Cost Effective Liquid Cooling Advice

sdotbrucato

[H]ard|Gawd
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Oct 7, 2005
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1,722
My buddy is putting together a PC with an socket 1150 i7 and 2 280x graphics cards.

He's wanting to water cool, as keeping his GPUs cool has always been a problem.

I put together a few systems in my day but it's been a long time since Ive done one and am not familiar with what's out there. Swiftech was my go to, and I put together a system for just under $600 but I was wondering if I had better options.

Can anyone throw out recommendations? Little to no overclocking, just heavy gaming and constant abuse.

Thanks,
 

Tsumi

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Mar 18, 2010
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Cost effective and water cooling generally do not belong in the same sentence.

If he's the type to keep his graphics a long while, get full cover blocks. If he changes cards every year or every 2 years, get universal GPU blocks with those little stick on heatsinks for RAM and VRMs.

I highly recommend Swiftech for their pumps and CPU blocks, and recommend Alphacool for their radiators. Not sure which universal GPU blocks are good, but I would advise to not look at EK or XSPC stuff. Aquacomputer, Heatkiller, and Alphacool are my general recommendations for GPU blocks.
 

FiveFig

Gawd
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Jun 27, 2011
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Cost effective and water cooling generally do not belong in the same sentence.

If he's the type to keep his graphics a long while, get full cover blocks. If he changes cards every year or every 2 years, get universal GPU blocks with those little stick on heatsinks for RAM and VRMs.

I highly recommend Swiftech for their pumps and CPU blocks, and recommend Alphacool for their radiators. Not sure which universal GPU blocks are good, but I would advise to not look at EK or XSPC stuff. Aquacomputer, Heatkiller, and Alphacool are my general recommendations for GPU blocks.

random lurker thanks!
I appreciate the name dropping, it'll help me research.
I was thinking about this today, well not the cheap part, but economical hah?!?
 

Tsumi

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There really aren't any cheap parts when it comes to watercooling. "Cheap" ones are usually outdated, old stock of old designs. Though usually they will still do good enough for the job.
 

Activate: AMD

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Tsumi is correct, cost effective and watercooling are two seemingly opposing aims, but if the goal is to do WC as economically as possible there are a few ways to go about it. Generally, pumps, blocks and rads are pretty well fixed costs. You can save a few bucks by using universal GPU blocks, but they won't cool the VRM's or ram, which IMO defeats the purpose to some extent. The XSPC raystorm is a good CPU block and is a bit cheaper than most of the others. I haven't had any problems with EK's GPU blocks, but opt for the copper/acetal versions instead of the nickel. They're cheaper and free of any issues (perceived or real) with flaking nickel. XSPC and alphacool radiators are good and reasonably priced, but make sure you do a good flush on the alphacool's before you install them, as they tend to have a lot of residual flux left behind. Lastly, I would seriously consider going with barbs instead of compression fittings if you want to stay "cheap". Compressions look nicer, but the cost of fittings winds up adding up to a lot, its one of the big hidden costs to any WC system. Barbs will work just as well and are much cheaper... just make sure those clamps are on good and you'll be fine.
 

jamsomito

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Aug 29, 2010
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Good stuff here.

If I can contribute, I looked into this myself as well. Here's my thread about universal blocks - you just need to make sure you've got some kind of extra cooling for the VRAM and VRM's. http://hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1813141&highlight=

As for universal blocks themselves, swiftech makes some good ones. I was looking at this one: http://www.swiftech.com/mcw82vgawaterblock.aspx

If I recall, the earlier versions of that block were very constrictive so you want to stay away from those, but this one is supposed to be really good.
 
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