First Custom Loop

DWD1961

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I'm preparing to do my first loop. I'm going to using hard tubing so I'll be bending it to my specs. I'm kinda lost. I'm only cooling the CPU and nothing else. I think all I need is the water block, pump, tank, radiator, fittings, coolant, and tubing?

Current case Corsair Crystal 280X:
PXL_20220503_040959279.jpg



I'm going to be building in a new case, Thermaltake Tower 100:
81J8pSbNi6L._AC_SL1500_.jpg


  • How to you mount the tank? Can you mount the from he bottom?
  • Reliable Brands?
  • Water block Considerations?
  • Can you flip the case when working on your, or does that necessitate draining the coolant?
 

Nobu

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You can mount the tank almost however you like, mostly just limited by the mounting mechanism of the unit you buy and how willing you are to modify your case if necessary. The important thing to remember is generally you want your reservoir (or other water source -- tube, radiator, etc) above the pump inlet, and if you have a tube going to the inlet you don't want a tight bend right before if you can avoid it.

You can flip the case however, whenever, but if you have water in the loop and a fitting or tube is removed, expect water to come out. If you have air in the loop, you may have to flip or tilt the system to get it to move, along with maybe stopping and starting the pump. Don't let the pump run with air in the impeller for long, or it can damage the pump.

Fittings and pump brand are mostly personal preference, but some fittings don't work well with other brand hard tubing. watercool.de heatkiller is a good brand waterblock. EK is okay, they do look good anyway. alphacool is decent, and koolance isn't terrible (but dunno if they make CPU blocks anymore).
 

Tsumi

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I like HWLab's radiators. Most companies source their pumps from the same base source, the Laing D5 or Laing DDC. Alphacool and Watercool are my preferences for waterblocks.

Most people will choose a reservoir that can integrate a pump with it. That makes mounting and routing things a little easier. In my early days, I just let the pump/reservoir combo sit on the floor of the case.

Flipping the case will not cause any problems as long as the system stays sealed while you're working on it. As said, some people flip the case as a normal part of trying to purge air from the system.
 
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Flipping the case will not cause any problems as long as the system stays sealed while you're working on it. As said, some people flip the case as a normal part of trying to purge air from the system.

The only thing you actually do want to avoid is flipping the case so that the pump/res is completely upside down.
 

DWD1961

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I'm wondering about pump noise, too. Are the D5 pumps noisy? I know a little whine at full speed is normal. I just don't want any screamers. I'll probably limit any pump I get to about 2/3rd or full speed, also.
 

DWD1961

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I like HWLab's radiators. Most companies source their pumps from the same base source, the Laing D5 or Laing DDC. Alphacool and Watercool are my preferences for waterblocks.

Most people will choose a reservoir that can integrate a pump with it. That makes mounting and routing things a little easier. In my early days, I just let the pump/reservoir combo sit on the floor of the case.

Flipping the case will not cause any problems as long as the system stays sealed while you're working on it. As said, some people flip the case as a normal part of trying to purge air from the system.
Couple of reviewers on Amazon said their Alphacool blocks started leaking pretty quickly :(
Alphacool 12947 Eisblock XPX Aurora
 

Nobu

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I'm wondering about pump noise, too. Are the D5 pumps noisy? I know a little whine at full speed is normal. I just don't want any screamers. I'll probably limit any pump I get to about 2/3rd or full speed, also.
They can be a bit loud, but shouldn't whine unless they are cavitating or rubbing on the pump top. They're probably one of the quietest available design for PC loops.
 

LigTasm

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I'm wondering about pump noise, too. Are the D5 pumps noisy? I know a little whine at full speed is normal. I just don't want any screamers. I'll probably limit any pump I get to about 2/3rd or full speed, also.

Out of all the pumps I ever used, the D5 variable speed at the middle setting is by far the quietest and least vibration. Problem is, the D5 is kinda chonky.
 

DWD1961

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Out of all the pumps I ever used, the D5 variable speed at the middle setting is by far the quietest and least vibration. Problem is, the D5 is kinda chonky.
Yeah it is. Right now I'm looking at this pump res combination:
EKWB EK-Quantum Kinetic FLT 80
51z+3RJrnzL._AC_SL1200_.jpg


That case is pretty damn neato. Lots of space and easy to work in for a pure ITX case. There are a lot of possibilities. I could even mount the pump in the bottom, under the top shelf, but it would require some minimal mount location modding, not a big deal. The bottom of the case has mounts for either a 120 or a 140. The EK mount will mount on a fan, but it's a 120 mount. I'll have to check if they have a 140mm mount bracket.

Any ideas on a clean pump/rez location would be appreciated! Here is a picture of the bottom area, and it looks like on that bottom floor, or under it are about the only ways to mount a pump and rez. Unless, I skipped the rez and just used a pump, block and the rad to hold the coolant? However, keep in mind this loop isn't for massive cooling. It's an aesthetics exercise. Could I mount the pump/rez on the radiator fan at the top?

PXL_20220629_004006254.jpg


PXL_20220629_004011970.jpg
 
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FrgMstr

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Hard tubing is all great till you have to trouble shoot something... Like I did today for about 5 hours. I would have offed myself if I had to deal with hard tube through that nightmare.
 

DWD1961

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Hard tubing is all great till you have to trouble shoot something... Like I did today for about 5 hours. I would have offed myself if I had to deal with hard tube through that nightmare.
What happened? I'm only going to have CPU cooling, on block, one pump, one rez.
 

Tsumi

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I'm wondering about pump noise, too. Are the D5 pumps noisy? I know a little whine at full speed is normal. I just don't want any screamers. I'll probably limit any pump I get to about 2/3rd or full speed, also.
I leave my D5s at full speed (Alphacool Repack Dual D5 bay reservoir) and I can barely hear them. They're also a pretty low hum, not obnoxious at all.
 

cpufrost

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Years ago I did a [H]ard tubing build with 1/2" CPVC. Servicing was a breeze because unions were used. If plumbing reminiscent of behind an RV water heater isn't your thing, the lines can be painted any color you like! :-D
 

FrgMstr

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What happened? I'm only going to have CPU cooling, on block, one pump, one rez.
Exactly how mine is set up cooling-wise. When I went to 6900XT I did not feel I needed to water block the GPU as the case has great airflow.
Long story short. Go to the PC Sunday evening ( I never turn mine off. ) I had no video signal. Switched out video cards (easy enough since on air) and still no video signal. Ended up pulling the entire system apart, verifying functionality of ever single component. I still keep an operational test bench, so that is "easy" for me. After that, I was left with the PSU being the culprit, and it passed testing on the test bench as well. Put it all back together in original configuration, and is working perfect. For the life of me, I still have no idea what the issue was. I keep my system soft-tubed. This allowed me to check everything without having to drain the loop. Had it been hard-tubed, this would have even been more tremendously frustrating as pulling and repasting the CPU was done while I was in there and I had to pull the rad too in order to get the motherboard out. Just something to think about.

This box is about a three year old legacy build with an 8600K in that will run 5.3GHz, but I usually only push it to 5GHz, as it mostly does not matter in the grand scheme of the gaming I do. I am waiting on Zen4 to make my next jump. While still confused on it all, I am glad it worked out and I did not have to make a trip to Microcenter yesterday.

I could have done the cabling a lot better, but I hope it is all coming back apart soon. I keep a profile color coded for gaming. White front RGB is desktop, red is gaming profile.

z.jpg

1656507221111.png
 

DWD1961

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Exactly how mine is set up cooling-wise. When I went to 6900XT I did not feel I needed to water block the GPU as the case has great airflow.
Long story short. Go to the PC Sunday evening ( I never turn mine off. ) I had no video signal. Switched out video cards (easy enough since on air) and still no video signal. Ended up pulling the entire system apart, verifying functionality of ever single component. I still keep an operational test bench, so that is "easy" for me. After that, I was left with the PSU being the culprit, and it passed testing on the test bench as well. Put it all back together in original configuration, and is working perfect. For the life of me, I still have no idea what the issue was. I keep my system soft-tubed. This allowed me to check everything without having to drain the loop. Had it been hard-tubed, this would have even been more tremendously frustrating as pulling and repasting the CPU was done while I was in there and I had to pull the rad too in order to get the motherboard out. Just something to think about.

This box is about a three year old legacy build with an 8600K in that will run 5.3GHz, but I usually only push it to 5GHz, as it mostly does not matter in the grand scheme of the gaming I do. I am waiting on Zen4 to make my next jump. While still confused on it all, I am glad it worked out and I did not have to make a trip to Microcenter yesterday.

I could have done the cabling a lot better, but I hope it is all coming back apart soon. I keep a profile color coded for gaming. White front RGB is desktop, red is gaming profile.

View attachment 487565
View attachment 487566
"pulling and repasting the CPU was done while I was in there and I had to pull the rad too in order to get the motherboard out. Just something to think about."

You bring up an important point. I didn't even think about that. Anyway to help remove the loop without having to drain and disassemble the entire thing?
 
Last edited:

NightReaver

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For an easier life, always go with soft tubing. Oh, and plenty of slack so you can remove/test components without having to disconnect tubing. I can move my entire GPU out of the way without draining anything. It's great.
 

Nobu

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For an easier life, always go with soft tubing. Oh, and plenty of slack so you can remove/test components without having to disconnect tubing. I can move my entire GPU out of the way without draining anything. It's great.
This. If you want easy access to the CPU, use soft tube going to/from it. You can use hard tubing elsewhere if you like, although it may still get in the way of other things depending on where it's routed.
 

FrgMstr

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Anyway to help remove the loop without having to drain and disassemble the entire thing?
Not with hard tubing that I am aware of. I guess you could install a series of shutoffs etc. but that would take a lot of room and expense. I had not broken this box down and cleaned if for 2 or 3+ years, so it needed a deep cleaning anyway. The way I am set up with my loop, I was able to remove the entire thing without draining it, and give the rad a great cleaning that it needed.

Hard tube is great to look at, but when it comes to real world long term usage, it is more than likely to be a PITA.

And like NightReaver said, planning ahead with a little slack goes a long ways.
 

NightReaver

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I mean sure, you could put QDCs everywhere. But that's more leak potential and is God awful expensive.

I just gave up on everything being cut to cover precise distances. It looks nice, but having to move things around just becomes a suicide inducing experience.

They never tell you about that when people post pics.
 

FrgMstr

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I mean sure, you could put QDCs everywhere.
Yeah, gets expensive quickly. I have that one in mine. I can pop that fitting with a towel wrapped around it and drain the top rad easily and then just tilt the system after that and drain the rest to be able to work on it if I have to get into the loop.
 

Nobu

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Theoretically you could have two 180 bends above the CPU, each going into a fitting, which connects to another tube that goes where ever you need...but more connections = more points of failure. Plus in an itx case (even a big one) that'd be pushing the limit.
 
Last edited:

DWD1961

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Before I invest 400.00 into hardware, I want to make sure I really want to do this. So, how do you fill the system in the first place?
 

NightReaver

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I just use a chunk of spare hose and a funnel. My pump/res 5.25" combo is very picky about priming so I have to do a lot of moving the case around to "prime" it.

My wife has a standard reservoir and is a lot easier to get going.
 

DWD1961

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I just gave up on everything being cut to cover precise distances.
I don't have any experience building a custom loop, but I do have experience cutting and piping plastic pips, PVC, etc. The way we did it was to make the bend, then cut the straight ends to fit. It's pretty easy, actually.

Example:

cut here-->straight line---BEND--straight line <--cut here
 
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I am interested in where you go with this...
I too am building a machine, but the 'Papa' to your case...
Thermaltake Tower 900... 20220630_075844.jpg

I am building slow as we were looking into some things like a new truck/5th wheel camper.. but our 2016 jeep wrangler got hit on fathersday (with us in it) and it is totaled so now we have to get a jeep for wife, thus my build is taking for ever..
I have:
Case
card reader in 5.25 slot
1300w power supply
4x 512gb nvme
4x 1tb ssd

I am looking at getting rgb fans next, then mobo, cpu, gpu

then water cool...
i did a google and looked for what others used and i found Linus build... well someone built it for him... but you can see what parts were used, etc...
https://linustechtips.com/topic/779303-my-new-rig-thermaltake-tower-900/


his parts list.. I know they are old so newer models but gives ideas..

Case Thermaltake Tower 900
i7-4790k (icon_e_sad.gif)
Z97-A/USB 3.1 LGA
MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X
2x EK-COOLSTREAM CE 560mm
EK-FC1080 GTX TF6 – Nickel
EK-FC1080 GTX TF6 Backplate - Black
Waterblock EVO SUPREMACY NICKEL
9x Thermaltake Riing 140*mm RGB
Commander F6 RGB LCD 6 Channel, Single 5.25” Bay Fan Controller AC-024-BN1NANA1
2x reservoirs D5 BARREL 590mm
2x DarkSide D5 Vario Original Laing
2x SSD evo 850 500GB
SSD 240 Silicon Power GB
2x x Seagate BarraCuda ST4000DM005 4TB
4x 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 1600
EVGA SuperNOVA 750 Bronze
Elecrow 5 Inch TFT Touch Screen LCD Monitor
 

DWD1961

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Oh thanks man. Much appreciated. it was my first display build. Soldered up my own custom 12V strips. When sitting at my computer location I can only see the front fans, so that's one reason i wanted to build in the The Thermaltake 100. I can only see, mostly the front in the 280x.
PXL_20220522_063326460.jpg
 

DWD1961

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I'm waiting form RMAd B450 ITX to get back, already replaced with the updated B550 version. I want to mount the board and a card in it to see exactly where I can build. I'm having a hard time figuring out mounting options for these two items that I have it narrowed down to. I'm wondering if I just went with a DDC pump and rad, no rez, if it would have enough liquid in it to cool decently?

EKWB EK-Quantum Kinetic FLT 80 Pump/Reservoir Combo, D5 PWM, D-RGB, Plexi
1656635399725.png


EKWB EK-Quantum Kinetic TBE 120 DDC PWM Pump-Reservoir Combo, Digital RGB, Plexi
51JHtOHAiRL._AC_SL1200_.jpg


Or just a DDC pump and RGB top, if I can find one:
51T4B2ZG-9L._AC_SL1200_.jpg


Or I could puss out and go with this:
717hJkZq7cL._SL1500_.jpg
 
Last edited:

DWD1961

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Nov 30, 2019
Messages
1,164
I am interested in where you go with this...
I too am building a machine, but the 'Papa' to your case...
Thermaltake Tower 900... View attachment 487808

I am building slow as we were looking into some things like a new truck/5th wheel camper.. but our 2016 jeep wrangler got hit on fathersday (with us in it) and it is totaled so now we have to get a jeep for wife, thus my build is taking for ever..
I have:
Case
card reader in 5.25 slot
1300w power supply
4x 512gb nvme
4x 1tb ssd

I am looking at getting rgb fans next, then mobo, cpu, gpu

then water cool...
i did a google and looked for what others used and i found Linus build... well someone built it for him... but you can see what parts were used, etc...
https://linustechtips.com/topic/779303-my-new-rig-thermaltake-tower-900/


his parts list.. I know they are old so newer models but gives ideas..

Case Thermaltake Tower 900
i7-4790k (View attachment 487809)
Z97-A/USB 3.1 LGA
MSI GTX 1070 Gaming X
2x EK-COOLSTREAM CE 560mm
EK-FC1080 GTX TF6 – Nickel
EK-FC1080 GTX TF6 Backplate - Black
Waterblock EVO SUPREMACY NICKEL
9x Thermaltake Riing 140*mm RGB
Commander F6 RGB LCD 6 Channel, Single 5.25” Bay Fan Controller AC-024-BN1NANA1
2x reservoirs D5 BARREL 590mm
2x DarkSide D5 Vario Original Laing
2x SSD evo 850 500GB
SSD 240 Silicon Power GB
2x x Seagate BarraCuda ST4000DM005 4TB
4x 8GB G.SKILL Ripjaws X Series 1600
EVGA SuperNOVA 750 Bronze
Elecrow 5 Inch TFT Touch Screen LCD Monitor
oads%2F2017%2F09%2F59c2a69ec7db05.44966337-768x568.jpg
 

D-EJ915

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I haven't used it yet but got the new XSPC D5 pump/res and it's a solid piece plus they use glass instead of acrylic.
 

Nobu

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I haven't used it yet but got the new XSPC D5 pump/res and it's a solid piece plus they use glass instead of acrylic.
Well, acrylic is "glass". You mean they use silica glass?
 
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