Adequate cooling for a gaming rig

Discussion in 'OT Technology' started by crashspeeder, Oct 27, 2007.

  1. crashspeeder

    crashspeeder Interesting Title

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    For the past few days I've been pricing parts on tigerdirect, newegg, mwave, xoxide and others.

    I decided I'd get an intel Core2Quad core system, either the Q6600 or the Q6800. The video card would be an XFX NVidia Geforce 8800 GTX or GTS. Probably one card for now, maybe another to run SLi later. The motherboard would be an XFX Nfoce 680i SLi motherboard. I'd get 2 Seagate Barracuda 500GB 7200.10 SATA drives.

    The parts listed are probably the ones that will need cooling (not too sure about the mobo and HDDs but definitely the video card and cpu, I may even consider cooling the RAM). I'm not sure air will be adequate so I was considering water.

    My question is what would the optimal setup be for cooling something like this? I was considering a CoolMaster case which most of them are a mesh-like surface, good for air cooling but water cooling also uses fans for the radiators so it would be good for either cooling solution.

    If your answer is air, what's a good fan layout?
    If your answer is water, what's a good waterblock/reservoir/radiator/pump layout?

    I've only put effort into attempting to figure out the water possibility. I was considering a 5-1/4 drivebay reservoir connected to a pump then the CPU block, radiator, VGA block, and then the reservoir again. My reasoning for putting the reservoir between the CPU and VGA blocks is I wouldn't want to heat up the video card with water coming from the CPU if the video card isn't under load but the CPU is. Does it make sense to have 2 radiators, one between the CPU and the VGA block and one between the VGA block and the reservoir? What size pump would you suggest?


    That's a lot of questions. I'm just trying to be well-informed.

    Cliffs:
    based on the specs above, would you use water or air to cool it? If air, explain your airflow plan, if water explain the water cooling setup for the reservoir, CPU and VGA waterblocks, radiator(s), and the pump.
     
  2. lolerskates

    lolerskates New Member

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    are you gonna be over clocking?
     
  3. crashspeeder

    crashspeeder Interesting Title

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    I'd like to overclock it but i can't say i've ever tried.
     
  4. lolerskates

    lolerskates New Member

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    I have a cooler master case, it has a 80mm fan in the front, the hdd sits right behind that, then a 120mm in the rear, stock heat sink and fan on the cpu, old video card though, but even with over clocking from 2.3 to 2.6 under a load my cpu only gets up to 45c

    cooler master has cases with like seven fans i think, if your not doing some extreme over clocking then i see no reason why you should water cool. If i feel the need to cool my case anymore i can cut a hole in the top and mount a 120 blowing out the top too.


    But if you get something with a 120mm front and 120 mm rear fan that will probably be fine
     
  5. DAN513

    DAN513 OT Supporter

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    I'm running an 8800gtx with a Q6600, a 36gb raptor and 3 seagate 7200.10 drives. I've got the antec nine hundred case and am just running air cooling. The case has 2 120mm fans in the front, a single 120 in the back and a 200mm fan on top. I've got the thermalright ultra 120 heatsink with an antec trispeed fan on it and under full load I'm running about 55-65°c while overclocked to 3ghz.

    Based on what you're planning on doing, air will be more than enough.
     
  6. crashspeeder

    crashspeeder Interesting Title

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    Wow, i'm not used to Intel processors then. When I first got my case (Thermaltake Xaxer III) i had an AMD Athlon XP 2100+ and found the heatsink and fan it came with were nowhere near sufficient and even though the case had 7 fans I found the need for more cooling. I quickly bought a water cooling kit for around $100 that was mediocre. The pump just died over the weekend but lasted around 4 years. I had since upgraded (a few years ago) to a 2800+ and ran at a fair temperature (50-60C).

    I find it amazing that either CPUs have gotten that much cooler or Intel really runs so much cooler than AMD.

    How do you like the Q and how hot does your GPU run? would you go SLi or is one more than enough?
     
  7. DAN513

    DAN513 OT Supporter

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    they've shrunk the die size they use to make the cpu's, the new intel chips coming out in november are down even further to 45nm, so it's not just apples to apples for the new chips compared to the old ones. Depending on what I'm doing with my system, gpu is anywhere between 40 to 75c.
    As is, the single 8800gtx is plenty for me. I was rocking the crysis single player demo last night and have been playing the multi player one for about 3 weeks now, no problems playing at 1920x1200 and all settings set on high.

    Will it be enough for the games 18 months from now at the same resolution and detail, probably not, but for now it'd definately plenty. The Q6600 is a great chip, I'm really happy I bought them.
     
  8. crashspeeder

    crashspeeder Interesting Title

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    Do you think cooling is adequate for your GPU as well (being it takes up a second PCI slot just for a cooling fan) or do you find the fact that it spikes to 75 a cause for conecern? Is there even any way to cool it further?
     
  9. DAN513

    DAN513 OT Supporter

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    I could yank the heatsink the gpu came with off and clean off the thermal paste they used and use something better like arctic silver or something like that, but for what it's worth, 75 isn't bad for a gpu when it's running hard during games, so I don't worry about it.
     
  10. skinjob

    skinjob Active Member

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    I use rivatuner to adjust fan speed on my GTX, and the stock cooler keeps temps below 70. The stock cooler is fairly quiet too.
     
  11. crashspeeder

    crashspeeder Interesting Title

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    This has been incredibly useful. Thanks, guys!
     
  12. thebox

    thebox New Member

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    the stock cooling is fine, but if you want to overclock the shit out of the card, the zalman vf1000 is fucking awesome, but it is expensive for the 8800s since you have to buy a second piece

    for CPU the thermalright ultra 120 is a fucking amazing air cooler. some benchmarks have it very very close to water cooled systems.
     
  13. Kelex

    Kelex New Member

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    Stock air cooling will handle all those just fine. You only need to improve stock cooling if you really have hot ambients or if you want to overclock.

    One problem of nforce boards is that their northbridge runs very hot. If you have plans to overclock, I would recommend that you also consider active cooling on the northbridge of that 680i.

    Don't worry about those seagate HDDs, most modern cases place the drive bays behind the front intake fans. That would be enough to cool them.

    I wouldn't worry about the video card too. The 8800 GTS or GTX have a dual slot design where the card takes one slot, the built-in cooler takes the other. That cooler is fine.

    Note that quad cores runs hotter compared to dual cores. The max overclocks of the Q6600 on air is around 3.4GHz-3.6GHz. These people use large heatsinks with 120mm fans (e.g. Thermalright Ultra-120 Extreme, Tuniq Tower, etc.). Water cooling can get you as high as 3.8GHz or 4.0GHz,... but of course, it will still depend on how well your hardware overclocks. If you want anything higher, go with phase change coolers.

    Besides the normal RAM heat spreaders, there are a bunch of RAM coolers out there. Most of them are just too noisy and is not worth it unless you are pushing too much voltage on the RAM.

    For Air:
    Your goal is to get cold air in and exhaust hot air out, fast.
    IMO, the best layout would be 1 or 2 120mm fans at the front of the case for intake, 1 120mm fan at the back; 1 120mm or 80mm side fan for the expansion cards; and a top blowhole fan for exhaust.
    Your power supply can also help exhaust hot air out of the case.

    For water:
    This will depend on a lot of things. Budget, space, etc.
    You want everything internal, less clutter? You need a big case.
    External ones are easier to maintain but can look ugly.
    Avoid those cheap entry level water cooling kits. The best air coolers out performs them. Swiftech and Danger Den makes good water cooling parts.


    The fluid exiting from the radiator is the coolest. Ideally, The circuit should be like this:
    Radiator -> CPU -> Reservoir -> Pump -> NB, SB, PWM Chipsets (optional) -> VGA -> VGA2 (if dual graphics card) -> back to Radiator

    You can add radiators anywhere between components in that loop. Example:
    Radiator1 -> CPU -> Reservoir -> Pump -> Radiator2 -> NB, SB, PWM Chipsets (optional) -> Radiator3 -> VGA -> VGA2 (if dual graphics card) -> back to Radiator1

    Pump size? The important thing to look for in a pump is "head". "Head" or "H-max", or "Maximum Head" is the pump's ability to lift water to a certain height. The more components you cool, the bigger head and gph output you will need.
     
  14. breal

    breal Active Member

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    air cooling should be sufficient.

    thermalright has some good products out. ive got the hr03+ with a silverstone 90mm on my oc'ed 8800gts. idle is at 42C, load never goes above 55. room temp is 70-75. i have the hr05 on my NB keeping the temp around 40C

    my thermaltake typhoon dropped my cpu temps to 28C idle, 35C load. cpu is e6600 @ 3.25
     
  15. Marix

    Marix OT Supporter

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    The Q6600 is a brilliant processor.

    As kelex said, the newer (g0 SLACR) stepping will hit 3.2-3.4 on air. That's a 30% increase from the stock speed of 2.4 Not bad!
     

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