Description

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.

Comments

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Mother of god...

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

What the hell. haha this is incredible. How are your temps on the GPU? Super impressive build. Especially considering the power to size ratio lol. +1

  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

Not having an air cooler in there has dropped temps and I am running 67-71 degrees on the GPU while with the air cooler it was 70-74. I could get another slim radiator and slim 120 fans and do a loop for the GPU but frankly 67-71 degrees at 3440X1440 Ultra is pretty awesome IMO for air cooled and two that's hundreds of dollars more I am dumping into this project when frankly in a month or so I will look to upgrade to gen 3 Threadripper and probably next year Nvidia will have some kind of refresh, so trying to keep my powder dry on this one.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

It's incredible to get those temps in that size case with the GPU on air. What Monitor do you run? I am just wrapping up my current project, 9900k, Strix 2080ti OC in a cougar conquerer case with everything on liquid and honestly the temps I had on the GPU before water were very close to yours and I have an open-air case. Super impressive build.

  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

I have an Alienware AW3418DW.

I should note that these temps are when the room has an ambient temp of 77 degrees or lower.

Yeah the XC Ultra is a heck of a card. I thought about moving my PCIe adapter with the 2TB M.2 NVME in it so I could put the card on water but at the moment spending another $300 just to get temps 10-15 degrees lower without a ton of performance increase doesn't seem worth while. Plus the GPU is the thing I will upgrade first if NVIDIA refreshes next year

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

That’s really impressive. Also, +1 for the monitor. I picked one up about a month ago and love it. Got it for a pretty good deal so happy with it. Ya I ended up with liquid due to the case I built in but it was more for aesthetics than anything

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

What abomination have you created...

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, holy crap. That is one hell of a custom loop. And on a Threadripper in an 18L case to boot! Well done sir!

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

To do all this I have to say you are a talented builder.

To get even more cooling consider installing a 240mm slim Radiator at the bottom of the case and install Noctua slim fans to give your build a little more room. You can run the loop through two radiators and install a GPU waterblock while you are at it. A big chunky GPU becomes surprisingly narrow once you get rid of the heatsink.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

I'd be a tiny bit concerned about the PCB flex on that M.2.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

If I wouldn't have the slightest clue about computers I would probably think that this is some sorta engine. I think you pretty much nailed this. Good components, well build, easy +1.

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  • 1 month ago
  • 1 point

very good even in the 240MM but I would recommend the 280MM however there has been a single long term followup review ie gamers nexus that didn't find corrosion. My unit became defective under a month and I just returned it to MicroCenter

IMO not worth the risk since there are other reviews claiming leakage