Question about water cooling a new graphic card

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Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:25 pm

Hello!

I struggled with the decision to post this in the case and cooling subforum or here in the graphic forum...if the monitor wants to move it, that's fine by me; I'm all in favor of putting it in the most appropriate forum.

In my upcoming system build, I'm thinking of getting an Asus GTX 660, 670, 680, or (if I wait longer), the 690. I very much like the 690, partly because it's two 680s, and partly because it only takes up 2 slots.

The new system will need to support four concurrent monitors.

I will be doing music production, animation, graphic arts, and folding. Only occasional gaming. I do plan to use the GPU for folding. Animation uses a lot of CPU and games use a lot of GPU, but in my case, I think the folding will be the most strenuous thing on all of these parts. I know from my reading that folding can be especially hard on GPU chips and fans.

I also like it quiet, so I'm considering a water loop (or two) that can cool the CPU and graphic card together.

I've only seen one vague manufacturer's reference to water cooling a graphic card, and nothing about warranties, methodologies, and so forth.

What sorts of things should I know about refitting a graphic card with a water block? Here are some of the issues I'm interested in:

1. General warranty issues/expectations
2. Methodologies for including the GPU (Dual loop? Single loop? If single, CPU-then-GPU or GPU-then-CPU?
3. Whatever you can think of that might help me make my decision

Thanks in advance!
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 2:46 pm

Water-cooling the CPU is a little silly if it's not a six-core Intel part with a serious overclock. The GPUs can benefit from it for sure though- but if you want a warranty and real support, I'd suggest getting a card that comes with a block, and focus on a single loop. Nothing else really needs the cooling if you're not trying to break records (and the bank!).
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:14 pm

Hi Tharp!

I do plan to get the hex-core i7. But not overclock it. I want to use water for the quiet (mostly during folding). I'm not under any impression that water is better than air. I did not realize it before adding the H-60 to my current rig, when all of a sudden, it got QUIET! I never had any idea that fan noise produces an overall fatigue that literally puts me to sleep.

So that's my reason for water cooling the CPU; to avoid the noisy, whining fan! And now I want to fold at 100% on the new machine when I'm not doing any other strenuous activites (which is 90% of the time anyway because I don't do music or graphics for a living).

I could put an H100 on the CPU, but if the folding causes the graphic card's fan to ramp up, then I'm really not gaining anything by using water on the CPU only.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:24 pm

BIF wrote:Hi Tharp!

I do plan to get the hex-core i7. But not overclock it. I want to use water for the quiet (mostly during folding). I'm not under any impression that water is better than air. I did not realize it before adding the H-60 to my current rig, when all of a sudden, it got QUIET! I never had any idea that fan noise produces an overall fatigue that literally puts me to sleep.

So that's my reason for water cooling the CPU; to avoid the noisy, whining fan! And now I want to fold at 100% on the new machine when I'm not doing any other strenuous activites (which is 90% of the time anyway because I don't do music or graphics for a living).

I could put an H100 on the CPU, but if the folding causes the graphic card's fan to ramp up, then I'm really not gaining anything by using water on the CPU only.


Using an integrated water-cooler on the CPU is fine- that just directly replaces the HSF, and I'd recommend it, along with using a single custom loop for the GPU. I was just trying to steer you clear of trying to tie the CPU and GPU into the same custom loop. There's just no need for the extra expense and complexity there.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 3:30 pm

Oh, I see.

Well, if I was going to do it with a custom rig, I'd consider Koolance. I was on their site a few weeks ago and I saw that they have a 2-bay reservoir that supports single or dual loops.

But yeah, if I'm thinking of getting a 690, that GPU alone would need two waterblocks.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 5:50 pm

http://www.arctic.ac/en/p/cooling/vga/5 ... tml?c=2182
Best Water and Air/Hybrid GPU cooler link^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

If you have a big a$$ case Artic cooling makes a Hybrid water / air cooler that works fantastic, Talking 40- 50 c on a overclocked 7970. It has a 120mm rad for the core and a fan for the VRMs. I Could see it working even in my haf 922 mid tower. Put a H100 in the roof of the case then one video card radiator on the 120mm exhuast fan on back of case for the top card then put the lower video cards radiator on the bottom of my case since it will hold a 120-140mm fan. That would still leave me with every HD slot open and my 200mm front intake along with my 200mm side intake. Could even setup the lower video cards radiator as a intake instead of exhausr since They really do not make the air hot since the coolant never really gets that warm.
My h60 push pull setup only pushes warm air out of it when my 2600k is at almost 1.4 volts and 4.7hgz and pegged at 100% for at least 4 min before it starts to put out maybe 40c heat. And i am pretty sure my overclocked CPU makes more heat then the newer GPUs do fully loaded. Just look at the Air CPU coolers compared to the graphics card coolers. High end cpu towers weigh a ton. Some GPU air coolers do also but i still think overclocked CPUs like the 2500k 2600k 3670k 3770k 3960 875k etc put out more heat then GPUs. Even though some GPUs use more wattage i think around 1/3 sometimes more of that wattage/heat is VRMs memory etc. and not all coming out of the GPU core itself.

Also with the limits Nvidia puts on overvolting GPUs unless you want them for physics "Meh" or 3d vision "AMD can do it" I would get a pair of 7970s or 7950s ones that will let you crank the gpu voltages up alot if you do go water. I just do not think the nvidia card will benifit as much as the AMD cards will from a cold core with NVs voltage caps. might as well just keep NVs air cooling.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 6:29 pm

BIF wrote:But yeah, if I'm thinking of getting a 690, that GPU alone would need two waterblocks.

Or you can take a look at one of the ones on this page. As it happens, since you seem to prefer Koolance, they do happen to make a 690 block. :P

vargis14 wrote:http://www.arctic.ac/en/p/cooling/vga/5 ... tml?c=2182
Not bad, especially since we don't see many self contained GPU systems. For that price, though, I'd personally go full custom since I tend to think that the very idea of watercooling is just as much, if not more, for the experience of building your own loop than simply temps.

I "hate" threads like this though, always makes me want to add a new rad (or two). :D
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:40 pm

You don't need an aftermarket waterblock for GPU, you can simply buy a video card with waterblock already installed on it... EVGA makes them, and provides excellent warranty and customer support (much better than Asus) for them :wink: Of course, you'll still need a watercooling system to connect it to...
Last edited by JohnC on Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:45 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:42 pm

I agree; if I'm going to water cool the GPU, I think I'll go full custom.

It looks like the GTX 690 may have limitations for the number of concurrent monitors for non-gaming tasks. My 4-concurrent-monitor requirement is a minimum. So I might need to consider ATI.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sat Oct 06, 2012 7:43 pm

JohnC wrote:You don't need an aftermarket water cooler for GPU, you can simply buy a video card with water cooler already installed on it... EVGA makes them, and provides excellent warranty and customer support (much better than Asus) for them :wink:


Whoa, I didn't know that. Off to research...

Yeah, I like that EVGA one. It adds $150 to the price of the card. But as you say, it's covered under the warranty and saves me the time needed to perform the surgery myself. Edit: It appears that the EVGA GTX 690 Hydro has been discontinued.

And it does run 4 monitors at once. I'd like to put three monitors in the main center for most work (including my job; because my work laptop can do three monitors), and a fourth monitor off to the side so that it's in front of one of my music keyboards. Or...I could move the music keyboard aside and put down a graphic tablet and use that for a drawing center.

But yeah, I do want that as a minimum for my home office/studio.

And I've been thinking about my prior comment and I realized just how far we've come to be able to support "only" 4 monitors with one graphic card. This is truly a great time to be alive!
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:01 pm

Been doing a lot more research. I found some threads that identified some leak problems with the Koolance EXOS systems, so for now I have put that one to the back burner.

I happened upon the XSPC line of liquid cooling products. These guys have fat radiators and their products are LED-crazy. But I like their style! For these links, there are pics if you scroll down. Frozencpu.com is one US distributor for XSPC products.

CPU block
VGA block
Bay Reservoir

Research continues!
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sun Oct 07, 2012 1:23 pm

BIF wrote:... XSPC ...
We have a few XSPC based builds floating around the forums. Take a look at this recent thread for some ideas since we mentioned XPSC quite a bit. In short, while not the absolute best cooling XSPC has very good price per performance. I personally have their CPU block, VGA blocks, pump/res, and two of their rads. The one thing I would warn against on XSPC is that the X2O 750 res might not have enough flow to handle particularly large and complex loops. Mine, for instance, is probably borderline and I will probably upgrade to a a full Laing D5 set up sometime in the future.

FrozenCPU probably has the best overall selection but I think being the "big player" in the market inflates their prices a touch. As usual, comparison shop, but I bought my most recent components from Performance-PCs.com which had slightly better prices in some cases and much cheaper shipping.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sun Oct 07, 2012 10:25 pm

Thanks! Yes, I think I like XSPC for their value-for-money prospect.

When I build the new system, I'll probably run it for a week or two with stock air to make sure things are working well.

I might order all the water parts at the same time as the hardware, however.

For XSPC or "other", I think the most difficult decision will be the reservoir(s). I can clear out space from the front panel, but there's part of me that wants to build two reservoir/pump combos inside the box instead...or even hang them on the right-side.

The second most difficult decision will be the sizing and positioning of the radiators. My HAF 932 has room for a triple on the ceiling, a single on the floor, and a single on the back wall. It also has room for a double on the left panel, but I don't want to hang a radiator on the panel that would need to be removed for servicing. If I go with a 2-loop system, I'll need to find room for 2 radiators. One could be bigger. Which gets hotter during folding, a hex i7 or a GTX 690?
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:15 pm

While XSPC might not offer the best performing GPU blocks, their Raystorm CPU block is one of the best you can buy. Their rads, at least the EX and RX models, hold their own too.

If starting from scratch, I'd recommend a kit to save a bit of $$. Something like this. It starts at around $230 and comes with with everything you need to custom cool your CPU. GPU block is extra. It has the Laing DDC 3.25 pump. You can also get it with the Laing D5. Both are good. The first is more compact and offers a bit more head pressure, but may be a bit louder. The second is larger, offers a higher flowrate, but lower head pressure. Both fit inside the Dual bay reservoir.I don't recommend skimping and going with an XSPC pump as found in some of the XSPC kits out there such as here. The kit in the first link also comes with compression fittings, which offer peace of mind and are easier to work with than barbs. (FYI, on the linked site, you need to place the kit in your cart, then go back to the kit product page and place steps 2, 3, and 4 (fittings, tubing color and radiator - larger radiators will add to the cost of the kit) A little confusing, but I've found it a good place to get stuff.

A kit like this will save you a bit of money and you don't have to sacrifice on the parts. Then choose a GPU block of your choosing separately.

And regarding single vs multiple loops, contrary to what many might say, I believe single loops have been proven to be more efficient in most scenarios. They are also simpler to build, easier to maintain. It's a win all around. The only time to go dual loop is if you have a lot of components to in the loop that starts limiting flow. However, A CPU block and up to 2 rads and 2 GPU blocks, as long as they are of the newer lower-restriction designs, it's single loop all the way.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:26 am

Idk much about water cooling but as far as warranties go, only a few AIB allow you to install aftermarket coolers without voiding the warranty. Iirc EVGA is one of them, but i was just looking up the warranty terms to refresh my memory but i didn't find any info related to changing the stock cooler:
http://www.evga.com/support/warranty/

As such i also advise you to buy a card with a preinstalled block. But bro, the HD 8000 series aren't far away from realease. You sure you want to buy a new card right now?
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:19 am

Arclight wrote:Idk much about water cooling but as far as warranties go, only a few AIB allow you to install aftermarket coolers without voiding the warranty. Iirc EVGA is one of them, but i was just looking up the warranty terms to refresh my memory but i didn't find any info related to changing the stock cooler:
http://www.evga.com/support/warranty/



Well...I guess they could give you trouble with the clauses in the warranty that say the warranty doesn't cover "inadequate modifications" and so forth.


As such i also advise you to buy a card with a preinstalled block. But bro, the HD 8000 series aren't far away from realease. You sure you want to buy a new card right now?


I was not aware of the upcoming HD 8000 series, so thanks for the head's up.

My timeline for purchasing the equipment is at least several weeks off. I'm still timing my build with the release of Windows 8 (even though I'm not 100% sure I'll use Windows 8). It could be as much as a month before I place my order.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Mon Oct 08, 2012 8:40 am

BIF wrote:[...]
I was not aware of the upcoming HD 8000 series, so thanks for the head's up.

My timeline for purchasing the equipment is at least several weeks off. I'm still timing my build with the release of Windows 8 (even though I'm not 100% sure I'll use Windows 8). It could be as much as a month before I place my order.


I looked it up to see if there is a rumoured release date for the first HD 8000 cards but apparently they won't launch like last year (iirc the HD 7000 series released at the end of the year with wide availability early next year). It seems AMD will do the launch straight up in 2013. Since rumours haven't started yet regarding the month of release and given you're only gonna wait about one month then the HD 8000 will be out of your time frame.

Would have been cool though if they allowed the reviews to be posted this year (i.e. paper launch) since the mid end is rumoured to bring GTX 680/ HD 7970 equivalent performance at a price tag between 200-300 dollars while the top high end card will be *allegedly* >20% faster than the 7970. Even if they paper launched them you would have known what to expect and nvidia might have made a price drop or two.

Here are a few articles with (rumoured) specs :
http://videocardz.com/34981/amd-radeon- ... ion-leaked
http://videocardz.com/35050/amd-radeon- ... n-analysis
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Mon Oct 08, 2012 3:56 pm

The new HD 8000 series is all well and tempting, but it's still probably 5 months out. And while it might offer 20% more performance (more is optimistic as this generation does not come with a die shrink) in their respective tiers as the HD 7000 series AMD, being first to market again, will probably try and gouge when they first hit the market.

Even if you can wait, there is probably little point if a single HD 7950/70 is fast enough for your needs, seeing as how you can find them for around $300/$375, respectively (and I've seen them even cheaper in special limitied quantity deals, after MIR) vs the likely $450/$550 for the HD 8950/70 when they come out. And because there is no die shrink, you'll not be getting much more in terms of power efficiency with the HD 8000 stuff, either. Plus, the compute section is forecast to be roughly the same as on Tahiti, so waiting shouldn't get you much more in terms of folding type applications.

One more thing, if you are going to be using the rig for long folding sessions, I recommend installing 2 identical pumps in SERIES. Don't worry, the dead pump will not impede the flow too significantly. This way, if one dies (not likely with a decent pump like one of the newer Laings) you'll still be covered. I suppose both could die at the same time, but that's just not very likely. If you're already spending $400+ on a full CPU/GPU custom water cooling setup, an extra $70 for a second pump is probably worth it for the peace of mind if you plan to do critical tasks or leave your PC on for long periods - especially if unsupervised.
Last edited by cynan on Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:06 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:02 pm

Psssh, AMD doesn't price gouge. It's just market value. No competition = higher value.
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Re: Question about water cooling a new graphic card

Postposted on Mon Oct 08, 2012 4:21 pm

To add to my recommendation for single loop, component order simply does not matter. Any loop is a complete circuit. The high heat capacity of water, flow rate and generally low volume of fluid in the loop means that where in the loop you place your hottest component will not really have any significant effect on the overall water temperature at any one point in the loop.

The only consideration when setting up your loop is to connect your components so that you use the shortest amount of tubing required (though a bit of extra length here and there is no big deal) with the least restriction on flow (tight corners are bad - unless you use specially elbow fittings, etc). This allows the pump to not have to push as much water, and, more importantly, allows a larger proportion of the water to be in the rads at any given time.
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