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Author Topic: Anyone watercooling GPU mining rig?  (Read 8858 times)
dopamine
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February 08, 2012, 10:59:24 PM
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Spring is just around the corner and was wondering if people are watercooling and how much more mhash are you able to push out? and what is the best watercooling setup you can buy for best value?

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February 08, 2012, 11:16:10 PM
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Spring is just around the corner and was wondering if people are watercooling and how much more mhash are you able to push out? and what is the best watercooling setup you can buy for best value?

i am considering it, but not for the MH increase, but for the ability to direct the heat away from where my rigs are.. and the significant decrease in noise..

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February 08, 2012, 11:19:48 PM
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No, waste of money.  I use box fans and open cases in the garage.  Keeps most my GPUs to 70 degree range max.  55 at night.

I buy and sell GPUs, most 5850s and 7970s. 
jimzolorenzo@gmail.com  -- Make an offer.
http://myworld.ebay.com/i_buy_5850s  -- current inventory
I have a couple bare bone mining rigs for sale as well.

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P4man
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February 08, 2012, 11:22:50 PM
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watercooling is too expensive IMO, unless its for 1 or 2 cards in your PC that you use everyday and you need quietness.
For farms its a non starter.

Im currently experimenting with submerged oil cooling as a cheaper alternative.

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February 08, 2012, 11:35:56 PM
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I have 4x5970 watercoooled workstation.  If your goal is max MH per $ don't think about watercooling.  Yes you can run the cards 15% to 20% harder but at 30%+ higher cost. Smiley

The reason I did it was to pump 1.2KW of quiet heat into our upstairs during the winter, the "fun" factor", and the ability to put the radiator outside during the summer and avoid AC costs.

If you want to watercool you need dual GPU cards.  5970, 6990, 7970.  Water coooling is expensive but dual GPU cards are slightly more cost effective.  Mining is hard on the VRMs so they need almost as much cooling as the GPU cores do.  That means getting full coverage waterblock.  A 5870 full coverage waterblock is $119.  A 5970 full coverage waterblock is $119.  Get the idea.

The higher the MH being cooled for $119 the more "economical" the watercooling will be.  If the 7990 has sufficient overclocking headroom it could be an interesting contender.

Hypothetically lets say the 7990 is a "decent" miner.  It will costs $850.  A full coverage waterblock likely will be the same $119.  $119/$850 = 15%.  If you can get 15% more performance by watercooling the block is "free" (granted you still have the cost of radiators, pumps, etc). On the other hand watercooling something like a 5770 ($100) w/ a $119 waterblock makes little sense.

BTW my other 4 rigs are "coventional aircooled" open frame rigs noisy as hell but they are in the garage.
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February 08, 2012, 11:41:30 PM
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I have 4x5970 watercoooled workstation.  If your goal is max MH per $ don't think about watercooling.  Yes you can run the cards 15% to 20% harder but at 30%+ higher cost. Smiley

The reason I did it was to pump 1.2KW of quiet heat into our upstairs during the winter, the "fun" factor", and the ability to put the radiator outside during the summer and avoid AC costs.

Haha that is funny, I use some of my rigs for heaters.  It gets super cold where I live.

I buy and sell GPUs, most 5850s and 7970s. 
jimzolorenzo@gmail.com  -- Make an offer.
http://myworld.ebay.com/i_buy_5850s  -- current inventory
I have a couple bare bone mining rigs for sale as well.

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I bought silver from [ccliu] 5 star transaction!
I bought silver from [TECSHARE] -- shipping still
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February 08, 2012, 11:44:21 PM
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Haha that is funny, I use some of my rigs for heaters.  It gets super cold where I live.

Yeah my wife likes mining in the winter.  She likes sitting in my office because it gets up to 80F or so.  She plants seeds in trays in the garage in the winter (just the legal kind) to put in the flower beds in the spring.  The miners there keep the garage (and plants) nice and warm.

Come middle of summer her attitude towards mining seems to change though. Smiley
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February 08, 2012, 11:53:10 PM
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I was doing dual 6990's water-cooled, with an active pump, and a Zalman Reserator (with fan). After about 4 months of consistent use I can say it is not worth the hassle/ time/ money / hazard that comes from running high powered video cards at max settings with even the strongest pump (I paid over $100 for mine) or the best cooling mechanism.

Bottom line is, it's not as stable as getting some fan cooled cards. Or better yet some FPGA's (need more money upfront, better long term Smiley)

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February 09, 2012, 12:03:56 AM
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I have an old water-cooled gaming rig that I re-purposed into a BTC mining rig:

ASUS Rampage III Extreme + Danger Den chipset waterblock (no link anymore)

Core i7 940 - no OC anymore; cooled by Danger Den waterblock (http://www.dangerden.com/store/mc-tdx-block-for-lga-1156-i3-i5-i7.html)

GPU 1: Powercolor LCS 5870 V2: 1300 mV stock voltage, 1080MHz core - 478MH/s (BIOS limited to 1100, runs stable but I opt not to), 600MHz memory (http://www.fudzilla.com/graphics/item/19599-powercolor-rolls-out-its-second-water-cooled-hd-5870)

GPU 2/3: Diamond 5970, 1050mV stock voltage both cores, 800MHz Core 0 - 358MH/s, 775MHz Core1 - 353MH/s - Phoenix 2 beta, 500MHz memory (no watercooling) (not special so I won't link)

GPU 4: XFX 5870, @1100mV (1060mV stock voltage), 975 MHz - 428 MH/s, 600MHz memory (Danger Den full coverage waterblock -only fits reference boards which don't exist anymore - http://www.dangerden.com/store/dd-summit-block-for-5870-and-5850.html) (modded 5870 BIOS used to unlock core frequency and voltage)

Total = ~1.61GH/s, have not measured power consumption sorry!
Temps of two watercooled 5970s average around 40-45*C, using 1/2" tubing and two 2x120mm radiators. CPU temp is about 5* cooler than warmest watercool GPU
For reference the 5970 is running at 77-81*C with the fan set to 55% (very loud, puts out more noise than pump plus 4 120mm fans on radiators)

I don't personally think the Watercooling is worth it, especially if you plan on running 24/7 you don't want your pump to fail when your not around. I'm taking a risk running my rig, I consider it expendable at this point, minus the 5970 which is running on air anyway.

I managed to get the second 5970 which is a reference board from XFX to 975 MHz with only a .04 bump in voltage - the powercolor GPU which is running 105MHz, or about 50MH/s faster, is also running at .2 volts more, which is a fairly significant bump.
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Gerald Davis


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February 09, 2012, 12:04:15 AM
 #10

I was doing dual 6990's water-cooled, with an active pump, and a Zalman Reserator (with fan). After about 4 months of consistent use I can say it is not worth the hassle/ time/ money / hazard that comes from running high powered video cards at max settings with even the strongest pump (I paid over $100 for mine) or the best cooling mechanism.

I doubt it is the pump.  Anything more than 1 gpm (after restrictions) is a waste for cooling.  You just need the water fast enough to be turbulent.  Just 1 gpm of water is enough to transfer 250W per 1C rise in temp. 

4x6990 is going to dump almost a 1 KW of heat.  That requires a significant radiator.   
dopamine
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February 09, 2012, 07:05:41 AM
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haha im using my mining rig as a heater

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February 09, 2012, 07:47:08 AM
 #12

Won't water cooling extend the useful life of the GPU's?
The hotter a semiconductor gets the more it breaks down, no?

Let's say a 5850 working at 400MH/s without water cooling, temps maybe 80-90C, while the same card water cooled producing the same hash rate would probably be 60-70C. Would the 20C difference extend the life of the card enough to justify the water cooling investment?

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P4man
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February 09, 2012, 08:26:19 AM
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Won't water cooling extend the useful life of the GPU's?
The hotter a semiconductor gets the more it breaks down, no?

Let's say a 5850 working at 400MH/s without water cooling, temps maybe 80-90C, while the same card water cooled producing the same hash rate would probably be 60-70C. Would the 20C difference extend the life of the card enough to justify the water cooling investment?

You can get sub 65C on air easily with most cards, particularly 5850s like you mention, at least if room temperature is not summer hot. None of my 5850s run hotter than 65C and using an extreme air cooler (Spitfire) I even got one of my 5870s down to 34C (12C above room temperature) with virtually no noise. Granted, thats not cost effective either, but still cheaper than watercooling.

As to answer your question; yes, proper cooling should increase the longevity of your cards, but by how much is impossible to tell.
Even so the potential for a positive ROI just isnt there. Judging by reports on this forum, Im guestimating an average failure rate of less than 10% per year on HD 58x0 cards, probably even less than 5% if you ignore fan failures and mishandling. That gives you a ballpark estimate on how much ROI spending on watercooling could be worth in that regard; no more than 5-10% of the cost of the card even when generously assuming watercooling were to eliminate 100% of all failures.

In short: no, its not worth it from that perspective.

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February 10, 2012, 04:03:49 PM
 #14

As to answer your question; yes, proper cooling should increase the longevity of your cards, but by how much is impossible to tell.
Semiconductor failure rates typically double for each 10C increase in operating temperature. 

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February 20, 2012, 02:23:02 AM
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My mining operation setup consists of just a 7970 (1275 MHz core) so far.  Since I sleep in the same and only room that my machine is running for 24/7, I water cool to increase the clock to a certain level of efficiency, and to keep the noise down to the point of absolute quietness.  Other than that, watercooling can be expensive unless planned carefully.
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February 20, 2012, 12:36:20 PM
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Got waterblocks bundled with 2 5970s I bought second hand. Have note used them yet though as I lack the supporting hardware (Pump, radiators etc.).
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February 20, 2012, 04:48:08 PM
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water cooling is fun. So to say that I built a machine for a client that is 3x5970s running over dual 4x120mm radiators. Thing looks like a beast and the  temps dont reach above 34* on two cards in parallel. I still want to see what the temps are on a 3 card setup (one card shipped DOA so we are working on a replacement)

Where water cooling starts getting costly is all the extra crap you need. For this build, that mean 2 kooliance radiators, 8 130cfm fans, 2 fan controllers, pump, resivoir, barbs and fittings, clamps, hose, switch and relays for the 2nd psu that powers the pumps and fans so it can run with the system down, not to metion that there is still gpus, blocks, LOADS of articsilver, and all the time spent on seal testing, flow and everything else that goes into it.
At the end of the day, you do have a very stable and powerful system. It cost a bit more to do, but if you can afford it and want something that will last you, they work out great.

Out of my experiance, I love the EK blocks the most, mainly the FC5970. They are solid full card blocks with great documentation and instructions. A while back I was talking to someone on here who was running 4u server racks with 3x5970s water cooled with a 4x120mm radiator mounted above each 4u taking a total of 7u for only 3 cards. This was repeated 5 times over and placed into a 45u rack. Sexiest thing I have ever seen in my life.

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February 20, 2012, 07:11:07 PM
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Watercooling it's too expensive... but if you have money, everything is possible Smiley
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February 24, 2012, 09:29:21 PM
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I am using water cooling primarily for noise issues. Since I run my rigs in my office at work, I need to minimize my noise levels so I can still work at the same time.
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February 24, 2012, 09:44:25 PM
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Allthough it could not really be categorised as a mining-rig, my 6990 is mining 24/7, running @ 980 @ 45°
Difference with standard clocks is around 30-40Mhash for me (per core)


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