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Newbie seeking help from Veteran Water Coolers

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
Hello,
I’m posting here to get advice and answers about water cooling from experienced vets. I have zero experience with water cooling but I have watched over the years many videos such as Linus Tech tips amongst many others on how to build a water cooling system and I have read many how to guides.

So with that in mind I have compiled a list of questions that I’m hoping some of you veterans don’t mind answering followed by my current plan for implementing such a system for my video card. FYI, I am not a benchmarking enthusiast, meaning I don’t care about measuring my dick size/bank account to get the highest 3DMark score. My interest is simply too be able to run ultra-settings on long term gaming sessions, while maintaining 60fps, with good quite cooling.

Here are my starter questions:

1. What are some recommended websites for purchasing good quality water cooling parts? I’m looking to purchase good quality parts that if put together correctly will not corrode or leak.

2. What kind of maintenance is required for a water cooling setup? For example do I need to regularly flush out the entire system every so often? If so how often?

3. What kind of life expectancy am I looking at for the parts in a water cooling build? Such as water pump, rad, reservoir, ect. 1, 2, 3, 4 years? (My system utilization per week averages at about 40-60 hours per week.)

4. What brand/type of thermal paste do you recommend for water cooling a video card? I’ve heard there are different types and some work better than others.

5. What are the chances of my water cooling solution setup leaking after I run a 24-48 hour test. Meaning if I set it up and test it for 24-48 hours and it does not leak what are the chances of it starting to leak at a later time after long term use?

6. What size tubing is recommended for water cooling a video card?

10mm (3/8") internal diameter, 13mm (1/2") external diameter
Or
6mm (1/4") internal diameter, 10mm (3/8") external diameter


Here is my system:
CPU: Intel i7-4770K @ stock
FAN: Corsair H80i
MOBO: ASUS Impact VI Mini ITX
RAM: Corsair Vengeance Pro Series 16GB 2x8GB DDR 1600mhz
VCARD: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Classified K|NGP|N Edition (ASIC: 74%)
PSU: Corsair HX1050 1050-watt
SSD: Corsair Force GT 180GB
HDD: WD VelociRaptor 10,000rpm 300GB
CASE: Cooler Master HAF Stacker 915F
UPS: CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD PFC Sinewave UPS 1500VA 900W

Here is what I am currently planning but obviously is subject to change based on the feedback and advice I get from you veterans. Atm I plan to keep my cpu at stock clock speeds but I may at a later time consider overclocking it and using a real water cooling solution as opposed to my current Corsair H80i.

Anyways my inquiry about water cooling in my system is primarily aimed at my video card. I currently live in south Texas and we get very long and hot summers with 100°F temps and my indoor temps run around 80°F daytime and 75°F nighttime.
According to the EVGA reps I’ve spoken to they have all recommended to try to keep this video card at no higher than 76°C for stable long term game play sessions. They did say the card can go higher on temps but to never exceed 95°C but ideally try to keep it at or below 76°C.

Currently with my stock video card air cooler my temps run at around 70°C at 100% fan speed (but keep in mind that it’s still very cool here in Texas atm so ambient temps are running at about 70°F.) These temps are temps that I’m getting from running Tomb Raider 2013 at full ultra-settings and is currently the most video card intensive game that I’m currently running.

The game runs fine and stable with the present setup. Of course I do have the option of lowering the graphic settings which will of course lower my temps but that is not why I bought this card. I expect to be able to run the card at full ultra-settings and maintain on average 60fps for long gaming sessions and while I am able to do this now I do not like having to run my fan curve at 100% to maintain 70°C, mainly because of the noise.

As far as some of my other games the temps do run much better usually around 60-65°C. Btw I do realize that the card I’m using is designed for LN2 but as many others have said that even if you are not into LN2 benchmarking this card it is still one of the best 780Ti cards available for gaming. Ideally it’s a given that anyone owning this card at the very least should be liquid cooling it.

Anyways once summer hits I’m thinking my current temps on the card are going to also increase. Now I know some may say that my current pc case is a bit small but I’ve researched just about every mini-ITX case available and the current case I’m using appears to provide the best air flow that will allow me to fit my current video card without having to resort to a full mid tower case. When I run my system all my other temps are great very low but the video card I think could stand to be a bit cooler which is one reason why I’m considering water cooling it and of course to open up more headroom for overclocking.

I dunno if any of you know who JJ the Asus rep is but he has done a few videos on overclocking/water cooling and he has recommended a water cooling solution setup called the EX2-1055 (Exos-2.5) Liquid Cooling System, Aluminum Rev1.1

Found here: http://koolance.com/ex2-1055-exos-2.5-liquid-cooling-system-aluminum

My interest in this water system setup is because I like the fact that the rad, pump, and reservoir are in an All-in-One type of setup, which appears to make things much simpler for someone like me who doesn’t want to have all the water cooling components as separate individual components (I do realize this system is a bit more expensive than building a separate component setup).

This would allow me to install quick release hose adapters from the unit to my video card which would allow me to easily disconnect the unit and do any kind of movement/maintenance to my system and then easily reconnect it back up.
I also realize that this system does not use a copper based rad which I’ve read is the best type of rad for optimal cooling but I’m not what is known as an enthusiast so going with a copper rad I do not feel is necessary for my needs.

However, the concerns I have about purchasing this unit is the life expectancy in regards to the pump and whether or not the pump can be replaced if and when it dies.

Also if any of you know of another All-in-One system such as this that will provide similar cooling results but at a cheaper price please feel free to let me know.

Any answers, feedback, and advice that any of you can provide is greatly appreciated.
post #2 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyguyslol View Post

Hello,
I’m posting here to get advice and answers about water cooling from experienced vets. I have zero experience with water cooling but I have watched over the years many videos such as Linus Tech tips amongst many others on how to build a water cooling system and I have read many how to guides.

So with that in mind I have compiled a list of questions that I’m hoping some of you veterans don’t mind answering followed by my current plan for implementing such a system for my video card. FYI, I am not a benchmarking enthusiast, meaning I don’t care about measuring my dick size/bank account to get the highest 3DMark score. My interest is simply too be able to run ultra-settings on long term gaming sessions, while maintaining 60fps, with good quite cooling.

Here are my starter questions:

1. What are some recommended websites for purchasing good quality water cooling parts? I’m looking to purchase good quality parts that if put together correctly will not corrode or leak.

2. What kind of maintenance is required for a water cooling setup? For example do I need to regularly flush out the entire system every so often? If so how often?

3. What kind of life expectancy am I looking at for the parts in a water cooling build? Such as water pump, rad, reservoir, ect. 1, 2, 3, 4 years? (My system utilization per week averages at about 40-60 hours per week.)

4. What brand/type of thermal paste do you recommend for water cooling a video card? I’ve heard there are different types and some work better than others.

5. What are the chances of my water cooling solution setup leaking after I run a 24-48 hour test. Meaning if I set it up and test it for 24-48 hours and it does not leak what are the chances of it starting to leak at a later time after long term use?

6. What size tubing is recommended for water cooling a video card?

10mm (3/8") internal diameter, 13mm (1/2") external diameter
Or
6mm (1/4") internal diameter, 10mm (3/8") external diameter


Here is my system:
CPU: Intel i7-4770K @ stock
FAN: Corsair H80i
MOBO: ASUS Impact VI Mini ITX
RAM: Corsair Vengeance Pro Series 16GB 2x8GB DDR 1600mhz
VCARD: EVGA GeForce GTX 780 Ti Classified K|NGP|N Edition (ASIC: 74%)
PSU: Corsair HX1050 1050-watt
SSD: Corsair Force GT 180GB
HDD: WD VelociRaptor 10,000rpm 300GB
CASE: Cooler Master HAF Stacker 915F
UPS: CyberPower CP1500PFCLCD PFC Sinewave UPS 1500VA 900W

Here is what I am currently planning but obviously is subject to change based on the feedback and advice I get from you veterans. Atm I plan to keep my cpu at stock clock speeds but I may at a later time consider overclocking it and using a real water cooling solution as opposed to my current Corsair H80i.

Anyways my inquiry about water cooling in my system is primarily aimed at my video card. I currently live in south Texas and we get very long and hot summers with 100°F temps and my indoor temps run around 80°F daytime and 75°F nighttime.
According to the EVGA reps I’ve spoken to they have all recommended to try to keep this video card at no higher than 76°C for stable long term game play sessions. They did say the card can go higher on temps but to never exceed 95°C but ideally try to keep it at or below 76°C.

Currently with my stock video card air cooler my temps run at around 70°C at 100% fan speed (but keep in mind that it’s still very cool here in Texas atm so ambient temps are running at about 70°F.) These temps are temps that I’m getting from running Tomb Raider 2013 at full ultra-settings and is currently the most video card intensive game that I’m currently running.

The game runs fine and stable with the present setup. Of course I do have the option of lowering the graphic settings which will of course lower my temps but that is not why I bought this card. I expect to be able to run the card at full ultra-settings and maintain on average 60fps for long gaming sessions and while I am able to do this now I do not like having to run my fan curve at 100% to maintain 70°C, mainly because of the noise.

As far as some of my other games the temps do run much better usually around 60-65°C. Btw I do realize that the card I’m using is designed for LN2 but as many others have said that even if you are not into LN2 benchmarking this card it is still one of the best 780Ti cards available for gaming. Ideally it’s a given that anyone owning this card at the very least should be liquid cooling it.

Anyways once summer hits I’m thinking my current temps on the card are going to also increase. Now I know some may say that my current pc case is a bit small but I’ve researched just about every mini-ITX case available and the current case I’m using appears to provide the best air flow that will allow me to fit my current video card without having to resort to a full mid tower case. When I run my system all my other temps are great very low but the video card I think could stand to be a bit cooler which is one reason why I’m considering water cooling it and of course to open up more headroom for overclocking.

I dunno if any of you know who JJ the Asus rep is but he has done a few videos on overclocking/water cooling and he has recommended a water cooling solution setup called the EX2-1055 (Exos-2.5) Liquid Cooling System, Aluminum Rev1.1

Found here: http://koolance.com/ex2-1055-exos-2.5-liquid-cooling-system-aluminum

My interest in this water system setup is because I like the fact that the rad, pump, and reservoir are in an All-in-One type of setup, which appears to make things much simpler for someone like me who doesn’t want to have all the water cooling components as separate individual components (I do realize this system is a bit more expensive than building a separate component setup).

This would allow me to install quick release hose adapters from the unit to my video card which would allow me to easily disconnect the unit and do any kind of movement/maintenance to my system and then easily reconnect it back up.
I also realize that this system does not use a copper based rad which I’ve read is the best type of rad for optimal cooling but I’m not what is known as an enthusiast so going with a copper rad I do not feel is necessary for my needs.

However, the concerns I have about purchasing this unit is the life expectancy in regards to the pump and whether or not the pump can be replaced if and when it dies.

Also if any of you know of another All-in-One system such as this that will provide similar cooling results but at a cheaper price please feel free to let me know.

Any answers, feedback, and advice that any of you can provide is greatly appreciated.

Ill answer a few of your questions, firstly before going into watercooling, read alot! there are some good posts on OCN that will teach you everything you need to know. I would always recommend building your own setup rather than a prebuilt, costs are better or comparable and you can get exactly what you want. do lots of research will save you messing up or replacing things you dont like. now on to your questions.

1. I always order my stuff and people i build for from: frozencpu.com or performance-pcs.com, both come highly recommended from me and many others. one is in new york and one in florida, so depending on where you live you could hope for quicker shipping.

2. maintenance is good for every six months or so, but i have heard of people going alot longer. maintenance is basically just dismantling, new water, and depending on your blocks maybe some cleaning with vinegar. not nearly as in depth as you think, most of the time by the time someone i know is cleaning, its when they upgrade anyways so the system is already being taken apart. smile.gif i have seen systems go over a year or two without any maintenance except adding water.

3. radiators and res shouldnt go bad, i have a friend using an OLD radiator, still works perfect. goes in hand with maintenance above. pumps can sometimes go bad, but if you make sure not to drive it with air in it, it should last you years. (depending on quality, but i would always recommend buying good quality parts)

4. any high end paste is fine, mx4, gelid, as5 etc.

5. unless you move it around or something, or pump breaks and superheats water and melts tubes (very very rare but i have seen it online happen to someone). it shouldnt leak after leak testing, ive traveled with my setup and still havn't sprung a leak.

6. your tubing is a thing of preference whatever looks better for you. the performance will be the same either way.

for the final question, i would reocmmend building the loop yourself, the prebuilt you linked sure is cool looking, but if something breaks, it will be hard to replace parts etc, and also you wont learn about all the parts and how it works with that! custom loops are alot to do with our desire to tinker/build something. thats what makes it fun, take your time before you order there are tons of reviews on every fan, radiator, pump, tubing, waterblock you can think of. it all seems very complicated at first, but once you read a bit and do it once, you will be a veteran in no time! good luck let us know if you run into snags!
post #3 of 18
One more thing, if you are simply looking to lower your temps for the cheapest possible, without having to learn all of this.. i would take a look into 'the mod' its putting an all in one cooler on a gpu. (like they make for cpu's) simple to do, and cheap. would still give you good results if thats all you wanter, i think an artisan on OCN makes custom brackets to make this even easier.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1203528/official-nvidia-gpu-mod-club-aka-the-mod
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyguyslol View Post

1. What are some recommended websites for purchasing good quality water cooling parts? I’m looking to purchase good quality parts that if put together correctly will not corrode or leak. Any brand (other than thermaltake) will be fine. As for watercooling, go here and read a lot. Martin's Liquid Lab.

2. What kind of maintenance is required for a water cooling setup? For example do I need to regularly flush out the entire system every so often? If so how often?
Basically, none. Clean the fan filters when they get dirty and drain and flush once a year.

3. What kind of life expectancy am I looking at for the parts in a water cooling build? Such as water pump, rad, reservoir, ect. 1, 2, 3, 4 years? (My system utilization per week averages at about 40-60 hours per week.) Forever......or at least long past the time when your computer becomes obsolete.

4. What brand/type of thermal paste do you recommend for water cooling a video card? I’ve heard there are different types and some work better than others. There are many tests (shootouts) available on the web. Read them. Personally, Shin Etsu Micro Si X23-7783D, but everyone has their favorite.


5. What are the chances of my water cooling solution setup leaking after I run a 24-48 hour test. Meaning if I set it up and test it for 24-48 hours and it does not leak what are the chances of it starting to leak at a later time after long term use? If you do it right (stainless steel hose clamps), none. This type is probably the best.



6. What size tubing is recommended for water cooling a video card? Nothing smaller than 7/16", best 1/2" ID, 3/4" OD Tygon R3603. But everyone has their favorite. Barbs are important too. 1/2" ID tubing on a barb with 1/4"ID is pretty useless. Most barbs are spec'd on thread and OD, ID isn't even mentioned, but that what's important. See the Danger Den 1/2" high flow ones. I usually modify what I buy (machine out the ID) or make my own, but then, I have a machine shop in the basement.

This would allow me to install quick release hose adapters Whoa! Most are pretty restrictive (water flow wise). Colder Products makes some nice plastic 3/4", full flow, no leak ones, but they're expensive. Most just put in a drain line at the lowest point and drain to do maintenance ie. replace components with better performing ones). from the unit to my video card which would allow me to easily disconnect the unit and do any ki and of movement/maintenance to my system and then easily reconnect it back up.

I also realize that this system does not use a copper based rad which I’ve read is the best type of rad for optimal cooling It doesn't make any difference what material, other than no aluminum, you use. How much heat it will remove is all that matters.but I’m not what is known as an enthusiast so going with a copper rad I do not feel is necessary for my needs.

However, the concerns I have about purchasing this unit is the life expectancy in regards to the pump and whether or not the pump can be replaced if and when it dies.
All pumps can be replaced.It's just as matter of how difficult it is.

.

Hope that helps a little...........
Edited by billbartuska - 3/13/14 at 6:01am
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Hard DriveOptical DriveCoolingOS
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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 #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
Thank you for your responses. I am in no rush to build my water cooling setup as I probably wont have the cash for it for at least another month so this gives me plenty of time to do more research. I did do some more research tonight and I think I will go ahead and build a full custom loop system (including my cpu) instead of the All-in-One system I originally linked. The parts are much cheaper and does seem to give me more flexibility.

One of the things that interests me a great deal as far as convenience to setting up and being able to work on my system is the use of the Koolance QD3 Quick Disconnects as seen in these videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtbxvl9zn2k

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuSZJGiopiU

I've heard that there may be some resistance by using these but from what I'm seeing in these vids it looks very efficient to work with.

I'm just wondering what kind of pump would be good to run this if there is in fact resistance. Do you think this pump and res would be adequate?

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/16942/ex-res-421/XSPC_Twin_D5_Dual_525_Bay_Clear_Reservoir_-_w_Dual_MCP655_Series_Pumps_Installed.html

I was considering this pump and res combo to insure adequate water pressure and the option of having a second pump should one fail so I can catch it and fix it before any hardware gets damaged while if I were using a single pump, if the pump dies could damage my hardware.

I'm also considering going with this rad to cool my i7-4770k and gtx 780Ti

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/14988/ex-rad-342/Alphacool_NexXxoS_XT45_Full_Copper_Quad_120mm_Radiator.html

Let me know what you think
post #6 of 18
pump setup is MORE than enough for that little loop. i personally like d5 vario pumps. that rad is also a decent rad, that will work for your setup smile.gif
post #7 of 18
Pleaase, please read this. !
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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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Logiteck G400s none 
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My System
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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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post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by heyguyslol View Post

Thank you for your responses. I am in no rush to build my water cooling setup as I probably wont have the cash for it for at least another month so this gives me plenty of time to do more research. I did do some more research tonight and I think I will go ahead and build a full custom loop system (including my cpu) instead of the All-in-One system I originally linked. The parts are much cheaper and does seem to give me more flexibility.

One of the things that interests me a great deal as far as convenience to setting up and being able to work on my system is the use of the Koolance QD3 Quick Disconnects as seen in these videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtbxvl9zn2k

and

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WuSZJGiopiU

I've heard that there may be some resistance by using these but from what I'm seeing in these vids it looks very efficient to work with.

I'm just wondering what kind of pump would be good to run this if there is in fact resistance. Do you think this pump and res would be adequate?

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/16942/ex-res-421/XSPC_Twin_D5_Dual_525_Bay_Clear_Reservoir_-_w_Dual_MCP655_Series_Pumps_Installed.html

I was considering this pump and res combo to insure adequate water pressure and the option of having a second pump should one fail so I can catch it and fix it before any hardware gets damaged while if I were using a single pump, if the pump dies could damage my hardware.

I'm also considering going with this rad to cool my i7-4770k and gtx 780Ti

http://www.frozencpu.com/products/14988/ex-rad-342/Alphacool_NexXxoS_XT45_Full_Copper_Quad_120mm_Radiator.html

Let me know what you think

I'm with you on replacing the AIO cooler for a full loop. However keep in mind that watercooling is rather expensive.

For the pump res combo:
That res does make some noise in combination with the pumps if I remember correctly but nothing to be worried about if you're not looking for absolute silence.
Two pumps are a bit overkill for that low resistance in the loop but redundancy is a good point (thats why I have two pumps in my loop). You wont be damaging your hardware if you have your mobo set up to shut down when the "cpu-fan" aka waterpump does not send any rpm signal to the mobo anymore.

The radiator should be fine for those two components, if you can fit more rad then do that, as you can use slower spinning fans which make less noise thumb.gif
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post #9 of 18
You might want to check the specs on your case b/c I don't think the radiator or reservoir will fit in the case you spec'd in the HAF Stacker 915F. It's specs show 2 360 mm rads or 2 280 mm rads. The XT45 Quad is a 480 mm rad so it will be too long and don't think a dual bay reservoir will work since the 915F only has 1 5.25 bay, the power supply is mounted under it so that space is taken. You may want to consider a case like the BitFenix Prodigy or CaseLabs Mercury S5 since you now need to consider cases with more water cooling capability and not air flow. Check out Singularity Computers Youtube site. He's a custom builder in Australia who's done several client builds with the Prodigy case.

I wouldn't worry to much about the tube ID diameters and pump flow rates. Once you through a custom loop together you will see dramatic decreases in temps on the GPU and CPU regardless. The rest is just dropping down 1 or 2 more degrees here and there. I live in southwest Houston, TX running a R9 290 crossfire setup and everybody knows how hot those things run (95 C). Once I slapped a couple of EK full cover blocks on them, they barely get above 60 under load. They may climb towards's 70 if I crank up the over clock but I rarely do since I don't need the extra performance at the moment. the 780Ti's temps are much more manageable from what I've read and experienced with the previous generation GTX cards. Personally, I run 5/8 x 3/8 tubing b/c tubing 5/8 OD or larger makes better bends b/c of the thicker side wall of the tubing (less likely to deform on tight radius bends). I'm running through 3 water blocks ( 2 GPU's and the CPU) and 2 rads (a 3 x 120 mm and 3 x 140 mm) with a 800 lhr pump and my temps usually stay around 60 C under load with CPU overclocked to 4.5Ghz. Those blasted 290's heat up the whole system. My overall temps where several degrees lower when I was running a triple SLI 670 setup.
post #10 of 18
Also, I forgot mention before but I usually go with Performance-PCs for my parts and FrozenCPU as my backup. I usually compare the 2. Performance-PC's is usually a few dollars cheaper on the same parts and their standard shipping (Fedex Ground) usually gets to Houston in 2 to 3 days.
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