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Water cooling and PWM

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi All,

Throughout my life I was interested in building a custom loop water cooling setup and finally it seems like the time has come for it to happen. I have gone through number of how-to guides ( including the one in the sticky ) and now I have a general idea on what I`m after.

However there's one thing that is not clear to me at the moment: water cooling and PWM. It is as if no one usually bothers to implement this.

There are at least two components in the system that can be PWM controlled: the pump(s) and the fans. I figured that having the pump run at the constant power is a good idea ( i`m aiming at the pump combined with the reservoir which should help with noise levels ), that leaves the fans. Regarding fans in water cooling setups people usually go for one of two options:

1) connect fans to the mobo CPU PWM fan connector using PWM splitters
2) use special PWM controllers to control fans

First doesnt appeal to me, because I`m aiming to include GPU in my loop and it would not work well in rare case when GPU is loaded and CPU is not. As to the second - there seems to be a number of PWM controllers out there; some provide manual controls based on user input, others take PWM signals from the same very MB connector.

What strikes me is that I wasnt able to find a reasonably priced PWM controller that would control fan power based on temperature of liquid in the loop. Can someone point me out to some options here? Or am I missing something?

Thanks,
Ilya.
post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hmm now i get it. I think if I would run into a case when GPU's are busy and CPU is not, hot water coming through the system would eventually heat up the CPU and PWM would kick in, so presumably its not a problem. Or is it?
post #3 of 12
First, you'd need a temp sensor on the water, that's easy.
Second you'd need something to generate the PWM signal (based on water temp). That's hard to do.

Different water cooling systems require differrent fan speeds (due to the differing efficiency of the blocks, rads and pumps) at different temperatures. So, you'd have to be able to generate a specific fan speed curve (fan speed vs water temp) for each system.

There are such things available (like this) or (this) They tend to be expensive. There are others.

The easiest, most direct method is to just use a rheostat or fan controller and a temp monitor. When the water temp rises 9and it will only rise slowly) just boost up the fans. In my experience, fan speeds only really need to be changed when benchmarking (full on!). For everyday computing/gaming, it set-and-forget.
My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
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My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
MouseAudio
Logiteck G400s none 
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post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the links. I`m still trying to understand if the whole thing is worth the trouble.
post #5 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalujny View Post

Thanks for the links. I`m still trying to understand if the whole thing is worth the trouble.

It's not. You can always add whatever you want to later.
My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
MouseAudio
Logiteck G400s none 
  hide details  
Reply
My System
(15 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
FX6300 Black M5A99X EVO R2.0 Nvidia GTS450 Team Vulcan PC3 12800 
Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
Samsung 840 PRO Asus DRW-1608P (x2) Custom Water Cooling Win7 (Ult), Win 8.1 & Win Server 2012 R2 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
2 X Samsung 915N Ducky Shine III, Blue Cherry/Blue LEDs PCP&C 1kw Lian Li PC-71 (W/Window) 
MouseAudio
Logiteck G400s none 
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post #6 of 12
Thread Starter 
Just to follow up:

I ordered all required components form aliexpress, except for the Arctic cooling fans which I bought locally, and ended up with a loop for my GTX 680 GPU & CPU served by one 360mm copper radiator. GTX 680 runs at 43C when playing BF4 multiplayer, and the whole rig remains silent, which is amazing.

All in all cost me $500 with shipping.

Regarding PWM stuff, I ended up soldering an adapter which takes power directly from my PSU via MOLEX connector, and provides PWM from motherboard. All 3 Arctic cooling PWM fans operate via this adapter ( they can be connected in a serial manner ). PWM works like a charm.
Edited by kalujny - 4/4/14 at 2:08pm
post #7 of 12
I think you don't need this anymore, but take a look on this. By the way, which Arctic Cooling fans did you get? Maybe you can tell me your thoughts on them?
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I got 3 of http://www.arctic.ac/worldwide_en/products/cooling/case-fan/arctic-f12-682.html and they do the job. They run at 1100 RPM when set to minimum power at target temperature, which still produces just a bit of audible noise ( compared to the silent Zalman's ZM-F3's that are installed in the case ) . I have chosen them b/c they seem to provide higher static pressure which is good for the 21 FPI radiator I have. Their specific connection scheme lets you hook up to 3 fans in a row to a single PWM source, which comes in handy.
post #9 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by kalujny View Post

Hi All,

Throughout my life I was interested in building a custom loop water cooling setup and finally it seems like the time has come for it to happen. I have gone through number of how-to guides ( including the one in the sticky ) and now I have a general idea on what I`m after.

However there's one thing that is not clear to me at the moment: water cooling and PWM. It is as if no one usually bothers to implement this.

There are at least two components in the system that can be PWM controlled: the pump(s) and the fans. I figured that having the pump run at the constant power is a good idea ( i`m aiming at the pump combined with the reservoir which should help with noise levels ), that leaves the fans. Regarding fans in water cooling setups people usually go for one of two options:

1) connect fans to the mobo CPU PWM fan connector using PWM splitters
2) use special PWM controllers to control fans

First doesnt appeal to me, because I`m aiming to include GPU in my loop and it would not work well in rare case when GPU is loaded and CPU is not. As to the second - there seems to be a number of PWM controllers out there; some provide manual controls based on user input, others take PWM signals from the same very MB connector.

What strikes me is that I wasnt able to find a reasonably priced PWM controller that would control fan power based on temperature of liquid in the loop. Can someone point me out to some options here? Or am I missing something?

Thanks,
Ilya.

The Aquacomputer Aquaero 5 LT is about $70 USD and may provide the solution you want. The Aquaero 6 Pro or XT is around $200 USD's and has full PWM or voltage control based on any one of many sensors, coolant, air, chip or even a virtual sensor you can create.
post #10 of 12
For water, unless you already have the fans pwm isn't any benefit unless you can run it at a static percent. Heat will transportation the fluid, all taking time. The instant response of pwm isn't of use. You're better off running the fans of a radiator at a static voltage or pwm percentage, otherwise you will hear the fans constantly ramping up and down because the heat transfer is never instant.

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