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My PC, rolling story of constant updates.


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Hello fellow simmers, I got this idea that I will make a topic where I would share my journey of building, upgrading my current rig.

 

Somewhere around 2014 it was time to say goodby to my PC which was Core2duo build in Lian Li case. I wanted new case that will accommodate even the craziest watercooling loop I could imagine. I went with Case Labs SMA8 (sadly they are out of buisness today). So in mid may 2014 it was delivered to me, in pieces. I bought some additional parts for it for example extended top cover so I could run top radiator in push/pull configuration (with it case matches my desk height). At first I thought it will be a challenge to put it together but it wasn't true. Manual was great, fit and finish superb. Everything came together perfectly. This case will serve me decades. Might not be the prettiest but I like industrial/professional looks of it.

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Hi Piotr

 

I think that this is an excellent idea. 

 

You have a very clear, easy to read writing style and your technical knowledge is excellent.

I have learned a lot from reading your comments  and look forward to your postings.

 

Can't wait for the next installment :)

Cheers

Pete

@PiotrMKG

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So, part 2.

 

It's time to mount radiators and sensors, that will measure temperatures so I will know some temperature deltas. My current cooling loop consists of 3 radiators (540mm, 480mm, 280mm), 2 pumps, 1 reservior, 1 flow meter, 2 cooling blocks, 5 temperature sensors (Ambient Air temp In, Air temp Out of the case, Water temp In for every radiator and Water temp out for bottom radiator, so I know the temperature of water going into CPU block). Remember as Master Wu says order of components in waterloop does not matter. My order is like: Reservior -> Pump1 -> Pump2-> Flow Meter -> Bottom Radiator -> CPU block -> GPU block -> Top Radiator -> Front Radiator, why? Because it makes routing of tubes easier. Back at the beginning I was measuring water temp at each ratiator outlet, but it was unnecessary, so was water pressure in the loop.

 

If You plan on having radiator on top of computer case it's good idea to buy one that has multiple ports, as it will make bleeding air from the loop easier, not to mention routing of the tubes.

 

Now, some info on size and thickness of radiator. The longer the radiator the better, going above 60mm of thickness is, from my point of view, suboptimal, You will have to push some serious ammount of air through radiator to see it's benefits, and there is FPI (fins per inch) measure, ca. 10FPI will not restrict airflow as much as 16FPI, but at the same time 16FPI will have more performance. It's a balancing act of having quiet system and cooling performance, especially in summer (where I live 99,9% of households does not have AC). My recommendation for radiators go to HardWareLabs, nice balance of restriction and performance.

 

Fans. Use push/pull configuration whenever possible, there is 20+% more performance running rads like this, regardless of fan speed. 2 fans running @750rpm will give you 75% of performance of push only config @1300rpm, while beeing quieter. For radiator use, fans should have good static pressure which is more important than airflow. My recommendation for fans are Noctua PPC-2000 IP67 PWM (IP67 for some water and dust protection, there is non IP67 version if You don't need it) and Gentle Typhoon, sorry no RGB fans here, I don't use them so I cannot recommend any, just search yourself for comparable static pressure/airflow/noise level. I use Noctua for great performance @ reasonable noise levels.

 

So, You want great performance watercooling loop, but you have small/medium case, there is solution for You Watercool Mora or even larger solution Aquacomputer airplex GIGANT 3360, which should be enough to run compuer cooling passively without fans.

 

If You have some Q I will happily answer them, I probably forgot to write all stuff.

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Looking good so far.

Does your case come with castors fitted as stock? previously had to fit my own, on new case and its a big heavy full tower Cooler Master COSMOS C700P, have still to do this, it sits under my desk and is a bit of a struggle to pull out.

I'm same as you too Piotr, not a fan of RGB (no pun intended :) ) My case has it, motherboard and current AIO cooler, all switched off though, over next two or three months will be upgrading my rig for my first full custom watercooled performance cooling solution, CPU and GPU ... will keep chipset stock cooling, its quite good on my Asus Crosshair III Hero, so keen to see your progress.

Thanks.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Part 3: Pumps, Monitoring/Controling Water Loop and Cable Management

 

Pumps

 

For moving water around PC waterloop we need some sort of water pump. There are basicly 2 options, DDC or D5 waterpumps. There were times when we were using Eheim aquarium pumps, but almost noone is using them today.
DDC pumps have higher pressure and are smaller than D5, but they run hotter and louder. I went with D5 for low noise and running temperatures. I consider running 2 pumps in series almost mandatory. One pump may break, and if it dies while on heavy load some damage to CPU or GPU may occur.
Pumps usually don't come in plug and play state, You have to buy pump top. There are pump tops that accommodate 2 pumps in one package, or if just one pump is used there is an option of having reservior integrated into it.

 

Monitoring/Controling

 

As for monitoring and controlling the loop, nowadays basic settings can be done in BIOS, for more advanced users there are products from Aquacomputer like Aquaero or Octo/Quadro.
Since I build my computer long ago and BIOS didn't give me options that I thought were needed I bought Aquaero for controlling my waterloop. It gives me full control over waterpump speed, fans speed, temperature sensor readouts, virtual sensors can be made.
There is possibility of setting emergency shutdown in case of waterpump failure, alarms can be set in case of fans stop working, or water temperature reaches certain level (you need temperature sensor that reads coolant temp).
Aquaero/Octo/Quadro combined with Aquasuite is probably the most powerful tool for monitoring and controling PC waterloops.


Cable Management

 

I always liked PC builds with neat cable layouts, so after having multiple computers with cables in a mess I went with goal of having them in order.
Ultra clean cable layouts are always done with custom made cables, so I turned my eyes to the place for all cable modders. MDPC-X. Nils sells one of the best if not the best cable sleeves, and other needed stuff associated with making own cables. As a bonus with every order you get custom drawing. So after spending some time making my cables, I ended with really neat and clean PC interior.
Every radiator has it's own connector (Molex) that supplies power, RPM and PWM signal for fans. It makes easier for me to disassamble for cleaning and upgrading if needed.

 

Where are the photos? Someone reduced total size of attached files so much that single photo doesn't fit unless it's 640px on the long edge. Just Nils drawings fit because they are black and white.

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