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Advice for my first water cooling loop

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi all

I am entertaining the thought of building my first water cooling loop, and came here to ask for advice.

I currently have an Antec 1200 case, AMD Athlon Dual core processor, NVidia GeForce 9500GS, 850W PSU from coolermaster. CPU and graphics card are both cooled with stock coolers (using air). These coolers are very noisy, and when the CPU is working hard is sounds lika a small hurricane in the case.

This PC is by no means a gaming PC. I use it only for office work and computation, and because of high temperatures, neither CPU nor GPU are overclocked. The CPU temps are 55 degrees celcius in idle and increases to about 67 during high load (measured with Core Temp 0.99.7). I do a lot of CPU-expensisive calculations, and the CPUs are usually quite hot and the CPU cooler running at what sounds like maximum speed, driving me mad with noise.

I am perfectly aware that I can get a decent air cooler for my present CPU and solve the heat- and noise problems, but for my next upgrade I plan to get at least a quad-core intel CPU and overclock it, and instead of buying aircoolers now and water-coooling with my next upgrade, I want to invest in a good-quality watercooling-system now. Who knows, I might even be able to overclock my present AMD processor?

My problem: I have no experience with water cooling whatsoever, but I have spent a few days reading up on the subject. I have considered Corsairs H80 and H100 because of the simple setup and the virtually non-existent danger of leaks, but have found that a custom loop gives me more flexibility and is more reuseable when upgrading.

After reading many threads in here and other forums, I have (almost) decided on these components:

However, I have a few questions:
  • RADIATOR: I plan to mount the radiator in the back of the Antec case, where there are 2 120m fans regulated by a fan speed controller. I would prefer to have the radiator inside the case, at least at the time being. I would prefer to use the fans already mounted in the case (stock fans, pulling air from the inside of the case and out) since their speed can be regulated. I know that it is always best to blow cold air from outside the case over the radiator fins, but is is possible to pull air from the inside of the case since I do not have a dust filter on the fans already mounted in the case? As far as I can tell, this is a radiator with low FPI, and therefor should be able to perform well with low fan speeds and low noise? Is it best to have the fans in a pull configuration for this? Does anyone have a similar setup and can verify that this setup is likely to work?
  • PUMP: Some says that this is the most silent of the powerful pumps, and some says that the MCP355 is more quiet. I would like a pump that is both silent but powerful enough to cool my preent gear and upgrades for years to come. I like the thought of being able to regulate the pump speed, and decided on the MCP655, but would like to know if any of you have recomendations for me? The best for me would be a pump that can push enough water for my current system and be very quiet, and also push enough water in a bigger system without being too noisy. I am also considering the AquaComputer Aquastream Ultra pump because of its configurability, but since it is based on Windows I don't think I want it. I run a Linux environment.
  • RESERVOIR: I would like to have a reservoir that is accessible from the front, so I can easily see the water level and the movement in the water (hence the spin thingy). But I have some worries for this reservoir. I have read that the water nees to be "dead". Wouldn't a spinner like this mix oxygen into the water, and make it easier for green stuff to grow inside it? My guess is that a reservoir in front requires a bit of effort to refill, and therefore I would like a big one so I don't have to take it out so often. I would also guess that the spinner thingy makes some noise? Does anybody have this reservoir and want to share experiences about noice? How often does it need refill?
  • LIQUID: I have been told that just destilled water is best for the loop, others says that with only destilled water algae will begin to grow inside it, especially if the water is not "dead" (see comment for reservoir). Some says that a silver coil is good, some says that a silver coil is about the worst I can add to the loop. I plan to use only copper components in my loop, and have also heard that some copper will come into the water and kill algae and stuff like them. Some says that coolant that can be bought (e.g. the AquaComputer Double Protect) is the best, and other says it will stain my components. What is true and what isn't? What is the best coolant?

All advice, recomandations, proposals for improvements will be thankfully received. This is my first experience with water cooling, so if anyone can think of better/more suitable components and/or setup, I would be grateful. Since I live in Norway it would be great if I could find a store where I can buy everything and get it shipped in one order since taxing in my country is a bit expencive and I have to pay for each shipment
Edited by Iznogood - 10/23/11 at 10:27am
post #2 of 7
Quote:
where there are 2 120m fans regulated
You cant fit a 240 rad on the inside at the back as it will hit the 200mm fan.

Have a look at the EK coolstreams they are a good price, and have a fairly low FPI(I get away with 700RPM fans on mine). The rad you posted as 16 FPI, so you need fast fans to get a good result out of that.

As for the pump, you will only have to run it on setting 1 on a small loop like that, it will make next to no noise.

I have the same case so.. Have a look at the WaterCooling link im my sig
Edited by andrewmchugh - 10/23/11 at 10:28am
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrewmchugh View Post
You cant fit a 240 rad on the inside at the back as it will hit the 200mm fan.

Have a look at the EK coolstreams they are a good price, and have a fairly low FPI(I get away with 700RPM fans on mine). The rad you posted as 16 FPI, so you need fast fans to get a good result out of that.

(...)

I have the same case so.. Have a look at the WaterCooling link im my sig
Too bad the radiator can't be installed on the inside back of the Antec 1200. It's the only place inside the case I can install it. It looks like your radiator is mounted at the front and occupies most of the drive bays? Unfortunately my drive bays are filled with drives

Looks like the only way to do it is to mount it outside at the back then. Something like this:


I do not move the case often, so I don't think it will be a big problem. This way I can cool the radiator with cold air from the outside of the case whatever configuration of the case intake/exhaust fans. Or am I too naïve?

I have also checked out the EK Coolstream you suggested and it looks far more promising than the one I found. I have also been recomended a radiator from coolgate, either 240 or 360 depending on where to install it. 240 if internal installment and 360 if external. I believe you understand the diagrams in the atteched coolgate test link more than I do. Is the coolgate in the same league as the EK radiator you suggested, or is the EK better?
post #4 of 7
Honestly i think i'd upgrade my system first before venturing in to WC
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post #5 of 7
For that small of a loop, that pump should have plenty of power. When it comes to liquid, distilled is definitely the way to go. I have had distilled and a silver kill coil in my loop for over 6 months now, and it still looks as crystal clear as the day I poured it in. I'll also add that I have two copper blocks in the loop, and that hasn't affected anything. Overall, those components should provide more than adequate cooling for your current setup, and also be great for when you move to a quad core. Good luck!
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post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Matt26LFC View Post
Honestly i think i'd upgrade my system first before venturing in to WC
I have to admit, that was my first thought as well. To be honest it really doesn't sound like you *need* a custom loop for your use. An H80/H100 can last you through your next upgrade and possibly beyond, and it won't hit your wallet very hard. Don't get me wrong, I think WC is a great idea, you just have to fully weigh the pros and cons, and based on your post I think an all-in-one will fit all of your needs and save you some money to put towards upgrades.
post #7 of 7
Have you looked into all in one or preassembled loops?

I think one of the biggest advantages of custom loops are having CPU and GPU under water. Seeing as this is mostly office and computational, maybe putting the CPU under one of the Hydro Series from Corsair may be an option. Its alot cheaper too!
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