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[Build Log] Custom Watercooled 350D

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
This is my first custom watercooling loop and will be replacing the H100i GTX cooler in my old build that I wasn't 100% happy with. The main goal with this loop is to make it ultra silent whilst still achieving great temps on my overclocked CPU.

Parts going in this build are

Case: Corsair 350D
Mainboard: Asus Gryphon Z97
CPU: Intel i7-4790k
GPU: Asus Geforce GTX 970 STRIX DC2OC
PSU: Super Flower HX 550W
RAM: Kingston HyperX Beast 4x 4GB

Watercooling parts:
Radiators: 2x Alphacool NexXxoS ST30 Full Copper 240mm
Radiator fans: 4x Noiseblocker NB-Multiframe S2
Tubing: 2m Primochill Primoflex Advanced LRT
Reservoir/pump mount: Monsoon S2 D5 Premium dual bay reservoir
Pump: Alphacool VPP655 PWM
CPU block: EK Supremacy EVO copper/acetal
Fittings: Alphacool compression fittings 6x straight, 2x 90°

I decided to not add my GPU to the loop just yet, maybe I'll do it when I upgrade my GPU in a few years. Buying a GPU block for my 970 now wouldn't be worth it. For now the STRIX cooler is pretty good, it's a semi-passive cooler so doesn't produce any fan noise unless the GPU is under heavy load.

Here goes the build log:

I encountered two problems fitting the reservoir in the optical bay. First problem were the divider rails on the sides of the bay preventing the reservoir from sliding in. I used a file to make them thinner. Then, I noticed that the right side of the bay doesn't have mounting holes where the vibration dampener screws would go. There are weird bars where the mounting holes should be. I used a file & pliers to vandalize the ***** out of these things. So now I have working mounting "holes". Not too proud of the result but ah well, this side won't be visible anyway.



Top radiator mounted:


I got stuck for a bit trying to mount the top radiator. The short screws included with my case were too short when set on the rubber washers. Strange that Corsair doesn't include the mounting hardware you need to mount a top radiator to their case. Finally I found some thinner metal washers from my old H100i that did the job.

Fans arrived:


I don't know if that's just my luck but the fans were really dirty when I got them. I'm assuming the rubber got thrown around during shipping and now the fans are all covered in rubber dust? They're also difficult to clean because the rubber parts are so sticky. Other than that, I like the look of these fans.

CPU block mounted:


In a small case like this connecting all the tubes can be a challenge. What I ended up doing was taking out the reservoir and top radiator, connecting them outside of the case, mount the radiator fans, then push the whole spaghetti mess back in through the optical bay. When that was done, the only fittings left to connect were the on the CPU block and front radiator, which were easy enough to access.

The tubes coming out of the reservoir are long enough that I can still pull out the reservoir to fill it.

Near the CPU block, I had to route the tubes over my tall RAM somehow. I ended up having to mount those tubes at slightly vertical angles. Makes for an interesting aesthetic:



I filled the loop and leak tested it overnight, no leaks found.


It doesn't look like that on the picture, but there is plenty of clearance for my GPU to fit.

So... first impressions after having the loop run for a day: holy crap is it quiet. I have to give Monsoon props for coming up with this pump mounting system. The pump is inaudible over my PSU even at 60% pump speed (I believe it is at 60% speed, that is supposedly the default speed when the PWM cable isn't connected).

Most of the air bubbles in the loop are gone now, but the bubbles on the reservoir walls are really persistent:


So then I went ahead and screwed the reservoir into the case:


Getting the anti-vibration mounting correct took me a couple of tries. Basically, don't tighten those screws too much and make sure the reservoir sits as straight with the case as possible. Even then, there's still some vibrations, but they're dampened enough that I can't hear anything with the pump running at 60% speed, unless I put my ear right against the case.

So this is where I'm at right now:


Will post more updates as they come in. Now that the reservoir is mounted, I want to run another leak test over night and when that's done I just need to put all my hardware back in, wire it up and we'll be pretty much golden. I still need to pick up a dust filter for the top, and probably invest in a quieter PSU since I have a hunch that it's going to be the noise limiting factor in my build.
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Despite my negligence in updating this thread, my system is alive and well. I've made a couple of changes since: switched to Be Quiet Straight Power 600W PSU, added the Demciflex dust filter to the top vent, and switched to white LEDs.



For the new year I decided it was time to add my GPU to the loop. I got the Alphacool GPX 970 M06 and installed it. Unfortunately one of the pads appears to not make contact whatsoever, so for now I've taken off the block and reached out to the AT rep. Hopefully the issue can be resolved in a new revision of the waterblock.


Edited by scrawl5 - 1/2/16 at 1:21pm
post #3 of 10
Very Nice!
     
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post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
Thanks! I forgot to post the temperature and performance results. All 5 fans are running at their lowest possible speed (around 300-500 RPM). The pump is set to lowest possible speed (800 RPM) since I didn't notice any temperature differences whatsoever with regards to different pump speeds. My CPU is overclocked to 4.6 GHZ @ 1.335 volts. With a room temperature of 19°C, CPU idle temp is ~23°C, at full load (compiling software with GCC) the CPU is at ~55°C, then rises up to about 70°C if I let it run for an hour or so. I could set up a fan curve to make it run cooler, but right now I'd rather have it as quiet as possible. I will revisit the fan speed setup once I have the GPU in the loop.
Edited by scrawl5 - 1/12/16 at 5:03pm
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
So what started as just adding my GPU to the loop turned into a major upgrade of the system. I got a refund for the Alphacool GPX block since it did not fit my graphics card perfectly. Instead I decided to treat myself to a 980 Hydro Copper card that comes with a waterblock preinstalled. I'm still waiting for some fittings and a new O Ring for the cpu block to arrive before I can set up the new loop. Coolant will be changed from distilled + silver bullet plugs to Mayhems X1 Clear (not a good idea to run a nickel plated block with silver, or so I've heard). Finally I'm adding two more fans to the front (push+pull) because why the heck not! All of this should be ready sometime in the next week depending on when my order arrives wink.gif
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well I did put the system back together finally. Changes:

- Upgraded video card to GTX 980 Hydro Copper
- Added more fans to the front (push+pull)
- Flipped the top radiator fans to act as an exhaust
- New plugs for the reservoir
- Installed a water temperature sensor/display



As you would expect, adding the GPU to the loop has increased the water temperature, so much so that I've had to turn up the radiator fans to the point I can hear them. It's not too bad though, and I'd rather hear smooth sounding fans than a coil whine or the sound of my monitor. I spent a few days testing all sorts of fan speeds, pump speeds, taking filters on/off, swapping the front panel... and found a noise/temperature trade-off that I'm more or less happy with. Ultimately though, I feel a bit limited by the radiator capacity in the 350D, so I'll probably build my next system in a bigger case.
post #7 of 10
i was in the same boat as you : tight space with a CoolerMaster 690 II with 2 240 rads. fInally took the plunge with a Phanteks Enthoo Primo. Added a 480 rad on the top. Kept the 2 240 rads. Slightly ovwerkill but remembered the advices here : "Get as much rad as you can" or "there never is too much rads". Glad I did. Gained a few degrees but more importantly lowered fans speed. Also the Primo is a joy to work with. Thar does not hurt.
Current Rig
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Current Rig
(14 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7-7700K Asus Z270 Prime-A GTX 1080 Ti Corsair 3200MHz 16GB 
Hard DriveCoolingOSMonitor
Samsung Evo 500 GB Custom Windows 10 64 bits Acer BX270HU 
PowerCaseMouse
Seasonic G 750W Phanteks Enthoo Primo Red Logitech G700S 
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post #8 of 10
Thread Starter 
Yeah the Enthoo Primo is on my list of candidates. It is a giant case though, would barely fit under my desk. The other candidates are Silverstone FT02 (with a 540 rad in the bottom) or FT04 (360 in the front and 120 in the back). Actually the latter wouldn't have more radiator space than my current case, but a more efficient air flow, larger intake, more space to do push+pull and better sound proofing. I'd have to test it to be sure, but I think the difference would be huge.
Edited by scrawl5 - 1/28/16 at 6:39pm
post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Played around overclocking my 980 graphics card. This is the max clock I was able to get with the stock bios:

Graphics clock offset: +150 mhz (= 1605 mhz, +10.3%)
Memory clock offset: +1300 mhz (= 8310 mhz, +18%)
Voltage offset: +87.5 mv

Tested a few different games for a while, seems stable.

Valley score improved by ~12%.





Dirt Showdown benchmark 10% improved.
Metro 2033 Redux benchmark only improved 5.6%. There seems to be some weird FPS cap going on in that benchmark.

The OC hasn't changed the temperatures by much, water-GPU delta increased by ~1 degree.

Pretty nice for a free FPS boost.

Not going to run this OC 24/7, just when I game which isn't very often, so hopefully the lifespan of the card isn't going to be affected by much.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
New candidate for a case swap - Corsair 600C/600Q.




Inverted ATX layout, noise dampening foam. The guys at SilentPcReview seem to like it. http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1492-page7.html

Radiator support 360 in the basement, 280 in the front, 140 in the rear. Anyone know if you could fit all these at the same time or would there be a clearance issue?

Looks like a great case for a silent custom loop build.

I need a closer look at the right side of the optical bay, hopefully I don't have to mod it to fit my reservoir like I had to with the 350D. Anyone who own the case could post a pic? Thanks

Edit: found a pic here http://forum.overclock3d.net/showpost.php?p=891663&postcount=10 , looks identical to the 350D's optical bay, looks like I'll have to cut into it again.
Edited by scrawl5 - 2/14/16 at 10:04am
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