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Taking the plunge (Watercooling)

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So, I recently decided to go for a single loop for CPU only (H70 before, and unfortunately no full board blocks for my motherboard - but have an aftermarket NB cooler on it and it runs fine). Picked up the following doodads:


EK Coolstream RAD XT (120x3)

EK Supreme HF (Nickel/Acrylic top)

Swiftech MCP355 w/EK X-Top v2

XSPC Single bay Res


Put it together outside the case, and used my old (but awesome) Corsair TX750W to test it for leaks. No problems there, at all, except me setting up the reservoir backwards. Still, it only meant lots of bubbles :) No leaks on the first run, so I stripped it and left it overnight to work on the next day.


Spent a long time putting things together, trying to take things slowly to avoid any problems. Only major problem I came up against was M3 screws 2mm too long, and when I was fitting the fans to the radiator, they almost pierced it. Did a leak test on that and was relieved to find it still okay.


Since I already had Noctua NFP12s from before, I used three of those on the radiator, instead of the noisier SickleFlows I bought. The SickleFlows are really nice fans, however, and have a nice range of operation. The ones I purchased (black with blue LEDs) really look fantastic - I was intending to have them in pull on the top of the radiator, just below the top grill of my 700D, but when used with voltage adapters (and the NFP12s pushing), their airflow wasn't really any different to the NFP12s by themselves in push.


After a few mistakes made with the tubing order (realised I had mistaken the inflow of the Supreme HF when planning, but simply put the radiator before the CPU block instead of just after, and problem solved) and with cutting to length, I got it all in the case. I kept the GPUs and addin cards out of the system, but I refitted and reTIMmed the FET heatsinks, the NB cooler and then fitted the really spiffy looking Supreme. The pictures of it I had seen didn't do it justice, it really does look nice.


Filling took a little while - the order I have it (Res down to pump on the case separator, to rad, to CPU, through temp sensor to res) seemed to be a bit iffy to fill, but I've no real experience to compare it too anyway! I made sure the pump at least had supply, and used it to shunt the fluid around the loop in a half dozen bursts. I manged to avoid any large air locks, and it quickly cleared through. The CPU block was interesting to watch since any air that got to it was turned into a cloud of bubbles that then made its way to the res. Got a bit concerned when it started to froth, but it soon settled down.


I've had it in the case now for about four hours, variously turned on (loop only, no system) and no sign of leaks so far. I'll be turning it off before I head to bed, and then check again before work. As I understand it, the pressure being higher when the pump is on is more likely to spring a leak than when it is static, so I'm comfortable leaving it off and going out but not with it on :)


I don't have any pictures of the build yet, though I do have some of the parts laid out, boring as that may seem. If I get time I'll take some pictures when I fully reassemble.




Which (finally!) leads to my questions. What can I expect from the system and loop when I finally power it all up, and the CPU starts heating the loop? I'm not sure how much this fluid is likely to expand when heated, though I'll certainly take out a quarter of the reservoir to be safe. In 5ml syringes - :zzzz:

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Also wanted to add one thing that may be of concern.


I'm using Feser One Clear UV/Blue fluid. I read a few reviews about a year old that said some had problems using it, but nothing recent, so went with it. It looks great, going a milky blue when lit with UV (I have two 12" CCFLs to be fitted, which make it easy to spot any spillages).


My concern is whether this fluid, given its content (anti-bacterial/corrosion), will cause any problems with PTFE tape. On every fitting, I used a thin band (1/2-1mm above end of thread to edge of O-ring) of PTFE tape to ensure a good seal. As far as I know, it shouldn't cause any problems due to its inertness, but want to be on the look out for any problems.

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