Node 804 Water Cooling Project

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
I should have started this sooner. Oh well.

Below is my work in progress on a new build using a Fractal Design Node 804 case. My plans is to fit two Corsair Hydro X XR7 240mmx54mm radiators. Initially it will be plumbed up to just cool the CPU but I plan on tying in the video card once the water blocks become available for the RTX 3090 FE. Here is what the build will be:

  • AMD Ryzen 9 3900XT (will replace with Ryzen 9 5xxx series when released)
  • Asus ROG Crosshair VIII Impact mDTX
  • 32GB G.Skill Trident Z Neo DDR4 3600 CL16
  • Nvidia RTX 3090 FE (snagged one on 10/1 from Nvidia.com, waiting on shipping info)
  • 2x Seagate Firecuda 520 2TB M.2 SSD
  • Seagate Firecuda 120 4TB SSD (might add a second one later)
  • Samsung 850 EVO 1TB SSD
  • Corsair Performance Pro 256GB SSD
  • Fractal Design Node 804 mATX case
  • 2x Corsair XR7 240mm Radiators
  • Optimus Foundation CPU Block
  • EKWB Quantum Kinetic TBE 200 D5
  • Corsair iCue Commander Pro
  • Corsair AX1000 PSU
  • BeQuiet! SilentWings 3 120mm Fans (mix of PWM High Speed Fans for the Radiators and 12v "low speed" fans for the case)
  • Primochill Primoflex Advanced LRT White 10/13 flex tubing
  • Corsair Hydro X 10/13 Compression Fittings and 90° Rotary Adapters (Black)
  • Alphacool Eiszapfen 90° Extenders (Black)
  • Alphacool Eiszapfen Temperature Sensor G1/4 Plug
I also had some Alphacool quick disconnects but it looks like I ordered the wrong size by mistake and will need to order the correct size ones if I want to use a quick disconnect for draining instead of the ball valve I have. The frustrating thing is I can't find where I ordered them from. I'm scouring through all my receipts and credit card transactions and cannot find a single one that shows these quick disconnects. I do recall they were pretty cheap, so not much of a loss, but annoying.

Anyways...here are some pics of the build in progress:

Right_Chamber_10-2-2020.jpgLeft_Chamber_10-2-2020.jpg

I am so happy that my measurements were accurate and I was able to fit the reservoir/pump combo all in the same chamber as the power supply and radiator/fans. I still have to add the radiator into the right chamber up top, but I won't do that until I get the tubing and fittings connected to the CPU water block first.

I am annoyed that I could not find a USB port expansion to go into the bottom slot that was black. To have that one off white piece of hardware in my case is really throwing off the look of the case.
 

Nobu

Supreme [H]ardness
Joined
Jun 7, 2007
Messages
5,406
Or you can dip the cables in rit fabric dye to have whatever color you want (as long as it's dark enough to overpower the original tan color).
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
Dammit! As thorough as I was with my measurements, I missed one area and now it is screwing me over.

With the second 240mm radiator in place in the chamber where the motherboard resides, one of the fans that would go on the radiator prevents me from being able to install the second fitting on to the CPU water block. There isn't enough room for both the fitting and the fan. So now I am in a dilemma:

Do I forgo the second 240mm radiator or do I keep one fan off the radiator?

The fitting will fit without a fan there and this radiator will be tied in line with the radiator on the other side which has two fans. A single radiator should be fine for just the CPU, but the plan was to eventually tie in the video card too, which would definitely need two radiators for this size case. The other option is to go with just one 240mm radiator for now and add one or two 120mm radiators down the road (front, back, and/or top front).

Here's the problem circled in red:
Wrong_Measurement.jpg

Here's the other side:
Second_Pic_In_Progress.jpg
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
I think I may make do with a single 240mm radiator for now and down the road add one or two more 120mm radiators when it comes time to water cool the video card. That way I can get this thing up and running now and make sure all other components are working. Plus, my RTX 3090 FE will be arriving on Monday and I want to get my leak test out of the way before then.
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
Went ahead and moved forward with just one 240mm radiator for now. I will save expanding onto the liquid cooling loop as a future project whenever I end up adding the video card into the loop. For now, I am going to start my cable routing/management and leak testing.
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
Leak testing is doing well but, man, that D5 pump gets warmer than I originally expected. The radiator was a little warm to the touch after running for a few hours and it’s only the pump producing any heat. Of course, there were no fans running during this time because that would have required connecting other power connectors and I wasn’t ready to do that yet while testing for leaks.

While I think the temp it was at wasn’t going to get too much warmer, I figured if I plan to let it run all night to continue leak testing, then it might be in my best interest to connect up the fans and get them running at least in the chamber where the radiator resides to help bring in cooler air and blowing it through the radiator.
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
So far, there doesn’t appear to be any noticeable leaks. The bubble in top of the reservoir looks to be about the same size as yesterday. But the blue shop towels I used to wrap the joints to monitor for leaks may do too good of a job at absorption.

I did a test on a separate blue shop towel by spraying some coolant on it. While it is noticeable while wet, it is almost imperceptible when it dries. That’s what I get for using clear coolant. So I may need to use toilet paper or cheap napkins to better test with for leaks.

One observation I have noticed is that with the fans running, there is an odd, faint odor coming from the radiator. I don’t think it smells like coolant. I tried doing a sniff test of the two side by side. The coolant smells very alcohol like. The radiator smell I can’t quite pinpoint. It’s smells like a faint metallic, burnt, or paint.

Any clue?

Doing some reading online, which is always dangerous, some mentioned that some radiators have an odor and may or may not go away. A few mentioned that Hardware Labs radiators, in particular, can have an smell to them (which is who makes Corsair radiators). One person had to wash the exterior with a toothbrush and soapy water to get rid of. I really hope I don’t have to do that and that it will work its way out.

Meanwhile, I will continue to leak test it for another day and may use some toilet paper or cheap napkins near potential leak points. I also decided to place a piece of painters tape on the reservoir to mark the height of the bubble to gauge if it gets bigger.

Also, I wonder how long it will take to get rid of all the micro bubbles and any remaining air in the system. I swear once in a while I still hear little whooshes as if an air pocket got worked out.
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
I noticed that the reservoir was not sitting perfectly level, it had a slight sag to it. It's probably fine enough for government work, but it was bugging me. It's due to its weight and being mounted sideways into a shock absorbing ring that allows some flex. To get the reservoir a little more level, I took a small piece of compressible packing foam from one of the boxes the radiator came in and wedged it between the bottom of the pump combo housing (which is made of acetal and not acrylic) and the top of the power supply. This leveled out the reservoir pretty much perfectly.
 

doubletake

Gawd
Joined
Apr 27, 2013
Messages
671
With the second 240mm radiator in place in the chamber where the motherboard resides, one of the fans that would go on the radiator prevents me from being able to install the second fitting on to the CPU water block. There isn't enough room for both the fitting and the fan. So now I am in a dilemma:

Will it still not fit with a slim fan in there? Those are usually 12mm thick instead of the standard 25.
 

Dan_D

Extremely [H]
Joined
Feb 9, 2002
Messages
57,761
The patience you guys show trying to stuff hardware into tiny cases always astounds me. About five minutes of that shit and I'm swearing like a drunken sailor who accidentally took home a ladyboy by mistake and caught a surprise mouthful of cock. My patience for that is so bad that I generally choose the cases for anyone who asks me to build them a computer. Or at least, I give them a limited scope of options for it. I have one mini-ITX system at home and I'd rather get my dick caught in the fax machine than work on it.
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
Will it still not fit with a slim fan in there? Those are usually 12mm thick instead of the standard 25.
Aside from the lower static pressure the slims are able to provide, I still don't think it will work with the radiators I have. I want to say from top of case to the top of the fitting is around 55-57mm (60mm if being generous). My radiator alone is 54mm thick. Most radiators are only about 30mm thick.

I believe the flaw in my measurement is I was originally measuring based on CPU water blocks where the fittings are side by side, left to right. The Optimus water block the fittings are top and bottom. Because of that, there is around 20-22mm less space for the fitting than what I originally calculated.
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
Yanked out the offwhite USB 2.0 expansion. I couldn't get it to work. It was plugged into the headers on my Corsair iCue Commander Pro, which is plugged into the only USB 2.0 header on the motherboard. I was afraid that I would run into issues with it. After I ordered the Commander Pro, I read many accounts online of people having issues with getting the USB to work through it amongst other things with no real solution available. Everything else I need to use the Commander Pro for is working except for acting as a passthrough for additional USB ports. While I am disappointed that it won't work, it does clean up the inside of the case a bit, but I am running tight on ports now. I have 10 USB ports in all, 8 in the back and 2 on the front. I might need to resort to using a USB hub after all.

My RTX 3090 FE is lost in transit with Fed Ex, it disappeared after checking in at a sorting facility a short ways away from the Nvidia warehouse. So I am battling back and forth between Fed Ex and Nvidia to try and get a quick resolution. In the meantime, I decided to slap my GTX 1080 into the case just so I can at least make sure everything else is working properly and get software installed. So far, so good.

I am just trying to iron out what my expectations should be with this Ryzen 9 3900XT CPU, it seems to run warmer than I was expecting considering the water cooling setup I am using. Maybe there is a break-in period? Or maybe me trying to compare it to my Intel 6700K quad core for temp comparisons is unrealistic. That processor on a Corsair H100i V2 overclocked to 4.3GHz tended to report idling in the low 30s and peak under extended CPU burning in the 70s. The Ryzen 9 3900XT I did tweak using the new CTR for Zen 2 by 1usmus, where it was ranked as a silver sample (not sure how good that is). CTR clocked it at 4.375GHz on the best CCX and 4.25GHz on the weakest CCX at a voltage of 1.25v and RAM is set to DDR3600 at 1.35v (XMP setting). Again, I am new to AMDs, so I am not sure how good that is. I did read that running higher speed RAM may cause for increased temps too due to the onboard memory controller (not sure how much that weighs in on this). Idling it looks to sit around 40c-42c (according to Ryzen Master) and will rise up to the low 80s when running something like Cinebench R20 or high 70s to low 80s when doing a Furmark CPU Burner across all threads. Coolant temp idling sits around 34c-35c based on a temp sensor I have in the reservoir. It will slowly climb to high 30s to low to mid 40s when under loads like Furmark or Cinebench. Ambient temp in the room is somewhere between 24.5c and 25.5c. I haven't done any extended period CPU burns. Personally, I find them great to test stability but are a bit unrealistic for everyday loads, including gaming.

Here are some screen captures from last night's CTR run:
Results_10-6-2020.pngBenchmark_10-6-2020.png

I'm not looking for huge overclocks. I primarily want some mild overclocking on a system that runs 24/7 (not a fan of sleep or hibernate, never had good experiences with them). Because of its 24/7 nature, I try to chase down a balance of running cool, quiet, and efficient while maintaining mild overclock if possible. Out of the box and left to Asus default settings, the core voltage swing was kind of crazy. I recall seeing it go above 1.25v, I believe even in the mid 1.3v to low 1.4v range. Of course, when doing nothing, it would drop below 1.25v, down to just above 1.0v. While the lower voltage should help with temps when idling, those spikes in higher voltage I could imagine would result in higher temps when under load. So being at a fixed 1.25v might not help as much at idle temps, I would hope it would help with load temps (which are more important, I think). I may try and tinker with CTR with some undervolting and see what kind of clock speeds I can get. But I am not sure how much of a difference it will make or if there are other factors at play that I need to adjust (like PPT). It's not a territory I have ventured too deeply into before.

Speaking of Asus, I wish there was a way to set a schedule to the LEDs that are being managed by Asus Aura. While I don't mind them being on during the day, I see it as a bit of a waste to leave them on all night. It would be nice if I could find a way to set them to turn off around 11pm-12am and then come back on at 8am. Or have them turn off when the the monitor goes to sleep (like I have my Razer components set to). I have seen others online complain about wanting a similar feature.

Lastly, a minor annoyance. Any time the computer reboots or gets powered up from an off state, it kicks on my D5 pump at full speed. When it does this, I can hear it suck in some microbubbles from the reservoir. I don't have much air in the reservoir but, as seen in earlier pics, my reservoir sits sideways. The suction of the D5 at full tilt is so strong it disturbs the small air pocket at the top of the reservoir and causes it to break up into smaller bubbles, which then some of it to get sucked into the pump as tiny microbubbles. Running the pump at lower speeds it doesn't do that. It's also one of the reasons I don't run the pump at full speed all the time because it causes so much disturbance in the reservoir you will end up hearing brief "swishing" noises periodically throughout the day. When testing for leaks, I was forced to have to put up with it because it is PWM controlled and pump speed defaults to full speed when there is no PWM controlling it. Normally, I have the pump speed set to 50% (~2500 RPM) for up to 80c CPU temp, will climb to 65% when it reaches 90c CPU temp, and then to 80% beyond that. Even at 50% speed it might be overkill for my setup, but I find that setting it to a lower speed the pump becomes audible (not loud, just an odd pitch that stands out from the fans). At 50% and above any sound it does make blends in with the fans, making it almost inaudible, until it gets close to 100%.
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
The patience you guys show trying to stuff hardware into tiny cases always astounds me. About five minutes of that shit and I'm swearing like a drunken sailor who accidentally took home a ladyboy by mistake and caught a surprise mouthful of cock. My patience for that is so bad that I generally choose the cases for anyone who asks me to build them a computer. Or at least, I give them a limited scope of options for it. I have one mini-ITX system at home and I'd rather get my dick caught in the fax machine than work on it.
Yes, working with smaller cases does push ones level of patience, that is for certain. Your description is a little more colorful, but probably met with the same amount of frustration it can present. But when you get it to work...it can be beautiful in a minimalist sort of way.
 

Fritzz

Gawd
Joined
Feb 11, 2008
Messages
880
Speaking of Asus, I wish there was a way to set a schedule to the LEDs that are being managed by Asus Aura. While I don't mind them being on during the day, I see it as a bit of a waste to leave them on all night. It would be nice if I could find a way to set them to turn off around 11pm-12am and then come back on at 8am. Or have them turn off when the the monitor goes to sleep (like I have my Razer components set to). I have seen others online complain about wanting a similar feature.

Lastly, a minor annoyance. Any time the computer reboots or gets powered up from an off state, it kicks on my D5 pump at full speed. When it does this, I can hear it suck in some microbubbles from the reservoir. I don't have much air in the reservoir but, as seen in earlier pics, my reservoir sits sideways. The suction of the D5 at full tilt is so strong it disturbs the small air pocket at the top of the reservoir and causes it to break up into smaller bubbles, which then some of it to get sucked into the pump as tiny microbubbles. Running the pump at lower speeds it doesn't do that. It's also one of the reasons I don't run the pump at full speed all the time because it causes so much disturbance in the reservoir you will end up hearing brief "swishing" noises periodically throughout the day. When testing for leaks, I was forced to have to put up with it because it is PWM controlled and pump speed defaults to full speed when there is no PWM controlling it. Normally, I have the pump speed set to 50% (~2500 RPM) for up to 80c CPU temp, will climb to 65% when it reaches 90c CPU temp, and then to 80% beyond that. Even at 50% speed it might be overkill for my setup, but I find that setting it to a lower speed the pump becomes audible (not loud, just an odd pitch that stands out from the fans). At 50% and above any sound it does make blends in with the fans, making it almost inaudible, until it gets close to 100%.

You mentioned and I see the Commander Pro in there. Corsair added in Asus motherboard support to iCUE a while back, you should be able to add your motherboard LEDs, both onboard and headers, into iCUE and control them that way. As for scheduling I don't think that is possible, but I know with my PC I can set a "iCUE is not open state"(sorry forgot what it's called) so that when I lock my PC all the LEDs turn off. Link to the Corsair instructions.

My D5s are not PWM, but could you attach the pump PWM to your Commander Pro and control the speed there? You didn't mention if that's how you have it hooked up, but it might take care of the full ramp up at boot issue.
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
You mentioned and I see the Commander Pro in there. Corsair added in Asus motherboard support to iCUE a while back, you should be able to add your motherboard LEDs, both onboard and headers, into iCUE and control them that way. As for scheduling I don't think that is possible, but I know with my PC I can set a "iCUE is not open state"(sorry forgot what it's called) so that when I lock my PC all the LEDs turn off. Link to the Corsair instructions.

My D5s are not PWM, but could you attach the pump PWM to your Commander Pro and control the speed there? You didn't mention if that's how you have it hooked up, but it might take care of the full ramp up at boot issue.
I don't mind controlling the LEDs via Aura, the only ones I have are on the motherboard and RAM anyways. To use the iCue, I guess that is another piece of software that will need to be installed along with their Corsair Link that I already have on the PC. If it doesn't have a scheduler in it, then I will pass for now. Thanks for the suggestion, though.

As for the D5, I would think that the problem would exist on the Commander Pro as well if the D5 is getting powered on before the Commander Pro finishes its own bootup. I do know the Commander Pro stores its settings in its memory profile so that fan and light settings are retained even if the software is not running. I will have to try it at some point and see. It will mean having to relocate a fan plug, but it might be worth it if it does provide a PWM signal before spin up. I will say that all the fans spool up at each power cycle or reboot, I think even the 6 fans connected to the Commander Pro. If that is the case, then it may not make a difference since the pump will be treated the same way.
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
My RTX 3090 FE finally arrived today and I was able to squeeze it into the case, but it was a tight fit. For those with a similar case and plans to put one of these cards in, you will need to remove the front intake filter and then insert the card in at a an angle front side first so you can get the bracket on the back to fit past the lip of the case. Once past the lip, install is easy. For the case being able to fit a 320mm card and this card being 313mm, I don't know they would be able to fit one of full length in there. So keep that in mind if you are planning to do the same thing.

I have yet to run the card through its paces, so it will be interesting to see how it handles the airflow or if I need to add some fans to the bottom of the case. On the motherboard side, I have 4 fans at the moment: 1 upper front intake, 2 top exhaust, and 1 rear exhaust. There isn't enough room to fit an intake fan directly in front of the video card. There is filtered ventilation on the bottom and front that and by the rear slots that air can be pulled in. If need be, there is room to either lay down 2x120 mm fans on the bottom of the case or I can mount with screws 2x80mm fans to the bottom of the case if I want to try and force intake air onto the video card. I am hoping I won't have to do that, but only time will tell. Eventually, I would like to water cool it, but that is months away at best.

Here is a pic of what it looks like in the case:
IMG_7470.jpg

I like how the RTX 3090 FE leaves the fans off when not under heavy load. They have yet to kick on yet and the GPU is idling around 33-34C.

On another note, it appears my temps are starting to settle down a bit. Coolant temps seem to have dropped a few degrees, sitting between 32-34C when at idle (down from the 34-35C it was sitting at before). CPU idle temps have dropped as well from 40-42C before down to 39-41C now.
 
Last edited:

mnewxcv

[H]F Junkie
Joined
Mar 4, 2007
Messages
8,255
I'll sub for some water cooling inspiration. Been putting together a wish list of parts, on an ultra low budget. The 3090 blocks definitely blow the budget!
 

VirtualMirage

Limp Gawd
Joined
Nov 29, 2011
Messages
429
It's been a while since I made any updates to this thread. Since October, I have made the following changes to the system:

  • Installed two Noctua NF-A8 PWM Chromax fans underneath the RTX 3090 FE to help better supply cooler air to the video card.
  • In the PSU chamber, I relocated the rear 120mm BeQuiet! exhaust fan to the bottom front, making it an extra intake fan.
  • In the PSU chamber, I installed one Noctua NF-A14 PWM Chromax fan in the rear of the case and reversed it to be an intake fan. Currently, it is the only intake fan without a filter.
  • Doublechecked and re-snugged the retention screws for the CPU waterblock.
  • Updated my fan curve profile for all case fans.
  • Overclocked the CPU using CPU Tuner for Ryzen 1.1 beta 7. I have two profiles that I use:
    • 4.45 GHz/4.45 GHz/4.35 GHz/4.325 GHz OC at 1.3v
    • 4.375 GHz/4.375 GHz/4.275 GHz/4.25 GHz OC at 1.256v
  • Overclocked the GPU using MSI Afterburner. My daily settings are: 114% Power Curve, Temp Limit increased to 90c, +150 MHz Curve to Core Clock, 0 MHz Memory Overclock, stock fan profile (so fans do not run when temps are below 35c).
With these changes made, and along with slightly cooler temps in the house with winter approaching, my overall temps have dropped. To note, before my ambient temps in the room were around 24-25.5c. Right now my ambient temps in the room are around 21-23c.
  • GPU now idles between 27-30c when not gaming (vs 33-34c from before) and will drop down to as low as 25-26c at night when nothing is going on.
  • CPU idle temps will now drop as low as 33-35c at night and during the day idle between 36-40c during the day (when ignoring the little activity spikes). This is down from the 39-41c idle temps I was experiencing before, which were recorded at night and early morning when at its coolest.
  • Coolant temps now sit between 28-30c when idling. My fan profiles still keep the coolant from every going above 40c when under extended heavy loads (e.g., Furmark CPU Burner), but rarely do I ever see it go past 36c in normal use.
So what is next for me?

I would still like to eventually add a second 240mm radiator to the mix, but will need to go to a 30mm radiator for the second one versus the 54mm I currently have so that it will allow enough clearance to install a fan over the CPU water block fittings. When will this happen? I am waiting on two things:
  • Getting my hands on a Ryzen 9 5900X. I really don't feel like popping off the water block and redoing my lines for a new radiator unless I am swapping out the CPU at the same time. I'd hate to have to go through that work twice.
  • Whenever the 3090 FE water blocks start to come out and testing shows what kind radiator capacity they will need and whether it is realistic to share it on the same loop as the CPU with my system setup. I've got my eye on the EKWB version because it looks to help free up quite a bit of space in the case.
I am also a bit reluctant to add a second radiator into the motherboard chamber while the GPU is still being air cooled. Since majority of the heat is being exhausted out of the top, where the radiator would go, I would hate to negate any performance gains a second radiator would give under load if it is just going to be difficult to extract heat since the hot air from the GPU will be heating it up. So it's a wait and see. And realistically, I don't see anything happening at least for 3-6 months.

Other to-do's on my project list:
  • I really like my BeQuiet! SilentWings 3 fans, but have also been impressed by the Noctua's. I might at some point grab 2 Noctua fans and put them on the radiator to see if there is any improvement in cooling/noise.
  • Find a way to add a filter to the rear 140mm intake fan that doesn't restrict airflow too much and also doesn't cause the added noise. I tried one filter out earlier and it caused the fan noise profile to have an annoying tone and was also too restrictive, causing the fan to run at a higher speed and become louder.
  • Replace my Corsair Performance 256GB SSD with another Seagate Firecuda 120 4TB SSD. That will give me a total system capacity of 13TB, all in SSD and M.2 format. I am currently sitting at a little over 9TB, all in SSD and M.2 format.
  • Clean up my cabling a little. At minimum, swap out the 12-pin adapter cable and the two PCIE PSU cables going to the GPU with a single 12-pin native cable from Corsair.
  • Upgrade my monitor, currently 27" 4K/60Hz/G-sync. But this may still take a while since I have very specific needs/wants and it severely limits my options. Ideally, I want a 4K HDR monitor that is around 32" that is G-sync capable with a refresh rate between 120-144Hz that DOESN'T break the bank. I really don't want to drop down to 2K if I can help it, but I have toyed with the idea of an ultra wide, either 3840 x 1600 or 3440 x 1440. I am just not sure how much I would leverage the benefit of the ultra wide, I am so used to my 16:9 and know that I have some games that do not support ultra wide resolutions, thus wasting space that will go unused.

Here is an updated picture of inside the case showing the 80mm fan below the RTX 3090 FE:
Node804.jpg
 
Top