Water cooling questions, particularly concerning VGA water blocks

Associate
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I'm heavily researching water cooling now in preparation for an awesome build that I'm planning for once I finish uni. I hope you guys will be able to answer some questions that I have:

  1. I'm going to go with a universal water block for the graphics cards (dual 4890s, or the equivalent when I actually build this system), since they can be reused on new cards, and don't require any draining. However, unlike a full cover block, they only cool the core , and not the other components like RAM and MOSFETs. Will I need some heatsinks for these components + recommendations?
  2. On the subject of universal VGA water blocks, which is best - Swiftech MCW60R, EK VGA Supreme or XSPC X2O? I've seen the X2O elsewhere for less than the other two, but I'm not sure whether it's worth saving money with this block.
  3. On CPU blocks, I have seen two different EK Supremes on sale elsewhere - the standard Supreme and the Supreme LT, with the latter being £10 less. How do they differ, and which would be best on a price/performance basis?
  4. I'm planning to cool an LGA1366 Core i7, and two high-end graphics cards in one loop (unless there's much point in watercooling the NB as well?). Will a 360mm rad be enough, or should I add a 240mm rad as well?
  5. The XSPC RS series of rads seem a lot cheaper than the RX or Black Ice. Again, is it worth spending more for the latter?
  6. Bearing the above in mind, is a Laing 10W pump enough or should I spring for an 18W model?

Thanks for all your help :)
 
Soldato
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I agree with your plan to go with a universal block. BUT, you may struggle to get adaptors later particularly from Swiftech who are poorly stocked in the UK and block adaptors are sometimes hard to get hold of. You may not need RAM sinks; my 8800GT has an Accelero without RAM sinks and they don't seem that hot. Can't speak for a 4890.

The LT is cheaper because it's not as good.

A 360mm RAD with all that lot might struggle to get super-low temps but it will work. It really all depends on whether you want super-quiet and super-low. To get both may well require more surface area.

And as a result, you want the best-performing rads you can get. The RS are cheaper than the RX because they have less surface area. If youc an spring for i7 and two 4890s do yourself a favour and do your water-cooling properly. Get a Thermochill PA120.3 or a Feser 140.3 and if those can't get the temps you want, at least you tried the best. I'm betting you also want looks, or I'd advise getting a really big rad and mounting it externally.

And for all that, would I recommend a Laing 18W? No, I'd probably suggest two loops with two rads, two pumps, etc. Do one for the gpus and one for the cpu.
 
Soldato
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Two 4890 will pump out major amounts of heat - Mike's surgestion of two loops is a good idea - or even water cool the cards and air cool the i7 depending on case.

There is the options with using a D5 pump / typhoon3 res combo running parallel loops but that has other issues.

Using the high quality rad's (RX, PA, Feser) is a must with hot hardware.

Also two 4890 means gaming - if so why the i7? - i5 750 or E8xxx would be a better option
 
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I could be talking out of my hat but ATI are able to use a lower clocked mem than nvidia and still produce nearly the same bandwidth per second, hence are able to keep the power to the memory down hence keep heat down. All due to GDDR5 being able to provide so much more bandwith per pin than GDDR3

Get in coherent at 11:30pm
 

rjk

rjk

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cool that memory - fullcover blocks are the only way to go

also - buy the best radiators you can afford

please dont buy a budget radiator when a far superior one is only a couple of quid more

i am cooling an i7 and two 4890s along with full cover motherboard blocks on quad and double thermochill radiators and i am concerned it wont be enough
 
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I agree with your plan to go with a universal block. BUT, you may struggle to get adaptors later particularly from Swiftech who are poorly stocked in the UK and block adaptors are sometimes hard to get hold of. You may not need RAM sinks; my 8800GT has an Accelero without RAM sinks and they don't seem that hot. Can't speak for a 4890.

cool that memory - fullcover blocks are the only way to go
Lol, any consensus on this front? My main beef with full cover is the high cost, especially for two cards, and their non-reusability. I've found a competitor which is selling a Swiftech passive cooling kit, consisting of MC14 and MC21 heatsinks for the mosfets and RAM, and also seems pretty well stocked on mounting brackets and other accessories. Total, including the block, would come to less than the price of a full cover.

A 360mm RAD with all that lot might struggle to get super-low temps but it will work. It really all depends on whether you want super-quiet and super-low. To get both may well require more surface area.
Yes, I'm more after a quiet system than insane overclocking, though I'll want to OC a small bit. I take it that a 360 + 240 will cope well with the system?

And as a result, you want the best-performing rads you can get. The RS are cheaper than the RX because they have less surface area. If youc an spring for i7 and two 4890s do yourself a favour and do your water-cooling properly. Get a Thermochill PA120.3 or a Feser 140.3 and if those can't get the temps you want, at least you tried the best. I'm betting you also want looks, or I'd advise getting a really big rad and mounting it externally.
I'd really prefer having an all-internal system. On the case front I'm looking at a Cosmos S, but to my understanding a Thermochill or Feser won't fit in the top due to space issues. Either I could go for the RX rads, or I could change case - any suggestions for cases that'll fit a couple of rads without cutting, apart from the TJ07 (bit expensive) or the HAF (ugly to me)?

Also two 4890 means gaming - if so why the i7? - i5 750 or E8xxx would be a better option
That is certainly a good point as a 1156 CPU would put out less heat - but don't P55 boards go down to x8/x8 mode if dual cards are used, as opposed to x16/x16 on an X58? Is that likely to be a performance problem, or am I being silly? I wouldn't lose much in terms of gaming performance by going from 1366 to 1156, would I?
 
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Full cover blocks are a waste of money in my opinion. For a start they are twice as expensive (or even more) as a universal block and secondly they will only fit the card they are designed for which means a new block if you change cards. Core only blocks give the gpu core better cooling as well. I have had my Aquaextreme MP-1 (same as a DD Maze 4 externally) for four years now and has been on 7800Gt, 8800GT, 4850 and 4870 cards. I use Zalman ramsinks on the ram and currently, the stock cooler on the VRM's, although Zalman do coolers for different cards on the VRM's. I have never had a problem with overheating memory/VRM's and the memory on my 4870 is currently running at 4200mhz. I also used to have sli'd 7800Gt's with my full size MP-1's and even though they make the card a two slot card there was ample clearence between the cards and the blocks. The only thing i had to do was to trim the mounting screws for the lower cards block. You can get low profile blocks though.

The EK Supreme VGA and D-Tek Fusion GPU blocks are excellent. I would avoid the XSPC. It's cheap for a reason.

The Heatkiller 3.0 is currently the best CPU block, followed by the EK Supreme and D-Tek Fusion V2.

Do not skimp on the rad. Go for the quality ones such as Thermochill PA120.3/140.3, XSPC RX360. They offer better cooling and are less restrictive.

In fact don't skimp on any of it. Do it right the first time and it will last you a long time and through several upgrades. I am still using the same blocks/pump/res that i started off with 4 years ago on a AMD socket 754 rig. The only thing i have changed is the rad. I got one of the new Thermochill PA120.3's when they were released a couple of months ago.
 
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