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Serious talk: Building an AM4 system - Hear my thoughts and tell me your recommendations

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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 01:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Serious talk: Building an AM4 system - Hear my thoughts and tell me your recommendations

In the next month or so, i will be finally be building a new system based on an AMD 3950X.

I was seriously thinking of air cooling for various reasons, but turns out there will be some limitations; mostly clearance/size related and also noise related as you are forced on having good airflow THROUGHOUT the case, and are limited by the surface area of the specific aircooler heatsink you plan on using.
With watercooling you can add as many radiators as you can fit so you can reduce the airflow needed and therefore the noise (not technically true in reality, just up to a point). You just need an appropriate air intake (assuming you don't mount them externally), and have the radiators exhaust only; thus you don't really care about the airflow inside the case (assuming supporting components won't need active cooling)

I've been following the PC space for years, but haven't build a personal system since ages ago, so i am not fully informed in specific existing watercooling products. However, i'm not just a random guy, i've been modding since the Pentium 3 days (what's RGB leds when you can have fluorescent IDE cables with Neon tubes lol), and i'm actually a mechanical engineer now.

The main problem i see with the existing watercooling products are weakly designed coldplates. From disassembly photos i've seen, the fin stack mostly don't even cover the full area of the IHS and sometimes even die(s) which is detrimental to performance. Also the fin height is pretty short in all of them (however fin height reduces in effectiveness due to the linear hear transfer from the plate). I know this increases manufacturing time and cost since most coldplates are slotted with a disc, but with skiving machines entering this market density, area and fin height should be no problem and would expect about 10mm of fin height. Especially now with multi-die CPU's becoming the normal (even Intel will be using special glue lol) this is more important, since you can't expect the IHS to transfer heat effectively, meaning you need to close up the distance to the dies by having the fin stack on top of the dies.

Does anyone make such a waterblock? Because from what i've seen pretty much all are close in effectiveness and design of the coldplate; i am looking for the best* one. *For me best is: it does the job it's supposed to, effectively for it's cost. There is no bad product, just bad price.
I need one that will not only have the capacity (assuming overclocking, about 180-200W) and be effective at it (so that temps stay lower to allow for better overclocking in the first place). Many are really overpriced in my opinion for their performance. Much like other PC products in the last 5 years but that's another story.

Anyways...
In terms of the rest of the build, what i am planning is to have is 2 or more radiators (like 2x 360 or bigger/similar total area) connected in series. The outlet goes to a reservoir (or 2 that are interconnected), and then 2 pumps (which could be integrated to the reservoir/s) feed separately the CPU and GPU, which output to the inlet of the radiator(s). This way i don't have one radiator not contributing when only one of the CPU/GPU is at load, and i can control the flow to each one separately. Generally, the bigger, the better.

As for the case i still haven't got around to it, but ideally it needs to fit an eATX board (even though i am getting an ATX board for now), extended length GPU (or 2 ideally), 3 HDDs min (4 ideally), 2 SSDs min, dimensions: 74cm height limit (should be more than enough), 54cm or less deep (not hard limit, but ideally), and no limit in width but lower is better. Glass window panel and air filters are a plus.
I don't care about RGB or info oled displays, i was doing these when i was a 15year old, these are just optional things for me now.

In all seriousness, if any of the products available for me to achieve decent performance are overpriced i will go with the custom route. It's not the first time and actually i am almost finishing now my functional mechanical keyboard prototype (pcb, case, etc all custom). It's not the first time i design and manufacture a custom solution when there is no effective solution to my problem. Although i do mostly automotive stuff it's still the same process. You might say it will cost you more, well yeah in some cases yes, but generally in such cases it will be better performing, i get to gain more experience and if i make a few and sell them i get back my development cost.


Footnote:
I was going to talk about the elephant in the room but decided not to, because it is potential for patenting. So let's talk about 2 different elephants:
- Why aren't you using automotive coolant? It's been here for ages; it's reliable, does mixed metal, doesn't grow bacteria or corrode stuff, and it's cheap.
- Why nobody makes a waterpump that has a mechanical coupling from the motor to the shaft, instead of the "magnetic coupling" used by D5/DDC? These pumps have *****ty head pressure. Ever used a magnetic stirring bar? It is weak as heck. Plus they are inefficient (in terms of energy transfer) and from what i read they are unreliable as well. The only thing they are good about is possibly noise and no motor-to-pump shaft seal.
- I would start to complain about fittings and tubing also but let's leave it for another time.
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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 01:26 PM
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some people do use automotive antifreeze and most everyone going sub-ambient with chillers/TEC uses it, but it's toxic and doesn't look as good as distilled water + dye since it's impossible to get anything but orange/neon green/dark blue.

D5/DDC are quiet and work well enough for what they're used for so there's no sense in reinventing the wheel.

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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 01:33 PM
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My custom loop has 50/50 antifreeze water mix - haven't changed it in almost 7 years . Cleaned the original cold plate I was using with it one time and the only thing i removed looked like small bits of the black coating on the radiator. Changed the cold plate to a model that fit a new socket when Ryzen came out and haven't touched it since. Just starting to change color now from its original green - hinting of grey now.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-11-2019, 04:48 PM
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Your point about the mechanical coupling is moot. The D5 pump is plenty and if it's not enough for your use case then you can run two or more of them.


The reason why the D5 pump is used is because it is self lubricating , DC powered, quiet, and relatively low power and as long as you don't run it dry it should have no issues.


"The D5 pumps can be used wherever a highly efficient circulation pump is needed without a direct connection to AC power. They are characterised by their small size, high efficiency and very low power consumption. The shaftless spherical motor technology enables a long, maintenance free and quiet service life." - https://www.xylem.com/nb-no/brands/l...pecifications/


If you're talking about skived coldplates then you need to look at the Swiftech Apogee SKF line which is down to 125 micron fins.

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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-12-2019, 01:26 AM
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The best cpu block on the market for cooling is heatkiller with some like xspc coming close 2nd.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by AlphaC View Post
Your point about the mechanical coupling is moot. The D5 pump is plenty and if it's not enough for your use case then you can run two or more of them.


The reason why the D5 pump is used is because it is self lubricating , DC powered, quiet, and relatively low power and as long as you don't run it dry it should have no issues.


"The D5 pumps can be used wherever a highly efficient circulation pump is needed without a direct connection to AC power. They are characterised by their small size, high efficiency and very low power consumption. The shaftless spherical motor technology enables a long, maintenance free and quiet service life." - https://www.xylem.com/nb-no/brands/l...pecifications/


If you're talking about skived coldplates then you need to look at the Swiftech Apogee SKF line which is down to 125 micron fins.

Your points regarding the pump are mood:
-self lubricating: not, since it uses the pumping fluid as lubrication
-DC powered: not really a point, you can have any type of motor driving your pump, it can even be an internal combustion motor
-quiet: has to be relevant to some value otherwise it doesn't make any sense
-relatively low power/high efficiency: Not really when it is less efficient than using a mechanical coupling
- long, maintenance free and quiet service life: I wouldn't be reading about failures if this was the case

Literally in practice the only benefit is the shaft seal missing and possibly less noise. They are a much worse product in every other case. That's why you don't see them anywhere else than here.

Anyways, thanks for the replies guys. Good to know so i can do more research. Any other recommendations i should look for?
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 10:48 AM
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The MCP35X2 has more then enough head pressure. Everyone always suggests the D5, I'd rather have the MCP35X2 any day.

Looking at radiators go with Hardware Labs, for blocks for Heatkiller, Fluid and soft tubing go with Mayhem's. Also get thier blitz kit #1 &2. Add a Flow meter and water temp sensor to any build.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 11:39 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by St0RM53 View Post
self lubricating: not, since it uses the pumping fluid as lubrication

the pump using the fluid it's pumping as the lubricant is what makes it self lubricating.

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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 12:04 PM
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PC water cooling is still a relatively niche hobby. CPU blocks optimized for multi-die will likely show up eventually, but most of the available options should still have the dies covered.

If you are concerned about price to performance, off the shelf liquid cooling parts are probably always going to disappoint you.

As for DDC/D5... Not sure where you got the impression that they are unreliable. If you never run them dry, they will last a decade. As for the weak head pressure... You don't need a ton of head pressure for a simple PC cooling loop.

I would be curious to see what you can whip up if you are serious about fabricating your own stuff.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 08-13-2019, 12:33 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by St0RM53 View Post
Your points regarding the pump are mood:
-self lubricating: not, since it uses the pumping fluid as lubrication
-DC powered: not really a point, you can have any type of motor driving your pump, it can even be an internal combustion motor
-quiet: has to be relevant to some value otherwise it doesn't make any sense
-relatively low power/high efficiency: Not really when it is less efficient than using a mechanical coupling
- long, maintenance free and quiet service life: I wouldn't be reading about failures if this was the case

Literally in practice the only benefit is the shaft seal missing and possibly less noise. They are a much worse product in every other case. That's why you don't see them anywhere else than here.

Anyways, thanks for the replies guys. Good to know so i can do more research. Any other recommendations i should look for?
If the working fluid lubricates the system it means you're not lubricating a motor yourself...

How many actual D5 failures have you been reading about versus aftermarket D5 PWM modded pumps , Swiftech MCP series other than the 655, Alphacool VPP755, or SPC-60 MX pumps?

There's a reason the Laing/Xylem/Lowara D5 pump is the standard for open watercooling loops.

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