to put quick disconnects on my GPU block to make upgrades easier if you dont plan on keeping the 1070 for long.

Not to step on your feet with all due respect but I disagree with that approach. That's how loops were done 10+ years ago but don't need to be anymore through more efficient and innovative ways.

A dual loop will only add more to the cost and clutter just to shed a few degrees. A simple single loop is the right way to go.

While quick disconnects are great for having an extension of the loop externally and for mobility, QDCs aren't needed otherwise you're just adding more unnecessary resistance to the flow. That's why you add a drain valve and make it much simpler to disassemble.
 
OP
Zerileous

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Right now I'm at $1503, without case or cooling, just the stuff mentioned above. I meant to say I hoped to do the whole thing for $2000, but I could exceed that a bit. More than $2500 is a hard no.

For cases I will definitely consider the corsair, along with the Fractal Design Define R6 (and maybe some of their lower priced models). The NZXT remains in the running, there is a rather long youtube series where the guy modifies the case for a custom loop, I plan to watch it and see how difficult it is to pull all of the drive bay hardware. Any other suggestions? Edit I think I found my case: Lian Li PC-011 dynamic. It is beautiful and functional and I'm willing to give up on my "no open top vent" rule.

I've been back and forth on 2600x. I'm sure plenty of 2600's can perform just as well as those binned for the X, but maybe not as many as I'd like this early in the process.

Logical increments lists the MSI Optix G24C as a decent gaming screen in the area of my budget. I would have to give up the IPS but if I'm going to have ghosting and tearing with the Dell then it's not worth it. If it's just so my screen can display > 60fps I don't care about that since I really can't tell (or at least don't think I can, tbh even my past rigs have been modest performers).

Dolk: are you suggesting dual radiators, one after each block, or completely independent loops (pump, res, etc?). I don't think the latter is in my budget. Or are you suggesting placing a block between the GPU and CPU in the loop. The watercooling guide indicates that temperatures on the loop are pretty even regardless of where radiators and blocks are placed, but if your experience indicates otherwise then I'd like to know more. At the end of the day I will probably have the largest front mount intake rad that the case I choose will accept (probably 120.3) unless there is some benefit to lower ambient temps/improved flow for the passively cooled items by having an open case fan in the font for intake. I can always add more later.

GPU blocks are so expensive I think I would have better performance with a 2070 on stock cooling vs the 1070ti on water. Only problem would be how loud will it get. I can always add the GPU later if needed.

Thanks for all the help guys, especially GTXJackBauer. I see you helping people a lot and it is appreciated!
 
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Dolk

I once overclocked an Intel
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Yeah I never mentioned a second loop. Its two rads, not loops. I have a rad in front of each block.

Res --> Pump --> 120.2 Rad --> GPU --> 120.1 Rad --> CPU --> Res

A loop will normalize to a delta T, but there will be ups and down dependent on where you place your Rads. The difference may not be large, but it can be helpful during spikes on your CPU/GPU. I like to translate the fluid world into the electrical world and look at Rads as series resistance, and reservoirs as capacitors. When summing all the parts together the difference in temps is 0 (normalized delta T), but at various parts of the circuit when measured you will see the differences. But this is just my approach to WC.
 
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EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
Yeah I never mentioned a second loop. Its two rads, not loops. I have a rad in front of each block.

Res --> Pump --> 120.2 Rad --> GPU --> 120.1 Rad --> CPU --> Res
Its all one though, really. Remember, temperature difference at any point in a properly radded and flwoing loop will not vary much.. 1C to 2C at most. So its not like it is notably cooler placing a rad before a block. Loop order is largely irrelevant except for having a res before the pump. ;)

I thought you meant two loops as well from the words you used. :)
 

Dolk

I once overclocked an Intel
Joined
Mar 3, 2008
Edited the last before your post ED.

I'd like to see how big of a difference it is between my GPU block to the second Rad. I bet its a bit more than 2C swing when comparing the output of the second Rad. I only say this because the Vega I have can really spike the temps at time, and having the second rad as a buffer can slow the curve of the rising delta T.
 

EarthDog

Gulper Nozzle Co-Owner
Joined
Dec 15, 2008
Location
Buckeyes!
1-2C difference will not help with spikes. ;)

Skinee/Martin's lab tested this well over a decade ago. So long as it is a properly flowing loop with enough rad, it doesn't make as much of a difference as you theorize. ;)

If you have a 1.5 GPM loop and your loop holds about a liter (my loop does with res/tubing/blocks/rad/pump etc), a liter of water is circulated 6 times in a minute or once every 10s. The water isn't over the blocks long enough to show much more of a difference. :)

EDIT: I am sure you can do the math of how much energy(W) it takes to heat that much water to have a consistent 1-2C rise at the hot point being over that hot point for what amounts to a split second.

EDIT2: http://processheatingservices.com/water-heating-time-calculator/
 
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OP
Zerileous

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
I think I'm going to start out with one rad, trying to keep costs somewhat managed. That said I appreciate the discussion, just trying to understand where you're coming from Dolk! If I it's too loud or want to push my OC harder down the line, I can easily add a 120.2. I'm starting to get the pieces planned out for the loop. Remember I'm not going for the extreme OC here, rather a quite moderate OC.

Case: I'm strongly leaning in favor of the Lian Li 011 dynamic.

For pumps I'm thinking some form of P5 with a PWM. Or possibly one of the swiftech pumps, not sure if they are re-badged lang as well (look kind of similar). This set up with a tube reservoir on top and mounted to the fans of the rad. Alternatively I've considered putting pump and reservoir in the HDD bay (behind the motherboard tray) hidden for a very clean look.

Radiator: swiftech Quiet Power 120.3 (seems like a good deal). Front mount pull intake. For fans I'm leaning towards the gentle tornado as I'm not concerned with RGB and quiet is a high priority. Not sure if the reservoir model would fit, if so it would make filing easier (top fill ports), not necessarily to replace the main reservoir, just to ease filling for about the cost of a T. Also might look for a rad that is less than 125mm wide as this could be mounted on the back side of the mount in the case. Would also have to consider hose routing for that setup. Could also switch fans to a push to keep intrusion into the front window area down.

CPU block: EK supremacy MX or the basic RayStorm. Something with high flow around the $50 mark, or possibly spring a few more for a metal top (if I'm not switching fittings around and I install them carefully does it matter?)

GPU block: will have to depend on what GPU I wind up getting combined with case compatibility.

For tubing I think I'll do white opaque, unless the dye issue is cleared up and you all consider them safer in terms of gunking things up.
 
OP
Zerileous

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Here is a quick layout sketch in paint that I came up with. The XSPC EX rad should easily fit in the location shown. Flow goes up through the board, following the res --> requirement. It seems like an interesting use of the head space above the motherboard, since I don't plan to have a radiator there. It does make me a little nervous to have that much water over everything, maybe this is unwise.... I like having the drain and fill separated in the back portion. I might have issues purging air from the reservoir in this setup? Is there any merit to the idea of having the pump after the rad, so that it gets cooler water? My understanding is that temps before and after the rad will not be much different, although it is counter intuitive.

layout.png
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
A few things come to mind.

You can see if you can get a X-flow rad, meaning they have a port on both ends to make the routing easier. So far I know Alphacool and BlackIce have those kind of rads. That can be checked here. Just make sure you're aware of the difference in FPI and thickness. I would see what other builds have done in said case to see what thickness used and how much room you'd have with the rad fans installed along with cylinder res + pump so everything fits well.

A reservoir and pump combo (D5) can be placed in front of the rad through mounting brackets so you don't have to have the pump behind the MB and the reservoir in a odd position up top as you'll always want the pump lower than the reservoir. I know XSPC makes a nice D5 and cylinder res combo as well as Bitpower (w/out the pump) and also check out Aquacomputer's new D5 NEXT. For more info on the D5 NEXT check here and here.

Lastly, don't forget to add a drain valve at the lowest point as well for easier maintenance. Check out Bitspower for those.
 
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OP
Zerileous

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Thanks for the input. The XSPC EX360 comes in a crossflow and also can fit behind the tray in the case. Pretty much any thickness/width would fit in front of the tray, it would just be a matter of aesthetics with the front window. Likewise there is a lot of room above the mobo for a thick rad, but I think the side mount is interesting. I don't know if intake/exhaust makes a difference in performance, but I always planned to do an intake Rad, though that's totally flexible. Also horizontal top rads ppl seem to have trouble with bubbles. I mostly was attracted to the thinner (30 ish) and lower FPI rads from XSPC and swiftech because they both claim to be optimized for low fan speed and my goal is a quiet build, as well as price. Trying to figure out the sweet spot between FPI and thickness for a low speed fan can get confusing. I know that lower FPI is less resistance but also less cooling, and likewise thicker, however both probably have a point of diminishing return. If there is a 45mm rad that will perform better at low RPMS I can fit it. Not sure if the thicker 60mm is suited for anything quiet. Trying to figure all this out but it's a lot to learn!

For the res, I just wanted to do something different. I thought having the res in the rather empty space above the MOBO would be attractive. In this case there is a lot of room between the top of the board and the top of the case. I figured it would be aesthetically pleasing to put something there. Although hanging that much H2O over all my components is a scary thought, I'm sure a loose hose can do just as much damage. I could easily place the pump on the floor of the case behind the motherboard tray and the PSU in the top drive bay area as well, as the case allows for it. On the other hand the res would also be attractive as a showpiece in the front window, and it would make the loop a lot simpler.
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
You got lots to think about Zeril.

Let me throw you a curve ball and bring you a show stopper I think you might be very interested because I sure as hell would if I was in your shoes right now.

I introduce you to ....

YN5vrlkfmAycYgtx.jpg

TJmlIjWsvNMgvG8l.jpg

The Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic is proving to be a success for the company, with praise from reviews and customers alike. The platform has since brought out a few variations as well, but for those wanting to build in the case this holiday season and make use of the watercooling support it allows, the Sedna O11D might be of interest to you. Borne out of a collaboration between Lian Li and Bitspower, this is a custom reservoir and pump combination unit that fits in like a manifold and is slim to allow for excellent compatibility for also CPU and GPU blocks in the case without compromising on space for the rest of the custom loop.

The Sedna O11D is effectively a retail product designed like a one-off mod from talented PC modders around the world, and will allow users to have something different than the norm. It comes with what appears to be a Laing DDC pump integrated at the bottom, and also has a built-in pressure relief valve at the top to aid in air bleeding as well as a drain valve at the bottom. There is no word on pricing yet, although the product is up for purchase from Bitspower directly in which case you need to contact their sales channel via Skype. Note that this is not necessarily the first of its kind as a retail product, with other, arguably smaller, Asian brands offering similar custom reservoirs before. This is the first time a global brand has directly worked with the case maker to make such a specific product, to the best of my knowledge, and hopefully it leads to more such joint efforts.

Source

I'm sure it won't be cheap but it is basically a custom reservoir which might include a DDC pump (lower profile than a D5) but I couldn't tell. Than you can put the radiator up above and have one really nice show piece.

I should have asked if you're going with soft or hard tubing but hopefully this custom reservoir takes in both.

Hope I didn't throw a wrench into your plans. :D
 
OP
Zerileous

Zerileous

Senior Member
Joined
Jun 21, 2002
Those are really cool. I saw one by Barrow on PPCS, but it was sold out. I was thinking a DDC would be a fine performer as well. Bitspower makes me nervous as they don't post prices on their site. I did find a couple of cool ones though here and [url="https://www.ebay.com/itm/PC-Water-Tank-Liquid-Cooling-360-mm-Reservoir-with-D5-pump-inlet-and-4-G1-4-/222836214622]here[/url]. Also Barrowch makes a more universal box rad with a temp readout here.

I noticed the two brands of radiator you recommended earlier were the most expensive :eek: and full copper. I have been looking to more affordable copper/brass models. Do you guys have any performance advice there? I understand that copper has better thermal properties than brass, but is it really necessary to pay the premium if the others use copper where it's needed most?

The D5 next is very cool, but I was planning to use the motherboard's PWM headers to control everything. It has 4 fan headers capable of 30w each, plus a pump header. It also has a dedicated "all in one" header, which I might be able to put to some use with a program like speedfan. I am wondering if most people just run the PWM off of the CPU temp, or is there a way to use the GPU temp as well with something like speed fan? Can I set two curves and have it pick whichever curve is higher? I definitely understand the benefit of having your PWM based on water temps, but I don't have an unlimited budget for cool stuff like the next. Looking at cost, I'm not even totally sold on a PWM pump. If you need roughly 1.5gph, and after that your returns are diminished, could a manually adjustable pump suffice. You'd only have to find the sweet spot once.

I think I'll be going with flexible tubing. I don't think I'm patient enough to hardline my first build.

I do have a couple of general/stupid questions. We used to just run our computers all the time, thinking this was better for them. With water cooling and a SSD, would I be better off leaving my computer off when not in use. That way a leak would be less damaging? Understanding that the board still has power, at least it wouldn't be running with pressure while unattended. I know they are rare but still :eek: The other question, with the drain/fill lines. Is this anticipating the rad/res has lots of extra ports available? That way these lines can just come off of them. Or am I using some kind of T connector? With putting fittings into acrylic / acetyl, how do I know how much to tighten. Just max finger tight + 1/4 inch? That seems very imprecise. Hand strength can vary a lot from person to person. Would a socket fit over these fittings and accept a torque wrench? Are the fittings mostly treated like a one install deal, since the plastic would fatigue easily from repeated installation/uninstallation of the fitting? Finally are there any attractive looking clamps for barbed fittings, or should I just go compression? I need to get the same brand of fittings/tubing and use the same thing throughout right?
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
The D5 NEXT can not only be a pump + display for flow or liquid temp because it has those both included, it can also power up to 25w worth of PWM fans so in essence, its a fan controller, flow and temp sensor all in one which is pretty freakin amazing for it's price. It would be connected via USB and monitored and controlled through the Aquasuite software. That's if you wanna get into all of that but that is again, up to you. If you were to go with that Bitspower res/pump combo specific to your case, the D5 NEXT wouldn't be compatible obviously.

When it comes to controls, you want to use the liquid temp or delta temp difference between ambient air and water temp is usually the best way to control your fans but most will set and forget the fans and pumps based on audible tolerance and optimal performance.

Not to question you but I'm having issues finding info on the 30 watt fan headers on the MB because that would be amazingly unprecedented from the standard of 1 Amp per header. I know they have a 3 Amp pump header which is great but other than that, I'am having issues finding out about those fan headers.

As for fittings and acrylic, I like to use acetal when it comes to threaded ports. I have experience with acrylic and not a fan of it. My multi port reservoir is all acrylic and have a damaged port that still stays sealed but once I use a fitting on it, it for some reason likes to leak so I just keep the original plug to it and hasn't bugged me since. It's probably the only acrylic ports in my whole loop which I'm looking to change down the road so all my points of entry if you will, are all acetal. Acetal is more durable and can handle more than acrylic.

Barbs are usually run for low budgeted builds even though they can be an eye sore if everything else is top notch. Compressions cost more but look nicer. I would recommend Bitspower compression fittings, yes they are pricey but well worth it as they are solid of high quality.

As for drains, you can use whatever you like. Some use an extra port with a valve while others use a fitting that creates a T-line to a valve hidden somewhere at the bottom of the loop. There are many ways you can do this but all depends what what you get and where you position it all.

I honestly believe you should be able to grab lots of premium parts for this loop within your budget and you should have room to move the budget around say if you spend $600 instead of $500 for the loop when you can knock off $100 from the actual PC list or vise versa. You have more than enough to build a really nice rig, especially when you're going with a AMD CPU build. Just create a PC parts list w/ prices for each component and a custom H20 list with prices to that. Should give you a great understanding where you're at and a blue print if you will of the case and how you want to route the loop. Have a look at other examples to get some great ideas.