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New to custom water-cooling. How many radiators?

I've been looking around on a bunch of forums and each one seems to give differing opinions on how many radiators I might need.

I plan on cooling the a CPU and two high-end GPUs.

I'm not totally sure specifically what CPU/GPUs that I want since that will be determined by how tight my budget is after I've put together my list of water-cooling components. As a rough idea I'd like to get two Maxwell 880 cards and either a Broadwell i5 or next generation i7 Extreme CPU (again, it's dependant on the water-cooling cost). I'm not building until next January or February since I'm currently saving up the money for the PC, that's why I'm probably getting the Maxwell/Broadwell components.

I'm not bothered about a super-quiet system but at the same time I don't want it to be annoyingly loud. A reasonable middle-ground in terms of cost, performance and noise.

PC components list:

CPU: Broadwell i5
GPU: x2 Maxewell 880
Motherboard: ASUS Maximus VII Hero (if using an LGA1150 CPU)
Case: Corsair 900D
PSU: Corsair RM850

Water-cooling components list:

Radiators: x2 480mm, x1 240mm, x1 120mm
CPU: Koolance 380i
GPU: EK Water blocks x2
Pump: D5 w/ EK X-Top

I've only listed the stuff I thought would be relevant to the question. If you need any other info just ask.

Thanks,
Miles. :)
8 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. That's a hard one. You could probably get away with 1x480mm, but to be safe I would add in another 120 or 240.

    Also, I'm only new and would get a second opinion.

    By the way, nice motherboard - I'm going to be using that as well!
  2. Syblemz said:
    That's a hard one. You could probably get away with 1x480mm, but to be safe I would add in another 120 or 240.

    Also, I'm only new and would get a second opinion.

    By the way, nice motherboard - I'm going to be using that as well!


    Thanks for your input.

    If I can reduce the radiator space enough then I'll probably get a smaller case that is cheaper so a 480mm would most likely be out of the question. From your response, two 360mm radiators, or any 6x120mm configuration, would probably suffice. That's the general consensus that I'm reading from other forum threads.

    I originally wanted the VII Formula but I realized that I wouldn't be using most of the extra features. MOSFET cooling only really seems necessary with high overclocking.
  3. Ninjamilez said:
    Syblemz said:
    That's a hard one. You could probably get away with 1x480mm, but to be safe I would add in another 120 or 240.

    Also, I'm only new and would get a second opinion.

    By the way, nice motherboard - I'm going to be using that as well!


    Thanks for your input.

    If I can reduce the radiator space enough then I'll probably get a smaller case that is cheaper so a 480mm would most likely be out of the question. From your response, two 360mm radiators, or any 6x120mm configuration, would probably suffice. That's the general consensus that I'm reading from other forum threads.

    I originally wanted the VII Formula but I realized that I wouldn't be using most of the extra features. MOSFET cooling only really seems necessary with high overclocking.


    Yeah, I only said those radiators because in your original thread you said that you had 2x480mm, 1x240mm, and 1x120mm. Otherwise I think 4-5x120mm radiators should do it fine.

    But again, as I said, I'm new and would get a second opinion.
  4. Ninjamilez said:
    Syblemz said:
    That's a hard one. You could probably get away with 1x480mm, but to be safe I would add in another 120 or 240.

    Also, I'm only new and would get a second opinion.

    By the way, nice motherboard - I'm going to be using that as well!


    Thanks for your input.

    If I can reduce the radiator space enough then I'll probably get a smaller case that is cheaper so a 480mm would most likely be out of the question. From your response, two 360mm radiators, or any 6x120mm configuration, would probably suffice. That's the general consensus that I'm reading from other forum threads.

    I originally wanted the VII Formula but I realized that I wouldn't be using most of the extra features. MOSFET cooling only really seems necessary with high overclocking.


    When it comes to overclocking, always have a fan on the MOFSETS. A little tiny 40MM fan will do. You might want to look into a dual D5, as you will need the extra power. In my opinion, 2 360MM RADs will be fine, and I would throw a 120mm in there, perhaps between the first and second GPU or between the CPU and GPU.
  5. Hello man said:
    When it comes to overclocking, always have a fan on the MOFSETS. A little tiny 40MM fan will do. You might want to look into a dual D5, as you will need the extra power. In my opinion, 2 360MM RADs will be fine, and I would throw a 120mm in there, perhaps between the first and second GPU or between the CPU and GPU.


    I totally forgot about this thread. Since posting I've actually down-sized the case to the Corsair 750D and the radiators are now down to two 360mm radiators. One Alphacool NexXxos 45mm and one NexXxos Monsta 86mm. The second 360mm radiator will fit with the drive bays removed.

    The system specs are the same except I will definitely be getting a Broadwell i5.

    For water-cooling components I'm going for the EK Supremacy instead of the Koolance 380i.

    Do you still think that the extra 120mm radiator is necessary with the extra-thick 360mm radiator?
  6. Ninjamilez said:
    Hello man said:
    When it comes to overclocking, always have a fan on the MOFSETS. A little tiny 40MM fan will do. You might want to look into a dual D5, as you will need the extra power. In my opinion, 2 360MM RADs will be fine, and I would throw a 120mm in there, perhaps between the first and second GPU or between the CPU and GPU.


    I totally forgot about this thread. Since posting I've actually down-sized the case to the Corsair 750D and the radiators are now down to two 360mm radiators. One Alphacool NexXxos 45mm and one NexXxos Monsta 86mm. The second 360mm radiator will fit with the drive bays removed.

    The system specs are the same except I will definitely be getting a Broadwell i5.

    For water-cooling components I'm going for the EK Supremacy instead of the Koolance 380i.

    Do you still think that the extra 120mm radiator is necessary with the extra-thick 360mm radiator?


    You're probably not going to see a big difference, but the more surface area = the more heat dissipation.

    By the way, I found a video by Linus where he was working with the 900D case on youtube. I know you switched cases, but he was able to fit 5 rads in that case with dual gtx 570s with water blocks running under stress loads at like 40'C. He only had the Alphacool NexXxos 45mm rads, but they were running great and he hadn't even tweak'd the system for best performance yet.
  7. jdcranke07 said:
    Ninjamilez said:
    Hello man said:
    When it comes to overclocking, always have a fan on the MOFSETS. A little tiny 40MM fan will do. You might want to look into a dual D5, as you will need the extra power. In my opinion, 2 360MM RADs will be fine, and I would throw a 120mm in there, perhaps between the first and second GPU or between the CPU and GPU.


    I totally forgot about this thread. Since posting I've actually down-sized the case to the Corsair 750D and the radiators are now down to two 360mm radiators. One Alphacool NexXxos 45mm and one NexXxos Monsta 86mm. The second 360mm radiator will fit with the drive bays removed.

    The system specs are the same except I will definitely be getting a Broadwell i5.

    For water-cooling components I'm going for the EK Supremacy instead of the Koolance 380i.

    Do you still think that the extra 120mm radiator is necessary with the extra-thick 360mm radiator?


    You're probably not going to see a big difference, but the more surface area = the more heat dissipation.

    By the way, I found a video by Linus where he was working with the 900D case on youtube. I know you switched cases, but he was able to fit 5 rads in that case with dual gtx 570s with water blocks running under stress loads at like 40'C. He only had the Alphacool NexXxos 45mm rads, but they were running great and he hadn't even tweak'd the system for best performance yet.


    Which video is that? I've already seen the 'Ultimate Overkill PC Guide" video. That's the build I originally based mine on. In that one he used dual SLI Titans.
  8. Best answer
    Ninjamilez said:
    jdcranke07 said:
    Ninjamilez said:
    Hello man said:
    When it comes to overclocking, always have a fan on the MOFSETS. A little tiny 40MM fan will do. You might want to look into a dual D5, as you will need the extra power. In my opinion, 2 360MM RADs will be fine, and I would throw a 120mm in there, perhaps between the first and second GPU or between the CPU and GPU.


    I totally forgot about this thread. Since posting I've actually down-sized the case to the Corsair 750D and the radiators are now down to two 360mm radiators. One Alphacool NexXxos 45mm and one NexXxos Monsta 86mm. The second 360mm radiator will fit with the drive bays removed.

    The system specs are the same except I will definitely be getting a Broadwell i5.

    For water-cooling components I'm going for the EK Supremacy instead of the Koolance 380i.

    Do you still think that the extra 120mm radiator is necessary with the extra-thick 360mm radiator?


    You're probably not going to see a big difference, but the more surface area = the more heat dissipation.

    By the way, I found a video by Linus where he was working with the 900D case on youtube. I know you switched cases, but he was able to fit 5 rads in that case with dual gtx 570s with water blocks running under stress loads at like 40'C. He only had the Alphacool NexXxos 45mm rads, but they were running great and he hadn't even tweak'd the system for best performance yet.


    Which video is that? I've already seen the 'Ultimate Overkill PC Guide" video. That's the build I originally based mine on. In that one he used dual SLI Titans.


    Yep, you're correct. It was Titans. I was originally gonna base a build off of that too, but I found mountainmods.com and am looking at the Gold Digger Ascension Case right now. Way more room and I will be closing off the sides of it with acrylic panels and using 3x triple 120mm Alphacool UT30 with 25mm shrouds to pull. I'm not sure if I want to go to the Alphacool 45mm rads or not though. Might not leave enough room.
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