GPU Water cooling... Got any advice?

This topic is locked from further discussion.

#1 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -
So I am looking into water cooling because I both curious about it amd want lower temperature on my GPU. The only experience I got so far with WC is a closed system for my CPU, so I sorta consider it be zero experience. I know I need a water block, water pump, radiator, tubes amd fittings. Possible more. What are good components for this? I will rather have a larger radiator if it means I can have fans running at lower RPM to lower the noise level they make. What would be a good radiator? How much noise does the pump normally make? What is a good pump, what do I look for? Also how much maintenance does such a system normally require? As for what I am going to use it on now is a single GTX 680(with the reference design). That will be expanded with at least a CPU when I one day upgrade it and possible another GPU, however that is unlikely. Temperature wise I hope it is not unrealistic to hope for 45-50C under full load. There are probably things I've forgotten about here so it would be great if you guys and girls could help a newbie with deciding wether or now WC is worth it or not. :)
#2 Posted by kraken2109 (13198 posts) -

I don't have the knowledge to help, but you probably need to post your case for radiator mounting etc

#3 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -

I don't have the knowledge to help, but you probably need to post your case for radiator mounting etc

kraken2109
Not going to mount it in the case. I know there is no room for it. Either I will put it on top of the case or on the rear end.
#4 Posted by Blistrax (1071 posts) -

[QUOTE="kraken2109"]

I don't have the knowledge to help, but you probably need to post your case for radiator mounting etc

horgen123

Not going to mount it in the case. I know there is no room for it. Either I will put it on top of the case or on the rear end.

OK, then. Step one: giant case. I have never done it either, but if I ever do, I will have one of those illuminated cylinder reservoirs with the spiral damper where you can see it through the side window looking like a dilithium reactor.

I guess you know about Frozen CPU.

#5 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -

OK, then. Step one: giant case. I have never done it either, but if I ever do, I will have one of those illuminated cylinder reservoirs with the spiral damper where you can see it through the side window looking like a dilithium reactor.

I guess you know about Frozen CPU.

Blistrax
Actually I don't. Norway is kinda limited but Ihave heard of a few sites. EKWB and http://www.watercoolinguk.co.uk/. Thanks for the link to another place to look at. Though pointless if they don't ship to Norway.
#6 Posted by LordEC911 (9972 posts) -

Do a bunch of research... there is no real cookie-cutter like builds out there.
Checkout xtremesystems and hardforum's watercooling sections to get info/ideas.
About cooling your CPU, might as well do it all at once. Once you get the loop set up, you aren't going to want to mess with it unless you have to.

I can give some general info that was valid about 5years ago, when I did my loop, may not be 100% reliable today but still solid info.

D5 pumps were battling with DDC pumps, seems like D5's are the way to go now.
Fuzion water blocks w/ a nozzle kit were top of the line.
GPU blocks were my choice over fullcover since they are cheaper and more versatile than fullcover if you upgrade often, needing only to buy new mounting hardware. On the other hand, fullcover provides cooling on the gddr chips and pwms which some people like and other's don't because of the added heat in their loop.
Larger tubing and barbs were all the rage at the time, less restriction and more flow. Community reviews and testing show that isn't neccessarily the case, the difference is at most a few degrees, as long as you don't have a crazy amount of restriction.
Getting a good pump with high flow and parts without a lot of restriction you could get by on a 120.2 radiator. Since you mentioned noise though, I would suggest a 120.3 radiator so if you get a variable pump you can run it at a lower setting as well as having the fans at lower speeds.

Fans, you want something with low db but high cfm and, if you can find quality reviews, high pressure. Fans on the radiators are more efficient in a pull rather than push config, though if you want the best temps push/pull. As far as RPM, minimum is ~1000RPM, 1200-1400RPM is generally the sweetspot for quiet/performance, 1600-1800RPM for max performance while not being crazy loud.

Since you want a pretty silent system, you will want a variable pump, possibly a fan controller depending on your budget, and fans under 1600RPM which means you are looking for a radiator with medium fin density.

As far as maintanance goes, it depends on how well you build your loop and how paranoid you are. Some people like to flush their loop every few months, others go a few years. If you built your loop correctly, aren't having any leaks, don't mix metals, use distilled water and add some biocide to kill any potential growth of algea, you will only need to add water when you see the res getting a little low with a drop or two of the biocide.

#7 Posted by Blistrax (1071 posts) -

... if they don't ship to Norway. horgen123

They do.

#8 Posted by LordEC911 (9972 posts) -

What do you mean by 120.2 and 120.3 radiator? I was thinking of push/pull on the radiator, and if there is one place I want to go overkill, it would be there. I'll keep in mind the D5 pump. It's one I've have come across a few times when I've been looking up info. Before posting this thread I had looked up a bit. How is this pump? It's a D5 if I understand it correctly. As for radiators, How is this one looking? Or should I go for a 480 one? Remember that I'll rather go overkill on the radiator, as I really want it to be able to handle more stress than just the GPU. Thanks for the links. I'll check the forums when I go looking for more information. horgen123

120.2 and 120.3 is how radiators use to be described, by how many fans you can fit on them, I guess they go by 240, 360, 480 now.
Yes that D5 pump is what I was talking about, you can also purchase the pump from certain shops with aftermarket tops/reservoirs which typically increase the pumps performance.

As far as radiators, yes 60mm is pretty common. If you go with something thicker make sure it is an open fin design and isn't over 12fpi(folds per inch). The thicker radiators with high fpi are designed to be used with high pressure/RPM fans +1800RPM and those can get a bit noisey.

Go with the 360, you can easily cool a CPU and GPU with a single 360 radiator, as long as you have a decent flow and medium speed fans a quality 360 is easily going to be able to cool 400-500w and still achieve good temps.

 

#9 Posted by FaustArp (1036 posts) -

I have zero experience to share also, but it's great if you can pull it off.

Good luck!

#10 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -

Do a bunch of research... there is no real cookie-cutter like builds out there.
Checkout xtremesystems and hardforum's watercooling sections to get info/ideas.
About cooling your CPU, might as well do it all at once. Once you get the loop set up, you aren't going to want to mess with it unless you have to.

I can give some general info that was valid about 5years ago, when I did my loop, may not be 100% reliable today but still solid info.

D5 pumps were battling with DDC pumps, seems like D5's are the way to go now.
Fuzion water blocks w/ a nozzle kit were top of the line.
GPU blocks were my choice over fullcover since they are cheaper and more versatile than fullcover if you upgrade often, needing only to buy new mounting hardware. On the other hand, fullcover provides cooling on the gddr chips and pwms which some people like and other's don't because of the added heat in their loop.
Larger tubing and barbs were all the rage at the time, less restriction and more flow. Community reviews and testing show that isn't neccessarily the case, the difference is at most a few degrees, as long as you don't have a crazy amount of restriction.
Getting a good pump with high flow and parts without a lot of restriction you could get by on a 120.2 radiator. Since you mentioned noise though, I would suggest a 120.3 radiator so if you get a variable pump you can run it at a lower setting as well as having the fans at lower speeds.

Fans, you want something with low db but high cfm and, if you can find quality reviews, high pressure. Fans on the radiators are more efficient in a pull rather than push config, though if you want the best temps push/pull. As far as RPM, minimum is ~1000RPM, 1200-1400RPM is generally the sweetspot for quiet/performance, 1600-1800RPM for max performance while not being crazy loud.

Since you want a pretty silent system, you will want a variable pump, possibly a fan controller depending on your budget, and fans under 1600RPM which means you are looking for a radiator with medium fin density.

As far as maintanance goes, it depends on how well you build your loop and how paranoid you are. Some people like to flush their loop every few months, others go a few years. If you built your loop correctly, aren't having any leaks, don't mix metals, use distilled water and add some biocide to kill any potential growth of algea, you will only need to add water when you see the res getting a little low with a drop or two of the biocide.

LordEC911
I got a 3570K, I won't be changing it for a few years. Besides got a H100 on it. and while mentioning that one. I would prefer a thicker radiator than what that one has. It's 30mm or so think. Isn't 60mm radiator also common, and the thickest ones are closer to 80-90mm thick? I want full cover, not a universal top. Will only change it when I change GPU which won't happen every year. What do you mean by 120.2 and 120.3 radiator? I was thinking of push/pull on the radiator, and if there is one place I want to go overkill, it would be there. I'll keep in mind the D5 pump. It's one I've have come across a few times when I've been looking up info. Before posting this thread I had looked up a bit. How is this pump? It's a D5 if I understand it correctly. As for radiators, How is this one looking? Or should I go for a 480 one? Remember that I'll rather go overkill on the radiator, as I really want it to be able to handle more stress than just the GPU. Thanks for the links. I'll check the forums when I go looking for more information.
#11 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -

I have zero experience to share also, but it's great if you can pull it off.

Good luck!

FaustArp
Thanks.

[QUOTE="horgen123"] ... if they don't ship to Norway. Blistrax

They do.

Great. Now I just have to worry about a 25% import tax. :lol:
#12 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -

120.2 and 120.3 is how radiators use to be describer, by how many fans you can fit on them, I guess they go by 240, 360, 480 now.
Yes that D5 pump is what I was talking about, you can also purchase the pump from certain shops with aftermarket tops/reservoirs which typically increase the pumps performance.

As far as radiators, yes 60mm is pretty common. If you go with something thicker make sure it is an open fin design and isn't over 12fpi(folds per inch). The thicker radiators with high fpi are designed to be used with high pressure/RPM fans +1800RPM and those can get a bit noisey.

Go with the 360, you can easily cool a CPU and GPU with a single 360 radiator, as long as you have a decent flow and medium speed fans a quality 360 is easily going to be able to cool 400-500w and still achieve good temps.

 

LordEC911
Ah. Well I thought it was that, but wasn't sure. I believe I can find it with top reservoir on EKWB, however I had originally thought I would place the reservoir another place, slightly above the radiator. Didn't know a good 360 rad could cool that effectively. Makes me wonder who needs a 560 (4*140) which 84mm thick then. Like this one. Price wise between the 360 from EK and the 420 version of the one in the link, makes me wanna go for the 420 one. Only 7£ more.
#13 Posted by LordEC911 (9972 posts) -

Water cooling is just so much more efficient at heat transfer. The cooling capacity between a basic loop and a price/performance loop is pretty staggering but to eek out those last few degrees to get as close to ambient as possible is a much larger leap in price/gear than in actual thermal benefits.

#14 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -
Forgot to ask you one thing LordEC. Did you find it difficult to set it all up? Was it tricky to remove the old cooler and get the water block correctly on? What did you include in your loop? Edit: Guess that was 3 things :P
#15 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -
Ah I see. No surprise on the last part there.
#16 Posted by FaustArp (1036 posts) -

horgen, are you gonna flash your BIOS after you get that 680 nice and chilled?

#17 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -

horgen, are you gonna flash your BIOS after you get that 680 nice and chilled?

FaustArp
Maybe, maybe not. I haven't decided yet if I wish to WC either. If I do it, I do it this summer. Was thinking that I'll spend half the money or so that I get back on my taxes on this, and save the rest :P
#18 Posted by LordEC911 (9972 posts) -

Forgot to ask you one thing LordEC. Did you find it difficult to set it all up? Was it tricky to remove the old cooler and get the water block correctly on? What did you include in your loop? Edit: Guess that was 3 things :P horgen123

 

Removing cooler and mounting the waterblocks is no biggy.
The hardest part for me was to figure out how to mount my radiators inside the case. 

 

XSPC Res on DDC3.2-ThermoChill PA120.2- ThermoChill PA120.3-D-Tek Fuzion CPU block-SwiftechMCW30-Swiftech MCW60- DDC3.2

#19 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -

horgen, are you gonna flash your BIOS after you get that 680 nice and chilled?

FaustArp
Forgot to ask. Benefits from flashing?
#20 Posted by FaustArp (1036 posts) -
[QUOTE="FaustArp"]

horgen, are you gonna flash your BIOS after you get that 680 nice and chilled?

horgen123
Forgot to ask. Benefits from flashing?

Higher voltage.
#21 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -

Removing cooler and mounting the waterblocks is no biggy.
The hardest part for me was to figure out how to mount my radiators inside the case. 

 

XSPC Res on DDC3.2-ThermoChill PA120.2- ThermoChill PA120.3-D-Tek Fuzion CPU block-SwiftechMCW30-Swiftech MCW60- DDC3.2

LordEC911
Which I won't, at least not with this case. [QUOTE="FaustArp"] Higher voltage.

I guess I could try. It would be sweet having it close to what another member had his 680 running at. 1400/7400 :P
#22 Posted by FaustArp (1036 posts) -
[QUOTE="horgen123"][QUOTE="FaustArp"] Higher voltage.

I guess I could try. It would be sweet having it close to what another member had his 680 running at. 1400/7400 :P

You can always try flashing it, seeing what it can do, then flash it back. That's what I did with my Titans when I decided to see how high I could get my 3DMark scores. 680@1400/7400? If that was stable then damn that guy got some good silicon...
#23 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -
[QUOTE="FaustArp"][QUOTE="horgen123"][QUOTE="FaustArp"] Higher voltage.

I guess I could try. It would be sweet having it close to what another member had his 680 running at. 1400/7400 :P

You can always try flashing it, seeing what it can do, then flash it back. That's what I did with my Titans when I decided to see how high I could get my 3DMark scores. 680@1400/7400? If that was stable then damn that guy got some good silicon...

He had the OC friendly MSI lightning before nVidia got around and said no... Or something.
#24 Posted by comp_atkins (31888 posts) -
you live in norway.. it's cold there.. get really long tubes and put the radiators/fans outside in the winter to super chill your water/anitfreeze back to your cpu/gpu :P
#25 Posted by FaustArp (1036 posts) -

[QUOTE="FaustArp"][QUOTE="horgen123"] I guess I could try. It would be sweet having it close to what another member had his 680 running at. 1400/7400 :P horgen123
You can always try flashing it, seeing what it can do, then flash it back. That's what I did with my Titans when I decided to see how high I could get my 3DMark scores. 680@1400/7400? If that was stable then damn that guy got some good silicon...

He had the OC friendly MSI lightning before nVidia got around and said no... Or something.

I think that the thing that the MSI Lightning 680 had was increased voltage built in by default.  So basically flashing a 680 makes it a Lightning more or less.  Pretty sure that is why nVidia threw a fit about them.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's it.

1400 is still untypical I'd say.

#26 Posted by Horgen (110780 posts) -
you live in norway.. it's cold there.. get really long tubes and put the radiators/fans outside in the winter to super chill your water/anitfreeze back to your cpu/gpu :P comp_atkins
I am going to need an industrial pump first though. Computer is in the basement. Though the idea has come by. Which pump do you guys recommend? And I am also curious why these two radiators cost about the same, yet are so different. Number 1 Number 2

I think that the thing that the MSI Lightning 680 had was increased voltage built in by default.  So basically flashing a 680 makes it a Lightning more or less.  Pretty sure that is why nVidia threw a fit about them.  Correct me if I'm wrong, but I think that's it.

1400 is still untypical I'd say.

FaustArp
And a custom PCB to handle the extra voltage.