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Discussion Starter #1
Hello. I'm thinking of breaking into custom water cooling but I'm not exactly sure I've got all bases covered. Below are the parts I'm looking to cool and below that are the parts I've pieced together from EKWB using their configurator with some modifications. This is for a gaming rig. Open to tips/suggestions/opinions. Please let me know what you think.

CPU: Intel Core i9 9900K overclocked to 5GHz all cores, currently cooled with a Corsair H150i Pro RGB AIO
GPU: EVGA RTX 2080 Ti FTW3 Ultra Hybrid Gaming with an overclock of +110/+1100
Case: Fractal Design R6
Note: CPU and GPU temps tend to hang around the mid-60s C depending on the game/application, sometimes cooler, and low 30s when idle. Wanting to bring them down a bit when under load. Ambient room temp tends to hang around 24-26° C for reference.

EKWB Parts:
CPU Block: EK-Quantum Velocity D-RGB - Nickel + Plexi
Pump/Res: EK-Quantum Kinetic TBE 200 D5 PWM D-RGB - Plexi
GPU Block: EK-Quantum Vector FTW3 RTX 2080 Ti D-RGB - Nickel + Plexi
GPU Backplate: EK-Quantum Vector FTW3 RTX 2080 Ti Backplate - Black
Top Rad: EK-CoolStream PE 360 (Triple)
Front Rad: EK-CoolStream SE 240 (Slim Dual)
Fittings: EK-Torque STC-10/13 - Black
Drain Valve: EK-AF Ball Valve (10mm) G1/4 - Black
For Drain Valve: EK-AF Extender 12mm M-M G1/4 - Black
For Drain Valve: EK-CSQ Plug G1/4 - Black
Tubing: EK-DuraClear 9,5/12,7mm 3M RETAIL
Coolant: EK-CryoFuel Navy Blue (Premix 1000mL)
Note: Wondering if a fill port would be worthwhile. Also, no fans listed as I have plenty of Corsair ML-120s
 

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I'd avoid using nickel if you're hell bent on EK, go no nickel.


if you're hell bent on it, get Optimus or HeatKiller nickel blocks, so the finish will last a little while. (they're also better performing products, they're both top tier for the industry on all CPU series)



i'd also NOT use EK coolant. They stopped Rebranding Mayhems coolant, and have had a ton of issues ever since(we see it ALL the time here). Best bet Mayhems X1(V2/Eco) or Mayhems Biocide+ inhibitor+


I appreciate your attempt for a full EK system, but it'll come at the cost of total possible performance.



Better radiators = Hardware Labs SR2



I'd also recommend going with EK's dual D5 pump based on the size of your loop.


another recommendation for all your pumps/LEDs, fans etc. Aquacompunter OCTO = full RGB control, pump control, fan control, curve control, monitoring, etc in one piece of software with vastly superior programming & functionality to iCue, Commander, motherboard level solutions, MSI Sync, and all the other Big Box Gamer Gear brand companies. aquacomputer also makes REALLY good blocks, like optimus & Heatkiller.



OCTO = for fans pumps & LEDs via Aquasuite
High Flow Sensor & temp sensor in one.

https://www.performance-pcs.com/aquacomputer-octo-fan-controller-for-pwm-fan.html
https://shop.aquacomputer.de/product_info.php?language=en&products_id=3832https://www.performance-pcs.com/aquacomputer-flow-rate-sensor-high-flow-usb-g1-4-aq-53129.html
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Thanks for the input. I only went with EK because it's a brand I've heard of and they have a configurator. Not ashamed to admit to being a total noob when it comes to custom loops. I'll definitely check out the other manufacturers you mentioned and their products.
 

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You will probably get a lot of "EK sux" replies. IMO, they aren't the best but they aren't the worst either. I went with EK in my build because it was easier than tracking 5 different vendors and waiting forever for the components I wanted to be in stock. I seriously waited for almost 2 months for a Heatkiller block to be restocked before I gave up and went with EK.



A fill port can make things easier depending on layout, but it may not be necessary if you have easy access to the res. I would be more concerned about adding a temp sensor and maybe a flow meter, as these should be included in every loop.



The only components I would really consider changing are the tubing and coolant. Primochill and Mayhems both offer much better tubing for about the same price. I started with EK tubing, and it clouded up within about a month. I switched to Primochill almost a year ago and the tubing still looks as good as it did the day I installed it. I have a couple of short pieces of Mayhems tubing in my loop as well, and it is also still in good shape.


Mayhems coolant is the most popular for a reason. It's good, it lasts, and it doesn't stain or clump.



You will also probably want to get a prep/cleaning kit for the new components. This is another item where Mayhems is probably the best on the market (Blitz Kit).
 

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Thanks for the input. I only went with EK because it's a brand I've heard of and they have a configurator. Not ashamed to admit to being a total noob when it comes to custom loops. I'll definitely check out the other manufacturers you mentioned and their products.

no worries, the configurator is a great place to a get a list of all the possible pieces you want, which you can then build on from there. You could always fire the trigger on all of that, & be off to the races with a functional system. or you could further tune things..


personally at the least I'd do the following


upgrade to EK's dual PWM D5 pump combo

add the aquacomputer parts linked below
go with mayhems coolant (https://www.performance-pcs.com/mayhems-x1-clear-concentrate-250ml-mx1c250ml.html)



You're gonna catch a lot of EK flak because we've seen their products degrade in quality slowly over the years, so the performance extremists cast extreme views on the matter. They aren't wrong that the nickel finish is trash though, and they aren't wrong that their coolant is trash as well.


Performance-Pcs.com & Frozencpu are the best places to get parts in the US, with Amazon coming in second.





For real though, these three things are next level for system control.



https://www.performance-pcs.com/fans-accessories/fan-control/aquacomputer-octo-fan-controller-for-pwm-fan.html
https://www.performance-pcs.com/water-cooling/accessories-misc/aquacomputer-flow-rate-sensor-high-flow-usb-g1-4-aq-53129.html
https://www.performance-pcs.com/water-cooling/accessories-misc/aquacomputer-aquaero-6-lt-usb-fan-controller-aq-53234.html



You can technically control your pump from the OCTO as well, just not sure if it would be stuck at the same speed as the other fans (not sure if the octo gives individual control as I use Aquaero instead of OCTO)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
You will probably get a lot of "EK sux" replies. IMO, they aren't the best but they aren't the worst either. I went with EK in my build because it was easier than tracking 5 different vendors and waiting forever for the components I wanted to be in stock. I seriously waited for almost 2 months for a Heatkiller block to be restocked before I gave up and went with EK.



A fill port can make things easier depending on layout, but it may not be necessary if you have easy access to the res. I would be more concerned about adding a temp sensor and maybe a flow meter, as these should be included in every loop.



The only components I would really consider changing are the tubing and coolant. Primochill and Mayhems both offer much better tubing for about the same price. I started with EK tubing, and it clouded up within about a month. I switched to Primochill almost a year ago and the tubing still looks as good as it did the day I installed it. I have a couple of short pieces of Mayhems tubing in my loop as well, and it is also still in good shape.


Mayhems coolant is the most popular for a reason. It's good, it lasts, and it doesn't stain or clump.



You will also probably want to get a prep/cleaning kit for the new components. This is another item where Mayhems is probably the best on the market (Blitz Kit).
I have no doubt EK isn't the best. Just looking to make things easy with purchasing. My goal as this point is to get it right the first time. Will be looking into Mayhems and Primochill. Thank you for the suggestions.
 

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you can also clone blitz kit in the future with watered down pool acid & dawn dish soap :p
 

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you can also clone blitz kit in the future with watered down pool acid & dawn dish soap :p

Yeah, vinegar or citric acid also work (diluted of course). It also wouldn't hurt to throw a filter in somewhere. You can buy a cheap inline fuel filter at any auto parts store with the correct barbs.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
no worries, the configurator is a great place to a get a list of all the possible pieces you want, which you can then build on from there. You could always fire the trigger on all of that, & be off to the races with a functional system. or you could further tune things..


personally at the least I'd do the following


upgrade to EK's dual PWM D5 pump combo

add the aquacomputer parts linked below
go with mayhems coolant (https://www.performance-pcs.com/mayhems-x1-clear-concentrate-250ml-mx1c250ml.html)



You're gonna catch a lot of EK flak because we've seen their products degrade in quality slowly over the years, so the performance extremists cast extreme views on the matter. They aren't wrong that the nickel finish is trash though, and they aren't wrong that their coolant is trash as well.




Performance-Pcs.com & Frozencpu are the best places to get parts in the US, with Amazon coming in second.





For real though, these three things are next level for system control.



https://www.performance-pcs.com/fans-accessories/fan-control/aquacomputer-octo-fan-controller-for-pwm-fan.html
https://www.performance-pcs.com/water-cooling/accessories-misc/aquacomputer-flow-rate-sensor-high-flow-usb-g1-4-aq-53129.html
https://www.performance-pcs.com/water-cooling/accessories-misc/aquacomputer-aquaero-6-lt-usb-fan-controller-aq-53234.html



You can technically control your pump from the OCTO as well, just not sure if it would be stuck at the same speed as the other fans (not sure if the octo gives individual control as I use Aquaero instead of OCTO)
If I go with EK stuff, I'll probably get the D5 dual you mentioned. Again, all that was put together with their configurator, and then I made some changes/additions to it. I'm not even sure going with a single loop for the CPU and GPU is the best route to go. A single loop is all I think my case can accommodate, though. I think I'd even prefer a 360 rad in the front, but that too I don't think my case can handle. That's why I chose a 240. I've only had the Fractal R6 for about a year and a half, but maybe it's already time for a new one. Otherwise, what's wrong with nickel out of curiosity?
 

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It's not a problem with nickel in general, it's just that EK has some well documented QC issues with their plating/process. EK's nickel plated components have a fairly common flaking and/or corrosion problem. I haven't seen it in my components but there are lots of reports of it.
 

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If I go with EK stuff, I'll probably get the D5 dual you mentioned. Again, all that was put together with their configurator, and then I made some changes/additions to it. I'm not even sure going with a single loop for the CPU and GPU is the best route to go. A single loop is all I think my case can accommodate, though. I think I'd even prefer a 360 rad in the front, but that too I don't think my case can handle. That's why I chose a 240. I've only had the Fractal R6 for about a year and a half, but maybe it's already time for a new one. Otherwise, what's wrong with nickel out of curiosity?

I'd personally stick to a single loop. dual loop is an aesthetic, and nothing more. no benefit + more cost + possible loss of potential.



The problem isn't nickel. The problem is the process. EK uses a low cost nickel plating process which means (outside of QC) the coating isn't very strong or protective in any stretch of the imagination (like one would imagine when thinking of a nickel plating over copper) so you're basically guaranteed to lose your nickel. it's just how much, and how fast. The only way to slow it down/prevent it for awhile is to keep a really close eye on your coolant's pH.



I personally just don't order nickel products anymore. It provides no benefit outside of aesthetic, and can eventually cause microchannel clogging issues when the nickel begins to fail & clog your blocks' cooling channels.





oh, in the spirit of Thrash. People also like to recommend running an inline filter off the pump for the first few weeks to catch any debris that would (again) clog channels. You never get it all out during your prep.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
It's not a problem with nickel in general, it's just that EK has some well documented QC issues with their plating/process. EK's nickel plated components have a fairly common flaking and/or corrosion problem. I haven't seen it in my components but there are lots of reports of it.
I got ya. I'll switch that to copper if I go with EK.

Does anyone have any opinion or input on going with a CPU block vs. a CPU/VRM block?
 

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I'd personally stick to a single loop. dual loop is an aesthetic, and nothing more. no benefit + more cost + possible loss of potential.



The problem isn't nickel. The problem is the process. EK uses a low cost nickel plating process which means (outside of QC) the coating isn't very strong or protective in any stretch of the imagination (like one would imagine when thinking of a nickel plating over copper) so you're basically guaranteed to lose your nickel. it's just how much, and how fast. The only way to slow it down/prevent it for awhile is to keep a really close eye on your coolant's pH.



I personally just don't order nickel products anymore. It provides no benefit outside of aesthetic, and can eventually cause microchannel clogging issues when the nickel begins to fail & clog your blocks' cooling channels.





oh, in the spirit of Thrash. People also like to recommend running an inline filter off the pump for the first few weeks to catch any debris that would (again) clog channels. You never get it all out during your prep.
I'll see what I can find for filters. Cleanliness aside, would you say a 360 and a 240 rad are enough for an overclocked 9900K and 2080 Ti? I've read the rule of thumb is a 120 for water cooled, and an additional 120 for each overclocked component. So, 480 altogether should technically suffice if that's the case. I just figured the more radiator space the better which is why I chose two.
 

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240/360 rad will be plenty of cooling for 9900k/2080ti, I currently have 2x280 and prior used 360/240, both with ~900rpm fans ,delta air to water hangs around 5-7C with my OCed 9900k/2080ti.

Also, if you put a thick rad up top (your current aio rad/fan is 52mm total) it will hang over ram, just make sure it clears ram. I currently have R5, tried an R6, and now moving away from fractal because of lack of clearance at top, but worse for me since I prefer 280 rads/140mm fans.

I cant believe fractal didnt add 15 mm of height to case to allow 50+ mm clearance (atleast gts nemesis 30mm/25mm fan) to stay out of ram zone. Phanteks 600A got it right with 60mm top clearance (rad to mobo) but sold out everywhere, fractal's 36 mm top clearance is ridiculous and outdated.
 

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240/360 rad will be plenty of cooling for 9900k/2080ti, I currently have 2x280 and prior used 360/240, both with ~900rpm fans ,delta air to water hangs around 5-7C with my OCed 9900k/2080ti.

Also, if you put a thick rad up top (your current aio rad/fan is 52mm total) it will hang over ram, just make sure it clears ram. I currently have R5, tried an R6, and now moving away from fractal because of lack of clearance at top, but worse for me since I prefer 280 rads/140mm fans.

I cant believe fractal didnt add 15 mm of height to case to allow 50+ mm clearance (atleast gts nemesis 30mm/25mm fan) to stay out of ram zone. Phanteks 600A got it right with 60mm top clearance (rad to mobo) but sold out everywhere, fractal's 36 mm top clearance is ridiculous and outdated.
I figured a 360/240 combo would suffice. A 360/360 is more appealing especially since it’s not much more in terms of cost, but then there’s the R6. The 360 Corsair H150i Pro I’m currently using already overhangs the RAM, which is why I’m using Corsair Vengeance LPX sticks. The Define R7 XL has plenty of clearance by the looks of it. I bought the R6 thinking I might get into watercooling, but the clearance at the top is horrible I’ve come to notice. Anyway, thanks for the input.
 

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you can also clone blitz kit in the future with watered down pool acid & dawn dish soap :p
You can also reuse the blitz kit multiple times as well.
 

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Thanks for the input. I only went with EK because it's a brand I've heard of and they have a configurator. Not ashamed to admit to being a total noob when it comes to custom loops. I'll definitely check out the other manufacturers you mentioned and their products.
You have heard of EK because they pay and give away product to YouTube talking heads like candy to make sure that you have heard of them and assume they must be good. It's the old Corsair marketing tactics. So, ask yoursef - do you want to buy your loop from companies that are focused on making the best components on the market, or a company that is focused on marketing and highest profit margin?

Ok, I'm not as gentle as @skupples or @Mr.Mojo . I'm not going to tell you that "EK is not the best, but not the worst", I am going to tell you that absolutely nothing EK makes is the best of it's class, but they do make some of the worst name brand components on the market - and that 240SE rad you have listed is one of them. The thing is a joke, look at the test results for the SE rads - https://www.xtremerigs.net/2015/02/11/radiator-round-2015/5/. You can throw in their fittings (possibly) and CryoFuel (definitely) as being among the worst products available.

Now let's talk cost....you're going to drop $500+ on components you will have for a long while, and will likely be moved into future rigs. Are you saying that investment isn't worth your time to put together a cart at PPCs of better components? And those components will cost you less money, If there is one thing you can say about EK, they are absolutely the worst value out there - top priced with mediocre quality.


i'd also NOT use EK coolant. They stopped Rebranding Mayhems coolant, and have had a ton of issues ever since(we see it ALL the time here). Best bet Mayhems X1(V2/Eco) or Mayhems Biocide+ inhibitor+


I appreciate your attempt for a full EK system, but it'll come at the cost of total possible performance.



Better radiators = Hardware Labs SR2



I'd also recommend going with EK's dual D5 pump based on the size of your loop.


another recommendation for all your pumps/LEDs, fans etc. Aquacompunter OCTO = full RGB control, pump control, fan control, curve control, monitoring, etc in one piece of software with vastly superior programming & functionality to iCue, Commander, motherboard level solutions, MSI Sync, and all the other Big Box Gamer Gear brand companies. aquacomputer also makes REALLY good blocks, like optimus & Heatkiller.



OCTO = for fans pumps & LEDs via Aquasuite
High Flow Sensor & temp sensor in one.

https://www.performance-pcs.com/aquacomputer-octo-fan-controller-for-pwm-fan.html
https://shop.aquacomputer.de/product_info.php?language=en&products_id=3832https://www.performance-pcs.com/aquacomputer-flow-rate-sensor-high-flow-usb-g1-4-aq-53129.html
This is all really solid advice. I'm going to trust @skupples on the argeebee aspect of components since I really know zero about it and don't have the vaguest interest in learning about it.


You will probably get a lot of "EK sux" replies. IMO, they aren't the best but they aren't the worst either. I went with EK in my build because it was easier than tracking 5 different vendors and waiting forever for the components I wanted to be in stock. I seriously waited for almost 2 months for a Heatkiller block to be restocked before I gave up and went with EK.
Eh, I can actually spell the word "sucks", and can actually detail ten years plus of EK quality degradation through firsthand experience. With PPCs, modMyMods and FCPU out there, you should be at two vendors in an absolute worst case.


I got ya. I'll switch that to copper if I go with EK.

Does anyone have any opinion or input on going with a CPU block vs. a CPU/VRM block?
Oh, I'm sure @ThrashZone would be happy to relay some firsthand results in regard to monoblocks........ :p
 

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Discussion Starter #18
You have heard of EK because they pay and give away product to YouTube talking heads like candy to make sure that you have heard of them and assume they must be good. It's the old Corsair marketing tactics. So, ask yoursef - do you want to buy your loop from companies that are focused on making the best components on the market, or a company that is focused on marketing and highest profit margin?

Ok, I'm not as gentle as @skupples or @Mr.Mojo . I'm not going to tell you that "EK is not the best, but not the worst", I am going to tell you that absolutely nothing EK makes is the best of it's class, but they do make some of the worst name brand components on the market - and that 240SE rad you have listed is one of them. The thing is a joke, look at the test results for the SE rads - https://www.xtremerigs.net/2015/02/11/radiator-round-2015/5/. You can throw in their fittings (possibly) and CryoFuel (definitely) as being among the worst products available.

Now let's talk cost....you're going to drop $500+ on components you will have for a long while, and will likely be moved into future rigs. Are you saying that investment isn't worth your time to put together a cart at PPCs of better components? And those components will cost you less money, If there is one thing you can say about EK, they are absolutely the worst value out there - top priced with mediocre quality.




This is all really solid advice. I'm going to trust @skupples on the argeebee aspect of components since I really know zero about it and don't have the vaguest interest in learning about it.




Eh, I can actually spell the word "sucks", and can actually detail ten years plus of EK quality degradation through firsthand experience. With PPCs, modMyMods and FCPU out there, you should be at two vendors in an absolute worst case.




Oh, I'm sure @ThrashZone would be happy to relay some firsthand results in regard to monoblocks........ :p
Be blunt all you want. Again, I'm a noob when it comes to custom loops. Been using AIOs forever and decided it's time to switch over to more efficient water cooling. However, I was driving myself nuts on EK's website and then started looking at other recommendations. Had to take a break, so I'm about to start looking at more of the stuff you and others have mentioned. I'm more concerned about GPU waterblocks at this point. How universal are they when it comes to board partner PCBs? I may end up being stuck with EK's waterblock if I can't find another for my EVGA 2080 Ti.
 

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Be blunt all you want. Again, I'm a noob when it comes to custom loops. Been using AIOs forever and decided it's time to switch over to more efficient water cooling. However, I was driving myself nuts on EK's website and then started looking at other recommendations. Had to take a break, so I'm about to start looking at more of the stuff you and others have mentioned. I'm more concerned about GPU waterblocks at this point. How universal are they when it comes to board partner PCBs? I may end up being stuck with EK's waterblock if I can't find another for my EVGA 2080 Ti.
You are probably stuck with EK or Bykski (I think they make one.....) for that GPU. And EK would be the better option.

But, you certainly have better options for every other component, and the better options will very likely come at a lower price point. Skupples gave you good advice - HWL rads, Mayhems X1, Aquacomputer CPU block. Unfortunately, I'm zero help with anything that lights up. When I want lights in my case, I buy......lights. I won't buy components that compromise performance for argeebee. My Phanteks Glacier block supposedly has awesome lighting, but I kept it for the quality and performance and have no idea if the lights even work..... :p

To Skupples list, I will add Bitspower and Monsoon fittings, Swiftech Maelstrom res (even I admit the lighting is cool on that one), Monsoon MMRS reservoirs and Heatkiller reservoirs.
 

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You are probably stuck with EK or Bykski (I think they make one.....) for that GPU. And EK would be the better option.

But, you certainly have better options for every other component, and the better options will very likely come at a lower price point. Skupples gave you good advice - HWL rads, Mayhems X1, Aquacomputer CPU block. Unfortunately, I'm zero help with anything that lights up. When I want lights in my case, I buy......lights. I won't buy components that compromise performance for argeebee. My Phanteks Glacier block supposedly has awesome lighting, but I kept it for the quality and performance and have no idea if the lights even work..... :p

To Skupples list, I will add Bitspower and Monsoon fittings, Swiftech Maelstrom res (even I admit the lighting is cool on that one), Monsoon MMRS reservoirs and Heatkiller reservoirs.
I'm currently on PPCS' website going over HWL rads. Unfortunately, the 360 SR2 is out of stock. Guess I'll have to go with a different one.

I was wondering about fittings brand, so thank you for the suggestions. I'm also wondering how best to set up my loop when it comes to fittings. Since I'm just starting out, should I even bother with angled fittings at this point? Is there a good rule of thumb when it comes to planning tube runs?
 
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