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Author Topic: TriFire water cooling (was: Squeezing 2-slot cards into a single slot)  (Read 9739 times)
cicada
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November 20, 2011, 02:06:56 PM
 #81

Lots of progress yesterday!

Mounted all the blocks and cut out some of the harddrive bay wall to fit the pump:




Then I drilled a hole in the case wall where the radiator is mounted for the fan wires.  Here's a protip:

Keep all power tools 10' away from your radiator.

I feel so foolish looking back on it now, I had a bit of a mishap with the drill:



I was being "ever so careful", but I destroyed a few fins and nicked the water channel with the slightest misstep. 

Thankfully I was able to repair the hole with a little bit of solder, and it's now watertight again.  It's a good thing the radiator is so large, I don't think the missing fins will effect performance much if at all, though restricted flow through the patched channel may just a little.

After that little fiasco, I got all the tubing connected, and it's now leak testing and bleeding!



I can't wait to fire it up Smiley

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^SEM img of Si wafer edge, scanned 2012-3-12.


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November 20, 2011, 03:01:51 PM
 #82

I don't have any experience with watercooling, but isn't leaktesting possible before hooking it up? Well afterwards you have to check again if all your nuts and bolts are tightened correctly, but you could test missing rubbers or leaking cables etc beforehand, no?

cicada
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November 20, 2011, 07:14:38 PM
 #83

I don't have any experience with watercooling, but isn't leaktesting possible before hooking it up?

Yes it is possible, but you'd need to leak test again after hooking it all up anyway, so why not go in running.

The only component that's powered on right now is the pump, so if it did happen to leak it wouldn't be the end of the world, I'd simply have to correct the problem and wait for it to dry out.

But after about 14 hours it's still leak free, so I think I'm good to go Smiley

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Gerald Davis


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November 20, 2011, 09:07:53 PM
 #84

I don't have any experience with watercooling, but isn't leaktesting possible before hooking it up? Well afterwards you have to check again if all your nuts and bolts are tightened correctly, but you could test missing rubbers or leaking cables etc beforehand, no?

Most leaks are going to be at the connectors so leak testing outside the rig is kinda useless and provides a false sense of security.   When you leak test the system is powered off so if there is a leak as long as you dry it completely before powering on it isn't a big issue.  Distilled water isn't very conductive.

So best thing is to connect everything, disconnect power to everything except the pump and then jumper the PSU to power on PSU.  Run everything for 24 hours, refilling resivour as you bleed out air.  Check for leaks and if good after 24 hours power on system for real.

Doing it that way I have never lost a component.
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November 20, 2011, 09:51:43 PM
 #85

I have had a few times where the leak doesn't become evident untill the water gets warm.
but i to let the pump run for a few hours before powering up the machine. catches most little leeks.
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November 21, 2011, 05:59:15 PM
 #86

Things did not go so well when I booted up - my first GPU was not making contact apparently and soared to 110C idle, shutting off completely within about 15 seconds.  I may have busted this card while troubleshooting.

The second wasn't making good contact, but was holding around 60C idle.

By comparison, my Phenom II 1090T was 28C idle for the short time I got to monitor it.


I highly recommend against the Koolance full-coverage blocks, at least for my combination.

While there is no full-coverage block for non-reference 6950s, the PCB design for reference 6870s is exactly the same as the XFX 6950s I've got, short one mounting hole.  All the VRM, ram, etc are in exactly the right spots.

The Koolance 6870 blocks I got are crap, however, as far as I can tell.  The mounting spacers don't line up properly with all the holes; 5 out of 9 mounts line up perfectly, the others are off by only a millimeter or so, but just enough prevent proper mounting.

On the stock heatsink the 4 mounting spacers around the GPU are flush with the top of the PCB (chip side), and XFX uses screws with springs that 'push through' to keep pressure on the GPU plate.  The Koolance block, on the other hand, has spacers that are flush with the *bottom* of the PCB, so the springed screws I have apply no pressure at all, hence the temperature fail.  Koolance does not supply any screws for these 4 mounting holes, even though they're the most important.

I had to drain my loop and re-do both GPU blocks, adding some washers to get better pressure between the GPU and the cooling plate, and I'm now leak testing again.  Hopefully it goes better this time around.

Unfortunately it was pretty difficult to find reviews for any of the 6870 waterblocks so comparison was hard when I picked them up; I went with the slightly more expensive Koolance blocks versus the 'cheap' WaterCooling blocks, figuring a more well-known brand and higher price would indicate better quality.  Lesson learned.


[edit]  While I was at it, I also replaced that awful tube between the GPU blocks and the reservoir - I had made it longer with the intention of being able to move the reservoir in and out of the case for filling, since it's mounted at the top.  Turns out this was applying uneven pressure at the GPU fitting, and it was starting to slip pretty badly.  I shortened it up almost 2" (!!) and it's much better now, and I can still move the reservoir easily.  I'm learning lots of lessons from this endeavor Cheesy

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November 21, 2011, 06:13:17 PM
 #87

I bought a koolance block for my 6990,
everythign lined up prety good however VReg temp was still way to high.
i ended up filing down one of the standoffs by a tiny amount to get better contact.
now the VReg temp stays below 60Deg (highest Vreg temp by GPUZ)
have it overclocked to 960Mhz and is running nice and cool. (45 & 51 Deg.)

I just bought 3 5970 EK blocks.
once i get them mounted up i'll posts some temperatures.
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November 22, 2011, 03:43:33 AM
 #88

Looking much better now after redoing the GPU blocks.

I've been running prime95 torture, and two instances of guiminer for about 2 hours now:



This is with all the fans on high, so a grain of salt there, I'll mostly be running this with the fans turned down to a comfortable level, though it's really not too loud on full.

Water cooling is amazing, I should've done this ages ago! Smiley

Now the question is.. blue or red Mayhem dye? Cheesy


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November 22, 2011, 03:49:12 AM
 #89

Nice...
nice and cool under water...
and to get it more silent you just need to add more rad and then slow down your fans.
in theory with a big enough rad you can go with no fans... but that would be a pretty big rad.
myself i use a radbox and and have the tubing go through the wall so i don't have any fans in my machine buzzing away.

question what gadget do you have running on your desktop?
I like it.
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November 22, 2011, 04:07:47 AM
 #90

question what gadget do you have running on your desktop?
I like it.

It's Open Hardware Monitor [openhardwaremonitor.org] - I tried tons of different apps and gadgets and found that to be the best.  It's very customizable, and free to boot.

I'm getting about 48-49C under full load with the fans turned down as low as they go; the pump hums a little louder than all the fans, so I'm definitely happy with that.  It's not silent, but it's pretty damn quiet Smiley

[edit] Actually the loudest thing in the rig: the kill-coil bouncing around the reservoir now and again Cheesy

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November 22, 2011, 04:15:26 AM
 #91

Is that little acrylic box (at least that's what I think it is) with hose leading to the intake of the pump the reservoir?

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cicada
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November 22, 2011, 04:19:39 AM
 #92

Is that little acrylic box (at least that's what I think it is) with hose leading to the intake of the pump the reservoir?

Yes it is.  It's a Swiftech micro-res.

I was going to go without and just use a t-line, but the reservoir setup was just easier.  I compromised with the micro-res instead of one of the big bubbling monsters Wink

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November 22, 2011, 04:51:11 AM
 #93

Is that little acrylic box (at least that's what I think it is) with hose leading to the intake of the pump the reservoir?

Yes it is.  It's a Swiftech micro-res.

I was going to go without and just use a t-line, but the reservoir setup was just easier.  I compromised with the micro-res instead of one of the big bubbling monsters Wink

How well does it seal and how often do you need to top off? I am just curious because distilled and DI uptake contaminants so easy...I have run into some problems with aquaria because of it.

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November 22, 2011, 04:59:53 AM
 #94

It seems to seal pretty well.  It's got four G1/4 fittings so the unused ports seal up nicely with o-ringed caps.

As for topping it off.. can't say for long term but the level has held steady since bleeding out all the air.  It's only been about 24 hours now though, so time will tell.

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November 22, 2011, 04:14:34 PM
 #95

ok third time trying to post this message... each time it timed out... got my Internet sux

I have used a T-Line for years, it worked and no extra cost for res.
i have since used the micro-res on 2 of my mining rigs, and like it, blead time is down to minutes instead of an hour.
have been running them for over a month and havn't had to top them up since day 2.
water levels don't apear to be dropping either.

the Open Hardware Monitor software looks nice...
not truly a widows gadget but it works as well as one.
think I will install it on my mining rigs.

I noticed you have your system running with the crossfire connectors...
do you get a performance hit doing this?
i supose you also you this system for gaming... duno
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November 22, 2011, 04:29:03 PM
 #96

the Open Hardware Monitor software looks nice...
not truly a widows gadget but it works as well as one.
think I will install it on my mining rigs.

Honestly I think it not being a 'real' windows gadget helps - it uses very few resources and doesn't succumb to the shitty UI mechanisms forced on the native gadgets, way less buggy.

I noticed you have your system running with the crossfire connectors...
do you get a performance hit doing this?
i supose you also you this system for gaming... duno

The miner instances I was running last night were bothered more by the CPU running at full tilt Wink

Without prime95 running the crossfire didn't seem to slow it down much, but guiminer is kind of crappy for watching that sort of thing.  This is definitely my 'gaming' rig, mining will be secondary unless the bitcoin prices jump up a bit more..  which is really a shame, it's a pretty damn quiet 720mh/s Cheesy

Crossfire can be disabled on the fly in ATI controls anyway, so it's simple enough to just turn it on when I want to game.  That damn 100% CPU bug sucks however..  I may have it netboot linux if i really want to mine with it, in which case crossfire won't hinder it at all.

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November 27, 2011, 11:39:41 PM
 #97

It seems to seal pretty well.  It's got four G1/4 fittings so the unused ports seal up nicely with o-ringed caps.

As for topping it off.. can't say for long term but the level has held steady since bleeding out all the air.  It's only been about 24 hours now though, so time will tell.

I have the same res. I top-off about once every 6 months.

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November 27, 2011, 11:45:43 PM
 #98

It seems to seal pretty well.  It's got four G1/4 fittings so the unused ports seal up nicely with o-ringed caps.

As for topping it off.. can't say for long term but the level has held steady since bleeding out all the air.  It's only been about 24 hours now though, so time will tell.

I have the same res. I top-off about once every 6 months.

Do you measure the TDS of the water? Distilled H2O uptakes contaminants from the air very aggressively. I am just wondering how often a 100% change-out is necessary.

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November 27, 2011, 11:55:34 PM
 #99

It seems to seal pretty well.  It's got four G1/4 fittings so the unused ports seal up nicely with o-ringed caps.

As for topping it off.. can't say for long term but the level has held steady since bleeding out all the air.  It's only been about 24 hours now though, so time will tell.

I have the same res. I top-off about once every 6 months.

Do you measure the TDS of the water? Distilled H2O uptakes contaminants from the air very aggressively. I am just wondering how often a 100% change-out is necessary.

Watercooling is a closed loop system.  There is negligible exposure to the air.  Filling the resivour to the max and refilling it infrequently will reduce the exposure less.  That being said I usually change the water once a year just for piece of mind.
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November 28, 2011, 12:25:06 AM
 #100

It seems to seal pretty well.  It's got four G1/4 fittings so the unused ports seal up nicely with o-ringed caps.

As for topping it off.. can't say for long term but the level has held steady since bleeding out all the air.  It's only been about 24 hours now though, so time will tell.

I have the same res. I top-off about once every 6 months.

Do you measure the TDS of the water? Distilled H2O uptakes contaminants from the air very aggressively. I am just wondering how often a 100% change-out is necessary.

Watercooling is a closed loop system.  There is negligible exposure to the air.  Filling the resivour to the max and refilling it infrequently will reduce the exposure less.  That being said I usually change the water once a year just for piece of mind.
myself i had my server running 2 years before changing the water.
a couple drops of Hydrex. and no wories of anything growing that i don't want.
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