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CHEAP WC - maybe modded closed loop - for two 290x w/ waterblocks?

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
My system is currently running with 2 r9 290x in Crossfire. They are cooled via Aquacomputer Kryographics full cover blocks, integrated into a complete custom loop.

I'm thinking about upgrading to a new card - either switch to Nvidia for a 1080 now or wait to see what AMD does with Vega cards in early 2017. Whatever the new card is, I'll definitely fit it with a waterblock and plug it into my system.

But what to do with the 290x cards?

I could auction them off, but I have two young adult kids who like to game and would be more than happy to update their ancient GPUs (a Radeon 6950 and a Radeon 7850). Getting one 290x each would be a sweet upgrade for both of them.

Only ... if I remove the waterblocks, they'll be running reference coolers - and since we share an office, the noise level is a no go.

OTOH, I don't see the point in building two complete custom cooling loops. That's stupid expensive.

So I've been thinking: Why not leave the waterblocks on, buy a couple used, closed-loop coolers and you know ... sort of cludge something together?

Do you guys have any experience with this - or any better suggestions, like a parts list for a very, very inexpensive custom loop built to cool a GPU only?
post #2 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikegray View Post

My system is currently running with 2 r9 290x in Crossfire. They are cooled via Aquacomputer Kryographics full cover blocks, integrated into a complete custom loop.

I'm thinking about upgrading to a new card - either switch to Nvidia for a 1080 now or wait to see what AMD does with Vega cards in early 2017. Whatever the new card is, I'll definitely fit it with a waterblock and plug it into my system.

But what to do with the 290x cards?

I could auction them off, but I have two young adult kids who like to game and would be more than happy to update their ancient GPUs (a Radeon 6950 and a Radeon 7850). Getting one 290x each would be a sweet upgrade for both of them.

Only ... if I remove the waterblocks, they'll be running reference coolers - and since we share an office, the noise level is a no go.

OTOH, I don't see the point in building two complete custom cooling loops. That's stupid expensive.

So I've been thinking: Why not leave the waterblocks on, buy a couple used, closed-loop coolers and you know ... sort of cludge something together?

Do you guys have any experience with this - or any better suggestions, like a parts list for a very, very inexpensive custom loop built to cool a GPU only?

just do a gpu loop? i mean imo i think it would be the easiest, just use soft tubing and buy a simply 120 or 140mm rad and bam and just get a decent air cooler for the cpu or get a aio like a corsair h55? all the mod-able aio's out there that are cheap or affordable arent very good, and the really good ones arent very cheap, the only really good one worth the money imo is EK's Predator AIO and its 200$ starting.
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Koji
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post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input!

Yeah, I DON'T want to put the CPUs underwater. Both of my kids have non-K i5 models (couple generations old) that are working just fine on air with low noise and reasonable temps. No reason to rock that boat.

But custom cooling ... gah. I just don't see how I can get a pump, reservoir, rad and fittings for less than $100 per card, which just seems like investing too much money in cards that are heading into their sunset years. I'd like to keep my cash outlay at or below $70 per card.

Couple thoughts:

- Since posting my question, I've found the h50 mod thread. Seems like I might be able to get a couple used h50s, swap out the stock tubing and use them to cool the GPUs instead of the CPUs. (Can't actually remove the CPU block since it also houses the pump, but I expect it would still work OK.)

- TBH, though, maybe the smart option is simply to remove the waterblocks, put them on ebay, and get a couple aftermarket air coolers for the GPUs.
post #4 of 11
Shame you can't get it in the US, but something like the Fractal Design Kelvin T12 will do what you want without modding.
post #5 of 11
Thread Starter 
The Fractal is sweet - and since I'm in Switzerland, I COULD actually get it. Also: since my kids have Fractal cases, I'm (a) partial to the company and (b) sure the rad would fit, easily.

OTOH, it's spendier that I really want (around $100), and it includes a CPU block that I don't need. Basically, it'd be similar to modding an h50, albeit with better equipment and no need cludge job to hook it up to the GPU.
post #6 of 11
It's usually cheaper on Amazon and it also goes to their Warehouse section often for a lot cheaper. At least that's the case in the UK. It's around £58 for the 120mm here brand new. So keep an eye on Amazon.de maybe.

But it's better than the H50 because the rad is copper rather than aluminium so you won't run into the guaranteed problem of galvanic corrosion. Also yea it saves you a lot of time.

However, there is another option that I forgot to mention. Swiftech do a rad+pump+res combo, for less than $100 in the US, assuming you already have a spare fan. I don't know where you can buy it in the continent, and I don't know if it fits your case (needs 140mm and it's quite deep overall). But it certain is a good otpion.
post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Oh. Aluminum in the h50. Hadn't picked up on that yet. Not cool.

BTW, I found the Swiftech contraption. (http://www.swiftech.com/MCR140-X.aspx) It's pretty nifty! Def. wanna see if I can score one of those cheap.
post #8 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikegray View Post

Oh. Aluminum in the h50. Hadn't picked up on that yet. Not cool.

BTW, I found the Swiftech contraption. (http://www.swiftech.com/MCR140-X.aspx) It's pretty nifty! Def. wanna see if I can score one of those cheap.
That definitely looks like the way to go.
post #9 of 11
How about a quiet aftermarket air cooler for the cards?

I can personally vouch for the Arctic Accelero series of aftermarket coolers.
(https://www.arctic.ac/eu_en/accelero-xtreme-iv.html)

They're very bulky and can be a bit of a pain to install compared to a waterblock, but they're definitely a LOT quieter.
I got my housemate one as a gift because we shared the same office and his GPU was incredibly noisy.
Didn't hear a thing afterwards thumb.gif

They should also fit in your sub-100 dollar budget.
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leyaena View Post

How about a quiet aftermarket air cooler for the cards?

I can personally vouch for the Arctic Accelero series of aftermarket coolers.
(https://www.arctic.ac/eu_en/accelero-xtreme-iv.html)

They're very bulky and can be a bit of a pain to install compared to a waterblock, but they're definitely a LOT quieter.
I got my housemate one as a gift because we shared the same office and his GPU was incredibly noisy.
Didn't hear a thing afterwards thumb.gif

They should also fit in your sub-100 dollar budget.

#*%@ you, Leyaena!

That's a boring solution to the problem, but it's hard to argue with the logic.

1) Local pricing on a Accelero Xtreme IV is about $65 (retail, shipped), which is already sub-$70.

2) If I can ALSO sell the beautiful, full length waterblocks & active (!) backplates for anything at all*, my outlay just got better. (*Note: I paid about $130 each, but seriously: Who buys waterblocks & backplates for old cards?)

3) If my kids use the cards for a couple years then want to sell them off for good, they'll be WAAAY easier to sell with Acceleros on them than with watercooling gear ...

Still kind of depressing, though. I was really looking forward to pouring water into my kids' PCs.

One moral of this story is that watercooling may be fun, but it's not exactly a an investment.
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