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Water Cooling n00b - Trying to Plan Build, A Few Questions + Input Welcome

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hi Guys,

So I have finally decided to water cool my PC and I plan on doing the CPU + both my graphics cards.

Relevant system parts:
  • HAX XB Case
  • 2 X 7970 Sapphire OC in Crossfire
  • i7 3770k
  • OCZ 1000watt gold PSU

My suggested water cooling setup

I am thinking about having one large rad (9 fan MO-RA) mounted externally on a desk stand, I would like to to use the quick release connection things (not that I move my PC that often but for when I do...), A few areas confuse me:

Series vs Parallel ?

I guess this is not possible with two graphics cards? But the bridge block (below) I am thinking of purchasing states "series" - I guess this means it goes in one gfx card out and into the next?

CPU first or GFX cards first? Does it even matter?

What should be first in the loop CPU of GFX cards? I was thinking of doing it like this:

PUMP/RES => GPU1 => GPU2 => CPU = RAD and back to the PUMP/RES

Does this sound optimal?

Copper vs Nickel vs Aluminium?

I was thinking about buying Nickel CPU block and GFX blocks (it's copper with a Nickel coating, right?) and using them with a the MO-RA RAD which is made out of copper pipes. I'm guessing Nickel wins over copper as it doesn't discolour / corrode ?

Is there anything else I should consider when selecting the material the blocks are made of? So far all I know is not to mix aluminium and copper together in a loop.

Pipe thickness - Does it matter?

What pipe thickness should I go for? There seems to be a large choice of sizes I was thinking of going for 16/10 (16mm outer 10mm inner dia). My thought here is the block has a thinner diameter than the block internals so it wont cause a bottleneck?

Or am I wrong?

Water Cooling Parts

I am open to suggestion on parts, I live in England so will most likely order from overclockers.co.uk
  • XSPC X2O 750 Dual Bayres/Pump (Black) V4
  • EK Water Blocks EK-Supremacy Clean CSQ - Full Nickel
  • EK Water Blocks EK-FC7970/R9 280X - Acetal + Nickel CSQ
  • Watercool MO-RA3 Stand - black
  • EK Water Blocks EK-FC7970/R9 280X Backplate, CSQ
  • EK Water Blocks EK-FC Terminal DUAL Serial (for linking graphics cards)
  • EK Water Blocks EK-CSQ Fitting 10/16mm G1/4 - Black Nickel
  • Primochill Primoflex Advanced Tubing 16/10 - Black
  • EK-EKoolants Clear
  • Radiator MO-RA3 9x120 PRO - black

Did I miss anything? Should I order some different angle compression fittings?

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, it's appreciated smile.gif
post #2 of 7
Series VS Parrallel: I would go series. It eliminates possible dead flow spaces.



Loop Order: As long as you have the pump after the reservior the rest doesnt matter one iota.

Copper/Nickel/Aluminum: From what I heard, everything corrodes. But by keeping as few differences in your materials as possible, you can stave it off. This part I will let someone else answer.

Pipe Thickness: A very popular size is 3/8ID 5/8OD (here in Merica anyway) Not sure how that converts. Get much bigger than that and you run the risk of crimping the tubing on corners and curves. Plus I think the bigger tubes just look gawdy most of the time. I have seen some builds make good use of the larger diameter pipes. And you are correct in your assumption, the flow rate is only as fast as your smallest hole. So it doesnt matter how big your tubes are if at one point in your loop, it has to go through a smaller hole.


Parts: It never hurts to order 2-4 angle fittings incase you need to make some tight turns. Dont forget fans! (unless the rad comes with them). Everything else looks good.

Let us know how it goes!
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post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks Wizard,

3/8ID 5/8OD is 10mm ID 16MM OD.

Series works, that connector bridge block is actually in stock...

Fans, I guess I will need I was hoping the large size rad will be enough... But we will see.
post #4 of 7
To continue on some points made by wizardonthejob:

Mixing Metals

The topic you want to look up is galvanic corrosion. In a nutshell whats going on is: when you have two different metals connected by a conductor (water), their different electrochemical properties will lead to one of the metals 'becoming' an anode and the other the cathode. The anode will corrode/dissolve into the conductor and will gather on the cathode.

To mitigate this effect, you'll want to look up the 'nobility' of the metals you are using and select ones that are the most similar. Generally this sort of table is called an Anodic index table. Another strategy is to replace your coolant (assuming distilled water) on a regular basis. Pure distilled water has a relatively low conductivity but this degrades (as in becomes more conductive) as time goes on.

Inner Diameter of Tubing

My general rule of thumb is to go with whatever part has the smallest diameter inlet/outlet. For reference, 3/8 inch is about 10mm and 1/2 inch is about 12mm. Some pumps (DDC 3.1, 3.2) have default barbs that are 3/8 inch. If all of your water blocks are G1/4 threaded, there's no reason not to go with 1/2 inch ID tubing and fittings.

Series or Parallel?

When you place waterblocks in series, you need more pressure. When you place waterblocks in parallel, you need a higher flow rate. Generally, for single pump configurations it is better to place waterblocks in series rather than in parallel.

Parts

To be honest, I think you're going to need a bigger/more pump. A 9x120mm Rad + 2 GPU W/B + 1 CPU W/B is quite a bit of restriction (pressure drop.) With that setup, I would be more comfortable with two pumps identical pumps in series.
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post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arr0way View Post

Copper vs Nickel vs Aluminium?

I was thinking about buying Nickel CPU block and GFX blocks (it's copper with a Nickel coating, right?) and using them with a the MO-RA RAD which is made out of copper pipes. I'm guessing Nickel wins over copper as it doesn't discolour / corrode ?

Pryat's explanation is spot-on, but I would add, for simplicity's sake, to avoid aluminum. With reasonable maintenance, you're pretty much good with copper, nickel, brass, & chrome plating. Aluminum (combined with any of the others) will cause corrosion problems.
post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys, I will avoid aluminium in the loop - that keeps things simple.

Pryat, I was slightly concerned about the pump not being strong enough... Would single D5 be enough ? 1200 LPH or would I need two, something like this: http://www.overclockers.co.uk/showproduct.php?prodid=WC-163-XS

Also, I assume convection is not going to cut it with the large rad... I will need fans also?

Thanks smile.gif
post #7 of 7
Pumps:

The D5 is more powerful than the XSPC pump. Although you still might be cutting it close by running a single pump. Even in the best case scenario (lowest possible loop restriction) you'll be over stressing your XSPC X20. The D5 will certainly perform better, but will it be enough?

Ideally, you could experiment by going with a single pump for now. If that doesn't cut it, add a second pump in series. Since you will want to run identical pumps, buying the XSPC X20 750 may not be the best choice (I don't believe XSPC sells their pump, the X20 750, as a discrete component; unless you're fine with using 2 dual bay devices.)

The XSPC Twin D5 should fit the bill nicely.

Here's a link to a rough water cooling planning guide:
Code:
http://martinsliquidlab.org/pump-planning-guide/

Note - The bracketed notes are sources from the linked table:
[MLL] - Martin's Liquid Lab
[SL] - Skinnee Labs (regretably no longer online)

Convection:

I don't think you'll be able to get away with convection. If you had only 1 graphics card + cpu, you might be able to. If you're concerned about noise, I think a few low RPM fans will make all the difference in the world. So wake up, Mr. Freeman, wake up- sorry. I got carried away. But yes, you'll want to add some fans.
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