Water Cooling: My First Loop | TigerDroppings.com

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Srbtiger06
USA Fan
Buga Nation
Member since Apr 2006
20698 posts

Water Cooling: My First Loop


I'm finally starting to wind down on my case mod on my new build and before I start putting everything together I want to go ahead and do a loop.

My System:
NZXT Phantom
Corsair AX860
I7-3770k
ASRock Z77 Extreme6
Kingston HyperX Beast 32GB (8GBx4)
3 SSD's
2 HDD's
Nvidia GTX660ti BUT I'm likely upgrading to a 680.

I picked up an XSPC Raystorm a couple of weeks ago so that is covered. What else will I need? What will fit? I'm lost







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puffulufogous
USA Fan
New Orleans
Member since Feb 2008
5313 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


I wouldn't start making tubing and fitting purchases until you have that 680 at least on order. Order one with a reference pcb and voltage unlocked. Then you can buy your gpu block. You'll need to choose a pump, 1/2 or 3/8 tubing, appropriate fittings, reservoir, rads, coolant, etc. diagram out the way your loop is going to go and make sure you have enough space for all the things I mentioned before you start ordering things. I have no experience with the phantom so I can't offer you WC advice for it.

Eta check out dazmode's YouTube channel for a pretty good intro into WC. It's a little dated parts wise, but the principals are the same



This post was edited on 4/23 at 11:01 am


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Srbtiger06
USA Fan
Buga Nation
Member since Apr 2006
20698 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


quote:

I wouldn't start making tubing and fitting purchases until you have that 680 at least on order. Order one with a reference pcb and voltage unlocked.


That's my plan. I am 95% sure I'm going with an EVGA 680, I just can't decide if I want the 2GB or 4GB. I'm sure the difference isn't that big for what I am currently doing BUT I want to leave the option open for surround later down the line. My other option is to just grab another 660ti for SLI but I would rather just have 1 card.

quote:

diagram out the way your loop is going to go and make sure you have enough space for all the things I mentioned before you start ordering things.


I've done my measuring so I have an idea of what kind of space I'm working with buuuutttt....

quote:

You'll need to choose a pump, 1/2 or 3/8 tubing, appropriate fittings, reservoir, rads, coolant, etc


This is where I'm lost. If I'm doing CPU & GPU what size components will I need? Is 1/2 tubing better than 3/8? I would imagine it's a volume vs. pressure tradeoff but which should I use? What size pump and reservoir?






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puffulufogous
USA Fan
New Orleans
Member since Feb 2008
5313 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


quote:

This is where I'm lost. If I'm doing CPU & GPU what size components will I need? Is 1/2 tubing better than 3/8? I would imagine it's a volume vs. pressure tradeoff but which should I use? What size pump and reservoir?


From what I understand the diameter of the tubing doesn't have as much impact as the pump you choose. There are two types of pumps that are rebranded/slightly improved by manufacturers. They are the d5 and the ddc. Refer here for an overview of the differences LINK
I don't know much about choosing reservoirs or the major differences between pumps. Sorry.

ETA and if you are buying an evga 680 you may as well just get the 4gb if you have an inkling that you want to do 1440 or surround. If you bought the 2gb initially and put it in your loop, then decided you needed more Vram you'd have to drain the loop, remount the block on another card, refill the loop etc. Seems like a PITA to me especially since your build doesn't seem like a budget build. If you're spending 400 on a gpu plus another 300 to WC, 400 in HDs, etc what's another 100 bucks for more Vram.



This post was edited on 4/23 at 12:45 pm


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ILikeLSUToo
LSU Fan
Central, LA
Member since Jan 2008
10192 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


When I get home and get something to eat I will help you out. I keep up with all the new parts, testing, thermal/flow charts, etc.

Meanwhile, answer these questions for me:

1. What is your goal with this loop? (e.g., you want to really push your hardware, you just like the aesthetics, you want something quiet, you only want to OC CPU, etc. etc.)

2. How much 5.25" bay space do you have? This will determine selection on reservoir, pump, and possibly fan controller.

3. Unrelated, but why 3 SSDs? RAID?

4. Are you water cooling only GPU and CPU? (i.e., not RAM, Mobo chipset, etc. -- which is not recommended anyway).

5. How important is PC silence? There are three desirable features: Compact, quiet, and better cooling performance. And in general, you can only pick two, and compromise on the third.

6. What about aesthetics? Custom loops are not cheap, but there are ways to cut costs. For example, using barbs and worm clamps instead of compression fittings; getting clear food grade tubing instead of watercooling-rebranded or colored tubing; using a small case-mount reservoir or T-line/fillport instead of a bay reservoir; etc.

7. Rough estimate of your total watercooling budget? (not including the Raystorm you already bought, which was a good choice).

8. I concur that you should get your 680 before doing the loop. Do you see yourself going SLI in the near future?



This post was edited on 4/23 at 3:05 pm


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Srbtiger06
USA Fan
Buga Nation
Member since Apr 2006
20698 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


quote:

1. What is your goal with this loop? (e.g., you want to really push your hardware, you just like the aesthetics, you want something quiet, you only want to OC CPU, etc. etc.)


Honestly a little bit of all of that. I love building computers and I decided to finally go with water. Just something to mess around with.

quote:

2. How much 5.25" bay space do you have? This will determine selection on reservoir, pump, and possibly fan controller.


5 total bays. 3 are occupied BUT I removed the brackets for the 3.5" bays so I have a good bit of room under the 5.25"s.

quote:

3. Unrelated, but why 3 SSDs? RAID?


Bought a 60GB a few years ago and use it for my OS and a couple programs. Then I bought a 128 last summer. Then I got a 250 at microcenter because it was an insane deal

quote:

4. Are you water cooling only GPU and CPU? (i.e., not RAM, Mobo chipset, etc. -- which is not recommended anyway).


CPU, GPU, and maybe RAM. I just like the look of RAM under water but it isn't necessary

quote:

5. How important is PC silence? There are three desirable features: Compact, quiet, and better cooling performance. And in general, you can only pick two, and compromise on the third.


Performance, Quietnes, and Compact in that order.

quote:

6. What about aesthetics?


I want it to look nice but I don't care about it being all custom spec'ed out and what not. As long as it doesn't look like crap I'm good.

quote:

7. Rough estimate of your total watercooling budget?


I don't wanna drop $1000 on it but really anything that is quality and within reason I'm good with.






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ILikeLSUToo
LSU Fan
Central, LA
Member since Jan 2008
10192 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


Looking up parts right now. But, I also need to know which Phantom you have. Will make a big difference. Phantom full tower 820?





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VABuckeye
Ohio State Fan
Oak Hill, VA
Member since Dec 2007
10809 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


Research your video cards carefully if you want to water cool them. I have EVGA 680 Classifieds and they require a specific block which is only available from EVGA and it's not available all of the time.





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Srbtiger06
USA Fan
Buga Nation
Member since Apr 2006
20698 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


quote:

Looking up parts right now. But, I also need to know which Phantom you have. Will make a big difference. Phantom full tower 820?


This one






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ILikeLSUToo
LSU Fan
Central, LA
Member since Jan 2008
10192 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


I was afraid of that. It's not the roomiest full tower, that's for sure. They call it water-cooling friendly, but only for an all-in-one. Honestly, you need 2 x 240s to cool your card and CPU. It appears that the bottom 3.5 bays are removable. If you can clear all that out behind the PSU mount, you might be able to fit a 240 there... but you have too many hard drives/SSDs to totally remove all those bays.

What I had to do with my HAF 932, which is even roomier than the phantom, is actually take a dremel to the 3.5 bays and cut through the steel. I was then able to fit a low profile 240 in pull configuration.

Here's a before an after of a HAF 932 mod I did last year.



In the after picture, you can see that had to cut away one or two bays to mount that radiator.

I had to dremel holes for the radiator, too, because my PSU was too long for the existing fan mount holes to work on a radiator:




Quiet and compact would be getting a Corsair H100, maybe replacing the fans with gentle typhoons, and cool just your CPU.

But, for a clean-looking, quiet custom loop with good performance, I recommend this:

Pump/Res combo: XSPC 5.25" Dual Bay Reservoir. Then add the pump at the bottom, just a quiet MCP655-B will do, because this isn't a super-complicated and restrictive loop. Total is $150, but it might be cheaper elsewhere. I didn't do price checks. LINK

GPU block: As was stated, do your research if you're going with a full-cover block.

CPU block: Raystorm, which you already have.

Tubing: The basic stuff is actually better than the water-cooler branded options like XSPC and Primochill. The only thing is you won't find it in any wacky UV-reactive coloring. So if you don't care about that, get this stuff: LINK It's clear, and you can use Rit Dye to dye it any color you like. In my photo above, that's durelene tubing dyed black with rit dye.

Durelene seems to have the lowest occurrence of early plasticizer leaching, and that's the only reason I buy that brand. So far it has proven to be true.

And I linked the 7/16 ID stuff because it's what I have, and it's commonly used in loops with 1/2" barbs for the more snug fit. If you go with compression fittings, either 7/16 or 1/2 would be fine. Get about 20 feet ($12 worth) or more so you have room to experiment with loop order

Recommended tool: Tube Cutter. Much easier and cleaner cut than scissors. $15 LINK (might even be cheaper at Lowe's).

Radiators: Two of these at $45.99 each: LINK

Fittings: Compression fittings provide the cleanest look. In my before/after picture above, you can see I switched from barbs to compression fittings. The XSPC compression fittings are by far the best bang for buck at $3.99 a piece. Black Chrome (used in the above pic) LINK or Silver Chrome - LINK

You'll need 10 at $3.99 each.

Note: The compression fittings linked above will fit the tubing size I linked -- 7/16" ID, 5/8" OD. If you decide to change tubing size, you will need find compression fittings in that exact size, or just use barbs.

Optional/Possible: Depending on how tight things are in your case, you might need angled rotary fittings to make your tubing fit without kinks. In the "After" photo above, you can see where I used rotary fittings in certain places. They add little to no restriction and are safer than letting your tubing be bent and stressed for months on end.

Fans: 4 Scythe Gentle typhoons at $14.99 each LINK (that's a great price, btw)

Biocide - silver kill coil. LINK $5.99

Don't cool your ram right now. Figure out how to make an effective GPU and CPU loop fit in your system first.

So, if you can manage to fit this gear in your case, that's about $375 for a very clean-looking, quiet, and high-performance loop, not including the CPU block you already have or whatever GPU block you get.



This post was edited on 4/23 at 7:00 pm


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Srbtiger06
USA Fan
Buga Nation
Member since Apr 2006
20698 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


quote:

It appears that the bottom 3.5 bays are removable. If you can clear all that out behind the PSU mount, you might be able to fit a 240 there... but you have too many hard drives/SSDs to totally remove all those bays.


They're already gone

I took out the smaller bottom bay as soon as I got it and the second one when I was painting.

For a top rad, I found a build on OCN where a guy just made a bracket for a 360. From what I can tell, if I do some slight modding to the top panel I can do the same but with a push/pull.

quote:

Pump/Res combo: XSPC 5.25" Dual Bay Reservoir. Then add the pump at the bottom, just a quiet MCP655-B will do, because this isn't a super-complicated and restrictive loop. Total is $150, but it might be cheaper elsewhere. I didn't do price checks. LINK


So a pump/res combo AND a separate pump elsewhere?






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ILikeLSUToo
LSU Fan
Central, LA
Member since Jan 2008
10192 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


quote:

So a pump/res combo AND a separate pump elsewhere?


No, the title for that item is misleading. The price is for the res, and that res will fit 1 of 3 pumps, and at the bottom you see your options. So it's just a pump/res combo with a choice of pumps.






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Srbtiger06
USA Fan
Buga Nation
Member since Apr 2006
20698 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


quote:

So it's just a pump/res combo with a choice of pumps


Would I be better off with a combo vs separate?






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ILikeLSUToo
LSU Fan
Central, LA
Member since Jan 2008
10192 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


The submerged pump will be quieter, it will take up far less room in your case, and require fewer fittings and less tubing.





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bluebarracuda
USA Fan
Baton Rouge
Member since Oct 2011
6869 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


quote:

Would I be better off with a combo vs separate?


Won't make a difference performance wise. Just depends on how much space you have in your build.

Will you be cooling 2 660ti or a single 680? If it's a single 680, then you'll only need a 360 Rad, but for two 660ti you'll need at least two 240 rads






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ILikeLSUToo
LSU Fan
Central, LA
Member since Jan 2008
10192 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


Yep, if that case really can fit a 360 at the top (and in push/pull?), then that would be good. You can add a 240 at the bottom if you ever go SLI. Or you can do it now, depending on ridiculous you're going to get with CPU OCing.





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Srbtiger06
USA Fan
Buga Nation
Member since Apr 2006
20698 posts

re: Water Cooling: My First Loop


quote:

If it's a single 680, then you'll only need a 360 Rad, but for two 660ti you'll need at least two 240 rads



I seriously doubt I go SLI 660ti.






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