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Need Some Guidance - First Time Water Cooling

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Hello! Water cooling newb here.

I've built my last 3 PCs, and even upgraded my current build a few times during it's 5 year lifespan. However, I've never tried my hand at water cooling. Well, I bought one of those all-in-one closed loop things, but that doesn't really count, does it? smile.gif

Unfortunately, my PC has taken to randomly dying on me (won't even POST) - so I'm starting to look at building a new system. I haven't overclocked in a while, and figured this will be a good a time to rekindle that passion. With that in mind, I've also decided that it's time to jump straight into water cooling as well.

I've done some research already, and have picked out a few parts. That said, I'm not very sure on basics like fitting, space and whether or not I've missed some things...

Here's the list of (relevant) parts I'm considering:

Computer Bits

Case - Phanteks Eclipse P400S
Mobo - ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII RANGER
CPU - Intel i7 6700K, looking to OC to 4.8 GHz ideally
GPU - EVGA GeForce GTX 1080, not sure on OC yet but probably as much as the more expensive FTW edition at least

Cooling Bits

CPU / Mobo - EK-FB ASUS M8G Monoblock
GPU - EK-FC1080
Pump / Reservoir - Undecided, considering something like the EK-XRES 140 Revo D5.
Radiator - Undecided, but looking for something of the 120x3 / 120.3 / 360 variety.
Fans - No idea on this one, other than 3x 120mm obviously.
Tubing - Green smile.gif. From what I've read inner diameter doesn't matter much, looking for something thicker to avoid kinks and such.
Fittings - Undecided, leaning towards barbed fittings with clamps.
Coolant - Distilled water with a killcoil

As for room temperatures, I have air conditioning so it will generally be ~70-75 F at the most.

I don't see any stand-alone block options for the MAXIMUS VIII boards, and I do want to water cool the mobo. I think that means the EK monoblock is my only choice for CPU / mobo at that point.

From what I've seen, the D5 pump seems like the better option out there, but there's a million variants... I'm also very, very uncertain on where the pump and reservoir will even fit in the P400S. I can't seem to find anything on that beyond a pump mounting bracket that takes the spot of the HDD cage - but that's going to have to go with a 120x3 radiator as well, and even then I don't see space for a reservoir down there...

Thoughts on part selection? Did I miss anything? Fitment of reservoir/pump? Any guidance is appreciated.
post #2 of 15
That is going to be a hard case to water cool in, it looks like only a 360 will fit in front (nothing at top) and you have to remove the midplate to make it fit, which is part of the aesthetics of that case. If you want to water the GPU also, you might want to look for a case that can fit a radiator in the top as well.

For a first time custom loop I would highly recommend a kit, I like EK kits the best:

http://www.performance-pcs.com/complete-kits/shopby/brand--ek-waterblocks/radiator-size--360-3-x-120mm/?
https://www.ekwb.com/shop/kits

Then add the extra radiator, GPU block, monoblock, and fittings you will need. The kits are a great way to start because you know everything will be compatible and have good instructions. After you install your first kit a lot of things make more sense and then you understand it all better. (Since you want to use the monoblock you can sell the CPU block that comes with the kit and get some of that cash back).

If you really want to put it all together yourself, here are my suggestions for your unknowns:

PUMP - Any DDC or D5 pump/res combo will work. EK makes good ones for sure, but be sure to shop around at other brands too. I really love the new Monsoon MMRS stuff.
FANS - The debate on fans is mind numbing and endless, it's one of the hottest topics debated on OCN. Imo if you make sure to have more radiator space than needed you will reach diminishing returns and the fans become almost a mute point and you can use whatever you want, but Noctua's, GT's, Vardars, and e-Loops are all considered some of the best radiator fans. I would also suggest using PWM fans, they will be much easier and more efficient to control.
TUBING - The only soft tubing I would use is EK ZMT which is all black rubber, or Primochill Advanced LRT for clear tubing. Pick your fittings first then get the tubing that fits the fittings.
FITTINGS - Barbs are a little outdated, although extremely cheap now, but compression fittings are the go to now. They hold the tubing much more securely than barbs and look phenomenal to boot! Shop around and find the fittings you like the best, there are a plethora of choices now.
COOLANT - Kill coils are outdated also, most water cooling manufacturers don't recommend them because they interact with other metals in the loop in bad ways. Distilled with a good biocide additive is best these days. You can also get premixed coolants with all the good stuff in it, my favorite is EK EVO.

If you get a full shopping list together you can always post it here for others to see and add suggestions and opinions.
 
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post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the info! I guess a lot of the material on this stuff out there is pretty dated.

Regarding the case, I sorta fell in love with the looks of it. Smaller and quieter is also a plus for me at this point. You seem to think that a single 360 radiator won't be enough for my setup. Would you mind explaining why?

I only ask because the calculators I've found (including EK's custom loop configurator) show that a single 360 radiator should be more than enough. The EK CLC says my loop TDP is 275W and the XE360 has a cooling power of 600W. An online calculator I found (though a bit dated) puts my TDP ~325W, considering my OC targets, but that still is way below 600W.

I did see the kits, but it feels like that would take a lot of the fun out of it. Part of the reason for my doing this is for the experience. I think it'll be fun! smile.gif

With that said, if I were to retain the case and go with a 360 rad, here's the parts list I've put together:

Monoblock - EK-FB ASUS M8G (Acetal/Nickel)
GPU Block - EK-FC1080 GTX (Acetal/Nickel) + EK-FC1080 GTX Backplate
Pump - EK-XTOP DDC 3.2 PWM Elite
Reservoir - EK-RES X3 150
Radiator - EK-CoolStream XE 360
Fans - GentleTyphoon 120mm PWMs w/2150 max RPM (x3)
Tubing - EK-Tube ZMT, 10-16 | 3/8-5/8 (x3)
Fittings - EK-ACF fittings 10-16 (x10)

I know it's an EK fest in there, but I really did shop around... as far as I can tell, they seem to make the best 1080 block, the only monoblock for my motherboard, and have the best radiator. Getting the rest from them just sort of makes sense, as I figure that way it'll all surely fit together nicely. Only exception being the fans. I've always heard GentleTyphoons are the best around and they're not that much more expensive.
post #4 of 15
Can't argue with anything you said or want, its all good, but keep in mind those radiator dissipation specs are in a perfect test environment, the real world will always have a bearing on the actual numbers. If your not going to OC then yes a single 360 should be fine, but if you are going to OC then myself and most others would recommend some additional rad space, but you can start with a 360 and see how it goes.

EK is my favorite too and going all EK makes for a really nice looking loop. Also, the GT's are still considered pretty much the best rad fan, but the Vardars are a really close second if you did want to stick with EK on those as well.

What color fittings are you thinking?
 
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post #5 of 15
Since "quieter" is a goal for this new build, you wouldn't use fans on high RPMs.
Fan noise is obviously something relevant, but maybe 1300 RPMs are already very loud.
If that is the case, according to the following review
http://www.xtremerigs.net/2015/05/31/ek-coolstream-xe-360mm-radiator-review/5/
the rad can dissipate about 300W per 10ΔΤ.
On lower RPMs the dissipation is less.
And that is just for push or pull.
Based on the above, the XE 360 rad may not be enough.

I would consider a different case.

But since this case caught your eye and you loved it, as you said, I would consider the following.
1. Make sure I have enough clearance for a push/pull configuration with EK XE 360 rad, so I can maximize the heat dissipation, if needed.
2. If there in no clearance for a push/pull config and more rad space is needed, where this additional rad can be mounted. A slim 120 or 240 rad on top with fans outside of the case (push or pull only)?
3. The mounting of the res/pump compo is an issue. One idea would be to mount the compo with a mounting kit in one of the inner 360 rad place for a fan. In that case, is there enough clearance for mobo and GPU?
4. With such a short space, is the air flow inside the case adequate?

Food for thought.
In the end, it is your decision.
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post #6 of 15
Thread Starter 
@Radnad - Thanks! If it makes a difference, the full specs for the case indicate it can fit a 120 rad on the rear. Not sure how much that would help, though.

I think I'll go with black fittings. I'm looking for a more understated look, and most of the kit I'm getting is black with a few red accents here and there. Red fittings might make it pop just a bit though. Guess I can't kill the gamer in me biggrin.gif

P400S Specs

@Kronos8 - Hey Kronos! The GentleTyphoons I was looking at can do a max of 2150 RPM, but they're PWM so they are adjustable. I figured that would be the best combination of quiet at idle, and full blast when I'm really pushing it. Especially considering that if I'm gaming I'll probably have headphones on anyway.

I definitely don't think there'd be enough room for push/pull. With pull only I think the pump and reservoir will fit with some clearance but the extra fans would push the res up on the mobo I think.

My thinking was to have the 360 rad with 3x 120mm fans pulling in air from the front, with 2x 120mm on the top and 1x 120mm on the back as exhaust. I figured that would make for decent airflow with a nice, small loop and tight cable management.

All that aside, I definitely understand what you guys are saying about the case.

I originally started looking for a full tower, but I want something with an understated look like the P400S, and I really couldn't find anything. I like the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX almost as much, and looking a bit closer it looks like that one would support a 360 rad in front and one in the top. The downside is I lose the sound deadening material of the P400S, and the look of it is a bit more gamerish in my opinion. It also looks like a top rad in that case would cover up a good chunk of the motherboard, which I'm not sure I'd like the look of.

What do you guys think? I'm open to case suggestions, as long as they feature a more subdued design.
Edited by kriz225 - 8/21/16 at 5:44pm
post #7 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kriz225 View Post

@Radnad - Thanks! If it makes a difference, the full specs for the case indicate it can fit a 120 rad on the rear. Not sure how much that would help, though.

I think I'll go with black fittings. I'm looking for a more understated look, and most of the kit I'm getting is black with a few red accents here and there. Red fittings might make it pop just a bit though. Guess I can't kill the gamer in me biggrin.gif

P400S Specs

@Kronos8 - Hey Kronos! The GentleTyphoons I was looking at can do a max of 2150 RPM, but they're PWM so they are adjustable. I figured that would be the best combination of quiet at idle, and full blast when I'm really pushing it. Especially considering that if I'm gaming I'll probably have headphones on anyway.

I definitely don't think there'd be enough room for push/pull. With pull only I think the pump and reservoir will fit with some clearance but the extra fans would push the res up on the mobo I think.

My thinking was to have the 360 rad with 3x 120mm fans pulling in air from the front, with 2x 120mm on the top and 1x 120mm on the back as exhaust. I figured that would make for decent airflow with a nice, small loop and tight cable management.

All that aside, I definitely understand what you guys are saying about the case.

I originally started looking for a full tower, but I want something with an understated look like the P400S, and I really couldn't find anything. I like the Phanteks Enthoo Evolv ATX almost as much, and looking a bit closer it looks like that one would support a 360 rad in front and one in the top. The downside is I lose the sound deadening material of the P400S, and the look of it is a bit more gamerish in my opinion. It also looks like a top rad in that case would cover up a good chunk of the motherboard, which I'm not sure I'd like the look of.

What do you guys think? I'm open to case suggestions, as long as they feature a more subdued design.

Red fittings might look really good with the ZMT, maybe you should get 1 of each to test out, I can see a pretty sweet "RoG and Black" build going! As for the case, the only other case I can think of that has that same look and feel is the Cooler MasterCase, it's a pretty popular case right now and has a lot more water cooling options. There is also an owner's club here on OCN to get good ideas and suggestions.
 
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post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I might just have to go with the red fittings for a light touch of color.

That M5 MasterCase looks pretty sweet, and I like the USB-C on the I/O, but... it's just not doing it for me the way these Phanteks cases are. Something about them I can't quite put my finger on.

Here's a thought:

It looks like the Evolv ATX should fit a 280 rad on top with my planned EK-CoolStream XE 360 on the front. Wouldn't cost much more to throw in something like the HardwareLabs Nemesis 280 GTS X-Flow with a couple 140mm fans on the top. Since it's only about 30mm thick (vs. the XE 360's whopping 60mm) it shouldn't be as obstructive, from a visual perspective. The EK-CoolStream SE 240 is even thinner, at 26mm, but reviews seem to indicate it wouldn't help too much.

What do you guys think about that?
post #9 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by kriz225 View Post

Yeah, I might just have to go with the red fittings for a light touch of color.

That M5 MasterCase looks pretty sweet, and I like the USB-C on the I/O, but... it's just not doing it for me the way these Phanteks cases are. Something about them I can't quite put my finger on.

Here's a thought:

It looks like the Evolv ATX should fit a 280 rad on top with my planned EK-CoolStream XE 360 on the front. Wouldn't cost much more to throw in something like the HardwareLabs Nemesis 280 GTS X-Flow with a couple 140mm fans on the top. Since it's only about 30mm thick (vs. the XE 360's whopping 60mm) it shouldn't be as obstructive, from a visual perspective. The EK-CoolStream SE 240 is even thinner, at 26mm, but reviews seem to indicate it wouldn't help too much.

What do you guys think about that?

The Evolv has a lot of love hate right now because the air flow is choked when using radiators. Go browse the owners club and see what others have experienced. As much as I love how that case looks I would only do an air cooled build in it, not worth the effort of trying to get good airflow with rads.

Have you considered other cases like Enthoo Pro or Primo, Define S/Tt F31, Air 540, In Win 303, etc?
 
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post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Yeah, I did look at those as well. I did a lot of perusing around Newegg and such for popular cases. I'm afraid those just don't have the look I'm going for. I guess at some point I have to decide between function and aesthetics.

I'm normally more of a function over looks kind of guy, but I've had a Cooler Master HAF X for the last 5 years. While I have no complaints on the case, I just feel like I want to go for something sleeker looking.

As far as the airflow of the Evolv ATX is concerned, would you mind pointing me to some of the criticism about it? I did some reading on the owners club as well as some web searching and what I see on the forums is mixed at best. The two professional reviews I found which test and mention cooling (Kitguru, HardOCP) are quite positive. They seem to test on the stock air cooling alone, but I fail to see how the case's airflow would become bad simply by adding radiators.

I don't mean to be rude - I certainly appreciate the help, and I might just be missing something here, being the newb I am. But if the case's airflow is good for air cooling (which you yourself seem to believe) then why would it be bad for water cooling?

Radiators obviously will obstruct airflow. This, however, is a factor of the radiator and not the case. So the same degree of obstruction would apply to any case.

I'm sure that a full front and top mesh case will have better overall airflow than these metal ones, but, as I said I'm looking for those aesthetics.
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