October 2018 I decided to build the smallest most powerful system I could. I ended up basing the system around the 18L Sliger Cerberus case and the Asrock X399M motherboard with a 16 core ThreadRipper 2950X processor. The system has been a blast to constantly upgrade and rebuild, but one of the biggest issues has been cooling the 2950X processor. I first started with a NZXT Kraken X52 240 AIO and temps were in the 60's while gaming but due to the lack of a full coverage plate the AIO would instantly throttle when pushed hard. I sold the X52 and bought an Enermax Liqtech II TR4 240 AIO, and with a beefier radiator and full coverage plate it had temps in the 50's and idled in the 30's but after only two weeks the card had significant temperature spikes, thus I believe it started to corrode and it was returned. Since the Cerberus has a max CPU height of 149mm the only TR4 based air cooler that can fit in there was a Noctua NH-U9 TR4, which is a dual 92mm fan based. While the Noctua was easily had the least amount of worry or maintenance the lowest idle I got was 40 degrees (most of the time 50 degrees) and while gaming it constantly throttled at 68 degrees. The thought occurred to me to just give up and sell the ThreadRipper system and go to a Ryzen 3900X 12 core or 3950X 16 core system, but to be frank my of love for quad channel memory and the butt loads of PCIe lanes was too much to give up. Also all of my storage is M.2 NVME on the motherboard which is awesome. I also wanted to continue to use my Sliger Cerberus case and really there aren't any high end X570 mATX boards out there so I would have had to use an mITX or dITX board and only use two DIMS of memory and only two M.2 sticks. So to properly cool this beast I would have to try my hand at custom water cooling for the first time ever
For the custom water loop I have done three builds really. The first build I actually had an EK-XRES 100 DDC MX 3.1 PWM (incl. pump) and everything worked fine the night I installed it. The next morning morning I booted the PC and started playing a game and noticed temperature spikes and the game suddenly quit. I went to Ryzen Master and the temps were in the 70-80s. I rebooted and went into the BIOS and now the temps was 90 degrees and I saw that the pump was not moving any water. I quickly shut down the PC and drained everything, thank God for a drain valve. A couple things to note were the tube running from the block outlet to the radiator inlet was pressed up against the X399 heat sink which was a problem since the edge is almost razor sharp and started to actually make cosmetic marks into the soft tubing. On Rev 2 I put thick electrical tape on the corner of the heat sink to prevent any damage to the tube. Also the radiator outlet to the reservoir inlet was making a tight bend and was partially kinked, this was later resolved in the Rev 3 rebuild. So for my Rev 2 build EKWB mistakenly sent me a EK-XRES 100 DDC 3.2 PWM Elite (incl. pump) as a replacement and that unit has had much better water flow overall compared to the 3.1, but it was a bit taller so I had to slam the radiator to floor of the case. The inlet of the Elite requires you install a metal adapter so my drainage valve now protruded even more so and just barley clears the side panel. Since the inlet/drainage valve on the Elite protrudes so much the tube from the radiator outlet has an even sharper bend, so for Rev 3 I decided to redo that part by hooking up two 15mm male to female extensions and a 90 degree rotating fitting so I could have a short and straight line to the radiator.
For my first ever custom loop I think it came out well and there wasn't any disastrous mishaps. Temps are really impressive at 30 degrees idle and while gaming 50-60 degrees considering the build uses a EK SE240 radiator which isn't known to be the best out there plus it is very slim at 27mm thickness. The full coverage block with a full fin array probably is the big star, helping cool down the processor well. The DuraClear tubing I used was pretty thick and when dry it was impossible to get over the barb, but after soaking the end of the tube in hot water they slid right on. After only a few days the tubes have discolored even with only using clear EK-CryoFuel. If I had to do it again I would have picked a colored CryoFuel since it's easier to catch any leaks, but no leaks so far knock on wood! Most of my parts were bought from EKWB directly and shipped to NY was insanely fast at 2 days, however customer service's communication regardless of time zone was kind of bad. Micro Center was very clutch providing me with last second fittings and really I could have bought everything there besides the EX-RES 100 since the smallest they have is 140. Overall it was a really fun experience and I can see how people get really into this, but with a custom loop it's not if you will have a problem but when, so having a secondary computer is key. Also custom loops are very expensive and if your case can support a top of the line AIO or air cooler, hands down that is a better dollar to performance buy than doing a custom loop since with shipping my all in cost was basically $500.