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Thread: Silent Watercooling request for help

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    Silent Watercooling request for help

    Hey guys and girls!

    I'm in need of a little help here regarding watercooling my PC. I'm a complete noob to liquid cooling, so go easy on me; though I've been building all my machines from scratch for the last 15 years - I'm pretty handy with a screwdriver and I'm pretty technical.
    My goal: complete silence (or the closest I can get). I'm utterly sick of the sound of fans now, and just want my computer to shut up. Oh, and please please please: no-one tell me to turn up the volume on my games - that won't make things quieter, it'll just make them noisier.

    My current setup:
    Antec P182 case
    All panels inside (top/bottom/side/front/back) covered with acoustic mat
    All case fans removed and replaced with ultra quiet 120mm or 140mm ones with voltage reduced to reduce noise even further
    Antec CP850 PSU with the stock fan (which is remarkably quiet as it is)
    Asus Rampage Formula (x48)
    Q9650 @3.6GHz
    8GB DDR2 RAM @1066
    Thermalright Silver Arrow (not the SB-E version). Has 2xTY-140s running PWM off the motherboard at the lowest speed.
    2x GTX 580 in SLI (stock speeds)
    2x SSD
    2x 2TB HDD
    2x Grow Up Japan HDD Silencer
    TIM on the GPUs, NB, SB, CPU has been replaced with Phobya HeGrease
    Even though the machine is running overclocked, I have actually undervolted the CPU, NB, SB and RAM to generate less heat - 100% stable for the last year or two.

    OK, so my use-case is like this:
    I make music in a home studio and basically need almost 100% silence from my computer as I record vocals in the same room. Because a lot of my synths are now soft synths, so it can be pretty CPU intensive, hence why I run the quad core with a mild overclock all of the time. As I'm also a bit of a gamer, I've also got 2 GTX580's in SLI; and games of course benefit from the CPU overclock too.
    I dual-boot the machine - one SSD for music production (with a 2TB drive storage), one SSD for games (with a 2TB drive storage). Of course there are large times when the computer is mostly idle and doing very basic tasks (sitting at the desktop, surfing internet, playing music, etc), so it's not all pegged at 100% CPU all the time ;-)
    At idle, my CPU runs at about 25 degrees, NB at about 45 degrees, GPUs are low (not sure of exact temps). When taxed to the max, the GPUs are hitting 85 degrees and the NB around 90 (yuck)!!! The CPU still plods along at about 45 degrees when it's being absolutely smashed, but I put that down to the mild overclock and the efficiency of the Silver Arrow heatsink. Ignoring the CPU for the moment, everything runs way too hot for my liking - even at idle, the noise from the GPUs alone is overwhelming to my delicate ears and the NB is just a big frying pan that heats up the whole case.

    So then, my evil plan:
    As the case is quite small and cramped, I imagine that I'll need to mount the radiator and resevoir externally. I want to run it mostly passive if possible (ie. get a fan controller to turn off most of the fans when the temps are low and only switch them on when needed).
    When the fans are actually running, I want them to be really slow and quiet, so large spacing in between the fins would be necessary. I've found that Thermalright TY-140s are pretty quiet when running slow but they don't push a huge amount of air at that speed. When they are ramped up to full speed, they actually do a pretty good job of pushing quite a bit, but I think that's simply down to the 140mm size more than anything. Obviously, the slower the better - even one fan at full speed is like a drill in my ear.

    So, my shopping list looks like this:
    1xMO-RA3 9x140 Pro - mounted to the side of the case, or sat on the floor next to it
    3xThermalright TY-140s attached to the rad (no need for 9 surely???)
    1xresevoir of some form or another... I'm guessing I'll need to get an external one due to space concerns and mount it on the top of the case (suggestions please?). Also, I'd guess I want one with a sealable fill-port to keep the loop completely closed? Really I don't know enough about it, so any help here would be good.
    2xGPU full coverage blocks (EK-FC580 GTX+, Aquacomputer AquagraFX, Watercool Heatkiller GPU-X3 GTX 570/580, Koolance VID-NX580, EGVA Hydro Copper, Alphacool NexXxoS NVXP NV 580/570 Serie). Choices, choices...HELP!!
    1xCPU block (Swiftech Apogee Drive II which includes a pump). Not yet available in the UK, but will be in the next 2 weeks or so.
    1xNB (Koolance CHC-125 or Alphacool HF 14)
    1xlow profile southbridge heatsink (Enzotech CNB-S1L) to replace the heatpipe design currently on the motherboard - also the fact that it's low profile will keep it out of the way of the graphics cards
    some 1/2"ID hose (3/4"OD)
    quick release non-drip plugs to link things together
    coolant
    Fan controller (Aquacomputer Aquaero 5 LT - do I need the XT or Pro?)
    inline temp sensors (suggestions? maybe the aquaero one?)
    inline flow sensors (suggestions? maybe the aquaero one?)
    other things?? (drain tube at the bottom?)

    Other radiator option I considered:
    Aquacomputer AMS 480mm rad (I assume these have a lower capacity for heat exchange than a single MO-RA3, unless I pick up multiple?)



    So then, here is where I open it to the floor! What are your suggestions?

    Is my shopping list all wrong?
    Have I missed something obvious?
    Do you think that one MO-RA3 would be enough to dissipate the heat from the four components (NB/CPU/GPU1/GPU2)?
    Do I REALLLLY need 9 fans, or can I get away with using 3 or 4 and rely on simple convection to do the work for me?
    Would I need the extra features of the Aquaero XT, or will the LT do it all for me?
    How would I route the loop(s)? Is there any issue if I rig it up in a single loop like this:
    CPU block (pump included) -> NB -> GPU1 -> GPU2 -> MO-RA3 -> Res -> back to the CPU/pump

    Wrap-up
    Something which I really want to stress: Money is *NOT* an issue. Frankly, I'd much prefer to have the best equipment so that the fans have an easier job (and therefore run quieter).
    Also, ease is something I want to stress too. If it's a pain in the ar$e to set up and maintain, then I don't want it. If it's cluttered, then I don't want it. It's gotta be clean, simple, powerful and quiet. I've got money to spend and don't mind getting the best.

    Anyway, let me know your thoughts please - be gentle, this is my first loop.
    Oh, and sorry for the post being massive - that was rather a lot of information...

    Thank you
    Breame

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    For an external passive rad have you looked at the Zalman RESERATOR 1 V2 http://zalman.co.kr/ENG/product/Prod...ad.asp?idx=183

    Also head over to spcr as good as hexus is they focus on making pc's silent http://www.silentpcreview.com/

    your gtx580 sli is probably massive overkill, have you tried running a single one and seeing what it's like? taking one out of your system will be a massive reduction in heat right there, and only buying one gtx580 water block will save you a bundle of cash.

    What fans are you running at what speeds?
    Have you cut out the case metal fan grills? they can often add a fair bit of noise to "silent" fans if you want to keep fingers out of spinning fan blades then the basic wire fan guards work well and don't add as much noise as the punched case grills
    these things

    A couple of tips I found on my p180, I used paxmate, not the best but it is fairly thin, I covered the inside of the door and the inside of the top fan scoop cover, they did help me reduce the noise from it.

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    As far as I can tell, most people serious about watercooling slate the reserator, mostly due to it's aluminium construction (which will erode itself and waterblocks if used in the same loop as copper), but also due to it's poor pump and limited cooling capacity. Apart from that, there aren't really very many passive coolers on the marketm, and the ones which are around are all slated for the same reasons - namely being aluminium and having poor heat exchange capacity.

    I do agree that 2 580s are pretty beefy, but I like them :-). When the GTX780s come out, I might switch back to a single card again (as that will be faster than 2 580s by miles and generate less heat), but until that point, both of them stay.
    As for buying 2 waterblocks: that is not an issue - as I said money is no object here and should not even be considered in the conversation.

    The fans I have were selected by me based upon the noise they make. Trust me, I've tried loads. I've been through about 20 different brands and models all at varying speeds (I actually have a bag jammed full of mostly unused fans each worth like £10-20) and I'm happy with what I picked.

    And yes I have indeed covered the inside of the door and the fan scoop/cowl thing in very thick dampening foam mat. Way ahead of you there mate ;-). The P182 doesn't actually have a cowl, so I manufactured one myself out of a PSU cowl. Go me

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    I'd say going passive whilst dissipating that much heat isn't probably realistic with the reservator (educated guess) given how much stuff you'll have in that loop!
    I've got a 3x120mm fan 120.3 thermochill rad (very big, lots of capacity) mounted on the rear of my case with 3 slow spinning fans on it and to be honest it's very quiet and I can still overclock my 580 and cpu without worries. You do need to move some air, even if slowly. For reference I think I could easily add another 580 and still cool everything perfectly well (I don't run my fans anywhere near quickly and remember all the heat is being dumped outside the case). I didn't see the point in cooling the NB on my setup as it's passively cooled anyway and i've got case fans (again slow) moving air across them. It's worth mentioning (again IMHO) that you do need some in-case airflow because you do want things like the mb VRMs to be cooled etc.

    Connectors - after many years of tinkering I've settled on compression fittings - I prefer them because their bulletproof and the way I isolate the bulk of the water when swapping things out is simply to fit in-line valves which I can shutoff easily. In my setup that's really only necessary on my radiator return in practice.

    You can find a partial log of my build here: http://forums.hexus.net/pc-hardware/...build-log.html

    Here's the first prototype of the mounting bracket though:

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    Ahh I thought they had put it a copper lining in the new version, it's the only real passive external rad I know of.

    Have you considered moving the pc out of the room you're recording it? that would be the simple way, you could run the pc as loud as you like then.
    you'd just need to run longer cables for keyboard, mouse monitor and audio back into the room you're in.

    I would honestly give it a go with just a single gtx580, unless you're gaming on multiple monitors I really doubt you'll see much difference.

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    Thanks for the info Dangel. I'm planning on a similar idea - the cooling to be outside the case itself. Yep, I'd definitely thought of the airflow inside the case, and I was indeed going to leave the current case fans where they are to make sure there is at least some air movement across the motherboard.

    As for the northbridge - I'm afraid that the X48 chip is very well known for running ridiculously hot, so it will need to be actively cooled, so it'll need to be in the loop no matter what. Well... until I decide I want to update to Ivy Bridge EX (where the main NB components are incorporated in the CPU and therefore no need for any cooling!).

    What I'm taking from your build is that you have a radiator of 120mm x 3 with some overclocked components (including a GTX 580) and that cools it just fine. I'm going to go for a radiator which is 140mm x 9. My idea is that it should (hopefully) exchange enough heat for some extremely low speeds on the (few) fans I mount.

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisbreame View Post
    Thanks for the info Dangel. I'm planning on a similar idea - the cooling to be outside the case itself. Yep, I'd definitely thought of the airflow inside the case, and I was indeed going to leave the current case fans where they are to make sure there is at least some air movement across the motherboard.

    As for the northbridge - I'm afraid that the X48 chip is very well known for running ridiculously hot, so it will need to be actively cooled, so it'll need to be in the loop no matter what. Well... until I decide I want to update to Ivy Bridge EX (where the main NB components are incorporated in the CPU and therefore no need for any cooling!).

    What I'm taking from your build is that you have a radiator of 120mm x 3 with some overclocked components (including a GTX 580) and that cools it just fine. I'm going to go for a radiator which is 140mm x 9. My idea is that it should (hopefully) exchange enough heat for some extremely low speeds on the (few) fans I mount.
    Yeah I got that I just wondered if you've done the math so to speak to see how much heat you'll be potentially dissipating versus the cooling capacity (as claimed anyway) that you'll have. It looks a bit OTT to me IMHO - can't help but think you could save money or at least spend it elsewhere.. I'm nowhere near capacity is the message There's always lots of options (even mounting the rad t'other side of a wall as semi suggested above)

    I'd also ask what resolution you're going to be running and push you toward trying a single card solution first as you can always add another later (if an when required). If I were doing a build now i'd base it on a single 670 for example for a 1920x1200 system.
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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    Have you considered moving the pc out of the room you're recording it? that would be the simple way, you could run the pc as loud as you like then.
    you'd just need to run longer cables for keyboard, mouse monitor and audio back into the room you're in.
    Gah! That would be absolutely impossible. 2 major problems with it:
    1. The sheer number of hardware synths and things I've got hanging off the back of this computer would make it impossible to move.
    2. Small flat, small room - nowhere to move the computer to :-(

    Quote Originally Posted by Pob255 View Post
    I would honestly give it a go with just a single gtx580, unless you're gaming on multiple monitors I really doubt you'll see much difference.
    I'm gaming on a single 27 inch monitor (I have 2 - each 2560x1440), but I'd prefer to keep the extra horsepower of the second card to drive that resolution with high AA and AF values.

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    Quote Originally Posted by dangel View Post
    Yeah I got that I just wondered if you've done the math so to speak to see how much heat you'll be potentially dissipating versus the cooling capacity (as claimed anyway) that you'll have. It looks a bit OTT to me IMHO - can't help but think you could save money or at least spend it elsewhere.. I'm nowhere near capacity is the message There's always lots of options (even mounting the rad t'other side of a wall as semi suggested above)
    I haven't calculated the heat generated, nor do I know how much that MO-RA3 can dissipate, but I was hoping that it was indeed OTT - that was exactly the point. If the radiator is waaaay over what I need to cool my system actively, then for the most part it can sit there running passive (or with just 1x140mm fans running to take away the heat generated when the computer is idle). And when taxing both the CPU and GPUs at 100%, then a couple of slow running fans will kick in to take away the additional heat.

    As for saving money? Couldn't care less. As I said, that's simply not even in the equation. Ignore it.

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    Quote Originally Posted by chrisbreame View Post
    I haven't calculated the heat generated, nor do I know how much that MO-RA3 can dissipate, but I was hoping that it was indeed OTT - that was exactly the point.
    Hey, don't get me wrong - I love Frankenstein projects Mines OTT (capacity versus required cooling) but my own needs were different - for example I wanted to me able to move the whole system (it's on a wheeled plinth) for cleaning as one and so I built it as such. I could in the future stick a 120.4 rad on there for even more cooling too (the fitments are the same) and at ~900rpm the fans are completely silent to me (sat as it is under my desk). Want a monster system? Go for it Sharing my own experience is all

    Considering money is not a problem then i'd think about twin 670/680s - you'll get far more performance headroom and as they'll not need to work as hard, less heat too I'd warrant given they have better power management and smaller manufacturing process (benches put a 25% difference in overall consumption at load).
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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    koolance TMS-205 will control one pump and 3 fans (or combinations of fans per header as i run 3 140mm off one header), couple that with the eb-205 daughter card that bolts on top and you double up.

    you are best using koolance pumps and fans with it as its a wierd PWM using 3 pin fans setup but this allows you to use 5 temp probes per card to read and adjust pumps/fans.

    i have a dual rad setup thats near silent unless im in the thick of BF3 when i have a headset on anyway.

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    MO-RA apparently means "Monster Radiator" - some data here:

    http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...ya-Xtreme-1080

    Seems like it's kicks butt, impressive.
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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    Hehehe, that link is actually one of the reasons I picked this rad - Bundymania appears to know his stuff.

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    Quote Originally Posted by GoNz0 View Post
    koolance TMS-205 will control one pump and 3 fans (or combinations of fans per header as i run 3 140mm off one header), couple that with the eb-205 daughter card that bolts on top and you double up.

    you are best using koolance pumps and fans with it as its a wierd PWM using 3 pin fans setup but this allows you to use 5 temp probes per card to read and adjust pumps/fans.

    i have a dual rad setup thats near silent unless im in the thick of BF3 when i have a headset on anyway.
    Is this better than the Aquaero?

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    Get in the van. Fraz's Avatar
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    • Fraz's system
      • Motherboard:
      • Gigabyte X58A-UD5
      • CPU:
      • Watercooled i7-980X @ 4.2 GHz
      • Memory:
      • 24GB Crucial DDR3-1333
      • Storage:
      • 240 GB Vertex2E + 2 TB of Disk
      • Graphics card(s):
      • Water-cooled Sapphire 7970 @ 1175/1625
      • PSU:
      • Enermax Modu87+
      • Case:
      • Corsair 700D
      • Operating System:
      • Linux Mint 12 / Windows 7
      • Monitor(s):
      • Dell 30" 3008WFP and two Dell 24" 2412M
      • Internet:
      • Virgin Media 60 Mbps

    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    I don't know anything about that CPU-block/pump combo you're using, but in my experience of watercooling a lot of the perceived noise comes from the pump vibration, not the fans, etc.

    In my setup, I could have the fans on about 600 RPM, which was basically inaudible, but the pump (a Laing D5 Vario with an EK X-top) would be quite audible even at the lower end of its speed setting. I've got a steel case (definitely less prone to vibration than aluminium ones), but the pump was still setting up vibrations in the case that you could easily hear and also feel if you put your hands on the case.

    In the end, I decided to suspend the pump from elastic, which worked like an absolute charm. Now I can run it at max RPM, and the fans are now effectively the main noise source, which is great, as I can control the fan speed (and hence noise) very easily.

    I'll try and take some pictures of my setup tonight, if you're interested.

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    Re: Silent Watercooling request for help

    Yes please do!

    I really appreciate everyone giving me their viewpoints, so keep em coming.

    Fras: As you have a watercooling setup, do you think that the chain of components in my loop is ok, or is it a bit weird? I notice a lot of other people have multiple loops (one for CPU and one for GPUs), but I suppose I was trying to keep the noise down by using a single pump only.

    Good idea/bad idea?

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