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First WC build, 600T & Phobya 200mm build log

post #1 of 2
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I've always admired the performance/looks of WC systems, but until recently I never had the need to set one up. Now thanks to purchasing an EVGA ACX SE GTX 780, and Zawarudo's LLC/voltage control hack, that need now exists! I wanted to try to keep things simple and somewhat cost effective, the later of which never really happened . . . (Sorry for the crappy cell phone pictures, I tried!)

Parts list:
Phobya Xtreme 200 - V.2 - Full Copper Rad
Phobya 180x180x20mm Shroud Plexi x2
EK-D5 X-RES 140 CSQ - Acetal D5 Top-Reservoir Combo
DazMode STORM D5 VARIO 8-24V Pump w/TACH cable
EK-FC Titan SE - Plexi Copper
EK-FC Titan SE Backplate - Black
2X Bitspower 3/8"ID - 5/8"OD Straight Compression Fitting - Matt Black
4X Bitspower 3/8"ID - 5/8"OD Rotary 45 Degree Angled Compression Fitting - Black
1X Bitspower Coolant Temperature Sensor Stop Fitting - Black
LCD Temperature Display (Green) V2
PrimoChill PRIMOFLEX™ Advanced LRT™ Crystal Clear 3/8 in 35/8 OD Tubing
Mayhems pastel mint green coolant
Silverstone AP182 180mm fan
Bitfenix Spectrepro 200mm fan

So the plan was to just watercool the GPU, I know it seems silly to set up a loop and not do the CPU but I saved some cash and work by keeping my Scythe Mine2 tower cooler on my i5 2500k. In the future when I upgrade the CPU/mobo/case I'll be adding the new CPU to the loop, but for now the Mine2 keeps the 2500k under 60C @4.7 most of the time.

The initial idea: (Note the 80mm fan I had pointed at my VRMs! haha)

Once I had all my parts delivered I quickly realized that I wasn't going to have enough space to route the intake back to the pump on the right side of it, as the fan/shroud/rad monstrosity would be pushed up almost right next to it, good thing the X-Res has another intake!

After a lot of reading, I realized that it was quite important to clean everything in the loop before setting it up for use. This was particularly important for the radiator as a lot of debris is left in it from manufacturing. I came across this video and decided to build something similar.

Instead of the huge expensive filter, I opted for something a little more affordable:

This worked but it really raised the flow restriction in the loop, so much so that using the weak pond pump I had purchased specifically for the flush loop, simply couldn't move enough water through it. I ended up using the d5/X-Res instead, which managed to get the water moving again (all be it slowly). I let this run for 24 hours, then removed the filter and added some fresh distilled water and some "Sysprep" cleaning solution that came with my Primochill tubing. I used this with just the rad and pump/top and not the primochill tubing as I had heard it can make the tube stiff and possibly add to clouding issues. This was run for 12 hours with a piece of an old metal coffee filter material used on the end of the return to the res/tank to catch the larger debris.

Testing the new flush loop on the block since the rad hadn't been delivered yet (notice how clean the desk was when I started off)

The chaos that ensued

The gunk that the Sysprep helped remove from the rad

When I ordered the rad and shrouds I wasn't sure of the size of fans that I was going to use and thus the length of M3 screws that I would need, so I just ordered a bunch of 50mm lengths and cut them to size. I also didn't realize when I ordered the rad that it only came with one fan mount plate, so I had to make one myself. It was simple enough, I just used the side panel off of my old cheap case and traced the fan plate onto it and cut it out with a set of tin snips.

I really took my time cleaning the GPU after removing the ACX cooler to attach the EK block, I learned a good trick to use an eraser to remove some of the oil from the tops of the memory and VRM chips. It worked really well but was a pain to clean up off the card. One thing I was particularly interested in was what the factory TIM job looked like. My temps had always been excellent, never getting much past 50C with 100% fan and ambient temps of 19-23C so I didn't expect it to be a poor job but was still interested none the less:

Not a bad job imo, but it does look a little uneven. Could this be caused by unevenness in the ACX cooler base? Either way, after a lot of research it would seem that a little more TIM is used on a GPU as opposed to CPU, I'm not sure if this is because the mount pressure on a GPU is less than that of a CPU or the unevenness of the mounting, but it does seem to be the general consensus that a little more is used.

After what seemed like hours of cleaning, the block is finally installed biggrin.gif

Things were finally starting to come together and I began the process of installing everything in the case. I originally wanted the right side of the X-Res to line up with the left edge of the large opening in the mobo tray, but quickly realized that the mount holes would not line up properly (with metal to drill out behind them). So I had to move it slightly to the left, managing to squeeze it in with minimal space left for my SATA connections on the mobo:

Tube routing & measurement:

This next step was the hardest part in the build and I probably could have made it easier on myself by removing the rad to tighten it's compression fittings instead of removing the pump. The pump was a real ***** to get back on because I removed it from it's mounting bracket instead of just removing the whole assembly. After a few more hours of swearing a one pizza later, it was all back together.

Note that I also had to install the rad without the pull fan&shroud in order to get at those damned compression fittings, then came the fun part of seeing if I could get it back on while it was all in the case. Luckily there was just enough room on the back of the mobo tray to get a screw driver on the two screws connecting the fan mount plate through the shroud to the rad thumb.gif

She's finally ready to fill!!!


I let it leak tested for around 8-9 hours and couldn't wait any longer so I fired it up and she's been working great ever since. I couldn't believe the difference in temps, and to think I was worried that it wouldn't be much cooler than the stock ACX air cooler! Hahaha! The hottest I've seen this baby get so far was 39C, and this was with 99%gpu usage @1293/3200 1.275v with 24C ambient temp and my fans were only on 80%! Usually while playing BF3/4 at those clocks I'm sitting around 31-34C depending on my ambient temp. My air to water delta is usually under or near 10C at load, which as I understand is pretty good. I couldn't be happier with this project, it's allowed me to squeeze out a ton of performance from this GPU. I still haven't pushed more than 1.3V through it yet but I'm sure I'll catch the bench bug again soon enough devil-smiley-019.gif

More pics!

Thanks for looking!
post #2 of 2
Nice build. I have seen a lot of CPU only loops. But this the the first GPU only loop I have seen. Those temps are pretty great though!
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