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Water cooling an HTPC, need some advice and guidance

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, I am looking for a little advice on watercooling, and after lurking around these forums for the last couple weeks digging up as much info as I can its time to just ask for help.

I built an HTPC about 6 months ago:
Lian Li PC-C33B
i5-2405S
Sapphire 6850

Now I am not overclocking anything as I dont need to for an HTPC, and I really dont use it for gaming like I had intended so I plan on pulling the 6850 to reduce power/heat. With that said, I was thinking about trying to incorporate watercooling into that case (partly for reduced noise, partly for more efficent cooling in a semi-confined space, and partly as an expiment before doing the same to my i7 / 7970 gaming tower). The issue is that the only place to put a radiator on that case is the rear exaust ports and that is a dual 80mm fan setup.

I found an dual 80mm radiator (http://www.frozencpu.com/products/9714/ex-rad-169/Black_Ice_GTX_Xtreme_M160_Dual_Pass_Liquid_Cooling_Radiator_-_Dual_80mm.html?tl=g30c95s158)

And I was eyeballing the APOGEE 2 (http://www.frozencpu.com/products/16151/ex-blc-1119/Swiftech_Apogee_Drive_II_Pump_and_CPU_Waterblock_Combo_-_Sockets_11551366_APD2-1155-1366.html)

Then using a Y adapter and no resivoir. I might be able to fit one in there somewhere, but I would have to get really creative as I have occupied all the bays with either hardrives or blu ray or IR reciever.

I just cant seem to find anything that would tell me if that one radiator on a 65w CPU would be sifficent. I see other metrics that sugest it would be, as a dual 120 will cool 150ish watts of heat?

Anyways, I am hoping for a little feedback, I want to get into the watercooling, and am trying to do my homework before doing anything.

Thanks all for your help!
post #2 of 10
I think that radiator will be more than sufficient to cool the CPU. 120mm of rad space per component is all you need, even when you are overclocking. Since you arent overclocking and are going for silence and not performance, that 80mm rad is more than enough. Good luck with your project thumb.gif
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post #3 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the response. I figured that was the answer but really wanted someone who knows more then me to verify it before I drop $200+ on a loop.

Any opinion on forgoing a reservoir and just doing a splitter for a fill port?
post #4 of 10
That radiator is a bad choice if silence is a concern. It has a high fin density which will require louder fans. If you are unable to fit a 120mm radiator in your fan I would suggest spending the money towards better air cooled heatsinks.

I am speaking from experience. I have had the same radiator sitting on my shelf for many years after trying to watercool a similar HTPC case.
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post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by lowfat View Post

That radiator is a bad choice if silence is a concern. It has a high fin density which will require louder fans. If you are unable to fit a 120mm radiator in your fan I would suggest spending the money towards better air cooled heatsinks.

I am speaking from experience. I have had the same radiator sitting on my shelf for many years after trying to watercool a similar HTPC case.

well that's a bit disappointing to hear. I appreciate you sharing that though. My plan had been to use the existing 80mm case fans and only replace them if they just weren't cutting it. They are very quiet. Unfortunately I don't know exactly what they are so I don't know the actual specs on them. I was only able to find 2 dual 80mm radiators, both by the same mfg, just a little different in actual size. Is there another option that would suit my goals or is the search for 80mm radiators a futile thing? I'm going to open up the computer this weekend, but I really don't know where I would be able to mount a 120 rad, not a lot of options in that case, and the side vents are partially blocked as its inside a cabinet. (I'm a remodeling contractor by day, so carpentry is a skill I poses, I custom built the cabinet, its open faced with roughly 2 inches on each side for some airflow into the side vents).
post #6 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kendrose View Post

well that's a bit disappointing to hear. I appreciate you sharing that though. My plan had been to use the existing 80mm case fans and only replace them if they just weren't cutting it. They are very quiet. Unfortunately I don't know exactly what they are so I don't know the actual specs on them. I was only able to find 2 dual 80mm radiators, both by the same mfg, just a little different in actual size. Is there another option that would suit my goals or is the search for 80mm radiators a futile thing? I'm going to open up the computer this weekend, but I really don't know where I would be able to mount a 120 rad, not a lot of options in that case, and the side vents are partially blocked as its inside a cabinet. (I'm a remodeling contractor by day, so carpentry is a skill I poses, I custom built the cabinet, its open faced with roughly 2 inches on each side for some airflow into the side vents).

Would you be able to cut a 120mm hole in the top of the case and have a rad mounted to that? Is there room for two desperate 80mm rads? If so u could go with rads with less FPI and put them in two different spots. Or you could cut holes for tubing and mount your radiator externally.
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post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hammadj View Post

Would you be able to cut a 120mm hole in the top of the case and have a rad mounted to that? Is there room for two desperate 80mm rads? If so u could go with rads with less FPI and put them in two different spots. Or you could cut holes for tubing and mount your radiator externally.

With this case you can mount 120mm fans on the side, as the sides are for air intake. The issue is I don't think I could get a radiator and fan on either side, either the drive cage or the PSU would be in the way of something that thick. I don't want to mount anything externally, as my cabinet doesn't have the extra clearance to do that. I *think* there would be the possibility of cutting a hole in the top, but I'll have to open the case up and measure. There is a support bar across the top, dead in the middle running front to back. I am not stacking anything on top of this, so I could remove it if I really wanted. I'll just have to make sure I can put it over the CPU side of the mobo so if I do want to add the video car back in I have the option.
post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
So I opened up the box today, and took some measurements. That rear exaust wouldnt have worked with that dual 80mm radiator anyways. Its apx 7.75 inches long, and the space is only 6.625 inches long. So I made sure to measure the space to go out the side, which is pictured below. That space is 11.125 x 6 x 2.625. So I think I could fit a dual 12mm radiator along with a PWM 120mm fan. It would be a bit of a tight fit, but should work. This way I could start with the CPU and add in the GPU later and not have to worry so much about the heat dissipation inside the case.
lowfat, I took your advice into account and thats why I am eyeing that swiftect radiator, its 12fpi instead of 20.



The only thing I am concerned with now is venting out the side since its inside a cabinet, I dont know if the 1.5 inches I have between the case and cabinet wall is going to be an issue. Its open front to back so air can move either way.



I am selling off some salvage from a jobsite that should fund this endevour, so I may be doing it sooner rather then later. Now I just need to look into a waterblock for that video card.
post #9 of 10
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kendrose View Post


The only thing I am concerned with now is venting out the side since its inside a cabinet, I dont know if the 1.5 inches I have between the case and cabinet wall is going to be an issue. Its open front to back so air can move either way.
.

I think it would be fine. If you can fit a 2x120mm there then I say go for it. Swiftech radiators are a good choice.
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post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok, thanks. Its close, but the numbers say it will fit. If its just a hair off, I can gain roughly 1/8" by removing the fan grill on that hardrive cage fan. Ill probably do this in the next couple weeks, when I do Ill post back.

I appreciate the help guys.
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