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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Coo
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 22:43 
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The Chieftec case is not the best one for cable management, but if you are good enough with that and know how to handle things you can still hide the extensive cables that come with a powerful non-modular power supply like the Fortron Epsilon 1010.


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With just some black cable ties and the power cables are hidden at the back of the case...


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Now inside the case everything is much tidier and actually even quite well arranged...


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One good idea is to use the PCI-E power cables to actually hold the video card straight, as because of the weight of the water block the end of the card usually tilts down a bit, this was the beta solution, it has been further developed, but you'll see more in the worklog for the other PC that is going to soon be also published.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Coo
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 22:50 
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The Koolance Exos comes with three thermal sensors that you may decide to use or not, but the automatic fan control depends on these sensors, so you should connect them in order to be able to use that function of the unit. I've used all three of them - one attached to the water block, one for the CPU block and one in the middle of the case to measure the ambient temperature inside. I've used some double sided tape to attach the sensors to the water block in places that will not be easy to spot and disturb the overall look of the system, although you can still notice them pretty easily. I've noticed that the temperatures reported by the sensors attached to the water blocks report about 3-5 degrees lower temperature that the actual ones of the CPU and the GPU, so with that delta in mind I could always take a not of the temperatures on the Koolance's external display without having to sue additional software.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Coo
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 22:54 
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How the tubing is placed between the different components, connecting the two water blocks with the Koolance Exos external unit.
The flow of water goes like this: pump -> CPU block -> VGA block -> radiator -> reservoir.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Coo
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 22:58 
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Time to fill in the system with some distilled water and anti-corrosion additive...


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And then have it run at variable speeds of the pump for some time in order to get the air out of the radiator, water blocks and the tubing as well as to check for leaks, not that such were expected, but it does not hurt to be cautious about that. At this point you don't need the whole system running, you just need to provide power to the water cooling in order to clear the air and check for leaks and after that when everything is ready, you can power up the whole system.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Coo
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 23:02 
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This is how the finished setup looks like on the inside and on the outside, ready for the stage when the PC is powered up for a first time with the new water cooling installed and ready for some tests to be done, so that the effectiveness of the cooling can be judged.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Coo
PostPosted: 03 Jul 2010, 23:23 
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And here are the end results after installing the new water cooling - much cooler operation temperatures even under heavy load and somewhat more silent operation of the computer because of the water cooling, or that is what you should normally expect to get.

After a bit more than 1 hour of running OCCT and Furmark with heavy settings and creating a high load on the CPU and the GPU the temperatures go like this: around 41 degrees Celsius for the CPU and average of 45-46 degrees Celsius for each of the GPUs on the video card. Of course this is on their default frequencies, so there is some room for good overclocking of the system, but that I've left for a bit later time since I had a second computer to build from the scratch and this second system was much more complicated to plan and build and you'll soon be able to see why.

I've almost forgot to mention that the above results were achieved with the water pump turned to maximum and the fans of the Koolance Exos unit running at half of their maximum operating voltage (stage 5 of ten). The fans are running at 50% because if going above that they become a bit noisier and at 100% they are quite noisy, but the air flow is also very high. Now I was pretty happy with the ratio of the air flow vs the noise at 50% of the fans, but I did try to replace the fans with a quieter ones that might be more usable even at 100%. Unfortunately it seems that the fan control of the Koolance unit is designed specifically for their fans as with the Noiseblockers I've tried below stage 6 they were just stopping to rotate and they were not as effective and quiet at their maximum as compared to the Koolance fans at 50%, so the original fans stayed.

But the actual problem that I really did not like with the Koolance Exos 2.5 unit was that the pump is noisy, it is noisier than expected even at its lowest setting it is still the thing that emits the highest level of noise from the computer. After checking I've noticed that the water pump is the less powerful Laing DDC model attached on the side of the reservoir and that the whole thing is not very well attached. I've added some custom modifications consisting mostly of spacing the radiator from the fans better and adding noise/vibration absorption material between the pump and reservoir unit and the case, although that did not help much. I was not very happy with the fact that the used radiator was aluminum and not copper and with smaller holes between the ribs and thus requiring higher airflow for effective cooling, instead of a high flow solution with a copper radiator (I might replace that at a later time). Meanwhile I already ordered another Laing water pump, the one with higher water flow to replace the smaller model inside the Koolance to see if the problem with the noise is coming from the pump or not. And having a better pump I could easily lower its operating speed to match the original and still producing less noise and vibrations, if that does not help there are other more significant modifications to the Koolance unit going to happen. The important thing is that at the end I was not very happy with my choice of the Koolance Exos 2.5 unit for an external water cooling solution as it did not perform as good as I expected it to be in terms of silent operation, but I will deal with that. I juts don't like much the fact that the unit itself is not very cheap and to make things work as I wanted it to I'll have to replace some of the component and they do not come cheap, making the end cost of the project higher than planned. The conclusion is that it is best to go for a bigger case with a lot of space to make a completely custom water cooling solution that will work as you want it to, and I happen to do exactly that for the second 3D test PC that I've built from scratch. But more for that as well as a more detailed worklog will be available here very soon, and meanwhile you are more than welcome to comment or ask questions about this project here... ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Coo
PostPosted: 04 Jul 2010, 00:22 

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Well i gues i should say hi first :P since this is my first post n all, awesome blog btw ;)

Intresting read and it looks like you done a good job there, ive always been curious about how loud these watercooling solutions are....


Just outa curiosty how nosiy and effective is it when the pump is turned down a lil bit? If you can alter that?

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Cpu: Intel Q9450 @2.66Ghz
Motherboard: Asus P5N32-E Sli
Gpu: 8800GTX + 8800GTX in Sli
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Psu: Cooler Master M620
Case: Antec 900 Gaming Case
3D Setup: Nvidia 3d Vison / Alienware AW2310


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Coo
PostPosted: 04 Jul 2010, 01:42 

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Damn it looks nice man :)

I wish i had the courage to modify my PC like that.
I mean, just the pics of you opening up that very expensive Radeon 5970 card was scary :D

Whats the dimensions of the Koolance Exos 2.5 unit?
And, what expectations do you have about overclocking the system? :)


I've been thinking about making a watercooling system in my computer, since im using a GTX 480, and it makes alot of heat, and it tends to get quite noisy at load. And with a good watercooling solution i might be able to overclock it also.
Same goes with my Phenom 2 X 4 965 CPU, it could be overclocked to something like 3.8 Ghz, or 4.0 Ghz with good cooling i guess.

Since im a beginner with watercooling, i have a few questions i would like to ask a guy like you, who have been using it alot, before i look more into details about what products to buy and such :)

The thing that keeps me mostly away from watercooling is proberly the risk of a leak, or doing something wrong when dismounting the cooler on my graphics card. Both things could be very costly, if i destroy my PC because of a leak, or damage the graphics card while dismounting the cooler.
- What is the risk of leaks with a modern watercooling system?
- How hard is it to dismount a cooler from a graphics card, can you just screw it off, or do it require something else?
- What would a reasonable price for a watercooling system that cools CPU and GPU be?
- If i start to overclock a bit, would the system need cooling on the motherboard, or the ram?
- Main things needed for a watercooling system is, radiator, pump, coolerheads, resevoir(The box for the water?) and the tupes, am i correct?

It would be a big help if you could answer some of my questions, since i really got inspired by this post :)


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Coo
PostPosted: 04 Jul 2010, 10:47 
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Adz 3000, I was negatively surprised by the noise from the Koolance system, I've expected it to be much more silent, especially with the ability to control the operating levels of the fans and the pump with 10 stages to choose from. The fans become quite silent at 5 while still maintaining more than enough airflow. But the pump is still noisier even when on 2-3 out of 10 and at this point it is with a much reduced water flow and not acting very efficiently in the cooling process. The idea of going to a ready external water cooling solution was to save me some time and not to replace the case as well for more serious custom water solution. It did well with that, it also cools quite good, but I'm not very happy with the noise... so in the end there will be some modifications and the end cost of the project will go beyond what was first planned and I did a good planning with the available budget. But the additional modifications will have to wait a bit and will probably go one by one over time.

thomasjn, The Exos 2.5 is with dimensions of 213 x 95 x 565 mm (W x H x D) and as I said it fits pretty good on the top of my good old Chieftec case. I do not plan the overclocking potential, I see it when I start oveclocking pushing everything to the max... ;)

The GTX 480 is scaling quite well with a good cooling and you can get something around 850MHz for the GPU with water, as for the AMD 4-4.2GHz should not be a problem with water and a good motherboard. There is always a possibility of a leak in the system, but that possibility is greatly reduced to almost zero if things are done right from the start. And to be sure that there are no leaks while getting the air out and after that you do a leak testing at leas for a few hours with the water cooling running, but without the system turned on. Of course you are also going to use distilled water with anti-corrosion additive or an already prepared non-conductive water solution, so even if it leaks it will not kill your hardware. When dismounting some of the water blocks you usually drain the cooling liquid and after finishing you refill the system again. When you are working on the stage where you plane how the tubing goes you need to make sure that you leave some flexibility, for example that you may remove the CPU water block and replace the processor, without having to disassemble the whole water cooling.

It is not so hard to put on a water cooling block on the GPU and then to remove it, but it becomes harder to do so after you've added the fittings and connected the tubing to the card. So it is best done with the water cooling disassembled shoul you need to replace the video card for nay reason.

As for the prices it depends a lot on what exactly you want to achieve, there are a lot of options and different components that you can choose from, for example there are very cheap tubing you can choose from and some very expensive ones, both will do the job of getting the water flow, but their features are different. The same applies for different water blocks, radiators, pumps etc. So usually you set a budget before starting to decide on components and try to fit in it, and also being careful not to go on the too enthusiastic side of choosing things, because then going for all the most expensive things and extras may get the cost up to scary high levels... :P

Going for water cooling on the motherboard chipset and the memory chips is a bit to extreme most of the time, you can do it just for the same of having everything water cooled of course, or if you really want to push everything to the limit. Normally a good airflow inside the case as a part of the whole water cooling setup is enough to keep both the memory and the chipset cool enough without the need of water cooling them.

And you got the major components you need for a water cooling, then you may also go for some sort of fan controller/temperature monitor, thermal sensors, water flow sensors, and other extras that are not required for normal operation of the water cooling.


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 Post subject: Re: Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Coo
PostPosted: 04 Jul 2010, 14:38 

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You should add some colour to that liquid :P ive heard you just add food dye? a frew droplets or something? Red or blue i reckon :P

And i'd also say watercooling the south and north bridge and possibly your ram is prety extreme i'd just try to get good airflow to them first, depending on your board as well you may not really have to ajust or overlock these components a great deal so they should be able to cope anyway but that depends on how far your gonna take the oc.

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Cpu: Intel Q9450 @2.66Ghz
Motherboard: Asus P5N32-E Sli
Gpu: 8800GTX + 8800GTX in Sli
Ram: 4Gb 800Mhz ddr2
Psu: Cooler Master M620
Case: Antec 900 Gaming Case
3D Setup: Nvidia 3d Vison / Alienware AW2310


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