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First custom watercooling build: seeking feedback/advice

chrisnyc75
Level 12
So, I’ve decided to take on my first custom watercooling build to go with my upcoming IB-e upgrade. I’ve done quite a bit of research and formulated an initial build and setup plan, and am now at the point that I want to run it by the experts here and solicit feedback & advice.

To start off with, here’s a VERY rough diagram of what I expect my build to look like (please forgive my horrendous artwork, but you get the idea):



My planned loop is: pump > res > cpu > rad > gpu > gpu > rad > pump. I would like to be able to mount the pump directly under the reservoir, allowing me to make that last connection shorter and more direct, but I need to see the case first to figure out if that’s possible. Where I have the pump in the diagram (bottom right corner) is the designated default pump mount.



I’m still working out how many additional fittings (i.e. 45 degree, 90 degree, etc) I’ll need.

Now, a few notes on the less obvious choices I’ve made:

One thing that concerns me about this build is fan noise. I’ve never been one to be concerned about fan noise, but I’ve also never planned a build with 15 fans before. lol I’m concerned that 12 Corsair high-flow fans at full speed could sound like a freight train, so I’ve made some compromises. I figure with 2 large radiators + 12 fans, I can afford to dial back the rpms & airflow just a bit in favor of less noise (Swiftech, on top) and aesthetics (the red Phobya, on bottom).

For the top radiator, I went with the XSPC low profile 36mm radiator because I have exactly 70mm clearance between the top of the case and the top of the mobo. To compensate for the slim form factor, I decided to go with the (3x)140mm model. This will allow me to have the top radiator in push-pull config while not conflicting with the NB heatsink or ram. I could, of course, have gone with a thicker radiator (up to 70mm) and just one set of fans, but I think it’s more effective to go with the thinner radiator w/ push-pull since the top will also serve as the main air exhaust – I want to make sure I don’t get warm air building up inside the case faster than it can be exhausted out the top.

I have made a conscious effort to keep all components in the system pure COPPER/BRASS, no nickel; and I do not plan on any additives to my H2O (besides the silver killcoil). My understanding is that this should keep my system from reacting with itself and keep my components clean and operational with minimal maintenance (clean/flush once a year or so).

I'm not thrilled with the the idea of using cold cathodes for lighting, but I don't think I've ever seen a UV LED (?). I could just go with red LEDs, which is what I have in my current build, but I rather like the idea of highlighting the tubing with UV light.

I considered going with universal gpu blocks instead of full coverage, but I intend to overclock the crap out of my graphics cards once I get them under water, and I'm not sure how the voltage regulators would do with passive cooling. I'd love to hear insight on universal vs full coverage gpu blocks. If I could go with universal blocks it would save me a lot of money down the road when I decide to upgrade my graphics cards, but I don't want to go that route at the expense of overheating VRMs.

Finally, the Enthoo Primo chassis won’t be available for purchase until mid-October, so I have a few more weeks of planning to do before I can get my hands on it, but that just gives me plenty of time to be meticulous about planning.

I think that about covers it. Any & all feedback, advice, or insight is welcome and appreciated.

Thanks! 🙂
Asus RIVBE • i7 4930K @ 4.7ghz • 8gb Corsair Dominator Platinum 2133 CL8
2xSLI EVGA GTX 770 SC • Creative X-Fi Titanium • 2x 840 SSD + 1TB Seagate Hybrid
EVGA Supernova 1300W• Asus VG278H & nVidia 3d Vision
Phanteks Enthoo Primo w/ custom watercooling:
XSPC Raystorm (cpu & gpu), XSPC Photon 170, Swiftech D5 vario
Alphacool Monsta 360mm +6x NB e-loop, XT45 360mm +6x Corsair SP120

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73 REPLIES 73

Arne_Saknussemm
Level 40
You got all your stuff together chrisnyc?....about to start on the loop?...hehehe if Woody Allen did water cooling he'd think like you 😉

Arne Saknussemm wrote:
You got all your stuff together chrisnyc?....about to start on the loop?...hehehe if Woody Allen did water cooling he'd think like you 😉


LMAO! You're probably right. 😉

No, I don't have the stuff together yet....just finished upgrading to 4930K, still working on oc & observing temps etc before I commit 100% to custom wc. I *want* to do the build, but now that I've done all the legwork, I realize this is a $1000 undertaking at LEAST, so I'm not diving in lightly, still weighing the pros and cons.

I'm on vacation next week, then going to make a decision (and get started) when I get back. So far, it looks like my 4930K is running just slightly on the warm side, so I'm leaning toward custom wc to maintain my oc in comfort, but still TBD.
Asus RIVBE • i7 4930K @ 4.7ghz • 8gb Corsair Dominator Platinum 2133 CL8
2xSLI EVGA GTX 770 SC • Creative X-Fi Titanium • 2x 840 SSD + 1TB Seagate Hybrid
EVGA Supernova 1300W• Asus VG278H & nVidia 3d Vision
Phanteks Enthoo Primo w/ custom watercooling:
XSPC Raystorm (cpu & gpu), XSPC Photon 170, Swiftech D5 vario
Alphacool Monsta 360mm +6x NB e-loop, XT45 360mm +6x Corsair SP120

kkn
Level 14
first off, just do the CPU, and expand later if you want so.
that way you dont have to spend it all in one go.

chrisnyc75
Level 12
Is it bad that I'm almost irritated about going on vacation, because I'd kinda rather be getting started on my watercooling build? lol

Further testing of my 4930K has revealed that it requires just slightly more voltage than I thought and it's topping out at almost 80c pretty fast under load, so it definitely needs the cooling upgrade (or an overclock downgrade, but that's not gonna happen. lol)

Have any of you ever worked with rigid acrylic tubing before? I really like the way it looks, and I'm sure I could handle the forming just fine. What I'm not clear on is how much more difficult it makes assembly/disassembly when the connections are all rigidly formed to exact specifications? Does it make sliding components into place securely, or draining the system to remove a piece, considerably more difficult? Or is going with rigid acrylic tubing on my first build just crazy talk?
Asus RIVBE • i7 4930K @ 4.7ghz • 8gb Corsair Dominator Platinum 2133 CL8
2xSLI EVGA GTX 770 SC • Creative X-Fi Titanium • 2x 840 SSD + 1TB Seagate Hybrid
EVGA Supernova 1300W• Asus VG278H & nVidia 3d Vision
Phanteks Enthoo Primo w/ custom watercooling:
XSPC Raystorm (cpu & gpu), XSPC Photon 170, Swiftech D5 vario
Alphacool Monsta 360mm +6x NB e-loop, XT45 360mm +6x Corsair SP120

Zka17
Level 16
Personally, I never had luck with those rigid tubings... tried only several of the EK tubes and fittings for that, but I couldn't get a leak-free setup...

So, my favorite remains the classic tubing and compression fittings...

chrisnyc75
Level 12
Hmm, that's not encouraging. 😕 I realize it adds an extra, and unnecessary, level of complexity to a project that already promises to be a challenge to me as a first timer.... but I *really* dig the aesthetics of it. I really have tried to make performance my top priority thus far, I've made a distinct effort not to fall prey to chasing the "bling factor" -- but the clean straight lines that can be achieved with rigid acrylic are just so incredibly beautiful that I'm tempted to go that direction. Check this rig from a build log on ocn.....

27760

Gorgeous! I'd hate to settle for regular tubing and then look at my finished project and regret not going "all in" with rigid acrylic. lol I guess I just need more time to dig into it and solicit advice from experienced wc'ers. I have to wonder if all those 90* angles are detrimental enough to flow to impact cooling performance? Performance is still KEY.

Thanks for your feedback, zka -- always appreciated! I'll rep ya more as soon as it'll let me. 🙂

p.s. I've now named this ongoing build "Project: YOLO 2k13" 😉 Stay tuned....
Asus RIVBE • i7 4930K @ 4.7ghz • 8gb Corsair Dominator Platinum 2133 CL8
2xSLI EVGA GTX 770 SC • Creative X-Fi Titanium • 2x 840 SSD + 1TB Seagate Hybrid
EVGA Supernova 1300W• Asus VG278H & nVidia 3d Vision
Phanteks Enthoo Primo w/ custom watercooling:
XSPC Raystorm (cpu & gpu), XSPC Photon 170, Swiftech D5 vario
Alphacool Monsta 360mm +6x NB e-loop, XT45 360mm +6x Corsair SP120

Zka17
Level 16
Chris, I'm not saying that you won't be able to do it with rigid tubing! I just stated that I wasn't lucky with it... maybe I went with the wrong parts...

If I would be you, I would check who used rigid tubing and ask which parts exactly he/she used...

chrisnyc75
Level 12
Ok, so my Phanteks Enthoo Primo is finally on its way, so the 'planning' stage is about to come to an end, I'll be placing my wc hardware order probably next week after I take some measurements of the new case this weekend and work out a few more details.

I'm 90% sure I'm going to skip the rigid acrylic tubing idea. I have no doubt I could make it work, but since this is my first wc build I think it's wiser not to complicate it with rigid tubing and the unique challenges it brings. Next time.

Anyway, I had another question.... I was originally going to go with pure distilled h20 and nothing else, but I've realized I kinda do want the "bling" factor of a nice bright fluid moving through my system. I don't think I care about it staining the components since only the tubing & reservoir will be transparent (and can easily be replaced when I build again). If I go that route, would you guys recommend h2o + dye or pre-mixed colored coolant? I'm not sure which is less detrimental to efficiency and/or easier to work with in the long run? And in either case, am I safe in gathering that Mayhems is considered a solid choice for dye or pre-mix coolant?
Asus RIVBE • i7 4930K @ 4.7ghz • 8gb Corsair Dominator Platinum 2133 CL8
2xSLI EVGA GTX 770 SC • Creative X-Fi Titanium • 2x 840 SSD + 1TB Seagate Hybrid
EVGA Supernova 1300W• Asus VG278H & nVidia 3d Vision
Phanteks Enthoo Primo w/ custom watercooling:
XSPC Raystorm (cpu & gpu), XSPC Photon 170, Swiftech D5 vario
Alphacool Monsta 360mm +6x NB e-loop, XT45 360mm +6x Corsair SP120

kkn
Level 14
premix coolant can last a year, if you go whit distiled water you may have to change it often.
you have coolant you can add dye bombs in ( color ) your self.
heres a vid of color testing of mayhems dye's -> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Emjg3mWy1Lo

chrisnyc75
Level 12
Nice video, blood red + black is my color scheme (of course) 😉 Although, with red being generally non-UV reactive or appearing pink, I may go with white, or blue, or even purple, to stand out boldly against the red/black of the rest of the build. Once I get that figured out I guess that will dictate whether I go with clear water or colored coolant/dye.
Asus RIVBE • i7 4930K @ 4.7ghz • 8gb Corsair Dominator Platinum 2133 CL8
2xSLI EVGA GTX 770 SC • Creative X-Fi Titanium • 2x 840 SSD + 1TB Seagate Hybrid
EVGA Supernova 1300W• Asus VG278H & nVidia 3d Vision
Phanteks Enthoo Primo w/ custom watercooling:
XSPC Raystorm (cpu & gpu), XSPC Photon 170, Swiftech D5 vario
Alphacool Monsta 360mm +6x NB e-loop, XT45 360mm +6x Corsair SP120