I've always had a fascination with PC cooling, and water cooling in particular, but have always said I'd wait until I had the money to throw together a real nice setup. Well, that day is coming sooner than I thought.
I'm not endless on cash, so I'm keeping money in priority, but it's not THE most important factor. I'd rather wait and get decent parts than buy cheap crap now. And I'm not looking to buy everything right now. I'm buying most everything over the course of the next 6 months, as I'm also saving for a cross-country move from Michigan to Florida.
I know water cooling can give some awesome temps, but my aim isn't temps so much as it is being quiet. My rig is very quiet now, but my video card in particular is hitting some amazingly high temps. If it weren't for that, I'd stay with air cooling. Here's what I'm running so far.
-Antec Sonata 550 Plus (basically a SOLO w/ an Antec NeoHE 550w PSU)
-Snipped grills and Nexus fans. I had a single 12cm exhaust and 2x 92mm intakes, but the intakes weren't exactly necessary and didn't get really quiet until I undervolted them a bit. I've taken them out and everything's fine. Just running the single 12cm exhaust @ 12v.
-DFI LanParty DK-P35-T2RS mainboard with a Xigmatek Porter N881 passive chipset cooler
-Intel Core2 Duo E8400 with a Xigmatek HDT-S1283. The S1283 works awesome either running passively at stock settings, or full-tilt with the E8400 at 1.4v and 4.1GHz. It's running passive @ stock settings right now.
-HIS Radeon HD4870 1Gb with a Scythe Musashi GPU cooler. The GPU cooler keeps the core cool enough with the fans on low, but no cooler can really handle the super hot RAM and VRMs. I've heard mixed results about the included aluminum heatsinks that come with most aftermarket GPU coolers, so I hacked apart the OEM cooler and used the large steel plate with cooling pads for the RAM and VRMs. At idle, they're sitting at 60C, but after a bit of gaming, they're hitting 100C+! This is what convinced me that I can't keep this rig quiet and still use air cooling to get better temps.
-4Gb DDR2-800MHz OCZ Reaper (CL 4) RAM
-Western Digital 6400AAKS 640Gb dual-platter harddrive (suspended)
-generic DVD burner and a Creative Sound Blaster Audigy SE sound card.
The only real thing I have trouble keeping cool is the video card obviously. While I'd like to get able to get a decent OC out of both the CPU and the GPU, it's not important if I don't. I'm not looking to hack apart the case just yet, so I'm wanting to just go with single 12cm radiator, doubling as the exhaust. I'm also trying to keep everything in the case neat and tidy, so I can still get to expansion cards and RAM, all while keeping everything internal. I know the SOLO isn't praised for being roomy, but I think I can do it with minimal cutting. Here are the water-cooling parts I've been looking at.
-HW Labs BlackIceXtreme 12cm radiator (a friend is giving me one for free, so this will be the start of my system.)
Danger Den DDC LGA775 CPU block (for multi-core)
http://www.dangerden.com/store/product. ... ductid=385
Danger Den Maze5 GPU block (with RAM sinks)
http://www.dangerden.com/store/product. ... ductid=254
Danger Den CPX1 12v pump
http://www.dangerden.com/store/product. ... ductid=279
Danger Den fill-port / reservoir
http://www.dangerden.com/store/product. ... ductid=190
Scythe Ultra-Kaze low-speed (1000rpm) 120mm x 38mm fan for radiator
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6835185052
I only have a few questions about my proposed setup though.
Is the pump loud? I have no idea about it, and was going by recommendation by a friend (the same one giving me the radiator).
Will the fan I chose work on the radiator and as an case exhaust?
Will a core-only GPU block be sufficient for my card, especially when it's getting relatively low air-flow? I was originally thinking of getting a full-coverage block.
Any other things I'm missing from my setup, or any parts recommendations? Please pardon the wall of text, and I appreciate any replies.