Best case for internal water cooling loop?

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thebski

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Hey guys,

Planning a new build here, and I'm strongly considering water cooling. I'm wondering what the best case would be to fit a water cooling system inside? I'm going to be cooling either a six core SB-E or quad core SB processor overclocked, along with at least 2 large nVidia graphics cards. I have 570's right now, but when I upgrade to 680's or whatever they'll be I would buy water cooled versions. That means I'm probably looking at a 360mm and a 480mm radiator in one large loop. Is there any regular case out there that people have had success fitting something like this into? I kind of prefer to stay away from the cube cases if possible. My preference would be an HAF X, but I currently own one and there's no way something like that is fitting inside.

Thoughts?
 

saint19

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The HAF X can fit those two radiators without problems, but if you want something better go with the Corsair Obsidian 800D
 

rubix_1011

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^That's what I was trying to think of...it was slipping my memory. I think you can get a 4x120 in the bottom if I recall...
 

scopey86

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Depending on your budget I'd reccomend this:

http://www.ldcooling.com/shop/18-atx-hptx

I personally own and love it, save for the removing the panels is a pain

The case is made to fit a 480 on top and either 2 360s or if you want 2 480s on the bottom :p.

I have it with a 480 up top and 2 360s on the bottom.
 

thebski

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You think I can get a 480mm AND a 360mm rad all inside an HAF X? Have you seen it done or have pictures of it done? I'm not disputing you. It's just that in looking at mine right now I see no way that's possible without heavy modifications. I'd love to know how if it is though!
 

saint19

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only a 480 or 360 radiator inside, both can't fit inside.
 

manzooka

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Just a shout out here for the 800D. With some simple pretty simple modding I was able to fit a thick 360 and thick 240 internally. Guides on this mod are easy to find. I'm cooling a 2600K at 4.8~ Ghz and two GTX580's at stock and I have plenty of temp headroom. The GPU's don't even break at sweat at load for 30 min plus at stock. Wild. I'm a big fan of this case in other respects too. No complaints... aside from the need to mod the case at all I guess, but that's part of the fun.


(The visible cables were used for the external PSU during filling. The final build is very clean despite my horrendous cable management skills. I won't show you the rear picture, lol).
 

thebski

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Awesome build dude. Do you mind posting a picture of your front panel? How much room for expansion slots do you have with pump and res? I was hoping to get a blu ray player, 2 dvd burners, and a front panel for sound blaster sound card, but I'm sure there's no room for that with pump and res.

Also, do you mind posting the specs of your cooling loop? Mainly radiator models, pump, res, and blocks. I'd appreciate it!
 

manzooka

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Sure thing, all of that info is on the front page of my build log (link below) to include the mod work. Don't be put off by the rotary tool additions. I have virtually no experience with rotary tools and the mod to accommodate the lower 240 was really easy with the proper tools (any rotary tool, a measuring tape, a $10 rivet gun, and online guides). Even if you fudge it a bit it won't matter because all of the cutting is on the under side of the case. And as previously mentioned, even a little bit of modding adds to the fun and the pride of a finished build :D

The 800D has room for 5 front bays but I'm using a duel bay rez. If you go with a single front bay res or an internal res I suppose you would have room for all of the stuff you're looking to add. I'm looking at my rig right now and can see that there's room for an internal res and pump that would even accommodate my current loop configuration. You can probably see how that would work based on the pic above.

I will forewarn you that a couple of 45 degree fittings are a near necessity if you plan to add a thick 240 to the lower bay. My loop doesn't have the slightest bit of kinking but I needed some 45's to make that work. Also, with the 800D you'll probably want to remove the two rubber guides separating the upper and lower sections of the case. Doing so gives you a wee bit more angular room to work with in the lower bay. The fan configuration I stole from another 800D user has been successful as well (pic in the build log).

Let me also add that this was my very first watercooling build. My advice would be that if you're "strongly considering" a watercooling build just read the wealth of info online and go ahead and do it. It's well worth it. If you wuss out for the next several years you'll feel a pang of regret every time you look at your massive CPU heatsink. :lol:

Build Log (Many thanks to the Tom's WC crew, btw :D ) http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/269332-29-zooka-build-800d-2600k-gtx580-build

Edit: Final thought... I love love love every single component of this rig with the exception of my mem choice. It wasn't a bad choice per se but there are better alternatives. But changing my mem at this point would also involve removing my video cards, and that would probably require me me to drain my loop which makes me much less concerned about the whole deal, heh.

.... thank you for the diversion. I just died right near the end of a very large skyrim dungeon and had to rage quit for at least a half hour before continuing.
 

thebski

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Man, I really like your build even more after reading your build log. I have been a huge fan of the HAF X, but after reading that you've really got my attention with that 800D and being able to fit a full CPU and 2-3 GPU system inside.

I had strongly considered going to a water cooled system this past April when I made the move to surround gaming. My friends convinced me that the gameplay experience would be much more enhanced by going to 2D surround vision than water cooling so another graphics card and monitors is what I spent my money on instead. I did a ton of research and had a complete build put together, so I'm just going to put that in this thread and see what you think.

First off I should start with the system. I am undecided at this point between 1155 and 2011, but here are the two builds I have put together.

Socket 2011 System:

CPU - i7 3930K
Motherboard - Asus Rampage IV Extreme
PSU - Seasonic X-1250 Gold
Media 1 - Asus Blu Ray Player
Media 2(3) - 1 (2 if it fits) Asus DVD Burner
Case - Corsair 800D (was going to be HAF X)
Memory - 32 GB Corsair Vengence 1866
Boot Drive - 2 x OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120 GB in Raid 0

Socket 1155 System:

CPU - i7 2700K
Motherboard - Asus Maximus IV Extreme-Z
PSU - Seasonic X-1250 Gold
Media 1 - Asus Blu Ray Player
Media 2(3) - 1 (2 if it fits) Asus DVD Burner
Case - Corsair 800D (was going to be HAF X)
16 GB Corsair Vengence 1866
Boot Drive - 2 x OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120 GB in Raid 0

Things I already own that will carry over:

1 TB Seagate 7200.12
2 x EVGA GTX 570 SC
Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Champion Series
Hauppauge Colossus
A crapload of Logitech G-series stuff (G13, G930, G9x, G19)

I was going to put 2 x 2 TB drives for storage, but hard drive prices are just stupid right now with the flooding in Thailand so I'm going to wait until they come back to earth.

Now maybe you can also help me decide which system I should buy. Long story short my work is buying the memory and SSD's for whichever system I buy because I use my home computer for work a lot. That coupled with selling off old parts (they're already spoken for) means the Socket 1155 system I have laid out will cost me $88 out of my pocket without any cooling. The Socket 2011 system will cost me $448 again without cooling.

That's one decision to be made. Another decision is cooling. I am either going to buy a Corsair H100 I've decided, or go ahead and build the water cooling system I've been dreaming up for some time now.

Here's the deal with the water cooled system: Right now it's going to be a CPU only loop. When the 600 series cards come out I'm going to sell my 570's and buy 680's or whatever they're going to be. At that time I'll go ahead and buy the EVGA Hydro Copper versions and put them in the loop, but for right now we're looking at CPU only.

I'm just going to go ahead with the system I had built last spring and we can make adjustments from there:



Obviously this system is shown in an HAF X, so I'll have to redo the diagram with an 800 D, but it's essentially going to look like yours. I'll start at the pump/res.

Resevoir: Swiftech MCP35X Rev 2 (attaches directly to pump) - $27.95
Pump: Swiftech MCP35X - $84.95
Pump Out: Bitspower Ultimate G1/4 Compression Fitting 1/2" ID 5/8" OD - 13.99
CPU Block In: Koolance VL3N QDC Male G1/4, Koolance VL3N QDC Female Compression 1/2" ID 3/4" - $12.99,$14.99
CPU Block: EK Supreme HF - Acetal - $70.95
CPU Block Out: Koolance VL3N QDC Male G1/4, Koolance VL3N QDC Female Compression 1/2" ID 3/4" - $12.99,$14.99
Radiator 1 In: Bitspower Ultimate G1/4 Compression Fitting 1/2" ID 5/8" OD - $13.99
Radiator 1: XSPC RX360 Rev 2 - $89.95
Radiator 1 Out: Bitspower Ultimate G1/4 Compression Fitting 1/2" ID 5/8" OD - $13.99
Resevoir In: Bitspower Ultimate G1/4 Compression Fitting 1/2" ID 5/8" OD - $13.99
Tubing: Tygon R-3400 1/2" ID 3/4" OD Black - 12 Feet @ $3.25/ft = $39.00

Stage II (GPU):

Additional fittings and an XSPC RX240 radiator.

Things I still need to select:

Fans
Fan Controller

So I basically have 4 options:

Option 1: Socket 1155, Corsair H100: $208 Out of Pocket
Option 2: Socket 1155, Custom Loop: $513 Out of Pocket
Option 3: Socket 2011, Corsair H100: $568 Out of Pocket
Option 4: Socket 2011, Custom Loop: $873 Out of Pocket

A) Which option would you choose, and B) go ahead and pick apart my liquid cooling system and see what you'd change if you wouldn't mind. Also, I'll take recommendations on fans and fan controllers as there are a million out there and I don't know much about them.

Thanks so much!
 

thebski

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Oh, and one more thing to add. I'd really like some red fans in the case. I'm going with a red/black theme with the Asus boards, black case, black tubing, 4 dimms of memory will be black and the other 4 dimms red if I go with 2011, etc. You get the point. I always thought my HAF X looked awesome with 4 red 230mm fans and want to stay with the red balck theme.
 

thebski

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I should also add that this build was put together last spring, so any new parts that have came out since then will be beyond me. For example, I had settled on the EK CPU waterblock, but now Swiftech has the Apogee HD out so I'd have to see how it compared to the EK.
 

scopey86

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Unless you use really cpu intensive programs for your work, you probably don't need to spend the cash for the SB-E processors, it's honestly a lot of money for bragging rights only with little performance gain in most settings. As for the waterblocks EK vs swiftech the difference is only a degree or 2 last I checked, so go with whats cheaper IMHO. The HAF X is a very popular case, I haven't heard much about the xigmatek case though it looks like it may require less modding.

 

we1shcake

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its designed for the sr2 and is therefore massive, can fit a 420mm rad in the roof with no modding, and a 360 in the drive bays
 

rubix_1011

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The majority of fun in watercooling is the modding and squeezing everything where it normally wouldn't go. However, case manufacturers are making it a little easier to get 2 internal rads in a case, but in many instances, this will barely suffice for a CPU and SLI/Crossfire (2x) cards, let alone allow for adequate airflow for the rads to pump out that much heat in watts from the loop while providing good airflow for the rest of the components.
 

thebski

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Manzooka,

What are your temps on your cpu and video cards under load? Also what is your ambient temp? That will be a good estimation of how well it will work since I'll be doing probably basically an identical set up to what you have.
 

thebski

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Are there any pics I could look at to get an idea what I'd need to do?
 

we1shcake

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youd need some zip ties for the drive bay rad, part form that nothing
 

thebski

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The Xigmatek looks like a great case. Do you guys think a 240 mm rad would fit in the bottom behind the PSU?

I am thinking a 480mm rad up top, a 120mm rad on back, a 240 mm rad either behind the psu in the bottom or in the bottom front hard drive bay area standing upright with and move the hard drive bay behind the psu.
 

saint19

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rubix_1011

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...At a cost of $700? Holy &*%!

I'd rather tweak out a MountainMods case for a few hundred less. :)
 

saint19

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:lol: Yeah, even, you can fit a phase change inside.
 
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