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Recommendations on cheap but HQ custom loop?

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Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
So i've been wanting to do a cheap custom loop for a while but have been waiting for a certain CPU to come my way (Xeon E5-1650v2). Its on its way finally, so now im looking at this again. However, ive worked around custom loops but consider myself a custom loop noob still, so forgive me for some of these questions if you can. Additionally, i want to do it as a proof of concept of sorts for youtube content. Initial research (from here even) had me looking at using Barrow/Byski fittings. I'm trying to get the best pump/res for the least money and a recent release from Alphacool repeatedly has caught my eye, and that is the Eisstation. The one that includes their D5 pump in it is $100 though and i was hoping to go more budget than that. They dont have one that includes the DDC pump, otherwise id likely go with that but they DO have one that includes their DC-LT Ultra 2600 pump for less than $50 total. Thats this link here: http://www.performance-pcs.com/alph...tra-incl-alphacool-dc-lt-2600-ultra-pump.html

I think this is the specific pump page:
http://www.performance-pcs.com/alph...-low-noise-ceramic-12v-dc.html#Specifications

I'd also like to include my 980ti in the loop but i don't have a block for it, and for the most part they seem pretty expensive. Its an EVGA 980ti SC+ model which from my understanding uses the reference PCB i think, so WBs for the Titan X (maxwell) also fit. Are there decent cheap blocks around as well?

The tubing i'd like to use is Mayhem's most likely, but the thicker OD stuff. I think it looks alot nicer (on top of being more kink resistant as well). Though the exact size eludes me. What is it specifically that is recommended given that info?

For the CPU block i had another idea. A couple of tech youtubers i follow featured this block and it seemed to perform well (OztalksHW and Jayz
Here is jay's vid on it:

This is the block:
https://www.amazon.com/Water-Coolin...013JD2CVO/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8

Whats weird is that page says socket 2011 compatibility, but the page for the black version of the same block doesn't. Strange. Anyways, im open to any and all CPU block recommendations as well.

For fluid i was just hoping to go somewhat minimal, for minimal maintenance. No pastels. Some clear fluid with maybe a little dye for some color but thats it. Maybe even UV. Any recommendations for that? I would think a drain valve might also be something nice to include, hopefully byski/barrow have something.

Radiators...well i know to go for copper. I know Black Ice is top notch. But i dont know whats best for the money. Im thinking a 360mm rad should be enough hopefully. Probably something a bit thicker than 30mm i imagine as well. Completely open to recommendations there. The case im using is a Raidmax Sigma. Heres how it looks with and without gear inside it:
sigma side built.jpg

sigma side empty.jpg

Almost forgot to mention fans. I'd want the best i can for the money obviously, but im not sure if NF-F12s are in the budget. I like the Deepcool TF-12s on my Captain 240ex, but im not sure how they stack up. Any recommendations there as well?

So thats where im at. I'll continue researching what i can but i appreciate any helpful information from y'all! Thanks in advance!
 

caddi daddi

Godzilla to ant hills
Joined
Jan 10, 2012
what I see,
the block looks a little cheezy, the channels don't look real good, I prefer xspc raystorms but, all the top brands perform about the same.
I have found that you are better off with a 30mm thick 4x120 than a 60mm thick 3x120, more fan area seems to work out better than adding thickness, if you can fit a longer radiator.
tubes, your call but, over 3/8's and it's all the same.
coolant, no dyes please. I have gone to distilled water and 25% methanol.
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
what I see,
the block looks a little cheezy, the channels don't look real good, I prefer xspc raystorms but, all the top brands perform about the same.
I have found that you are better off with a 30mm thick 4x120 than a 60mm thick 3x120, more fan area seems to work out better than adding thickness, if you can fit a longer radiator.
tubes, your call but, over 3/8's and it's all the same.
coolant, no dyes please. I have gone to distilled water and 25% methanol.

Hm something to think about. The case can support 360mm max length rads in the top and front. No 480mm rad support. I suppose for max cooling capacity, two 360mm units can be used but the amount of fans necessary to cover all that will have a pretty negative effect on the budget. Maybe a 360 in the top and a 120 on the back with 3 120mm fans in the front bringing the fresh air in?


What about this $20 CPU block?
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Byk...d437-40ad-952b-81d44ee3c2a5&priceBeautifyAB=0
 
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Conumdrum

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Location
Small town Emlenton, PA
That block is 2005 tech, like back in the Danger Den days. Old stuff. Do it right, save the pennies till you can afford a proper loop.

Pump you chose? Mehh, at 4.8 watts it's really weak pump.

Again, your gonna spend 200$ on just fittings and your worried about the most important parts cost.

Start with good pumps and blocks, then go cheap from there if you must.

Black Ice is not a radiator company, it's just a brand of that company. There are many good rads out there.

You need to slowwww down and not clickbait everything you see.
 
Last edited:
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
That block is 2005 tech, like back in the Danger Den days. Old stuff. Do it right, save the pennies till you can afford a proper loop.

Pump you chose? Mehh, at 4.8 watts it's really weak pump.

Again, your gonna spend 200$ on just fittings and your worried about the most important parts cost.

Start with good pumps and blocks, then go cheap from there if you must.

Black Ice is not a radiator company, it's just a brand of that company. There are many good rads out there.

You need to slowwww down and not clickbait everything you see.

Can you go over how I would end up spending $200 on just fittings? That sounds excessive considering the costs of the byski/barrow fittings. it's funny you mention slowing down and falsely assuming about clickbaiting everything I see. This is stuff I've been keeping an eye on for alot longer than you think and now I'm trying to get more specific. I'm just here looking at alternative approaches and gathering information.
 
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myndlessdayz

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2004
Location
City of Sin
Remember that you are putting your faith on these cooling components to not fail and fry your already expensive rig.
- I watched that video you posted with Jays review and he even stated that he has no idea what the o-ring is made out of and him having to file off the parts that got in the way of the ram slots takes away from being a universal block anymore. Does he have a follow-up video on the block? I'd like to see how it would hold up after a year or so.

- You may find a universal block for the 980 Ti but then it would require heatsinks put on all the vRAM and recommend putting a fan directly on them to keep those cool. I used the Titan X FC blocks on my two 980 Ti's I believe some 780 Ti FC blocks also may have worked if you can find those.

- Maybe not $200 but, looks on Average price per Barrow fittings are ~$9 and you'd need one set per component. Assuming just CPU, GPU, a single Radiator, reservoir. That's 8 needed. $72 on just fittings add another radiator that's almost $90. Maybe you can find a better deal, but as I said, that's an average.

- The type of radiator should coincide with the type of fans you should need. Thickness, FPI, single pass or multipass radiator? All take these into consideration with your choice of a fan's static pressure, RPM, and noise.

- Colored tubing has been the choice here since way back when as some colored have been shown to eventually seperate and leave gunk in your components blocking fins and even staining the blocks. I've always recommend using Distilled water and maybe some type of anti growth like Mayhem''s XT-1 Nuke. I have, for the past 2 1/2 years, just used distilled water but I do a full breakdown and full cleaning of my cooling about every 6-9 months taking about half to a full day to do. I would only used colored coolant if I was doing something for an exhibition of my rig (pics, videos, etc) and probably when thats done clear it out and replace it back to just distilled water when I was done.

- Have you considered looking into prebuilt kits? Like EK-KIT S360 Premium Watercooling Kit. Then all you'd have to find is a block for your GPU and fittings for it.
 

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
I would be cautious with these chinese knockoffs that have hit the market and are starting to enter peoples systems. Barrow is one of them, a knock off of Bitspower really. I've heard stories from other industries how they sell you a certain metal but its not 100% that metal that is being advertised. If you're willing to risk that, have at it but you can build a nice budgeted loop with reputed companies. What is your budget btw?

Tubing, primochill advanced LRT for soft or pick the same brand of hard tubing and fittings.

Fittings? Go clamps if you're on a budget.

Rads, I'd look no further with Black Ice (of course) and Alphacool. Don't care if its 30mm or 45mm/60mm thick, pick one that fits well and allows you to route your loop with ease. With that said, I'd stick with a 30mm since that case seems to be pretty limited in space.

Want to add more rad down the road? You might be able to but that will all depend on placement.

Pump? I would either stick with a DDC (MCP50X is cheaper) or D5 pump. Have a look at XSPC D5 Proton if you're going to use a cylinder res. Cylinder res/pump combo's are great especially when you don't have space to place the pump and res in different locations or don't have a frontal bay area if the rad were to get into the way.

Reservoir? Don't know what you'll need based on placement.

Fluids? Colored? Nope. Stick with cleared premix fluids from places like Aquacomputer, Alphacool, etc. that already have the right balance of biocides and inhibitors. If you still want color, stick with colored tubing and or RGB ambient case lighting.

Drain is a must if you want your maintenance to be easy.

Having a tight space to work with and being budgeted can be challenging. I would do more research and google your case and custom liquid cooling to see what other's have done with said case. I did a quick search and didn't find too many custom loops with this case but did find this loop. I personally would follow the same layout this project was done with.

DCIpgXIVYAArSJ5.jpg

Source
 

Silver Surfer

Member
Joined
May 8, 2011
Location
Darlington, South Carolina
That block is 2005 tech, like back in the Danger Den days.

This is not a disagreement to what you've posted only a comment regarding the old Danger Den water blocks.

I re-purposed an old Danger Den MC-TDX CPU water block which is now cooling my 8700K. Reason being the EK Supremacy EVO and XSPC Raystorm both hang out so far around the Intels heat spreader. The water blocks are designed for multiple CPU applications but they're really much larger than the new Intel heat spreaders actually need. By lapping off some of the copper base plate to lessen the distance between the heat spreader contact and the internal cooling pins in the water block and tapering the base outer edges to an almost perfect copper contacting surface. The old modified Danger Den water block is now out performing both of the aforementioned water blocks. There's a few pictures of the modifications in my chilled water cooling link for any interested.

20171112_080746.jpg

To the OP:
The most important part of your loop is the heart of it, the Pump!
You need to bite the bullet even if you have to delay purchasing and save up some money to get a good quality pump like a D5.
 
Last edited:
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Remember that you are putting your faith on these cooling components to not fail and fry your already expensive rig.
- I watched that video you posted with Jays review and he even stated that he has no idea what the o-ring is made out of and him having to file off the parts that got in the way of the ram slots takes away from being a universal block anymore. Does he have a follow-up video on the block? I'd like to see how it would hold up after a year or so.

- You may find a universal block for the 980 Ti but then it would require heatsinks put on all the vRAM and recommend putting a fan directly on them to keep those cool. I used the Titan X FC blocks on my two 980 Ti's I believe some 780 Ti FC blocks also may have worked if you can find those.

- Maybe not $200 but, looks on Average price per Barrow fittings are ~$9 and you'd need one set per component. Assuming just CPU, GPU, a single Radiator, reservoir. That's 8 needed. $72 on just fittings add another radiator that's almost $90. Maybe you can find a better deal, but as I said, that's an average.

- The type of radiator should coincide with the type of fans you should need. Thickness, FPI, single pass or multipass radiator? All take these into consideration with your choice of a fan's static pressure, RPM, and noise.

- Colored tubing has been the choice here since way back when as some colored have been shown to eventually seperate and leave gunk in your components blocking fins and even staining the blocks. I've always recommend using Distilled water and maybe some type of anti growth like Mayhem''s XT-1 Nuke. I have, for the past 2 1/2 years, just used distilled water but I do a full breakdown and full cleaning of my cooling about every 6-9 months taking about half to a full day to do. I would only used colored coolant if I was doing something for an exhibition of my rig (pics, videos, etc) and probably when thats done clear it out and replace it back to just distilled water when I was done.

- Have you considered looking into prebuilt kits? Like EK-KIT S360 Premium Watercooling Kit. Then all you'd have to find is a block for your GPU and fittings for it.

Yeah that $100 mark sounds alot more accurate than $200 lol. Eh im not too interested in a universal block, the GPU is technically already under water with an H55 and a Kraken G10 bracket. If i could affix a universal block to the kraken g10 and include it in the loop that way, that would also work....but maybe not be so pretty lol. Had forgotten about colored tubing, something I originally wanted to do to run minimal stuff in the water just to be on the safe side. More to think about there. Prebuilt kits leave me feeling like theres something missing and feel less unique. I'll look at them more but im not particularly crazy about them. I had originally wanted to do a custom loop out of a Swiftech H320-x2 Prestige, but i heard so many issues with leaking and stuff with that series that really let me down and had me move away from considering that.


I would be cautious with these chinese knockoffs that have hit the market and are starting to enter peoples systems. Barrow is one of them, a knock off of Bitspower really. I've heard stories from other industries how they sell you a certain metal but its not 100% that metal that is being advertised. If you're willing to risk that, have at it but you can build a nice budgeted loop with reputed companies. What is your budget btw?

Tubing, primochill advanced LRT for soft or pick the same brand of hard tubing and fittings.

Fittings? Go clamps if you're on a budget.

Rads, I'd look no further with Black Ice (of course) and Alphacool. Don't care if its 30mm or 45mm/60mm thick, pick one that fits well and allows you to route your loop with ease. With that said, I'd stick with a 30mm since that case seems to be pretty limited in space.

Want to add more rad down the road? You might be able to but that will all depend on placement.

Pump? I would either stick with a DDC (MCP50X is cheaper) or D5 pump. Have a look at XSPC D5 Proton if you're going to use a cylinder res. Cylinder res/pump combo's are great especially when you don't have space to place the pump and res in different locations or don't have a frontal bay area if the rad were to get into the way.

Reservoir? Don't know what you'll need based on placement.

Fluids? Colored? Nope. Stick with cleared premix fluids from places like Aquacomputer, Alphacool, etc. that already have the right balance of biocides and inhibitors. If you still want color, stick with colored tubing and or RGB ambient case lighting.

Drain is a must if you want your maintenance to be easy.

Having a tight space to work with and being budgeted can be challenging. I would do more research and google your case and custom liquid cooling to see what other's have done with said case. I did a quick search and didn't find too many custom loops with this case but did find this loop. I personally would follow the same layout this project was done with.

View attachment 197179

Source

I don't really have a budget other than spending the least amount possible for the best quality for the money. I recently got married and have alot of bills to payoff and once my wife starts school full time, i'll be supporting her so money for things like this will cease to exist but i cant justify spending exorbitant amounts right now (or later) either. I thought the word around town was that Bitspower fittings were OEM'd by Barrow/Bykski and thus those cheaper ones were essentially the same thing? Was that proven wrong? The D5 photon was definitely on my radar given its price, but at $100 Alphacool also has their Eisstation with their D5 pump included as well. I was considering the Eisstation DDC but the pump is sold separately and it seems most DDC pump prices + the $50 Eisstation DDC > Eisstation price that includes the D5 pump. I had alot of interest in the Enermax Neochanger but the aluminum cap was worrisome, then more reviews here and there (not all but a few) came out saying the base would crack and it would leak, so i wrote it off. Res or Pump/Res will likely get fitted up front. That pic you posted, i knew immediately who that was lol. Raidmax posts alot of his stuff, guy is a great modder (Ivanooze). But yeah what i want would likely be laid out similar to that.



This is not a disagreement to what you've posted only a comment regarding the old Danger Den water blocks.

I re-purposed an old Danger Den MC-TDX CPU water block which is now cooling my 8700K. Reason being the EK Supremacy EVO and XSPC Raystorm both hang out so far around the Intels heat spreader. The water blocks are designed for multiple CPU applications but they're really much larger than the new Intel heat spreaders actually need. By lapping off some of the copper base plate to lessen the distance between the heat spreader contact and the internal cooling pins in the water block and tapering the base outer edges to an almost perfect copper contacting surface. The old modified Danger Den water block is now out performing both of the aforementioned water blocks. There's a few pictures of the modifications in my chilled water cooling link for any interested.

View attachment 197181

To the OP:
The most important part of your loop is the heart of it, the Pump!
You need to bite the bullet even if you have to delay purchasing and save up some money to get a good quality pump like a D5.

Good job on the re-purposing! Love that kind of stuff and love hearing its success too! Yeah i mentioned the D5 and DDC stuff above, but the Eisstation is available with Alphacool's D5 pump included together for $100 so maybe thats something to consider. Guess people don't really use/like the DC-Ultra/DC-LT alphacool has? Just isnt enough?


Speaking of Alphacool, something else I was looking at was using their Eisbaer pump/res/block unit as a basis for a budget custom loop. I'd want to add a cylinder res to this, mostly for looks but would help make it easier to fill too i think. Though it seems the pump in it (DC-LT as mentioned) doesn't seem to have many fans.
 

maxfly

Member
Joined
May 7, 2005
here are my suggestions for the cheapest solid loop i could find. i try to keep a running log of what a low budget loop will run.
pump- there are only two variations to go with imo. a d5 or a ddc.
d5
http://www.performance-pcs.com/swiftech-mcp655-series-12-vdc-d5-water-pumps-bare.html
ddc
http://www.performance-pcs.com/laing-ddc-pump-12v-ddc-1t-plus.html
cpu block
http://www.performance-pcs.com/new-...el-775-1155-1156-1366-2011-black-edition.html
rads
http://www.performance-pcs.com/blac...u-flow-low-profile-radiator-black-carbon.html
http://www.performance-pcs.com/ek-coolstream-pe-360-triple.html
http://www.performance-pcs.com/alphacool-nexxxos-st30-full-copper-360mm.html
fittings- these are by far the best bang for your buck compression fittings.
http://www.performance-pcs.com/xspc...mpression-fitting-black-chrome-v2-8-pack.html
if you dont mind barbs. you also need clamps for these. so the price evens out in comparison. i would get one of these for your drain anyhow.
http://www.performance-pcs.com/xspc-g1-4-to-13mm-1-2-barb-fitting-black-chrome-finish.html
drain ****.
http://www.performance-pcs.com/xspc-ball-valve-black-chrome.html
res
http://www.performance-pcs.com/alphacool-cape-corp-coolplex-pro-10-lt.html
tubing- trust me, go with soft tubing on your first loop. hardline is a pita to master especially if your under budget constraints.
http://www.performance-pcs.com/prim...-b-tubing-1-2in-id-x-3-4in-od-onyx-black.html
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
here are my suggestions for the cheapest solid loop i could find. i try to keep a running log of what a low budget loop will run.
pump- there are only two variations to go with imo. a d5 or a ddc.
d5
http://www.performance-pcs.com/swiftech-mcp655-series-12-vdc-d5-water-pumps-bare.html
ddc
http://www.performance-pcs.com/laing-ddc-pump-12v-ddc-1t-plus.html
cpu block
http://www.performance-pcs.com/new-...el-775-1155-1156-1366-2011-black-edition.html
rads
http://www.performance-pcs.com/blac...u-flow-low-profile-radiator-black-carbon.html
http://www.performance-pcs.com/ek-coolstream-pe-360-triple.html
http://www.performance-pcs.com/alphacool-nexxxos-st30-full-copper-360mm.html
fittings- these are by far the best bang for your buck compression fittings.
http://www.performance-pcs.com/xspc...mpression-fitting-black-chrome-v2-8-pack.html
if you dont mind barbs. you also need clamps for these. so the price evens out in comparison. i would get one of these for your drain anyhow.
http://www.performance-pcs.com/xspc-g1-4-to-13mm-1-2-barb-fitting-black-chrome-finish.html
drain ****.
http://www.performance-pcs.com/xspc-ball-valve-black-chrome.html
res
http://www.performance-pcs.com/alphacool-cape-corp-coolplex-pro-10-lt.html
tubing- trust me, go with soft tubing on your first loop. hardline is a pita to master especially if your under budget constraints.
http://www.performance-pcs.com/prim...-b-tubing-1-2in-id-x-3-4in-od-onyx-black.html

Awesome list, you're a rockstar man. Another question, is there such a thing as translucent colored soft tubing?

edit:
I remembered something i looked at a while back that uses the MCP30 Swiftech pump. It was this thing:
http://www.performance-pcs.com/swiftech-mcr140-x-drive-combination-radiator-pump-reservoir.html

I realized the top of my case only supports 240 not 360, but the front still does support a 360. Thoughts on using this mounted to the rear in my case, in conjunction with an additional radiator (not sure on top 240 or front 360, though front 360 might make routing difficult) for the loop?
 
Last edited:

GTXJackBauer

Water Cooling Senior Member, #TEAMH20HNO
Joined
May 22, 2011
Location
USA
I think the only way to stay budgeted is to go with a AIO expandable kit or just go with a sealed AIO and call it a day since your GPU is already being cooled by one OR used custom parts.
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
I think the only way to stay budgeted is to go with a AIO expandable kit or just go with a sealed AIO and call it a day since your GPU is already being cooled by one OR used custom parts.

Well that was my original draw to the H320/H220-x2 prestige kits from swiftech, but i guess bad quality control got the best of those. It is also my draw to the Eisbaer kits, but people seem to not be fans of the DC-LT 2600 pump. I liked that function to the Fractal Celsius S36, but thats copper block with aluminum rad so i lost interest in that. Then beyond that, im not aware of many other kits that could accomplish that. Maybe the new EK MLC kits, but they are expensive. The CPU will go under the Captain 240ex as it is, for now at least. Still gathering info.
 

maxfly

Member
Joined
May 7, 2005
i would have to agree with Jack. if i was just starting out i would go with one of the ek kits. they are solid for the most part and adding to them is as easy as it gets. you could go with a cpu only loop and add your gpu to the loop whenever you choose to. if you do go that route be sure to price check newegg. they usually have good prices on ek kits.
if your still considering a custom loop be sure to price check your choices. you can sometimes save a good bit per component. if you want to check out some solid and cheap 120 or 140mm fans check out the yate loon fans at ppcs. ive been using them in budget builds for years. i just upgraded some from a clients old c2d build that were still running strong but they were yellowing(clear plastic) and looking worse for the wear. they are so cheap i didnt charge them lol.
 

Conumdrum

Member
Joined
Sep 15, 2007
Location
Small town Emlenton, PA
Sorry about being such a pain, I'm one to push folks to really look at doing it right and don't mince words. I spent 3 months researching parts and reading many forums back in ohh? 2006? Before I even suggested one bit to forum members. Then I built my first rig.

Looks like you got great advice from the current experts and good luck!


- - - Updated - - -

Silver surfer:

Your right. It's a good ol' classic. But you are not new and have the parts/time/knowledge to make your own top etc. You are a class above many, including me.

New folks don't need that yet, unless they are really wanting to experiment and have spare hardware to smoke.
 
OP
Helgaiden

Helgaiden

Member
Joined
Jul 14, 2003
Sorry about being such a pain, I'm one to push folks to really look at doing it right and don't mince words. I spent 3 months researching parts and reading many forums back in ohh? 2006? Before I even suggested one bit to forum members. Then I built my first rig.

Looks like you got great advice from the current experts and good luck!

- - - Updated - - -

Your right. It's a good ol' classic. But you are not new and have the parts/time/knowledge to make your own top etc. You are a class above many, including me.

New folks don't need that yet, unless they are really wanting to experiment and have spare hardware to smoke.

Its all good, maaaan. I am one of those that loves to experiment, making things work that aren't supposed to work, stuff like that. I do have an open air test bench with an HP z620 board and a $40 Xeon E5-1620 on it if i wanted to play around and test things, so theres that. I'll keep an eye on things and continue gathering info. This thread will make a great reference.
 

||Console||

Member
Joined
Jul 26, 2004
If you are wondering I didn't notice that big of a difference when I switched from that same DD block to my current "new gen" block besides mounting was easy . All I did was make an adapter with some scrap metal and drilled some holes in it .