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Water Cooling Project - First Attempt

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
After over a year of researching and observing, I finally decided to experiment with overclocking and water cooling. Since this will be my first with constructing a water loop and overclocking I thought I might create a thread about my adventure into these two worlds. At the time of this writing I don’t have any pictures or video ready for displaying; however, I am documenting the whole thing for a project of mine and will have stuff posted in the near future.

The water loop consists of the following parts (Estimated total with tax and shipping - $306):
Swiftech MCP655: $86
Enzotech SCW-REV.A CPU Waterblock (Sapphire Series): $47
Black Ice GTX 360: $83
Swiftech MCRES Micro Revision 2 reservoir: $29
Scythe Ultra Kaze 3000 RPM: $10 each ($30 total)
Tubing – 1/2” ID, 3/4” OD [with nylon braiding]: $1.10 per foot ($11 total)
Miscellaneous (clamps, screws, brackets, washers, etc.): roughly $20

Even with all my planning on the water loop, it’s not a first without some hitch. When placing the retention module onto my board so that I may place the waterblock onto the CPU, I discovered that all the retention modules that came with the waterblock were the wrong module for X58 boards (LGA 1366). This fact didn’t occur to me until I dissembled the whole computer of course so I was left with no [personal] computer for a whole week while I waited for Newegg to ship me a retention module for the board. I had been examining HESmelaugh’s roundup of dozens of i7 waterblocks for quite some time and not once did it occur to me that though all these blocks will work with the Nehalem processor, some of those manufactures didn’t include the 1366 retention module with their waterblock(s). The one part I went head first with was the one part that I missed a small but crucial piece too.

With the retention module coming in on January 10th (Monday), I was planning to finish the loop so that I may use my computer once again. However, I’ve noticed that the tubing, with its thick walls, is difficult to place onto the barbs. Most people recommend heating the tube with hot water and/or pliers to allow the tubing to stretch over the barbs. What concern me are the barbs on the MCP655: the outer diameter measured out to be 9/16” on average, 5/8” on the largest point (the tip of the barb). I tried calling Swiftech so that I could ask if my tubing would work but they never picked up (not in on weekends?), but while searching I came across two things that surprised me. The first was a post on these forums asking about putting 3/8” ID tubing on the MCP655. Now most people replied suggesting that the person should go with the slightly larger 7/16” ID, but I was astounded that people were suggesting tubing that’s smaller than the pump’s 1/2” barbs. I was further flabbergasted when I saw that Swiftech’s kits had 7/16” ID tubing that had thicker walls than my tubing! So is my tubing okay with these 1/2” barbs, especially the MCP655 (the pump is the biggest offender of a large outer diameter)?

My next question deals with the radiator and whether or not I should install “filters.” My friends are telling me that I should have filters on the fans so that my radiator won’t be covered in dust, saying that it would be incredibly difficult to clean the radiator. Now I wouldn’t be buying “fan filters” but will be buying some wire mesh similar to the mesh used in fan filters to save money since it will work exactly the same. However, are filters even necessary for the radiator?

My last question is more directed towards overclocking. I have been observing the Nehalem processor and how to overclock a normal, locked i7, but I feel like I am missing manipulation with the voltages. I’m wondering if there are ways that I may monitor my CPU so that I can spot if my voltages are too low (or too high). Most guides for overclocking with the i7 will tell you a set voltage to use for such a frequency, but different batches offer different results. Obviously I don’t want to damage my CPU because of under voltage or over voltage.

I’ll update my progression as soon as I get to the next milestone. Feel free to comment, I appreciate the feedback.
Edited by D-Dave - 1/9/11 at 4:25pm
    
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post #2 of 11
Using smaller tubing on larger fittings is a pain in the arse tbh, can be very hard to get the tubing to stretch but you shouldn't have any issues with getting 1/2" ID tubing on those fitting. Should be a tight fit obviously, you don't want it to leak after all


Air filters are nice to have, I personally don't use them, my case has one in, but that's not my main air inflow so... yeah.

I don't really get any issues with dust, depends on placement of course, my PC is on my desk pulling air in from near a window, if it were on the floor sucking on the carpet however, I would be very concerned about dust.



As for overclocking your i7, this guide:

http://www.overclock.net/intel-cpus/...920-930-a.html

Should take you where you want to go. For Voltages most people start with V-core at around 1.25 and your qpi/uncore voltage at 1.35 and then build their clock up and add V-core when they lose stability.

Anyway, this is the wrong place for OC discussions, better off starting a thread in the intel CPU board if you need help there.
    
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post #3 of 11
You don't need a filter for the rad. Using a filter will slow down the airflow over the rad just like dust will, except the filter gives the dust a head start in clogging up the flow. Simply blow out your rad fins with a can of compressed air every so often to keep it clean. Keeping dust out of your case, now that's different.

Overclocking rule #1... "Your results may vary"
Just because someone gets a stable system at a specific voltage doesn't mean you will even if your chip is from the same batch. Do your research, pick a suitable starting point and run plenty of tests. Lower voltage means lower temps. Go too low and you'll be crashing under stress.

Good luck with your project.
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post #4 of 11
I would switch your tubing to either 7/16" ID 5/8" OD or 1/2" ID 3/4" OD. 7/16" ID tubing over 1/2" barbs gives the advantage of not requiring clamps, while the 1/2" ID 3/4" OD tubing really makes the tubing stand out due to it's size.

1/2" ID 5/8" OD tubing has a really thin wall that makes it prone to kinking, which will cause problems in your loop.
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post #5 of 11
A couple tips, for overclocking under water, I may suggest that you connect a second power supply up (could be an old one) that simply drives the water pump. I recommend this due to the increased frequency that you should be/will be crashing once you start the experimentation process of the chip oc.

To test for stability any number of benchmarks should do, or just play a game like battlefield bc2 for 2+ hours, if your able to play without artifacts or crashes/lock ups your golden. Just like the cpu is different from one chip to another your mobo is also different, so learning where its limits are and finding its sweet spots can mean just as much if not more than the chip oc. If you can oc' a bridge and get stability without putting more voltage to the core, thats money in the bank.

I do not bother with filters myself, but dust is a maintenance issue, so just clean the thing from time to time, including the fans on the rad, as well as oiling them (fan bearings). Commercial dusters are normally not recommended for cleaning inside of the case (due to static electricity) but if your rad is outside the case, go for it. You could always do an enclosure of sorts and just some wire screen like you would see on a patio.

Looking at your last question programs like cpuZ and Core Temp are very good for monitoring your system, as well as Everest and of course installing your own temp probes.

As far as damage, hrmm, well voltage is pressure V, which is = resistance x amperage (current), so as voltage is increased (in the case of overclocking) and resistance being the same, amperage or current must also increase. The more current available the more frequency of a pulse may be sent through a circuit or in a cpus case, a transistor.

Unfortunately, the transistors gates use resistive materials thus, the increase in amperage/frequency the more moments of resistance are expressed, which is often (90 percent of the time TDP is heat) if the additional heat cannot be drawn away quickly enough, that heat will remain, and begin to stack, this heat is one of the factors contributing in a process called inductance reactance. So as the voltage now is fixed and resistance goes up, current must then go down, as current goes down the ability of a signal to be carried by the frequency selected also goes down, and the system becomes unstable.

Thus, it is the heat that is the factor that seems to dominate the ability to adjust a clock at a particular voltage. Like anything "made" exposing something to heat over and over again will eventually damage the material, if the heat is drawn away effectively and consistently, then it should not be as much of a factor.

Just keep in mind that in a water cooled setup your immediate temps are not your effective temps when OCing, for that the system needs to warm up and equal out the thermal energy in to thermal energy out, also that the interface between the chip and the block is hugely important when concerning drawing energy away effectively and quickly.

Like anything, it is a series of little touches that add up to big gains, rather than one simple easy button, and always use your best judgement, if you see big spikes in temp that do not go away, chances are right before that, is the current setups limit, and now somewhere (probably at the chip) heat is not being conducted away effectively, and it is beginning to insulate. These devices can take quite a bit of punishment, its just the punishment over long periods of time that will reduce component life.
 
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post #6 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone for the replies. Crabid, thanks for the advice, just thought that I might try my luck throwing that question in about voltages since I was writing a thread in the water cooling section and presumed that many water cooling people were knowledgeable in overclocking as well (though off topic from just water cooling).

To give a good idea of where the radiator will be located, the radiator will be outside and on top of my case sitting sideways so that the radiator and fans are clear for air. As for the tubing, I’m glad to hear that the concern of getting the tubing on the barbs was only me; to think I almost went with tubing with a wall of 1/16”. No problem about the tubing Charliehorse55, I did in fact get tubing with 1/8” thick walls ! Sorry about the misunderstanding, I re-measured the tubing wall and got 1/8” thickness for them. [Long story short] I made a mix up with the dimensions of the tubing when measuring the pump and kept thinking the tubing was the same size of the pump’s barb (corrected dimensions in my post).

When getting ready to put the tubing on the barbs, should I heat the [distilled] water close to boiling, place the tubing in the water for a few minutes, then try to slid it on as quick as possible? I’m just a bit skeptical about the tubing being able to stretch so far just by heating it so verification on a method of putting tubing on barbs would be valued. A little information about the tubing: I bought it from a hardware store and inside the tubing walls contain braided nylon throughout the tubing.

To Soggysilicon, thank you for such an informative reply. I’m assuming the exclusive power supply for the pump is to prevent the pump from suddenly shutting down if the computer becomes unstable? Either way I have a spare power supply that I can do while experimenting. As far as the voltage goes, am I in any danger if I don’t provide enough voltage? I would make sure to run stress tests to make sure that everything is stable so that I wouldn’t be running a system that is uncertain, but should having too low of voltage(s) be a big concern or is it more of a long term effect if I repeatedly allowed the system to run those voltages.
    
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post #7 of 11
While the hot water tactic does work well for standard PVC tubing, the nylon reinforcement present in your tubing may prevent it from working as well for you.

Also, don't worry about your powersupply, it's more than strong enough for your rig.
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post #8 of 11
Quote:
To Soggysilicon, thank you for such an informative reply. I’m assuming the exclusive power supply for the pump is to prevent the pump from suddenly shutting down if the computer becomes unstable? Either way I have a spare power supply that I can do while experimenting. As far as the voltage goes, am I in any danger if I don’t provide enough voltage? I would make sure to run stress tests to make sure that everything is stable so that I wouldn’t be running a system that is uncertain, but should having too low of voltage(s) be a big concern or is it more of a long term effect if I repeatedly allowed the system to run those voltages.
The spare power supply is so that in the eventual event of a system crash (as you OC you Will crash and have system hangs requiring cmos clears, that when you reboot, the power supply (for the pump) does not drop off line and then come back online. It is only temporary while you are overclocking and rebooting dozens of times, once you find your happy place, toss the pump back onto your main power supply. Think of it as an object in motion tends to stay in motion (require less energy), some of these pumps have pretty high start up voltages to overcome a static state, this way while your setting up you avoid wear on your main psu and on the pump itself.

Nope (no damage), if you do not have sufficient voltage at a fixed resistance, the amperage will be lower, amperage is like flow, and if the flow falls off you just wont be able to maintain the frequency or cycle rate (i think in terms of a cars rpms) and the car/cpu will stall out from starvation/lack of electrons to keep the frequency high. If frequency (the amount per unit time of curve cycles) curve like a balloon the electrons (air) fill up that balloon per cycle tick, not enough electrons the balloon is partially empty and the system will simply crash/frequency/balloon becomes deformed, sometimes needing a cmos clear to boot back up.

If we were to plot a graph of voltage applied to heat generated to amperage, the best OC for your setup is where these lines would intersect, the lowest voltage to the highest amperage with the lowest return on resistance. The trick is that as current goes up the circuit "resist" further amperage and flow, sorta like a traffic jam on the interstate, applying more voltage will drive the amperage through but causing a sort of electron friction, making more heat, thus requiring more voltage so on and so forth. That heat buildup, and resistance to further pushing by voltage can cause electrons to begin to arc from one circuit to another, or effectively short out or burn out transistors on the cpu, which is were the damage comes from.

To know this value (in degrees C), look up your chip, for example I use an amd 965 c3 be, which has what is called a Tj max value, that is rated at 70c. Most modern chips are designed to intentionally fail once the Tj max value is reached, so in my case I can hit 70 and break 70, but staying in the "red zone" the chip effectively shuts off, to prevent damage. Just like a car if you overheat it over and over and over again, the mean time between failure rate will decrease dramatically, so lets say my chip was good for 3-5 years, at 30-60c, and I run it at 50-65c all time time, I could expect the chip to last 1.5 ish years before it goes tits up from thermal decay. Mind you, running things harder ie. more frequency, means more transistor interactions, so if you where good for 3-5 years at one frequency, by increasing the interactions 20%, one could expect to reduce the life expectancy by at least 20% from the manufacturers published data. Reducing heat reduces this impact, but not in a linear way, as heat at the transistor level is fixed per interaction, all we are doing is not allowing it to stay on the chip between interactions.

The thing is, very few folks who OC stay around 3-5 years to report back data from a build they did, either they upgrade, or swap parts around, so on and so forth. To my knowledge and from my experience I have not encountered a chip that was "fried" due to OC'n I have seen fried chips from neglect and abuse, such as not reapplying arctic silver 5 according to the mfg suggested practices, not cleaning equipment and letting dust bowels and tumble weeds blow around in the case, just like a car, change the oil keep an eye on it, and it will last, treat it bad, and it may act up/fail.

The short answer is that under volting may cause the amperage to reduce sufficiently to cause the cpu to not be able to function at the requested frequency, resulting in a system hang or crash. Often times this will require a cmos clear to reboot. The chance of damaging your system is very very very low in this case, however, lots of voltage = heat, and lots of heat is very very very likely to damage your cpu/mobo over time. The constant reboots will strain your system though, but that is not due to OC'n the cpu, thats due to the inrush of electrons to get your machine back up and running, which is helped by having a GOOD psu and quality capacitors on the mobo ahead of the cpu.

By the by, you always want to do your OC'n in the bios, and have the latest bios firmware installed, just as a reminder.
 
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by c5pilot View Post
You don't need a filter for the rad. Using a filter will slow down the airflow over the rad just like dust will, except the filter gives the dust a head start in clogging up the flow. Simply blow out your rad fins with a can of compressed air every so often to keep it clean. Keeping dust out of your case, now that's different.

Overclocking rule #1... "Your results may vary"
Just because someone gets a stable system at a specific voltage doesn't mean you will even if your chip is from the same batch. Do your research, pick a suitable starting point and run plenty of tests. Lower voltage means lower temps. Go too low and you'll be crashing under stress.

Good luck with your project.
Hey c5pilot, I am a c5crewChief
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Black Water
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
I got the retention module that I needed for the waterblock and have had the water loop running for almost a week now. So far the loop looks great: no leaks, good temps. However, I noticed that I installed the tubing wrong on the waterblock, so this gives me a chance to capture a little footage on how to drain a water loop. Since I’ll be draining the loop to readjust the waterblock I thought I might fix anything else that could be installed incorrectly. This leads to my first question: does the Black Ice GTX 360 radiator have a definitive inlet and outlet?

To my understanding the Black Ice GTX series radiators are built on a 2-pass (2-row) system; but unlike other 2-pass radiators, the GTX radiators is designed so that one barb entrance is deeper than the other, allowing the GTX radiators to have what some call a “hot” side and a “cold” side. Because of this design, fans that are placed onto the GTX radiators must be placed accordingly so that the fans aren’t pushing air over the hot water before the cold water. Though the fan’s placement is important to the efficiency of the radiator, it sounds like it doesn’t matter which barb is designated as the inlet or outlet as long as the user knows which side is their “hot” and “cold” side.

While searching for an answer I came across two threads regarding the Black Ice GTX radiator and its inlet/outlet.

http://www.overclock.net/water-cooli...gtx-360-a.html
http://www.overclock.net/water-cooli...ce-gtx360.html

I also found a review from Skinnee Labs that verified that the GTX radiator’s inlet/outlet can in fact be interchangeable (skinnee made an error in the sentence talking about being able to change the inlet and outlet, but you can still tell he is clearly stating that).

http://skinneelabs.com/hwlabs-gtx360.html

Secondly, with the draining allowing me another opportunity to work with the tubing, I was curious to hear what some people do to manipulate the tubing’s direction. I’m trying to break the tube’s tendency to go back to its original direction so that I may twist the tubing in the desirable direction. I heard of heating up the tubing using boiling water or a hairdryer for a minute or two before putting the tubing in place. If anyone knows of other methods for morphing tubing into a desirable direction I’d appreciate it.

One more thing, the waterblock for my CPU is the Enzotech SCW-Rev. A (Sapphire Series) and as of now I have the top right as the inlet and the middle as the outlet. However, Enzotech instructs the opposite: inlet is the middle and the outlet is the top right. I'm curious if switching the inlet and outlet on this block would increase my temperatures. Also, because of this setup I have for the waterblock, do you think that might be contributing to the consistent five degree (Celsius) difference between my hottest and coolest cores?
Edited by D-Dave - 1/17/11 at 10:55am
    
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Xeon X5650 Asus P6T Deluxe V2 MSI GTX 1070 ARMOR 6x8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X 
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240GB Intel 730 Series (Boot) 3x1TB Hitachi Deskstar (2 in Raid 0) 5TB Toshiba Pioneer BDR-205 
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Generic Samsung Combo Drive Black Ice GTX 360 Swiftech MCR220-QP Enzotech Sapphire Rev.A, EK-Thermosphere 
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Windows 10 Professional Acer CB240HYK Asus VG248QE Samsung SyncMaster 906BW 
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SilverStone Element 1000W NZXT Switch 810 Logitech G502 
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Xeon X5650 Asus P6T Deluxe V2 MSI GTX 1070 ARMOR 6x8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
240GB Intel 730 Series (Boot) 3x1TB Hitachi Deskstar (2 in Raid 0) 5TB Toshiba Pioneer BDR-205 
Optical DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Generic Samsung Combo Drive Black Ice GTX 360 Swiftech MCR220-QP Enzotech Sapphire Rev.A, EK-Thermosphere 
OSMonitorMonitorMonitor
Windows 10 Professional Acer CB240HYK Asus VG248QE Samsung SyncMaster 906BW 
PowerCaseMouse
SilverStone Element 1000W NZXT Switch 810 Logitech G502 
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