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How to - Liquid cool RAID controller [Adaptec 8405] and SAS Expander [Intel RES3FV288]

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
Since it's my first thread at OCN (be gentle) decided to go with something that not many did (or at least advertised). As liquid cooling offers a lot of benefits why not cool exceptionally hot RAID controller and SAS expander. And so I went with this little project.

In truth I was planning to go with different controller which didn't work properly on my X99 Classified (71605) so I bought another one which works perfectly (8405). Some kernel differences between 7.5.x and 7.8.x it seems. It was done in two steps in space of few weeks for various reasons. Anyway back to the point.

NOTICE: Any tampering with cards (removing heatsink) will VOID warranty. (You probably know that already wink.gif )

What you need:

1. RAID controller with removable heatsink (many old cards won't work as heatsink is glued to the chip and it's extremely perilous job any attempt at removing and then drilling holes for screws - a lot of old Adaptecs for example offer no space at all).

We got here Adaptec 8405 (generic image from manufacturer)

2. SAS Expander - my choice was purely on price and requirement for new SFF-8643 connectors. Intel RES3FV288 is cheaper than Adaptec AEC-82885T... but it's exactly the same product as you can see on pictures (contents of the box are identical but price difference is about - equivalent of - 40-50USD)

My expander used in this 'tutorial' (big word) and next to it is the block

3. Universal water block that will fit properly on controller - a lot of choice here so not going to list everything because it would be rather long list.

Distance between holes is 58.5-59mm. Alu radiators are exactly the same for Adaptec's 7 and 8 series and total size is standard 50x50mm.

My choice is Alphacool HF-14 Smart Motion for RAID controller

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90

4. Water block for sas expander - it's quite difficult to get something for very limited space there is but I manged to nail this little guy at Aquatunning.

Anfi-Tec Nano UCD - probably the only block that will fit.

Factory heatsink on expander is rather weird T shaped. Distance between holes is 43-44mm, nominal width is 32mm (without that T shaped edge).

You'll most probably need little bits and pieces depending on particular setup. I've replaced default spring mechanism of HF-14 later which was rather unstable. Depending on fittings you may need to use different screws or bolts - also will point out that later.


So let's begin.

First controller. It's fairly straightforward.

0. Ground yourself - last thing you want is to ruin expensive piece of hardware.
1. Push pins upward.
2. Gently try to remove heatsink.
3. DO NOT use excessive force - it's very easy to damage RoC underneath. Heatsink will be stuck really good, just try to rotate very gently.
4. When heatsink is out and RoC cleaned out of old TIM you should end with:

5. Position your block the way you like it. If you're sure how and where proceed with TIM application - use preferably non-conductive type (I was using EK paste I've got with GTX970 water block). On picture there is Prolimatech PK-3, but it was not elastic enough for my taste. Screw it gently on opposite sides. Don't need to torque screw this. As long it won't jiggle around it's fine. Forcing the issue will result in catastrophic damage to the RoC below. Please ignore clippers - I was doing plethora of things that day/night - just don't use them under any circumstances! OK.

6. OPTIONAL: You may use thermal pad on the edges of RoC to protect the chip. Like this one from Phobya

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v80), quality = 90

It's not mandatory and for this particular setup with HF-14 SM not required as block is very small and will not sag over the edges, but if you want to be on safe side go ahead.

7. When everything is done you should end with something like this:

Please notice that AFM-700 board was there only temporary. Was considering it using it with this setup, but I will soon refit old PC at work with new guts and that module will go with 71605 I will use there.

8. Done! Now only what left is accommodate that into your existing loop (will post picture later). Plenty of space for large fittings. Myself was using EK HDC 16/12 with EK PETG. In the initial setup I was using this 8mm extenders to avoid screwing fittings directly into POM, but later I had to remove them to fit expander above. It's optional thing. POM is more resistant than acryl and it's just my practice usually to put extender between plastic and fitting.

Now expander.

Steps are pretty much the same as above so more pictures less writing wink.gif

Word of explanation. Expander was mounted on a EK Uni-mount frame when was cooled by air. Fiber washers were an option, but in the end default rubber ones were used.

Heatsink removed - was really stuck. Beware of potential damage. No excessive force. Can't stress that enough.

Expander chip in all its glory.

Block is on temporarily (dry) to check if cabling won't interfere. Read block instruction. Don't forget about two circle spacers to put on the edges which are not screwed. Also optionally Anfi-tec comes with thermal pads to use on the edges, but decided against - simply not enough space. Expander chip is twice as big when compared to controller so it won't sag anyway.

Block is on now for good. Shot from every side.

NOTE: replaced default M3 nuts with these long M3 links I've got lying in 'old-trash stash'. Much easier to screw from the top than using normal nut. If you have something similar go ahead. It won't obstruct the fittings (picture coming up)

And bottom for good measure.

OK. Done. Let's put that inside the loop, shall we...

Please notice replaced default springs with just shorter screws on the controller. Springs were quite unstable for my liking, so I just removed them and used classic approach.


And finally temperatures. On air controller was working around 45 C, expander was operating at up 58 C depending on how warm it was. And now after this surgery controller is idling (when CPU is not loaded) at 18C/expander 24C, when 5930K is fully loaded (pretty much all the time) at 4.4GHz controller is working at 24C and expander at 28C - room temperature is 21C right now.

Wish you all success in your own liquid cooling projects that expand past usual CPU/VGA combo. Well worth the effort.
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
Ah, forgot one thing. Both blocks are no-restiance blocks (no micro-channels, no micro-pins and stuff inside). That means trivial maintenace. Obvious advantage.
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