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My first custom loop : description + some question


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Hello guys,


It's my first post here so a small introduction ;-)

I'm an old guy (49y) which jump into IT a long time ago with a Commodore 64 and after that the first PC-xt with a 8086 and a 32Mb hard drive.

I told you I'm old...

My hobby is also my work, Security engineer at the moment.


Now the main topic : my first custom loop.

Everything is build based on corsair hydro x components:

1 pump

1 cpu block on a 9700k overclocked to 5.1ghz

1 gpu block on a RTX 2080 ti overclocked to 2080mhz

case corsair obsidian 500d

1 front 360 rad with 3 ml pro intake in push

1 top rad 280 with 2 ml pro exhaust in push

soft tubing

commander pro


The installation wasn't hard but the design yes.

I stayed at least 3 days thinking about all the possibilities, looking on internet, etc...

It's why I changed my cosmo SE case to a 500d. The interior of the cosmo was not really adapted for water cooling.


The most difficult part for installation : cable management and the top 280.

The top rad fits but it's really close, if I have to do it again I will go to 240.


Here a picture of the actual config.



Some problem I had to solve

Pump issue during installation

The pump wasn't able to initiate the loop. The solution : remove the pwm pump connection from the commander pro to force full speed.


Hydro x profile not showing in icue

After a lot of changing, testing..... uninstall icue with remove of config files than re-install. After that everything is OK


Hydro x profile not adequate ..at least for my config

With default settings, the flow meter wasn't turning in gpu block. Temp were ok at idle but starting to go up quickly with load.

I copied the 2 defaults settings for pump and fans and change like below.






I did like that because my coolant is running between 25 idle (room around 23-24 deg) until 36 (max i have seen until now).



Questions now ;-)

1.What do you think about the loop setup? Do you see some mistakes or some improvements?


2.What do you think about the fans and pump curves?


3. I still think about airflow in the case. Ok cpu and gpu are under control with the loop, but the vrm, ssd and other stuff hace to stay cool also. I have 3x120 front intake and 2x140 top exhaust and I still hve to place a 120 at the back (I was missing a Y-Splitter).

How to install the last 120?

- exhaust as common but then i think i will go toward negative pressure. Dust is not an issue, i will clean

- intake to bring more fresh air but what about turbulance just around cpu, i will have front to back, back to front and top exhaust. Not sure.....


4.Cable management. my psu is an hx100i from 4 year I think, it still perfect. It' modular but the cables are thick and with a lot of not-needed connectors. Do you know if it's possible to get compatible cable less thick and with the exact amount of connector needed?


Ok it's enough for a first post, thank you for reading...and also for future answers.


I will now do some stress test in Red Dead Redemption :-)



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1. You did well. I would recommend you set all fans pushing air OUT. This way your top radiator will not reheat air. Either that or all fans pushing air IN. The latter result in lowest liquid temperatures, albeit at the cost of higher case temperatures. You will gain significant amount of performance. Have a look at this build guide: https://www.corsair.com/eu/en/custom-cooling-configurator/downloadBuildGuide/?guide=635440afdfc39fe37995fed127d7df4f


2. I would set fan curve to maintain water temperature between 35-40°C. There's no point in running fans so high and running low liquid temperature in idle. I personally have them off until 36°C. I'd set pump to manual speed of about 2500rpm. There's no need for higher pump speeds in your system. I have a idle-to-load water temperature change of about 3°C (~ idle 36°C, load 39°C).


3. Read reply to question #1


4. Cable management... it's up to you to tidy it up, i personally think it's good enough. You can get nice individually sleeved cable extensions for your power supply straight from corsair

Edited by tiborrr
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1.****, i never see this pdf in the corsair site. Thank you. If I've seen it before hand it could have help me a lot....


2.I will do more testing with the liquid temp. But I prefer to be more cautious at the beginning : I prefer too much noise as starting point than too much heat ;-) For the pump, if i go below 3000 the flowmeter in the gpu block isn't moving.


3.I will first start with back fan pushing outside. The loop was just finished yesterday, so i will wait the first maintenance (within 6 months I think) to flush liquid and change front fans to push outside.


4.For cables i'm thinking to change the stock plastic one by sleeved one to be able to flex them more easily. I'm waiting cyber monday :-) already spent 900eur in corsair shop in a week....


Thank you for contribution

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It's hard to give you a specific coolant temp = X fan speed because coolant temp is always going to be unique to your environment. My coolant temp is much better than yours at 20.5C this morning. Of course, it's also 18C in this room. That is the real baseline and there is a specific amount of heat (watts) to raise the coolant temp by 1C, less the amount of the heat the radiators/fans can expel. I would expect to see a rise of +8-10C when under heavy or mixed CPU/GPU load for your system. You can't drop the coolant below case temp and there likely is some fan speed that becomes intrusive. You just have to find a happy zone in between.


Most 120mm fans aren't very effective on a radiator below 800-900 rpm. That is a good baseline speed. You can determine when they get annoying. My limit is somewhere just shy of 1500.


Most 140mm fans are not very effective below 600-700 rpm, so again a good baseline. Somewhere around 1000-1200 it will start to get loud.


You'll need to shift these seasonally to match changes in room temperature. In Summer, 28C is my common baseline, yet that same value is almost my max liquid temp in Winter. You don't need the pump to be dynamically adjustable, but you can. I tend top use either fixed 2000 or 3000 depending on current set-up. You can leave yours at 3000. However, don't pin your entire strategy on a flow meter. Sometimes they just idle gracefully in the flow. If you really have a no flow state, you'll no quickly as that coolant temp and corresponding CPU/GPU temps goes up way too fast.

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  • 2 weeks later...


I pushed a little bit the overclocking and i did some tests to see how temp are going with my current loop config.

Short summary :

top rad 280mm pushing air outside

front rad 360mm pushing air inside

rear 120mm fan pushing outside

CPU: 9700k at 5.2ghz

GPU: rtx 2080ti at +-2000Mhz


I pushed fan at max and pump at 3500 via icue then I started cinebench r20 cpu test.

Just after that I did a Time Spy Extreme.

Here is the out put from hdwinfo for temp



It seems ok to me.


I will do more monger tests in future to see how it's going. But at least i can say I don't see any issue in RDR2 with low-noise settings for fans in icue after some hours of gameplay.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hello some feedbacks

At5.2ghz playing battlefield, cpu is running a little bit warm. It stay between 60-70°.

Also I see only marginal improvement in FPS between 4.9 and 5.2.

At 4.9 with some tweakings on fans, temp and noise levels are perfect.


But I remarked something, some of my liquid "disappears". I would say 0.5cm in the reservoir.

Is there any lioquid evaporation over time?

If no i suppose that here was still some air in the system which dissapear when i was pui pushing temp on higher level.


There are also some condensation inside the reservoir. Is it normal?


Thank you

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Yeah, 5.2GHz pushes things to new heights indeed. That's the same speeds I have on mine as well, although I let things on auto most of the time - I don't really need that many Hertz every second, but I'm happy it is available when needed. While I am making use of a RX 5700 XT card for different reasons, my main rationale of going liquid cooling was for noise: that stupid card is not only hot, it is loud AF!


About temperature, mid 60s to lower 70s on a loaded 5.2GHz seems about right. Perhaps a C or two lower depending on the thermal compound you used and how you applied it, but not off than that. During CPU stress tests, mine peaks at 67C pushing all cores, cache and iGPU all together.


About noise: I opted for custom curves, using the Hydro-X params, but adjusting for the CPU temp or GPU temp instead of the liquid cooling temps. Yes, the liquid takes much longer to warm up (I've left this CPU and GPU stress tests running for maybe 16 hours straight each, and I'm yet to see the liquid surpassing 45C), but I'm better keeping things under control the sooner I can. More about these curves here.


About "liquid disappearing": because this is a custom loop, it is likely you still had air trapped somewhere that got loose and made thru the reservoir. I shake mine, flip it, rotate it, and there is always that last bubble to make its way out after a few days, so normal.


Also normal the "condensation" when you have warm water inside.


While everybody would tell you "more is better", I still take the "120mm per component" mantra, and since I don't need 100% of both CPU and GPU for long hours straight, I ended with a single 240mm rad for both CPU and GPU, even while OC'ing the crap out of both. Although I opted for the thicker 70mm rad, my idle temps are 25C on liquid, 27C on GPU and 31C on CPU package, and on loaded they are under 70C with the liquid on the mid 30's.


About fans, I use two ML120 for the top mounted rad in a push config, one ML120Pro as case exhaust, and one 140ML up front, on my mini-ATX case. The 120mm fans are on the custom curve, whereas the 140mm is always on low.


Last but not least, while this doesn't vary much (maybe another C or two), I found out I had better luck by flowing from pump to rad to CPU to GPU and back to pump. Adds condensation to the pump but gets the most colder liquid right away to the blocks. Again, YMMV and this got me 1C lower, so I left it.

Edited by hquest
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Thanks for feedback.

I will have a look at your link.


For loop : i'm doing pump->cpu->top rad->gpu->front rad->pump

But from i have read before building the loop, the order isn't really important.

so to be sure I put a rad between each block ;-)


My fan is also a mix of ml pro : 3x120 front 2x140 top and 140 rear exhaust.

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As far as the liquid disappearing, you might still have some air in the loop. Create a custom profile for the pump to run at high RPM and tilt the case a little to see if you can work some bubbles out. Loop order is not important for over all coolant temperature, but order can have some improvement over specific points in the loop, but it looks like you have that covered. The flow meter in the GPU is picky about pump RPM, especially if you are running the inlet on the left (it really doesn't matter for cooling) and it seems to spin at lower RPM when the inlet is on the right (this is anecdotal, but that is what I was seeing when I had it in my 500d and later when I went to my 1000d build). My curve is a little less vertical than yours, starting at 1500 RPM at 20, going to 3000 RPM at 30 and then 5000 at 45c. I have a lot of excess radiator capacity, so my fans barely move (600-800 rpm). You could probably lower your pump RPM and fans speeds a little and still get plenty of cooling performance. You could also work in a 120mm radiator and fan in the back of the case as well if you felt like you needed a little more. I ran a 280mmx280mmx120mm in my 500d which is the same size. Or you could leave it, you temps seem good enough and as long as you aren't bothered by fan noise, you really don't need to do anything. I like quiet, and I run a Ryzen CPU with lower temps, so I went for all the radiator space that I could.
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