First time WCing in... 16 years? Help me get started - can you 'bypass' the GPU until later?

lopoetve

Imhotep
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Oct 11, 2001
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First time doing WCing since a kit back in 2005 - was one of those cheap-ass thermaltake or whatever kits you buy from frys. Lasted me a year before it alged up and died.

Anyway, doing it right this time as I have both time, space, and the energy to.

System Specs:
Z490 Aorus Master
10700K (aiming for overclocking this time - also first time since 2005)
32G PC-3600 (Trident Neo)
2x PCIE 3.0 1TB NVMe
Lian Li PC-011 Dynamic
Eventually:
RTX 3090TI or whatever they call it.

I've got a 1080 for the moment I want to use, so the first question is - can I build the loop ready to plug in the GPU, and then just use quick connects or the like to bypass it (since my 1080 is air-cooled) until the 3090 series comes in, and then drain/connect/refill for cooling it?

Second: Do I need a distribution block, or is this more of a straight loop? What are the distro blocks really used for?

Third: How's EK? Looking at their stuff as I like how it looks. Especially the flexible tubing, since this is my first in a long time (if it goes well, I'll build a TR system this winter after Zen3 with hard tubing).
 

Tsumi

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1. Yes, you can certainly do so. Keep in mind quick-disconnects are expensive and fittings expense adds up quick.

2. No, distribution blocks are for looks more than anything else. Get it if you like the style/bling, ignore them if the cost isn't worth the looks (no performance benefit).

3. EK is hit or miss on quality along with hit or miss on customer service. The only reason they have a big name is because they sponsor a lot of custom watercooling builds and the fact that they are more likely to build waterblocks for custom (non-reference) GPU designs. Aquacomputer and Watercool are far superior companies IMO.
 

IdiotInCharge

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Here's the big question: what's your rationale for going with a custom loop over all-in-one coolers? Do you think that you'll be thermally limited at an unreasonably low level?

Some experience: getting higher clockspeeds is in part enabled by better cooling, but it also requires the nerves to dump voltage into your CPU. And your copy may or may not respond meaningfully, meaning it might not be stable at higher speeds regardless of input voltage and cooling capacity.

For the GPU: it's hard to argue against an AIO for these. Basically, the models that come with the Corsair kit (may be sold by EVGA, my 1080Ti with AIO came from MSI, it's the same damn reference board with the same damn AIO) are going to top out whatever the GPU can do, and so so quietly.


So, performance-wise, there's very little benefit to doing a custom loop unless you're comfortable really pushing things. If you're just interested in getting a reasonable overclock that's actually stable, it's overkill, unless there are other reasons such as the challenge, the build itself, aesthetics, going for an even lower noise floor, etc.
 

lopoetve

Imhotep
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Here's the big question: what's your rationale for going with a custom loop over all-in-one coolers? Do you think that you'll be thermally limited at an unreasonably low level?

Some experience: getting higher clockspeeds is in part enabled by better cooling, but it also requires the nerves to dump voltage into your CPU. And your copy may or may not respond meaningfully, meaning it might not be stable at higher speeds regardless of input voltage and cooling capacity.

For the GPU: it's hard to argue against an AIO for these. Basically, the models that come with the Corsair kit (may be sold by EVGA, my 1080Ti with AIO came from MSI, it's the same damn reference board with the same damn AIO) are going to top out whatever the GPU can do, and so so quietly.


So, performance-wise, there's very little benefit to doing a custom loop unless you're comfortable really pushing things. If you're just interested in getting a reasonable overclock that's actually stable, it's overkill, unless there are other reasons such as the challenge, the build itself, aesthetics, going for an even lower noise floor, etc.
Mostly because I want to. I haven't challenged myself with a build in years- I also haven't done an all-out build since the early 2000s either (Athlon 1200 + AMD 760 board with DDR). It's to make it quieter at the same power level (bigger fans; slower speeds), and then able to handle high load/overclock when needed. To push the boundaries like I used to years ago, because I could.

And finding a GPU with an AIO has always been a nightmare in my experience - I thought they'd given up on those. :p

It's really about "meh, I've got the cash, we're still in a pandemic, why not?" It gives me something to fiddle with.

And I can pass the current gaming system to the wife, which she's going to love (she's on Bulldozer + 1060).
 

IdiotInCharge

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And finding a GPU with an AIO has always been a nightmare in my experience - I thought they'd given up on those. :p
I'll admit that I got exceedingly lucky; someone posted a deal here for the MSI version (i.e., MSI stickers instead of EVGA) for MSRP of the base card. I'm still surprised that the sale went through, let alone that I actually received the card for that price!

And I'll happily pay the premium again. It's quiet and runs at the top end of what can be expected of the GPU essentially by default. So no real effort involved, it just works.
Mostly because I want to.
You're going to need to when the complexity of setup and testing sets in, all before you can even turn anything on!
 

Keljian

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My advice is get as much as you can from barrow or bykski on aliexpress.

You will save a lot of money
 

IdiotInCharge

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My advice is get as much as you can from barrow or bykski on aliexpress.

You will save a lot of money
Just... make sure you plan a few months out. If it's coming from China, it might make it to the States or other western country in a week, but it'll still probably spend another month in a customs black hole.
 

THRESHIN

2[H]4U
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some good news is the tubing is WAY better than it was last time you did this. get some tubing for water cooling, the vinyl stuff from the hardware store is pretty worthless.

as mentioned, the distribution blocks are not necessary. if you want to go cheap just plumb in the GPU when you get around to it. usually when you order tubing you'll have leftover. downside is you'd have to drain and fill the loop again.

if you're going to run distilled or deionized water, you'll need a biocide like PT nuke. that's why your old loop built up algae.
 

Smoked Brisket

Limp Gawd
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I agree with most of what everyone has said here with a couple of exceptions.
EK is a safe good quality company, their FLT res series is actually priced well if you get a pump combo compared to other big names. EK, Alphacool and Watercool, Primochill, Singularity, Bitspower, Barrow are all going to be just fine, choose your aesthetic.
 

Smoked Brisket

Limp Gawd
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Premixes have become very safe these days. Some would argue that certain colors will cause a buildup, I have not experienced that using lighter colors. If you get a clear premix that is going to be a no hassle, good safe choice.
 

Tsumi

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I assumed I'd run a produced liquid - those are safer, no?
Safer... not necessarily. I've been running distilled water + silver killcoil for 10 years with no issues, and my current loop hasn't been drained in more than 5 years. Premixed stuff is more foolproof than trying to make your own concoction, if you get the right stuff.

I agree with most of what everyone has said here with a couple of exceptions.
EK is a safe good quality company, their FLT res series is actually priced well if you get a pump combo compared to other big names. EK, Alphacool and Watercool, Primochill, Singularity, Bitspower, Barrow are all going to be just fine, choose your aesthetic.
As long as you avoid EK's nickel-plated stuff.
 

VanGoghComplex

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A little late to the party, but if you game and you're thinking of leaving your GPU out of the loop at first, I would consider doing the opposite. Watercool your graphics card first - it will benefit from the additional cooling far more than your CPU will anyway. Plus, after you've installed a waterblock on a GPU, putting one on a CPU is child's play!
 

lopoetve

Imhotep
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A little late to the party, but if you game and you're thinking of leaving your GPU out of the loop at first, I would consider doing the opposite. Watercool your graphics card first - it will benefit from the additional cooling far more than your CPU will anyway. Plus, after you've installed a waterblock on a GPU, putting one on a CPU is child's play!
Yeah but a water lock for a GPU that I’m keeping for what, 4 months? That doesn’t seem smart. No one is producing the cards with existing blocks anymore it seems.
 

VanGoghComplex

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Yeah but a water lock for a GPU that I’m keeping for what, 4 months? That doesn’t seem smart. No one is producing the cards with existing blocks anymore it seems.
And I am a prime example of why you need to read threads and not just thread titles. 😁

You're right, if you're wanting to hold off because we're on the cusp of a new generation then that makes perfect sense. My bad.
 

legcramp

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There's someone in the for sale section selling a complete Corsair kit for a good price... I am pretty sure Bitspower made the kit for Corsair too.
It also helps you're building in that Lian-li case which I think is easier to run hard tubing etc.
 

lopoetve

Imhotep
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There's someone in the for sale section selling a complete Corsair kit for a good price... I am pretty sure Bitspower made the kit for Corsair too.
It also helps you're building in that Lian-li case which I think is easier to run hard tubing etc.
Link?
 
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Hwlabs makes corsairs rads. They are gtr/thin 27mm(not positive on the thickness or corsairs naming) and gtx/thick 54mm. No idea who makes the rest but if its bp thats a really nice combination of parts.
 

lopoetve

Imhotep
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Hwlabs makes corsairs rads. They are gtr/thin 27mm(not positive on the thickness or corsairs naming) and gtx/thick 54mm. No idea who makes the rest but if its bp thats a really nice combination of parts.
Reviews say it's Bitspower and a few other high-end parts; Anand really liked the quality, although they had some weird comments (refuted heavily on reddit) on the injection molding. Good pump too apparently.
 
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I apologize for any confusion i may have caused. I just went back and double checked which specific models hwlabs makes for corsair. From TPUs reviews,
XR7 thick 240/360/480- Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis LX (OEM version of the GTX) and XR5 thin 120/140/240/280/360/420 Black Ice Nemesis LS the OEM for GTS.
https://www.techpowerup.com/review/corsair-hydro-x-series-xr7-360-radiator/

https://www.techpowerup.com/review/corsair-hydro-x-series-xr5-360-radiator/

So if your looking for solid rads at a much better price than the premium branded rads the LS and LX series are your daisy.
https://www.performance-pcs.com/wat...-series-360-stealth-radiator-nls360-f2pb.html

https://www.performance-pcs.com/wat...l-series-360-xtreme-radiator-nlx360-f2pb.html
 

IdiotInCharge

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Damnit, made me look. I got to wonder if there's any use in pursuing this stuff, given the 'hypothetical' next-gen requirements that would actually get me to upgrade, likely sixteen overclocked cores of Zen 3 and a 3080 Ti / 3090...
 
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