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Watercooling loop recommendations? Wall-o-text

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For now, Im just looking to watercool my CPU. GPU will be added to the loop later when I have more money. Should probably add that this wont be happening until spring break time (will be home from college when I'll time to mod my case). I figured it wouldnt hurt to start researching parts now. :O

 

I was over at XS (are they our rival forum? :confused: )... they have a pretty large watercooling forum over there, so I was looking at their recommended parts guide, and Ive got a few parts in mind, just coming here to see what other users think.

 

Warning: About a billion questions below. :O :confused:

 

Block: Swiftech Storm or Apogee - I hear the Apogee is just a waste of money, that Swiftech went backwards in terms of performance. I dont really want to pay $85 for the Storm though... :eek2: :sad: Is the Apogee that bad? What about the Danger Den TDX? Any other recommendations?

 

Radiator: Is a 120.2 going to be enough for an overclocked E6600 (3.0 now, Im planning 3.5+ with water when I get it) and possibly a GPU in the loop? I will probably keep the GPU (7900GT KO SC) stock as I dont play that many demanding new games (read as too cheap to pay for them). If I got a 120.3 rad, I would definately future proof my rig as far as rad needs, but I would need to mount it in the bottom (I hope?), I was planning on the top (cutting out the USB and mounting that on the side) for a 120.2. Brands? Model?

 

Pump: I guess it depends on the block, no? Some blocks do better with lower flow, some do better with higher flow. I was looking at a Laing DDC-2 or Swiftech MCP665. Im getting really confused with these... the DDC pumps look very similar to the Swiftech 35x series? :confused: I was planning on the DDC-2 because I would be able to stick that in the floppy drive cage of my Tsunami, mount the rad mounted in a custom hole in the top, block, no res (T-line). It would minimize the amount of tubing. Does the 3/8" barbs of the pump really matter that much with 1/2" tubing as long as I put some hose clamps on it?

 

Sorry about all the questions, Im very new to watercooling.

 

Im hoping I can hit 3500MHz+ (goal = 3600) on water... With my SI-120, I could hit 3400 with 70C load temps in a 23C room.

 

My idea behind this water cooling purchase is, might as well spend a decent chunk of money on a rad and pump, that way I wont have to replace them for a while because their performance isnt that great. Same goes for the CPU block... if the Storm is that great, Ill get it.

 

Like I said before, this probably wont happen until spring break-ish (mid March) because Im going to be in debt up to my eye-balls after Christmas shopping and buying books for second semester college...

 

Thanks a bunch everyone for any help. ;):)

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I was over at XS (are they our rival forum?)

 

we don't have 'rival' forums

 

we aren't the Bloods or Crips (or Sharks or Jets if you are that old to know what I'm referring to)...there are no 'gangs' controlling turf battling for...drug customers?

 

We have no rivals because we are a DFI support forum. No other forum is a DFI Support Forum.

 

;)

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I didnt think we had a "rival" per se... I just know you and other users dont appreciate their suicide screens over here, didnt think there was any animosity towards them. Good to know.

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nah we don't care for their way of doing things but when we see good stuff there we link it and they do the same.

 

the guys that actually run that forum and the guy that actually runs this forum really doesn't get into the rival thing...its always the users that have the beef ;)

 

anyway, back to your watercooling bits

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Watercooling is very rewarding if done correctly, and you seem to be on the right track.

 

CPU blocks: All of the blocks that you have listed are excellent choices, although the opinion of XS forum members is that the Storm is the best (the E-penis thing, IMO). It is also the most restrictive. I chose the TDX because I plan to SLI, and wanted less restriction at a moderate overclock.

 

Pumps: Either the D5 or the MCP355 are good choices. Flow is king, and both deliver it well. As far as putting 1/2" line on the ddc-2, consider an aftermarket top. It comes with 1/2" barbs, and increases the flow.

 

Rad: I chose the PA series because I wanted a quieter system, and it has worked out rather well with 8 YateLoon fans @ 7 volts. A PA120.2 rad should be enough for what you are planning. I dont know enough about other brands besides Thermochill to form an opinion on their rads.

 

Do some more research on the parts you have chosen, just remember to form your own opinion on needs and overall cost.

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Im looking into rads that work better with fans at lower speeds... Im going to be putting some cheap Thermaltake case fans on it... (the black case, orange blade ones), and they only push like 50CFM, so...

 

Im leaning towards the Apogee after reading some things... Storm is better, but not worth the $35 price hike.

 

I think Im set with the MCP355.

 

Just need some rad recommendations.

 

Thanks a bunch.

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If you're looking for top build quality, go for the Storm. The Apogee will do fine anyway and most likely perform on par or even better on CPUs with an IHS.

 

The D5 is a good pump and will be sufficient for your loop. The Apogee isn't restrictive at all, so the D5 will easily maintain flow through the setup. Together with a Thermochill rad, which isn't restrictive either, you should have a great performing setup.

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The Storm waterblocks do perform very well; my CPU has never gone above 40C (currently @ 3.87GHz; 3.2 stock). They are actually based on the G4 blocks to which Swiftech acquired the rights about 1.5 years ago.

 

I'm using a D5 pump and it performs very well with the CPU and GPU on H2O.

 

Any pump available from DangerDen should be good; I'd recommend going with one that natively supports the tubing size you want to use, and not force it tight with hose clamps.

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Thermochill FTW. I see a 1-2C difference between 7v and 12v fan settings. It is pretty impressive.

 

If you're looking for top build quality, go for the Storm

^^Is correct, but the Apogee will probably fit the bill just fine.

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Block: Swiftech Storm or Apogee - I hear the Apogee is just a waste of money, that Swiftech went backwards in terms of performance. I dont really want to pay $85 for the Storm though... :eek2: :sad: Is the Apogee that bad? What about the Danger Den TDX? Any other recommendations?
I've had the Apogee, Storm, Cooltechnica Whitewater LE, RBX, TDX, old DD Maze, various other Swiftech, Koolance, etc. My top two blocks overall for a combination of best flow and cooling power are the Cooltechnica and TDX. The TDX with nozzle #4 has the egde over the Cooltechnica, but the latter has slightly better overall flow, and works great with even low powered pumps (read less $$). Bear in mind the Whitewater is a 3-barb design, so necessitates either a 3-barb reservoir or a 'Y' fitting. Adding a GPU block to the Whitewater can also be a little bit bulky, as it requires the use of 2 'Y's, which increases the amount of tubing, clamps, bulk and the potential for leaks!

 

Radiator: Is a 120.2 going to be enough for an overclocked E6600 (3.0 now, Im planning 3.5+ with water when I get it) and possibly a GPU in the loop? I will probably keep the GPU (7900GT KO SC) stock as I dont play that many demanding new games (read as too cheap to pay for them). If I got a 120.3 rad, I would definately future proof my rig as far as rad needs, but I would need to mount it in the bottom (I hope?), I was planning on the top (cutting out the USB and mounting that on the side) for a 120.2. Brands? Model?
A larger rad means more flow restriction and therfore generally neccesitates a stronger pump. For a simple CPU + GPU setup, a 3x rad is almost overkill - and is much more difficult to mount, requires more $$$, more fans, and therefore more noise. Stick with a 120.2 or the new HW labs GTX series rads. Even a BIX2 will perform adequately. The key here is maximizing cooling capacity without restricting flow too much.

 

Pump: I guess it depends on the block, no? Some blocks do better with lower flow, some do better with higher flow. I was looking at a Laing DDC-2 or Swiftech MCP665. Im getting really confused with these... the DDC pumps look very similar to the Swiftech 35x series? :confused: I was planning on the DDC-2 because I would be able to stick that in the floppy drive cage of my Tsunami, mount the rad mounted in a custom hole in the top, block, no res (T-line). It would minimize the amount of tubing. Does the 3/8" barbs of the pump really matter that much with 1/2" tubing as long as I put some hose clamps on it?
A high restriction block like the Apogee or Storm will require a higher flow pump like the D5 or a modified DDC+. Vice-versa, you can get away with a lower flow pump with the Whitewater or TDX, and spend less $$. You don't really want to mix barb and tubing sizes, as it will create a bottleneck and reduce overall flow - and flow is key to performance. The D5 has been said to dump more heat into the water, while the modified DDC+ has been said to perform as good or better than the D5. I personally run a D5 on my CPU-only setup (turned down to setting #4), and DDC+ with the PTS top for my CPU + GPU system. I like the size, flow and lower noise of the DDC+, so I'd say go that route with a modified top, as it will allow you to upgrade later. Alphacool and Petra's Tech Shop both make great tops that perform similarly, and add 1/2" fittings into the mix.

 

Also factor in the cost for good quality tubing: Tygon is king here, and has the best bend radius of all the tubing I have used. MasterKleer and Clearflex are the budget choice, and while they don't bend as well, they will perform identically.

 

Additives are also important. I use a VW G12 coolant additive which is similar to the ever-popular Valvoline Zerex coolant. This is supposed to increase heat conductivity and reduce corrosion. An anti-corrosive like this is also neccessary if you mix metals like Aluminium and Copper, something I generally try not to do. You will also need some distilled water to mix with the coolant, generally available from any parts store (it's used in car radiators).

 

Hope this helps!

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PetrasTechShop.com

Get Dangerden.

my loop: pump -> tdx -> t-line/fillport -> gpu --> rad -->

DD is always a safe bet, and will give you better than average results for your money. It's also generally well supported and has a great warranty.

 

Petra's always has some great stuff, and they make the DDC+ top I was talking about, and sell it for a great price pre-installed on a DDC+. I also use their pump mounting gel pads - a great little product that helps isolate pump noise.

 

My cpu-only loop is a little different from fps_shawn, if only because I want to pull as much heat from the system before the CPU block as possible. Because the pump will always dump at least a small amount of heat into the system, I run my loop like this:

 

Pump -> T-Line -> Rad -> CPU -> Reservoir -> Pump

 

Why a T-line and a reservoir you ask? Well a T-line is still the easiest way to fill a system (I use the DD delrin fillport), but a reservoir will generally reduce the overall temperature of the system by a degree or two. I have an Innovatech Fass-o-Matic "barrel" style reservoir (check it out here) which is a tubular reservoir made from ribbed aluminum walls. This adds a mild heatsink effect, and having run the same loop with and without it, I found my temps were consistently 3-4 degrees cooler while using it. Plus it looks hot from the front of the case, with the LED backlit porthole. Special thanks to century_child for hooking me up!

 

Other water cooling things I've learned over the years:

- Don't mix copper and aluminum parts (like a copper block and an aluminium fillport)

- And if you do, you must use an anti-corrosive additive

- If you're not using a coolant-type additive, you should add a few drops of biocide (I use a generic pet-store brand, or Nuke)

- Always use distilled water

- Non-conductive additives are not foolproof!

- Always flush your rad before use with a dillute mixture of vinegar and water (it's usually full of gunk)

- Always test the system for leaks before installing it on a system

- Take the time to work the air bubbles out of the rad and pump, this will lead to a higher-performing and quieter system

- Also take the time to test different fan setups - push, pull, push+pull, with and without a shroud/plenum and different voltages to maximize performance and minimize noise

 

Especially on the last point, I took a long time to test my loop with various fans in different configurations and at different voltages. What I found was pretty interesting. I had a notion, being and engineer and car guy (and not smart enough to know for sure without testing), that the rad would be able to handle a certain amount of airflow before back pressure made increases in CFM had no effect on cooling capacity. Plus a rad can only remove a certain amount of heat from a system, and never get the water below ambient.

 

So for my particular application, my best results were running my Yate Loon 140mm fan (adapted to 120mm) in a pull configuration with a shroud and sealed to a BIX1. Running it at ~8v vs 12v had no impact on water temperature, and was much quieter at 8v. Likewise, I could actually reduce pump voltage to around 10.2v without increasing water temps.

 

Of course it took a lot of testing and playing to get these results, and each individual application is different, so I suggest you try your own variations.

 

Hope this helps

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