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 Post subject: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:09 am 
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http://www.silentpcreview.com/Quiet_Liq ... uild_Guide

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 11:50 am 
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KUDOS Mike, KUDOS!

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:08 pm 
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Uhm, I'm not through reading yet, but I doubt that running a pump empty is a good thing to do. Usually they get damaged, don't they?

edit: har, I get the feeling that you are not quite convinced by water cooling :mrgreen:


Last edited by Cistron on Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:19 pm 
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A fun read. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 1:27 pm 
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So first of all, running a pump dry damages it very fast. It's also a lot louder without liquid so testing it dry is useless. Pitty that the test on the Laing DDC 3.2 was done dry, I was actually looking forward to a SPCR review of that pump. Maybe it's not damaged and you could still run a test on it ? :D :D

Second, when using a simpler loop like this (one CPU, one GPU, one radiator and pump connected directly to the reservoir) you usually don't need a powerful pump, especially when using low flow optimized components (such as the blocks and radiators built by EK). The D5 pump is very powerful, and the DDC 3.2 pump is also the most powerful model. Thus they can be safely run at lower speeds without having any noticeable impact on the performance of the loop. See thisfor more details about how flow contributes to the performance.

Thirdly, bay reservoirs tend to contribute a lot to the pump being loud for two main reasons. The first one is that the pump is hooked to the reservoir directly an thus the reservoir vibrates. This has been mitigated in your case by suspending it. The second reason is that a bay reservoir is very difficult to bleed (get the air out of the system) and thus the pump will pull in air into the loop and causing it to both under-perform and be louder. Having the pump running continuously is one way to mitigate this, another might be to try to get all the air out of the loop, by tilting the case and refilling constantly until there is no more air, but this tends to be difficult with a bay reservoir due to it's shape and the way the pump is positioned (on the side rather than on the bottom). On a more common loop the radiator is on top of the pump and thus the pump is always filled with liquid and thus quieter.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 2:58 pm 
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dansergiu wrote:
So first of all, running a pump dry damages it very fast. It's also a lot louder without liquid so testing it dry is useless. Pitty that the test on the Laing DDC 3.2 was done dry, I was actually looking forward to a SPCR review of that pump. Maybe it's not damaged and you could still run a test on it ? :D :D

Second, when using a simpler loop like this (one CPU, one GPU, one radiator and pump connected directly to the reservoir) you usually don't need a powerful pump, especially when using low flow optimized components (such as the blocks and radiators built by EK). The D5 pump is very powerful, and the DDC 3.2 pump is also the most powerful model. Thus they can be safely run at lower speeds without having any noticeable impact on the performance of the loop. See thisfor more details about how flow contributes to the performance.

Thirdly, bay reservoirs tend to contribute a lot to the pump being loud for two main reasons. The first one is that the pump is hooked to the reservoir directly an thus the reservoir vibrates. This has been mitigated in your case by suspending it. The second reason is that a bay reservoir is very difficult to bleed (get the air out of the system) and thus the pump will pull in air into the loop and causing it to both under-perform and be louder. Having the pump running continuously is one way to mitigate this, another might be to try to get all the air out of the loop, by tilting the case and refilling constantly until there is no more air, but this tends to be difficult with a bay reservoir due to it's shape and the way the pump is positioned (on the side rather than on the bottom). On a more common loop the radiator is on top of the pump and thus the pump is always filled with liquid and thus quieter.

Good info, thanks. I wondered if I was damaging the pump running it dry... but didn't get clarification from the sample supplier. It wasn't done very long, and sounded bad right from the start. I suspect the bearing on that pump failed for whatever reason. I've requested a second sample of the pump, and as I stated in the article conclusions, will report back any new findings.

So from your comments, it sounds like you're an old hand at water cooling? Is there a separate reservoir type or model you'd recommend?

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:42 pm 
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Quote:
Another interesting lesson is that low liquid flow rate need not be an obstacle to good cooling

Indeed. This has been found out a long, long time ago - about 12 years or so ago, when I was active in the emerging watercooling scene. Back then, the community was filled with middle-aged hobbyists who had the curiosity, patience and know-how to conduct hobby-level science. And some of the things they found out quickly were
a) flow rate doesn't matter
b) hose diameter doesn't matter
c) loop order doesn't matter
d) multiple independent loops don't make sense

Sadly in the years that followed the case-modding, kilowatt PSU-using hardcore oc enthusiast generation took over and for them, those findings don't make sense and so they keep perpetuating all the wrong things.

Watercooling also has been rather pointless for a couple of years. It was great in those days when CPUs didn't throttle, fans could not be controlled thermally, CPU coolers were small and noisy and GPU coolers hardly existed.

Today, quiet aircooling is almost too easy. Almost every decently sized tower heatsink keeps the CPU in check, a bunch of CPUs are semi-passive, as are a bunch of GPUs, and 512 GB SSDs are actually affordable.
Heck, even pre-built systems from Dell et al. are reasonably quiet...


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 4:56 pm 
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This is pretty much exactly my setup, except I use the Laing DDC3.2 PWM pump with reservoir pump top, and a second 290 in crossfire with accompanying triple radiator (different case). The thing to note about the reservoir top is that the materials it's made of is pretty low quality - I've managed to strip the threads for the mounting screws, and later on the input hose connector. You seriously need to use an extra extender for the input fitting as well, not just the output fitting as described in the manual. What's good about it is that it has an EK logo thing inside, which together with some foam supposedly helps reduce water turbulence, and thus noise. There's also a decoupling mount for the pump which helps reduce noise further, though it's not a perfect decoupling.

This is what it looks like, set up:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/16yubzyqymfn1 ... g.JPG?dl=0

The fans in that picture are actually mounted the wrong way - I've since flipped them. One thing I haven't really tested, is if mounting the fans in push exhaust mode would reduce the noise or not. The disadvantage would be that you'd eventually get dust stuck on the radiator and a pain to clean.

One note of warning about water cooling setups like this - I've had leaks because as the water temperature goes up high enough, it makes the rubber tubing softer, so you don't get as tight a seal on the fittings. Originally I used strip ties as recommended by the DIY shop I got the parts from, but they probably weren't thinking of crossfire R9 290s - they get way hotter than most cards out there. I now use plumbing grade o-rings that I've re-tightened as the temperature goes up. I've not tried the EK compression fittings mind you. It's possible they're better in this regard.

Another piece of advice: never ever power up the motherboard and other components until you've fully filled the system, gotten rid of all air bubbles and tested it for leaks. Put tissue paper in strategic spots (make sure they can't do any ESD damage) so you can see if any leaks have occurred, and also check the fittings for "sweating". This can take several hours. It's also a good idea to remember that you occasionally will have to empty and refill the system for maintenance, so plan for this when you design the setup so that you don't get lots of nasty red water all over your work table and computer parts.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:03 pm 
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Tim, completely agree that there's not much point to water cooling - except if you use multiple hot GPUs in crossfire or SLI. The best silent air coolers sadly aren't very crossfire/SLI friendly, and put a much higher thermal load on the system itself when it comes to airflow etc.

Of course there is one other reason to use water cooling; it's fun :) . It's an extra challenge to set up and build a good system, and it will give you lower temperatures than you can achieve with air alone, if you want to experiment with overclocking.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 5:33 pm 
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flinx wrote:
Tim, completely agree that there's not much point to water cooling - except if you use multiple hot GPUs in crossfire or SLI. The best silent air coolers sadly aren't very crossfire/SLI friendly, and put a much higher thermal load on the system itself when it comes to airflow etc.

I don't know. The last couple of GPU generations had some pretty darn quiet models, especially from MSI and Asus. The current gen is even semi-passive. Put that in a Silverstone FT05 and I bet you it'll not be noisier than aircooling.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:18 pm 
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flinx & tim --

I agree with both of you: liquid cooling only makes sense when the thermal load is very high -- and dense. If there's room around the components, like the CPU in most tower style cases these days, then air-only is the obvious choice.

This changes as soon as you go to the VGA. For several years, until the latest nvidia gtx900 series, top GPUs were absurdly hot: 250~300W on a VGA card is such an awkward thermal load to cool. None of them were quiet at load w/air only. Two? No way. This is where liquid cooling makes more sense.

I knew working on this piece that there were probably some refugees and retirees from water cooling lurking here. :lol: And a lot of what I'd "discover" would be old hat for lots of them. Still, it's watercooling from an SPCR angle, and it's not quite the same old same old, is it?

I welcome suggestions on how to approach crossfire with this system as the starting point, btw.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Wed Jan 14, 2015 6:43 pm 
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Well the most obvious way to do it is to add another radiator like I did. The only issue at that point is space for it. I've not tried using just one radiator for dual 290s, so not sure how well it would handle the extra load. It's possible you'll just hit a higher temperature equilibrium, as the 290s are designed to be run at 95C constantly when using a fan. A double or single fan size extra radiator mounted in front might be all that's needed to keep things stable and happy, not necessarily a triple like I used. But then I figure I can stick in a third video card in my setup if I wanted to without increasing the cooling.

If you look at the picture of my setup, you'll notice there's two tubes going between the video cards - they're fixed length and you order them based on how many slots of space there is between each card. A problem is sourcing the extra video card, since not that many make reference cards anymore, and the water block needs to fit. EK has a configurator on their web site you can use to check compatibility.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:16 am 
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A great read, nice to get the take on watercooling from SPCR / MikeC. :)

As Flinx pointed out, a second radiator would be optimal. Rule of thumb is 1X 120mm rad for each component you wish to cool, and 2X 120mm rad for each component if you overclock.

Of course you have to achieve a balance between cooling and noise, adding more fans will usually add to the baseline noise. Unless you run them extremely slow, but then they want do any good.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:12 am 
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Quote:
So from your comments, it sounds like you're an old hand at water cooling?


:lol: Ha ha. No. I'm enthusiastic but I have little hands on experience with watercooling actually. I just like to keep informed so I guess I have read a lot of articles (and watched a lot of videos) about it.

Regarding a better reservoir & pump in term of loudness I believe something like this might work better. Mounted vertically this assures that there's always liquid in the pump.

Or, you could separate the reservoir from the pump, and go with a pump top only, like this. You can then isolate the pump only for the quietest possible setup. There are actually products specifically for this, such as the Aquacomputer Shoggy Sandwitch

For the Laing DDC pump variant there's even a Silent Box from Alphacool.

For me, watercooling is interesting in MiniITX boxes, such as the Ncase M1, because it allows me to "move" the heat in the case to a point where I am comfortable to put a radiator and fans, rather than making sure that there is enough airflow in the case to reach the heatsinks around the components, and thus make the system quieter (even if it's not completely silent).


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:36 am 
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dansergiu -- thanks for your suggestions & comments, will explore. You do know that we used watercooling in our NCASE gaming build, right?

BTW, I have this to report: I solved the mystery of that screeching noise. Took 15 mins, should have done it before.

1. Power up the EK-SBAY DDC 3.2 PWM pump/reservoir again to confirm nasty noise
2. Powered down and removed the pump -- 4 screws. The backside turned out to be just a press fitted cover which came off with barely any prying. Front has the pump paddle impeller fitted on the motor shaft and an O-ring pressed up against the reservoir.
3. Powered the pump motor up bare and heard no screeching whatsoever. Listened to it w/ pwm control over the whole speed range -- no audible sign of bearing issues.
4. Put the pump back in the reservoir, tightened screws firmly but gently. Power it back up -- nasty screeching noise is back.
5.With pump still running, I loosened one screw about one turn -- and the screeching almost disappeared. Tightened screw, screeching is completely back. Loosen screw -- screech way less.
6. Turn all the screw back to completely tight then backed off about a half turn loose for all -- now there is no screeching at all!

So the screeching is a resonance in the reservoir that's excited by the frequency of the vibration in the motor. The only question now is whether the level of vibration in this pump motor is higher than normal. If this is normal behavior of this reservoir/pump combo, absolutely everyone would complain. I think the shaft in this pump motor is probably a bit bent -- I could see a fair bit of wobble running it bare while holding it in my hand.

Finally, having examined the electric motor & the pump attached to the shaft, I can't see any reason why the pump would be at risk for damage if run without water. It's just an electric motor with a specialized impeller. Ditto all the pumps used in watercooling, assuming the basic design is the same.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:13 pm 
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Hey Mike, just to let you know, I really appreciate looking into this.

The Laing DDC pump is a wet running pump. What that means is that it doesn't use lubricant other than the water it pushes. Thus, running it without water, means you run it without lubricant and you cause overheating and unneeded friction.

You mentioned a wobble of the impeller. That's actually as designed, it's not the shaft being bent. Here is a video with the internals of the pump and you can see the wobble. The idea is that the water around it will stabilize it during operation and ensure a proper lubrication. Without water it will stabilize due to the centrifugal forces but the risk of hitting the shaft or the casing at the start is higher. In most cases thought the pump gets damaged by overheating.

Also, the pumps are not fans, the electrical engine driving them is a bit different since most of them are wet running pumps and thus have no lubricant of their own, which is not true in the case of fans that in all cases have some sort of lubricant.

Interesting observation about the resonance of the pump in the reservoir, I've never thought of that. I wonder how pronounced is that resonance when the reservoir is filled with water ?


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 12:38 pm 
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dansergiu wrote:
Regarding a better reservoir & pump in term of loudness I believe something like this might work better. Mounted vertically this assures that there's always liquid in the pump.


That's the reservoir that I have, but with a different pump. You'll notice it comes with a bracket with dampening screws to help reduce vibration noise. The only real issue with it is as I noted that materials for the base aren't very durable and you have to be careful when screwing in fittings and screws so you don't overtighten and strip the threads.

By the way, it might be helpful to show the total price of just the water cooling components in the article, so you have a better idea of what the full entrance cost to this kind of setup is like.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:00 pm 
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Interesting build, MikeC.

FWIW, I haven't WCed in years, largely because of pump noise. I also don't run 300W GPUs, so air simply makes more sense these days.

Quote:
It seems that any air bubbles trapped in the system eventually get released in the reservoir. Within a couple of hours of system power on, there was hardly any bubbling noise. Keeping the pump running continuously seems the best way to prevent bubbling noises if they bother you.

Sounds like you didn't get it fully bled. Placing the reservoir as the highest point in the system really helps here, even if that's only for the bleeding stage. With the rad up top, adding a brass bleed screw & sealing washer to an end tank would help as well.

Quote:
We've routinely seen GPU temperatures at >80°C at full tilt in our stress testing of both video cards and the recent gaming systems. If the pump in this system isn't rated for operation with water hotter than 60°C, given that temperature in a liquid loop will tend to equalize over time, does this mean we need to keep the GPU and CPU temperatures below 60°C? The airflow needed for such a level of cooling could mean really high fan RPM, and ultimately, a lot more noise than we want.

Martin's 360 testing indicates that similar rads dump about 200W with water 10C warmer than the air at higher fan speeds, similar to your 1st test. Air exhaust temp nearly reaches water temp, which barely changes. Can you measure air temp delta across the rad, Mike? Sounds like it should be around 20C. Water temp should be close.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:05 pm 
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dansergiu wrote:
Hey Mike, just to let you know, I really appreciate looking into this.

The Laing DDC pump is a wet running pump. What that means is that it doesn't use lubricant other than the water it pushes. Thus, running it without water, means you run it without lubricant and you cause overheating and unneeded friction.

I'm not seeing it. The only portion of this motor/pump that comes in contact with the water is the paddle -- and tip of the shaft that the paddle is on. Where is the bearing that it would come in contact with water? I can take it apart again and take another close look, I guess...
Quote:
You mentioned a wobble of the impeller. That's actually as designed, it's not the shaft being bent. Here is a video with the internals of the pump and you can see the wobble. The idea is that the water around it will stabilize it during operation and ensure a proper lubrication. Without water it will stabilize due to the centrifugal forces but the risk of hitting the shaft or the casing at the start is higher. In most cases thought the pump gets damaged by overheating.

Can't see the video but see what you're saying here.
Quote:
Interesting observation about the resonance of the pump in the reservoir, I've never thought of that. I wonder how pronounced is that resonance when the reservoir is filled with water ?

It would surely be less, but I think some of it would remain. I'll have to try it. Somehow.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 1:20 pm 
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Ah, just had an exchange of emails with another water diehard who suggests the bearing is right at the impeller, which make sense -- ie, the wobbling. Hence the general don't run w/o water warnings... OK.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:11 pm 
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I actually made an account just so I could discuss this, but it seems that by the time I've gotten around to activating the account, others had made my point already. XD

Though I think it's fantastic that SPCR is getting into custom water cooling, as it seems like the answer to having an amazingly powerful gaming machine while maintaining <20dbA noise levels.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 2:36 pm 
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Aaargh. Pasted the wrong link. Here's what I wanted to show you: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l9-_vLiEkyI#t=542 . Actually the whole video is very informative as you can see the various components of the pump. The idea is that the water will fill the chamber that houses the impeller, rotor and the shaft and acts as lubricant as well.


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:34 pm 
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OK, I get it. I took the pump out and examined it more closely. Still, I doubt there's any bearing damage; it wouldn't sound smooth and quiet even by itself if the bearing was damaged. I took a couple pics for those who might be interested but wouldn't dig deep for themselves. These pics are now part of the postscript on the last page. http://www.silentpcreview.com/article1437-page10.html

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 3:36 pm 
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Wow! just came back from vacation and saw the title. Reading this later if sleep deprivation doesn't win the race :D
Thanks in advance Mike! been waiting for this!


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:59 pm 
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Xyvotha wrote:
Wow! just came back from vacation and saw the title. Reading this later if sleep deprivation doesn't win the race :D
Thanks in advance Mike! been waiting for this!

Then wait a while more :mrgreen: because:
MikeC wrote:

Hopefully that's where water cooling may give air cooling a run for its money, noise-wise! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Fri Jan 16, 2015 8:06 am 
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Great! looking forward for it :)


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 6:46 am 
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Great article! Thank you.

There's a typo at the beginning of page 6, the Intel i5 is 4690 and not 4790 (you meant the i7 I suppose).


Last edited by Joxx on Tue Jan 20, 2015 7:08 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 9:17 am 
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Xyvotha wrote:
Wow! just came back from vacation and saw the title. Reading this later if sleep deprivation doesn't win the race :D
Thanks in advance Mike! been waiting for this!

Insane work documenting this quest indeed, and I can see it got a lot of views. Well deserved! :D
I've been in the edge of trying W/C in the past years, the SPCR PoV was the missing piece, thanks a lot for the effort!


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 10:43 am 
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Joxx wrote:
Great article! Thank you.
There's a typo at the beginning of page 6, the Intel i5 is 4690 and not 4790 (you meant the i7 I suppose).

No typo. 4770K was used, iirc... maybe 4790k -- it's starting to blur.
Joxx wrote:
Great article! Thank you.
Xyvotha wrote:
Insane work documenting this quest indeed, and I can see it got a lot of views. Well deserved! :D
I've been in the edge of trying W/C in the past years, the SPCR PoV was the missing piece, thanks a lot for the effort!

Thanks. It was a huge amount of work -- the actual work itself + the writup. So many details -- I actually left a bunch out so it wouldn't be any longer. 9500 words, according to my word counter. Too many, but I don't think I could have said everything I wanted in much fewer.

The parts for the crossfire version are coming. Two possibilities pursued w/ fullcover waterblock on 2nd 290 (and X actually) -- using 6 fans on radiator on push-pull mode or adding a 2-fan radiator in the loop in front. The latter will assure good cooling, and perhaps little-or-no increase in noise; the former could be an interesting experiment. We'll see with time constraints.

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Mike Chin, SPCR Editor/Publisher
Support SPCR by buying your gear through these links: MSI R9 280X Gaming 3G for $189!, Amazon and Newegg


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 Post subject: Re: Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide
PostPosted: Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:41 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 19, 2014 11:54 am
Posts: 15
MikeC wrote:
The parts for the crossfire version are coming. Two possibilities pursued w/ fullcover waterblock on 2nd 290 (and X actually) -- using 6 fans on radiator on push-pull mode or adding a 2-fan radiator in the loop in front. The latter will assure good cooling, and perhaps little-or-no increase in noise; the former could be an interesting experiment. We'll see with time constraints.


I do wish you go with the front rad option, it makes total sense. It will be much more beneficial than the 200mm fan and, as you said, it won't increase noise by much if at all.
Did you consider using other fans? How about Noiseblocker's M12-S1, which you tested in 2012?

Regards and keep up the good work.


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