Question New Gaming PC, Liquid Cooling for the first time

Modeps

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
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It has been some time since I've built a machine so I'm getting back into things. Only have ever dealt with air-cooled systems, but I was recently able to get a ROG STRIX 3090 Ti LC card so I figured I'd go all-in and do it with the CPU as well. One thought that occurred to me was if I'd have to worry about airflow within the case itself to ensure the RAM doesn't get too hot and what the best setup would be in terms of mounting the radiators. Honestly, this system will be 100% overkill, but will be used for my Index VR and eventually move to 4k (currently my main monitor is a Dell S2417DG).

I had some issues in the past with RGB controls so I was hoping to get some kind of uniformity of drivers and made some decisions on ASUS because of that. If that tech has improved, I'm open to changing anything.

Here's what I'm considering and I'd be glad to take any advice. I had hoped to keep it to around $2500, but may be pushing $3000 by the time we're done:
  1. i5-13600k (purchased)
  2. CPU Cooler?
  3. ASUS ROG Strix LC 3090Ti (purchased)
  4. G.SKILL Trident Z5 RGB Series 32GB (purchased)
  5. Motherboard?
  6. 2x 2TB SAMSUNG 970 EVO PLUS M.2 2280 (purchased)
  7. Corsair RM1000e (purchased)
  8. Corsair 4000D Airflow or Meshify 2 White (purchased)
 
Last edited:

Tech Junky

Platinum Member
Jan 27, 2022
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I would start off putting all of this into PCPartPicker.com and share the link. This gives you an idea of the PSU needs and makes recommendations a bit easier.

Personally I like ASRock boards and was looking at the 790 version of the steel legend I have currently and they added some stuff that looks tasty.
 

Modeps

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
17,255
42
91
I would start off putting all of this into PCPartPicker.com and share the link. This gives you an idea of the PSU needs and makes recommendations a bit easier.

Personally I like ASRock boards and was looking at the 790 version of the steel legend I have currently and they added some stuff that looks tasty.
Thanks for that. Here's the link: https://pcpartpicker.com/list/PP3zgb

Funny enough it immediately saw a compatibility issue with my part list (which doesn't look like a huge issue but could be annoying)
Warning: The Asus PRIME Z690-A ATX LGA1700 Motherboard supports the Intel Core i7-13700K 3.4 GHz 16-Core Processor with BIOS version 2004. If the motherboard is using an older BIOS version, upgrading the BIOS will be necessary to support the CPU.
I've been using an ASRock board for a while and have been happy with it.
 

Tech Junky

Platinum Member
Jan 27, 2022
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Yeah PCP has a quirk with 690 + RPL because of the UEFI update needed for the chipset change.

ASRock boards don't get much love for some reason but, they work great. The Steel Legend seems to be their sweet spot though for price and performance. I've used a few of them now in the past couple of years and no issues that can't be overcome either with a bios update or converting a drive from MBR to UEFI/GPT.

In Linux though there's a quirk with the on board RTL NIC that required blacklisting the module it loads by default to get the port working but otherwise nothing else is an issue.

The only things that stand out are the Windows pricing as you can get a key for $20 on some websites and that GPU price. I would be looking at the AMD options for a lot less or waiting for the 4090 to call it a day with the latest hardware. Another option would be the Intel A770 for $350 with 16gb on it.
 

Modeps

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
17,255
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Any idea how straightforward the BIOS update process is in case it is necessary on the ASRock?

Regarding the price of the GPU and the Windows key: I'm no way in hell paying those prices. I was able to get the 3090Ti at MSRP (that $2k listed in the price picker is not that). Basically just put it in there for completeness.

Any suggestions regarding mounting the radiators? One on the front, one on the top?
 

Tech Junky

Platinum Member
Jan 27, 2022
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Ahh, yeah, I forgot about the already bought pieces. There's a way to mark them aa bought on there as well.

The BIOS / UEFI is simple. download from their site, put it on the flash drive in the root folder, put the USB into the designated port on the board, boot into the menu, and flash it. I recently did mine again since I was on V2 and there was a new release with microcode updates to V10 and it took a few minutes to do it but, that's to be expected.

Rad's aren't my gig but, you want the front to pull cool air in, and the top to push hot air out, or just pull on both and use the exhaust fan as your primary to evacuate the warm air. Considering you're LC'ing both heat sources the air flow off them shouldn't be a huge impact to cooling the system inside the case. The alternative would be a case that can do 2 x 240 rads and add a 120 fan on both top/front to pull additional cool air into the case.

I run the FD Meshify 2 and there's tons of space and fan spots depending on which setup you go with. I put mine into storage mode which has a HDD rack for up to 13 drives and voids the pump option in the front. I can still fit 3 x 140's in the front and 2 x 140's on the top and another one in the back + the 2 120's on the CPU cooler. If I wanted to do more I could put a couple of them on the bottom as well but, it sits at room temp most of the time no problem and under load stays under 150F / 50C easily.
 

OlyAR15

Senior member
Oct 23, 2014
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If you want to water-cool both the GPU and CPU, IMO it makes more sense to do a custom loop instead.
 

Modeps

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
17,255
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If you want to water-cool both the GPU and CPU, IMO it makes more sense to do a custom loop instead.
Air cooling the CPU would certainly be less expensive. I'm not entirely sure how I'd go about doing a custom loop on an AIO GPU. Would there be some kind of drawback for having two separate loops?
 

Modeps

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
17,255
42
91
Ahh, yeah, I forgot about the already bought pieces. There's a way to mark them aa bought on there as well.
Took me a bit to find that, but I updated it with what I bought.

The BIOS / UEFI is simple. download from their site, put it on the flash drive in the root folder, put the USB into the designated port on the board, boot into the menu, and flash it. I recently did mine again since I was on V2 and there was a new release with microcode updates to V10 and it took a few minutes to do it but, that's to be expected.
Easy enough.

I run the FD Meshify 2 and there's tons of space and fan spots depending on which setup you go with. I put mine into storage mode which has a HDD rack for up to 13 drives and voids the pump option in the front. I can still fit 3 x 140's in the front and 2 x 140's on the top and another one in the back + the 2 120's on the CPU cooler. If I wanted to do more I could put a couple of them on the bottom as well but, it sits at room temp most of the time no problem and under load stays under 150F / 50C easily.
Looks like a pretty nice case. I'll have to consider that one too.
 

Tech Junky

Platinum Member
Jan 27, 2022
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Tons of room in the meshify and open air flow even with the solid side panels. Plenty of passive cooling for the Mobo/ram/cards. My quad port 5ge nic runs warm at ~130F and doesn't need a fan which is nice because those small fans some cards have are noisy as hell and somewhat ineffective of you pack the case with cards. With all of the drive mounts on the front rack I was able to leave a space open between each drive for better airflow from the front and also passive cooling on the drives.

FD has some great options when it comes to case design. Before I rebuilt for ADL I used their node 804 and it was nice because it split the mobo and drives into compartments.
 

Modeps

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
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I wonder if I should aim for a vertical mounted GPU... The GPU is quite pretty :)
Also, my buddy just picked up a 1000W PSU recently and he claimed the price is like 2.5x what it was a month ago... That makes me think that I'm not crazy for thinking those prices are a bit on the high side.
 

Tech Junky

Platinum Member
Jan 27, 2022
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Or tip the case on its side and use it as a stand for your monitor and relieve strain on the slot/card.

I've been using 850w PSUs for quite awhile and they tend to stick around $100 for the past few years now. Once you hit 1000w you enter a new price bracket.
 

Modeps

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
17,255
42
91
Or tip the case on its side and use it as a stand for your monitor and relieve strain on the slot/card.
That doesn't really fit my aesthetic. Trying to have an ultraclean desktop. Got two monitor arms to keep them elevated and one of those dumb expensive Magnus desks from Secret Lab to hide the cables. Should have waited to get that though because they released another even more dumb expensive desk.

I've been using 850w PSUs for quite awhile and they tend to stick around $100 for the past few years now. Once you hit 1000w you enter a new price bracket.
That's too bad. I guess this is what I get for deciding to overbuild.
 

Tech Junky

Platinum Member
Jan 27, 2022
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I have my server sitting in a bookshelf in its side but if you have articulating arms already there's no point.

Looking at PCP again you're too close to 850w at system max under load to save some money on the PSU. If you plan on keeping at as is then 1000w would be good but, a 4 series GPU could bump your needs to 1200w.

I suspect with all of the crypto bans there might be some deals on the secondhand market.
 

OlyAR15

Senior member
Oct 23, 2014
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I'm not entirely sure how I'd go about doing a custom loop on an AIO GPU.
That's one of the problems of buying parts without a coherent plan for the overall build. Instead of picking up a gpu with an aio, I would have gotten an aircooled one that had an available waterblock instead. It gives you more flexibility in terms of getting the size of rads that will fit your case, plus using only one pump instead of two, and being able to cut the tubes to the proper size rather than having a bunch of extra long tubes everywhere.
 

Modeps

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
17,255
42
91
That's one of the problems of buying parts without a coherent plan for the overall build. Instead of picking up a gpu with an aio, I would have gotten an aircooled one that had an available waterblock instead. It gives you more flexibility in terms of getting the size of rads that will fit your case, plus using only one pump instead of two, and being able to cut the tubes to the proper size rather than having a bunch of extra long tubes everywhere.
I admittedly didn't plan to get a LC GPU, it just kind of happened.
 

In2Photos

Senior member
Mar 21, 2007
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Any suggestions regarding mounting the radiators? One on the front, one on the top?
If you stick with the 4000D mount the CPU AIO on top with fans pushing air through the rad out of the case. GPU AIO would go up front on the bottom 2 fans with air pushing through the rad into the case.
 
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Modeps

Lifer
Oct 24, 2000
17,255
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Alrighty, I updated the build a bit to save a little money and updated the part picker list with the stuff I've already purchased. I was going to get the meshify 2 but the one I picked in my order from newegg said it was in-stock, then after submitting the order said OOS and it was canceled. Still haven't picked motherboard or CPU Cooler but we're almost there.
 

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