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First time watercooling n00b

Hello community,

I'm a first time water-cooler and wanted some weigh in the components I'm thinking of using.
So I'm here's the components I'm have bought / will be going for:


In terms of the water cooling, I'm going for a slightly unorthodox approach and wanted to know if it would actually work and if anybody has any guidance as to what to look out for:
12mm chrome plated copper pipes: copper pipes

XSPC EX280 radiator: Radiator

Barrow Pump: pump

CPU block: block

Here's where it gets a bit weird:

I was thinking of using 12mm chrome plated water pipe fittings (not bending the copper pipe, just cutting with a hacksaw):
elbow joints
^ These would be used to join the cut parts of pipe together.

When it came to actually connecting the pipe into the rad/pump/cpu block, I would be using these:
Barrow elbow joint
and:
Regular fitting

The colour scheme I'm going for is white/silver. I've never watercooled before nor do I know anybody with any experience so would really appreciate any help you guys could provide :)

Thank you.


P.S. If there are any suggestions please consider that I live in the UK and sometimes we get shafted when it comes to prices compared to our US friends.
Reply to l1ghtm4st3r
7 answers Last reply Best Answer
More about time watercooling n00b
  1. Do you really think your going to get the performance you are looking for out of a $9.00 water block?
    Reply to biglizard
  2. Might work, provided the hard tube fittings will actually seal against copper pipes and you can get a fully leak free connection with the elbow connectors.

    My main concern is with the pump and CPU block, with several 90 degree elbow fittings in the loop you'll need a half decent pump to push coolant through it while that cheap, Chinese CPU block is Aluminium based. It's not that the block won't work ( although its performance is unlikely to be very good ) but that it's made of Aluminium, and mixing metals in a liquid loop is a massive no-no, look up 'Galvanic corrosion' to see why.
    Reply to coozie7
  3. biglizard said:
    Do you really think your going to get the performance you are looking for out of a $9.00 water block?


    Regarding the water block:
    No idea, to me it just seems like a copper block of metal to make contact with the CPU?
    What do you think of this instead? Barrow block


    Anonymous said:
    My main concern is with the pump and CPU block, with several 90 degree elbow fittings in the loop you'll need a half decent pump to push coolant through it while that cheap, Chinese CPU block is Aluminium based.


    The CPU block I believe is copper (at least, according to its description on the page). What do you make of the CPU block posted above?
    About the pump, its rated 960L/H with output lift 5.5M, do you think that's not enough for a loop with many corners?


    Also this loop will only be cooling the CPU, not the GPU.
    Reply to l1ghtm4st3r
  4. The power of that pump will be fine for just a CPU in loop.

    I've always gone with the rule of thumb of "don't try to cheap out" when building a loop. Low cost, cheaper products are cheap for a reason and I'm a firm believer that there's risk when using cheaper parts. You're putting liquid inside your computer....not something to mess around with and risk leaks.

    If you've read good reviews around the web of people using what you're using, and they've had good success with no leaks, AND no issues with the loop over time (gunk build up in their blocks, water discoloration after a few months, etc) then yeah, you may be OK. Do your research about mixing metals like previous posters have said, even the fittings.

    Not all CPU blocks are created equal....so like anything else, I wouldn't get the cheapest one.

    Ensure you get an additive for the distilled water you'll be putting in the loop. Something like EK's clear concentrate. It has the additives in it to keep your loop clean. If you want to run colored coolant just to see in your res, there's other colored additives also (more than just from EK also), but even with those there are better/worse kinds.
    Reply to marko55
  5. Hmmm...
    The pump specs look OK although without some sort of control I suspect it'll be loud, hopefully the PWM feature will actually work, if not there are other options to slow it down or just control it manually.

    I'm very, very reluctant to suggest using the Barrow CPU block, its fins are a long way apart so it looks like it'll struggle to do better than the stock AMD air cooler although I could be wrong but I'll suggest you look at a more upmarket part.

    My main concern is sealing the pipe/fittings, it will be essential to match the pipe OD with the fittings, although the parts you've listed so far look compatible proceed with extreme caution once the loop is finished and you're ready to fill and bleed it.

    General observations:

    Get a decent premixed coolant or use a concentrate along with distilled water, the additives will help keep the loop clean, prevent corrosion and algae build up.

    Copper pipes are, by nature, soft, use a new fine pitched blade, 32 TPI for preference.
    Hacksaw blades should cut on the FORWARD stroke, not the back stroke, setting the blade up this way will allow better control.
    Use gentle steady strokes, don't apply any pressure, let the blade do the work and don't rush.
    To prevent damage to the pipes and their chrome finish, face your vice jaws with soft rubber, no need to get clever here, just cut up an inner tube and stick it into place with a dab or two of silicon sealer.
    Once a cut is finished, clean it up using a fine file and fine (600 grit) wet and dry paper to give a smooth, clean end both inside and outside. This is particularly important for the outside, a rough end here will damage the 'O' ring seals of the radiator/CPU block fittings.

    Old adage: 'Measure twice, cut once' PLAN the loop. Details count here, so be very sure about the placement of the pump and radiator before proceeding. Also be aware that the pump will transmit some noise into the case it looks like the Barrow pump you linked to will allow to use of decouplers I suggest you use some to keep the noise down.
    Reply to coozie7
  6. marko55 said:

    Not all CPU blocks are created equal....so like anything else, I wouldn't get the cheapest one.


    Anonymous said:

    I'm very, very reluctant to suggest using the Barrow CPU block, its fins are a long way apart so it looks like it'll struggle to do better than the stock AMD air cooler although I could be wrong but I'll suggest you look at a more upmarket part.


    Thank you both for your quick responses. Sorry about my slow one. :/

    So I took a closer look at some other CPU water blocks (outside of Chinese ones) and came across the EK Supremacy MX (plexi:
    plexi
    acetal

    There's 2 versions of this CPU block however, one is acetal, and another is plexi. I googled around a bit and it seems like some people aren't big fans of plexi as they've been know to leak over time through tiny internal cracks.
    I don't know whether this has been improved or not in recent days and this is no longer a thing so if anyone knows that would be great. I'm slightly leaning towards the acetal otherwise (though I would prefer to get the plexi as I'm going for a white build).

    I also decided not to go with cutting the pipes with a hacksaw as although I have used it to cut other metals, I think it's a bit too much hassle for copper pipes. Instead I'm going to pick up one of these:
    pipe cutter

    Which should hopefully give me a nice clean cut.

    In terms of decouplers, they show an image of a couple fittings which can be used to hold the rad in place. Does that count? If not, should I be looking at something like this to reduce vibrations:
    decoupler

    Thank you all for your help, I'll post a beautiful picture if this all works out nicely :)
    Reply to l1ghtm4st3r
  7. Best answer
    Yep, quite a few don't like Plexi for that reason, I'm one of them so I'd suggest you go acetal, you could always paint it after all.

    Good idea with the pipe cutter but you'll still need to clean up the cut-inside to prevent flow sapping and noise inducing turbulence, outside to ensure the edges are good and smooth so they don't damage the fitting 'O' rings.

    Actually by decoupling I meant something like this: https://www.overclockers.co.uk/modmymachine-shoggy-sandwich-v2-for-your-watercooling-pump-wc-000-mm.html#comments
    Or you can use a medium density foam but it's not as effective.

    I also suggest you get one of these: https://www.overclockers.co.uk/ek-water-blocks-ek-atx-bridging-plug-24-pin-wc-995-ek.html it hooks into the main ATX (motherboard) plug of the PSU and allows you to run the pump without power reaching the rest of the system.

    A few other suggestions:

    When you come to fill the system, only use pure, distilled water, contrary to popular belief, it's actually a very poor conductor of electricity and will evaporate leaving no residue, so if there IS a leak it won't be fatal, just switch off, dry the effected areas as well as possible then allow the system to dry for a couple of days.

    Run the system for a couple of hours at least to be sure it's leak free, when, and only when you're 100% drop forged steel certain it's leak free, add the coolant dye/concentrate.

    And you must use some sort of additive to control corrosion/oxidation/discolouration and also to keep algae under control, and yes, the little darlings WILL get in! Apart from looking ugly in the res tank they'll block the waterblock internals and once established they can be hard to remove.

    If you're in ANY doubt that the hard tube fittings won't seal against the copper pipes try an external build first, nothing elaborate or big, just pump/res>CPU block>res and run the pump off a spare PSU lead this way if it leaks all you'll get is a wet carpet. ;)
    Reply to coozie7
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