Water cooling for silence
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Author:  bobkoure [ Mon Jan 13, 2003 10:34 am ]
Post subject:  Water cooling for silence

There's a lot of info out there on water cooling - but it's almost all focused at the overclocking gang - who don't seem to care about the amount of noise coming out of their systems (probably can't hear it over the blaring game sounds coming out of their speakers anyway :-) )
It seems like practically any watercooling setup would effectively cool an un-overclocked system (even the non 1.3 Athalons (Palomino) which need to dissipate up to 72W) - at least as long as you had a copper contact plate in the processor water block to conduct heat away from that *tiny* die.
So, even though the overclockers have made very few comments about relative noise, there were a few side comments like (all from different sources):
- Eheim 1046 pump is the quietest
- lower waterflow resistance makes the pump run more quietly
- non mag drive pumps quieter than mag drive
Note the last comment is in conflict with the first as the Eheim is a mag drive.
FWIW, I went with the Eheim, an Innovatek reservoir (for easy system priming) and am running 3/8" ID tubing.

Now, there's the issue of what sort of radiator to use. The ideal for noise would be something totally passive. Something like the pipe-with-plates-attached used for baseboard heat springs to mind. However, I decided I wanted this to all fit inside a case (and not look like a mad scientist setup) so I opted for an internal radiator (which will need a fan - but this fan can also double as a case exhaust fan).
The issues with radiators seem to be:
- water flow resistance
- air flow resistance (if you're going to use a fan, you want to run it as slowly as possible)
- size/fit

I looked at a number of possible radiators and eventually decided on the Black Ice Pro, which
- being a fin flow radiator with multiple parallel fins, offers low water flow resistance
- being thin, offers low air flow resistance
- is sized to be placed over a 120mm fan hole

I now have the pump, radiator, and reservoir set up and running on a test-bench.
The pump, as long as it is placed on a piece of foam, is inaudible - unless I actually *touch* my ear to the pump.

I have set up a 120mm fan (with additional 120mm fan "frame" between fan and radiator to reduce turbulence noise - "askenazy effect"?) and can, with a Zalman Fan speed controller, reduce fan speed to the point that the fan is inaudible and there's still some airflow through the radiator.

This is as far as my project has gotten. I'm still waiting for my Swiftech socket A water block (and mobo and processor) to see if I can keep the fan turned down this far and still run the processor at standard speed.

I will update when I get further along (including pictures - nothing much to show, yet)

So far the water cooling gear (including water block, adapters, hosing) has cost me $160, including shipping, so It's lot like I'm spending *scads* of money on this.

BTW, I'm aware of the galvanic issues associated with having both Alu and Cu in the same system. It looks as though many of the major water cooling systems mix these metals (for instance, both Swiftech and Innovatec have water blocks made of both copper and alu). I have to assume they hard annodize the inside alu surfaces to sidestep this issue.

Thanks for listening (reading)!

Author:  frodo [ Wed Jan 15, 2003 12:42 pm ]
Post subject: 

Very interesting Bob, a few questions though.

What type of "fram" do you have between the fan and the radiator?
Can the fan attach directly to the radiator (or slightly decoupled) or do you need this "frame" to attach them?
I understand (I think) the basics of why you can't have copper and aluminum together (I remember making a 1.5V battery in High School using those and some Tri-Sodium Phosphate). Is there any type of warning when one of your components is about to fail, or do you simply get liquid everywhere in your case?
I can't find any specs for size on the eheim, but if you don't want to look like a mad scientist it must fit in your case. What kind of case are you using? And how big is the pump?
Are you planning on placing the pump on a piece of foam inside your case? Any idea how much heat it generates?

This is one of the options I've been considering and am happy to see you fooling around with the same idea. Any information you can give me is very much appreciated.


Author:  Gandalf [ Wed Jan 15, 2003 1:05 pm ]
Post subject: 

The Eheim pumps are fairly small.
The 1250 is lenght x width x height 180x 95 x 120

Author:  bobkoure [ Wed Jan 15, 2003 8:25 pm ]
Post subject: 

The fan can attach directly to the radiator.
I got a radiator that's specifically for PC cooling (http://www.hwlabs.com/products/blackicepro.htm), so it's already shrouded and has holes where self tapping screws can hold it to the PC case (on one side) and a fan to it (on the other side). I know I could have picked up a heater core at the junkyard for $15 or so - but it was worth $35 to me to not schlep around and to have the attachment points and shrouding already built
As fat as "frames" go - I had an extra "dead" 120mm fan, so I removed the fan by cutting the struts and filing a bit to make this "empty frame" smooth. I then just put this where the fan would ordinarily mount to the radiator and mounted the fan to the "frame" (which is now essentially a spacer - like one of those 80mm to 120mm adapters, only 120 to 120).
Moving the fan outlet side away from obstructions is *supposed* to make it quieter - but I can't hear any difference. I'm still running my rig on a test bench and probably won't bother with the frame/spacer when I put it into my PC (which is still in process - not all parts have arrived).
I do have the watercooling gear, so I'm getting all that sussed. I'm hoping that, if I am to have a leak, I have it before I install it - so I'm leaving it running.
BTW, I've set this system up with 3/8" ID tubing (which fits over 1/2" fittings if you work at it :-) ). I haven't tried it with smaller tubing so I can't tell you if the pump actually makes less noise because of the lower restriction. I dunno.
The pump is on a piece of foam - but not just laying on it. It's screwed onto to a thin piece of plywood which, in turn, has foam glued to it (it was a piece of self stick automotive "firewall noise reduction" foam left over from lining a case I don't have anymore :-) ) I will order some "real" isolation mounts from mcmaster carr when I order silicone hose - although I'm prepared to be disappointed with the mounts transmitting some pump noise. Did I mention that it's inaudible the way it is?
BTW, they're at http://www.mcmaster.com/
It's all fitting into a full tower case - about 22" tall, 8" wide. I'm due for a new case one of these days - I bought this one when ATX motherboards started appearing (which dates both it and me, I guess).

Author:  Mirar [ Thu Jan 16, 2003 12:06 am ]
Post subject: 

I'm also water cooling for silence. I'm going for passive cooling of the radiator - I've got two "Senfu Dual Fan Radiators", which I'm stripping down and mounting on the outside. I hope it'll be enough, or I'm getting a car radiator. I'm going to try to cool a Radeon 9700pro and an Athlon XP 1900+ with it, around 80W.

I'm also waiting for the waterblocks, so I'll report back later...

Author:  bobkoure [ Thu Jan 16, 2003 6:08 am ]
Post subject: 

I would guess that there'll be a problem passively cooling with designed-for-active-airflow radiators. The plates/fins aren't setup to get air to thermosyphon through them - and if/when the thermosyphoning does start, the plates aren't long enough in the vertical direction to take advantage of it. Car radiators also often need positive air pressure and shrouding for active air flow to get usage of the "inner" parts of the fins.
You may be OK just because the senfu radiator is so overrated for what you're doing (in the sense that it's got lots more than 80W heat rejection).
If the senfu doesn't do it, I'd suggest looking at some of the stuff that's used for hot water heating (copper pipe with lots of parallel square fins brazed/soldered on). This stuff is designed for passive heat radiation, should be fairly cheap (I'm heading over to a building supply house later today and will take a look at prices - even though they don't apply directly to where you are). Oh - and there are sheet metal covers designed to go over this stuff for fin protection / aesthetics so there's be some opportunities of making this look like "just part of the PC" rather than the mad scientist look (which you may or may not care about.

Author:  Mirar [ Thu Jan 16, 2003 10:18 am ]
Post subject: 

Yeah, I expect some issues. But the senfu is a standard pipe-and-sheet style radiator, so the fins aren't that close, seems to be 2mm, and it requires very little air pressure to blow air through it, so I have my hopes up. I also removed most of the cover, to get more free air (but also to be able to mount them on the case).


It already looks like a mad scientist experiment, even without the watercooling :roll:
But it's purple. :D

Author:  frodo [ Thu Jan 16, 2003 12:16 pm ]
Post subject: 

Thanks for the help! Has anyone looked at one of the "kits" that are available. I was checking sharkacorp and found the Innovatek innovaSet6 kit that is reviewed at Tom's Hardware Guide.

This looks like a nice simple solution for me, I don't mind a little fiddling around, like installing a water cooler. But I prefer it when someone else has already made sure it will all work together.

Does anyone have any experience with this kit or something like it? Perhaps a review of a good water cooling kit would be nice MikeC?

Once again thanks for all the help.

Author:  MikeC [ Thu Jan 16, 2003 12:46 pm ]
Post subject: 

frodo wrote:
Does anyone have any experience with this kit or something like it? Perhaps a review of a good water cooling kit would be nice MikeC?.

Requests have been sent out to WC makers/sellers. No positive responses yet.

Author:  Herb W. [ Thu Jan 16, 2003 10:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Kits

There's a new w-cooling kit out from Swiftech that has tested very well elsewhere. It's the same cooling setup they use in their great (but expensive) Q-Power barebones case; reviews have indicated that it is both very effective and quiet (can't hear pump mounted in case via Velcro; two 25db 120mm Mechatronics fans used for cooling). You save $100 CDN by buying the case and kit over the pre-built, but you do have to cut the case for a pump power module switching attachment. It's still expensive - about $370 CDN / $250 US. They also sell a smaller kit which may be even quieter but is not reallly any more effective than an aircooled HSU so it could not be used for serious overclocking.

I am just about to assemble a new system and can't decide if I want to put the effort into wcooling, or just go with a Swiftech 4000 with a quiet, regulated fan...

Author:  bobkoure [ Tue Jan 21, 2003 6:48 pm ]
Post subject: 

Here's a list of the suppliers I used (sort of a DIY "kit")
swiftech CPU water block www.cooltechnica.com
note - this was a being-superseded design, so I got it for $20
Eheim 1046 mag drive pump www.highspeedpc.com
Black Ice pro (120mm) radiator becooling.safeshopper.com
Bay-Res reservoir dtekcustoms.safeshopper.com
Haven't got this one yet (just ordered yesterday). It's a reservoir that's shaped like a 5.25" drive - so you can slide it in where your top CD/DVD drive would have gone (IMHO, having a reservoir higher than the rest of your system is a good thing for air-purging - it's also supposed to look cool if you leave the case front cover off, although I probably won't do that...)
silicon hose + plastic clamps www.mcmaster.com
Industrial supply house - lots of cool stuff
John Guest speedfit fittings www.usplastic.com
Speedfits are pretty neat - they're a push fit, releasable, if you just push a collar down and allow a bit of hose swiveling. You can just shove tubing into 'em (soft tubing requires a short insert to keep it stiff where the speedfit grabs it). I went for the barbed converters so I could use 3/8" *thick-wall* silicone tubing even though I mostly have 1/4" NPT fittings.
FWIW, I paid about $220 for all the above, so I'm likely not saving anything over the kit. Of course, without the reservoir, silicon hose and speedfits, it'd be about $90 less or $130.
Oh - and this isn't counting the case, which I had, the (Zalman) PS, or the pump relay (I see them for about $19). I ordered some 12V actuated 5A relays for under $2 ea and will likely build a pump relay from one of those - unless I get lazy...

Author:  Mercury [ Thu Jan 23, 2003 6:08 pm ]
Post subject: 

Well, I’m in this thread for sure! :D

I’m about to go into the water-cooling route for the it’s superior silence/performance ratio (but mainly for silence).

I hope for a passive solution, but I don’t know where to get the rad or the heater-core, a HUGE rad or heater-core, like this one: http://www.low-noise.de/forum/upload/ct ... kseite.jpg

Anyone could link me to a product like that?

I also wonder about fan noise, I’m looking at the Ehiem 1250 since I’m plan the buy a big rad, I will need big power in the pump. Anyone have tried this pump, I would like a “silence freak” review about it?

Any info will be appreciated.

Author:  pingu666 [ Fri Jan 24, 2003 3:35 pm ]
Post subject: 

mercury, i have a rad thats similer, tbh if its like mine, the fins will be horizontal.. so ud have crap performance the way it seems tobe from that one pic, air wont escape/move well at all :/
i have a 1250, and it is louder than my 104x... moves 2x as much so there u go :/
the 1060 is quiet loud but settles down, thats going from someone i know with one..
the och pump/res in one arent good :(

Author:  Mercury [ Fri Jan 24, 2003 4:04 pm ]
Post subject: 

Anyone has tried something like that (http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi ... egory=7321 )? What kind of temps do you archived?

pungu666, how do you reduce the noise of your pump? Somebody suggest me to submerge the pump in a bucket of sand, what do you guys think?

the och pump/res in one arent good

Sorry, I didn’t understand that part...

Author:  bobkoure [ Fri Jan 24, 2003 9:32 pm ]
Post subject:  passive cooling

Have a look at http://www.slantfin.com/fintube.html#bare
Note that this stuff is supposed to work without a fan.
For instance, the FineLine15 (sold with a baseboard cover) has alu fins crimped onto a copper pipe (you can get copper on copper as well) and is rated (1 Gal/min, 70F difference between coolant and room temp) to transfer 290 BTU / hr (or 989 watts) per foot (you can get it in 2 to 14 foot lengths. So, say you use a two foot length for 1978 watts rejection at the above specs. Your specs won't be the same (more about which later).
So - how much heat do you have to get rid of?
CPU - 75 watts max
GPU - 50 watts (? guessing on this one - can't be more than an Athalon...)
Or a grand total of 125 watts into a radiator that (at higher flow and heat differential) can reject 1978 watts - or 15 times what you need.

Now, the radiator won't perform this well because your flow is lower. The Eheim 1046 (very quiet BTW) can theoretically move 1.3 gals in a low restriction low head system. Your coolant will likely be 30F above ambient. Say you lose half the radiator's efficiency due to low flow (so 989 watts for your two foot radiator - BTW you might actually get 1 gal/min in a half inch system i.e. lose no efficiency to low flow) and 75% or that efficiency because your coolant is only 30F above ambient (as opposed to the spec'ed 70F)
which leaves you with 247 watts of rejection capability for 125 watts (or less) that you're trying to cool.

The stuff is cheap (under $20 for four foot lengths at the local home improvement place) and the pipes are of copper. You'd likely have to solder some fittings on to either end to accommodate flexible tubing.

I looked into this, finally decided that I could make an undervolted 120mm fan quiet enough for my purposes, so I went with a radiator I could fit inside my case ( http://www.hwlabs.com/products/blackicepro.htm) BTW, it is very quiet - I can't tell if it's my radiator fan or my Zalman PSU (voltage dropped to the fan in the PSU with a 22 ohm resistor, BTW) - but it's not silent.

Sorry if my numbers seem a bit vague. I'm an amateur/hobbyist (like most of us there... :-) )

Author:  Mercury [ Sat Jan 25, 2003 9:16 am ]
Post subject: 

Thanx for the valuable info.

I would be more inclined to use those:

That would be a neat and effective solution :)

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