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New build, need help - Antec Mini P180 Watercool

post #1 of 30
Thread Starter 
I have no idea how to even begin to water cool a PC. Never done it, can't even conceive the raw number of pitfalls and fatal mistakes I could make. So I come to you, the experts, for advice and assistance.

I figured I'd start with the components of the system and then if you need more information we'll go from there.

Stuff I already have

Case: Antec Mini P180
Mobo: ASUS Rampage III GENE
PSU: OCZ 850W Modular, don'r emember the model
CPU: i7 960
RAM: 3x 6GB Kingston HyperX 1333
HDD: 2x WD Caviar Black 500GB ea. RAID 0

Now for what it's going to have
RAM: 3 more 6GB Kingston HyperX 1333 - total of 6 sticks and 12GB
GPUs: 2x EVGA GTX 580 Hydro Copper 2 - factory watercooled with a custom Swiftech block at EVGA
SSD: Kingston HyperX 120GB SATA III
Keeping the RAID array too.

All that being said, I don't even know where to begin conceptualizing the cooling structure, but this is what I thought of so far, please tell me if I'm way off base here:

The bottom of the case houses the PSU and 2x 5.25 bays. In those bays, I can put a 3x 3.5 rack so that I can house my hard drives down there easily. The SSD and both Caviar Blacks will go down there along with the PSU.

This clears up the two drive cages present in the case. These cages take up exactly the base area of a 120mm fan, and are about 5 inches deep into the case or so. There is also about an inch and a half of margin toward the back panel of the case. for each of the cage bays.

The top of the case houses a single 5.25 bay, and toward the back a 200mm Antec BigBoy fan.

Continuing down along the back, there's a spot for another 120mm approximately aligned with where a tower cooler for the CPU would be.

Then there's the expansion slots. In addition to the two PCIe slots being occupied, there will be an audio interface plugged into the PCI slot at the very bottom. The GPUs are single-slot so there's a 1-slot space between them.

What I was thinking was to put 3 120mm single rads - one for the CPU and one for each GPU.

The CPU waterblock I'd use is the Swiftech Apogee HD which has four inlet/outlets, depending on use. If anyone has experience with this block, please clarify because I don't know if what I want to do is legal.

The Resevoir/Pump combo I want to use is a Koolance bay unit with one in and one out.

The flow would go res/pump out -> cpu in -> split to two outs -> each GPU's rad -> the GPUs -> y-fitting -> res in

I have no idea if that would even work. Getting even more in-depth (I'm neurotic) I'm also concerned about maintaining negative pressure in my case, assuming that's the right way to do it anyway. I was going to have the GPU rad fans be intake, and then the CPU rad fan and the bigboy up top be exhaust.

I know it's a lot, but I really want to do this right. Money is no object - If you know of a better way to do this for a bit more cash, by all means!

Also, I'm reticent to mod my case, but not totally against it. I'd like to avoid it, but if there's a mod that will simplify everything a million times, please divulge.

I really appreciate the advice, guys. Thanks in advance!!
-btzmacin.
Edited by btzmacin - 2/7/12 at 8:09pm
post #2 of 30
The Apogee HD and the Hydro Coppers are both fairly restrictive, pair that up with 3 radiators and you'll likely need a pair of pumps to handle it. Running 2 of the radiators in parallel isn't something I'd advise either, I'd run something like pump > rad > cpu > rad > gpu's in parallel > rad >. I'd also advise against a negative pressure setup, that means you'll be sucking in air through any gaps in the case, which of course won't be filtered in any way, so you'll end up with significantly more dust than in a positive airflow setup.

I'd suggest going with the XSPC Raystorm block, as it's currently the lowest restriction out there. This will help keep your overall restriction down, and if you plan around it you can likely get away with a single pump. I'd also consider getting standard 580's and buying aftermarket blocks, as pretty much any other water block for the 580's has less restriction.
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post #3 of 30
Your going to want more than 3 120mm rads.
I would start off with a new case. I water cooled in a mini p180 once, it was NOT easy.
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post #4 of 30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mxthunder View Post

Your going to want more than 3 120mm rads.
I would start off with a new case. I water cooled in a mini p180 once, it was NOT easy.

I have to agree. this was my first thought before i saw this post. Go with a full ATX case, get an horizontal one but cubes and minis are designed for convenience, not cooling.
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post #5 of 30
I would tell you that before you do anything to read the info here [=http://www.overclock.net/t/226970/updated-water-cooling-essential-threads/0_40]link[/]. There is a ton of good info to get you started
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post #6 of 30
Thread Starter 
Is it absolutely necessary to go with a new case? I really didn't want to end up building a new system (if I buy a bigger case, I'm gonna end up getting a new mobo, cpu, ram, etc...I know how I shop) - I simply wanted to max out what I already have without wasting any parts if possible.

Will the 3 120mm rads not be enough to keep the system cool or is it simply a matter of facility?

I am also open to modding the case in order to mount a larger radiator on the top.

Please advise.

I am modifying my plan to reflect your suggestion - the XSPC cpu block and the aftermarket GPU solution as opposed to the hydro copper cards. There aren't too many issues there, and it opens up many more possibilities for me so thanks!

Now I'm wondering specifically - and connected to the above question with the 120s - with keeping the P180 but allowing a mod of some sort if needed, what would be the most efficient configuration? I have even more question marks in my design now unfortunately, since I'm allowing myself to think of possibly using space outside the case.
post #7 of 30
Look at the pics of the build Im doing right now, its a 3 rad setup in a Cosmos 2 case
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post #8 of 30
The 3x120's will cool your system, but temps won't be amazing. It should still perform better than air cooling, but I personally wouldn't think it would be worth the cost for the performance you get.
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post #9 of 30
Thread Starter 
Okay you know what, I'm going to refactor this whole plan...back to the drawing board. It seems that this whole thing is going to turn my neat little box into frankenstein and that would prevent me from being able to sell it later, lol.

So as far as that's concerned, how much surface area do I need per component keeping in mind that I'd like to optimize noise, surface area, and cooling efficiency in that noise and area down and efficiency up? How does one calculate that? I'm going to go out on a limb and say that it involves a bit of calculus?
post #10 of 30
http://www.overclock.net/t/406256/the-official-bong-lovers-club-56k-fail/0_20
 
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