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 Post subject: Choosing the correct radiators
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:29 am 

Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:27 am
Posts: 1
I am trying to figure out a watercooling system for my new build. This will be my first w/c-build. My pc is basically high end, and I want to use watercooling for the quietness, not for the opportunity to OC. So far I want to w/c my CPU (i7-3930K), my GPU (GTX680) and my motherboard (ASUS Sabertooth X79). I want to have the option of putting watercooling on a second GPU using SLI later on, without necessarily needing to upgrade radiators and pump... My case will be one that comes with silencing material inside. Like Corsair 550D or Fractual Design Define R3/XL or something. I build this computer to be powerful but also quiet. So PSU will be one of the quiet ones, I will use SSD's and so on. And by the way, I do know it's possible to get quite quiet air-cooling systems out there. But I also want the project that is to make a custom water-cooling system So that is my two reasons for wanting to w/c my pc: quietness and for the fun of making it.

My questions which I hope someone can help me with is:
1. How many radiators do you think I need? I have been told if I use one 360mm (3x120mm) and one 240mm (2x120mm) that should do it. If that indeed is enough, how thick should they be?
2. Are you able to put on whatever kind of fans you want on radiators? If so, is one of the ultra-quiet fans out there good enough? Any recommendations?
3. I have been looking at passive radiators, more specifically If I combine this with one 240mm active radioator with ultra-quiet fans, do you think that should be enough? Is it worth it? I mean, will the difference in noice from one 360mm active radiator and one passive be that big if I use quiet fans on the active radiator?
4. I am wondering, is it possible to like wrap the pump inside soundproofing material without destroying it (like making it go warm or something like that)? I do know there are a lot of relatively quiet pumps out there so this is probably not worth it, but still.. I'm curious if it's possible


Last edited by Fahlar on Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.

 Post subject: Re: Choosing the correct radiators
PostPosted: Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:46 am 

Joined: Mon Dec 09, 2002 7:11 pm
Posts: 7629
Location: Maynard, MA, Eaarth
Welcome to SPCR,

I am not a water cooler, so I can't comment on your questions, sorry. But I notice the link is incomplete; you can edit it to get it working.

Sincerely, Neil

 Post subject: Re: Choosing the correct radiators
PostPosted: Sat Jun 23, 2012 8:28 pm 

Joined: Sun Jun 13, 2010 12:44 pm
Posts: 422
Location: Seattle
I haven't constructed a WC setup either, but I've been researching what to do for a future build and have some advice:

1: Get radiators that are designed for low RPM fans, these are typically thinner and have wider fin spacing than radiators designed for overclocking. Otherwise you'll need high RPM fans which will defeat the purpose of your build.

2: Pay very close attention to all metal components that the coolant will touch, dissimilar metals will corrode even with inhibitors in the coolant. Brass, and bronze are close enough cousins to copper to be of little concern but try to avoid any others. (If you choose to use silver as a biocide it shouldn't be a problem because it's WAY up on the anodic index.)

My build:

Swiftech MCP35X review:

 Post subject: Re: Choosing the correct radiators
PostPosted: Mon Jun 25, 2012 12:12 pm 

Joined: Thu Jan 12, 2006 10:48 am
Posts: 15
Since you don't have experience watercooling
Link to Watercooling starter guide

Link to specing cooling requirements:

Excellent review site for radiators/pumps/etc

Basically, the necessary size of your rads will be dependent on three things:
1) The temperature delta that you can live with (higher water temps can dump more heat into the atm per square inch surface area)
2) The fan speed (within reason)
3) The heat disappated within your system (are you going for 5.8GHz? Or something more reasonable?)

Given a modest overclock, and reasonable fan speeds only one radiator is necessary. The advantage of 2 loops is that you can run the GPU loop at a higher temp than the CPU loop. The other advantage, of course, is that you can dump alot more heat into the system for a short period of time (heat soak) as well as having a higher cooling surface area. Given that you want a low noise system, two radiators as you mentioned are the best option.

In many cases, the pump is a major source of noise, isolating it is necessary to have a quiet system (bungee cord or the like and insulation). The pumps are cooled by the water circulating inside them, so they can be buried to keep noise down. ... arison/3/#

Looking at this radiator comparison, you see that the Aqua Computer revolution has the lowest water temps at low flow rates and low fan rates. This is larger than even a PA120.3, but it has a low fin density and flow restriction, so it can operate with low flow fans and pumps. Since all this has to work together, research research research.

 Post subject: Re: Choosing the correct radiators
PostPosted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 12:45 pm 

Joined: Fri Aug 27, 2004 5:38 pm
Posts: 41
Location: Chicago, IL
I just got done doing this for the same reason you are doing this. I have almost the same build too. I decided to go with a "kit" and choose the Swiftech H2O-320. Like you I was concerned about the rad size.

I am now almost finished. Still trying to get the fan controller to work correctly, so the case sides are still off. The only time I can here the thing, is when nothing is running in the basement, and the first time that happened, I though something in the back room of the basement was making noise. (computer was about 4 feet away, I though the noise was coming around a corner, and about 20 feet away!)

Because of a goof by me, I was having problems with the fan controller last night, and needed the machine with no fans (pump was on!) on. It ran at least 20 minutes, and the CPU show no heat build up!. Also, the few time I've tried to stress test the box, I could not get CPU die/GPU temps over 35C.

So, guess I'm saying that any 360 (3x120) rads should do the job. A second 680 MIGHT start warming things up!

BTW, not promoting the Swiftech, or kits, just saying a 360 worked great for me. (was mainly after a quiet GPU, my old 580 was like a prop driven airplane!)

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