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Hey all, new to posting on tech forums, but since this is often the place Google takes me when I'm researching something, I figured this would be the place to ask! Also, once this project is all said and done, I plan to dabble in overclocking, something I have absolutely no experience in, and well, I'm hoping you're named OCN for a reason!

Before I dive in, this is the system I'm currently working with:

Raidmax Smilodon case
MSI 790fx-gd70
2x 2GB g Skillz 1333 MHz RAM
2x 4GB g Skillz 1333 MHZ RAM
AMD Phenom II X6 1090T (stock clocks)
Sapphire 4870 2GB edition (stock clocks)
OCZ 700W power supply
Windows 7 Pro

I built the initial system a few years back and have done a few upgrades over the last few years. It's not the best system I've seen but it works for me, and I was on a pretty stringent budget at the time. I've read the stickys on multiple sites and have done a bunch of reading over the past few days, so I'm at the point where I have tons of theoretical knowledge but nothing physical, so I'm guessing I'm pretty dangerous. tongue.gif

My goal here is to build a custom liquid cooling loop for this system, and since the Smilodon is not the roomiest case, my thoughts at this point are to build a desk to house the entire system. (Inspiration) While this is a beautiful build, I would like to design/make something myself, rather than copy or modify something someone has already done, so that at the end of the day I can be happy with something that I have built myself. However, the desk is for another day, and this is the water cooling subforum, so on to that.

I'm currently thinking: Res > Pump > CPU > GPU > Rad > Res

For the entire system, I would like to do it right the first time, but keep the budget at a reasonable level. I don't want to buy low quality stuff because it's cheap, but I don't need the best of the best either.

Before beginning I should probably ask this too, as it may change the blocks I need to buy for the entire loop. I stumbled upon this post: while I was browsing forums, and was intrigued. Are there pros to using metal pipe rather than plastic? I realize you can't see the water but then again, it's just water so what is there to see? Are there cons or things to watch out for if I do decide to go that route? I mainly just saw his picture showing what it looked like partially setup on a motherboard and thought it looked fantastic. If it'd be over my head as a beginner I can always skip it for now and file it away under "eventually".


From what I've read so far, I like the look of the Swiftech Apogee Drive II. However, I was wondering what the experts thought. Does performance suffer due to having the pump mounted directly on the waterblock? Is the waterblock itself a good block, or would I be better off purchasing a higher quality block and getting a dedicated pump? There's so much variety I didn't to much researching after I found the Drive II, but if that's not a good option I will look into others. I would preferably like one that supports both AMD/Intel, as if I ever do a new build it will likely be an Intel board, since I'd want something with more than 4 DIMMs.

For the GPU block I planned on getting a basic one size fits all, as the 4870 I currently have could stand to be upgraded, and these are much cheaper. I was waiting on the HD 8000 series but from the look of things I'll now have to wait for the 9000 series, so I've really got no real time frame on when the upgrade will happen. The MCW82 by Swiftech seems to be well reviewed, Koolance also has a few different products which seem to be well made also. Anyone have preferences on a universal GPU waterblock?

Here's where my biggest questions are. As I'm building a desk to house the computer/liquid cooling loop, size isn't a huge issue, as I will design/build to fit the components. I've found some helpful posts on different radiator sizes, and done the math myself to compare cooling areas. I initially started looking at a triple 120mm setup, but the triple 140mms have so much more cooling area (more than even quad 120mms) for a relatively compact form factor. I also saw the 2x 200mm by Phobya with an even larger cooling area. The 200mm fans are much slower and can be quieter, however don't push air as well, making it hard to find good radiator fans (I would imagine). The 200mm radiator is also quite large, so even with this being inside a desk it may pose some challenges.

Right now I think I'm leaning towards a triple 140mm, unless someone has any other suggestions, or someone who has experience with the double 200mm tells me how fantastic it is and that I need to buy it. haha

Phobya Dual 200mm Radiator

Above is a link to the dual 200mm, and below are 2 triple 140mms by Alphacool. Is the Monsta worth it? Having a thicker radiator seems like it would be a good idea as long as you get fans that have enough static pressure for it. However if it's only a marginal increase, I'd rather save $50 and go with the second link. Thoughts? And speaking of fans, anyone have any they would recommend over others? Seems the Fluid bearings are the way to go but beyond that I'm not sure myself.

Alphacool NexXxoS Monsta Triple 140mm Radiator
Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 Triple 140mm Radiator


For this I'd rather go cheap, but I'm the noob so I'll let the experts decide. Is there really a clear plastic container that's worth $50+? Is this something I could easily make myself or is it worth spending a few bucks for a nice big clear cylindrical one? Yes/no on the silver killcoil? And just filling it with plain distilled water with a bit of PT nuke seems to be the preferred method around here.

Thanks in advance to everyone who posts, sorry for the book! It turned out a lot longer once I started writing.