Advice for water cooling for risk adverse person

amdgamer

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Hi guys, I have always been a very strong critic of water cooling as I never believe that liquids and computers should mix. However, I recently started folding for our Hard team and I am giving water cooling a serious consideration. I am currently running my laptop and desktop, and it is not exactly very pleasant to listen to my desktop's cpu fan sound like a dust buster at 5800rpms(maxes at 7000). It is LOUD when all 4 cores of my rig are under 100% utilization, and i've noticed that my temps are still hovering at 56-58degrees C. Max temps for the Deneb Phenom X4 cores are 62 degrees Celsius, and I am getting too close for comfort. I've tried manually maxing out the cpu fan at 7000rpms, but honestly i'll go deaf as I never knew a cpu fan could get that loud.

I am looking for a system that would be easy for me to get into that would be relatively maintenance free for someone who is knew like me. I honestly don't like something that is maintenance heavy if I can avoid it. I was hoping you guys could give me some suggestions as I would like as much heat disappating ability as possible. I do plan on doing some serious overclocking and would need to cool my cpu, and my two 5850 BE's. I noticed that GPU water blocks can get very pricey at $124 each on Frozencpu.com, but i'd like your advice on what I should seriously consider, and what brands I should seriously avoid as you guys are likely familiar with the repuation that different manufacturers have. I will likely have Micro Center do the installation for me as this is out of my realm of comfort.

I noticed that Thermaltake has a set of BigWater internal kits that I noticed, although i'm not sure how good that would be. My priorities for what I am looking to get from water cooling are in this order.

1. Maintenance free as possible
2. Reliability
3. Price/value.

Thanks guys!
 

King Icewind

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A little outdated, but take a look at this. http://hardforum.com:80/showthread.php?t=1451956
It's everything you need. I would add another triple rad however, since you will have 2 5850's in the loop. I didn't know Microcenter did water cooling for customers. You sure they do? That sounds like a major liability for them, and not something they want to get involved with. Seriously though, it's not that hard. It can be a little nerve racking at times, when you notice a small leak. Just keep paper towels handy. Also, make sure the rads, blocks and pump don't have any leaks before you put them in your system. Some people might suggest building the loop outside of the case and then adding it, however that wouldn't work for my computer. So I did everything with the parts still inside. I took the video card out, and covered the top of the psu with a couple layers of paper towels in case there was a leak. Everything went fairly smoothly. Once you finish it, and everything is working, you'll be glad you went through the stress lol.

Make sure you buy extra tubing if you do it yourself. I used about 20 feet my first time. The second I only used about 10 as I knew what I was doing. Remember to measure twice, and don't rush.

I would take a look at Dangerden for the video card blocks. ;)

Good luck.

KI
 

amdgamer

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Hi, thanks for the response as every new piece of reading material dated or not will help me make a decision. I just don't trust water cooling, but am weighing my options. In reality, it is really only my cpu that i'm concerned about. However, all 4 of my ram slots are used and they happen to be extremely close to the cpu socket on my motherboard, thus eliminating the possibility of using the more aggressive and huge cpu fans based coolers.

Micro Center does do water cooling installations as I called them up just to make sure. They said that the average cost of install is about $85 + parts which I can buy from them or bring in myself. Water and computer makes me super nervous which is why i'm very hesitant to do this myself if I decide to use liquid cooling.

A little outdated, but take a look at this. http://hardforum.com:80/showthread.php?t=1451956
It's everything you need. I would add another triple rad however, since you will have 2 5850's in the loop. I didn't know Microcenter did water cooling for customers. You sure they do? That sounds like a major liability for them, and not something they want to get involved with. Seriously though, it's not that hard. It can be a little nerve racking at times, when you notice a small leak. Just keep paper towels handy. Also, make sure the rads, blocks and pump don't have any leaks before you put them in your system. Some people might suggest building the loop outside of the case and then adding it, however that wouldn't work for my computer. So I did everything with the parts still inside. I took the video card out, and covered the top of the psu with a couple layers of paper towels in case there was a leak. Everything went fairly smoothly. Once you finish it, and everything is working, you'll be glad you went through the stress lol.

Make sure you buy extra tubing if you do it yourself. I used about 20 feet my first time. The second I only used about 10 as I knew what I was doing. Remember to measure twice, and don't rush.

I would take a look at Dangerden for the video card blocks. ;)

Good luck.

KI
 

King Icewind

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Also consider water cooling in the long term of things. You will have great cooling for many years down the road and for the next few computers.

I watched quite a few videos on setting it up and then I just dove into it. The scariest thing was when the bottom barb on the pump was down good enough, and it started dripping. I have the Antec 902 case, which has the psu on the bottom...right next to the pump lol. Nothing serious happened besides a wet power towel. Although I have a folded piece of paper towers that I have always kept there in case it does decide to start leaking.

Actually two days ago I just redid my loop. I took off the clear tubing, flushed out the parts because I was some coolant I picked up in Microcenter that gummed up the system, replaced the tubing with all black tubing, replaced the coolant with distilled water and algaecide and did a little more case modding. Not sure how spacious your case is, I added my two rad's on the outside, which keeps coolant/leaks away from the parts.

Setting everything up is easy, just have to connect the barbs, put the blocks on which is just like a air cooled heatsink, attach the rad, add tubing/bards, add coolant, bleed the loop, and your all set. Sounds like a lot but it really isn't. I say that, even though it took me from 10:30pm to 4:15am to redo my loop lol (had a few extra steps though, flushing, cleaning, etc.).

It's cool that Microcenter does water cooling. Kinda got me thinking though...I would never trust someone else with water cooling my computer. I want to be in control of something like that. Just me though. :) Also, you have the Hard on your side and you can always shoot me a PM if you have any questions. :D

I know you don't want to ruin your parts or anything, but seriuosly you'll be happier and feel accomplished/bad ass once you finish it...At least I did. :p

Man, I sound like a Missionary trying to convert you to another religion, lmao.
 

amdgamer

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You know, now i'm considering going with a compromise solution and just water cooling the cpu. It reduces the complexity of the system and I realized that I am one of those people who like to upgrade video cards often. If I water cool the video cards, I realized that I may not be able to sell them. Even going through the RMA process can get mucked up should something fail.

I could also stick with a single radiator as you wouldn't need much to take care of the heat of a simple processor compared to what GPU's put out. From looking at what the cost would be to cool the video cards, it would be more than I am willing to spend for the time being as full water blocks for them are not cheap.Plus they tend to be specific so that is another expense each time I upgrade. With TSMC screwing things up for ATI and nVidia with yet another delay of the 28nm process, I suspect I may not be upgrading until Northern Islands comes out next year as Southern Islands likely won't be enough of an increase in performance.

Ideally i'd like to just get a bigass fan for the cpu, but I want to know why Gigabyte designed this motherboard with the ram slots so close as only the Noctua NH-U12P SE2 and Coolermaster V8 "may" be able to squeeze and fit.

pc2.jpg


This is my case, so room isn't much of an issue although I do have 4 hard drives that have created a mess of cables.
 

InvisiBill

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You might be interested in the CoolIT A.L.C. products. Like the Corsair H50, it's sort of a half-way watercooling system.

ECO A.L.C. for your CPU
Omni A.L.C. for your GPU

It won't be as good as a full custom loop, but it's essentially as maintenance-free as a regular air HSF. You do get some of the benefits of watercooling with these products, like being able to cool your parts with big, quiet 120mm fans on the edge of your case, rather than whatever tiny fans will fit on the heat source.

omni_case.jpg
 

Psi*

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I was going to mention the CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Liquid CPU Cooler, but was beaten to it. Google that for reviews & see what you find. It is a quick & dirty method although it does not appear to be future proof in anyway. From newegg, I cannot tell if is compatible with both 1366 & 1156 ... it just says i7 compatible. Something to check out.

In my signature is the build of one of my systems. The pump, radiator, reservoir are re-used from previous systems. The pump is maybe 8 or 9 years old from my 1st WC system. The radiator was changed to be compatible with the standard fittings that finally standardized a few years ago. Actually I had/have 2 identical systems built with these components. The only "serious" change I have made was to go to 1/2" ID tubing versus the original 1/4" ID. Just saying that there is some economy with the ability to re-use some parts although considerably more expensive than the CoolIt.

Last, and this is only intended to make you laugh, but a "risk adverse person" would just buy a Dell? No?:)
 

amdgamer

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I was going to mention the CoolIT ECO A.L.C. Liquid CPU Cooler, but was beaten to it. Google that for reviews & see what you find. It is a quick & dirty method although it does not appear to be future proof in anyway. From newegg, I cannot tell if is compatible with both 1366 & 1156 ... it just says i7 compatible. Something to check out.

In my signature is the build of one of my systems. The pump, radiator, reservoir are re-used from previous systems. The pump is maybe 8 or 9 years old from my 1st WC system. The radiator was changed to be compatible with the standard fittings that finally standardized a few years ago. Actually I had/have 2 identical systems built with these components. The only "serious" change I have made was to go to 1/2" ID tubing versus the original 1/4" ID. Just saying that there is some economy with the ability to re-use some parts although considerably more expensive than the CoolIt.

Last, and this is only intended to make you laugh, but a "risk adverse person" would just buy a Dell? No?:)

Judging from what has happened to the quality of Dell products, an informed risk adverse person might stay away from Dell. To be honest, I sometimes think that I should have gone that route instead of having my PC custom built by Micro Center. However, I wanted to make my return to hardcore PC gaming done right, and had MC build it as I don't do system builds anymore. Things have gotten so complex that even one wierd component that doesn't allow your system to POST can cause hours and hours worth of vulgarity filled frustration.

Thanks guys for the assistant you guys have given me so far. Right now, I am honestly leaning towards finding a way to get a air cpu cooler to fit on my motherboard. Water cooling just sounds so scary.
 

King Icewind

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Judging from what has happened to the quality of Dell products, an informed risk adverse person might stay away from Dell. To be honest, I sometimes think that I should have gone that route instead of having my PC custom built by Micro Center. However, I wanted to make my return to hardcore PC gaming done right, and had MC build it as I don't do system builds anymore. Things have gotten so complex that even one wierd component that doesn't allow your system to POST can cause hours and hours worth of vulgarity filled frustration.

Thanks guys for the assistant you guys have given me so far. Right now, I am honestly leaning towards finding a way to get a air cpu cooler to fit on my motherboard. Water cooling just sounds so scary.

I
ihavebeensent128637205733232977.jpg

You have the Hard on your side. ;)

I watched these, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kBry...A38A54C5&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=27

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Alj_...A38A54C5&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=26

Which is why I went with a T line, as i could see it be done. Intimidating at first, but it's great afterwards.

Here's what mine looks like after my second time,

4516481273_01fda8c01d.jpg
4517115912_5cf25264c4.jpg
4517115658_fb46cf0019.jpg


I did this on my first attempt,

Rads are still in the same place ;)
4101736097_8eb01436fb.jpg
4101737145_da72a061eb.jpg


Sorry for the crappy pics on the new water cooling pics....My Flickr..

So the moral of all my pics...It's not hard, and it's only as scary as you want it to be. :D
 

InvisiBill

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Thanks guys for the assistant you guys have given me so far. Right now, I am honestly leaning towards finding a way to get a air cpu cooler to fit on my motherboard. Water cooling just sounds so scary.

Check out the ECO and H50. They're about the same performance as a good 120mm air cooler, but you only have to be able to mount a rad on one of your case fans (as opposed to fitting a huge heatsink on the CPU itself). A number of people have found these to provide great performance in tiny cases, since they can get a 120mm cooler even if there isn't much space around the CPU. I'm happy with the performance of my S1283V, but I ordered an ECO mostly just to clean up my case.

Yes, there is additional risk by introducing a conductive liquid. However, a factory-sealed unit should be less likely to have leaks than a custom system with fittings all over. Each fitting has two places it can leak, where it screws into the block or where it mates to the hose. A factory-sealed unit should be leak-tested at the factory, whereas that's impossible with a DIY loop - you have to test it after you assemble it. The ECO looks to be pretty sturdy. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlgEqNnlWeo&hd=1#t=03m57s =)
 

Rang

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I just finished my first watercooling setup and it wasn't nearly as scary as I thought it would be. One thing I'd definitely suggest is using smaller tubing than your fittings. For example, I used 1/2" OD fittings and 7/16" ID tubing. Used a heat gun to heat up the ends and pushed them over the fittings, once it cools down there'ss pretty much no risk of leaking as long as you tightened the fittings well. If you do end up going with a DIY setup the biggest thing I'd stress is just take it slow and plan everything out. I bought everything from individuals on the for sale forum mostly used and spent about $110 for everything after fittings/tubing, I only have my cpu in the loop (radiator, pump, cpu block, res).

img4595.jpg
 

King Icewind

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Nice man, but with the way you have the rad setup, it's blowing hot air all over your other components.
 

Rang

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I was thinking about switching it around when the new fans get here although I haven't had any issues with temps so far.
 

amdgamer

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Ok, the more I look into the Corsair H50 system, the more Ilke it as it appears to be the only maintenance free cpu water cooler on the market as it is factory sealed. The more reviews I find on the internet about it, the more I like it as it appears to be able to handle some serious overclocks.
 

amdgamer

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Ouu........nevermind on the Corsair H50 as I guess i'm back to the drawing board. Just realized that the kit forces you to reverse the airflow of your case's rear exhaust fan so that it is blowing into your case, through the radiator, and thus warming up your case instead of cooling it like an exhaust fan would do. It is a shame too as I really like how the H50 looks as you don't get more maintenance free than that.
 

anr11

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It doesn't force you to do so. It is in most cases optimal for cooling efficiency but is by no means a requirement. Use two fans in push/pull and mout it as an exhaust fan and your temps will be at least as good as the top air coolers.
 

BillParrish

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First thing you should do is get some avaition snips and cut out that top rear stamped into the case fan grill and replace it with a wire one.

I cannot tell if your case has a top mounted fan, which would eliminate the "blow into the case" concern.
 

InvisiBill

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Ouu........nevermind on the Corsair H50 as I guess i'm back to the drawing board. Just realized that the kit forces you to reverse the airflow of your case's rear exhaust fan so that it is blowing into your case, through the radiator, and thus warming up your case instead of cooling it like an exhaust fan would do. It is a shame too as I really like how the H50 looks as you don't get more maintenance free than that.

As anr11 said, the H50 pulls in cool outside air to get the best CPU temps. However, you could still use it as an exhaust fan, it's just that your temps would be a little bit higher, due to using warm case air rather than cool outside air. However, keep in mind that your CPU's heat is now in the radiator rather than the case air, so your case temps should be lower than before, meaning the warm case air may not actually be that warm. The CoolIT ECO actually comes with the fan configured for exhaust by default. I just got my ECO installed and it did drop my temps a few degrees over my S1283V, with no other changes. http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1512127

If you do use it as an intake, you may need to switch other fans around to ensure that you've still got even airflow, but remember that with an air cooler, the heat from the CPU was still ending up in the case too. Even if you use the H50/ECO as an intake, that air should still be about the same temp as the air that was coming out of your HSF before.
 

hspeirs

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I've got one of the H50's in my new rig ( i7-860 @ 3.8GHz), and I like it - up to a point. Running SMP2 F@H all the cores hover around 77C. If I shutdown the client it drops to 50C in one second and it's idle temp of 42C in under 2 seconds. At stock speed on the CPU the system is almost silent even at 100% load.

One thing about the H50 though, it seems very sensitive to ambient temp. With a room temp of around 65F I was getting the 77C readings, room temp of 72F, CPU @ 84C, room temp around 82F, CPU up in high 90C's. As this machine runs 24*7 at 100% load - Folding, folding, folding - and I don't want to have the A/C on 24*7 just to keep the ambient cool enough, I'm about to get my feet wet (pun intended) with true water cooling.

Good thing my birthday is coming up - "Thank you honey - how'd you know I wanted these specific PC water cooling items ..... :D"

H.
 

_k_

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I would recommend that if you decide to go water don't go with the H50 or CoolIT. CoolIT is pretty notorious with bad quality, tubes cracking or fittings breaking. Several of my friends have had CoolIT products fail or just be worse than their high end air cooler. The H50 has the same kind of issues that hspeirs has pointed out. The unit does it alright at idle or a light load but once a chip gets loaded very much its efficiency in cooling goes out the window.

If you are really looking for a "closed" loop prebuilt I would only look into Koolance because they are one of the few prebuilts that have any long term value besides cool there is water in my computer. Koolance is expensive but worth it if you don't want to have to build and test but for the same price you can buy and build your own better loop.

Water does not conduct electricity, btw, it is the additives that conduct or when it becomes ionized and it holds a charge instead of being pH and charge neutral. All you need for liquid is distilled water and some anti-bacterial additive, something like PH Nuke.

Swiftech makes a GPU only water block and since you are running ATi their coolers allow you to only remove the GPU block and leave the fan attached with a heatspreader on the rest of card, works really well that way. I know for a fact that adding a single OC'd 5850 to a loop with a OC'd 920 does not add very much heat to the loop but this is with a 120.3 Thermochill rad.
 

amdgamer

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Thanks for the suggestions guys. The risk adverse side of me has won as I will no longer be considering water cooling. My upcoming folding rig will be cooled with a Cogage True Spirit cooler and my current gaming rig will likely get a Noctua NDH-14 once I get some more money to spend on an insanely addictive hobby.
 

InvisiBill

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I've got one of the H50's in my new rig ( i7-860 @ 3.8GHz), and I like it - up to a point. Running SMP2 F@H all the cores hover around 77C. If I shutdown the client it drops to 50C in one second and it's idle temp of 42C in under 2 seconds. At stock speed on the CPU the system is almost silent even at 100% load.

One thing about the H50 though, it seems very sensitive to ambient temp. With a room temp of around 65F I was getting the 77C readings, room temp of 72F, CPU @ 84C, room temp around 82F, CPU up in high 90C's. As this machine runs 24*7 at 100% load - Folding, folding, folding - and I don't want to have the A/C on 24*7 just to keep the ambient cool enough, I'm about to get my feet wet (pun intended) with true water cooling.
I'm also running F@H SMP on my 920 (166x20, auto voltage ~1.25, HT and Turbo on), plus dnetc on the CPU (paused when FahCore is running) and both GPUs. With my new ECO, my hottest core is at 60°C with an ambient of 68.8°F. I stopped all my DC clients and my coolest core dropped down to 30°C (the hottest was 38°C). I've been running the PC for two days straight now ("\\INVISIBILL has been up for: 2 day(s), 1 hour(s), 0 minute(s), 53 second(s)") with all those DC clients running, and the max it hit on any core was 66°C. This is with the ECO in the default exhaust configuration, meaning it should be less sensitive to ambient temp, but only because it's already using the warmer case air. It should drop CPU temps even more if I swap a couple fans around and have it pulling in outside air.


I would recommend that if you decide to go water don't go with the H50 or CoolIT. CoolIT is pretty notorious with bad quality, tubes cracking or fittings breaking. Several of my friends have had CoolIT products fail or just be worse than their high end air cooler. The H50 has the same kind of issues that hspeirs has pointed out. The unit does it alright at idle or a light load but once a chip gets loaded very much its efficiency in cooling goes out the window.
This is my first CoolIT product, and I obviously haven't had it long enough to gauge its long-term durability. CoolIT seems to be pretty confident in the initial build quality at least. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VlgEqNnlWeo&feature=player_embedded&hd=1#t=03m59s We'll have to wait and see how well they hold up over time, but based on the first few days of owning it, I'm happy with mine. Granted, I'm only running 3478MHz with Turbo, but I'm probably running a higher voltage than I need to since it's on auto, and it's still keeping it cooler than my S1283V did, while removing a huge chunk of metal from the middle of my case.

Water does not conduct electricity, btw, it is the additives that conduct or when it becomes ionized and it holds a charge instead of being pH and charge neutral. All you need for liquid is distilled water and some anti-bacterial additive, something like PH Nuke.
No, pure water does not conduct electricity. However, once it gets any impurities in it, it will start conducting. If there's some dust on the back of your card, pure water leaking onto it will then conduct electricity.
 

_k_

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Why Distilled Water Does Not Conduct Electricity
Distilled water is water purified of any contaminants and pure water does not conduct electricity according to Stanley E. Manahan’s book “Fundamentals of environmental chemistry”. This is because an H2O molecule has no charge and no need to swap electrons. However, salt water is considered a good electricity conductor and this is due to the ions within it.

Barry don't you know its taboo to post on Icrontic and [H]ard in the same day?
 

Archmage

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Risk-averse... it's risk aversion ;)

...and Air-cooling is great right now.

WC for the risk-averse: don't do it :(
 

OlIv0rIolI

Gawd
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I don't see wc as risky. I mean as long as you do everything properly, follow all the guidelines, and not get the cheap stuff you should be fine. Test it before installing your components and you are good to go. Its a tedious process, taking hours to get everything ready. Some new people who have problems tend to take the shortcut, and end up ruining their hardware. My first wc system has been leak free from day 1 and been running for 3 years continuously now. and I have been moving it back and forth between college and home. I never even need to change the coolant because its clear so far and I only recently added a little more distilled water to offset evaporation.

I thought it was comon knowledge that pure water is non conductive. I mean they teach that in high school chemistry.
 

x509

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....and I have been moving it back and forth between college and home.


When you move your system, you don't :confused: drain your loop(s)? :eek: Isn't there a risk that the system might not be "upright" and water might leak out from say the reservoir?
 

OlIv0rIolI

Gawd
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I put the pc in upright position on the back seats and putting other stuff between it and the back of the front seat to stabilize it. Not to mention the reservoir refill hole is screwed down tight
 
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