Water-cooling Build – Help and Advice

Pointlessly expensive Water-cooling Build – Help and Advice

Hello All,

I am planning on a new water-cooling build and I’d some input / ideas / constructive criticism from you guys here who have technology geeks / geniuses / gamers / awesome people!
This computer will be strictly used for gaming purposes at 3x1080p with an upgrade to 3x1440p in the near future!

This is not my first water cooled build, so I’m not completely new to this. But, this will be the first build I want to do with Acrylic / Plexiglas tubing.

I have a pretty good budget, but I have to say the budget will be limited to bang for the buck / my usage / purpose of the build. I do not intend to simply throw away money to impress the online community and friends.

I am also aware that technology keeps getting updated, but I am looking to build something that will still perform well 3 years from now.

Z97 i7-4970K or x99 i7-5820K

Now that the x99 platform is released, is the 5820k a performance boost enough for me to invest in the platform, especially that DDR4 Ram and the Motherboard is more expensive too?

Is the lower clock speeds on the 5820k going to be better?

I would love a 5930k, though I don’t think I need it that much at 500$

It kind of sucks that the 5820k does not support x16/x16. It will support x8/x8/x8, which is the same as the 4970k.

AMD equivalent?

ASUS Maximus VII Formula –Z97 – It looks awesome and it’s got a water-cooling loop!
Asus x99 Deluxe or the EVGA x99 FTW or the EVGA x99 Classified

The Asus z97 is about 350$ now. The Asus x99 Deluxe and the EVGA x99 Classified are 399$ and the EVGA x99 FTW is 299$. Is the extra 100$ worth investing in the EVGA x99 Classified or the Asus x99 Deluxe?
Does anyone have a different suggestion on the motherboard? Are there any that are a better bang for the buck while still maintaining OC functions and good features? MSI Mpower? Gigabyte G1? ASRock?

Also, how important is Motherboard Cooling? How much does it affect OC and performance?

How much benefit does the aftermarket water block benefit me if I decide to go with a non-water block cooled Motherboard?

Does anyone have any recommendations from experience on what boards have been great for overclocking?

If anyone suggests an AMD equivalent, what boards would you suggest?

Again, DDR4 vs DDR3

Is I was going the x99 way, I would definitely need a DDR4, and these are about a 100$ more for a 2x8GB.

Also, I know DDR4 currently has higher CAS latency, but higher speeds as well. How much is this going to be a factor?

How much benefit will water-cooling the RAM do?

Graphics cards
Now that NVIDIA has launched the GTX 980 and the GTX970s, the GTX 700 series is dropping in price pretty radically.

The GTX900 series cards definitely have more technology and features and lower power consumption and temperatures!

The 970s are 350$ and the 980s are 550$. GTX780Tis are about 450$.

I am definitely doing a SLI configuration, so here’s the question…
Does dropping 1100$ in a 2Way 980 make more sense or 1050 in a 3 way SLI? Which would perform better?
Or does it make sense to get 2 way 980s and add one later on if I need to boost performance ?

Should I even be thinking about the 700series?


With the newer cards drawing a lot less power, would an 850W work for a 2 way SLI? Or a 1000W for a 3 Way SLI?


CPU: I’m going the Swiftech route, anything better?

GPU: I’d like a full cover water block. Also, correct me if I’m wrong: The Stock back plates aren’t going to fit the GPU water blocks.

Any suggestions on the Pumps, reservoirs, GPU water blocks, fans, tubing manufacturers, fittings?

Can I do copper/metal tubing? I’ve read that distilled water will damage the tubing. If this is true, don’t they affect the solid copper water blocks?

Finally, is a good sound card worth it? I do not like headphones, so I will have a 7.1 surround setup

Does anyone have anything else to add about the build?

So, if I do an x99 build, it will cost me about 250$ more in components. Is this price bump worth it ?
Also, if I get the 5820k, would it support more than 32gb of RAM if I decide to add in the future ?
I guess this covers most topics I have questions about.

My case: Cooler Master HAF Stacker
Storage: 256GB SSD; 2x2TB HDD
Optical Drive: LG Blu Ray burner
OS: Windows 7 x64 Pro

ALL suggestions welcome!!
5 answers Last reply Best Answer
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  1. Best answer
    Been there, done that with rigid acrylic tubing.

    1. X99 or Z97

    No. The 5820 is faster in some, slower than some

    Unless you are using 3 or more video cards .... you won't get anything out of X99 on a gaming box to counter the extra investment.

    There is no AMD equivallent

    My water cooled build used the M6F, you are following with the M7F so basically "same thing". The board does in fact look awesome and rocks with rigid acrylic tubing. There's a dude over in the M6F owners club thread that painted the thermal armor white.... way gorgeous.

    Yes, cool the MoBo.

    The Asus Z87 / Z97 boards are plagued with the Asus BIOS Clock Freeze bug .... a web search on "Asus BIOS Clock Freeze" will show ya all the threads .... Asus hasn't quite figured out what is causing it..... based upon my unofficial polling, affects about 1 in 12 peeps who overclock. They announced two fixes but many peeps still have the problem (I'm among them)....tho it happening far less often.

    Don't buy the newegg watchdog version ... the regular one is $50 cheaper.

    2. RAM - No DDR4 on Z97 so that solves that. best bet, if ya can find them is the 2 x 8GB DDR3-2400 CAS 10 Mushkin Ridgebacks .... look frakin awesome in the M7F and have best timings out therecat 2400 .... Hynix modules are the Gold Standard.

    3. GFX - The 970 is getting the most coverage cause of it's price but I'd take 2(2) 980s over (3) 970s. I like the MSI's here and the SLI testing gives (2) 980s in SLI an 88% performance boost

    Adding a 3rd card gets ya just 20% more.... and adding a 4th just 14% more.

    4. PSU - With two 780s my rig pulls 745 watts from the wall... thatz 670 watts of PSU output ... the 980s pull 100 watts each less. The 850 will be fine... Seasonic X series, EVGA G2 or P2

    5. Sound - No, the M7F sound is grand.

    6. Case - The Stacker will prove a tough build. I never got a chance to build in one, I tried to talk user out of it for his W/C build ... he bought it anyway and after seeing the Enthoo, he then decided he didn't like.

    7. Fittings and Tubing - Bitspower C47 / C48 and C65 for the tube connections.... 10/12 rigid acrylic tubing.

    Run the GFX cards in parallel so one isn't served with water preheated by the first card.... split the flow before it gets to cards and then recombine afterwards

    Next post for the WC
  2. 1. CPU Waterblock - Until now which WB you bought depended upon platform..... At this point the EK Supremacy EVO holds the top spot across the board

    2. GPU Water Block - You want a non-reference card to get the better PCB and circuitry .... unfortunately that means ya gotta wait for EK to make one.

    Asus* - No full cover water blocks for Strix ... coming soon
    Gigabyte* - No full cover water blocks for G1 ... coming soon
    MSI* - Not released yet
    EVGA - Looks like they using a reference board as all models using same generic full cover water blocks that all manufacturers using on reference cards, no backplates yet.

    * Water Blocks available for all manufacturers reference cards

    Watch the EK site for updates.

    And yes, you want an EW WB .... while EK doesn't have the coolest GP temps by like 1.5C, they are as much as 30C cooler on VRM and much cooler again on VRAm (12C IIRC)

    3. Pump - I'd suggest a 35x2 w/ Heat Sink and fan. Dual pumps for plenty of pressure / flow and if one pump goes down, nice not losing ya system for 3 weeks while you wait for an RMA.

    4. Reservoirs - If you can fit them, look at the Aqualis and Photon units if ya like waterfalls and lights .... they are borosilicate glass rather than Plexi. I used a 60mm EK 250mm unit.

    5. Fans - Phanteks SP140s.... nothing else even comes close.

    6. Radiators - I like the Alphacools ... top performance, 7 ports, screw protectors. According to mahems Coolants tho, the residue inside reacts with their coolants and they have to eb thoroughly cleaned .... this is necessary with any radiator tho.

    For sizing, you can d/l the tools here:

    For your build.

    Twin 980s - 171 stock....figure 220 OC'd x 2 = 440 watts
    2790k - 135 watts
    MoBo - 40 watts
    Pump = 45 watts
    Total = 670 watts

    Ask rads to handle 60% of that load = 402 watts

    From Estimator tool.....

    Top Rad = Alphacool XT45-420 @ 1250 rpm in push = 250 watts (302 in push / pull)
    Bot Rad = Alphacool UT60-290 @ 1250 rpm in push = 170 watts (206 in push / pull)

    Total - 420 watts (508 in push / pull)

    That gives you a expected Delta T of 9.5 C in push and 8.3C in push / pull.
  3. Ok Now the build:

    Case - Really think ya shud swap the case if ya can. The Enthoo Primo (Case of the Year 2013) is what this build deserves.
    Phanteks Enthoo Pro (White) $220

    PSU - Here's a cupla choices in order of preference:

    Seasonic X-850 $160
    EVGA G2 850 $130
    Corsair HX-850 - $105

    MoBo - Asus Maximus VII Formula $303

    RAM - Mushkin 2 x 8GG DDR3-2400 CAS 10 (10-12-12-28) $240 (wow, were $190 when I bot)

    CPU - Intel 4790k - $340

    SSD - 2 x SAMSUNG 840 Pro 256GB - $1

    HD - 2 x 2 x Seagate ST2000DX001 2TB MLC/8GB 7200 RPM Solid State Hybrid Drive (important for gaming) 2 x $115 = $230

    GFX - 2 x MSI Gaming / Asus Strix / Gigabyte G1 980 GFX Cards ... wait till after supply gets stable and pay $560 x 2

    Headset - Gamdias HEPHAESTU GHS 2000 - $90

    Mouse - Corsaie Vengeance M95 - $80

    KB - Mad Catz S.T.R.I.K.E. 3 - $100

    Fans - 3 x Phanteks SP-140 = 3 X $20
  4. Oops...skip this one
  5. Pump Stuff:

    Pump(s) - Swiftech Dual Extreme Duty Small Form Factor 12 VDC Industrial PWM Pump - White (MCP35X2-WT)

    Pump Heat Sink - Swiftech MCP35x2 Dual Pump Heatsink (MCP35X2-HS)

    Heat Sink Fan - Noiseblocker NB-BlackSilentPro PC-P 80mm x 15mm Ultra Silent PWM Fan - 2500 RPM

    Reservoir Stuff;

    Reservoir - EK-MultiOption RES X3 250 - Liquid Cooling Reservoir - White Acetal (6 Total Ports) w/ (2) EK Extender Fittings

    Reservoir Top - EK X3 Reservoir Multiport Replacement Top - White (EK-RES X3 - Multiport TOP WHITE)

    Reservoir Fill Tube Internal Tube 12/16 - 140mm (EK-RES-X3-TUBE-140

    EK - Extender Fitting - EK G1/4 Thread Fitting Extender - Nickel - 8mm (Fitting Extender G1/4 (Ni))

    Radiator Stuff:

    CPU Radiator @ Case Bottom - Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 Full Copper Double 140mm Radiator 324 x 144 x 60mm (Radiator Watts at 10C, 1250 rpm = 206)

    GPU Radiator @ Case Top - Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 Full Copper Triple 140mm Radiator 468 x144 x 46mm (Radiator Watts at 10C, 1250 rpm = 302)

    Temperature Probes - Bitspower G 1/4" Temperature Sensor Stop Fitting - Matte Black (BP-MBWP-CT)

    G1/4 Fitting Extender - Bitspower G 1/4" Thread Fitting Extender - Matte Black (BP-MBWP-C40)

    Fill Port Plug - Bitspower G1/4" Low Profile Matte Black Stop Plug w/ O-Ring (BP-MBWP-C09)

    Use two extenders and plugs to bring the rad ports up to the case top for filling bleeding


    GFX Card Water Blocks (Reference Cards Only )- EK Geforce GTX 980 VGA Liquid Cooling Block - Nickel (EK-FC980 GTX - Nickel)

    EK Supremacy EVO Universal CPU Liquid Cooling Block - Plexi (EK-Supremacy EVO)

    Surface Cleaner - Indigo Xtreme Clean Non-Conductive Thermal Surface Cleaner - 30mL (XC-01)

    TIM Gelid Solutions GC-3 Extreme Thermal Compound - 3.5 Grams (TC-GC-03-A)

    You'll need more TIM for GFX card VRAM and VRMs

    Tubing and Fittings - Numers in [ ] equal how many I used

    [3] Rigid 10/12 mm Acrylic Tubing - EK 12mm OD Solid Tube Set - Clear - 2x 19.5" (EK-HD Tube 10/12mm 500mm (2 pcs) ...

    [6 feet] Tubing - Tygon 2475 Ultra Chemical Resistant Plasticizer Free Tubing - 3/8" ID (1/2" OD) - Clear (ACG00027)

    I used the flex tubing and compression fittings to connect to the pump and thereby isolate vibration from rest of loop.

    You'll need these to connect to your rads, reservoirs, blocks, CPU
    G1/4" x Rigid Tubing Connector (Male) - Bitspower SLI / Crossfire Multi-Link Adapter Pair - White (BP-MBWP-C47)

    These are for tube to tube connections

    [20] 90° Bend

    [4] 45° Bend

    Tee Fitting - Can't find the danged things

    These are for tube to component connections

    G1/4" 45° Rotary Bend

    G1/4" 90° Rotary Bend

    These are for the pump connections and flex tube

    G1/4" x Compression Connector (Male) - Bitspower G1/4 Thread 3/8" ID x 1/2" OD Rotary Compression Fitting

    Used these for drain, male side connected to Bottom Rad, female side on flex tube in drawer and used when I drain.

    Quick-Disconnect for Drain - Bitspower Matte Black Quick-Disconnected Female w/ G1/4 Thread (BP-MBQDFG14)

    Quick-Disconnect for Drain - Bitspower Matte Black Quick-Disconnected Male w/ Inner G1/4 (BP-MBQDMIG14)

    Used two of these.... on on res top, one on my fill tube (only used while filling)

    Bleeder Valve - Bitspower G1/4" Mini Valve

    I'm sure I forgot stuff ... so just ask .....

    This is it with "plumbing done"

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