case stays upright
I think the idea was not to tilt it long term, but just for a few minutes to get rid of the suspected airlock in the rad. You could probably do pretty well just by picking it up and tilting. I would probably lean the case back onto it's backside. If you have the res filled all the way then you should be OK with doing a momentary tilt. If you have as big an air bubble as I expect, the res may end up full of air, and you will need to repeat the fill and tilt drill a couple of times, but that will GREATLY improve your cooling. If you have the size bubble I suspect you may be loosing 50% or more of your possible flow.
rotating the radiator 90/180/270 degrees will require drilling new holes and i don't have the time to go to such measures. it was a shortsight i should have fixed when i was planning out the system but for now i'll just live with it.
True - somehow it always seems to take longer to fix it than it does to have done it right in the first place... :p However I don't know that it would take THAT much work to just do the rad flip. I agree that other fixes would be harder, but I don't see why that one would be a big problem.
i've now narrowed down the cause of the highish temps to 4 good reasons:
1) temperature reading is the cpu socket temp which receives next to now airflow with a wc setup, hence it reads a higher temp (this is explained well on the swiftech site)
Possible, no real way to tell without some form of better temp readout.
2) crappy cpu waterblock and mounting.
Possibly the mounting - though the block itself is supposedly pretty decent. Is there any way you can bend anything on the mount to make it press a bit harder?
3) too small radiator - will upgrade to a heatercore later.
The small rad isn't helping, but I suspect the vapor lock is more of a problem. Just as a quick thought, if you turn off just the fan, does the rad get warm? If not, there is definitely a flow prob with the rad, it should get just as warm as any other part in the system without airflow to make it cold.
4) order of tubing: should be pump -> radiator -> cpu, not pump -> cpu. The pump is putting a significant amount of heat into the loop.
DEFINITELY NOT!!! The entire 'component order' thing is a myth generated by poor thinking and the older badly designed low flow systems. In any system with a decent flow rate (i.e >1/2 GPM (1-2 LPM) there will be less than 1*C difference between the highest and lowest temps in the loop, and there will be no significant difference in CPU temp due to component sequence.!
I repeat the oft made assertion that your biggest single problem is the air bubble that nearly everyone that has posted on this thread thinks is present based on your pix and the rad mount that you used.