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Old December 25, 2008, 12:39 PM
magelan's Avatar
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Default HAF932 + EVGA 750i FTW + WC

Back in October, I had budgeted $700 to upgrade my age old 2200+ AMD system. Couldn't play those HD divx's without chugging left and right. Off I went to look for fairly decent computer parts. I settled for a EVGA 750i FTW board as it was the only reasonable 2-slot SLI board with intel cpu sockets. Little did I know this would thrust me into the WC needs.

This board's HS/fan for the motherboard is connected to the NB, SB, mosfet and NS200 chipsets - all in one with a less than adequate heatsink and overly noisy fan. Heat is over abundant. In scouring the net for solutions, it became apparent that the only way to solve this is watercooling - am a quiet sound freak. Air solutions from the CPU + motherboard + GPU units were just too much.

So off I went to look at what parts are needed. Ordered them (mostly EK blocks) and off I tried to dive into my first WC setup and cross my fingers that I won't be losing this venture. For all the people at hardwarecanucks.com, thanks for responding to my inquiries in the watercooling section!

So here is the worklog which took me well over 2 months to complete mostly due to stocks of some blocks, inexperience with WaterCooling and, well... time as I work weekdays from dusk til dawn.

To start, I had to order the NB + SB blocks down south as there is simply no canadian supplier for the EK blocks (EK is the only WC solution that has fitting blocks for the EVGA 750i FTW board for all 3 mobo spots: NB + SB + Mosfet). Placed an order from Petra Tech which I got within 2 weeks. Here are pictures of the NB and SB blocks (central components as to why am going WC) as well as the motherboard.

EVGA 750i FTW (the NB+SB+Mosfet heatsink can be seen just above the mobo. Its 60mm factory fan is below the mobo)



Left is the NB block (EK 780i) and right is the SB block (EK 790i):


The NB block came properly packaged but the block itself, to my disapointment, had issues. The copper surface wasn't refined. It had grease and finger marks all over the place. The same was for the inner face of the copper once I removed the Acetal cover. One HC member suggested to use Ketchup. After some research online, I used some regular ketchup plus vinegar and salt to increase the acidity level. Ended up leaving the entire copper plunged in a bowl of ketchup for 12 hours.

Before ketchup:


After Ketchup (may be hard to differentiate with my auto zoom digicam):



Next was to order the Mosfet (EK 680i), VGA (EK VGA Supreme), CPU (D-TEK FuZion v2), tubing, fittings, etc. At the time of the order, NCIX had some True Silver Bitspower fittings which I scooped all that I could get. Here are pics of the normal Bitspower fittings and True silver:

Original packagings:




Left is a standard AA battery, center is the normal BP 1/2" ID fitting, right is the BP 1/2" ID True silver fitting


Box of BP fittings in preparation for the loop:


Next is the EK 680i Mosfet. This block came without any issue:



The EK VGA Supreme block came in what appears to be the factory box properly sealed.


However, 2 of the 4 screws to tighten the acrylic onto the copper block were... MISSING! Luckily, I happen to have the exact same lengeth screws coming off the CPU air block. This saved me a trip to home depot big time.

Also, the EK GPU block is extremely restrictive - a fact I wasnt aware of befiore ordering it. I wondered how this would affect the waterflow speed in my expected single loop of Rad - Mosfet - SB - CPU - NB - GPU - Res - Pump.


Pics of the HAF case with the EVGA mobo before undergoing optimus prime internal transformation:




Internal pic:



Now the fun part begins. For all of you EVGA 750i FTW owners, the MOSFET area on the motherboard is larger and lined differently than the actual EK Mosfet block. The copper base of the EK Block only covers about 50% of the MOSFET area. One user on the Extreme made his custom 2nd layer of copper to fit the MOSFET area then applied thermal tape in between the 2nd layer and the EK copper base. I decided to go another route.

Pic of the factory passive mobo MOSFET:


I chose to use the factory MOSFET base as my 2nd layer. I first cut off all the metals attached to it. Took a bit of imagination but they got off.

picture of just the base (top surface):


Then I proceeded to sand the top surface. Unfortunately, I didn't have a soft sanding tape for my dremmel. But I managed to sand it to a semi acceptable level thinking that applying more thermal grease to compensate for the uneven spots. Plus the MOSFET dont dissipate as much heat as the SB anyways.

Picture of the MOSFET block sitting on top of the factory MOSFET base on the motherboard:


As you can see, there is a really large area that the EK block didnt cover. This will do the trick.

Next were the NB + SB blocks. They both fit fairly well. The NB block had one of the nut attached to the four support screws to be removed as otherwise the block wouldnt sit properly on the NB and NF200 chipsets on the motherboard. For the three blocks explained so far, I put on the True Silver fittings. See pic below.




As with all 750i FTW boards and the SB, it is a challenge to angle the water fittings so as to not disrupt the VGA card and the tubing. Here are pics to illustrate the tightness:







Next was the EK VGA block onto the video card. While the idea of putting the block itself in an nVidia card is trivial, the EK block's components gave me two surprises. First, one of the nut that comes with the block to hold one of the four support screws was ... of the wrong screw size. The nut screw size was half the size of the screw. GREAT! Luckily, the unused nut from the NB block came to the rescue (thank god).

The second surprise was that one of the four support screws diameter was slightly larger than the normal screw size on the actual GPU board. I was totally unimpressed by EK once more. This is coming from someone who is diving for the first time into WC and heard great reviews from EK. Anyways, I had to basically hammer the screw in the hole. To this day, the GPU is still in one piece and operational.

Pic of the damn VGA block finally on the GPU board:



Next on the list is the Radiator. I wanted to make sure the Radiator was in place before putting the mobo in. I had been debating for 2-3 weeks which silent 120mm fans I would put on the Swiftech 320 rad. The Noctua 1300 RPM fans that I had bought were just too noisy to my taste. I accidentally learned about the Scythe and initally wanted to buy the S-Flex but the local store I walk by didn't have. Instead, they had the Scythe Slip Stream (Kaze Jyuni) 800 RPMs. Bought them and am happy with their noise level and decent airflow.

Picture of six Scythe Slip Streams on the rad:



The CPU block came in a week after and I finally put it on the CPU. As the block was from D-TEK, not EK, I didnt come across any unexpected surprises.

Here is a picture of the mobo, blocks, rad and tubing in place prior to the water insertion:


Pic of the tubing of the Rad:


You may have noticed an extra tube in front of the rad on the picture above. The HAF932 has a fillport hole on the front top section of the case. I bought a DD fillport and connected a tubing to it and into the Swiftech Res v2. Worked out good.

Pictore of the fillport on the top of the case:



Now the final test: putting water in! As it was my first time, it took me the better part of an entire saturday to get all the water in this long loop, remove air bubbles and figure why the heck were there micro water bubbles.

Pic of the loop with water (you may notice the micro bubbles):


After two hours with the full water in place, there was a water leak which I happened to be watching and caught it before my room became an electric water hazard. The tubing coming off the res into the pump wasn't tightly held by the compression screw.

I promptly shutdown the system, tightened it and restarted the system. For some inexplicable reason, the system wouldn't start even though the mobo system lights on the top right would be up (blue color). At first I thought it was a possible water splash of the leak into some component of the mobo. But then again I was using distilled water. Then I found out that I had rewired the mobo power switches and that the mobo onboard colors did not match the HAF932 cable colors. Here I thought an RMA was needed.

I didn't mention this but I elected to make a T-line on the bottom of the loop. Had the chance to buy a Bitspower T-line block. Picture below for those curious onlookers:



Finally, here are pics of the system in working conditions after 96 hours of no leaks:





Temps:
Ambiant room temperature varies between 18C to 25C. Initially, I had the case barebone without the two large side panels. I had:
CPU idle: 30C
CPU load: 38C
mobo idle/load: 38C
GPU idle: 28C
GPU load: 31C
GPU ambiant (memory) idle/load: 39C

These were average numbers using a trial version of Everest 4.60.1500. The CPU for the time being is at stock 2400 MHz for a Q6600. It covers more than all of my needs for the time being but I am leaving open the option to OC it in the future in which case I would need to use faster RPM fans. However, this would increase the noise level and am not convinced I want to go back to the Jet engine days at all.

Once I put the side panels the temps were more or less the same. What worried me was the GPU ambient temp. So I decided to try putting two of the Noctua 120mm fans at 7V and 5V respectively on the bottom two slots of the side panel. I noticed a drop of 4C for both the GPU and mobo temps. But then I couldn't live with the noise level of the NOCTUA. So I put the huge 230mm fan that the HAF932 comes with and undervolted it to 7V. I gained an additional 4-5C and it was more silent. So this shows how a bigger fan even at lower RPM can outdo smaller ones by a wide margin.


Learnings:
What I learned throughout this is:

1. Thank you guys for giving me answers and directions early on the forum, this helped me properly make correct decisions for the most part

2. Don't use 3/8 ID tubings on 1/2 ID fittings, it just wont fit and the 1/2 ID compression fittings will look at you as if you were a noob. I believe the same holds true for 7/16 ID tubing though I didnt want to try this one out in fear that the compression fittings would just leave me.

3. The whole purchasing of the 750i FTW board would turn out to not be a savings as I had anticipated. Rather, it tripled my budget from $700 into ... $2100 for all new parts.

4. The block fitting size of 1/2 ID is a wee bit too tight for the SB, VGA and CPU blocks. The compression fittings went byebye as soon as I opened and found out the spacing between each fitting holes. The 1/2 ID clamps mostly wouldn't sit side-side by the time the tubings are in place. I barely managed to put normal zip-ties. If I were to re-approach this, I would probably go with 3/8" ID so as to give myself more room for the fittings, tubing and clamps.

5. The HAF932 lacks air filters. This was and still is a major concern to me in the future. Airflow is great but not the expected accumulation of dust all inside the case. Especially the Rad. I am still unsure how I am going to properly clean the rad.

6. The True silver fittings may be overhyped in terms of as natural bio water killing agent. It is conceivable that some microbe organisms can live with silver. So I decided to put 2 drops of Petra NUKE in the loop.

7. The temps of the GPU and mobo leads me to believe that the pump's speed makes no difference in my loop and in the HAF932. I tested this by setting speed 1 for 1 hour then speed 5 for 1 hour under the same conditions (idle vs load). This was a bit surprising since from all the readings on the forums including Martin's reviews, the higher the waterflow, the better the temps should be. A quick subjective hand floating above the rad air outflow shows me the hot air is the same with speed 1 or speed 5 of the pump. So am left to guess that the Rad and the loop is optimal with the Kaze Slip Stream fans. Which would mean that the Slip Stream fans in combination of the Rad have reached a buffer zone where head dissipation is identical. I would need to get a hold of six identical higher RPM fans to test this theory. But then again, I don't want to splurge $20 per fan to test this. The temps that I am getting are more than plenty for me compared to the air cooling temps I had (in the high 50s and 60s).

8. The Dragon Den (DD) Clearflex tubing appears to be whitening. Is this normal? If not, then is it because of the Silver fittings getting picked by the water and ingraining themselves into the tubing? The swiftech res is not exhibiting this whitening. So am thinking that PVC is more prone to something.

Future upgrade possibility:
1. I am thinking of getting a Scythe passive air cooling enclosure. Even though it is a Seagate Barracuda 7200 (the least noisy hard drive in its category), I can hear it (I am about 1 meter away from the case.

This is what am thinking about.

2. Pondering getting 1100 RPM Kaze Slip Stream fans for the rad and use a six controls voltage controller.

This is the voltage controller that am currently eyeing. Though I would prefer a non-LED version.

3. Air filters for the entire case. This may be a pipe dream as basically every sides of this case has holes to cover. I learned that Cooler Master has come up with a new case similar to the HAF932, forgot the model. Will ponder replacing the case or until I can find a more economial way to solve the air dusts.

4. In the eventuality that I may go OC, then I am pondering making two loops. In which case I'd need a 2nd pump, res and Rad. This is where am pondering stacking a 320 or 220 rad below the existing Rad. eg:

Fans
--------
Rad 1
--------
Fans
--------
Rad 2
--------
--------
Motherboard

There is spacing to do it, just wondering how the air turbulence will be overall and what the noise level will result as. Has anyone tried this?

Well, if you have read through this all, you must be mildly bored or were in the same situation I found myself with my EVGA 750i FTW. Most of the solutions I employed were taken from others on the forum, I just applied the accumulated knowledge along with feedback from fellow hardwarecanuckers.

Overall, I had fun making this watercooling project. Took a fair chunk of my free time and got me thinking lots.
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Old December 25, 2008, 02:02 PM
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your memory is in the wrong slots.

7/16" tube on 1/2" barbs is fine.. but not with compression.. unfortunately from what I've seen compression fittings only work with assigned tube to properly fit.
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Old December 25, 2008, 03:55 PM
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how are the temps?
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Old December 25, 2008, 08:46 PM
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Quote:
Temps:
Ambiant room temperature varies between 18C to 25C. Initially, I had the case barebone without the two large side panels. I had:
CPU idle: 30C
CPU load: 38C
mobo idle/load: 38C
GPU idle: 28C
GPU load: 31C
GPU ambiant (memory) idle/load: 39C
What fans are you currently using for the rad? I suggest researching a higher static pressure fan it might help reduce temps without increasing overall system noise.
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Old January 23, 2009, 08:51 PM
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You're insane to have ran the test loop all setup the way it is. I'd be way to scared of it leaking and going on my parts. Don't most guys take everything out and run it for a few hours to check for leaks with the parts hanging out of the case to avoid zapping anything?? brave soul
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Old January 23, 2009, 09:16 PM
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i test my loops the same way he does.. i do not like testing it, then putting the parts onto the mobo/gpu. I'm afraid when i do that i might dislodge a fitting.
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Old January 24, 2009, 06:57 AM
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You can assemble the whole loop on the components, then do a leak check - but please next time jump the green and black wires of the 24-pin connector. This will power the fans and pump only, hence preventing any shortage if a leak happens.
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Old January 24, 2009, 09:58 AM
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I guess you don't have to really worry about your psu because the fan is facing down. I once was topping up my fluid, and wasn't paying attention, and over filled it, and some spilled onto my psu (ocz 700w at the time). I let it dry for a week, and it was fine after :)
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Old January 24, 2009, 11:06 AM
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Hence why I like top mounted PSUs, even if the fan facing downwards, no risk of a short anywhere. But like Charlie said so, or you could buy a psu tester, connect the 24 pin to the tester and power up..

Very interesting log and build magelan, now you get it, computers is very addictive and tempting, once you think about it, no way back lol..
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