Water cooling build in my wife’s computer – Part VIII

Build Log:

The day after posting the last part, the AlphaCool CPU water block was confirmed delivered in Germany. I’m definitely curious as to what they’d find.

And the next day, I got the GTX 660 in the mail back to EVGA. I’m thinking the reason they accepted the RMA request was simply because of what I wrote in the request: the fact I’d be knowingly sending them a damaged card that got damaged from a faulty component in a custom water loop. The fact I explained that up front I think allowed them to be willing to work with me. After the faulty card was confirmed received by their RMA department, they shipped out something the following Monday (they received it on a Friday).

And given a new serial number got registered to my EVGA profile, it was a new card they shipped out. Hopefully the repair bill won’t be too high. Unfortunately it won’t be here till July 7th.

Controlling the fans

In the mean time, the fan controller and temperature sensor both arrived. I also bought a couple splitter cables to go with it: a 3-fan splitter cable for the top radiator, and a 2-fan splitter for the lower radiator. Well I should say that’s what I ordered, but two 3-fan splitters is what arrived. I notified Performance-PCs pretty much right away to get the situation taken care of. I had another 2-fan splitter already, but the one I ordered was sleeved. And after a small e-mail conversation, they put the right part in the mail and I’ll be mailing the incorrect item back to them.

This isn’t the first time I’ve had to work with their customer service. In one instance earlier this year, the first order I ever made with Performance-PCs actually included a length of acrylic tubing that I never ordered, and I wrote in about it. Back in May I had to file an RMA with them over a custom cable I ordered that came apart on the first attempt to test it.

But the fan controller along with the temperature probe and fan splitter cables were really the last parts I needed before considering how I was going to build out the loop. The fan controller was also going to be installed in the system first, ahead of everything else. This was not only to play around with it, but it also gave me a chance to get the Bitspower X-Station I out of her system. As I said previously, I intended to repurpose it for powering a Raspberry Pi among other things I plan to use with it.

Plus it gave me an opportunity to redo some of the cable management in her case. Well mostly…

New power supply

And I say “mostly” because her power supply isn’t modular. And I might change that before putting in a new loop just to make things significantly easier, but it’ll happen eventually. It’ll just be easier to do it at the same time as her loop. Now my power supply is modular, mostly. I use a Corsair CX750M with the custom sleeved cable kit. So I definitely can speak to the convenience of a modular power supply compared to one that isn’t.

Currently she has a Corsair GS800, which is 160mm long from the back of the case inward. I was originally considering replacing it with an EVGA 1000G2, a gold-certified 1000W power supply. But that’s not going to work.

I plan to have the 240mm radiator laying on top of 25mm wide fans on the bottom of the case. The technical drawing of the radiator shows it to be about 280mm long total length, with about 35mm between the screw hole and the longest edge of the radiator. The EVGA 1000G2 is 200mm long, meaning how I plan to run the radiator should I go with that power supply will be a tight fit given the position of the fan mount points. The clearance provided by the fans will give room to reach the bottom connectors on the power supply, but the mainboard connectors will likely be blocked.

So instead I’ll go with the Corsair RM1000 power supply, another 1000W gold-rated power supply that is 180mm long, only 20mm longer than the current power supply, and being 20mm shorter than the EVGA power supply, the fit will be a little looser around the radiator. The power supply is also full modular, like the EVGA power supply. But that’ll be an upgrade that’d happen later down the road, such as the next time I would need to drain the loop for maintenance, or when I put the graphics cards into the loop. I considered the AX860, but given this build will have two graphics cards in the end, the 1000W supply would provide good headroom for everything that’ll be in this.

Ethylene glycol

More and more of what I’m reading regarding ethylene glycol with regard to water cooling loops is making me more and more regret going with the XT1 coolant from Mayhem’s. One item I’m considering for a loop in my computer is rigid tubing, specifically PETG since it is supposed to be stronger than acrylic, nearly as strong as polycarbonate, but with pricing more around acrylic than polycarbonate. One of the main suppliers of PETG tubing for water cooling loops is PrimoChill. In looking at their website for the tubing, I discovered this under the “Warnings/Cautions” tab (emphasis mine):

With the use of different components, materials, fluids, and flow rates, results may vary with the appearance of your tubing. Rigid PETG Tube is designed to work with a large variety of cooling components, however the use of alcohols, Ethylene Glycol and as well as any other harmful chemicals is strictly prohibited and will void your warranty. PrimoChill is not responsible for any damage caused by or when using this product. Please use at your own risk.

And on the pages for their fluids (Ice and Pure), they further state that they do not use ethylene glycol in their coolants. But I couldn’t find anything to indicate that ethylene glycol would’ve reacted badly with the CPU water block or the tubing, and AlphaCool’s own CKC “Cape Kelvin Catcher” coolant contains ethylene glycol!

This is just getting more frustrating. Hopefully AlphaCool will be able to find something out. In the mean time, I’m using the Koolance block for the loop, and I’ll probably go the same route for my computer as well.

Now ethylene glycol should not be used with PETG tubing. PETG is polyethylene terephthalate glycol-modified, and ethylene glycol is already known to not react well with it, hence PrimoChill’s warning. Propylene glycol doesn’t have any known concerns with PETG. But both ethylene glycol and propylene glycol should not be used with polycarbonate, in case you were considering buying polycarbonate tubing and building your loop with that.

Ethylene glycol also does not have any known concerns with polyvinyl chloride, or PVC, which is the material for the tubing I used in the loop. And then there’s PMMA, or polymethyl methacrylate, also known as acrylic or Plexiglas. According to my research, ethylene glycol shouldn’t have any reaction with that either. So again, hopefully AlphaCool will figure something out.

Speaking of, they got back to me on the 30th of June confirming they received the block and started their investigation. They wanted to know the fittings I used along with whether I had pictures of it installed. I sent them two pictures from an earlier article in this build log along with the compression fittings I had in the loop. Hopefully the investigation won’t take too long.