Discussion Budget water cooling solution for a Vega 56 in 2021 ? (ref design)

Tonkatsu

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 18, 2020
80
44
Well is there anything such ?

Note I have zero experience in the field, this is my first time considering water-cooling anything.

Case's either Node 202 or FTZ01S.

Story: I'd enjoy a better cooled and more importantly decently quiet GPU, until the crisis ends.
But it might not be worth spending serious extra upgrading an already aged one (btw: it's the MSI Air Boost OC reference-based model).

While I'm seeing here and there offers for artisan services, even local : https://hybridcooling-modding.fr/gpu/80-waterblock-rx-vega.html (mmh the tubes I/O located right under the pcb, so that one's prolly unseable with 240mm radiator, maybe not even 120mm, dunno)...
...and manufacturer products still in stock: https://www.corsair.com/eu/fr/Catégories/Produits/Custom-Cooling/Waterblocks/Waterblocks-pour-carte-graphique/Waterblock-pour-carte-graphique-Hydro-X-Series-XG7-RGB-RX-SERIES-(VEGA-64)/p/CX-9020007-WW
...I bet the invoice total (Q: what's everything I'd need besides the block?) will probably turn to unreasonable spending level if considering purchasing a brand new GPU in probably ~2 years from now.

Did I read CPU blocks to GPUs adapters exist ? couldn't find examples though.

Any hint appreciated. Also please tell me honestly to give up and wait if that's a silly idea/waste of time & money. ;)
 
Last edited:

Protools

Average Stuffer
Oct 10, 2018
69
42
The 2 cases you've stated has no room for any radiator to be inside. You'll need a radiator to cool the waterblocks.
If you must use those cases, you can drill a 20~22mm hole and insert a fill port. Try searching 'G1/4" Fillport Fitting'.
You can then connect an external radiator such as MO-RA3(https://shop.watercool.de/MO-RA3-360-PRO-black_1)

Finding a waterblock for the Vega will be hard since most manufacturers will EOL the waterblock if the GPU is no longer produced.
Try looking for a reputable brand such as EKWB, Barrow, Bykski etc.

As long as you have the will to mod your case, anything is possible for your dream build.
 

Tonkatsu

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 18, 2020
80
44
Well finding blocks for the Vega isn't hard, I've linked two available and there's probably more.

I figured I need a radiator but are you sure none will fit ? I've seen many water-cooled Node 202s around, some both CPU and GPU (rad just under the GPU)
And the FTZ01 is even larger (14L)...
I'm trying to cool only the GPU tho, so I wondered, since some managed to do it, maybe I could too...

EDIT: I would have gone the Raijintek Morpheus route, probably, if it was still available, but nope.
Though it would have been just as difficult a fit, maybe.

EDIT; for instance this https://www.xs-pc.com/radiators-tx-series/tx120-ultrathin-radiator
or this https://www.xs-pc.com/radiators-tx-series/tx240-ultrathin-radiator
should fit under the wblocked GPU

Maybe the 120mm would be enough ? (since I'm cooling only the GPU) or it'd be better to have a 240mm anyways ?

EDIT: at this point, just the Corsair block and a radiator puts the invoice over 200€, I don't know how much more equiment I'd need for a fiunctional cooling system, but that could put me somewhere close to what I'll spend on a fresh GPU in about two years (guessing)
So unless there isn't an cheaper alternative...well...

EDIT: found more affordable blocks:
cheapest block i've found:
110+ship. so ~125

With that and a 120mm rad I'm already at 190€, and I dunno how much more adds to this (tubes, pump etc whaterver you tell me I need)
This is looking like it won't be worth the expense, so unles you guys have a better idea...
 
Last edited:

Protools

Average Stuffer
Oct 10, 2018
69
42
OK so TX 120 or 240 sounds like it will work, you'll still need to fit a pump.
Can you measure if this will fit? https://www.alphacool.com/shop/ausg...24196/alphacool-eisstation-40-dc-lt-behaelter

Or maybe add a CPU pump block in the loop?

there are a few new pump/block combos out there but you'll also need to see if the height is low enough.
 

ezerez

Trash Compacter
Mar 31, 2021
39
34
You could also look at it from another angle. Your pretty old GPU is probably at its most valuable ever since its a good gpu for mining. So if you combine that money you could get from it + your budget for watercooling you might be able to buy a gpu even at inflated prices that is better and quieter. Just an option worth considering I think
 
  • Like
Reactions: jakejm79 and rcodi

Tonkatsu

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 18, 2020
80
44
Excuse me for inserting 4 interim yet important questions before resuming;

Q1: with the TX120 / TX240 I don't need a separate reservoir, right ?

Q2: is a TX120 enough to cool : a) GPU b) CPU c) BOTH, assuming hypothetical future loop expansion to CPU ?

Q3: if Q2 c) is a 'NO' then is it worth getting a TX240mm anyway while it's still available ? (reminder: not easy/granted/wellpriced availability where I live)

Q4: is a sole CPU pump like the Eisbaer LT fit/powerful enough for the GPU block I have in mind, and then is it also for the hypotetical future expansion to CPU ?

---

So, I've checked the Node 202 (wanna check feasability for the smaller build in priority), and depending on which radiator (TX120 or TX240), I'll have either one or two empty spaces available;

volume #1 next to the PSU, in place of the drive bay, kinda expandable (LxWxH)
  • 110x30x70mm (easy fit)
  • 120x35x70mm (squeezing)
  • 120x55x70mm (internal case mod only if no choice)
volume #2 under the waterblocked GPU, next to the TX120, depending on block's thickness;
(case bottom surface available 245x130mm, TX120 lenght 158mm)
(nb: between the GPU pcb and the case's bottom H is ~63mm)
  • Heatkiller 18,5mm thick, estimated free H 45mm, therefore: 87x130x45mm
  • Kryographics ??mm thick, seems thicker, estimated free H 40mm, therefore 87x130x45mm
That's it so far without heavier case modding, I think.

---

You could also look at it from another angle. Your pretty old GPU is probably at its most valuable ever since its a good gpu for mining. So if you combine that money you could get from it + your budget for watercooling you might be able to buy a gpu even at inflated prices that is better and quieter. Just an option worth considering I think
Yep, that's another way to achieve it.

Though I have no idea how much it's worth atm, and I wasn't really planning on buying a GPU now, I was kinda waiting for the next 'gen', hopefully bringing more interesting post-crisis stuff from nVidia & AMD....so...I could end up being stuck with a backup GPU (RX 570) for quite a long time if I sell the Vega now lol.

That's why I'm asking people, I'm trying to figure the feasability and rationality of going water with that obsolete GPU
(what a thing to say. sure it doesn't do fancy raytracing but plays most current games at high quality settings, stable 1080p60 even vsynced, albeit at its limit for some but still. less than two years ago that was still considered high end and superior to consoles. *sigh* we're spoiled)

In short, since I really don't want to buy a new GPU now; if watercooling that Vega isn't too horribly expensive and difficult, I might do it. Might. The thread's not over, nothing's decided.
 
Last edited:

Tonkatsu

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 18, 2020
80
44
Found a build with the XSPC TX240mm radiator in a Node 202: https://forums.evga.com/DeeBee-Xtreme-Fractal-Node-202-Full-CPU-amp-GPU-Watercooled-m2866191.aspx
The block and pump are EOL, but at least it's proof there's enough room for even a full loop.

EDIT: and another one: https://www.techpowerup.com/forums/...om-loop-with-ryzen-2600x-and-rtx-2080.252491/
same rad, the Phobya DC-12-220 pump is available to me this time 40~ish eur (but is this something I need? I don't even know what parts I need exactly nor how to differenciate them)

ParenthesiS: but there's a lot I don't get just from looking at these builds as a whole, water cooling is still esoteric from my POV.

And the internet is not really helpful either, maybe water cooling isn't that popular ? found beginners guides are old, communities are very low activity on the topic and regulars there are often experienced~veteran members who'd rather keep exchanging at their level than school noobs. Or it has to be about hardware that's not older than a few months, something original/special, otherwise ppl have little to no interest period.
I mean even reddit with its frenetic pace (for a forum-like format). unless posting under more generalist subs like r/buildapc you won't get attention, the more specialized fields subs are basically all the same: near flatlined niche communities (+ a flatlined discord) with always the same handful of ppl around quickly checking if there's anything worth reacting to, like every day or three. Ironically there's more response from rare niche subs dwellers, to threads posted in big generalist subs, because they check these more then their own. ^^
 
Last edited:

rcodi

SFF Gamer
Aug 5, 2017
149
137
I'll +1 the "this is a waste of time/money" opinion, and will also try to talk you out of it.
  • As mentioned your Vega and backup card are both at their peak values on the secondhand market
  • Performance will likely be disappointing due to your case selection, a single 240 is going to offer marginal improvement in my opinion due to the cramped layout. If you check out my current build log, I'm temporarily running one out of two 240mm radiators while I wait for parts and it is not ideal and I'd wager I'm pulling less power than you.
  • This is also the reason you're not finding too much info for watercooling, those cases just don't accommodate enough radiator surface area/clearance and will be hell to build in. The one video up on Youtube I see with a custom loop repurposes an AIO block which is pretty jank if you ask me (as mentioned above there are other pump/res blocks on the market you'll just need to check clearance).
    • As a side note related to the video - he never shows the finished product and I assume it's because it didn't all fit together properly in the end. Comments are overly optimistic and the temps he provides sound like he didn't benchmark long enough to bring the loop up to temp and actually see if it could dissipate under a real load.
    • Also note how little space there is between the GPU and radiator, you do not have the option of getting a GPU mounted AIO unless you have space for a super thick 120mm rad next to the card (it'll need substantial surface area, Vega power consumption is high).
I would sell the Vega (currently $725 lowest on Ebay) along with the backup RX 570 you mentioned (4GB models going for $250). That gets you a nice current gen card if you get selected in the Newegg shuffle or score a restock. Ideally secure the new card first then sell the Vega and 570 to minimize downtime.

Build a proper loop in a case with a better layout so you don't have to compromise on component selection or end up with some slapped together rubber band and chewing gum build that nobody wants secondhand.

I'm sure I missed some questions but you can DM me on Discord and I'd be happy to share what I know even if I'm relatively new to watercooling myself.
 
Last edited:

Tonkatsu

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 18, 2020
80
44
Mmh...didn't think about selling both cards but why not.
Buy prices and availability of the new ones however, tend to be worse here (Europe) and for longer.

About the video of a guy who shoves and AIO, well I wasn't really looking for that in particular either but whatever, in any case even not getting better games performance for me would be fine since it's not what I'm after, as a priority I'm fighting the GPU's fan noise, then an improvement in temps is the second priority that should follow along at least a little bit anyway, that point matters too in anticipation of the high ambient temperatures we get locally in summer.

Currently I need to keep the Vega's temp around 65°C for its fan to be quiet enough for my ears, which I achieve by lowering the quality settings a bit lower than the High presets in the heaviest games (Control being the most problematic, curiously CP77 doesn't make my Vega scream quite as much)
Which means this summer it'll be a real issue unless I move my PC to the basement, to game in company of spiders, scorpions and mosquitoes...

The cooling just needs to be a little better and more silent, I guess if I could cut down -10~15°C from the usual at high load, while getting half the noise, it'd be satisfactory enough.

Before thinking of changing the cooling I've tried getting help around for tweaking the software, but wherever you mention Vega everyone - no exception - is fixated on UV+OC for getting MORE performance & FPS, which inevitably produces more consumption/heat/noise, not a single person listened to me asking how to limit and force it to stay cooler and quieter than its popular targeted usuals. I was seeking settings similar to 'power saver' preset mode, but controlled, customized.
(I gave up and since been using Bios 2 + power saver preset, which is the lowest operation mode available to that card and quieter than any other, but non-customizable of course. still brings out enough juice for vsynced 60fps at medium~medium+ quality though)

I understand what you suggest is what a normal builder would do, but to me two points pose problem;
  • I don't have much interest in current GPUs, betting both manufacturers will bring out the more interesting stuff performance/power and size-wise in a while, including more SFF friendly variants.
  • Can't make that one short: my flavor-type of interest for SFF is the following: 'pick a case I really dig first, fantasize about what I'd like the build in it to be, try whatever works'. Up-to-date components and performance isn't the first area I think about, for instance I've deliberately picked older hardware for native W7 compatibility use cases that no W10 nor VM alternatives work right enough for, because I wanted that to be a feature of my build more than seeing Raytracing, hell I'm satisfied just getting 1080p60 on my PC where my PS4 can only do 30. I'm not like builders spending a new motorbike's worth on a PC chasing Ultra setting at 4K 1000Hz, I'm not even at 2K60 yet and I don't lose sleep over that. Honestly a lot of popular SFF cases and builds I see around don't appeal to me, most are just black boxes I don't even find fitting well nor nicely on a desk. Plus possibilities components-wise reach so far that there's no way I could afford some of the crazy builds I see, I'm happier with my vertical slimline obsolete cases and their limitations (that I somewhat see as a challenge also), and if subpar watercooling yet still better than air is possible in such narrow cases, then I'm interested, I think people who attempt that are well aware they won't achieve results similar to the 'rational' builds.
But things aren't really well timed for me right now, what I seek is conflicting with what's commonly rational.
IF a better-than-stock working cooling solution for my Vega exists, and the cost isn't ridiculous, then I'll go for it. Only if people give me thorough-enough information-help on the parts I need so I can manage to evaluate the cost with decent accuracy.

And yeah the full block + rad + pump with whatever else already sounds ridiculous, but I'm still all 'ears' for more info/help. ;)

PS: I dislike discord for anything more than shitposting because we can't make long detailed posts there, I dislike social media also. Forums walls of text FTW.
 
  • Like
Reactions: smitty2k1

Tonkatsu

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 18, 2020
80
44
Had a round of price checking for new GPUs this morning, and nope, even if I sold both the Vega and 570, I'd still have to add like 600~1000€ to get anything decent.
This is ridiculous, makes trying to watercool my Vega sound not so unreasonable after all, that's probably an okay investment if that'll allow me to play in more peaceful conditions for the next 2~3 years until that WTF crisis is over (pessimistic estimate).

Plus if you think about it, only the waterblock isn't reusable, most everything else in the loop can find a second life later in this build or another.
While spending insane amounts on a fresh new GPU now at 3x its worth while it'll be obsolated just by the next generation hopefully after the crisis, and therefore lose value dramatically, is the most unreasonable move, IMO.

So yeah I still need your input guys, so far I was going for either the;
  • Kryographics waterblock (watercool.de)
  • Heatkiller waterblock (aquacomputer.de)
and either;
  • XSPC TX120mm radiator
  • XSPC TX240mm radiator
What pump will do the job ?
  • Phobya DC12-220 ?
  • Alphacool Eisbaer LT (Solo) ?
  • some Laing DDC ?

What else do I need ?
Tubes, fittings ?
What's compatibility like ?
Is it better to order fittings and tubes from the same 'workshop' brand I order the waterblock ?


Lots of questions still standing to help me make a choice also;
Q1: with the TX120 / TX240 I don't need a separate reservoir, right ?

Q2: is a TX120 enough to cool : a) GPU b) CPU c) BOTH, assuming hypothetical future loop expansion to CPU ?

Q3: if Q2 c) is a 'NO' then is it worth getting a TX240mm anyway while it's still available ? (reminder: not easy/granted/wellpriced availability where I live)

Q4: is a sole CPU pump like the Eisbaer LT fit/powerful enough for the GPU block I have in mind, and then is it also for the hypotetical future expansion to CPU ?
🌮

EDIT: this thread shows that the 240mm is slightly too long, the power plug get in the way, but that's not a big issue.
Still wondering which is wiser, the 120mm or 240mm
 
Last edited:

Tonkatsu

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 18, 2020
80
44
Received a Kryographics waterblock and a TX240 radiator today, dunno if they were the right choice, anyway status: secured.

Need to figure exactly what else I need now, in terms of pump, tubes, fittings and whatever.
 

rcodi

SFF Gamer
Aug 5, 2017
149
137
I'll recommend this Optimum Tech video if you're looking for a quick crash course when it comes to fittings and tubing:



I recommend his channel in general because he's done numerous SFF custom loop builds, very informative in regards to SFF component choices.

Regarding radiator choice, I'd say you chose correctly because you'll definitely want any 240 over a 120 if you're going to have both the GPU and CPU in the loop (and likely even in a GPU only loop if silence is your goal). Even 240 will be cutting it close in surface area necessary to run the fans quietly depending on your CPU choice.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Tonkatsu

Tonkatsu

Average Stuffer
Original poster
Jul 18, 2020
80
44
Oh good! I sure do need lessons. thanks.

Yeah I was worried about 120mm being really not enough surface even if it's an easier fit in the Node 202.

Regarding the CPU, I haven't decided if it'll be in the loop yet, but I own both a 9700 and a 9700K, the former being much easier to cool, actually even just an IS-60 air cooler is enough for it.

The question would rather be; can a loop with the TX240 efficiently cool both the GPU and the 9700K in there...
Dunno yet of course, maybe success will also depend on a better, more efficient GPU in the future.