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  1. #1

    Question Watercooling CPU & GPU in a Louqe Ghost S1 ITX case?

    Hi all,

    Josh and others recommended I posted here for some input on water cooling so here goes:

    My old suitcase PC has finally kicked the bucket and I’ve built a new PC. I went with ITX form factor because the PC will from now be on my desk. Hence, the thing being quiet matters. The PC runs fine now, except for the water cooling.
    At the moment, I’m reusing a Corsair H110 (280mm radiator, 2x140mm fans) from the old build but a 280mm radiator doesn’t fit the new case. I figured since I already had it and it could almost fit, it was worth a shot trying to fit it. Long story short, it will be complicated, I i don’t have the patience for it and my nephew is eager to get his hands on it. So, I need a new watercooling solution:

    The bits:


    • Louqe Ghost S1 Mk2 case (one large tophat installed, two small tophats available if need be) http://louqe.com/
    • ASRock Phantom ITX/ac mobo
    • i7-9900k
    • Corsair H110 280mm (re-use) - to be replaced
    • 2 x 8GB something RAM, I forgot, they've got heatsinks and looks fancy
    • Samsung NVMe
    • GTX 970 GPU (re-use)
    • Corsair 450W STX PSU
    • HIDs etc. are connected via a Thunderbolt 3 dock with own PSU

    Random thoughts that comes to mind:


    • It runs fine atm with a wee OC using the H110. If not possible in the future, either due to heat constraints from shared radiator, or PSU limitations, then I am fine with running stock
    • I have one large Loque tophat installed on top of the case atm, which is designed to accommodate a 240mm AiO, and the 280mm radiator is sitting on top of that. I am not using any of the smaller tophats atm. The smaller hats do not allow for an extra 240mm, they are only about half the height (unless you can get super-thin radiators, and rely on the air flow from the fans on the 240mm, as the air moves through the case?)
    • It may be possible to add a 120mm radiator somewhere, that remains to be measured. I’ve seen others do it, but as the only watercooling solution in the case.
    • If I could get away with just the large tophat, that would be awesome. I would, however, like to cool the GPU as well. Maybe the 240mm radiator the tophat can accommodate is not sufficient for that...
    • Ideally, I’d want to spin fans all the way down, like my old setup, but it seems the PWM regulation on this mobo does not allow for shutting off the current below certain speeds, it will pulse modulate no matter what – so I may need a separate controller of sorts instead, except for one of the connectors which can be either DC or PWM, as set in bios. I have two more FAN connectors, they are PWM-only, and can’t spin down, at least not using the provided software or SpeedFan.
    • I don’t care for bling
    • The airflow in the case is rather good, the AiO fans atm cools the chipset etc. and the heat from the GPU is kept away from the mobo etc. due to the wall in the middle of this type of case, so no need to cool that.
    • The 92mm fan in the PSU does not spin at normal use, only when gaming, so the main noise I have is airflow, followed by the H110 pump (and some annoying bearing issue with one corsair fan, but that is not systemic)

    More coherent; I am basically looking for:


    • a watercooling solution that fits this case,
    • which cools CPU+GPU,
    • using only the large tophat space thus only 1x240mm radiator, but
    • if possible, an extra 1x120mm radiator (and/or pump) elsewhere, to be clarified/tried, if deemed worth it,
    • cooling a stock or slight OC'ed CPU and a stock GPU


    Ideas:


    • Idea 1 – the AiO road. Get, say, the Kraken X52 240mm (old, but recommended for this case) for the tophat space, and some 120mm solution for the GPU if space permits. But, which should I use on what? The 240mm on the CPU? I’ll pay 120 quid for the X52 and maybe a bit less for a 120mm solution. I would also need a controller, unless I can find a clever solution to the zero-spin issue, I want the fans to spin all the way down.



    • Idea 2 – Custom watercooling. I know ****all about this. Should be able to make it work. What will such cost? I would also want to control the fans well, as in idea 1.


    Thoughts?

  2. #2
    Community Admin Chaosphere's Avatar
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    I've a busy weekend coming up so I won't be able to post anything substantial here for a while, if at all, but for now have a look through what others have done and see what tickles your fancy.

    https://youtu.be/xzs-xCzjUoY

    A custom loop will be the easiest way to fit everything in, assuming you pick your parts very carefully, but it will also cost more. I'd estimate £400+ at the very least. It's the best way to do this whilst still keeping things quiet and cool, though.

    And to answer the AIO radiator/fan question, a 120mm AIO will be enough to cool a 970, but don't expect it to be quiet. Same story for the CPU. If you use AIOs, something has to give tbh. You can't build small, quiet, and silent on a budget. Something has to give. In my experience it ends up being the bank account.
    The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

  3. #3
    Head Admin TeaLeaf's Avatar
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    Having built custom water cooling loops (and still using one in my main PC), I think you'd get better results with a custom loop imho.

    Your top hat should allow a real nice radiator in there, which if matched to Static Pressure fans (designed for radiator use) will cool everything you describe. Without having seen a top hat, but relying on the dimensions alone, you should be able to fit a 30mm x 280mm radiator (I'm not aware of any 300mm rads) into the top hat along with 2 x 140mm SP fans (25mm), all within the 56.5mm height you have in the top hat. This would give you a decent sized radiator for the loop you want to use. You could also further improve the cooling my having a different grill on top (or none at all) to reduce the SP needed to push the air through the radiator and out of the case.

    Big fans are important, smaller fans need to spin faster to push the air, so the bigger the fan you can fit into the case the slower it can spin to give you the cooling you want. And slower = quieter.

    In terms of other fans, just make sure you have good airflow into the case so that your rad fans are having to suck air into the case as well as push it through the rad.

    In terms of controllers I use a Corsair Link which is hidden away in the back of the case and has no bling, it's software controlled. Take a look at it and see if it does what you need, but it can cope with 4 temperature sensors and run up to 6 after-market fans which should cover your case requirements.

    Dump a nice reservoir in the case and you're good to go I reckon. Just add what you want to the loop, CPU block, graphics card block (I'd recommend also getting the backplate for modern graphics cards) etc. Some motherboards also have a prebuilt loop in the motherboard to cool the MOFSETs. If you get one of those motherboards then all you do is send your loop through one end of the 'already there' motherboard block and out the other. I did this on my Asus Maximum 6 Formula and it works quite well, it's free additional cooling for no cost if you have the motherboard already.
    TL.
    Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself. (Tom Wilson)
    Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. (Michael Jordan)

  4. #4
    Community Admin Chaosphere's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TeaLeaf View Post
    Some motherboards also have a prebuilt loop in the motherboard to cool the MOFSETs. If you get one of those motherboards then all you do is send your loop through one end of the 'already there' motherboard block and out the other. I did this on my Asus Maximum 6 Formula and it works quite well, it's free additional cooling for no cost if you have the motherboard already.
    This is only no cost if you have the radiator surface area to remove the extra heat.

    I'd advise against this on small builds, particularly if you're managing with only one radiator, or two small / low performance radiators.

    VRMs kick out a tonne of heat, and you're already pushing it cooling any modern GPU and CPU with one radiator. Adding the heat from your VRMs to that is a recipe for overheating.

    Builds with multiple large radiators can easily accommodate this, and I'd never watercool without it, as the VRM is one of the most important parts of the set-up when overclocking.
    The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

  5. #5
    Head Admin TeaLeaf's Avatar
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    Ok, I'll disagree, I made the MOSFET comment on the assumption that we're not trying to cool Chernobyl with a deskfan. The MOSFETs do throw out a chunk of heat, but a lot less than you seem to imply, otherwise they'd already have some kind of non-passive cooling. The fact that they are usually supplied with passive only cooling should tell you something.

    If Delan is going to do high level over-volts and overclocking then you'd be right. But if it is a system for non-over-clocked silence (or a "wee OC") on his desktop then a 280mm rad is enough to cope with CPU, GPU and MOSFETs on the assumption that the case is not air-starved. You also have the option as Delan mentioned of another rad elsewhere in the case and this would allow for more significant overclocks or greater base cooling. Delan mentioned low speed fans, so I would assume that this is not a serious overclocking PC, so the 280mm rad should be enough. Keep in mind the H110 is a low volume system so the increased volume and length of a custom loop helps.

    The beauty of a custom loop is that it will give the silence required immediately and if the 280mm rad does not sufficiently cool then at least you have the option to add a small 120mm rad elsewhere in the case.
    TL.
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    Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. (Michael Jordan)

  6. #6
    Community Admin Chaosphere's Avatar
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    My VRM runs at around 90 degrees as per a temp sensor physically inserted onto one of the mofsets. I imagine the internal temperature is around 5-10 degrees hotter. These components are often rated at 120 degrees for 5 years, so they can tolerate more heat than a CPU, and thus are not often actively cooled (case airflow is usually enough). That 90-100 degrees is seen as 'fine', so motherboard manufacturers save some money and stick to basic heatsinks.

    Point is, they're still hot. Add a hot CPU (the 9900K is notoriously hot) and GPU and you've a lot of heat to remove.

    I'm only wary that with a relatively thin radiator you either end up with noise (thicker radiator and/or louder fans) or alarmingly hot gear. I'd also doubt a second radiator will fit, looking at what others have done. There's barely enough room as it is, to the point where only certain pumps and reservoirs will fit.

    Hence why I brought it up. I'd leave the VRM passively cooled here, and keep the loop for the other bits. We're talking about a situation where an extra few degrees in water temperature might make the difference between top performance and thermal throttling. Of course, in a bigger build, I'd always put it all under water. This is why I'd personally never build in such a small case... Something has to give.
    The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

  7. #7
    Head Admin TeaLeaf's Avatar
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    You don't have to do so, but the benefit of a custom loop is that you can try it if you want. That's what I was saying. You'd be daft to rule something out because of 'wary'. It will cost you all of 10p of tubing and two small connection fittings to find out *if* you have a mobo with that facility. If that second rad is used then it becomes all the more likely that it will work. VRMs running cooler are still less likely to fail.

    I've been amazed at what some people have managed to fit into smaller cases in recent years.

    Anyway, for a quiet build Delan, I'd go water and custom. It's what I have done at home and the only regret i have is that it made the case heavier.
    TL.
    Wisdom doesn't necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself. (Tom Wilson)
    Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships. (Michael Jordan)

  8. #8
    Community Admin Chaosphere's Avatar
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    That's fair enough. I think I was coming from the angle that his board doesn't have this, and most don't. So it becomes another expense, and in this case one that I don't think would work well.

    Usually only the high end ATX boards include this built in. To my knowledge, no ITX boards have it, but I could be wrong on that. Personally I prefer the look of all in one CPU and VRM blocks, so would always remove the motherboard heatsink anyway!

    Either way, and getting back on track, we agree that a custom loop is the way to go. Just follow what someone else has done to a T so you know it'll fit, and you should be fine - even as a first time watercooler.
    The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.

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