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Where to Start WaterCooling? - 3770k, SLI 670s, Corsair Obsidian 550D

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hi guys, so I've considered the WC solution for a while but haven't gotten to it.

I currently have a Corsair A70 Air Cooler on the CPU (3770k), it runs at 4.6ghz and that is as high as I'll push it because it hits 80s on benchmarks.

My two 670's, both Gigabyte Windforce, run incredibly cool. They are overclocked to 1137/3202 and run whisper quiet at 40-50% fan speed and around 66C benching.

I am sure that if I unlocked their voltages and cranked them (one is a much better OCer than the other unfortunately) I could easily hit 1250~ but then I assume they will start getting hot. Right now they are both at stock voltages of 1.175.

So.. here's my question.

What is the least expensive I can get into watercooling at? What do I need? I know literally nothing about it aside from the general concept, and the viewing of other people's masterpieces on this site.

How much is this going to cost me? I have the space for 2x120 rad at the top of my case.. I am not sure what else is needed.

I'm sure there are tons of guides, but I love OCN input thumb.gif
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OCZ Solid 3 128GB SSD Samsung 830 256GB SSD WD Caviar Crucial M500 980GB 
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Dat Rig
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Standard DVD-RW Corsair A70 CPU Heatsink, All Air Windows 7 64-bit Planar SA2311W 120hz 
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Rosewill RK-9000BL Cherry-MX Blacks Corsair TX750 Bronze Corsair Obsidian 550D Microsoft Intellimouse 3.0 w/ Hyperglides 
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post #2 of 8
Well, if you want to go simple, and inexpensive and just want to water cool your 3770K, you could go with a Kraken x60 kit. I built up 4 systems using that water cooling kit in a Corsair 550D case just resently and the temps are way cool, even at a 4.6 or 4.7GHz overclock ... and the system is ultra quiet.

The 550D can hold a 140.2 radiator or a 120.2 radiator. I went with the larger 140.2 kit. Depending on where you get it, the Kraken will cost you about $135-140 (Newegg has them for $138 with free shipping).

See my "Double Twins" build log for details.


Trying to do a custom water cooling loop for both of your video cards and the CPU in that case will be very tricky (because the case isn't all that large), so I would recommend either just going with a CPU cooler and since you seem happy with the cooling on your video cards, just stay with air on them and WC your CPU for better over clocking.

Once you get your feet wet (so to speak), you might consider a larger case and then WC all of it.
Edited by 47 Knucklehead - 3/19/13 at 3:54pm
post #3 of 8
Use the money for something else. The performance gains over air don't come close to justifying the cost and the extra risk and maintenance. It could be worth it if you value a silent PC more than the average user.

If you want performance, sell your 670s and use the money you would have spent on water cooling to buy better hardware.

EDIT: If you want big performance gains, look into phase-change cooling or TEC loops. The only problem is that both use a ton of power and produce a lot of noise and heat, but the performance gains are much more drastic.
Edited by littledonny - 3/19/13 at 4:04pm
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post #4 of 8
I think most water cool not because they absolutely need it. But because it's fun and takes some time researching and it is like a branch off hobby in itself. I could have bought 2 more 670's instead of watercooling but I wanted the experience and I had a lot of fun doing it.

I wouldnt go into it thinking whats the cheapest I can do it for or you will only cut corners and may not be satisfied. Collect the pieces over a bit of time if you need to.

Also I would try to have a 360 and a 240 for what you are cooling. ( if you are cooling everything ) Then you would need to do some cutting with that case.

3 water blocks = aprx $300

Pump/res = aprx $100 - $150

2 rads = aprx $150 - $200

tubing/fitting/ect = aprx $ 50 - $300
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the feedback guys. This is technically the assumption I've made.. is that watercooling is for when you run out of things to spend money on and want a tiny bit more performance..

I am not as into the hobby of it, especially since I live in San Francisco and have relatively stable, cool ambient temps.

I guess I'll just keep pouring over the GTX Titan owner's thread and keep trying to resist the urge to buy one.. two.. of them..
Dat Rig
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OCZ Solid 3 128GB SSD Samsung 830 256GB SSD WD Caviar Crucial M500 980GB 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Standard DVD-RW Corsair A70 CPU Heatsink, All Air Windows 7 64-bit Planar SA2311W 120hz 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Rosewill RK-9000BL Cherry-MX Blacks Corsair TX750 Bronze Corsair Obsidian 550D Microsoft Intellimouse 3.0 w/ Hyperglides 
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Dat Rig
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Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
OCZ Solid 3 128GB SSD Samsung 830 256GB SSD WD Caviar Crucial M500 980GB 
Optical DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Standard DVD-RW Corsair A70 CPU Heatsink, All Air Windows 7 64-bit Planar SA2311W 120hz 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Rosewill RK-9000BL Cherry-MX Blacks Corsair TX750 Bronze Corsair Obsidian 550D Microsoft Intellimouse 3.0 w/ Hyperglides 
AudioAudio
SoundBlaster Z SBX - Yamaha RX-V375 - Pioneer S... Audio Technica ATH-D700X Headphones 
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post #6 of 8
Watercooling was a much more lucrative investment back before heat pipe cooling was the norm. Now, it's hard to justify throwing away excellent pre-designed and manufactured stock, heatpipe-based cooling solutions that you've already paid for, in favor of spending more money and time to increase the risk, void warranties, and only get marginal differences in gained performance.
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post #7 of 8
Quote:
Originally Posted by littledonny View Post

Watercooling was a much more lucrative investment back before heat pipe cooling was the norm. Now, it's hard to justify throwing away excellent pre-designed and manufactured stock, heatpipe-based cooling solutions that you've already paid for, in favor of spending more money and time to increase the risk, void warranties, and only get marginal differences in gained performance.

It all depends on what you consider "marginal" and what you plan on doing with it.

For example, on a 2500K with a CM 212+, I could only get a stable OC for 24/7 Folding@Home of about 4.4GHz. Once I put that under water, I could OC it 24/7 at 4.9GHz. To me, 500MHz isn't "marginal".
post #8 of 8
It is marginal if you consider that you could have put that money toward another standard rig and gotten much higher gains per dollar spent.

When getting an extra 10% performance costs as much or more than the CPU itself, that is the definition of marginal.
Overkill
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Intel 750 400GB Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 850 EVO 500GB WD Black 4TB 7200RPM 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Hitachi 2TB 7200RPM Corsair H80i GT Windows 10 Professional Acer Predator X34 3440x1440 100hz IPS 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Razer BlackWidow Chroma Corsair RM1000i SilverStone RV02 Razer DeathAdder 3G 
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Overkill
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7 5820k @ 4.625Ghz ASUS Rampage V Extreme GTX 1080 Ti 32GB G.Skill RIPJAWS 3200Mhz CL14 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Intel 750 400GB Samsung 850 Pro 512GB Samsung 850 EVO 500GB WD Black 4TB 7200RPM 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Hitachi 2TB 7200RPM Corsair H80i GT Windows 10 Professional Acer Predator X34 3440x1440 100hz IPS 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
Razer BlackWidow Chroma Corsair RM1000i SilverStone RV02 Razer DeathAdder 3G 
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