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Should I jump into water cooling?

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Premium Member
May 17, 2003
So I have this computer sitting here that isn't doing anything... like... it's pretty much shut down all the time now. It's been mining ETH up until a couple of months ago, now it is essentially turned off.

Thought about migrating this to be my new HTPC, but it would need to be quieted down - significantly. Obviously when mining, it was running loud and blowing hard.

This is it:


Ryzen 9 3950X - using EK AIO 360 cooler for now
EVGA 3090 FTW3 Ultra
EVGA Supernova 1000 G+ 80 Plus Gold PSU
Lian Li O11D-XL case
ASUS Crosshair Hero VIII Wifi MB
2x16GB GSkill Trident Z RGB DDR4 3600CL14 RAM

It's overkill for my HTPC, but I also use it to browse the web a bit, and I might consider doing some gaming on my big TV if I move it in there. It serves a couple of NVidia Shields my movie/TV collection as well.

Bottom line is, it would need to be QUIET to serve duty in the living room, which is why I'd like to consider watercooling it.

I bought this the other day:


It's not the newest latest greatest top of the line water distro, but it's a start, and I got it for $100 plus shipping, NIB on Ebay. So I thought this would be a good means to get me jumpstarted. Next I'll need a radiator and a GPU block. The CPU block is +/-, I could add that in later once I'm up and running, I think.

So, it is possible to make this behomoth of a thing into a mouse-quiet and cool living room HTPC and part-time gaming PC?
I've done a custom loop in the 011D. Air can be quiet too, especially as an HTPC, really just need to mess with fan curves. But if you want to take this on as a project for fun, sounds like a great idea!

You'll want to look into getting about 1x120mm worth of radiator per 100W of load. If you want silent, you'll need to pad that as well.

Those distribution plates are cool, I have a similar one, however you're sacrificing airflow and/or rad placement. With two high power draw parts, you won't be silent under load.

If you have the money, Radikult (search him on the auction site) has made some super awesome reservoir panels to replace the front glass. Leaving at least 240mm of the bottom and side slots open.

Again lots of options here depending on your goals.
It's gonna be a project... gonna have to collect parts for a while. I was hoping to buy up everything and get it done, but things have to be put on the side burner. Got too many bills, etc., at the moment and one of my facilities 'forgot' to pay me this month and 'the check is in the mail'. We're about due for the next month's check and I'm still waiting... <sigh>. People don't consider that other people have bills to pay, too.

Anyways, I'm looking forward to messing around with this. Gonna at least do dual 360 radiators, top and bottom, distro plate on the front. Not sure if I can manage a 3rd rad vertically on the side that way too, or not. I'll have to do some more reasearch.
With the Radikult front plates (relying on memory from years ago, so please do your own verification) one of the pumps prevents a 360mm on the bottom, but the side radiator can fit at least using a very thin one (again only certain radiators fit) in the back and fans in the front.

The biggest challenge in using the top and side roads together is fittings, as if you use top ports for the side rad, they will be behind the top rad and fan.

I think practically speaking, top and bottom 240mm and a side thin 360mm might be the best way to max the rad capacity without creating yourself a routing nightmare. Iirc this video covers a lot of fitment issues.
Well I've already got a distro plate coming, so I'd like to try to work with that, rather than spending another $200-300 or more on another one. It's new in box, though old stock, has a pump, etc. It has a DDC 4.2 PWM pump, so it's not as robust as a D5, but I hope it'll work for a dual loop for CPU and a full coverage block for a 3090 FTW3 Ultra - this is going to be the expensive part of the system, but I think it's worth it to spend on this, as it's also the most expensive and critical part with the highest thermal load.
Its' best not to "Jump" into watercooling, you might get hurt. Step into it slowly with first 1 foot, then the other. ;)

Sorry, just had to do it :ROFLMAO:
Yes, I am going to take it slowly, research and accumulate parts. Luckily I'm not in any hurry.
I hear what your saying, and by all means there is no law of nature that will prevent you from running 700+ watts of hardware through 2x360mm radiators (top and bottom), the DDC pump will be adequate as well. Just understand that silent under full load, it will not be. I have a similar reservoir in the side panel with integrated pump myself, and as much as I love it, I do regret the cost on airflow at times.

If you're planning to keep the vertical GPU mount (which actually will probably help airflow bottom to top in this case), you'll have to take that account when choosing a bottom radiator. Are you using the original O11 Dynamic? Here are a couple examples of the challenges with the vertical GPU and a rad, but it can be done.
Thanks for the read, I will have to spend some time looking at that later. As for the case, I am using the O11-D XL, though I'm not sure how much that would help in this scenario.

<edit> I will add that I also can't fathom any scenario where I would be running full load on a 3090 and 3950x. Not for 'normal' HTPC duty anyways, if I were gaming hardcore at 4k, maybe, though noise wouldn't be a major concern then. Really just during movie playback.
Not to poo-poo the party, but depending on the parts/fans/etc that you picked it can be super quiet. My system is incredibly quiet and I can sleep in the same room with it going. It's a couple AIO/hybrid coolers, but even before the hybrid 3080 it was a regular FTW3 cooler and was quiet enough when mining.