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My future Water Cooling build... your opinion please.

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 
Well hello,

I'm new here, not really new to building my own PC although it has been a while since I last done this, and have been out of the loop for a while on what's going on. I only have had a few hours over the past several weeks to read up and get re-acquainted with what's on over and how things are now a days, all things considered I think I put something reasonable together with the time I had, I'm hoping to buy the parts in the next week or so, to alleviate my... frustrations with my laptop before I throw it out the window (wouldn't do this of course but it's driving me up the walls at the moment).

I figured since this is ultimately about a Water-cooled build and it is my first time doing so that I should put this here, rather than another topic. If I should have split this up or put this in another thread please forgive me, but I like to keep things more concentrated since eventually it will all lead to the same thing.

So for the last couple of weeks my laptop has announced (figuratively speaking) that it needs replacing, as for gaming it’s okay still (sort of kind of, I’ve been looking at 25fps for the past 14 years) but for other work, even everyday work, it is just too slow. I'm running out of RAM by just having a couple tabs open in my browser, and eclipse/visual studio, which annoys the hell out of me. Encoding a DV video of about 1 hour 30 minutes can take up to 6 hours! Now I know I might be expecting too much of my laptop, but in all fairness it's 5 years and some months old, but it used to be able to do these things with the relatively easy. Even a freshly reformatted – dust cleaned with back-plate removed to blow air directly at it with a zalman laptop cooler – is still slow.

Therefore I’m considering a new build, this time a desktop machine of course and would like to know what I could/should change, and or can save money on. My budget excluding GPU and case and PSU (as I have the PSU already) is about 750-800 pounds. For the GPU I’m happy to spend 550 pounds about, as I’ll be using this most likely longer than the CPU MOBO combo. After all I lasted 5 years on a GeForce 9650M GT... and it's save to say that I expect way more from the gpu below in terms of performance (not necessarily last longer) wink.gif

The shopping list:
  • Intel Core i7-4770k
  • Asus ROG Maximus VI Formula (C2 stepping)
  • Corsair Vengeance Pro Red (1866-cas 9 1.5v)
  • Asus GTX 780TI 3GB
  • Samsung 840 Pro 256GB SSD
  • Western Digital 1TB RED (for future RAID1)
  • Corsair 900D or Phantom 820 Gunmetal
  • Corsair AX860i

Probably will run the i7 at 4.2Ghz with the fan cooler, but few months down the line I'll add in water-cooling and likely increase this to 4.5 (if I’m lucky in the “silicon lottery”), I might try and attempt to see what its limits are, but more for kicks rather than for everyday.
Computer parts justification (Click to show)
I chose an i7 as I read that the HT will help with Video editing, virtual machines and probably program development, as well as some games. So I’m pretty sure I’m not wasting money on that, of course it’s up to debate whether a price increase of 40% is worth the 10% (to 20% theoretical) increase in performance. From benchmarks I saw that 1866 at Cas 9 with 1.5v seems to be the most bang for buck plus if I overclock it seems I won’t be running much higher than that anyway, I obviously chose red because of the motherboards ROG style. I’m planning to use the WD 1TB to back up the SSD somewhere between 1-3 months and the remaining 700GB (ish) would be more than enough to store any projects I’m currently working on (I got a 4x4TB Nas drive for ‘mass’ storage, which will also hold a image of the 1tb to be save) I have had good experience with the 4tb wd red’s so I’m kind of expecting the same for the 1tb version.
Please give me your thoughts and opinion on this build though, as who know’s perhaps I can get some more value out of my budget?

Watercooling bit
It's my first time water cooling, and I kind of estimated a 400 Watt heat load (500 Watt Peak). I based this number on some info I found on the web, with a point for looking at the extreme case, not really realistic:
  • i7 OC to 4.7Ghz with 1.35v (132 Watt Peak)
  • Asus GTX 780TI say 275-300 watt with the increased TDP setting
so that'd be about 400 Watt Load (plus whatever extra bit of heat the motherboard would dumb in it). I rather estimate to high and have headroom than estimate to low and having to invest more. I don’t really have a budget for the water cooling, but I expect to spend somewhere between 60-100 pounds per rad, and about the same for the water blocks. The rest is really up for whatever is required, as from reviews and post on the web it seems I’ll be able to use the other parts for quite some time if maintained (maintenanced?) properly.

The water cooling parts:
  • XSPC Raystorm Copper CPU block
  • XSPC Raystorm GTX780ti GPU block
  • XSPC GPU Backplate (does this help cooling or just aesthetics?)
  • XSPC Photon 170-270 Res with pump
  • Alphacool Nexos UT60 480 Radiator
  • Aplhacool Nexos UT60 240-360 Radiator
  • Scythe Gentle Typhoon 1850RPM (7x)
  • Jury is still out on the tubing, something with color or maybe even UV Tubing. Have been considering rigid (acrylic?) tubing as an option.

Water cooling parts justification
The reason I chose the XSPC Raystorm, is I like the led, and I can change the cpu faceplate to red if I so fancy and I can have the backplate resprayed, but the black fits in nicely with the mobo. I chose the Photon 270 because it looked quite nice and had a pump build in, I’m not against having a separate tube res and pump though, all depends what’s better really ( I know the 900D has the space).

How to space the radiators?
Now the idea is to put both radiators in the bottom, I’m assuming it would be best to have them intake cold air rather than rely on 3 front fans for intake. Or should I have 1 rad at the side, and one in the front replacing the 2-3 fans already there, and then have the opposite side of the quad rad as exhaust, so it’s just straight in then out. And of course the back will have 1 exhaust fan, which should technically leave enough airflow in the case to handle the SSD, HDD and ram cooling, right? Of course I’m open for suggestions, but the top of the case will be restricted in airflow options initially.

enough cooling potential?
According to my research a 360 UT60 rads should give me about 250 Watt dissipation with the fans at about 1800RPM, so I assume a 480 and a 240 would give 500 Watt. and 480 with 360 would give me even more. I’m hoping to run the fans at about 1200RPM max, I like something quiet for a change and something that doesn’t run hotter than 70C (on any parts in my case) hence water-cooling. Of course this is also partially the reason why I choose a 780ti over a 290x, I don’t want a banshee next to me.
My laptop used to idle at 65C and could go to 99C with massive throttling on the GPU part (could go from 60fps capped to just 15-20fps and sometimes even lower). I removed the back plate long ago, but it still throttles, not as badly but the temperatures can still go up to 87C (peak) with about 77C average (GPU and CPU). So something cooler seems more beneficial for the health and longevity of my computer.

Will this give me space to upgrade in the future for an extra 780ti?

Questions Summary
  • Is this 'rig' good, should I spend more or less on some of the parts I have selected?
  • Is the water-cooling equipment selection I made good/sufficient enough?
  • Do I need more Radiator space?
  • How should I place the Radiators (preferably bottom, as the top is kind of out of the question for the near future at least)
  • Will this water cooling setup be enough for running the fans at 1000-1200RPM while cooling the board, cpu and gpu? (should I even include the board)
  • I'm planning on using distilled water, I've also read about using an anti-freeze solution (Ethylene Glycol) but I know the thermal conductivity of this is lower so why would anyone use this, isn’t it better to use as plain as possible liquid?
  • Should I use a Biocide and/or a killcoil? I'm trying to keep everything as Copper, or should I go for Brass or?
  • Do I need more pumping power, does anyone know the noise generated by the Photon 170-270 Reservoir+pump, there’s no point in running everything whisper quiet if the pump is very audible.
  • And the noob question of all, what DeltaT should I aim for and what would the effect be of lowering this by 1 or 2C or an increase of 1-2C, as in how significant would this change the temperatures under normal gaming load or video trans/encoding, with an expected ambient temperature of 20C (winter could go as low as 18C, while during hot summer days it could go up to 28C (My house doesn’t have blinds yet to keep the sun out, new PC was higher on the To-Buy list tongue.gif)?

Now I’m sure I don’t have to explain but if you suggest another part as a replacement to something in my list, please tell me why I should rather than just listing a replacement. I’m planning on using the IC Diamond Thermal Compound as I still have a partially used 4.5g tube, or should I consider something else?

Last of all I’d like to thank everyone in advance for fully reading this massive load of text, I rather get all my information in one thread, rather than span my attention over several threads and fora and then have it crossover with each other. so now everything is nice and condensed in on area.
Edited by Taliseth - 11/29/13 at 9:07pm
post #2 of 4
Hello and welcome to OCN!
I want to shake your hand, because this is the most pro first post I have ever seen on here! Well done, not even all the older members know that there is a list function hehe smile.gif

Actually you have chosen pretty much everything right and a very good setup no doubt.
You will have more than enough cooling potential with a UT60 480 + 120/240 rad.

When it comes to the powersupply, it will be ok. But I had a Corsair HX850w with my two 780's and it did not handle it all too well when overclocking both CPU and GPU's at the same time. So if you want a little headroom get a 1000w+, personally using the Corsair AX1200i and really happy with it.

When it comes to radiator placement, you really have to just adapt according to your case. But you can do like me and place the 480 rad on top of the case with a radiator stand.
For pump I highly recommend the Laing D5/Swiftec MCP655 (same pump), its the only one I ever use in my builds. Strong and reliable pumps. You can get mods for it that allows for a reservoir built in like this one, or this one.

Best of luck!
The up/downgrade
(14 items)
|Intel 6800K @ 4ghz| |Asus ROG Strix X99| |Gainward GTX 1070| |4x4gb Corsair XMS 3200mhz CL15| 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
|840 Pro 256gb| |OCZ Vertex 2 120gb| |WD Red 2tb| |Windows 10 Pro x64| |27" QNIX QX2710 @ 2560x1440 100hz| |Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum RGB| 
|EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G2| |Antec 1200 Orange mod| |Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB|  |JBL L890 speakers| 
|Emotiva XDA-2 receiver| |2x Advanced Acoustic MAA-705 @ 200w 8ohm| 
  hide details  
The up/downgrade
(14 items)
|Intel 6800K @ 4ghz| |Asus ROG Strix X99| |Gainward GTX 1070| |4x4gb Corsair XMS 3200mhz CL15| 
Hard DriveOSMonitorKeyboard
|840 Pro 256gb| |OCZ Vertex 2 120gb| |WD Red 2tb| |Windows 10 Pro x64| |27" QNIX QX2710 @ 2560x1440 100hz| |Logitech G810 Orion Spectrum RGB| 
|EVGA SuperNOVA 1000 G2| |Antec 1200 Orange mod| |Logitech G502 Proteus Spectrum RGB|  |JBL L890 speakers| 
|Emotiva XDA-2 receiver| |2x Advanced Acoustic MAA-705 @ 200w 8ohm| 
  hide details  
post #3 of 4
Thread Starter 
Thanks, the features are there so why not use it. It also makes the load of text seem less massive.

Interestingly I was initially going for that bay res. So I'm glad I had made good choices, with this case being bigger I thought the tube res and pump would look better.

If I get 2 gpu I might not over clock them it depends. I did see on YouTube that reviewers claim they can run 2 of them on the ax760i, so I assumed that 860 would leave enough extra room there, of course I can always buy another if needed as I already have the psu so can't change that much. Also according to some reviews it'll run fine at 110% which should provide 945 watts for me to use if I go for 2 gpu's.

Maybe a silly question but how much power will the water cooling take? And should I get one of those aqauero 6 monitoring controlers, would this be able to automatically adjust fan and pump speeds based on temperatures in the system? On that note would pump speed affect the water temperature beyond 1gpm, is there a sweet spot I should aim for?

I apologise for any typo's it seems I can't access the website through my computer at the monent, so I'm using my phone.
post #4 of 4
Thread Starter 
So I've been doing some more searching around regarding the Waterblock for my GTX780ti. I noticed that XSPC seems to be the only one who hasn't made a new block, while other companies have made a new one for this card. Then some forum posts seem to say it's completely different PCB layout, etc, etc. Some say just the backside is different, while the front is the same.

As you can imagine a lot of confusion, so I was hoping you all could 'shine' some light on this, as I might be buying my watercooling setup ahead of plan.
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