School me on radiators and fans - first real custom water loop.

cyclone3d

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The water cooling bug has hit me. I need a cooler better suited to my current setup and decided I want to go ahead and do a custom loop after looking at the prices and reviews of CLCs,

Already did some research on CPU blocks and found the one I wanted for a good price and went ahead and ordered it.

So here is what I will be working with:
Case: Lian Li PC-V2120B - stock it can house a 360mm rad on the top panel but I have measured and determined that it can be easily modded to fit a 420mm rad.
Motherboard: ASUS X99E-WS / USB3.1
CPU: E5 1660 v3 (5960x)

CPU block: Aquacomputer Cuplex Kryos NEXT with Vision (Acetal/Nickel)

Edit: parts ordered since original post -
EKWB EK-XRES 140 REVO D5 pwm pump
Thermaltake Pacific CL420 radiator

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I will be going with a 420mm radiator. From my measurements, I can use up to about 30mm thickness if mounted inside the case with 25mm fans.
I will also be mounting fans on the outside of the case so I have a push/pull configuration.

I'll figure out pump, reservoir and tubing later.

I did have this crazy idea back in the day to use a huge fish tank filter (pump / reservoir) that can push hundreds of gallons per hour but that would make the whole thing a huge pain to move as that would have to be external. It does have shutoff valves and quick disconnects but it would just be a huge pain.
 
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slavie

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One important thing you forgot to mention: what is your goal with this build? Performance, noise, street cred, RGB overload? Overclocking? CPU only loop, or adding GPU to it?
420mm w/ push-pull sounds like a bit of an overkill. Also, mounting fans on the outside of the case is a bit ghetto.
Water flow helps to a point, then it becomes overkill with no additional benefit, just pump noise. Fish tank pump is several tiers past the overkill point. Not to say it wouldn't work - some of the early water loops (like, early 2000's) used fish tank pumps and automotive heater cores - but there are plenty of purpose build pumps these days that are much better suited for the application.
 

cyclone3d

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It is going to be a CPU only loop for now. GPU runs plenty cool and pretty quiet overclocked already.

Sure 420 is overkill for now but it will fit so why not? Better than going 360 for not much less and then deciding I want 420 later on.

Main goal is to lower temps a bunch when overclocking. Not too concerned about noise but I also don't want it to be super loud... Basically whisper quiet at idle and not too loud under load.

I couldn't care less about RGB.

My first and only "custom loop" before this was way back in the day and consisted of a fish tank pump, a heater core and a home made water block. I was running an AMD K6-2 at the time.
 

cyclone3d

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Did a bit more measuring and I could squeeze in a radiator that is up to 40mm thick. That would just barely give me enough room for the PSU cable to weasel through.

It seems kind of hard to find exact measurements for some radiators.

Was looking at an EKWB EK-Coolstream CE but that one is 45mm thick from the review I found.

Edit... If I did want to use a thicker radiator, I can always mod the case to mount it on the outside... With my mounting the pull fans on the outside, I would be making a shroud / cover anyway.

A lot of the ~30mm thin radiators don't seem to have that good of performance.
 
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Raul-7

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Use a reliable D5 like Aquacomputer; much better than Eheim, Mag, etc. or anything aquarium related.

Go with HWLabs; best radiators.
 

slavie

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I meant push-pull setup on that 420 is overkill, not the 420 itself. 2nd set of fans will have marginal affect on temps with that large a rad, not worth the trouble imo.
Sounds like a straight forward loop then. Go with min 1/2 tubing, D5 pump, res, and you should be in business. DDC pump would do, but sounds like you'd rather go a bit over the top, so D5 is better in that case.
 
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HWLabs gts 420(30mm thick) with solid static pressure fans pushing thru the rad is going to be your best performer with the space youve got. Push/pull will only give you a couple of degrees more at most. So its up to you if the cost and extra work involved will be worth it. If your planning on building a shroud or rad box up top anyhow you may as well look at going with a thicker GTX or SR2 for the added capacity it will offer if you ever plan on adding your gpu to the loop at some point. Then again adding a second rad may be a better option in that case if you decide to go that route.
Either way goodluck and enjoy the build!
 

cyclone3d

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I won't be buying a new case.. I actually just bought this case because it checked all the boxes I wanted a case to have.

The brace in this case can be completely removed including the top mount so it won't be in there anyway.

I'm contemplating getting the ekwb cool stream CE and just mounting it on the outside. Or should I look for something even thicker and with bleed / fill ports if mounting on the outside.

What about thicker fans?
 

NightReaver

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If you're doing push/pull it's worth looking at the HWLabs GTR radiators. They're made specifically for high static pressure fans and scale like no other.

Only do the corsair stuff if you want the "ecosystem", the rads are lower end HWLabs products, not the better Black Ice Nemesis series. Also ignore the "soft tubing crap" opinion, it works and looks just fine.
 

thesecond

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So, radiators tend to perform differently depending on fan type, speed, push vs push/pull, etc.

I've been using this roundup for years: https://www.xtremerigs.net/2015/02/11/radiator-round-2015/5/

The gist of it is, it shows you how each rad performs in watts, per fan speed and setup.

For a person like me, who only uses Scythe AP-15's, at 1850RPM in push, the highest performer is an EK XE360. However, if i were to do push-pull at different fan speeds, other rads, including almost all of the HWlabs rads, perform much better.

So if I were you, I'd determine really what noise level I'd want first, pick the fan setup, and then match the fans to the rad.
 

cyclone3d

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So the Arctic P14 pwm pst fans look nice.

I wish the CO version came in a value pack... I really like dual ball bearing motors but not sure I can justify the extra price.

Anything better currently out there for low noise and high static pressure?
 
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Be quiet and noctua. They can be expensive depending on the model you go with but they are both high quality brands and last forever.
 

cyclone3d

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I'll have to check them out. I have some Noctua fans already but have never been impressed with the amount of air they push. The dual ball bearing Rosewill fans are far superior to Noctua in that regard and they are just as quiet if not quieter as well. I'm just sad that they stopped making them.
 

cyclone3d

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So I looked at the Noctua and Be Quiet fans... Noctua doesn't even have any that are rated for as high pressure as the Arctic cooling fans unless you go up to the industrial high speed ones... The 3000 rpm one is silly.

The Be Quiet fans don't have a full square frame around them. How are they supposed to not leak a bunch of air around the edges when mounted on a radiator? Is there something I am missing?
 

slavie

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Don't forget, "static pressure" measurements are self reported by fan manufacturers. There isn't a standard across the industry, so you cannot compare listed specs across manufacturers.
Noctua makes static pressure fans alright. They have static pressure and airflow lines. Cheat sheet: wider fins = pressure optimized, narrower fins = airflow optimized.
 
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cyclone3d

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Yeah... and I wish that there were actually good fan reviews that measured static pressure. I also wish that there was an idustry atandard that was used to test the cfm, static pressure and dba of fans.

I will say this.. the stock Noctua fans that came with the NH-D14 have nothing on the old Rosewill fans. The Noctua fans don't push much air at all through the D-14. The Rosewill fans on the other hand do and it shows in the load temps. The Rosewill fans also have a much higher max RPM.
 

cyclone3d

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So, radiators tend to perform differently depending on fan type, speed, push vs push/pull, etc.

I've been using this roundup for years: https://www.xtremerigs.net/2015/02/11/radiator-round-2015/5/

The gist of it is, it shows you how each rad performs in watts, per fan speed and setup.

For a person like me, who only uses Scythe AP-15's, at 1850RPM in push, the highest performer is an EK XE360. However, if i were to do push-pull at different fan speeds, other rads, including almost all of the HWlabs rads, perform much better.

So if I were you, I'd determine really what noise level I'd want first, pick the fan setup, and then match the fans to the rad.

How do I match the fans to the rad since there is no standard way that is used to test the fans? That roundup only uses a single type of fan so that is pretty useless except to tell the performance difference between the radiators with the specific fan model that was used in that roundup.
 

NightReaver

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How do I match the fans to the rad since there is no standard way that is used to test the fans? That roundup only uses a single type of fan so that is pretty useless except to tell the performance difference between the radiators with the specific fan model that was used in that roundup.
You still don't know what type of fans to get until you know what radiator you want. That roundup shows what types of fans those radiators will want.

The radiators that perform the best at low rpm work best with "silent" (low rpm) fans. The downside is that their performance ceiling is much lower. As you get to higher and higher fan rpm, the ones that rise above the rest want high pressure fans, which are going to be higher rpm. They usually perform poorly with quiet fans (especially something like the GTR series), but have a much higher performance ceiling.

Then you have push pull that can be used in 2 ways. Either to give absolute high performance cooling, or to be able to run high pressure fans at a lower speed to get the required pressure for the radiator, which is why I use push/pull with my GTR.


So first, you have to decide what type of radiator you want. Then you can look at fans.
 
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Rad thickness, fpi and fan rpm(noise). Are the easiest ways to break it down. Thick rads generally need more static pressure. Higher static pressure almost always means higher rpm.
More fpi generally needs more static pressure.
Rpm is up to your ears or headset.
Find the best rad for your rig. Then match it up with the best static pressure fan you can tolerate.
 

Tsumi

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The Nemesis GTS series will be better suited for your goals than the Koolance units. High FPI is a performance detriment until about 1500 RPM (give or take 200). It'll be about equivalent for 300 RPM, and then high FPI starts pulling ahead above 2000 RPM. Running push/pull drops the RPM range by about 300 RPM or so.
 

cyclone3d

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Went ahead and decided to get the Thermaltake CL420 - Newegg had a $15 discount code so that helped a bit.
https://www.thermaltakeusa.com/pacific-cl420-radiator.html

64mm, 3 rows of 16 tubes, 14 fpi, 4 ports on the tank end and one port on the other end.

It will of course have to be mounted externally but that will also give me the option of using 38mm thick fans if I want to.
 

cyclone3d

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Well, since nobody has responded about fans I went looking again.

I will probably end up getting some of the 3000 rpm Noctua fans... but the actual review I found of them showed they only did about 2700rpm max but the did go down to way lower minimum rpm than rated so I guess that may be good.

Another person who posted a comment said that he had 9 of them and they all were about the same and that they slowed down significantly when used on a radiator.
https://www.relaxedtech.com/reviews/noctua/nf-a14-industrialppc/1

I went looking some more and found some stupid crazy fans I had forgotten about and a few that I didn't know existed:
These are all 38mm thick.

Delta PFM1412DE-SP02 7.5A "It hovers about 1.5 inches off the ground, and it puts out around 600 cfm at 8500 rpm. I'd put the noise level around 65 dba"
https://www.overclock.net/threads/inside-the-7-5a-delta-fans.1614544/

Delta PFM1412DEB7V - 3.90A, 46.8W, 6500RPM, 282.31CFM, 51.65mmH20, 70dBa (specs per Delta)

Delta PFM1412DE 14038 - 5.04A, 60.48W, 5500RPM, wind speed 18m/s, 328CFM, 65dBa

Delta PFC1412HE-00 - Current:9.0A,Power: 108w, speed: 7500RPM ± 10%, wind speed: 19m / s, air volume: 380CFM, wind pressure: 15mmH2O, noise: 59dba.

BGears b-Blaster - 308cfm at 5200 rpm and rated for 31.08 mmH20
https://www.bgears.com/b-blaster/


CoolerGuys - rated at 211 cfm at 2700 rpm and 11.67 mmH20
https://www.coolerguys.com/products/coolerguys-140mm-140x140x38-high-airflow-ip67-fan
 

NightReaver

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There's only one type of fan for a RAD. HSP.
Not if you're going for slim rads that are optimized for the <1000 rpm range. Now while yes, I personally disagree with that sort of watercooling, some people do like it.
 

cyclone3d

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How's this for an idea... 38mm for push and 25mm for pull.

Reason I am thinking this is because most of the 38mm have the secondary stationary blade thing that is supposed to help with static pressure.. and it is also giving the blade more space between it and the radiator which is a good thing.

I don't see that being helpful at all when used as puller fans.

In fact, it would be helpful if the puller fans were moved away from the radiator a bit as well. Will reduce the dead spot where the motor is and reduce turbulence and thus overall noise.

I might also experiment with doing the same thing on the push side since I will have a bit of room inside the case to mount the fans lower.
 

VirtualMirage

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So I looked at the Noctua and Be Quiet fans... Noctua doesn't even have any that are rated for as high pressure as the Arctic cooling fans unless you go up to the industrial high speed ones... The 3000 rpm one is silly.

The Be Quiet fans don't have a full square frame around them. How are they supposed to not leak a bunch of air around the edges when mounted on a radiator? Is there something I am missing?
I have the BeQuiet SilentWings 3 HS fans on my radiator, I don't notice any leakage with the way they are designed. I think you might be overthinking the housing design overall instead of focusing on the internal shroud that the blades are housed in. They have a lip that goes around this to get it nice and close to the radiator along with the mount holes have two sides to them, want to get the fans real close to the radiator and the other side spaces it a little further away in case you have clearance issues.

Looking at your later posts, it doesn't appear you are concerned about noise levels. Noctua and BeQuiet, to me, are the best options when you are looking for a nice balance between noise and static pressure. My case sits on the desk only a few feet from me, so I wanted it fairly quiet. And for having 11 case fans (not including power supply and GPU), it is pretty quiet all things considering). 9 of the fans are BeQuiet SilentWings 3 fans and two are Noctuas. If noise is not a concern, then go with Noctua industrials or the Delta fans. But you are going to reach a point of diminishing returns, especially with thinner radiators. I see that you ordered the Thermaltake, but I thought you said you were limited to a radiator that was 40mm or thinner. That one looks to be 64mm thick! For a thicker radiator, I would recommend a push/pull setup versus a single fan to keep the noise level down. Otherwise, you will need to crank the fans up to help extract the heat out of the radiator.

I currently have the Corsair XR7 240mm in my SFF case, which is 54mm thick, with the 2 120mm SilentWings 3 HS fans on it cooling just the CPU (overclocked Ryzen 9 3900XT). I should probably be doing a push/pull, but there isn't enough room. It all works fine, but if I had to do it over again I would either use Noctua's on this radiator or go for the XR5 280mm (30mm thick) and do a push/pull setup with either 140mm SilentWings 3 HS or Noctuas. The XR7 has more volume, which has its own pros, but the XR5 280 has more surface area and I might be able to fit a push/pull setup with it. That would allow me to move more air at lower RPM's and might even be able to outperform the XR7 despite having less volume at a lower noise ceiling. But it was my first build from scratch water cooling setup, so it was a learning experience.
 

NightReaver

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Your build kinda confuses me at this point, lol. You don't want too much noise, but then want to throw some extremely overkill fans on that rad. You're just cooling a CPU on a 420mm rad. I'd guess that even artic 140s will do just fine, especially in push/pull. My GTR 480 is using corsair ml120s in push-pull. Currently cooling an overclocked 1080ti and 5600X at a 3 degree temp delta and 50% fan speed. Those fans max out at only 4.2mm/h20 (according to corsair), and the GTR radiators demand static pressure to perform.
 

kamikazi

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How's this for an idea... 38mm for push and 25mm for pull.

Reason I am thinking this is because most of the 38mm have the secondary stationary blade thing that is supposed to help with static pressure.. and it is also giving the blade more space between it and the radiator which is a good thing.

I don't see that being helpful at all when used as puller fans.

In fact, it would be helpful if the puller fans were moved away from the radiator a bit as well. Will reduce the dead spot where the motor is and reduce turbulence and thus overall noise.

I might also experiment with doing the same thing on the push side since I will have a bit of room inside the case to mount the fans lower.
I know that it's exciting when you start planning your water cooling build. I started mine last year around this time. I think that you are way overthinking this thing. In the end, you can spend hundreds of extra dollars chasing a degree or two lower temps while also making your rig nice and loud in the process. You can also lower and raise temps a degree or two based on how well you seated your water block with whatever TIM you are using. You already have your water block and radiator, so there is no changing that, but in general, I would encourage people to just go for one of the very low restrictive radiators from HW Labs that also has low fin density paired with a low restrictive waterblock. They will perform with the best until you get up into the extreme high RPM/static pressure fans and extreme pressure pumps. My Corsair radiator is from HW Labs and my water block is low restriction. Almost no one wants to tolerate the kind of noise that comes from super loud pumps and fans. I ended up going with flexible tubing for simplicity. With the way mine is set up, I could pull the water block and replace the CPU without draining the loop. Something to think about.
 

cyclone3d

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Your build kinda confuses me at this point, lol. You don't want too much noise, but then want to throw some extremely overkill fans on that rad. You're just cooling a CPU on a 420mm rad. I'd guess that even artic 140s will do just fine, especially in push/pull. My GTR 480 is using corsair ml120s in push-pull. Currently cooling an overclocked 1080ti and 5600X at a 3 degree temp delta and 50% fan speed. Those fans max out at only 4.2mm/h20 (according to corsair), and the GTR radiators demand static pressure to perform.

Heh... I do tend to kinda go overkill but I also intend to keep this setup for quite a while.

My wife's system has had a Corsair H100i cooling the CPU for the past few years and while it hasn't given me one bit of trouble the air being pushed out of the radiator is always quite warm when the system is under any kind of load. Not something I would trust to keep it cool when doing any real overclocking.

I am not too concerned about noise as I do use headphones but I figure at idle with a huge radiator, I will be able to just about have the fans turn off and then under load it can ramp them up.

I may add the GPU to the loop at some point as well but I just want to start out with the CPU for now since that is what I am having trouble with.

I figure it is better to design it to handle way more than I currently need instead of just getting exactly what I need now and then have to replace parts if/when I add the GPU.
 

NightReaver

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I figure it is better to design it to handle way more than I currently need instead of just getting exactly what I need now and then have to replace parts if/when I add the GPU.
Oh I agree with this. The only thing is you're wanting to toss a lot of fan on a radiator that I really don't think warrants it. It's thick, sure. But when I see pics of the fins, they look like the standard relatively loose design I see on a lot of normal rads. I would guess that the Artic 140s would have no problem, especially in push/pull.

That's why I used my GTR as a comparison since it probably has a lot more air restriction and yet my ML120s keep my liquid temp pretty close to ambient even though they have much less power than those 38mm thick deltas.

001.PNG
FPI doesn't mean much by itself, nor does tube count or core thickness.
 
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With that tt rad only being 14fpi you arent going to need massive static pressure or cfm fans to cool it effectively. The lower the fpi the easier it is to move air through so you can use pretty much any fan you want despite it being a thick rad as long as they arent complete junk. As far as static pressure goes youve got the whole spectrum of price to performance to choose from.

NightReaver the GTR series is like no other ive tested. the more air you push through them the better they perform. everything else hits a wall and thats that, you cant get any better temps out of them. ive got a gtr 240 that i had hooked up to my 8086k w/ ek supremacy full nickel block and a pair of noctua 3000s. i was amazed at how well it cooled that thing. for benching they are the best rads you can get imo.
 
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cyclone3d

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Well... Maybe I will try the Arctic fans first since they are so cheap. If I don't like them for the radiator, I can always use them as case fans.
 

NightReaver

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With that tt rad only being 14fpi you arent going to need massive static pressure or cfm fans to cool it effectively. The lower the fpi the easier it is to move air through so you can use pretty much any fan you want despite it being a thick rad as long as they arent complete junk. As far as static pressure goes youve got the whole spectrum of price to performance to choose from.

NightReaver the GTR series is like no other ive tested. the more air you push through them the better they perform. everything else hits a wall and thats that, you cant get any better temps out of them. ive got a gtr 240 that i had hooked up to my 8086k w/ ek supremacy full nickel block and a pair of noctua 3000s. i was amazed at how well it cooled that thing. for benching they are the best rads you can get imo.
I always get a laugh out of the graphs where it starts at dead last in the low rpm tests, and then just runs away from the pack the higher you go. They literally thought of everything they could to eek out every bit of performance from those fins.
 

Tsumi

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The original Black Ice GTS radiators would also have been good for the 38 mm fans. High 30 FPI design, just like the Koolance unit, while being super thin at 30mm.
 

cyclone3d

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The original Black Ice GTS radiators would also have been good for the 38 mm fans. High 30 FPI design, just like the Koolance unit, while being super thin at 30mm.
Super thin, yes, but the more rows (overall number of tubes) the radiator has the more surface area the water has to cool it down.

The Thermaltake is a 14 fpi triple core radiator with 48 total tubes while the Black Ice Nemesis GTR is a 16 fpi dual core radiator with a total of I think 36 tubes.

The Black Ice Nemesis GTS is a 16 fpi single core radiator with a total of 14 tubes. The regular GT Stealth looks to also only have 14 tubes but is of course 30 fpi.

It seems like the Thermaltake is a really good radiator on paper and was also a lot cheaper than the GTX or GTR.

I guess I will find out once everything arrives and I get it set up.

I couldn't find a single review of any of the sizes of the Thermaltake copper radiators. Seems like reviews of this sort have basically stopped in the last couple years.
 

cyclone3d

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On another note, I did find one of the bgears b-Blaster 140x38 fans for only $18 shipped. I want to at least test it out at different speeds to see what the noise profile is like and what the lowest rpm it will operate at is since the only video I could find of it only showed it at full speed.

Still contemplating what fans I want to get.
 

Tsumi

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One thing that is relatively unique about Black Ice radiators that I don't often see on other radiators is the flow configuration. Most radiators do a flow pattern where it is a U from side to side. Black Ice radiators, with the exception of the thin GTS, is front to back, or back to front, depending on flow configuration. With these types of radiators, there is actually an optimal flow configuration. You want the hot (inlet) side to be on the exhaust side of the radiator while the cool (outlet) side should be on the intake.
 

cyclone3d

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One thing that is relatively unique about Black Ice radiators that I don't often see on other radiators is the flow configuration. Most radiators do a flow pattern where it is a U from side to side. Black Ice radiators, with the exception of the thin GTS, is front to back, or back to front, depending on flow configuration. With these types of radiators, there is actually an optimal flow configuration. You want the hot (inlet) side to be on the exhaust side of the radiator while the cool (outlet) side should be on the intake.
I actually didn't realize that before though I had actually though that it would be a good design.
 
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