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Upgrading my 3D AMD Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Cooling

July 4th, 2010 · 8 Comments · Other S3D Tech

A few weeks ago I had the good idea to upgrade my 3D test PC with water cooling, because the summer was coming and the temperatures were starting to rise. And anyone with a high-end video card knows that with high ambient temperatures and heavy load because of playing demanding games, especially in stereo 3D mode. And unfortunately the high temperatures come with more noise coming from the air cooling, so going to water to get better cooling and quiet computer seems like a good idea, don’t you think?

And because the original idea was just to add water cooling for the CPU and the GPU, I started with looking for a good external unit that has the water pump, cooling radiator and the fans outside of the case. The reason for that being that the Chieftec case I had did not have a lot of space inside for installing a bigger radiator (just one 120mm on the back and that is just not enough). I was researching different solutions, including passive convection radiators, water towers etc, and the final decision was to go for Koolance’s external Exos unit – the 2.5 model that has triple 120mm fans and a 3×120 radiator. The idea with that was to get the unit run at reduced capabilities to achieve silent operation while at the same time to have more than enough cooling power to keep the hardware at low temperatures even after long hours of maximum load. Another important reason for choosing that was external water cooling unit was because its size was just about the same as the top of the Chieftec case I used, so the combination seemed just perfect, making the whole computer still quite compact and easy to move, unlike with some other external water cooling solutions I’ve seen.

Of course the Koolance Exos 2.5 unit contained all the external parts for the water cooling system – the fans, radiator, pump and reservoir, but the rest in the form of fittings, water blocks and tubing needed to be decided on as it is completely custom. So I’ve ordered all the needed parts and started building the water cooling upgrade, but somewhere during that process I’ve also decided to go for building a second high-end system with a completely custom water cooling solution starting by choosing a nice and big enough case, but the worklog for that will come after finishing with this one.

So the ATI/AMD-based 3D test computer was ready to finally get the more serious attention that it needed for quite some time, and the water cooling upgrade was just an excuse to do that. And so the that was the general idea upfront, but meanwhile the things did not turn out quite as good as expected…

Here is how the finished setup looks like, 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.

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.

The idea for this computer is to now go as a dedicated solution for testing with the iZ3D solution with their 3D monitor, and the Nvidia video card that was a second option inside the Chieftec case is now gone. Instead I built a new computer that is dedicated to testing with 3D Vision and Fermi, but more about that will be available very soon. So back to the AMD/ATI system – this is just the very short idea about the project, there is much more detailed one with a lot of photos and more information of the build process and how things turned out at the end and if you are interested in that you can take a look at the link below to the topic of the forum where all the details are published ;)

Upgrading my 3D Test PC with Koolance Exos 2.5 Water Cooling – Detailed Worklog…

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8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Helifax // Jul 4, 2010 at 03:06

    Really nice! Looking very good so far! Just one question : In Furmark you are using 800×600 resolution? Why not go all the way up (max res of you monitor ) with maximum MSAA samples (x16 or x32)? That should stress the system some more:D I’m really quite anctious to see how the temps look like after 1h of stability testing:D

    Nice job, and keep us updated;)) Really want to see the Radeon 5970 in action!

  • 2 Bloody // Jul 4, 2010 at 11:18

    I’m keeping it in a window to see the status of the other programs, as for the 8X the FurMark did not want to run at more than 8X AA. And just a reminder for those that have 5970 and want to go for water cooling, the card has a Cold Bug if you drop down below 40 degrees Celsius ;)

  • 3 Helifax // Jul 4, 2010 at 13:06

    Cold Bug? Meaning if you get it below 40degrees Celsius it freezes? or bad performance?

  • 4 Bloody // Jul 4, 2010 at 13:13

    You may get crashes, blue screens, reboots of the system etc.

  • 5 mr. hu // Jul 4, 2010 at 13:51

    Heres my recipe: dont spend the money , make a hole in the wall , and let it be as loud as it wants ;)

    -Only if I knew what to do with DLP projectors , those are some noisy creatures.

  • 6 jacob pederson // Jul 6, 2010 at 15:47

    These temps are nuts. My sli-GTX 480’s sit at about 88 C with furmark going. To get the temps that “low” I ripped a fan out of an intel E-machine’s CPU sink, and have that blowing under the bottom card. Without this, the bottom card overheats. This is sitting in a completely open full-tower case btw.

  • 7 jacob pederson // Jul 6, 2010 at 15:59


    There is a pic of my setup.

  • 8 Bloody // Jul 6, 2010 at 16:06

    You should clean that dust a bit… ;)

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