My first watercooling loop (Not the usual, I suspect)

RogueTadhg

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IMG_4458_zpsaiiuipnu.jpg

This is my first loop, It's an external setup. I was going for something like Koolance's "ERM-3K3UA". 2x 560 Rads paired with Noctura NF14s.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Now that's a healthy amount of radiator. I like it.

I toyed with the idea of doing an external radiator setup for mine when I built it, but in the end I kept it internal.

In my personal experience, there is no such thing as too much radiator. The more radiator capacity, the slower and quieter you can run your fans!

For a while Phobya made a 1260 radiator (essentially three 420's together in a square shape, so 9x 140mm fan slots.

I toyed with the idea of using one of those externally. Phobya doesn't have the best of reputations though.
 

RogueTadhg

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I was going to add 2 more of these radiators. But Ultimately settled on 2 (for now) and see how things go. I'd rather have more cooling instead of "meh". I've been looking for a solid Caselabs-like case (Corsairs WP200 fits the bill, btw) but I've also remembered what it was like to move my large tower before my current case.

I'm trying to figure out a way to house or interconnect the radiators. I was toying with an idea of a frame made from aluminum but can't find anyone with a welder. Then was going to try to bracket to do it but haven't decided how.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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In most hardware stores they sell things called "mending plates" in various sizes. You might be able to buy those and drill your own holes if needed to attach everything together.

I mean, the radiators come with their own screw holes, so that shouldn't be too difficult right? They might even be thin enough to fit in between the fans and the radiator. Not sure though.
 

RogueTadhg

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Drilled 4 holes for pass-throughs. I only have 2 pass-through fixtures at the moment but plan on buying more. I'd like to make it that the CPU and the GPU have different entrances/exits for ease of maintenance. Say, If I need to work on the GPU, I won't need to bother with the CPU portion at all. I'll be using quick disconnects as well to make things much more easier.
IMG_4464_zpsarpmchjd.jpg


Testing motherboard control of 8 140 Noctura Industrial fans PWM (Next two):
IMG_4460_zps4kbsewhg.jpg

IMG_4463_zps1u4oebs8.jpg

It works! Using the lone PSU to supply power, the little Silverstone hub controls them all via motherboard. Now what to do about all those wires... Also showing, the pump brackets ghetto rigged to hold the reservoir with support.
IMG_4465_zps9rwzgsya.jpg

I'm trying to get all the cables to be wired up as these fans have clearly showed me that they'll chew right through wires if given a chance but I'm having issues with the wiring being too thick. I'm not sure how I'm going to be able to route the wiring. I even tossed around the idea of using another 560 radiator as a spacer to allow the wires to be routed where more fans would go...

Also, that video card block doesn't come with a I/O shield. But It's in my third shipment from EK, amoung other stuff that i'll need to continue.

I'd like to run my loop for about a week, with some way of filtering out any junk from my radiators. Is there a way I can make a catch for all this liquid, maybe pour it into a large bucket with another hose sucking from the other end of the bucket. With all the heavy particles and any oil would be left out of the fresh water. I used CLR when I first got these rads. But since I only had a few fittings and a little bit of tubing it was a complete mess and horrible to clean up.
 
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RogueTadhg

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Update: Gone ahead and returned these rads. These are good rads, but if I'm going to build a external radiator setup, I might as well go all in. I've purchased three Nexxos Monsta 560s from Alphacool. It's overkill, I hope! Bought more fittings. Got rid of some boxes and a lot of small plastic bags. It's nice to reclaim some of my work space.

Some things that I wasn't really told about building a watercooling loop:
1. Prepare to return products. Save everything. All screws.
2. Plan to drain your loop. I've seen a lot of logs build nice loops but no way of draining. I can't imagine the headache that causes.
3. Plan for maintenance. Change out your GPU? What about future hardware builds?

Measurements:
1. G1/4 is a standard pre-fitting socket.
2. 10/13mm seems to be the most popular. I originally wanted and planned for a different size and was unable to find a lot of things so I settled on this size.
3. ID / OD mm. First number: Inner diameter. Second Number: Outer Diameter. The "ID" number seems more important for measurements but I can see "OD" for doing modifications.
 
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Deimos

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Oh man, you should have asked here first, thinner is definitely better when it comes to rads. Thicker means you need higher static pressure to get air through it, and no matter what, more noise, even at the same fan speeds. If anything you should have gone for more surface area, add another rad instead...

Check out both my builds, both have drain ports.
 

RogueTadhg

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I'm not really worried about noise or the such. My PC isn't close to my monitor and I use close-back headphones. I'm also using Noctura Industrials for the fans.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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Oh man, you should have asked here first, thinner is definitely better when it comes to rads. Thicker means you need higher static pressure to get air through it, and no matter what, more noise, even at the same fan speeds. If anything you should have gone for more surface area, add another rad instead...

Check out both my builds, both have drain ports.

I agree that radiator area trumps thickness, bu there is more to static pressure than just thickness. There are some pretty thick radiators out there that get good airflow through them due to low fin density.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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1. Prepare to return products. Save everything. All screws.
My bad, I feel like I should have mentioned this. I did the same when I built my first loop.

10/13mm seems to be the most popular. I originally wanted and planned for a different size and was unable to find a lot of things so I settled on this size.
3. ID / OD mm. First number: Inner diameter. Second Number: Outer Diameter. The "ID" number seems more important for measurements but I can see "OD" for doing modifications.
Are you in Europe? 10/13mm is definitely the most popular tubing size for water cooling builds over there, but here in the U.S. the most popular tubing size is probably 3/8"ID, 1/2"OD. It's can actually be tough to find mm sized fittings and tubes over here, depending on what you are looking for.
 

RogueTadhg

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It's quite fun. But it definitely takes a while to do a loop properly. A lot of work that I didn't understand going in. The payoff of better temps will be worth it.

Nah. But it seems like every watercooling company is overseas so mm is what I went by. I tried some amazon sellers though for quicker shipping but limit stock pulled me over to their home stores.

I also went with the Monsta rads because, from what I read they're top-quality radiators that provided really good cooling. That and they have a few features that I noticed that I'd really like in my loop. Drain ports, for example. I don't really have experience with rads so I went off by other people's experiences and such with Alphacool/Aquatuning.
 

Deimos

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I agree that radiator area trumps thickness, bu there is more to static pressure than just thickness. There are some pretty thick radiators out there that get good airflow through them due to low fin density.
I've kept my eye on radiator benchmarks for years and the one thing I have noticed over time is that there is only a few degrees difference between best and worst, even with a large variance in fin density. I also just assumed thicker=better for a long time until I went for the thickest possible for my Enthoo Elite build, but discovered that it made shit all difference to temps when I built my TJ07 with the thinnest available. What I got was a much cooler and quieter system with thinner radiators and less surface area. I'm comparing apples an oranges though (dual GPU 8 cores vs single GPU with 4 cores). Still, I was totally surprised about just how drastic the difference was, especially in noise levels.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I've kept my eye on radiator benchmarks for years and the one thing I have noticed over time is that there is only a few degrees difference between best and worst, even with a large variance in fin density. I also just assumed thicker=better for a long time until I went for the thickest possible for my Enthoo Elite build, but discovered that it made shit all difference to temps when I built my TJ07 with the thinnest available. What I got was a much cooler and quieter system with thinner radiators and less surface area. I'm comparing apples an oranges though (dual GPU 8 cores vs single GPU with 4 cores). Still, I was totally surprised about just how drastic the difference was, especially in noise levels.

Same here. Initially I assumed that thicker is better, which is why I have a gargantuan 84.5mm thick Alphacool Monsta 280 in the front of my case. I still use it because I have it, but I would never buy this radiator today.
 

Hakaba

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I was going to add 2 more of these radiators. But Ultimately settled on 2 (for now) and see how things go. I'd rather have more cooling instead of "meh". I've been looking for a solid Caselabs-like case (Corsairs WP200 fits the bill, btw) but I've also remembered what it was like to move my large tower before my current case.

I'm trying to figure out a way to house or interconnect the radiators. I was toying with an idea of a frame made from aluminum but can't find anyone with a welder. Then was going to try to bracket to do it but haven't decided how.
While I generally do not like quoting Jay, he used aluminum angles and riveted them together to make a box frame. I do not think it ended up looking bad, but using a boxfan...

 

RogueTadhg

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That's a pretty cool idea. I like the thought of doing that.

As far as slim vs thick. I see the points, especially if I was to go as silent as possible, i'd be better off with thinnest and let passive cooling take over. Especially since I have problems connecting 8 fans together (Cables).
 

Zarathustra[H]

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That's a pretty cool idea. I like the thought of doing that.

As far as slim vs thick. I see the points, especially if I was to go as silent as possible, i'd be better off with thinnest and let passive cooling take over.
The way I got around having flow through my massive 84.5mm thick radiator without being loud is doing push-pull. For the same flow, two fans in push pull are almost always quieter than one fan in either push or pull.

In my personal experience passive cooling usually doesn't work so well. Even with no load at all, with all of my fans turned off, the temp slowly rises in the loop. The pump and the friction generate heat too!

Especially since I have problems connecting 8 fans together (Cables).

I have found these to be very useful.

41yV5kjgjRL._SX466_.jpg


Eight fans can share a single PWM control signal, powered off of a SATA power plug.

I have two of these plugged into my Aquaero for fan control.
 
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hitched

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watercooled monoblock / 4 - 1080 ti's / and externally having 3 - xspc RX 360's you need more then 1 pump... I have 2 of the ek DDC elite pumps, one to push water entering the blocks and the other pushing water after the blocks and (maybe) 5 feet of slack on my hoses from case to rads even with the 2 ddc pumps water will not move if I stand the radiators vertically but have 0 issues with them laid on there side

Something else to consider is quick disconnects, the koolance QD4 is supposed to be the best low restriction ones you can get. I decided not to go with the qd4's because of there weird fitting size and went with the alphacool high flow quick disconnects instead... they are still pricey at $30 a piece but for maintenance and moving around same I love these things
 
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Zarathustra[H]

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From personal experience of having a watercooled monoblock / 4 - 1080 ti's / and externally having 3 - xspc RX 360's you need more then 1 pump... I have 2 of the ek DDC elite pumps, one to push water entering the blocks and the other pushing water after the blocks and (maybe) 5 feet of slack on my hoses from case to rads even with the 2 ddc pumps water will not move if I stand the radiators vertically but have 0 issues with them laid on there side

Something else to consider is quick disconnects, the koolance QD4 is supposed to be the best low restriction ones you can get. I decided not to go with the qd4's because of there weird fitting size and went with the alphacool high flow quick disconnects instead... they are still pricey at $30 a piece but for maintenance and moving around same I love these things

Hmm.

Are those blocks highly restrictive?

You said 4x GPU blocks? That's a lot. So you have a 5 blocks and 3 rads. I could see that being restrictive.

My D5 has been fine even when I turn it down to the lowest setting, but I only have two blocks (1x CPU, 1X GPU fullcover) and two radiators (1x Alphacool 420 XT45, and one Alphacool Monsta 280)

I keep it on the max setting all the time though, because it is no louder on max than it is on the lowest setting (only the pitch changes) so why not?
 

RogueTadhg

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I actually use that fan controller and tested it. The problem isn't so much running them now (Tested 8 of those Industrial 140s at full speed) - as much as putting the fan cables so that the fans don't chew up the wires. I let one of my other cables get too close to the fan blades and did a lot of damage to it which surprised me.
 

Zarathustra[H]

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I actually use that fan controller and tested it. The problem isn't so much running them now (Tested 8 of those Industrial 140s at full speed) - as much as putting the fan cables so that the fans don't chew up the wires. I let one of my other cables get too close to the fan blades and did a lot of damage to it which surprised me.

Hmm.

In a case it is always easy to find somewhere to tuck them in so they are out of the way, but width it open like that it is harder.

Maybe you could use something like this to tidy them up?
 

RogueTadhg

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Hmm.

In a case it is always easy to find somewhere to tuck them in so they are out of the way, but width it open like that it is harder.

Maybe you could use something like this to tidy them up?
I was toying around with the idea of using a bracket of some sort. The cable thickness and how tightly the fans fit together don't allow the wires to fit up, instead they have the be routed to the side. Then when you have two columns of fans, the wires don't fit between the columns. After reading all the stuff about thinner rads I was thinking about using passive cooling instead which would solve the issue of trying to route cables.
img_4465_zps9rwzgsya-jpg.jpg
 

Hakaba

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Well you could route the cables on the corner of the fans between the blade housing and the bolt you use to secure the fan to the radiator. Might need to extend your fan cables though to get them all the way down the side.

From there you can mount a fan splitter at the bottom of each rad and only worry about one cable.
 
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If it were me, I would definitely consider using a push/pull fan config AND shrouding the radiators. If you are going for [H] performance overkill, which it appears you are, then this simply is a must! :D

In a push/pull fan config, you are going the get MUCH better static pressure and therefore a much higher degree of cooling performance. Also, as Zarathustra mentioned, it’s also typically much quieter than a single fan in either a lone push or pull configuration. Shrouding the radiator between the rad and each fan also decreases noise, improves linear airflow and eliminates dead air pockets/chaotic vortices around each Fan’s motor hub. An easy way to shroud the fans is to buy dirt cheap/crap fans and then simply gut their motors, blades/fins, and hub support spars and just keep the fan shrouds, using them as stand-offs to mount the actual fans to the radiators. Typically a depth of 13-15mm is plenty as to good stand-off distance, but more doesn’t hurt.

Nothing like good, solid overkill when watercooling! Looking forward to see how this turns out for you!
 

RogueTadhg

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Yeah, overkill was what I was aiming towards. I wanted to build something one time and have it last for a very long time and I'd never need to worry about cooling. I had purchased gaskets for these to sit between the fans and radiators.
As far as routing the fan wires, the only option I could get was to route them on the edge. Due to the way their built, there's not a lot of dead space when a lot of fans are pressed together like I plan. The only way I could think of is to route them out the side and down (or up) to meet the fan hub. There just doesn't seem like I could press the radiators together as I'd hope. Thinking about it, it would be easier to just place the fan hub on the side of one of the radiators.

I don't plan on doing a push/pull configuration. Cost, mostly. The sticker shock of buying 8 of these noctura fans at once made me squeamish.

Edit:

I took one of the Monsta radiators out. It was a mistake. I'm so impressed with the build quality over EK that I'll probably just ignore my budget and get another monsta and go push/pull. I couldn't see myself sending them back. I'm a sucker for good build quality. I'm now thinking about doing a push/pull with the rest of them being corsair. ...I know. My OCD is going to bother than hell out of me, but they're cheaper and looking at reviews, they don't offer a lot of difference in terms of temps.

Ill definitely need to run these rads using CLR though, I can tell there's some left over particles floating around in there.
 

Hakaba

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I run a push/pull of 8x NF-A12x25 so I know what you mean on the cost... But they are pretty much silent.
 

FrgMstr

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It's taken me quite a lot of gallons of water to clean the CLR and I'm still flushing out the CLR. This is what I meant by "bubbles" in my above post.
Honestly, I am not sure I would have suggested CLR for a rad setup of that magnitude. That said, I bet she is sparkling inside! ... After 300 gallons of flushing.
 

AG1M

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Last year I had a similar idea like you to build a external radiator setup, but finally I just bought one Watercool MO-RA3 420 external radiator (it's 3 x 420mm radiator surface in total and you can use 4x 20cm or 9x 14cm fans and that's it) and you can put on this baby everything (stand, pump mount, fan grill, temp sensors, fan control and so on). it's clean and powerful:

167769_Mo-ra3-01-k.png


But I'm looking forward to see your final result, I wish you success.
 

RogueTadhg

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Man, that's nice.

I ordered some alumium and took some measurements. I'll be cutting pieces and use them as brackets to tie the radiators together in one piece. With everything being so close, I'll probably end up doing what Jay did in his video. Skip a port. It's a real pain in the ass to do it straight across.
 
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RogueTadhg

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Got the noctura fan controller today and hooked it up to my 8 fans. On the lower-left, I took off all the rubber to make it easier to install. I'll probably end up doing that for all noctura fans going forward. The Noctura fan controller also takes power, like the hub.

IMG_4482_zps7a0eqiun.jpg


It works! At full strength everything together I'm pulling 82 Watts. If I go push/pull, I can go ahead and run one radiator per hub/controller and just have them buzz along at low speed. Most of the noise is coming from the Reservoir and the sound of the water splashing from the top. I ordered a new pump top, which will allow me to bring the water from below and out from below. This should make that splashing noise a thing of the past.
IMG_4483_zps8pmjgj0a.jpg


I also got my sheet metal in the mail. I won't be able to measure or cut the metal for brackets until I've gotten the radiators hooked up with proper fittings. I like the look of them connecting together like radiator 1 & 2, but dealing with the short tubing made things a nightmare so I bought some extensions to see if I can go that way instead of small tubes.


Also, I'm still flushing CLR from my system. I'm letting it run now for about 4-8 hours between changes.
 

RogueTadhg

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I got quite a lot in today. I've got the extensions I need to figure out how to connect my radiators together, as well as how I'm going to route the tubing down to meet the inlet for the new pump top. I got my silver kill coils (2 of them, one in-tubing [Barrow filter] and one in the reservoir.) I'm just going to do distilled water.

I ordered a couple tools, as well as a punch tool for sheet metal. The aviation snip really cuts through the metal without a second thought it's just a bit unwieldy to use about 3 snips. I also got my corsair fans in - they're less expensive and I want push/pull. One rad will have the noctura fans and the others will use the corsairs.

Some Many Hours later:

I went ahead and broke down the pump/res, radiators and drained the radiators as well. While putting them on the side, they're still more attractive to me put together like this. I also came across the MO-RA3 again. So now I'm leaning to stacking them on top of each other and making small tubing connections to the left.

Tearing down all my cooling in preparation for my new pump top I came across this little guy. It's a lot bent. I'm glad I went ahead and got the new top. The top/combo also came with screws, which the bracket did not come with so now I can properly fill in all the screws holding the pump and res and brackets in place.
IMG_4488_zpsm0t7skbi.jpg



Many Hours Later:

So... Things change. A Lot.

Picture: I tried doing it sideways with the fittings I had when I would be going top-wise. I had no combinations of any extensions would allow me a perfect fit. Close. But not water-tight.
IMG_4489_zpsxakxhdt7.jpg

IMG_4490_zpsddcsbsa9.jpg

I'm just using a combination of 90s and 45s and tubing to do a pattern up the side. I'm ordering more 45s because I don't have any, but this is the plan now:
IMG_4495_zps6mpr9y51.jpg


Pictures Below: For my own moral sake because it really feels like I'm spinning my tires at the moment, I went ahead and got the top radiator all done. For the most part. I need to add the braces - when it dawned on me that the size of the noctura fans probably won't line up with the corsair fans. Thankfully, I had only purchased 8 of these fans so I'll put these pushing and the corsair fans pulling.

I had planned on making the braces come out like this: Radiator > Fan > Brace > Grill. The braces would tie the radiators together to give them more of a one-feel.

IMG_4491_zpsspkambya.jpg

IMG_4492_zpsa0zqq0rl.jpg

IMG_4494_zpspyt9eoir.jpg

The radiator I have all dolled up will be sitting on top of the other three. My thought it, water will flow down instead of trying to push water up. Given the side-ways nature of the reservoir I'm afraid of back splash when trying to fill it up. Ideally, I'd love to have the plumbing on the bottom but I can't see it working that way as it is. Thoughts?

Final Thoughts today: In the middle of all the fiddling for 7 hours (Seriously), I realized that I really enjoy this. It feels like I'm playing with LEGOs again.
 

Deimos

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That horizontal pump is triggering my OCD...

jk

Looks pretty sweet, having your radiators horizontal should improve your flow rates and noise levels too.
 

RogueTadhg

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You know, I woke up for my night shift job and thought to myself - I could actually set it up so it's vertical. Since the bracket that holds the top portion of the res moves. It'll also help tie the radiators together.
 

RogueTadhg

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I did some minor testing with fans today. On Push, On the lowest setting the ML fans barely moved any air through the radiator while the Noctura fan didn't have much of an issue. Both fans are receiving about 7.5w (Measured)

Corsair ML140. At first, I thought that it wasn't getting any air through the radiator it was so low.
IMG_4496_zpsgi9cnqbv.jpg


Noctura NF-14 3000 PWM
IMG_4497_zpsyfn6tzr3.jpg


Seeing and feeling the results first hand, I'm going to need to make my wallet weep and just spend the money for the 3000s.
 
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RogueTadhg

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IMG_4500_zpsfn1yfnqb.jpg

Gonna need to go straight:
IMG_4501_zps8prw8rrg.jpg


So I turned I installed the waterblocks, and ghetto rigged my computer and everything on it to get underwater. I took apart my 1080 ti first, my god the amount of screws and even screws within screws, After a lot of metal everywhere... I got it put together. I used the Graphite Pad, instead of thermal paste. I had been curious about using this and figured I'd give it a go. It's like taking a piece of tissue paper and using it instead of normal paste. It felt so wrong and against all my years of computer building. It tears like paper, too. The computer part all plumbed up:

IMG_4508_zpsekx2ctyt.jpg

Small sample of the graveyard of tubing trying to get runs exactly the right length to prevent kinks. Oh those boxes? Thanks to this project I have boxes and packages everywhere... You're only seeing about 20% of the packages I have - of varying sizes (Those monster radiators boxes, for example).
IMG_4505_zpsi0phiopb.jpg


At first I powered on the wc-psu, and nothing but a few bubbles and the sound of my pump running dry. I quickly turned it off. My computer was setup below both the res and one radiator. Racking my brain, I let loose of one of the ball valves, causing a small water fountain about 2 feet in distance. Impressed by the distance of this discharge, I also noticed there was water from inside the computer. A leak. I wasn't concerned about the leak as that's an easy enough fix. I was more concerned about the physics of why my loop wasn't running. I was thinking the pump might've not been strong enough to push the liquid though.. It's an external system, afterall. I moved the entire system down on the floor. Still nothing. Nadda. I spilt more water inside the computer. After the second time, I went up and got a lot of paper towels and fixed the leak. The case inlet was a tad loose when I was securing the CPU side.
IMG_4507_zpsfzrf9q55.jpg

IMG_4504_zpsjmxmrzlb.jpg

IMG_4509_zpsmvvt4e1e.jpg

I fired it up after fixing the leak. No pump pressure. I put the res and pump above everything. No pressure, still. I went out for some reece's pieces cereal break and looked at the loop and everything together while eating. I took apart the res and pump combo. I took out the bit that's supposed to keep everything from vortex and popped in the plastic insert instead. Put everything back together. Bingo! Moving the computer around to get air bubbles out, I knocked down my res that was above me - without the top. It was a full res. Water everywhere. My view point before I topped it off and spilled it on my head:
IMG_4510_zpsc0ylunr9.jpg

The first turn on:
IMG_4511_zpsdlxbvlux.jpg


Update: Had to break down the GPU, temperate spikes went from 40ish to high 80s. I suspect the pad isn't work. After opening, I found that only about 30% of the pad looked pressed. I moved the pad back in place and got the card back in order. This time, I put one of my rotary fixtures for the small inlet section. I forgot to close the valves and dumped more water on the carpet. Woo.

My floor smells like wet dog.

IMG_4515_zps22efdnul.jpg

It ain't the final product. I still have two radiators to put in the loop and fans for them. But it's nice to have something that works while I figure out the rest of the deal and create a mount for everything.
work.jpg


It's so quiet, and the temperatures are pretty good. I'm getting 40s/50s under load. But I need to see how fast I can push everything. My target goals for stable gaming is:
CPU: 5.0 Ghz.
GPU: 2.0 Ghz.

That'll be sometime's venture and cleaning... And possibly putting fans on the floor... And febreeze the room. It might be a good time to put the fans back in and also the sides.

Things I need to buy: Flow Meter (I don't even notice the water pump running ontop of the fans). Water temp sensor and some way of reading it.

How many times did water spill today? More than 5 times.
 
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hitched

Limp Gawd
Joined
Jan 12, 2011
Messages
207
You may have already said why and I missed it, but why do you not just have the output of the cpu block go straight into the gpu block? Would likely help with the water flow as well.
 
Joined
May 20, 2011
Messages
772
Whats the purpose of running the cpu to the gpu line on the outside of the case? Those 90's don't do you any favors with flow.
 
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