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A Kuhler Mod for 2
Hey all. It has been just short of a year since I first started this mod. It is time for some updates.
First the cheap hardware store tubing eventually did cloud over with the enemy of all appearances, plasticizer. I've just recently replaced all my tubing with Duerelene.
In all honesty the Watts tubing from my local hardware store worked perfectly. Even when I pulled it out of the system the water was still clear, and despite plasticizer build up it wasn't terrible. No mountains of plastic gunk on my radiators or even in the Kuhler blocks. It was just ugly. Hopefully this new tubing will fair a bit better!

I like to think a year with the same build is pretty good though!
Here are some new pictures using the 920 block pumps I was gifted ever so generously. They are still working perfectly to this day with zero leaks
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What you see on my GTX 780 is OCN's own Richie with his Bright Light backplate mod! He was really brought a lot of useful tools to use in incorporating a AIO to a GPU.
I plan to add my second 920 block that you see idling on the bottom of my case to my GPU, but I ran into heat problems with the VRM's and so am working on a more unique solution.


I'm also in the process to publishing a off hand video of when I redid my whole loop. From start to finish, with zero preparation, you'll see just how easy or hard it is to do exactly what I did.
Complete with blood, sweat, and salty tears! of joy of course. Stay tuned!

Modding the 620
Setting up the dual loop

Video of initial testing of the dual loop 620!

How it all Began!
Some of you are like me. We jumped on that AIO fiasco like white on rice because it offered something our 2 ton blocks couldn't.
AIO's gave us good cooling with little noise and space. For some it was even affordable.
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Myself, I purchased the Antec Kuhler 620. Why did I purchase it? Was it because I thought I could overclock my CPU to new heights? Nope.
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Someone figured out how to stick that hot plate on that hot Firmi and cool that hot head down. I stuck that puppy right on my GTX 470.
You can read all about that Ghetto Fabulous Mod right here - http://www.overclock.net/t/1215339/my-ghetto-khuler-620-mod-some-hd-pics#post_16465310

Then I added another 470... and another Kuhler 620
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Sometime after a period of some kind of time frame one of the 470's died, then the other one followed suit (RMA came back successful!) and in that period of Darkest Of Days I was running this...


If you don't know what that is, that is the embedded GPU of my i7-3770k. Thus were not many a graphically intensive game was even played. - though I did try. But then a miracle happened. I got my paycheck.
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Then another miracle happened.


Oh yeah! That EVGA GTX 780 SC with that lovely ACX cooler, and thus x2 Sparse Grid Super Sampling did welcome me with open arms.
Life was good. Too good in fact because I then realized something that every enthusiast eventually goes through.

Man I was thirsty. So I began my journey with Google to look into the enlightened world of water cooling. Everything was looking great, I had an understanding of what I would need, rad capacity, fans, a snazzy looking block for my CPU, those awesome twisted reservoirs, and a full block from EVGA for my GTX780.

It then occurred to me, as I was playing around with the clocks of my GTX 780. Oh right... I just bought a GTX 780, there are no more funds.
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But wait! I still have those Kuhler 620's just sitting there, collecting dust, not cooling. Now how to make them abide to my wishes, and on basically zero funds. So let us be realistic with this. What is the least amount of cash I will need to pull together to get these perfectly working pumps and radiators cooling my system. Could I have just stuck them in there as is, with full warranty, and been perfectly happy with the result? Yes. Is that acceptable? Definitely Not! My system already runs cool and quiet on regular air, this is not about just working, this is about making it work so I can gloat about it, because honestly, am I going to break world records with the low flow of a Kuhler pump/block combo? Maybe!
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So what do I have? Well, a perfectly functioning 3770k setup running a GTX 780 in a 300R. Cool.
I have two Antec Kuhler 620's, so two blocks with pumps, and two 120mm radiators, and 2 fans. - and something that resembles tubing.

So far on my water cooling setup I have a combined cost of $96 USD. Each 620 cost me $48 USD.

Now here is where I made a decision. I could probably sell both 620's for (lets be generous) $35 USD. I looked into a kit like the XSPC 240 or even a 360! That would be great. However the block for my GTX 780 would run me at the cheapest ~ $65 USD, or $150 USD for a full block. Whelp there goes that idea... So, back to the 620's. I'm already $96 invested into two blocks and 2 rads.

First up I definitely want to run a reservoir. I could bleed the system and re-run it as a full closed loop again (soon to come!) but that isn't any fun at all! I want to feel like I'm actually running a custom loop here.
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So first up the smallest reservoir I could find. a Swiftech Micro Res! ($22). For tubing I stopped by my local store and got over 20ft of tubes for a mere $6.00. Thus the mod began...

Step one: How to Properly Mod a Kuhler 620.
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Discussion Starter #2
How to Mod a Kuhler 620, Properly
- also applies to most AIO's not designed for expanded use.
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Everything here is at your own risk. I have no idea if warranty will be affected.
Please forgive the quality of these pictures. I am using my Galaxy S4 phone. I had settings enabled which took away from the quality and performance, so future pics should be a lot better.

I am writing this one in its own post in case anyone wants to link to it directly.
Let me just start off by saying you do not need to cut the tubing on an AIO to mod it. there is nothing special about how these coolers are designed, they follow the same technology of any other water cooling design.

To start you will need some tools:
  • Small flat head screwdriver
  • A larger flat head screwdriver (optional but useful)
  • A container
  • An AIO unit - duh
  • A Lighter
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    for fire


You do not need to unscrew any bolts on the pump block. You can unscrew the two screws seated directly next to each elbow barb if you'd like to take the barb connector out of the pump. I did not. All in all it took me about 15 minutes to do this.

At this point I first removed the tubes from the Radiator and emptied the Glycol coolant into my container (glass cup). A little out of order but it will all make sense, I promise.
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The thick plastic looking band around the tube end first needs to be loosened. To do this take your lighter and lightly wave the flame around the rubber. Do Not leave the flame on the rubber, you only want to warm it up a little. I waved the flame back and forth a few times, it doesn't need much heat at all.


Now with your Small Screwdriver slide under the rubber cap and gently work the screwdriver around the tube to loosen the rubber cap. If you let it cool it will tighten back up. Apply a little heat to soften it again.


With a firm hold start wiggling the end of the tube back and forth while gently pulling. The plastic elbow is a Barb so you need to slide the tube off the barb. Using the large flat screwdriver you can gently push the tube to get it going a little easier. Once the tube is off the plastic barb elbow it will look like this...


Do the same for the other tube connector. The same process applies to the Radiator as well. The Radiator barbs are a part of the radiator and are made of metal, so you can give them a little more muscle, but they are still easy to remove with a small amount of force. Wiggling is the key to sliding the tubing off the barbs.

That rubber end cap sits free and can be easily taken off of the pump assembly. Keep these! You will need them if you decide later to return the AIO back to its original design. I put them in a small bag and stored them in with my box of bolts.

This is what your Radiator will look like.


A shot of roughly how much Glycol coolant is to be found in the Kuhler 620. Don't drink it!


Everything disassembled! No need to cut the tubing, and no damage done to the unit which is now ready to be used in your custom water cooling loop.
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Up next is testing of a custom loop. Adding your own tubes, a reservoir, and how to get it all working.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Step 1 Phase 2
Testing the New Loop

What you will need!
  • Distilled Water
  • Container to Store your Fluid (needs a lid!)
  • Tubing - 1/4 ID
  • Tubing - 3/8 ID 1/2 OD
  • Sharp Knife or Scissors
  • *Optional* - correct 1/4 ID matching Barbs with g1/4 screw thread. (US hardware store size is in MIPs)
  • *Optional* Power Supply with Mosfet Fan Adapter
  • *Optional* small wire or paper clip. - to jump the PSU.


At this point you have emptied the contents of the AIO into a container of some sort. You can go ahead and add that fluid to your storage bottle and set it aside. You can continue to use this mix once your loop is completed or use a custom solution. Keep in mind the Radiator is aluminum and the CPU block is Copper.

I live in the U.S.A. Our plumbing seems to work around the MIP metric/unit/thingy. The reservoir I got, the smallest one I could find cheaply, is G threaded. What this means is that all of the easy to acquire plumbing hardware will not work with my reservoir. I could tap the reservoir with the MIP thread but I lack those tools and I really don't want to break it.
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Additionally I could not find an adapter/reducer, all proper solutions pointed at actual water cooling shops
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Thus, the two different tubing sizes. The AIO is built around the 1/4 ID size. This may be different for the larger units like an H100, I have no idea. If you didn't already know larger diameter tubes have this neat ability to fit over smaller diameter tubes. So you have a couple of ways to go about this. 1. run the 1/4 ID size tubes to the reservoir, or 2. run the 3/8 ID size tubes to the pump and radiator. I opted for option 2, to run 3/8 ID size tubing.

Step 1. - Cut 4 roughly the size of the 1/4 Barb pieces from the 1/4 ID Tubing.
Step 2. - Install those cut pieces over the barbs of the Radiator and CPU Block.

It should look like this


Great! Now lets look at that pump. Logic dictates all things mechanical tend to go Left to Right. Let's test that theory.

In order to get the pump working you first need to prime it, or partially fill the half loop. The pump is not strong enough to pull fresh water into the loop on its own. I sucked on one end of the tube to pull water from my container, just enough to fill the pump and a little into both tubes. It works the same way once you add a reservoir and radiator, you will need to fill the loop partially to get things going.

I used the Fan Mosfet adapter and a spare PSU to power the pump. You use the paper clip or wire to trick the PSU into running. This way I didn't have to use my actual computer while working. I purchased my spare PSU from my local store, appears to be a Dell 250w unit I got for a staggering $2.00 USD.

Yup, The Left sucks the Right spits.

It probably doesn't matter how you end up finishing the loop, but most guides suggest the pump pushing water from the Radiator to the CPU Block. In my build I'll be adding an additional Kuhler 620 for the GTX 780, so we can explore options later. What we know though is the pump orientation.
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Ok enough gibber gabber. What does a completed loop look like? And does it work?

Of course it works, what, you'd think I'd post my failures on the internet?
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Now for some closer pictures of the working loop.





Feel free to use any tubing you want. Again keep in mind I'm on a super tight budget. I didn't buy lunch for 3 whole days to buy that reservoir. I made my own.
I'm far from a pro when it comes to water pressure and cooling efficiency but it looks like the pump pushes the water decently. You won't be using it to spray water at your neighbors dog but if you have a low flow radiator I think this will do quite well, it doesn't have a problem at all pushing water through the 3/8 ID tubing.

Next part - prepping the GTX 780.
 

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subbed man, if results are nice i might get myself one, this can get really loud with the blower
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Discussion Starter #8
Completed Dual Loop In Action!

Video still processing 1080p is available

Thoughts on Pump/Block to Radiator configuration?
During my test I also turned off each pump individually to see the effects to flow. I only had the reservoir return to see if their was any difference. There was no noticeable difference that I could see with only 1 pump running in the full loop.
 

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i started a similar project and im having a hell of a time getting the tubing off the barbs. is it really worth the effort instead of just cutting them and losing the 1/4" or so ?
 

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Discussion Starter #10
When I did my 2nd kuhler I noticed a tiny amount of adhesive on the barb. More so than on my first one. Applying a little extra heat and pushing on the tubing with my flat screwdriver I was able to get the tube off the barb without breaking it.

As for the simplicity of just cutting the small amount of tubing, if you want to try to keep warranty then you can't cut it. No guarantee warranty will still work but you can return the cooler back to its original state, thus giving you the best chance.

By all means cut the tubing if you don't care about warranty or your warranty period has expired.
Applying heat to the barb will still make it easier and reduce your chance of damaging the barb, as the ones on the pump/block are plastic.
I recommend using heat to loosen the fitting.
 

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Just a Quick Update.

I've had issues with time lately. Family fun and working on my car, painting calipers and getting the ride back into a decent shape.
In the mean time I've been waiting on a prototype bracket for the GTX 780 to mount the Kuhler 620.

So things I have finished right now include evaluating the GTX 780 and cleaning up the case a bit.

Let's start with the GTX 780.

The EVGA GTX 780 SC ACX is a magnificent card. The cooler is just plain sexy honestly. If there was any challenge to removing the cooler I'd actually think twice before taking off the sexy beast that is the ACX cooler.

To remove the cooler all you have to do is unscrew the 4 spring loaded screws on the back, disconnect the fan, and take it off. Super easy lemony squeezy.



Even the PCB plate is beautiful in my opinion. Look how easy this will be to mount the Kuhler 620, the holes are wide open. Preliminary fitment only proved to confirm the need of a shim. The oval shape of the Kuhler block directly sits on one of the mounts for the backside screws.

The GPU die is naked, and oh so shiny!




All cleaned up, just look how nice the ACX cooler looks.



Now the Corsair 300R


When I first put my rig together I only cared a small amount about cable management. Without a side window it just was not a prerogative at the time. So to get things neat and tidy, in a rather small case, with a whole mess of cables to deal with, I started by taking out the drives and sorting all the cables towards the back of the case.

You'll notice I have not yet installed the Kuhler to my CPU.



Sorry about the god rays, I've been playing a good bit of STALKER lately, must of got some on my shoes.

Add another foot of cable that extends below the picture and you get a sense of the cable crazy that my TX750 provides. It really is more for a large tower but I love it.

Not too bad if I say so myself!


Those cables are a fair bit of pain to work with.

Holy cable octopus man!



But can it run crysis fit the back panel?
It destroys crysis btw


Better than I first thought! I was definitely expecting some side panel bulge.

Some more shots of the inside. A custom sleeve job would make things so much easier to work with and improve the look, but I'm happy with it for now. With everything nice and tidy I'll be ready to fit the custom Kuhler loop easily. This also lets me work within the case to plan out where the reservoir will go.




The current CPU cooler is an old Xigmatek S-1283. The fan is shrouded as to concentrate the airflow from the fan more evenly across all the fins. It also reduces fan turbulence. I used an older POS fan and cut out the middle.

Now that just leaves the actual mounting of the loop.
I'm still not sure yet to how I will do it. I think mounting both radiators to the top exhaust mesh would be ideal, but I'd need to run the tubing between them, which could look pretty cool, or be an absolute pain.

The other option would be to mount one radiator to the top mesh and one to the exhaust fan mount.
I'm going to order some copper shims in the mean time in case the prototype mount is further delayed. I'm hesitant to only do the CPU at this time, I'd like to only do one loop fill.
tongue.gif
 

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Just another quick update. I'm still trying to locate a copper shim.
In my search I decided to get crafty and use spare parts.

I have a non working GTX 465 SC (GTX 470) that is just sitting on my shelf. I already tried once to bake it back to life but it still refuses to work normally. Freezes in system post. That tells me another baking session may still be a possibility.

That IHS is what I'm after though.
I'm posting this update from my phone so I'll just let the pictures speak for themselves.





So very close. A 2mm thick shim is definitely ideal to clear that screw Mount for the 620 block.

It's hard to tell if trimming the IHS would provide enough vertical clearance, it looks very close.
 

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Hey ... super nice work.

I currently running a dual 670 sli set up with one card cooled via an Antec 620 and the second card using it's stock air cooler ... I've toyed with adding a second Antec 620 unit but don't really want two pumps going in my case.

You think a single 670, using it's standard 120mm radiator would be enough to cool both cards if I added a EK Universal VGA block to the second card and built a loop around that? Might have to turn my fan up just a tad but I figure even so, both cards might be kept in the low 60's fairly quietly.

Any thoughts?

Again, nice guide ...

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Quote:
Originally Posted by s1rrah View Post

Hey ... super nice work.

I currently running a dual 670 sli set up with one card cooled via an Antec 620 and the second card using it's stock air cooler ... I've toyed with adding a second Antec 620 unit but don't really want two pumps going in my case.

You think a single 670, using it's standard 120mm radiator would be enough to cool both cards if I added a EK Universal VGA block to the second card and built a loop around that? Might have to turn my fan up just a tad but I figure even so, both cards might be kept in the low 60's fairly quietly.

Any thoughts?

Again, nice guide ...

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i would go with the second 620. you only have to run one pump if you combine the loops. i think you would be pushing it with only one rad for both cards
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by s1rrah View Post

Hey ... super nice work.
I currently running a dual 670 sli set up with one card cooled via an Antec 620 and the second card using it's stock air cooler ... I've toyed with adding a second Antec 620 unit but don't really want two pumps going in my case.

You think a single 670, using it's standard 120mm radiator would be enough to cool both cards if I added a EK Universal VGA block to the second card and built a loop around that? Might have to turn my fan up just a tad but I figure even so, both cards might be kept in the low 60's fairly quietly.

Any thoughts?

Again, nice guide ...

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Thanks!
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One of the things I am trying to do is find a method to measure the flow or pressure for a dual loop with a combination of pumps running. I didn't see a difference in flow during my initial test setup when I had 2 rads with 2 blocks running in both single and dual pump configuration. That isn't to say there is a difference though.

I would say that a single 120mm rad is enough to cool 1 GPU effectively. I would recommend a 240mm radiator to cool 2 GPU's, however if I were to get another GTX780 in my loop for SLI I might look at a universal GPU block myself to expand my loop. That is still with two 120mm radiators though at the minimum.

In guessing, a single 120mm rad would probably still provide better cooling than a Air Cooler, and be more quiet as well. I think the delta difference would be getting pretty close though. Your overclocking head room would also diminish.

I'd like to also get another 240mm radiator to see how far these little Kuhler pumps can scale though
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aparition View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by s1rrah View Post

Hey ... super nice work.
I currently running a dual 670 sli set up with one card cooled via an Antec 620 and the second card using it's stock air cooler ... I've toyed with adding a second Antec 620 unit but don't really want two pumps going in my case.

You think a single 670, using it's standard 120mm radiator would be enough to cool both cards if I added a EK Universal VGA block to the second card and built a loop around that? Might have to turn my fan up just a tad but I figure even so, both cards might be kept in the low 60's fairly quietly.

Any thoughts?

Again, nice guide ...

thumb.gif
Thanks!
biggrin.gif


One of the things I am trying to do is find a method to measure the flow or pressure for a dual loop with a combination of pumps running. I didn't see a difference in flow during my initial test setup when I had 2 rads with 2 blocks running in both single and dual pump configuration. That isn't to say there is a difference though.

I would say that a single 120mm rad is enough to cool 1 GPU effectively. I would recommend a 240mm radiator to cool 2 GPU's, however if I were to get another GTX780 in my loop for SLI I might look at a universal GPU block myself to expand my loop. That is still with two 120mm radiators though at the minimum.

In guessing, a single 120mm rad would probably still provide better cooling than a Air Cooler, and be more quiet as well. I think the delta difference would be getting pretty close though. Your overclocking head room would also diminish.

I'd like to also get another 240mm radiator to see how far these little Kuhler pumps can scale though
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i have one kuhler pump running through 7x120mm of radiators lol. flow looks about the same
 

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weird u have a 1283 you got to work. I have the same unit but i was running it on an AMD Propus. I swapped to ivy bridge, ordered the crossbow brackets and couldn't get it to mount properly and broke em. Got mad and bought a seidon 120m for 25 bux.
 

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Discussion Starter #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by ihatelolcats View Post

i have one kuhler pump running through 7x120mm of radiators lol. flow looks about the same
That's awesome.
 
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