Watercooling a rackmount 4U

brett89

n00b
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
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19
Hello everyone,

I've looked into some WC things before ,but I've never ever done anything physically with it. I've got a Chenbro RM41300, that conveniently has 2 80mm fans above the I/O panel, two 120mm on top, and one 80mm and a 120mm in front. With this case I'm pretty limited to a 120mm rad I'd assume. It's currently in a rack on rails, so I'd like to keep it internal.

Here's a dry-fit of the case showing the 120mm enclosure on the right front and an ATX Board.

POiGsVM.jpg


the long and short of it is, I need a long loop and I am not sure if an AIO would be the route to go or if I'm looking at a custom loop.

The NZXT M22 has a really long hose length, 400m/15.75 in. Would this be adequate for a mild-mid OC on a 3770k? I don't really get high perfomance models with my limitations I've imposed (120mm and long tube length) Also I can move the fan to the right/left to gain some more space, but it'll be close. Do these hoses bend?

I like to think I'm reasonably handy and definitely more foolhardy, is an AIO with custom hoses something that's worth my time?

If so, I'll read up on that but I looked into two options:

1.) fully custom, which is intimidating and not cheap. However, better performance potentially. I know alu/copper don't mix because galvanic corrosion but past that it's news to me. Something like a 5.25" res/pump setup and a 120mm rad up front to the CPU.

2.) something like EK's custom loops with quick-release.

Currently I've got a relidded i7-3770k with liquid metal TIM. (Thanks for the awesome guides HardOCP!)

y42B7RJ.jpg


There's the current setup, has a Noctua U12HS to cool it, which does well but I'm hoping to OC a bit further and extend the life of this setup - and gain more internet points.

Thanks for your time!
 

magda

[H]ard|Gawd
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Sep 26, 2018
Messages
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I'd say, go with the custom loop. It could be intimidating at first, but after you read, ask a lot and plan it well, It's easy. (y) Don't be afraid to drill new holes, the radiator is not gonna mount itself ;)

You need to do something about that cable management though
 

Spartacus09

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Apr 21, 2018
Messages
1,895
+1 on the cable management, then:

1) What is your goal with WC? Experience with it, better cooling, noise reduction, all of the above?
2) Are you just wanting to cool the CPU, GPU1&2, or all of them?
3) Whats your budget?

Depending on how that top cover sits you could likely do a 240mm rad on those two top 120mm fans, but would be difficult to remove the top cover depending on the hose length (and to work on it require removal of the rad likely).
Frankly that 3770k doesn't often generate alot of heat even OC'ed unless you're really working the CPU, you might could likely get away with a 80mm rad aio, or a 240mm for overkill if you just want to cool the CPU.
That front 120mm enclosure is a nice hotswap enclosure unit, but makes for difficult rad mounting to it.
 

brett89

n00b
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
19
I'd say, go with the custom loop. It could be intimidating at first, but after you read, ask a lot and plan it well, It's easy. (y) Don't be afraid to drill new holes, the radiator is not gonna mount itself ;)

You need to do something about that cable management though

That is a very fair statement, I have definitely cleaned it up. I was having some board issues and removing it much more often then I had cared, so I became sloppy. It's better now, all the cables are bound together and not just random. That being said, it's also a case with no window. Noted on the reading though, I'll take a gander around. I've already taken my Dremel to this case a bit, but it was to massage some stuff rather than re-engineer anything.

+1 on the cable management, then:

1) What is your goal with WC? Experience with it, better cooling, noise reduction, all of the above?
2) Are you just wanting to cool the CPU, GPU1&2, or all of them?
3) Whats your budget?

Depending on how that top cover sits you could likely do a 240mm rad on those two top 120mm fans, but would be difficult to remove the top cover depending on the hose length (and to work on it require removal of the rad likely).
Frankly that 3770k doesn't often generate alot of heat even OC'ed unless you're really working the CPU, you might could likely get away with a 80mm rad aio, or a 240mm for overkill if you just want to cool the CPU.
That front 120mm enclosure is a nice hotswap enclosure unit, but makes for difficult rad mounting to it.

1.) I'm not looking to make a wind tunnel, but I'm not looking for silence. I guess better cooling for some headroom to lengthen this procs useful life. I'm not looking to chase numbers or benchmarks.
2.) Just the CPU knowing the mounting issues with anything more than 120mm.
3.) That is an excellent question, I'd feel foolish doing too much when I could just get a new board and proc. for less. Off the top of my head I'd say 150-200. Those may be high-end AIO prices I'm used to, my 5.25" res w/ pump was a bit more dear than I wanted to spend, albeit it was pretty slick. EK has a kit for 220 that seems reasonable but that's just a quick glance rather than crtically looking at the project.

I could get a pipe from the front of the fan to extend where the radiator mounts, is that a no-no for radiators if the fan is sealed against the radiatior but not immediately adjacent?

Thanks for the replies, gives me some good stuff to consider!
 

Spartacus09

[H]ard|Gawd
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Apr 21, 2018
Messages
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I could get a pipe from the front of the fan to extend where the radiator mounts, is that a no-no for radiators if the fan is sealed against the radiatior but not immediately adjacent?

Not at all as long as the air is as sealed and sufficiently pushed through the rad (though if you went that route I'd look at rads designed for low rpm/low airflow fans).
Its not uncommon to do a fan shroud to size up/down the radiator to the fan (though its more often used when you have existing rads)

I'd say custom loop is borderline cost prohibitive but if you already have some parts it might be an option still.
Since you just want the CPU, even the higher cost 240mm AIOs are only about $100-$120 though (and should be reusable for any chipset upgrades with included brackets).

Measure out the distance and see if its reasonable for mounting that rad topside and perhaps look at one of the thinner rads to make sure it doesn't dip too low onto the board/HDD.
Most of the AIO hoses are about 300mm (11.8 inches) long so it 'should' be enough length to set the top case to the side and if you need space, detach the radiator when you want to work on it.
 
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Alphacool makes 80mm radiators. A 160mm rad (2*80) is 12,800mm^2, where a single 120 is 14,400mm^2. They're within spitting distance of one another. If you're only cooling the CPU and not looking to clock the snot out of it, you could make a VERY tidy little loop with a pump/block combo and a 2x80mm rad in that fan spot over your I/O area.
 

Spartacus09

[H]ard|Gawd
Joined
Apr 21, 2018
Messages
1,895
Alphacool makes 80mm radiators. A 160mm rad (2*80) is 12,800mm^2, where a single 120 is 14,400mm^2. They're within spitting distance of one another. If you're only cooling the CPU and not looking to clock the snot out of it, you could make a VERY tidy little loop with a pump/block combo and a 2x80mm rad in that fan spot over your I/O area.
A solid option, I forgot about that, something to keep in mind though.
A 2x80mm radiator has about the same frontal surface area as a single 120mm radiator , but with a high fin density. You may need high speed fans to get it to perform optimally.
 

brett89

n00b
Joined
Feb 17, 2017
Messages
19
Not at all as long as the air is as sealed and sufficiently pushed through the rad (though if you went that route I'd look at rads designed for low rpm/low airflow fans).
Its not uncommon to do a fan shroud to size up/down the radiator to the fan (though its more often used when you have existing rads)

I'd say custom loop is borderline cost prohibitive but if you already have some parts it might be an option still.
Since you just want the CPU, even the higher cost 240mm AIOs are only about $100-$120 though (and should be reusable for any chipset upgrades with included brackets).

Measure out the distance and see if its reasonable for mounting that rad topside and perhaps look at one of the thinner rads to make sure it doesn't dip too low onto the board/HDD.
Most of the AIO hoses are about 300mm (11.8 inches) long so it 'should' be enough length to set the top case to the side and if you need space, detach the radiator when you want to work on it.

The top barely clears the power cables on the graphics cards. Doing it again, I'd get a 5U case and get a more standard 120mm fan by the I/O. That is good to know about the fans, as long as it's sealed. I could make some extension tubes from the front with some pipe and some laser cut plastic. I can modify that modular 120mm fan arrangement and cut out the structure behind the fan to allow a rad to be placed.


Alphacool makes 80mm radiators. A 160mm rad (2*80) is 12,800mm^2, where a single 120 is 14,400mm^2. They're within spitting distance of one another. If you're only cooling the CPU and not looking to clock the snot out of it, you could make a VERY tidy little loop with a pump/block combo and a 2x80mm rad in that fan spot over your I/O area.


I do very much like how tidy the pump on the block is. I priced it out and it's definitely within my budget. Fittings, tubing, radiatior and pump/block. Thank you for the suggestion! some push pull fans would bump that out to clear the I/O inset, would a reservoir be necessary with how small this loop is? I know you don't want an airlock in it as a concept, but practical application is a bit beyond my experience for setting this up without or with a reservoir.
 
Joined
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Messages
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The top barely clears the power cables on the graphics cards. Doing it again, I'd get a 5U case and get a more standard 120mm fan by the I/O. That is good to know about the fans, as long as it's sealed. I could make some extension tubes from the front with some pipe and some laser cut plastic. I can modify that modular 120mm fan arrangement and cut out the structure behind the fan to allow a rad to be placed.





I do very much like how tidy the pump on the block is. I priced it out and it's definitely within my budget. Fittings, tubing, radiatior and pump/block. Thank you for the suggestion! some push pull fans would bump that out to clear the I/O inset, would a reservoir be necessary with how small this loop is? I know you don't want an airlock in it as a concept, but practical application is a bit beyond my experience for setting this up without or with a reservoir.
A reservoir is never technically necessary. It's an ease-of-use part, and it's pretty much only "needed" to make filling your loop less of a chore.

Filling a loop without a res is a time-consuming process. It's not really difficult, it's just not very convenient.

If your budget has room, your case certainly does: Swiftech MCRES Micro Rev2 Reservoir https://www.amazon.com/dp/B001UCMCFS/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_apa_i_bEusCb6JVN2X3

I've used this before. It's very simple, no-nonsense and no frills, and gets the job done.
 
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