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Please review my custom loop plan and help me get this thing below $700!

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

I'm a new watercooler. I have an H100i, but don't have any real WC experience. I'm hoping you guys can mostly just review my loop and make sure I'm not making any mistakes, etc. Any suggestions welcome.

It's also at about $700 at the moment, and while I don't want to do anything like getting rid of dual rads or compression fittings (because I don't want to have to rebuild the loop to incorporate these things down the road), I'd like to get the price a little lower if there's any chance of that. On the other hand, I'm pretty much set on these components. I don't really see any solution, but if you guys have any ideas to keep costs down, let me know.

Most of all, please review my plan and let me know if there are any mistakes I'm making or anything I could do better.

Components are (going in a Phanteks Enthoo Primo Full Tower Case):
-EK Clear Nickel CSQ block
-EK Asus GTX 780 block
-EK Tube res 250mm (I want a big res since I'm using white tubing and want to show coolant off mostly in the res, as well as because the Enthoo Primo case has a nice big res bracket that I want to use, and a smaller res would look weird on it)
-White Primochill Advanced LRT Tubing
-Gold Monsoon Compresion fittings (will probably use their 45 and 90 degree fittings in some places)
-Mayhems Pastel Blue Berry coolant (yes, I know it won't be seen in most places through the white tubing, but I wanted something understated so it will only be seen in the res and clear water blocks and will be highlighted in those places)
-Alphacool XT45 420mm Rad on top
-Alphacool UT60 280mm Rad on bottom
-Swiftech MCP655 D5 Pump (on the Enthoo Primo's build in pump bracket/riser with rubber isolation hidden in back power supply compartment)

Also Phanteks 140mm PH-F140SP fans and some sort of fan controller (probably Lamptron) which aren't even included in this price tag because I have most of the fans already and can wait for the controller).



I would also like input on whether you guys thing I should get the EK tube res with white end caps or black. I think with the white and gold theme, the white might look nice, but it's more about whether the white will contrast better with the blue coolant or if black will contrast better. Leaning towards white. I am also open for suggestions on the pump. Different pump entirely? Or if the Swiftech is good, should I go with PWM or one with a simple speed control on the pump itself for a "set and forget" config?

Finally, I can install a fitting at the top of the case (as shown in my drawing) to be a permanently installed fill port. I could also use the top res as a full port by removing the plugs on the side towards the front of the case. The reason I drew it the first way is because I read somewhere that I need to always have the loop "open" (never completely sealed), so I was thinking if that's the case, I can leave the plug off the fill port at the top and that would act as a breather tube for the res.

Is this true, though? Are you supposed to keep the loop unsealed like that, so that basically if the computer ever fell over, it would leave everywhere?? Please explain and let me know what I should do in this regard.

Thanks a lot for any help!
post #2 of 4
Fill port:

If you really want to save some cash, axe this part. It isn't required at all, and you can definitely add it on later without having to rebuild your loop. You don't and shouldn't leave it open in any case. Dust and other particulate matter will enter your loop and gum up your water blocks. If you're really set on having absolute equalised pressure, get this:
Code:
http://www.frozencpu.com/products/16783/ex-tub-1362/Aquacomputer_Pressure_Equalization_Membrane_G14_Thread_-_Flat_Version_53137.html#blank

The only time you really need to equalise the pressure is when you bleed the loop. Personally I just unscrew the top G1/4 cap on my reservoir every now and again to equalise the pressure.

Coolant

I would always recommend against using any coolant. Its too much of a gamble whether or not you'll experience problems like deposits and clogging of parts. Coloured tubing is always better than coloured tubing.

But if you really must: Don't add any sort of biocide (especially ones based on copper sulphate.) Change your tubing as Primochill tubing seems to be incompatible with Mayhems Pastel.
Code:
http://www.mayhems.co.uk/front/pastel.html

Pump

Do you want a silent or a maximum performance computer? If your main concern is maximum performance, get the plain vanilla D5/MCP655 pump. If you want a silent computer get the PWM version so you can control the RPM from your computer. If you want your porridge 'just right', get the Vario version - although you shouldn't change the setting all that often since 1. you'll need direct access to the little speed dial, and 2. the speed dial is kind of fragile.

Other

It seems like you are set on the rest of the components. You can always 'downgrade' your radiators for cheaper ones. Depending on your desired fan speed setting, it could be worth it since at lower fan RPMs also means smaller performance differences. You could also go for a smaller reservoir.

Hope this helps; good luck c:
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post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pryat View Post

Fill port:

If you really want to save some cash, axe this part. It isn't required at all, and you can definitely add it on later without having to rebuild your loop. You don't and shouldn't leave it open in any case. Dust and other particulate matter will enter your loop and gum up your water blocks. If you're really set on having absolute equalised pressure, get this:
Code:
http://www.frozencpu.com/products/16783/ex-tub-1362/Aquacomputer_Pressure_Equalization_Membrane_G14_Thread_-_Flat_Version_53137.html#blank

The only time you really need to equalise the pressure is when you bleed the loop. Personally I just unscrew the top G1/4 cap on my reservoir every now and again to equalise the pressure.

Coolant

I would always recommend against using any coolant. Its too much of a gamble whether or not you'll experience problems like deposits and clogging of parts. Coloured tubing is always better than coloured tubing.

But if you really must: Don't add any sort of biocide (especially ones based on copper sulphate.) Change your tubing as Primochill tubing seems to be incompatible with Mayhems Pastel.
Code:
http://www.mayhems.co.uk/front/pastel.html

Pump

Do you want a silent or a maximum performance computer? If your main concern is maximum performance, get the plain vanilla D5/MCP655 pump. If you want a silent computer get the PWM version so you can control the RPM from your computer. If you want your porridge 'just right', get the Vario version - although you shouldn't change the setting all that often since 1. you'll need direct access to the little speed dial, and 2. the speed dial is kind of fragile.

Other

It seems like you are set on the rest of the components. You can always 'downgrade' your radiators for cheaper ones. Depending on your desired fan speed setting, it could be worth it since at lower fan RPMs also means smaller performance differences. You could also go for a smaller reservoir.

Hope this helps; good luck c:

Thanks for the reply. This is the exact kind of stuff I was hoping to get help with. You've already helped a lot.

Good thing Masterclear makes white tubing! Thanks a lot for pointing that out so I won't go with Tygon or Primochill. Since a big part of this build is just about aesthetic (and making the PC silent and perform better/last longer at higher OC - all the usual reasons), I do want to go with the Mayhems Pastel Blue Berry. I think the white tubing with gold fittings will look awesome with the big blue filled res and blue showing through the blocks as well. I don't know where I got the idea for this config, but I think it will be pretty unique and again, a big reason I'm doing this is for aesthetics, admittedly. Luckily, Materclear seems to be fine with Mayhems and they make the white tubing.

Definitely silence is more important than gaining performance in this case. The PC already performs great and is overclocked about as high as it can go, and is not currently limited by not staying cool enough. So again, just making things silent, last longer, and look "cool" is the main reason for this project. I will probably go a bit further with overclocking since it will be running so cool and the components should last a long time that way. However, my GPU and CPU (GTX 780 and i7-4770k) for whatever reason reach their OC potential and just aren't stable much higher than they already are even though the temps are fine. I always thought temperature was what limited the OC, but if I OC my GPU or CPU much more, they crash despite being at reasonable temps. So this loop will hopefully help me squeeze a little extra out of them, but more-so it will just keep them very happy and cool so that at least they should maintain their full potential for as long as I need.

That being said, I'll probably go with the Vario pump. I think I'd prefer a set and forget type pump with a manual dial since controlling it with PWM via software can be a mess and there don't seem to be many options for reliable fan controllers that can also act as a good pump controller. So the vario is probably my best bet, unless I go with the Lamptron fan/pump controller, and I don't think those are even in stock right now. Is the MCP655 the best bet for the money for quiet operation AND reliability? What's a VPP655 that Alphacool uses? Is that just the same pump with a different name? There's the Swiftech MCP655 Vario and the Alphacool VPP655 variable which also has a pump top included (which I wouldn't need since the pump will go on the pump bracket located behind everything in the power supply compartment/cable management area) and G1/4 tapped. The Swiftech can be purchased with tapped thread for G1/4 as well, but they're all about the same price. Not sure which I should go with. Just want whatever is most reliable and quiet. The Alphacool looks nicer with the pump top but it will be hidden anyway.

I might look into different rads but it seems like the Alphacool's are highly recommended and I don't imagine anything else comparable would be much cheaper. I think I also heard they're very quiet. For the res, I thought about going smaller but it wouldn't save much money and since the Enthoo Primo has a perfect res bracket build in, I want to use it, and a smaller res would look weird on it. Plus the res is my main source of showing off the blue coolant.

Oh, and thanks for clearing up that bit about leaving a "breather port" open. I read somewhere that you NEVER want to close/seal the loop and it always need to be open somewhere or the pump will burn out or something. I had never heard anything like that anywhere else but the person seemed adamant that you would ruin your pump and flow/performance if you plugged the res.

One last thing - the radiators have several ports on either side. Are there designated inputs and outputs? Or could you just plug into any of the plugs in any configuration? I know you can have both the in and out on the same side of the rad, but as you can see in my mock-up, the lower rad has an input on one side and the output on the other. Does that matter?

Thanks for the help
post #4 of 4
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADragg View Post

Is the MCP655 the best bet for the money for quiet operation AND reliability? What's a VPP655 that Alphacool uses? Is that just the same pump with a different name? There's the Swiftech MCP655 Vario and the Alphacool VPP655 variable which also has a pump top included (which I wouldn't need since the pump will go on the pump bracket located behind everything in the power supply compartment/cable management area) and G1/4 tapped. The Swiftech can be purchased with tapped thread for G1/4 as well, but they're all about the same price. Not sure which I should go with. Just want whatever is most reliable and quiet. The Alphacool looks nicer with the pump top but it will be hidden anyway.

The vast majority of pumps are licensed from Laing (the OEM). Laing uses the DDC 3.x and D5 conventions for its two main series of pumps. Each individual manufacturer like Swiftech, Koolance, Alphacool, etc, may make some modifications to tweak the performance but overall the difference in performance is generally determined by the customised pump top. As far as I know, there has not been a comprehensive test of similar pumps from different manufacturers comparing their Pressure-Flow (P-Q) curves. The P-Q curve is determining factor of pump performance, not the stated maximum pressure and maximum flow rate.



The MCP350/DDC 3.1 is fixed RPM and the quietest.
The MCP355/DDC 3.2 is fixed RPM and is slightly noisier.

If you prefer a 'set and forget' type scenario, go for the D5/x655 vario pump. If prefer normally silent performance and a slight increase in noise when doing heavy work loads, go for the PWM version or the MCP35x. Speaking of PWM...

Generally the PWM can be controlled by the BIOS, without having to install extra software. On my Gigabyte motherboard, you can set a PWM curve based on the CPU temperature. So my Swiftech MCP35x is near silent during normal usage and ramps up when I'm gaming.
Quote:
Originally Posted by ADragg View Post

I might look into different rads but it seems like the Alphacool's are highly recommended and I don't imagine anything else comparable would be much cheaper. I think I also heard they're very quiet. For the res, I thought about going smaller but it wouldn't save much money and since the Enthoo Primo has a perfect res bracket build in, I want to use it, and a smaller res would look weird on it. Plus the res is my main source of showing off the blue coolant.

One last thing - the radiators have several ports on either side. Are there designated inputs and outputs? Or could you just plug into any of the plugs in any configuration? I know you can have both the in and out on the same side of the rad, but as you can see in my mock-up, the lower rad has an input on one side and the output on the other. Does that matter?

The radiator itself doesn't make 'noise.' Its the fans that are attached to it. Take a look at the charts near the bottom of this linked page:
Code:
http://martinsliquidlab.org/2012/04/14/360-radiator-shootout-summary/

At lower RPMs, the radiators perform nearly the same. (So spending more makes less sense.)
At higher RPMs, the radiators start showing their true cooling potential. Depending on how fast you want to run your fans (and for silent computer you'd probably want to stay below the 1400 RPM range) you'll want to gauge how much extra money you want to spend for how much increased cooling ability.

About your UT60 280 Rad: I didn't even catch that in your mockup. I would advise against using the single port on the 'other' end of your radiator as an input/output. To idealise the radiator, it is a tube in a U shape - if you bisect the U, you'll effectively be only using one side of the radiator. That single port is there as an auxiliary fill/drain port. On the end with ports galore, you would need to choose a port on either side of the radiator; of course choosing the port such that your tubing is parallel with the length of the radiator will help decrease restriction but this is not critical.
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Samsung Spinpoint F4 320GB Seagate Barracuda 7200.12 Western Digital Blue EK Supreme HF 
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Swiftech Komodo GTX 780 Swiftech MCR 360 Swiftech MCR 240 Swiftech MCP 35X 
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Swiftech MCP 350 w/ XPSC Res Top Windose 7 Dell 2007FP Dell 2007FP 
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Samsung T260HD Filco Majestouch Green NKRO PC Power and Cooling Silencer Mk.II 750 Watt Lian Li PC A76 
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