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Dual Radiator Setup for O11D XL

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post #1 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 12:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Dual Radiator Setup for O11D XL

Currently I have an O11D XL with a watercooled 3950X and an OC'ed 2080 Ti. Cooling is handled by dual 360mm radiators driven by a D5 pump.

I have a 360x40 on the floor positioned as intake and a 360x27 on the roof set up as exhaust. The only system fans are the 6 ML120's mounted to the radiators. This is a very common sight in various O11 XL show builds I've looked at.

Generally cooling performance is good but I noticed the other night when playing a CPU/GPU demanding game, the temps would start to creep up over time. I also noticed the air coming out of the case was quite warm. I decided to take the remove the case side panel and noticed GPU temperature immediately reacted and started decreasing for a total drop of almost 10*C.

I'm confident that when the CPU/GPU thermal load is enough the top radiator is dramatically impacted by the warm exhausted air from the second radiator. I assume this is creating a very warm environment inside the case where motherboard VRMs and the chipset cooler still rely on cool air. Time for change.

I was hoping to stick to a 6-fan setup for this case because I'm not fond of the 'sea of fans' look of the 9-fan setups but if that's what's needed then so be it. I was thinking of going with both radiators set up as exhaust with 3-fans on the side serving as intake. I recognize this will create negative pressure and run slightly heated air through the radiators but I think it's better than running radiator exhaust through the inside of the case.

Anyone else faced this? Is there another option I should consider?

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post #2 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-23-2020, 03:57 PM
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My PC-011 XL also has dual rads (two thick HWL 54mm instead). I use the 9 fan layout so the bottom and side mounted radiators with A12x25 acting as intake. I have three LianLi Bora Digital RGB fans cooling down the motherboard area (two intake/one exhaust). My temperature are very good.
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post #3 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-25-2020, 05:07 AM
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Radiators should be intake if at all possible to get the best temps. If you have good enough exhaust then your case will only be a few degrees above ambient as the heat will not have a chance to build up.

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post #4 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 10:14 AM - Thread Starter
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I've added 3 fans on the side as intake and then flipped the bottom fans around to act as intake. The idea being the system should get fresh ambient air from the outside which is then pushed out through the radiators on the top and bottom.

I considered the opposite arrangement: intakes top and bottom with exhaust on the side. This would create positive pressure and give the radiators the coolest air available BUT I think the increase in internal case temperature would be significant.

Using some very rough estimation from each component's TDP as a guide, at full-tilt I'm looking at 430-470W of heat output (3950X: 100-140W, OC 2080Ti: 330W). Sure the VRMs and chipset get warm on X570 but I don't think the byproduct is comparable to the combined radiator exhaust. During extended sessions, the metal of the case itself will begin to feel warm to the touch.

Hopefully this will pay dividends. I haven't gotten the loop back together yet but I'll be sure to report back my findings once I do.

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post #5 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 10:28 AM
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Get a temp sensor for the water so you can tell if that’s the problem or not

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post #6 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-29-2020, 11:54 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by chas1723 View Post
Radiators should be intake if at all possible to get the best temps. If you have good enough exhaust then your case will only be a few degrees above ambient as the heat will not have a chance to build up.

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Amen Brother! I listened to that advice and got noticeable cooling on my loop delta (3.5C to 4.5C) from that info.

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post #7 of 16 (permalink) Old 01-30-2020, 12:08 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by MNiceGuy View Post
I've added 3 fans on the side as intake and then flipped the bottom fans around to act as intake. The idea being the system should get fresh ambient air from the outside which is then pushed out through the radiators on the top and bottom.

I considered the opposite arrangement: intakes top and bottom with exhaust on the side. This would create positive pressure and give the radiators the coolest air available BUT I think the increase in internal case temperature would be significant.

Using some very rough estimation from each component's TDP as a guide, at full-tilt I'm looking at 430-470W of heat output (3950X: 100-140W, OC 2080Ti: 330W). Sure the VRMs and chipset get warm on X570 but I don't think the byproduct is comparable to the combined radiator exhaust. During extended sessions, the metal of the case itself will begin to feel warm to the touch.

Hopefully this will pay dividends. I haven't gotten the loop back together yet but I'll be sure to report back my findings once I do.
Not sure how you have your case set up, But I was able to get a 120mm fan, epoxy three bar magnets to the sides of the fan, and position it over my empty PCIE slots (in exhaust onexterior of course). People always forget about those PCIE slots - take the covers offs and and you can move a crap-ton of air through there.

When used in conjunction with another rear exhaust you could probably exhaust at least 50% of your heat load from the bottom rad, thus boosting your ambient intake from the side fans to the top rad. Especially if you have a Vertically mounted GPU which would further direct air flow.
That sounds like a workable solution to me.

I have my case set up with a front intake 280 x 30 and a top intake 280 x 30. Exhaust fans are rear 140mm and a 120mm (over PCIE). I also use an external 280 x 45 radiator and fan setup. Games and benchmarks are all single digits now. Somebody said "Radiators love fresh air" and this a true statement for custom cooling.

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post #8 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-03-2020, 12:43 PM - Thread Starter
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I FINALLY got my system back up and running with the new configuration. As a recap, this is with the 360mm radiators both top and bottom blowing outward (exhaust). There are three ML120 fans on the side acting as filtered intake. Fans were regulated to ~1000RPM as they were with the old configuration.

As before, I loaded up the system with Black Ops 4 (runs GPU 100% with high CPU utilization) and played for a while to make sure I gave the water a chance to reach equilibrium. Temperatures peaked at 52*C for a few moments during matches but stayed at 51*C the majority of the time. This is a 10*C reduction over having the bottom radiator as intake with the top acting as exhaust.

CPU temperature is basically the same across both versions of my loop.

While I did not measure ambient temp, I would expect it was mostly the same across both tests.

This is not a win-win for a few reasons:
1. 3 additional ML120 fans added expense to the build
2. The new setup results in a negative-pressure environment so air filtration has been compromised
3. I think these 9-fan builds look a little silly. Hopefully I can mitigate this some with the use of a radiator grill or similar

One last obvious question: Surely 61*C is not horrible for an overclocked 2080 Ti so was there a really a problem here?

Not at all but I have OCD with this kind of thing and it bothered me that I was essentially rendering an entire 360mm radiator impotent just because of how the fans were set up.

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post #9 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-03-2020, 01:00 PM
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Depends on your waterblock and setup you are using for the GPU. If you are using Heatkiller/Aquacomputer you should be under 50 degrees. If you are using other brands 50-60 degrees is reasonable.
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post #10 of 16 (permalink) Old 02-03-2020, 10:41 PM
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my non overclocked 2080 ti reaches 45c at the highest. o11 dynamic xl case, 2 ekwb pe 360 radiators. 10 corsair ml fans. with a ekwb spc pump. i read d5 is better but its doing the job. the radiators are on the bottom and side intaking air, with the fans on top and rear exhausting. ekwb classic gpu block

i would overclock but monster hunter world crashes eventually when i do.
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