My first watercooled build: 9980XE, RTX 2080Ti, etc.

jyi786

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This is my first watercooled build ever. It is also an ~$10K build. Insert references to the POS $10K desk. :D

You might wonder why I chose the 9980XE and not a Threadripper. First and foremost, I am an enthusiast, who also happens to have a job which requires multiple virtual environments. I am also (most importantly) a musician. And finally, I am a gamer. This rig does all of those things well and has no shortcomings in any area.

I was actually going to make this my first Threadripper system, but couldn't find a motherboard that had exactly all the specs I wanted; only Asus did, and it just so happened that I had to get a board from their Workstation line to fill that need.

As I discussed in quite a few threads over the years leading up to today, the idea was to build a system that was powerful, and most importantly, silent. With the advent of all these new powerful CPUs and GPUs, air cooling was completely out of the question. Additionally, I had a requirement to move the heat and noise OUT of the computer case and far away as possible. The only way to do this was to do watercooling, and to use an external radiator.

I'm proud to say that I achieved all of my objectives with this build. It's now in production, and I type on this as I'm writing this post. Without further ado, here are the specs.

CPU: Intel 9980XE
Motherboard: Asus WS x299 Sage Pro/10G
RAM: 128GB G Skill RGB Z
GPU: MSI nVidia RTX 2080 Ti Seahawk EK
GPU support bracket: CloverTale Graphics card support bracket
Sound: Sound Blaster Z PCI-E
PSU: Seasonic Snow Silent 1050W
Case: Fractal Define R6 USB C
Triple monitors: Asus PG279Q (x2), BenQ BL3201PH (x1)

I went with 1/2" tubing for my build. The watercooling specs are as follows:

Radiator: MO-RA 420 Pro
Fans: Noctua NF-A14 PWM fans (x18) <--- [yeah that's not a typo]
Reservoirs: Heatkiller Tube 150 (x2)
Pump: Watercool D5 Vario (x2)
Tubing: Mayhems 1/2" clear tubing
Fittings: All XSPC compression fittings
Valves: XSPC black chrome (x2) [for outlet]
Liquid: Plain distilled water, no color
Biocide: Mayhems Extreme biocide

Here are pics as I was building the rig. Click on the pictures for the full image.

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Here it was when I started leak testing.

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This is the final configuration.

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Here is how it's situated in my office/room. Don't worry, will be moving away from this house soon, which is why it's temporary at best. It's right underneath my mobile synth workstation, with the watercooling tubes going to my computer which is under my desk.

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jyi786

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Overclocking this beast and finding stability was an experience I'll never forget. It was a real pain in the a**, not to mention being power hungry and extremely hot. Nothing less than something like a MO-RA rad can cool the 9980XE to the target I was looking for. I think I got a dud chip, but it is what it is. I've settled on the following OC:

4.5GHz all cores, 1.165V, 10 offset AVX

This OC is completely stable on EVERYTHING I throw at it. I tortured it for 8 hours each in a closed off room where the ambient temps could reach 95C on multiple torture tests, including Aida64 FPU, where the temps of the CPU reached 100C and the VRMs to 115C. I had to put active cooling on the VRMs, which now keep it below 75C in most scenarios. Not to mention, Asus Q-Fan keeps it completely silent. On a regular workload and in games, the CPU now never exceeds 70C and the GPU never exceeds 53C...but that's not how the GPU started out.

I bought the RTX 2080 Ti with the EK waterblock already mounted. At load in games or in a torture test, I could get around 73C with the GPU. I thought that was kinda high. I remembered a YouTube video from Jayz2cents where he had high temps, and squeezed the waterblock to the card while it was benching to see if it made any difference in the temps, and it did. So I decided to try that to mine. Lo and behold, as soon as I squeezed the block and the card together, the temps dropped like a rock. What I found was that the idiots at MSI didn't torque down the waterblock to the card all the way: they were loose. So I tightened them up, and got an almost 20C reduction in temps.

Edit: found the video where Jayztwocents had the issue. Almost verbatim what happened with mine. Fixed by simply tightening down the retaining screws on the video card.
 
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jyi786

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That's quite a radiator setup! I like it.
Thanks! I actually jury-rigged it myself to dual mount the reservoirs. Watercool (or anyone else for that matter) didn't seem to make a mount for this since I wanted dual-res and have it mounted to the MO-RA, so I made it up myself.
 

Dan_D

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I like your hardware choices, but god that thing is ugly. Not the quality of your installation and wire management skills, but the overall configuration. I think you could have achieved silence without having half the machine's guts hanging outside of it. I don't understand the dual res approach either, since everything is clearly on the same loop.
 

jyi786

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I like your hardware choices, but god that thing is ugly. Not the quality of your installation and wire management skills, but the overall configuration. I think you could have achieved silence without having half the machine's guts hanging outside of it. I don't understand the dual res approach either, since everything is clearly on the same loop.
Hahaha, no worries man. To each his own. I kinda like it.

Here's my thought process. Eventually, I'm getting the rad out of the room completely. This is a temporary setup at best. One res (or maybe both) might end up plumbed in my room so I can see the water levels. One res and the rad are going out. Probably into another room, or a different level in my house altogether. That was the impetus for the dual res and rads.

As a musician, there's nothing more annoying than hearing my computer fans spin up when doing audio processing. It drives me mad. That would include the pump noise. It's not that the pumps make noise; they don't. But they emit an electrical whine that grates on my nerves. I forget what the Hz rating is. For most people it's not annoying, for me it is.

Oh I forgot to mention, the machine isn't open by any stretch of the imagination. I've got a few more pics to post of the final product; it's forthcoming.
 

German Muscle

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Overclocking this beast and finding stability was an experience I'll never forget. It was a real pain in the a**, not to mention being power hungry and extremely hot. Nothing less than something like a MO-RA rad can cool the 9980XE to the target I was looking for. I think I got a dud chip, but it is what it is. I've settled on the following OC:

4.5GHz all cores, 1.165V, 10 offset AVX

This OC is completely stable on EVERYTHING I throw at it. I tortured it for 8 hours each in a closed off room where the ambient temps could reach 95C on multiple torture tests, including Aida64 FPU, where the temps of the CPU reached 100C and the VRMs to 115C. I had to put active cooling on the VRMs, which now keep it below 75C in most scenarios. Not to mention, Asus Q-Fan keeps it completely silent. On a regular workload and in games, the CPU now never exceeds 70C and the GPU never exceeds 53C...but that's not how the GPU started out.
Have you lapped the IHS?
 

jyi786

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Have you lapped the IHS?
I looked into that according to some of the videos on OCing the 9980XE, then decided I didn't want to do that. I'm aware I could have went with the 7980XE, lapped it, and gotten probably a better OC. I just didn't want to deal with all that and void the warranty, so I ultimately did not.
 

German Muscle

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I looked into that according to some of the videos on OCing the 9980XE, then decided I didn't want to do that. I'm aware I could have went with the 7980XE, lapped it, and gotten probably a better OC. I just didn't want to deal with all that and void the warranty, so I ultimately did not.
the IHS ont he 9000 series had issues during the soldering process. They warp and cause cooling issues. At minimum id check the IHS itself with a straight edge to see if its flat.
 

jyi786

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Updated with pics on how it's situated in my office/room.
 

jyi786

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Got a question. I just looked at my reservoirs, and they have this odd white film buildup on the water. Looks like algae but I can't be sure? I put a few drops of dishwashing soap in and tested the pH and the water comes back normal (7).

I've read that this film is harmless and is probably from stuff like the manufacturing flux. Prior to installation, I did my due diligence and rinsed the ever-living ****out of the rad and apparently still didn't get it all. I was also sure to use the right amount of biocide for the water in the loop.

Any thoughts/suggestions? Should I just be ok leaving it like this? Temps are perfectly nominal. No issues that I can see.

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jyi786

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What did you do to prep the loop in detail.
The rad was pretty much the only thing I rinsed. The blocks and reservoirs I didn't.

What I did was flush it with 5 gallons of distilled water. There was a LOT of flux in it, and it smelled pretty bad/harsh. It kept coming out, even after the initial rinse was done. Then I decided to run it under some insanely hot tap water for about 20 minutes. Then I proceeded to flush it out with another 2 gallons of distilled water, and then called it ready for service.

I didn't use any vinegar or other chemicals. Was I wrong to do this? BTW, after putting in the drops of soap, the film in the first reservoir has cleared up. The water has become slightly cloudy, and just has particles swirling around at the top of the water in the second reservoir. Taking a very close look at the residue on the inside of the reservoir, it looks very oily instead of calcified. Not sure if this is flux or algae. If it's the latter, that's going to be a hell of a job to clean up.
 

dmdtobe

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Here's my thought process. Eventually, I'm getting the rad out of the room completely. This is a temporary setup at best. One res (or maybe both) might end up plumbed in my room so I can see the water levels. One res and the rad are going out. Probably into another room, or a different level in my house altogether. That was the impetus for the dual res and rads.

As a musician, there's nothing more annoying than hearing my computer fans spin up when doing audio processing. It drives me mad. That would include the pump noise. It's not that the pumps make noise; they don't. But they emit an electrical whine that grates on my nerves. I forget what the Hz rating is. For most people it's not annoying, for me it is.
Is there something you plan on doing to deal with the noise of running water? It's a serious question. You're a musician so I figure your recording devices are pretty sensitive.
 

jyi786

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Is there something you plan on doing to deal with the noise of running water? It's a serious question. You're a musician so I figure your recording devices are pretty sensitive.
Yes, it is true that I have very sensitive equipment. However, let me tell you that once the pumps pick up speed and get the coolant flowing at top speed, it is practically silent (other than the electrical whine from the pumps). There is no noise of running water whatsoever.
 

dmdtobe

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Yes, it is true that I have very sensitive equipment. However, let me tell you that once the pumps pick up speed and get the coolant flowing at top speed, it is practically silent (other than the electrical whine from the pumps). There is no noise of running water whatsoever.
Did you ever consider just air cooling or AIO cooling everything and just put the PC in a different room? I'm guessing routing some extra long cables would be cheaper than the H2O setup.
 

jyi786

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Did you ever consider just air cooling or AIO cooling everything and just put the PC in a different room? I'm guessing routing some extra long cables would be cheaper than the H2O setup.
Yes, I did consider that heavily. I actually can dig up the thread where I was discussing it.

As for cooling this build: you cannot air cool a 9980XE. Likewise, there is no AIO cooling that will truly cool an OC'd 9980XE, along WITH an RTX 2080 Ti in the loop. Not to mention, you would absolutely not get the level of silence I achieved with my build. By the time you spend money for the best separate AIOs to cool a rig like this one, you might as well have gone custom, which I did.
 

thesmokingman

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Am I seeing that right, the flow is setup in parallel?

The film in your loop is from gunk leftover from manufacturing. Vinegar is your friend for that. You should clean it out thoroughly because it contaminates your water...

I used to run two 1080 external rads when I ran quad gpu for heavy benching. I'm glad I'm over that now.

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jyi786

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Am I seeing that right, the flow is setup in parallel?

The film in your loop is from gunk leftover from manufacturing. Vinegar is your friend for that. You should clean it out thoroughly because it contaminates your water...

I used to run two 1080 external rads when I ran quad gpu for heavy benching. I'm glad I'm over that now.
Yes, the flow setup is parallel. I wanted it as clean as possible from the side, so I didn't want to do serial.

Dammit. Guess I will have to drain the loop.

Any tips and pointers on how to do this? Should I drain, fill with 4 parts water, 1 part vinegar, run it for a few hours, then drain it, fill with distilled water, repeat until vinegar is gone?
 

VanGoghComplex

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Yes, the flow setup is parallel. I wanted it as clean as possible from the side, so I didn't want to do serial.

Dammit. Guess I will have to drain the loop.

Any tips and pointers on how to do this? Should I drain, fill with 4 parts water, 1 part vinegar, run it for a few hours, then drain it, fill with distilled water, repeat until vinegar is gone?
I can't recommend Mayhems Blitz enough. It comes in two parts (be sure to get the full kit). One is for cleaning your rads and will clear out all the flux and junk. The other is a whole-loop cleaner that you use after the rad cleaner. I use it on every new rad and have never had any issues. Follow the directions closely, it's some pretty strong stuff.
 

jyi786

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I built in two drain valves into the loop which will allow me to drain it very easily. Can I get away with doing this with the system still put together? What I'm kinda not too excited about is having to take everything apart because it would mean yet more downtime.
 

German Muscle

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Yes, the flow setup is parallel. I wanted it as clean as possible from the side, so I didn't want to do serial.

Dammit. Guess I will have to drain the loop.

Any tips and pointers on how to do this? Should I drain, fill with 4 parts water, 1 part vinegar, run it for a few hours, then drain it, fill with distilled water, repeat until vinegar is gone?
at this point the loop needs to be drained and treated like its a brand new loop/contaminated. If it were me id tear it down the blocks and clean them and the reservoirs. Run Mayhems Blitz once or twice then flushing vigorously before the final fill. Im kinda over the top with initial loop cleanliness but it prevents stuff like this or worse from happening.
 
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VanGoghComplex

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I built in two drain valves into the loop which will allow me to drain it very easily. Can I get away with doing this with the system still put together? What I'm kinda not too excited about is having to take everything apart because it would mean yet more downtime.
You'll need to disassemble at least the rads. Part one is only used in the rad - it's a strong acid and would eat the rest of the loop.

I'd go with what German Muscle said and just knuckle in for a proper cleaning. That downtime is a small price to pay to protect your investment in hardware.
 

jyi786

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I will do this. I was a bit adamant to start tearing down the blocks, but looks like I'll have to now.
 

jyi786

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Can I get by with using vinegar and distilled water to do the flushing/cleaning? I'd like to do this tonight if at all possible.
 

VanGoghComplex

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Can I get by with using vinegar and distilled water to do the flushing/cleaning? I'd like to do this tonight if at all possible.
It won't clean the flux out as well as the Blitz kit will.

I understand the impetus to fix the problem, but slow down and breathe, my bro. Your system will survive another week or two until you have the right stuff. Do it right, do it once, rest easy.
 

thesmokingman

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Can I get by with using vinegar and distilled water to do the flushing/cleaning? I'd like to do this tonight if at all possible.
You can use vinegar sure. Primochill tubing includes a small vial of cleaning solution, for example. I use that too. But that's only for initial setup unless you buy more Primochill Sysprep. Anyways, I have QDC's so I plumb in line a Koolance filter to catch particulates while circulating the vinegar. You'll wanna do a one or two vinegar/cleaner solution flushes followed by another couple distilled flushes which should clear up the loop. Also depending on how much contaminate is in your system, it might leave a residue on the surface of your reservoir, so you might wanna wipe those surfaces off. **Forgot, don't leave in any cleaner solution for long, an hour tops. Don't leave it for hours on end, as it will eat away at nickle given time.

https://www.amazon.com/Koolance-INS-FLTR03-Inline-Coolant-Filter/dp/B008G3OTLO

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lightsout

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Thats some sweet hardware, looks like it was fun to build. I have to be that guy though, with all that gear hopefully thats not the permanent monitor setup.

Go big! Or dual! Or triple or something. :D
 

jyi786

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It won't clean the flux out as well as the Blitz kit will.

I understand the impetus to fix the problem, but slow down and breathe, my bro. Your system will survive another week or two until you have the right stuff. Do it right, do it once, rest easy.
Thanks, really appreciate the help bro. :)

Last night I tore down the ENTIRE SYSTEM and took apart the entire loop. I haven't done the actual computer yet or the waterblocks, just the external unit.

It was dirty as hell. The flux kept coming out no matter how many gallons of distilled water and vinegar I put in. Eventually, I just said screw it. I got a gallon of distilled water, boiled it, and put it in the rad and shook it a bit (you gotta understand it's really difficult to shake this thing around when full). Emptied it, put in straight white distilled vinegar. Let it sit for about 20 min. The put in boiling water again.

The water that came out of the rad turned bright blue/green, and there were little specks here and there. It was the patina from the copper pipes, I'm sure. I repeated the above process 4 times, then flushed the rad out with 1.5 gallons of distilled water. The water finally came out clean: no flux sheen or particulates.

While I was doing the above process, I also tore apart the reservoirs, fittings, everything. I cleaned them all in baking soda and distilled water, and cleaned all the seals in dishwasher soapy distilled water. I was very, very surprised at how dirty the seals were: it turned the water brackish and there were tons of particulates in it.

All the glass got soaked in 1/3 mix of distilled water and vinegar. Everything got rinsed with distilled water.

You can use vinegar sure. Primochill tubing includes a small vial of cleaning solution, for example. I use that too. But that's only for initial setup unless you buy more Primochill Sysprep. Anyways, I have QDC's so I plumb in line a Koolance filter to catch particulates while circulating the vinegar. You'll wanna do a one or two vinegar/cleaner solution flushes followed by another couple distilled flushes which should clear up the loop. Also depending on how much contaminate is in your system, it might leave a residue on the surface of your reservoir, so you might wanna wipe those surfaces off. **Forgot, don't leave in any cleaner solution for long, an hour tops. Don't leave it for hours on end, as it will eat away at nickle given time.

https://www.amazon.com/Koolance-INS-FLTR03-Inline-Coolant-Filter/dp/B008G3OTLO
Thanks so much for this! It's pretty much what I did, except I did it a little more hardcore. :D

Seems a little excessive. I love it.
Thats some sweet hardware, looks like it was fun to build. I have to be that guy though, with all that gear hopefully thats not the permanent monitor setup.

Go big! Or dual! Or triple or something. :D
I don't know if you read my OP, but that set up you see is just my mobile synthesizer workstation, not my computer desk. It's where I make music.

My actual computer desk has a triple monitor setup. 2x Asus PG279Q and 1x BenQ BL3201PH.
 

jyi786

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Dan_D said he didn't like the external loop design earlier, so I reconfigured it. As I stated, it was difficult to move around and was only temporary at best. Here is the redesigned external unit.

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German Muscle

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Thanks, really appreciate the help bro. :)

Last night I tore down the ENTIRE SYSTEM and took apart the entire loop. I haven't done the actual computer yet or the waterblocks, just the external unit.

It was dirty as hell. The flux kept coming out no matter how many gallons of distilled water and vinegar I put in. Eventually, I just said screw it. I got a gallon of distilled water, boiled it, and put it in the rad and shook it a bit (you gotta understand it's really difficult to shake this thing around when full). Emptied it, put in straight white distilled vinegar. Let it sit for about 20 min. The put in boiling water again.

The water that came out of the rad turned bright blue/green, and there were little specks here and there. It was the patina from the copper pipes, I'm sure. I repeated the above process 4 times, then flushed the rad out with 1.5 gallons of distilled water. The water finally came out clean: no flux sheen or particulates.

While I was doing the above process, I also tore apart the reservoirs, fittings, everything. I cleaned them all in baking soda and distilled water, and cleaned all the seals in dishwasher soapy distilled water. I was very, very surprised at how dirty the seals were: it turned the water brackish and there were tons of particulates in it.

All the glass got soaked in 1/3 mix of distilled water and vinegar. Everything got rinsed with distilled water.
So you got that much out of the loop and it was that deep but you didnt clean the tubing or the blocks and put it back together? cmon man. How can you think thats going to be sufficient?
 

jyi786

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So you got that much out of the loop and it was that deep but you didnt clean the tubing or the blocks and put it back together? cmon man. How can you think thats going to be sufficient?
Haha, absolutely not! Sorry if I didn't make it clear.

I didn't do the computer or the waterblocks YET because I ran out of time. The level of effort I put into what I did last night, and the dirt that came out of the system? No way in hell I'm gonna let dirty waterblocks or tubing gunk it up. I'm not going through that cleaning again!

The computer is sitting and will be done tonight. I just did the external unit last night. It's not in use. I'm using my Surface Pro 4 to do my work.

I forgot to mention, I have all the tubing soaking in tap water/vinegar. I meant to take it out of the bucket it's soaking in, but it was late and I fell asleep. It's still soaking right now as we speak.
 

Dan_D

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Better.

Dan_D said he didn't like the external loop design earlier, so I reconfigured it. As I stated, it was difficult to move around and was only temporary at best. Here is the redesigned external unit.

View attachment 191858 View attachment 191859 View attachment 191860 View attachment 191861 View attachment 191862 View attachment 191863 View attachment 191864 View attachment 191865
Definitely don't change things on my account. I'm admittedly over critical and my standards are impossible for me to live up to. I don't even like my own system's configuration and many people have criticized it plenty. Although, I've probably had more compliments than criticisms.
 
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German Muscle

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Haha, absolutely not! Sorry if I didn't make it clear.

I didn't do the computer or the waterblocks YET because I ran out of time. The level of effort I put into what I did last night, and the dirt that came out of the system? No way in hell I'm gonna let dirty waterblocks or tubing gunk it up. I'm not going through that cleaning again!

The computer is sitting and will be done tonight. I just did the external unit last night. It's not in use. I'm using my Surface Pro 4 to do my work.

I forgot to mention, I have all the tubing soaking in tap water/vinegar. I meant to take it out of the bucket it's soaking in, but it was late and I fell asleep. It's still soaking right now as we speak.
ahh ok. I was gonna say lol
 

jyi786

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Better.

Definitely don't change things on my account. I'm admittedly over critical and my standards are impossible for me to live up to. I don't even like my own system's configuration and many people have criticized it plenty. Although, I've probably had more compliments than criticisms.
:)

I knew it was the wrong setup when I was transporting it downstairs yesterday and smacked the valve end into a wall. It was very heavy on one end. The new configuration is much easier to carry, and placement in the room will be MUCH EASIER now since I'm not constrained to just one position anymore (exhaust facing the wall) because the way the tubing was jutting out.
 

jyi786

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Update: tried cleaning out the tubes last night. They cleaned out well with boiling water and vinegar, but clouded up. Not sure I like them anymore, so I'll just be replacing them.

I've read that the Mayhems Ultra Clear tubing, which I'm using, doesn't have plasticizer in it, so I think I should be good? Just trying to prevent having to do this all over again.
 

VanGoghComplex

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Update: tried cleaning out the tubes last night. They cleaned out well with boiling water and vinegar, but clouded up. Not sure I like them anymore, so I'll just be replacing them.

I've read that the Mayhems Ultra Clear tubing, which I'm using, doesn't have plasticizer in it, so I think I should be good? Just trying to prevent having to do this all over again.
I've never tried to clean tubing, and maybe I'm way off base here (my chemistry knowledge is minimal), but I'm betting that boiling that soft plastic in a mild acid is probably what clouded it.

I personally have used Primochill LRT on my soft tubing builds and never had problems, but I've heard good things about Mayhems too.
 
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