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Advice Requested - 'Unusual' Watercooling for the Elysium

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Hey everybody,

First time poster here [please be gentle...] wondering if anyone would care to share their advice based on experience of water-cooling an Elysium. I have a particularly unusual setup in mind, and I would be very grateful for any tips/tricks that the community would care to offer. Right, let's get to it... [ Oh, in case it's not apparent from what follows, I'm a complete n00b at this, and would prefer to avoid too many expensive mistakes... ]

This is my first Xigmatek build and my second water-cooled system. The rough configuration so far is as follows:-

Gigabyte X79S-UP5-Wifi Motherboard
Intel Core i7 3820 Quad-Core CPU [probably oc'd to from 3.6GHz to about 4.2GHz]
Kingston HyperX Beast Memory, 32Gb (4 x 8Gb) 2400MHz RAM
nVidia 680 GTX Water-Cooled [probably mildly oc'd]
Seasonic 850W PSU

The reason this may be a bit of an exotic build is simply because I plan to install two water cooling circuits, with the aim being to achieve an extremely quiet system. I'm not looking to wring the last % of performance from this system, so although I would like to over-clock CPU and GPU, I don't propose to push things too far. If I have to decide between backing off the MHz or cranking up fans, it's likely to be the MHz that will lose out...

Here's my proposal [then we get to the questions...]

I would like to fit a 3-way radiator and triple fan assembly, horizontally, to the underside of the "top surface" of the case. I have seen plenty of pictures of this configuration on the net, so figure it's entirely possible. I would also like to fit a 2-way radiator and a dual fan assembly, vertically, inside the front of the case [by my calculations this will require that I sacrifice the lower 7 external drive bays.]

Occupancy of the top 5 drive bays will be as follows [though perhaps not necessarily in this order...

1. Coolant Reservoir for the Triple radiator circuit
2. An Akasa 5.25" Drive Bay Housing that presents 4 hot-swap 2.5" SATA Drive sockets. [ I will run this machine exclusively on 2.5" SSDs and will be able to boot between different OS configurations without having to configure any system to be multi-boot. Initial setup will include 2 x Win7 and 2 x Mint Linux].
3. An XSPC multimedia card reader [CompactFlash, etc]
4. Pioneer BluRay Drive
5. Pioneer DVD-RW Drive

I should mention - looking at the *stock* TDP of the CPU and GPU, all the evidence suggests that the GPU will run hotter than the processor. For this reason, I think it's probably most sensible to connect the GPU to the triple in the case roof, and the CPU to the dual at the front. The long hoses won't be pretty, but thermally it should perform better... [ Feel free to comment on that!]

OK, so now we get to the fun questions...

Q1. Dual Radiator - I'd like to know if anyone has any experience of mounting a radiator vertically inside the drive bays at the front of the case. I would like to leave the space between the radiator and the PSU, on the case floor, free, because I'll need it for 2 pumps... If so, I'd be grateful for any advice you may care to offer. I am able to source some simple 90-degree mounting brackets that allow me to get a fixed connection to the radiator screw holes, and sliding slots to adjust to available mount points on the case. I'm thinking that there should be a few decent fixing points to the sides of the drive bays?

Q2. Dual Radiator - finding a suitable reservoir for this circuit. I am thinking that the loop could usefully be Pump -> CPU -> Res -> Rad -> Pump, with the idea being that if I went with a vertically-mounted, tubular reservoir "behind" the external drive bays, there should be space to put something in, either within the bay space and no taller than the radiator itself, or perhaps between the rear of the external bays and the leading edge of the mobo. I'm not sure if I would have to run inlet and exhaust plumbing from the same end of the res - but it occurs to me that it would be nice to go from the GPU to a top-mounted inlet, and then take the res exhaust out the bottom and pipe it direct to the radiator. Again, your thoughts would be welcomed...

Q3. Fans - when it comes to mounting fans, I am thinking of placing them on the inside of the case [with respect to the rad] and thus making them pushers, exhausting air from inside the case to the outside. I am also thinking of making the fans on the triple radiator to be pusher fans, lifting air from inside the case up and out through the top of the case. This means that I'll essentially have 5 case exhaust fans [albeit through radiators]... Do you think that will be enough? [ I am trying to get away from the need for a backplane exhaust fan].

Q4. Dual Radiator Circuit Reservoir. Assuming that you're not either horrified or laughing at the explanation so far, would anyone care to recommend a suitable reservoir that would fit the job? Thinking a vertically-mounted cylinder, ideally with a feed at the top and exhaust at the bottom [with the potential to use the top of the res as the fill point].

Q5. Triple Radiator - Given that I propose to use one of my 5.25" drive bays as the res for the "triple" circuit, I am proposing have the res at the top of the drive bay stack, and come out of the radiator with a 90 degree angle joint and then a straight run to the reservoir inlet. I was then thinking that another 90 degree bend on the exhaust from the reservoir would allow me to run a nice, neat vertical pipe down to my pump, and from there I can push back to the GPU [bottom side as the card is mounted]. The return would be from the "top" side of the card up to the inlet port on the radiator. The question this time is all about fluid pressures. I'm conscious that the drop from the radiator to the pump [if mounted next to the dual rad pump on the floor of the case] is quite impressive, and as such the pump is going to have to work quite hard to keep the fluid running in this circuit. Is this an unrealistic configuration for a case with the height of an Elysium?

Q6. Radiators - The best radiators I have available to me look to be either XSPC or Hardware Labs Black Ice... Would anyone with experience of either care to venture an opinion as to quality/suitability, etc please? Which one is best? Are there others I should consider?

Q7. Pumps - Bearing in mind the "head pressure" needed for the "Triple" circuit, would anyone care to recommend a suitable pump for this rig please? I suppose it would be nice to buy two of the same [if for no reason other than it will look neater] but it doesn't have to be that way. As long as I can get the flow rate I need for adequate cooling, the most important thing to consider is lowest possible noise. Budget/cost are not really an issue - I'll spend more for the best solution, if required.

Q8. Pumps - My existing system has a good pump, but it's definitely audible. Has anyone experimented with "silencing" a pump? I worry that the heat they produce might make wrapping them in sound-absorbing material a really bad idea, but I'm curious to know if anyone has tried it? Irrespective of that, would anyone care to recommend a good make and/or model of pump for me to consider for this build please?

Q9. Plumbing - Even though I've ordered a case without the clear side panel, I really would like to make this a super-neat build... That gives me 2 questions from a plumbing perspective. The first is... should I be particularly worried about the type and bore of hoses that I specify? Instinct tells me that the larger the ID (inside diameter, or bore) the better, but I'm open to suggestions...

Q10. Plumbing - 2nd question: In a lot of the pictures of water-cooled rigs I've seen, the builders have installed curved and looped hoses when a couple of straight runs with a 90-degree bend might have been neater. I'm suspecting that either it's a cost thing [saves on price of the corners] or a leak-proofing thing [every 90-degree bend adds two more potential leak points] or it's a flow rate thing [too many sharp bends cuts down the water flow rate]. I am interested to know how members of the community have approach the dual challenge of getting a water cooling circuit with a clean and tidy flow, against getting a circuit that doesn't end up a mass of cluttered pipes.


Thank you, very much, for reading this far. Thanks also, in advance, for any suggestions you'd care to make. If there is interest in this project, I'll be happy to post some photographs once the build is done.

Best

C
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
I am *so* sorry - I had one more question to ask... [duh]...

The above specified build will include a minimum of 5 radiator fans [i.e. those fans which could potentially be speed-adjusted]. Bearing in mind that I am proposing to sacrifice 7 of the 12 front-facing bays to allow me to fit a radiator vertically inside the front of the case [which may mean I have no space for this], I am wondering if I could/should be considering some fan speed-controller technology?

If so, where would I fit it?

Depending on how deep any such unit might be, one option might be to take one of the drive bays [6th from top] and to partially obscure the top section of the radiator with a fan controller. But it all depends if the fan controller would be "short" enough to not push the radiator too far back.

This is just a wild and whacky idea, and may well be too silly to implement. Perhaps someone could let me know...?

Thanks!
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