Build Advice Advice on watercooling loop layout

Ronnie30

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Hey all. I built my first watercooling loop about 1.5 years ago and I'm looking to expand it. My current loop is all EK components. I have a pump/res combo with a Y adaptor. One side is a drain port and the other goes to my CPU block. CPU then goes to Rad and the Rad goes back to the pump/res. My radiator is a 360mm at the top of the case, with 3 fans pulling air out, and the case is a CoolerMaster H500M.

Later this year, I'm looking at getting an RTX 3080 and it will be my first watercooled GPU. I want to add another Rad but I'm not sure where I could fit it in. It looks like I could fit a 240mm slim rad in the front, but it's going to be VERY tight. I'd prefer a 360mm, but I'd have to remove the hard drive shroud, which is actually what the pump/res is attached to. Can you guys think of any other ways I could bring the GPU into the loop and fit another Rad in?

Another idea I had was potentially using the GPU vertical mount, and moving the pump/res further in to the center of the case, behind the GPU, but I'm not sure if that will fit, and I would need to relocate the drain port (possibly to the bottom of the Rad at the front of the case?) Or I wonder if I can somehow mount the pump res to the inside of the front Rad?

Ignore the dust and horrible wiring in the image. I need to clean and rebuild this system.
 

rubix_1011

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Depending on the TDP of new 3000 series RTX cards, you could possibly get by on keeping a single 360 rad, but you could add if you have the capability, and make use of the additional dissipation.

Also, for future reference, it is usually better to put T or Y fitting for drain on the return to the reservoir/pump rather the output. This helps eliminate cavitation which can be introduced in a high turbulence region (immediately following pump outlet) and can cause reduction in overall flow.

Otherwise, welcome to the trials of watercooling - where there is always a new puzzle to solve.
 

grimfox

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I have a 1070 (OCed to 2000) and a 6600k (OCed to 4400) on a 280mm. It's fine. The 3080 should be functional on a 360mm. But you may not be able to OC or OC as far as you would with more rads. For gaming it's unlikely you'll be using all of your CPU and all of your GPU at the same time. So you should be able to manage both without sacrificing too much.

I did a quick search and it looks like you can get a 240 in there (or a 360 with some mods) and mount the pump to the rad using a fan mount. It also looks like you can slide that pump back on the bracket you have making room for a 240 rad without mods. I think realistically you should be able to get full performance just adding a 240. If you have the mula for a 360 and 3080...go ham. In the link below you can see, its possible to have it all.

https://www.reddit.com/r/watercooling/comments/cq24rk View: https://www.reddit.com/r/watercooling/comments/cq24rk/cooler_master_h500m_ryzen_3800x_build/
 

Ronnie30

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Depending on the TDP of new 3000 series RTX cards, you could possibly get by on keeping a single 360 rad, but you could add if you have the capability, and make use of the additional dissipation.
Yeah, I feel like the 360 is sufficient, but I'd really like to push for the extra cooling, if I can.

Also, for future reference, it is usually better to put T or Y fitting for drain on the return to the reservoir/pump rather the output. This helps eliminate cavitation which can be introduced in a high turbulence region (immediately following pump outlet) and can cause reduction in overall flow.
I specifically asked a few months ago about how air was getting into the loop. There has definitely been cavitation and now I know why. But the output port is the lowest point of my loop. Moving it to the input port would put it slightly higher, but also require me to spin the pump around, however it would give me a little extra room to move the pump and fit a PE rad instead of an SE, maybe. Depends how long the RTX3080 is, I suppose.


I did a quick search and it looks like you can get a 240 in there (or a 360 with some mods) and mount the pump to the rad using a fan mount. It also looks like you can slide that pump back on the bracket you have making room for a 240 rad without mods.
I can definitely fit a 240, but it has to be a slim rad. I was asking if I could slide the res back though, if I used the vertical gpu mount, and that image indicates that I can. I would need to think about moving the drain port though. My thought is that if the front rad has the ports towards the bottom of the case, I can possibly move my drain port there, but I'm not sure how that works with rubix's point about cavitation.
If I can mount it to the back of the rad, instead of the way it's currently mounted, then I can lower it and have the drain port clear the gpu completely. I could remove the hard drive shroud that it's currently mounted to, and fit a 360mm rad also.


Would it affect cooling if I had the rads before the components? So for example...
Pump/Res > Front Rad > CPU > Top Rad > GPU > Pump/Res?
The temp of the entire loop should stabilize, so the order of components shouldn't matter, right?
 

Karadjgne

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Order doesn't matter.
Rads/fans do. A lot. You mentioned you have the EK Coolstream SE. That's pretty much on the bottom of the list as far as cooling ability goes, there are alternatives. There are other rads that with a 1300rpm fan can add as much as 70-80W worth of heat dissipation and not even change the size of the rad. So what you use can be just as important as which you use.

I'd do a little reading on Xtremerigs.net, they have extensive reviews on a lot of rads, with comparative data and different speed settings, which allows you to get a better idea of maximizing your potential within any restraints for sizes. Many of the sizes themselves weren't tested, but the data extrapolates pretty much.

Oh, it's your case. If you need to there's plenty of videos showing people chopping off a couple of inches on psu shrouds to make room for rads or even fans, you aren't stuck with a yes-no decision on whether to keep it or not. Your only decision really is Will you modify it (or have it done) or not.
 
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Ronnie30

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I don't have an SE Rad. I was saying that's all I can fit at the front, however I took a closer look at grimfox's image and reviewed the case manual again. There's a cutout in the HD/PSU Shroad at the bottom that allows for a 360 PE to fit. By using a 120mm mounting bracket and mounting the pump higher up, it should give me more clearance. Basically, I could do it identically to that image, and possibly still have the option of vertical or horizontal mount GPU (pending GPU length).

So I think the way I'm going to do it is...
Pump Outlet > GPU > Top Rad (ports towards the back of the case) > CPU > Front Rad (Ports toward top of case) > Res Inlet (port on the top). My drain port can be then be on the pump inlet at the bottom. May have to use a Y adaptor on the top of the res, to keep a fill port on there.

My final question then, if I keep the high air flow fans on the front as they are now (in a push config), but I put the Rad inside, also on the front, and some high static fans on the rad (pull config), am I going to have issues? They are nice 200mm argb fans, but they aren't high static pressure.
 
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Karadjgne

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You'll have to check clearances for the ports at the top of the front rad vs bottom of the top rad. Rad collar designs do differ, some having recessed or slim collars further away from the fins, some have higher collars closer down or vice versa. That will affect fittings as compression fittings are by nature larger diameter than straight barbs, and rotary fittings are longer, even if by only a few mm. Not sure if that's because grimfox mounted his top fans above the frame, or if yours are below or your top rad is thicker, can't tell.

As for the fans, that's iffy. High sp is usually nice, but can change with the rad design. A high split-fin fpi count needs higher sp, especially on thicker rads, but a low standard fin fpi will do just fine without as much, getting better benefit from the higher cfm. Pretty much the way an AIO rad works.

I'd do some research into the rad reviews, see what's going to work better/best for you and your needs, that may or may not be EK.
 

grimfox

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Not sure if that's because grimfox mounted his top fans above the frame, or if yours are below or your top rad is thicker, can't tell.
I take no credit for the photo I linked. It's not my system or my photo. I just used it as a reference because it checks all the boxes OP was looking for (with the exception of the drain port).

The drain on my system is on the return to the res. I also have a vertically mounted GPU, which is a PITA to drain because I have to get the water to drain uphill through the GPU block. Usually means that I have to do a lot of tilting or open the block and poor it out another way (very messy)

The only trick with the 360 front rad design, the bottom of the res is not the lowest point in the system. That would be the bottom of the front rad. Ideally, for draining the system you would want to have your front rad ports on the bottom with a T/Y fitting for the drain port/valve. But running tubes out from that basement may be problematic.

Finally, Kudos on not using dyes in your loop (I think). I tried out the primochill VUE and EK red translucent dye...both stained the hell out of my tubes and blocks. The Vue only lasted about a month before it fell out into a watery pink color. The EK dye has faded to mostly clear but stained all my tubes reddish...lightish red. Silver coil and distilled water is really the way to go.

edit, I have my pump pushing water up to a top mounted rad as the first run, when I had the drain port there, the pump has a real hard time pushing fluid up that run. I moved the drain to the return and put a right angle fitting there and the pump does a much better job of getting that fluid up into the rad. Having the first run as clean as possible is important to the efficiency of the system for sure.
 
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Ronnie30

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The only trick with the 360 front rad design, the bottom of the res is not the lowest point in the system. That would be the bottom of the front rad. Ideally, for draining the system you would want to have your front rad ports on the bottom with a T/Y fitting for the drain port/valve.
Yeah, using a 240mm, and placing it as high as possible would alleviate this. Additionally, I could tilt the case to make my drain port the lowest point, wherever I put it, but that's a huge hassle.

Finally, Kudos on not using dyes in your loop (I think).
I'm using blue EK Cryofuel. You can see 2 bottles of it in the bottom right corner of my photo. It's not visible in the loop, in my photo because of lighting, but you can definitely see it in the res, in person. It's much lighter in the tubing though. I was hoping it would look more like the image that you posted.

the pump has a real hard time pushing fluid up that run. I moved the drain to the return and put a right angle fitting there and the pump does a much better job of getting that fluid up into the rad.
I'm thinking of moving the pump down and moving the drain to the pumps inlet, to ensure the drain is definitely the lowest point (about 4 mm higher than the outlet though), This would mean the first part of my run is uphill, but at a very shallow angle, so I think it should be fine. This also means I'd have more room to get my hand in above the res when I need to fill. May possibly run into issues having a Y adaptor on the top of the res to use as both an inlet and a fill port.

You'll have to check clearances for the ports at the top of the front rad vs bottom of the top rad.
Good call. Just eye balling it now, and I will definitely have clearance issues with the top rad, if I have the ports towards the back of the case. If I have it towards the front, it could clash with the front rad, if I keep the ports on top, as well as reducing room for my fill port. I wonder if I'm better off using a 120mm on the back instead. Alternatively, I could change top rad so that it's in case's roof, and move it's fans into a push config instead of pull, giving me space to choose whether I want the ports towards the front or back.
 

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