Originally Posted by shellbunner
Thank you both for the tubing suggestions. I'll be ordering the black tubing.
@Neo, since we have the same case, how are you going to configure the radiators and tubing? I'm thinking H220, but are you holding out for the H320?
I could tell you a generic answer, but the more important thing is the "why" behind the plan. With that info, you could make your own plan. And since most users of the H220 are likely to be at early stages of watercooling research, the info below should be of use:
The first priority in my build plan is to have a large radiator area to allow for my fans to run super silent. My PC will be used as my main rig yes, gaming yes, but also as a Blu-Ray ripping-transcoding-movie watching jukebox. With the WD Black 4TB HDs, no need for Blu-Ray ads, fumbling for Blu-Ray cases, loading discs, etc. It's all about the spacebar-play button with a mild compression but still beats iTunes HD files by a country mile. So it needs to be silent, but I also need room for max HDs to store all these Blu-Rays with reasonable compression. Sure I could do external drives, but the costs are higher on those products. I have four spots (2 HDs, 2 SSDs) on the back of the SM8 I will be filling, and a Flex-Bay HD cage gives me a fan intake plus 4 more HDs. That plus a Blu-Ray burner should max out my Sata abilities on my RIVE.
The next priority is positive pressure. More fans blowing in than blowing out will keep the case dust resistant and channels the air better. To accomplish this, I plan on 5x120mm intake fans, 4x120 exhaust fans. The intake locations will be two bottom-front case mounted fans next to the large bottom mounted AX1200i PSU, two front case intakes in the Flex-Bays taking up 6 slots. The last intake is the traditional rear 120mm spot, flipped around for bringing air in. The exhausts will be the 4 fan locations at the top of the case. Positive pressure!! I suppose you could even run the exhausts a bit slower than the intakes to help.
Lets talk Flex-Bays. The SM8 has 11 of them. The ST10 case has more, a selling point, but wastes space otherwise if you only want to use EATX and 60mm rads with push pull fans. Martin Labs states that 30mm shrouds between the fans and the rads are beneficial if you have the room, to put some space between the fan hub and the rad (the SR-1 has a mini built in shroud on one side even) but I would not buy a bigger case just to do this. So for me even with the pedestal which I am getting, the SM8 is just more useful with the space it takes up. It's more money, but the pedestal is worth it and gives superior rad support anyway. The ST10 is seemingly only good for triple thick rads (more than 60mm), bigger than EATX mobos, using the mid-case PSU support bracket, and excessive Flex-Bay support (possible front mounted rads or a billion disc drives). I'll stick with my SM8 plus pedestal over that.
Starting from the bottom, you have the Maelstrom Res with pumps and pump heatsink taking up 2 slots. Normally you would have to use 3 slots to add that heatsink, but since it is safer for leaks to have the res at a lower posistion anyway, might as well put that at the bottom where there is extra clearance so I don't waste a Flex slot just for that. Of course that means the heatsink will be at the bottom of the case, but nothing a spot fan could not fix and really it will be jammed in by other bay equipment anyway no matter what. At least the bottom of the case is pure aluminum for additional heat transfer. Next, I will have a 3 slot 120mm fan. That's it, this takes up 3 more slots. This leaves room to fill up or top off the bottom mounted res, anything above that would block the fill port anyway. Next we have another 3 slot fan intake, but with a 4 slot HD cage in tow. Next we have the Blu-Ray Burner taking up 1 slot. This leaves 2 slots free, which will be vented blank covers to allow for a top mounted 60mm 480 SR-1 rad with push pull fans. And a vented PSU cover at the back for good measure. Alternatively, you could mount a 360 SR-1 or the H320, and gain those two slots back. If you go die hard and just remove the bottom most front fan on a 60mm 480 rad with push pull (or run single fans. The rad is just under 60mm, each fan is 25mm on top of that), you might only need the one Flex slot for clearance. The H220/H320 uses a thin rad, so in smaller cases it will fit better. But in this SM8 case with room for 60mm rads with push pull fans, you are not maximizing your rad ability at all, it is just too thin for the space you have. In general, more rad area is better, allows for lower fan speeds and lower temps, no need for such a thin rad here. Which is why I want to replace it eventually. However, for 480 rads with push pull fans, it is defiantly two Flex slots off to the slaughter. Since I am using PWM (pulse with modulation) for fan control instead of voltage fan control, I don't have to buy a fan controller or use a Flex slot for one. My mobo can control it all. And its more heat/power effective and less complicated on fan controlling and there is no need for fan controller heatsinks/waterblocks.
Then I will mount the pedestal on top of the SM8. It holds dual side mounted 480 rads with push pull fans. Now you have 3 big 480 rads, all venting up and away from the mobo compartment without affecting the positive pressure of the case at all. And as they say, heat rises. Plenty of system elbow room, but not too wasteful. The only issue I see is that you better have a leak proof system, cus of all the water is up top in those rads. So I am sacrificing absolute backup safety for elegance of design. A bottom mounted pedestal would not have airflow as graceful for triple 480 rads. Now if I drop it to dual 480 rads, then a bottom mounted pedestal makes more sense in promoting safety, keeping most of the water lower than the mobo area.
The take away idea is if you are going to watercool, why dump that heat back into the case? Heat is the enemy, it ruins electronics. Keep it away if you can. With the SM8 plus a pedestal, you really don't have to dump the heat back in. If I was not going to use a pedestal, I'd mount a 480 with push pull on the roof blowing up and call it a day. Use all the other spots to blow in for positive pressure. Which for a filter free system is ideal, or even one with filters. It blows the dust right out. The other thing is Martin Labs states is you can gain about 10-20% rad performance in most cases if you go push pull instead of single fan. Some don't believe that is worth the cost, but for a thinner H220 or H320 it totally is as you don't have massive amounts of rads area.
All that said, We are talking ideal situations with unlimited money. And there is such a thing as overkill. I certainly can't afford all of this watercooling stuff right away, making the H220 or H320 a very tempting proposition in the short term, or for those with smaller cases, and is arguably much more than "good enough" if money is tight for the long term too. Then later, when you get upgraditis and more money, you can build off of the H220/H330. That's what I love about it so much. And you get a cool flow adding CPU block instead of a flow robbing one. In choosing between the H220 and H320, the rule of thumb is that you have 120mm of rad area per waterblock, plus another 120mm of rad area for overhead, and the rest is gravy for silence and low fan speeds. But that costs money and is not a need as much as a want. 60mm rads are generally the norm nowadays, one big rad is cheaper and better on flow restriction than two half sized rads. So you might try to partner up a H220 with a 60mm thick 480, or partner up a H320 with a 60mm thick 240, just try to maximize the rad area and thickness for what you can spend and fit. Some go crazy on the super thick Monsta Rads, but I like the build quality better on the HardwareLabs brand which uses the 60mm size. In a smaller system where I was not getting or had a pedestal, it really all depends on your other PC equipment and what other rads you want to do. But I would try to fit in somewhere at least one 60mm SR-1 480 rad with push pull fans (or 360 if you had to step down in size), esp in the SM8 case as it seems silly not to. Now as to which way I will go, top rads for triple 480 rad airflow grace or dual bottom rads for absolute safety, not sure. I'm leaning towards the former option tho. I'm all about keeping the res on bottom Flex Bay slot however. As my only acrylic water holding device, It just seems safer that way.
As for tubing, the answer is keep it as simple as possible. Other than the res coming before the pump and placed higher than the pump (and really that is only a concern as you are filling and bleeding - after the loop is full, you can place it lower - just as long as you never risk running the pump dry, which is not an issue once the loop is full), use the most direct route with the least tube crossings for the cleanest look. There is so little difference in the hottest part of the loop to the coldest, that order of blocks and rads should never factor in. In my case, I will have two pumps. One on the H220/H320, and one on the Maelstrom Res (or two, depending on my wallet). This will give me a backup pump should one fail, and I can turn the CPU one off while filling and bleeding, water will still flow just fine, and later keep it at low speeds during operation for silence if I have to. So I don't need to worry about the H220/H320 pump should I take out the rad with the built in res. For those who want to replace just the Swiftech rad with the built in res but don't want to lose the res, a Swiftech Micro Res 2 would be an excellent option. A second pump is useful for increasing the flow and makes for a backup in case of pump failure. Unlike a heatsink fan setup which can still radiate heat after a fan failure, if the pump fails to move water it could kill your PC a lot quicker.
BTW, all my PC parts are detailed in my signature rig "The Avatar State" just below all my posts, I am working on buying the watercooling parts now.Edited by Neo Zuko - 2/20/13 at 4:33pm