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1st time Watercooling - 10th Gen Intel - CPU only - USA buying - Teach me!


GanjaSMK

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I am about to embark on my first WC parts collection to build my first loop for CPU only. 10850K since I have parts to begin a second build. 

 

Goal:

 

Familiarize myself with WC parts and so forth; researching parts for correct fittings/cases, etc; and giving the CPU the max headroom for clocking. Whatever the results end up - good or bad - I am aiming for a learning experience over performance. Though, performance will be the secondary goal obviously. 

 

What the community can provide: 

 

I hope anyone and everyone could chime in with their subjective and objective opinions on parts or theory or anything. I'll likely use this thread as a starting point and being a new build-log thread and try to make it pretty/presentable. 

 

What I have & what I need: 

 

I have CPU/GPU, mobo, RAM, storage; I need a case, PSU and CPU cooling parts.  Let me see if I have the basics: 

 

CPU block

Pump

Radiator 

Fans 

Coolant mix (still researching but looking at 50/50 mix, or 25/75, OR in between those two)

 

For all of the available companies that offer watercooling solutions (custom build), EK, and such, who stands out in the crowd? I don't need to go to extremes with the highest of tiers, but I am inclined to at least buy middle-upper end parts because I do believe quality succumbs to all other variables (whatever they may be). 

 

Thoughts from all of our beloved EXHW community? 

Edited by GanjaSMK
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16 minutes ago, GanjaSMK said:

I am about to embark on my first WC parts collection to build my first loop for CPU only. 10850K since I have parts to begin a second build. 

 

Goal:

 

Familiarize myself with WC parts and so forth; researching parts for correct fittings/cases, etc; and giving the CPU the max headroom for clocking. Whatever the results end up - good or bad - I am aiming for a learning experience over performance. Though, performance will be the secondary goal obviously. 

 

What the community can provide: 

 

I hope anyone and everyone could chime in with their subjective and objective opinions on parts or theory or anything. I'll likely use this thread as a starting point and being a new build-log thread and try to make it pretty/presentable. 

 

What I have & what I need: 

 

I have CPU/GPU, mobo, RAM, storage; I need a case, PSU and CPU cooling parts.  Let me see if I have the basics: 

 

CPU block

Pump

Radiator 

Fans 

Coolant mix (still researching but looking at 50/50 mix, or 25/75, OR in between those two)

 

For all of the available companies that offer watercooling solutions (custom build), EK, and such, who stands out in the crowd? I don't need to go to extremes with the highest of tiers, but I am inclined to at least buy middle-upper end parts because I do believe quality succumbs to all other variables (whatever they may be). 

 

Thoughts from all of our beloved EXHW community? 

First off, GL! It's going to be a lot of fun. I don't have any extra Fan's or pumps/res's that I'm willing to part with, but I do have just about any size rad you need, so don't buy one, just tell me what size you need. Try to stay away from EK if possible. Bitspower, Aqua Computer, heatkiller, optimus, Phanteks and Acool are all solid choices. If you want decent middle ground for the price then Barrow or Bykski. 

 

I would recommend running distilled with added biocide and inhibitor (I used Mayhems Hades/Inhibitor). I started shying away from premixes and concentrates. Plus solutions without glycol mixes flow better. 

 

For fan's, BeQuiet SW4 Pro's are top tier. If you want affordable and good performing then the Arctic P12/14 5 packs are great.

 

I'm partial to D5 pumps and 95% of mine are all Aqua Computer, but the newer variants of the DDC pumps are pretty good too. It really depends where you want to dissipate the pump generated heat and if you prefer flow or head pressure. Though for a CPU only loop, I won't imagine you are going to have to choose. 

 

Edited by Avacado
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6 minutes ago, Avacado said:

First off, GL! It's going to be a lot of fun. I don't have any extra Fan's or pumps/res's that I'm willing to part with, but I do have just about any size rad you need, so don't buy one, just tell me what size you need. Try to stay away from EK if possible. Bitspower, Aqua Computer, heatkiller, optimus, Phanteks and Acool are all solid choices. If you want decent middle ground for the price then Barrow or Bykski. 

 

I would recommend running distilled with added biocide and inhibitor (I used Mayhems Hades/Inhibitor). I started shying away from premixes and concentrates. Plus solutions without glycol mixes flow better. 

 

For fan's, BeQuiet SW4 Pro's are top tier. If you want affordable and good performing then the Arctic P12/14 5 packs are great.

 

I'm partial to D5 pumps and 95% of mine are all Aqua Computer, but the newer variants of the DDC pumps are pretty good too. It really depends where you want to dissipate the pump generated heat and if you prefer flow or head pressure. Though for a CPU only loop, I won't imagine you are going to have to choose. 

 

 

Awe man dope! Roger that on biocide. I've got two 140's SW4 pro's on an AFII and WOW. Definitely on the list for maybe 120's of them for a 360. I'm thinking a 360 is maybe overkill for the CPU, but also maybe not because of unlocked PL1/PL2 ratios... Hmmmm. 

 

What's the general consensus on flex versus firm tubing? The obvious is flexibility if you're not measured things I assume, but are there performance and/or quality concerns with materials involved via flex versus firm? 

 

I'm gonna spend a good amount of time this weekend looking at AC and Bitspower. Might you or anyone offer 2 cents on whether or not it might be better to source all parts from one vendor instead of mixing? I'm thinking that's likely a best first-timer move, but not sure. 

 

On my AIO experiences (have had several including the *IIRC* the first Antec Khuler?), generally speaking I used all fans on RADS as intakes (whether top or front mounted) with various intake/exhaust options per build/config (some needed cooler internals, others not as much). 

 

But, with a "quote" (LOL), real watercooled PC, I'm guessing that since I'm aiming for CPU only this go then I'd be opting to exhaust that head out instead of in. So, in my mind (visually), either front or top exhaust.  I'm really diggin the Thermaltake CTE500 full tower. Not so much the connections from the top, but the vertical mounting position with no GPU sag. Looks dope IMHO. 

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36 minutes ago, GanjaSMK said:

 

Awe man dope! Roger that on biocide. I've got two 140's SW4 pro's on an AFII and WOW. Definitely on the list for maybe 120's of them for a 360. I'm thinking a 360 is maybe overkill for the CPU, but also maybe not because of unlocked PL1/PL2 ratios... Hmmmm. 

 

What's the general consensus on flex versus firm tubing? The obvious is flexibility if you're not measured things I assume, but are there performance and/or quality concerns with materials involved via flex versus firm? 

 

I'm gonna spend a good amount of time this weekend looking at AC and Bitspower. Might you or anyone offer 2 cents on whether or not it might be better to source all parts from one vendor instead of mixing? I'm thinking that's likely a best first-timer move, but not sure. 

 

On my AIO experiences (have had several including the *IIRC* the first Antec Khuler?), generally speaking I used all fans on RADS as intakes (whether top or front mounted) with various intake/exhaust options per build/config (some needed cooler internals, others not as much). 

 

But, with a "quote" (LOL), real watercooled PC, I'm guessing that since I'm aiming for CPU only this go then I'd be opting to exhaust that head out instead of in. So, in my mind (visually), either front or top exhaust.  I'm really diggin the Thermaltake CTE500 full tower. Not so much the connections from the top, but the vertical mounting position with no GPU sag. Looks dope IMHO. 

I run the SW4 Pro 140's and 120's and yea, they are top. You have to ask yourself how deep into to hobby you want to get or if this is a one off experience. The higher quality brands have longevity and most components can migrate into new builds. Honestly, if you did do a 360mm rad, the P12's would serve you well and save costs until you know how far you want to go.

 

I can't say I advise going into PETG or acrylic hard tubing for your first venture. Stay with soft tubing without plasticizer (Mayhems). If you only need a few feet (It's pricey), I would go Tygon A-60g, very hard to beat. When you really start narrowing choices down and getting ready to make purchases, we can help guide you better via discord. 

 

If you can source all you need from one brand that you like, go for it. I will say that it doesn't really matter at the high ends. Make sure everything you buy is copper/nickel based and does not contain aluminum to avoid galvanic corrosion. My experience is that most E-tailers rarely have everything you need in one place so you might have to shop around or order direct from over seas. 

 

The push vs. pull argument has been going on forever. Honestly it doesn't matter when you are talking SW4 Pro's. What does matter is case airflow and pressure. We can hash that out later. 

 

 

Edited by Avacado
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@Avacadohit the nail on the head.

 

+1 to avoiding EK. They are really overpriced yet have massive quality control issues with most of their products. You never know what you are going to get whether its faulty DD blocks, dirty misfitting tubing, to really crappy coolants.

 

Instead I agree with Avocado's list that the likes of Aquacomputer, Heatkiller (Watercool), Optimus, Bitspower, Phanteks, Alphacool (generally) are all generally considered to be quality and should cost considerably less than brands like EK for similar or better performance.

 

I'm using a clear premix right now since I had it and figured I should just use them, but I agree that distilled water with Mayhems Inhibitor+ and Hades+ drops is all you need. Having had issues with glycol based coolants collecting little bits of congealed glycol in the Optimus block, I'll probably either look at other premixes or more likely just switch back to distilled + those additives.

 

You don't have to get all your parts from one vendor. It might make it easier as a first timer, but I generally mix and match. I like Aquacomputer or Heatkiller reservoirs for the material quality, but I might like blocks from various companies depending on who has the best performer for a given block type, while choosing Alphacool or Hardware Labs radiators, with fittings from Bitspower, Monsoon, Barrow, or whoever is making what I need that's quality.

 

For pumps I am also more of a D5 guy. For a single component loop, one should serve your needs just fine. D5's utilize the coolant/water of your loop for cooling, and in my experience are generally quiet (though not silent). Once my fans are ramping up a bit I can't hear my 100% speed D5 at all. DDC's on the other hand use external heatsinks, but I have also heard they tend to be louder. I've never actually used a DDC in any of my loops so just speaking from what I've heard and not from experience.

 

The other difference is that D5's tend to provide better flow rates while DDC's tend to be better head pressure. Head pressure is good for high restriction loops to maintain flow, but a simple loop a single D5 will do just fine. So you can really go either way here.

 

Tubing - I wouldn't go into hard tubing a first go around. Hell I'm not sure I'll ever do it again either. Stick to soft tubing and again Avacado gave good recommendations for which tubing to get, and I agree with those recs.

 

Pull vs push does not matter and performs the same. If the question is should you have fresh air intaking into the radiator vs exhausting used up case air through it, I imagine its not a big deal either way as long as you have good airflow.

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I'm with you there bud, I'm doing my first loop in over a decade again.  I'm not an expert by any means at water loops, I've only ever built one real one before.  But from the limited knowledge I do have, Avacado and Sir B are spot on with their advice.  Good luck with your build! 🙂  It'll be a lot of fun building a loop.

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Not much else to add here quite frankly.

 

  • Try to avoid dissimilar metals
  • follow the fluid recommendations here (distilled + additives)
  • use compatible tubing
  • don't buy EK blocks
  • don't over think it
  • Add a drain / fill port if you want to make your life easier.

 

My situation is a bit different / unconventional. As I have my small res modded into my rear fan mount, but the D5 vibrates my case (Fractal Meshify) and I had to buy some small rubber washers from Home Depot to help absorb / mitigate the vibrations that were being transferred from the pump to my case. Essentially my case became a speaker as it resonated with the D5 pump. So... if you're noticing weird noises, try dampening around the pump 🙂 

 

Below is my rig (CPU loop only).

 

D5 pump, EK Res, XSPC EX 360 rad, Raystorm block, Primochill LRT tubing. 3 x A12x25 Noctua fans, black chrome bitspower fittings. 

 

There are better components available now, especially rads and blocks. My dream was to go full heat killer but I paused on investing into water cooling. I just love the machining, the quality of their components. If I had to do it again and budget wasn't a concern, I'd go full heat killer. For more context, I've had this D5 pump for more than 10 years. Still going strong. 

 

I actually purchased a TechN AM4 block from a user on OCN a couple years ago before I left but never bothered to install it. Sitting in the box collecting dust. One day I'll add it but it was highly recommended for AM4 along side Optimus since it provides flow above CCDs. Not applicable to your 10 gen Intel. 

 

1671551509419-jpeg.2589605CPU Waterblock AMD Ryzen - Techn GmbH

Edited by Slaughtahouse
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  • 2 weeks later...

@GanjaSMK Honestly in the current market wait for watercooling enuthiast to upgrade and pick up there hand me downs for cheap to free even. 

 

While my project got delayed and am still working out final budgets, I should have large amounts of waterparts plus pc parts to give away over next 2-3years. Including the caselabs s8 case.

 

I just committed to giving away my watercool cpu iv intel block when i swap over to optimus intel sig v3. I might have an aquacomputer ultitube d5 (no pump) too depending on how the situation with planned singularity computer compact dual d5 distro plate goes.

 

Brand doesn’t really matter now just what fits your budget though solution the market kind of changed. Even the world of fans have changed lot of cheap good 120 and soon next gen 140mm that are on par with phantek t30. Even the china brands have really closed up the gap including price wise that you can’t go wrong with them.

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Man I looked at stuff for about a week. I am rethinking myself now into two options, not for much other than simplicity. 

 

That MORA rad (which I'm sure has made it's rounds already in the WC community) definitely seems to be the best option for the actual performance side of it; that said it is massive.  Either that or a AIO 420; - less maintenance all around I suppose. 

 

Along with finding out I'll need extra parts on hand (no issue there), I am curious to know if a custom loop is really worth the "hassle" (if you will) of obtaining "highest possible performance" outside of extreme options beyond water.  I'm not here to break any records, rather was curious if putting a spare chip under water might produce better clocking results due to ability to crank vcore (somewhat). 

 

I am not trying to talk myself out of it, I am trying to find my vantage point between "this makes sense" and "nope, this doesn't". 

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Custom loops have a terrible return on investment if you just consider the performance you gain vs the money you spend. You would 100% be better off with that 420 AIO and call it a day. You'll get 90% of the performance of going custom with none of the work of piecing things together and it will be much cheaper.

 

As a point of reference... My old bedroom rig had a delidded 10850K + 2080 on a MORA and it maintained single digit water to air deltas while being virtually silent. Now that 10850K is in a CPU only loop with a direct die block on an external 240mm rad and still performs pretty good. 

 

Custom watercooling is a pretty niche hobby, but I personally really enjoy it (hence the 7 custom loops in the house lol). Buying quality components is expensive, but outside consumables like tubing and fluids, most of the parts can be reused for years. I have plenty of fittings and pumps that are a decade old and still in use. 

 

I'm usually the guy telling everyone to run a custom loop, but for your goals, I wouldn't say it's probably worth it unless you are interested in doing it for the fun of it. The gains from air/AIO to custom water are much less than the gains from ambient to extreme cooling. Unless you want to delid and run a direct die block. 

Edited by Fluxmaven
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21 hours ago, GanjaSMK said:

Man I looked at stuff for about a week. I am rethinking myself now into two options, not for much other than simplicity. 

 

That MORA rad (which I'm sure has made it's rounds already in the WC community) definitely seems to be the best option for the actual performance side of it; that said it is massive.  Either that or a AIO 420; - less maintenance all around I suppose. 

 

Along with finding out I'll need extra parts on hand (no issue there), I am curious to know if a custom loop is really worth the "hassle" (if you will) of obtaining "highest possible performance" outside of extreme options beyond water.  I'm not here to break any records, rather was curious if putting a spare chip under water might produce better clocking results due to ability to crank vcore (somewhat). 

 

I am not trying to talk myself out of it, I am trying to find my vantage point between "this makes sense" and "nope, this doesn't". 


Its an fun project just try to get as many freebies/hand me downs as possible from the watercooling community to reduce your overall costs. 

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