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Water Cooling Build Advice

Post Date: 2022-10-30

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NoeleoN View Drop Down
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  Quote NoeleoN Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Topic: Water Cooling Build Advice
    Posted: 30 Oct 2022 at 4:49pm
I ordered a pc from digital storm last week with the help of a friend. I'm running the ultimate version of the Intel Core i9-13900K (5.7 GHz Turbo) (32-Thread) (24-Core) 3.0 GHz (Raptor Lake) and the Geforce RTX 4090 GPU (apologies if I got the lingo wrong, basically the processor and the graphics card I think I'm referring to in case I was confusing on that end). I spent well over 6k and figured I'd do whatever it takes at this point to ensure I'm creating a top notch system that will last me a long time, I would like some help/opinion(s) from some of the pros to help solidify my options before it progresses to the later stages in the process.

My build is at stage 1 (payment processed), and I've been doing some research on the CPU/GPU and found out they run really hot by nature. Now initially I purchased the Lumos case but I got to thinking weather or not the Lumos case with the Hydrolux Pro Exotic water cooling system (CPU only) was sufficient enough for my current build. I was either thinking of updating the Lumos tower for the Velox tower seeing as it sounds like the Velox tower would have a better airflow setup due to its larger size in comparison to the Lumos tower, or if I should be looking at water-cooling the RTX 4090 as well. I was also interested in the acrylic option and couldn't find anything useful on google on acrylic vs the standard flexible tubing the Hydrolux Pro Exotic option comes with

My questions are:
1.) Does choosing Lumos vs Velox tower matter with keeping my system cooler? And ultimately should I switch from Lumos to Velox?

2.) Should I opt for the water cooling option to include the GPU as well or is what I have currently sufficient enough? Will changing from Lumos to Velox make a difference in this situation IE: if I switched from Lumos to Velox, can I get away with just water-cooling the processor? dunno if that makes sense, let me know if you need clarification.

3.) I was leaning towards choosing the acrylic route for the water cooling, right now I have the standard flexible tubes, are there any reason to switch to acrylic for reasons other than the aesthetics? Also any thoughts on copper tubing?


Money at this point isn't really an issue, I just want the best setup possible at this point since I've come this far. Please advise and thank you in advance!

Edited by NoeleoN - 30 Oct 2022 at 6:32pm
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  Quote db188 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Oct 2022 at 8:42pm
i recommend a custom open loop (i.e. "hydrolux" DS) for both cpu and gpu single loop liquid cooling.  i think DS uses Alphacool products. 

tubing type is personal choice.  all options have pros and cons.  if you go copper you won't be able to see the liquid in the tubing, just have to rely on the reservoir to see what's going on with your fluid.  PETG is hard tubing that's more durable than the acrylic, but isn't as clear looking and can over time cloud up.  i've had too many problems with acrylic leaks, so i stay clear of it.  whatever you decide make sure to make a point of it with DS that they put the quick disconnect and swivels to move the tubing out of the way to service the machine yourself.  early years of hard tubing made it a PITA for me to get my fat hands in between to remove/re-seat graphics cards and access mobo switches. 

Velox is a DS custom/exclusive and larger than the re-branded Corsair Lumos.  the Lumos uses glass panels which restricts airflow.  the Velox is an "open case" type.  they both say they're ATX Mid Towers, but i bet that Velox is way bigger.  you'll have more room for multiple large radiators and the Lumos only supports upt 1x 360mm rad (and i bet it only has 1 mounting location at the front).  discuss this with your DS builder.  you're spending thousands on a custom rig, you'll get the access. 

EKWB also makes a water block for the 4090 FE.  they claim 3GHz possible with proper cooling.  they aren't compatible with partner cards though, so make sure if you go that route you're using an Nvidia reference card.  i believe Alphacool's blocks are compatible with reference and partner cards.  in any case, i'm sure DS knows what they're using/doing. 

case cooling really shouldn't matter all that much (assuming everything fits) liquid cooling is designed to transport the heat generated form the components along the fluid medium to the radiator(s) and then push/pulled/both (depending on fan config) out of the case, so there's very little heat left inside the case to dwell.  whatever little there is will be removed via the high airflow case fans.  that being said, the glass paneled Lumos will restrict case airflow more than the open air Velox case.  the Velox will be noisier i'd imagine.  but then again, with a custom loop you'll have more control over fan speeds and performance, thus making it quieter. 
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  Quote NoeleoN Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Oct 2022 at 8:53pm
Oh wow thank you for such a thorough response, a lot of it went over my head as im very new to computer lingo or just computers in general. I dont see a hydrolux ds, but i do see hydrolux pro, is that the same? It shows its their brand. And from what i gather , definitely go for water cooling on both cpu and gpu and go with the velox as opposed to lumos? Stay away from acrylic and go with flexible tubes?
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  Quote db188 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 30 Oct 2022 at 11:47pm
Originally posted by NoeleoN

Oh wow thank you for such a thorough response, a lot of it went over my head as im very new to computer lingo or just computers in general. I dont see a hydrolux ds, but i do see hydrolux pro, is that the same? It shows its their brand. And from what i gather , definitely go for water cooling on both cpu and gpu and go with the velox as opposed to lumos? Stay away from acrylic and go with flexible tubes?


i was just referring to DS's proprietary custom open loop system called "hydrolux". 

i don't believe DS actually uses acrylic these days.  pretty sure they're using PETG, but you'd want to confirm that with them.  the 13900K is gonna require serious cooling.  i think a custom loop is the way to go if you have the $$$.  confirm with DS, but i think you can put some serious radiator size in that (i have an Aventum and its got like 1500mm total radiator coverage) Velox, as it's almost as big as an Aventum (i think the older version supported up to 480mm radiator).  there's a lot of technical stuff to read up on if you really want to immerse yourself in pc liquid cooling, but the basics are: big rads w/big fans move a lot of hot air at lower speeds = less noise too.  here's the thing with spending a bunch on custom cooling-the hardware these days has made overclocking kinda moot as it boosts all on its own, but you can still tweak it for better results and for that you need high end custom cooling.  also, with better cooling you won't get throttled/down-clocked as easily. 

i have no idea what your usage requirements are.  i don't even know why you need/want a 13900K.  if you're just a gamer, i'd highly recommend against it.  you don't need all of the multi-core performance for that.  and if you're a content creator why not build a work station pc around a Threadripper/Xeon proc? 

if you're like me (a 4K gamer) pushing max pc game settings at 4K then you'll want to spend most of your budget on the graphics (that's GPU and Monitor).  the 13th Gen I5-13600K is only going to lose you a few FPS in most games anyway and cost you far less.  it's also a (much) cooler running CPU.  being a K model, you can OC it as well.  i'm also hearing that 4090 requires a 1200W ATX 3.0 power supply as well if you want to get the most out of it, so don't skimp there.

i like custom loops, but i can see just putting a 13600K in there with an all-in-one 360mm cooler on the (relatively) cheap and calling it a day.  i'm reading that the 4090 FE's have sufficient air cooling with their new vapor chamber in-house cooler on it (i'm sure their board partners are thrilled about that, lol!).  since you're not bound by budgetary concerns i'd encourage you exploring whether or not a custom loop would be for you even if you do decide on downgrading your cpu choice.  but if you stick with the 13900K i think you'll be happier with the stronger cooling capacity of a custom loop with beefier/more radiator choices (go with the Velox in that case).     

edit: PETG is hard tubing just like acrylic, but more durable and less clear/see thru.  still requires a heat gun to bend the tubes to the right size and angles.  it's not as brittle as acrylic, if that description helps.  it's also easier to work around these days with quick disconnects and fittings that can rotate the lengths of tubing out of the way of the components.  it really just comes down to your own preference. 

there is more maintenance involved with a custom loop/Hydrolux system.  here's a link i like to share to show how much easier it is these days>https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5csB1I-Sn-w&list=FLrP-W-3OnnNS-B7JTKI5vmw&index=1


Edited by db188 - 31 Oct 2022 at 12:00am
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  Quote Cretae Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 31 Oct 2022 at 5:02am
My preference is to agree with my friend that a 13900K is unnecessary for gaming and will merely add extra expense and heat to your situation. I'm no expert on custom cooling, but I have 35+ years experience with gaming computers. IMHO, custom cooling is not a very good idea for a rookie. It requires maintenance of fluid levels you must fill yourself. Most systems may not develop problems, but when one does leak, it can be a very bad day. A newbie either has to learn very very fast, or ship his rig back to DS for repairs. If that sounds good, go for it. Keep your fingers crossed, just sayin'.

The 13600K as mentioned will game on for years, and costs $480 less. It's lower thermal demands will be easily met by either an all-in-one liquid cooler, or a Noctua NH-D15 air cooler. The latter never leaks, but cools fantastically. I had a Noctua that was still going all-out when I retired the rig after 8 years.

The Velox case is just an inch longer and 2 inches taller than a Lumos. The glass panels on the Lumos do not meet at the seams, there is mesh at each intersection that allows the case ample ventilation. That said, the Velox has the better airflow, and will mount the GPU with the fans facing upward to move heat upward and out of the case.

I'm just agreeing that you have choices that do not involve potential hassles a custom loop can bring to the table. If this is a gaming rig, the strength of the 13600K will meet the needs of a top-notch system. Entirely up to you.   
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  Quote hoserator Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 31 Oct 2022 at 7:19am
db188 is very knowledgeable with regards to open loop liquid cooling and there is nothing I can add.

The Velox is a bigger and roomier case. It is described as a mid-tower but it can hold an E-ATX motherboard. It will not have as much room as the Aventum for extra rads, though, but that one is a monster of a case. If I was going to get the 13900K at a minimum I would go with the Velox and the 360 AIO or the Noctua. The Noctua will work if you are only gaming and not processing.

With regards to the plumbing, if you go open loop, my preference is soft tubing instead of hardline but I have had the misfortune of being the recipient of bad fittings and had to change them. I know db188 mentioned maintenance but it can get hairy (wet) also.

Enjoy.
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  Quote db188 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 31 Oct 2022 at 12:28pm
so there's 2 ways you can go with the pre-filled brand coolers:  there's the closed loop cooler (CLC) and the all-in-one (AIO).  the difference being you can re-fill an AIO type cooler, thus extending the life (as long as the pump is still good) of the cooler.  CLC's are use and toss at end of life. 

the best air coolers (like the mentioned Noctua D-15) can compete (on cooling power) with many CLC and AIO liquid coolers, especially in the 240mm/280mm radiator sizes, and should be considered an option.  they have their own drawbacks mind-big space-eating monstrosities, heavy, and have their fair share of shipping issues (i've had 1 mangled beyond use from shipping damage). 

to break down performance and use case pros and cons:

thermal performance:

time to soak/max temp: basically the air coolers and the smaller AIO/CLC coolers will reach steady state within a minute+30 secs, while the 360mm one's will take up to 3 mins.  so, the more liquid (all things being equal), the longer it takes to heat up. 

noise normalized torture tests @ 40dba within 2 ft of user at 150W load proves you can get about 5 degrees C (idle temps) and 10 degrees C (under load temps) better with a the 360 CLC/AIO liquid coolers over the best air coolers. 

as far as performance (noise and thermals) the Noctua D15 is about equal to the Corsair H100i Pro 240mm liquid cooling option. 

noise (normalized): because of the superior fans and better surface contact between the cooler cold plate and processor used by Noctua it hangs with/surpasses many CLC/AIO options in noise output, both at idle and under load.  however, the better liquid cooling options can come in at lower decibels, especially while under load, which is the main concern.  that being said, you might shave off 4 db using an NZXT Kraken 360 over the Noctua D-15.  quality of product matters. 

if you don't care about noise and open up the max performance, the 360 CLC/AIO's win hands down. 
longevity/points of failure/risk: the only thing that can fail on an air cooler are the fans (easily replaced).  you have multiple potential points of failure with liquid coolers: pump, tubing, fans, fittings, and rads.  the most common failures are pump death and leaks around fittings/tubing.  again, quality of product, it would be relatively rare for good product pumps to fail before their stated end of life and leaks would be the result of damage rather than product failure in my experience.  YMMV. 

value:  you can get better value from the Noctua over the higher end CLC/AIO's IF you can get it to fit inside your case.  the Noctua currently best priced is $99.95.  the comparable Corsair H100i Pro is discontinued i believe, so the H100i Elite is $140. 

you might've noticed i've left custom open loops out of this discussion.  that's because, i believe, there's more variance and don't directly compare with each other. 

edit: i would NOT recommend trying to cool the 13900K on an air cooler nor a smaller CLC/AIO liquid cooler.  anecdotally, i was watching Therma Mike's twitch channel last night where he was testing their 360mm AIO in their open case using Prime95 and Cinebench testing software.  that proc reached throttling within minutes (seconds on the Cinebench test)!  it's gonna be a real challenge for the even the custom liquid cooling community to find a balance between performance and thermals using that proc, but hey, 6Ghz for a minute FTW!



Edited by db188 - 31 Oct 2022 at 12:44pm
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  Quote NoeleoN Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 31 Oct 2022 at 4:34pm
wow thanks for all the support everyone! its not completely for gaming, one of the reasons im upgrading my desktop is my current desktop is having trouble video editing my 360 cams and keeps crashing or freezing my system. I also want to try to do some 4k video editing as well but i know my current system wont be able to handle it unfortunately.
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  Quote db188 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Nov 2022 at 4:00am
hopefully we were able to give you some options to refine your DS build.  GL with the system!  
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  Quote NoeleoN Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Nov 2022 at 10:47am
Originally posted by db188

hopefully we were able to give you some options to refine your DS build.  GL with the system!  


Yes you all were great. I took all this in consideration, talked to a buddy of mine and spoke with the DS team over the phone with all the information allocated and was able to come to a final build. Now it's just a waiting game at this point until the PC ships out. Super excited, and their headquarters is about 5-6 hours away from me so it shouldnt take too long to ship, they need to just start building it haha
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  Quote db188 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Nov 2022 at 7:08pm
congrats!  be sure to post some pics of your new pc when you get it, so we can all be envious.Awesome
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  Quote NoeleoN Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Nov 2022 at 7:56pm
Originally posted by db188

congrats!  be sure to post some pics of your new pc when you get it, so we can all be envious.Awesome


oh definitely, where should I post those pics? should arrive in a couple of weeks, though it still says its at stage 1 and its been 2 weeks haha
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  Quote HockeyBuck Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Nov 2022 at 8:51pm
Hey NoeleoN...congrats on the nice new rig!   I learned a long time ago not to trust shipping if you don't have to.

I have bought 5 DS rigs since 2012, and every time including last year I went and picked up the rig at DS myself. You live much farther away than I do, but if I had to drive 5-6 hrs each way to do a "Local PickUp" at DS... I would absolutely do that drive just to avoid shipping delays and or damage nightmares. We hear about shipping damage done to these high quality DS computers in transit a lot here, so if you were to want to pick it up yourself...all you have to do is advise DS Sales "Please DO Not Ship" you want to do a "Local PickUp" and be told when it is ready so you can tell DS when you will be there. They will have it all carefully padded and boxed, ready to go, and usually their sensible DS guys will roll it out to your vehicle on a cart and put it in the car for ya...all to make sure no damage occurs on their watch. If it were me, would be well worth a whole day lost traveling to get it back to your home days or a week earlier, without any dropped box shipping damage issues.   There are lots of options like that you won't see listed as a choice, but many things are possible with DS if you ask.   Just my 2 cents..lol.
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  Quote NoeleoN Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 02 Nov 2022 at 8:58pm
Originally posted by HockeyBuck

Hey NoeleoN...congrats on the nice new rig!   I learned a long time ago not to trust shipping if you don't have to.

I have bought 5 DS rigs since 2012, and every time including last year I went and picked up the rig at DS myself. You live much farther away than I do, but if I had to drive 5-6 hrs each way to do a "Local PickUp" at DS... I would absolutely do that drive just to avoid shipping delays and or damage nightmares. We hear about shipping damage done to these high quality DS computers in transit a lot here, so if you were to want to pick it up yourself...all you have to do is advise DS Sales "Please DO Not Ship" you want to do a "Local PickUp" and be told when it is ready so you can tell DS when you will be there. They will have it all carefully padded and boxed, ready to go, and usually their sensible DS guys will roll it out to your vehicle on a cart and put it in the car for ya...all to make sure no damage occurs on their watch. If it were me, would be well worth a whole day lost traveling to get it back to your home days or a week earlier, without any dropped box shipping damage issues.   There are lots of options like that you won't see listed as a choice, but many things are possible with DS if you ask.   Just my 2 cents..lol.


haha wish i could, actually another reason i'm building a gaming pc is i recently found out about a terminal illness that runs in my family. Long story short i had open heart surgery 2 weeks ago (which apparently is just a bandaid fix) and cant drive for a little while and also will be in physical therapy in 2 weeks. I'll just cross my legs and fingers and hope to god nothing bad happens. I currently have a DS rig my brother gave to me a couple years back, he didnt have an issue with shipping so hope i get the same luck!but thank you for the heads up, ill be sure to do a thorough check of the system and let the know of any damages i see!!
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  Quote db188 Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Nov 2022 at 1:44pm
i'd keep them in this thread .
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  Quote Onkel_Ken Quote  Post ReplyReply bullet Posted: 03 Nov 2022 at 9:00pm
Velox X/AMD 5900X/MSI X570 Pro Carbon MB/32GB DDDR 3200 DSPS/850W PS/500GB Samsung 980 Pro/1TB Samsung 970 EVO Plus/500 GB HDD/Sound Blaster AE-7/EVGA FTW3 Ultra RTX 3080 10GB/Liquid CPU cooler AIO/
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