First time custom loop builder

Kalmado

Limp Gawd
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Dec 14, 2014
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Recently I bought a 2nd hand R9 295x2 that came with a Koolance block and also the stock cooler. I don't have a custom loop but since the seller was including the stock cooler I pulled the trigger. Well, the Asetek AIO leaks so obviously the card isn't running right and it's forcing my hand to look at doing a custom loop (unless someone knows where to buy an Asetek replacement).

I'm brand new to this sort of thing and am extremely nervous about it. I also am very tight on money right now which makes this even worse, having that gpu sit on a shelf. Need some advice on if what I'm looking at so far is ok and what else I need to get. My case is the Phanteks Enthoo Pro full tower.

CPU Block: http://www.swiftech.com/apogeexl2.aspx

Reservoir: http://www.swiftech.com/mcp35xreservoir.aspx

GPU Block: Koolance, already have.

Radiators: 2x240? Do I really need 360? Already have SP fans

Tubing: 7/16" ID 5/8" OD correct?

Fittings: Unsure

Fluid: Distilled water per JayZ2cents?
 

Kalmado

Limp Gawd
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Dec 14, 2014
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Step one - if you're tight on money, don't build a custom loop. Period.

It's always going to cost more than you think.
That doesn't really help as you didn't give any prices or advice on parts.
 

Bandalo

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That doesn't really help as you didn't give any prices or advice on parts.

Well, I'll stand by my advice. Only watercool if you've got the cash to play with, because it's not going to be cheap. And I'd personally recommend investing that cash in a newer video card.

That being said, your parts list isn't bad. Given your heat load, I think a pair of 240 rads should be enough. A single 360 would probably also work, as long as you have enough airflow. Tubing will depending entirely on your fittings and vice versa. Just make sure you pick one standard and stick with it across the build. Most of the big manufacturers (Bitspower, Monsoon, etc) are comparable on their fittings, so pick ones that you like for looks and stick with 'em. Just remember you're looking at $10-15 per fitting, and do the math carefully when you plan the build. (typically two fittings per rad/pump/block, and then maybe elbows or T-fittings for easier routing and drains)

I'd go with DI water plus some PT Nuke or any of the Mayhems dyes.
 

Kalmado

Limp Gawd
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Well, I'll stand by my advice. Only watercool if you've got the cash to play with, because it's not going to be cheap. And I'd personally recommend investing that cash in a newer video card.

That being said, your parts list isn't bad. Given your heat load, I think a pair of 240 rads should be enough. A single 360 would probably also work, as long as you have enough airflow. Tubing will depending entirely on your fittings and vice versa. Just make sure you pick one standard and stick with it across the build. Most of the big manufacturers (Bitspower, Monsoon, etc) are comparable on their fittings, so pick ones that you like for looks and stick with 'em. Just remember you're looking at $10-15 per fitting, and do the math carefully when you plan the build. (typically two fittings per rad/pump/block, and then maybe elbows or T-fittings for easier routing and drains)

I'd go with DI water plus some PT Nuke or any of the Mayhems dyes.
Thank you. I've got the space for 2x240 with some adjusting in the front of my case. I'll probably need to remove the HDD bay for reservoir placement. So about the fittings and tubing, if I'm understanding correctly you're saying (as an example) to use XSPC fittings if using XSPC tubing for consistency?
 

Bandalo

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Thank you. I've got the space for 2x240 with some adjusting in the front of my case. I'll probably need to remove the HDD bay for reservoir placement. So about the fittings and tubing, if I'm understanding correctly you're saying (as an example) to use XSPC fittings if using XSPC tubing for consistency?

No, I'm saying make sure you're picking the right sizes (ID/OD) for tubing and fittings. In particular if you're using compression fittings. Just make sure the sizes match and you should be fine, you can mix and match brands.
 

pendragon1

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your cheapest option, I think I mentioned it in your other thread, would be to refurb the aio. its easy and cheap, ~$15.
if you want to do a custom loop i'd go with a single 360 rad and whatever size tube and fittings you want. it will be more than capable and cheaper(less fittings/tubing). BUT stick with the same brand for both. there can be a variance in different brands' sizing. as far a what fitting/tubing goes, find a brand that fits your budget and looks preference and get them. they are basically all the same unless you get really cheap ebay junk.

edit: I guess if youre going soft tube brand mixing doesn't matter as much.
 

Kalmado

Limp Gawd
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your cheapest option, I think I mentioned it in your other thread, would be to refurb the aio. its easy and cheap, ~$15.
if you want to do a custom loop i'd go with a single 360 rad and whatever size tube and fittings you want. it will be more than capable and cheaper(less fittings/tubing). BUT stick with the same brand for both. there can be a variance in different brands' sizing. as far a what fitting/tubing goes, find a brand that fits your budget and looks preference and get them. they are basically all the same unless you get really cheap ebay junk.

edit: I guess if youre going soft tube brand mixing doesn't matter as much.
I've been searching on Ebay and what not but haven't been able to find anything that wasn't ridiculously expensive. I'm in contact with XFX right now on solutions(waiting on their response for RMA possibilities but probably out of warranty, but I wanted to get advice on water cooling from those that are experienced with it for some options. Believe me, I'd love to find a replacement Dual pump AIO and call it a day. Would be a lot easier for me.
 

rgMekanic

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At a reasonable $10 per fitting, you're gonna be at about $150-$200 in fittings for the 240 rad setup. $150-$200 for a pair of decent rads, $130 for the pump/res, $60 for the CPU block, $50 for tubing and misc.

So $540-$640 for the setup.

So as Bandalo said, if you're tight on money, slap that air cooler back on the 295x2.

And make sure you have enough PSU to run that beast.
 

Kalmado

Limp Gawd
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At a reasonable $10 per fitting, you're gonna be at about $150-$200 in fittings for the 240 rad setup. $150-$200 for a pair of decent rads, $130 for the pump/res, $60 for the CPU block, $50 for tubing and misc.

So $540-$640 for the setup.

So as Bandalo said, if you're tight on money, slap that air cooler back on the 295x2.

And make sure you have enough PSU to run that beast.
My psu is the Lepa (Enermax OEM) G1200 80+ Gold. Been using it for almost two years without issue. Quiet too. I'd love to use the air cooler, just need a working AIO! Would it be crazy to slap two Corsair H50s on it? I already have one that my wife is currently using (and doesn't need).
 

rgMekanic

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My psu is the Lepa (Enermax OEM) G1200 80+ Gold. Been using it for almost two years without issue. Quiet too. I'd love to use the air cooler, just need a working AIO! Would it be crazy to slap two Corsair H50s on it? I already have one that my wife is currently using (and doesn't need).

That PSU will do the job hehe, I was using a Lepa 1000w for years that I gave to my wife when the Hotdeal for the Seasonic 1050 came up.

2 H50's would be a pretty cool setup on it imo, just make sure you have good airflow in the case and get some passive heatsinks for the memory modules on it
 

Kalmado

Limp Gawd
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That PSU will do the job hehe, I was using a Lepa 1000w for years that I gave to my wife when the Hotdeal for the Seasonic 1050 came up.

2 H50's would be a pretty cool setup on it imo, just make sure you have good airflow in the case and get some passive heatsinks for the memory modules on it
Case airflow is great. I could still use the stock cooler with it. Screw it I think I'm going to go for it. Worse case I'll sell the second H50 local. I'll see what XFX has to say in the next day or two.
 

pendragon1

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My psu is the Lepa (Enermax OEM) G1200 80+ Gold. Been using it for almost two years without issue. Quiet too. I'd love to use the air cooler, just need a working AIO! Would it be crazy to slap two Corsair H50s on it? I already have one that my wife is currently using (and doesn't need).
yeah you could red-mod two h50s onto it.
 

Kalmado

Limp Gawd
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And I do agree with Bandalo about spending the money to do it right. That's my main thing is doing a custom loop the right way. There are full kits on ebay for like $150 and I'm looking at it like those are probably the cheapest materials and that stuff won't last and will wreck my parts.
 

Nimisys

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There is no reason to spend 10-15$ per fitting when money is tight. You can 1/4npt 3/8" Barb's for 3-4$ all day long. Thread them in until tight with pipe sealant or tape. 3/8 ID tygon is available at home Depot for cheap as well. It's not the flashiest of setups, but it works and it's cheap.
 

Bandalo

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There is no reason to spend 10-15$ per fitting when money is tight. You can 1/4npt 3/8" Barb's for 3-4$ all day long. Thread them in until tight with pipe sealant or tape. 3/8 ID tygon is available at home Depot for cheap as well. It's not the flashiest of setups, but it works and it's cheap.

I still think if money is that tight, you're far better off spending it on other parts of the system. If you're going to go with a nice custom loop, you better already have a top-shelf CPU/GPU combo, a nice monitor, good keyboard and mouse, etc.
 

Kalmado

Limp Gawd
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I still think if money is that tight, you're far better off spending it on other parts of the system. If you're going to go with a nice custom loop, you better already have a top-shelf CPU/GPU combo, a nice monitor, good keyboard and mouse, etc.
I've got just about everything except the cpu and sort of gpu. Right this minutes I'm running a Sapphire RX 460 2GB while trying to get this 295x2 sorted. Monitor is a AMH399U 40" 4k. I'm still using a 4690K and plan to upgrade once the freshness of Ryzen wears off and we start seeing sales (so prob 1st Qtr 18).

I'm super glad there was some that gave the thumbs up on dual H50s because that means I only have to come out of pocket $60 for a H50 and a cheap cooler for my wife. When I get everything sorted I'll post pics of this frankenGPU!
 

Bandalo

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I've got just about everything except the cpu and sort of gpu. Right this minutes I'm running a Sapphire RX 460 2GB while trying to get this 295x2 sorted. Monitor is a AMH399U 40" 4k. I'm still using a 4690K and plan to upgrade once the freshness of Ryzen wears off and we start seeing sales (so prob 1st Qtr 18).

I'm super glad there was some that gave the thumbs up on dual H50s because that means I only have to come out of pocket $60 for a H50 and a cheap cooler for my wife. When I get everything sorted I'll post pics of this frankenGPU!

Good luck with the build! Regardless, it'll be a fun project.
 

rgMekanic

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I've got just about everything except the cpu and sort of gpu. Right this minutes I'm running a Sapphire RX 460 2GB while trying to get this 295x2 sorted. Monitor is a AMH399U 40" 4k. I'm still using a 4690K and plan to upgrade once the freshness of Ryzen wears off and we start seeing sales (so prob 1st Qtr 18).

I'm super glad there was some that gave the thumbs up on dual H50s because that means I only have to come out of pocket $60 for a H50 and a cheap cooler for my wife. When I get everything sorted I'll post pics of this frankenGPU!

Looking forward to seeing the dual H50's on it, should be a pretty damn cool mod
 

Erasmus354

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At a reasonable $10 per fitting, you're gonna be at about $150-$200 in fittings for the 240 rad setup. $150-$200 for a pair of decent rads, $130 for the pump/res, $60 for the CPU block, $50 for tubing and misc.

So $540-$640 for the setup.

So as Bandalo said, if you're tight on money, slap that air cooler back on the 295x2.

And make sure you have enough PSU to run that beast.


You're off your rocker if you think that is the minimum.

1) You don't need $10 fancy ass compression fittings. You can get like $2 straight barbs and worm clamps, hell worm clamps used to be a luxury we used to just use zip ties or undersized tubing and no clamps at all! I would say you can get all the fittings for $15-20.

2) You don't need 2x240 radiator, he is only replacing the GPU cooling at a minimum, and regardless a single 240 can cool a GPU and a CPU acceptably (not great but it will work just fine, better than stock cooling too). Decent 240 radiator will run you about $40 shipped used (might even be able to find something new for not too much more). Again you don't need the fancy new shit, you are only gaining a bit of performance.

3) Pump, you can get a pump like the DC12 for $40 new. Reservoir you can get one for like $15 or just use a T fitting and a fill line. Reservoir is not a necessity.

4) Tubing, you can get vinyl tubing from Home Depot cheap, couple bucks.

5) Blocks ... not a whole lot of cost cutting to be done here only place you didn't get wrong.

Sum total for a cheap custom loop .... $150-$200. Basically what you wanted to spend on fittings alone.

You priced out an expensive enthusiast custom loop when the dude was asking what it would cost for one on a budget.........



Final verdict though? Completely not worth it still for someone on a budget, so the end recommendation is the same in my opinion. Install the stock cooler or get an aftermarket air cooler it will be cheaper and not much worse. I agree, watercool because you want to watercool and you are willing to spend the money to do it.
 

rgMekanic

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You're off your rocker if you think that is the minimum.

1) You don't need $10 fancy ass compression fittings. You can get like $2 straight barbs and worm clamps, hell worm clamps used to be a luxury we used to just use zip ties or undersized tubing and no clamps at all! I would say you can get all the fittings for $15-20.

2) You don't need 2x240 radiator, he is only replacing the GPU cooling at a minimum, and regardless a single 240 can cool a GPU and a CPU acceptably (not great but it will work just fine, better than stock cooling too). Decent 240 radiator will run you about $40 shipped used (might even be able to find something new for not too much more). Again you don't need the fancy new shit, you are only gaining a bit of performance.

3) Pump, you can get a pump like the DC12 for $40 new. Reservoir you can get one for like $15 or just use a T fitting and a fill line. Reservoir is not a necessity.

4) Tubing, you can get vinyl tubing from Home Depot cheap, couple bucks.

5) Blocks ... not a whole lot of cost cutting to be done here only place you didn't get wrong.

Sum total for a cheap custom loop .... $150-$200. Basically what you wanted to spend on fittings alone.

You priced out an expensive enthusiast custom loop when the dude was asking what it would cost for one on a budget.........



Final verdict though? Completely not worth it still for someone on a budget, so the end recommendation is the same in my opinion. Install the stock cooler or get an aftermarket air cooler it will be cheaper and not much worse. I agree, watercool because you want to watercool and you are willing to spend the money to do it.

1: yes, you're right, if you don't care about aesthetics, you can go that route. I also don't trust barbs that well.

2: You think a single 240 is gonna be enough for a 295x2 and a CPU? You may be off your rocker.

3: went with the pump res he wanted.

4: Really hate it, would rather pay the same for some Tygon that wont yellow in a week.
 

Pabaisa

Weaksauce
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95
I say stalk e-bay for (new) kits at reasonable price. Believe me it happens all the time. Just recently I bought a new kit for 120 $ which consisted of:

Laing DDC-1T (10W) pump + Alphacool DDC top + res
Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 360mm rad
6 x XSPC 10/16mm Black Chrome Compression Fittings
3 x Phobya G-Silent 120mm fans
3 x 120mm fan grills
2 meters XSPC 10/16mm clear tubing
Alphacool NexXxoS XP³ Light CPU block
Phobia decoupling kit(for pump_
and 1 liter of distilled water

and then went nuts and and spent ~300 $ on top (3x360mm rads (for total of 4 360mm rads), D5 pump, 2 different bay res, tubing, drain valve etc. etc.) for whatever reason :(
 

Nimisys

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I still think if money is that tight, you're far better off spending it on other parts of the system. If you're going to go with a nice custom loop, you better already have a top-shelf CPU/GPU combo, a nice monitor, good keyboard and mouse, etc.

different priorities. I do not look at a custom water cooling system as something you build after everything else has been upgraded. I look at it like a case or a power supply. It's a component that lives beyond upgrades. It's a support structure. a well thought out custom loop isn't about what flashy fittings you used, or whether or not it has the latest trend in coolant transportation (aka tubing), but rather how well it manages thermal loads, how well it integrates into your case, how well it supports future upgrades and how easy is it to work with/on/around.

cheap barbs get used in a million different applications in your daily life, frequently handling potentially more dangerous elements than water, without issue. no reason to be afraid of them, other than they are too cheap looking for people. Also black tubing doesn't yellow ;)

this is one area the PC enthusiast community has gone completely off the rocker. there is no reason to think you should have to spend $500+ for decent custom water cooling. not when this started using $20 heater cores, and anything else you could find in the plumbing aisle of a home improvement / contractor supply store, with an aquarium pump to power it all.
 

Bandalo

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different priorities. I do not look at a custom water cooling system as something you build after everything else has been upgraded. I look at it like a case or a power supply. It's a component that lives beyond upgrades. It's a support structure. a well thought out custom loop isn't about what flashy fittings you used, or whether or not it has the latest trend in coolant transportation (aka tubing), but rather how well it manages thermal loads, how well it integrates into your case, how well it supports future upgrades and how easy is it to work with/on/around.

cheap barbs get used in a million different applications in your daily life, frequently handling potentially more dangerous elements than water, without issue. no reason to be afraid of them, other than they are too cheap looking for people. Also black tubing doesn't yellow ;)

this is one area the PC enthusiast community has gone completely off the rocker. there is no reason to think you should have to spend $500+ for decent custom water cooling. not when this started using $20 heater cores, and anything else you could find in the plumbing aisle of a home improvement / contractor supply store, with an aquarium pump to power it all.

I'm not saying buy all your other components and then later add a custom loop. I'm talking about financial priorities. If you've only got X dollars to spend, I'd make sure I covered the critical functions of the system first before I budget for other parts. Budget for a top-notch CPU/GPU and plenty of storage, THEN start shopping for a nice case and cooling parts.

Cheap barbs and tubing is fine, it's just harder to work with for the novice. If you have to start wrapping teflon tape (as another user mentioned) to keep things water-tight, you might have a problem. Good fittings will last quite a few builds and personally give me peace of mind for leaks. Tubing is pretty much personal preference, as long as you get something decent quality that doesn't leech plastizer or harden and crack over time.

There are a LOT of very over-priced cooling parts out there, and most people do go far, far beyond what is actually REQUIRED to meet their cooling needs. BUT, it's pretty much the same with cars and any other hobby. They only really NEED a 10 year old Toyota Corolla for their daily commute, but if they've got the cash, people would rather drive something newer and nicer. Watercooling is even more of a pure luxury item, since no one actually NEEDS it for day-to-day use.
 
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