Log Cerberus X Build for Video/Animation, 184mm Rad for i9-10850K?

thefireofwisdom

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 21, 2020
16
1
Greetings. I'm so grateful for this dedicated and helpful community. I have spent a considerable amount of time studying videos and forums (for ideal airflow, temps, configurations, components, etc.) and tediously designing and measuring a potential build for rotoscope animation + video editing + rendering. I'm seeking your informed opinion on this build, and it may inspire or help others too, as there are contained therein some unique configurations and innovative SFF components that are worthy of consideration, imo. Here are the components:

Case: Cerberus X (inner dimensions 359.92mm x 163.67mm x 330.17mm)
CPU: Intel Core i9-10850K (practically the same as the i9-10900K, only 100MHz slower, some claim it runs cooler and is more energy efficient)
Mobo: Asus ProART Z490-CREATOR 10G ATX
GPU: NVIDIA GeForce RTX 3070 FE (242mm x 112mm) (small but powerful, I'm super curious to see benchmarks after this launches)
RAM: Crucial Ballistix 3600 MHz DDR4 64GB (32GBx2) CL16 (most affordable 3600MHz CL16 RAM I could find, though I wonder if 3200MHz CL16 RAM would perform similarly)
PSU: Corsair SF750 (SFX 100mm x 63mm x 125mm) (most powerful SFX PSU I could find, and I'll probably get custom MDPC-X cables)
Storage: 1. Samsung 970 EVO Plus 500GB M.2 NVMe SSD (OS/Applications)
2. Samsung 970 Pro 512 GB M.2 NVMe SSD (Disc Cache)
3. Samsung 860 Evo 1 TB 2.5" SSD (Project Files)
Water Cooler: 1. (Config. #1) Be Quiet! Pure Loop 240mm (2x120mm fans) (277mm x 120mm x 52mm) (curious to see reviews after it launches)
2. (Config. #2) Black Ice Nemesis M184 GTX (2x92mm fans) (213mm x 93mm x 54mm) + Barrow CPU Pump Block (72mm high w/ low profile fittings)
Fans: Noctua various sizes - 92mm, 120mm, 140mm

Please see attached photo of crude schematics for 2 potential configurations: In addition to the 3 intake fans pushing airflow out the top 2 exhaust fans, my rationale is that all heat-generating components intake cooler external ambient air, then expel warmed air immediately out of the case wherever possible. I've never tested thermals for water cooler placement and intake vs. exhaust, but it makes more sense to me to have an intake water cooler above the GPU (in this case, mounted on the side hinge door) whereupon the internal radiated warmer air would be directed to the top + rear exhaust fans, instead of having the water cooler below (whether from bottom or front of case) whereupon the GPU would intake the radiated warmed air and add even more heat to the GPU (which would be bad, yes?). Furthermore, if I alternatively had the radiator exhaust (still above the GPU), then the radiator fans would intake the GPU warmed air from below and add even more heat to the radiator loop. However, I am open to orienting the radiator as exhaust if the thermals prove better, of course.

Config. #1 thoughts:
1. I am not sure if the SF750 PSU can be mounted securely on bottom-rear and then exhaust out the PCIe slots of the Cerberus X, but it would require perhaps additional brackets.
2. Ideally, I would like a bottom-rear intake fan right underneath the rear 3070 intake fan, but that's the compromise for placing the PSU there instead. I was considering maybe a duct attachment to the mid-bottom intake fan that would direct the air to the rear 3070 intake fan, though the PSU cables may interfere, and it may function fine overall without a duct.
3. I really like the idea of a front-top intake fan pushing the internal radiator warmed air to the exhaust fans and away from the CPU, VRM, and RAM.
4. Component clearance might be an overall issue, but I think it may fit well.

Config. #2 thoughts:
1. IMPORTANT: Along with the 3 intake fans + 2 exhaust fans, would the 184mm (2 x 92mm fans) radiator be enough to effectively cool an i9-10850K? With the PSU mounted front-top, only a smaller 184mm radiator would fit on the side hinge door.
2. Would the Barrow CPU pump block be enough to effectively pump and cool the 184mm radiator? It's rather an ingenious pump + waterblock + reservoir combo, despite the smaller res. Here is a review: . I could use a Barrow CPU pump block + 240mm radiator in Config. #1 as well.
3. Again, component clearance might be an overall issue, but I think it may fit well.

There are likely more options to consider (i.e. more comprehensive custom water loop, dual top fans sacrificing the Cerberus handle mount, etc.), but this is a healthy start. Looking forward to read and consider all your informed opinions and thoughts!
 

thefireofwisdom

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 21, 2020
16
1
I also meant to add for clarification: *Furthermore, if I alternatively had the radiator exhaust (still above the GPU), then the radiator fans would intake the GPU warmed air from below and add even more heat to the radiator loop (which would also be bad, yes?). Thus, intake water cooler fans are theoretically ideal, since they would intake external cooler air to cool the radiator loop. However, I am open to orienting the radiator as exhaust if the thermals prove better, of course.
 

Arie

Trash Compacter
Jul 4, 2018
36
68
Have you considered a rear-plate SFX PSU instead? That allows front and bottom mounted radiators of at least 240mm. With low profile fittings the barrow combo-unit fits underneath.
AIO is also an option in that configuration of course.

Radiators as intake is much better for fluid temps and thus temp of watercooled components.

Here's a pic of my dual-240 with the barrow-combo in a Cerberus (non-X).
 
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thefireofwisdom

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 21, 2020
16
1
Have you considered a rear-plate SFX PSU instead? That allows front and bottom mounted radiators of at least 240mm. With low profile fittings the barrow combo-unit fits underneath.
AIO is also an option in that configuration of course.

Radiators as intake is much better for fluid temps and thus temp of watercooled components.

Here's a pic of my dual-240 with the barrow-combo in a Cerberus (non-X).

Thanks for commenting, Arie. Your build looks solid. That's awesome that you have the Barrow combo unit installed on it. Sounds like thermals are favorable? Is the side hinge fan intake or exhaust?

I may mount a rear-plate SFX PSU + single (front) or dual (front and bottom) 240mm radiator(s) as a potential Config. #3, but only if the thermals prove better. Here are my thoughts on the potential issues with a rear-plate mounted SFX PSU:

1. The PSU would take up space in the top rear corner, thus restricting some airflow between it and the upper mobo.
2. I couldn't put an exhaust fan in the top rear corner, thus concentrating heat between it and the upper mobo.
3. I would only have one exhaust fan at the top, whereas I would like at least two exhaust fans (ideally top + rear). I could potentially have 2 top mounted exhaust fans, but then I couldn't mount a handle (a handy practical feature, but I suppose not essential. Sliger ought to design a handle mount that can facilitate 2 top fans!).
4. If intake radiators are mounted at the front and/or bottom, their warmed/radiated air would be pushed through the GPU, which will likely raise GPU temps. I'm curious to see if GPU thermals are within a desirable range in this configuration. It sounds like the Nvidia RTX 3000 series design allows for better cooling + airflow overall (warmed airflow is better than minimal or no airflow), and they may not even require a GPU waterblock in a custom water loop.
5. With an AIO cooler the uppermost part of the radiator configuration needs to be higher than the pump. Otherwise, the pump would collect air bubbles that will make it work harder, reducing its life and function. I could mount an AIO cooler vertically at the front, but the barbs would ideally need to be configured at the bottom of the radiator. If the barbs are at the top, it increases air bubble noise. Barbs at the bottom (again, ideal for reducing noise) would also require long tubes to reach the pump, which may prove difficult to find/implement. Thus, it seems the best placement for an AIO cooler would be on the side hinge (radiator is higher than pump + shorter tube length required).
6. Apparently, a custom water loop with a reservoir eliminates the issues in #5 above, since the volume of liquid in the res prevents air bubbles from getting trapped in the pump and the radiator (though I do wonder if the issues would return with a res/pump combo mounted sideways, though I'd rather not mount it this way, regardless). A custom water loop (I'm curious to try the Barrow here) would allow for various radiator placements, but again, front and/or bottom placement may affect GPU temps (as in #4 above).
This Gamers Nexus analysis of water cooler placement is enlightening:

One potential issue with my configs. #1 and #2 may be that the side hinge radiator would be blowing warmed air directly onto the upper mobo, but I hypothesize that this warmed air would be immediately expelled through the rear + top exhaust fans.

Once I receive all my parts, I will have to test the 3 configurations I have thus far mentioned, though such would require me to purchase multiple components, some of which I'd not use and end up going through the hassle of returning and/or selling.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Apr 1, 2016
3,410
2,431
Nice project and setup..:)
My first question would be : why going to full watercooling? Real need or hobby?..:D
 

thefireofwisdom

Chassis Packer
Original poster
Sep 21, 2020
16
1
Nice project and setup..:)
My first question would be : why going to full watercooling? Real need or hobby?..:D

Thanks for your reply, MarcParis, as well as for sharing the various inspiring and tested configurations on your perpetual Cerberus X log. I have yet to go through every page in your thread to gain build and cooling ideas, but I plan to do so. This will actually be my first build ever, and I've learned a lot online the past few weeks.

My desire to make rotoscopic animation (i.e. like the films/series Waking Life, Dream Corp LLC, A Scanner Darkly, The Gold Sparrow, etc.) is a hobby in the sense that I'm not currently earning money from it, but it is a passion that I wish to develop and eventually share with the world. Such a powerful build concept that I'm presenting here will hopefully support the hundreds of layers, shapes, and keyframes, as well as efficient rendering that will be utilized. My 5 year old Sager laptop already has outdated components that cause my video effects programs to lag and give non-snappy response, so I figure it's about time to upgrade.

As far as opting for water cooling, the i9-10850K is TDP 125W and past 200W at peak, so it will get a bit hot and need adequate cooling. Of all the testing and reviews I've observed (particularly Gamers Nexus), water cooling is superior to air cooling in terms of getting lower temps. I'd much rather have air cooling, though, and not have to fear any potential water leaks in my build, but air cooling may not be enough for the i9-10850K (also, I'm somewhat leery of the physical stress a heavy air cooler may have on the mobo), and quality water coolers are highly unlikely to leak (however, eventually they'll stop pumping and may need to be replaced every 5-6 years if used consistently). I really hope I could be proven wrong, and I could find an air cooler that would effectively cool the i9-10850K and fit adequately in the Cerberus X. I honestly don't have any experience testing thermals and airflow yet, so all of this theoretical for me at present.

I've ordered most of the components, but I still need to decide on a cooler, Noctua fan sizes + RPMs, and custom MDPC-X power cables (perhaps Mod-One), and I'm patiently awaiting the launch of the Nvidia RTX 3070.
 

MarcParis

Spatial Philosopher
Apr 1, 2016
3,410
2,431
Thanks for your reply, MarcParis, as well as for sharing the various inspiring and tested configurations on your perpetual Cerberus X log. I have yet to go through every page in your thread to gain build and cooling ideas, but I plan to do so. This will actually be my first build ever, and I've learned a lot online the past few weeks.

My desire to make rotoscopic animation (i.e. like the films/series Waking Life, Dream Corp LLC, A Scanner Darkly, The Gold Sparrow, etc.) is a hobby in the sense that I'm not currently earning money from it, but it is a passion that I wish to develop and eventually share with the world. Such a powerful build concept that I'm presenting here will hopefully support the hundreds of layers, shapes, and keyframes, as well as efficient rendering that will be utilized. My 5 year old Sager laptop already has outdated components that cause my video effects programs to lag and give non-snappy response, so I figure it's about time to upgrade.

As far as opting for water cooling, the i9-10850K is TDP 125W and past 200W at peak, so it will get a bit hot and need adequate cooling. Of all the testing and reviews I've observed (particularly Gamers Nexus), water cooling is superior to air cooling in terms of getting lower temps. I'd much rather have air cooling, though, and not have to fear any potential water leaks in my build, but air cooling may not be enough for the i9-10850K (also, I'm somewhat leery of the physical stress a heavy air cooler may have on the mobo), and quality water coolers are highly unlikely to leak (however, eventually they'll stop pumping and may need to be replaced every 5-6 years if used consistently). I really hope I could be proven wrong, and I could find an air cooler that would effectively cool the i9-10850K and fit adequately in the Cerberus X. I honestly don't have any experience testing thermals and airflow yet, so all of this theoretical for me at present.

I've ordered most of the components, but I still need to decide on a cooler, Noctua fan sizes + RPMs, and custom MDPC-X power cables (perhaps Mod-One), and I'm patiently awaiting the launch of the Nvidia RTX 3070.
I fully understand..:)
Based on my personal experience, real downside of watercooling is maintenance versus aircooling. Reliability is only coming to second.

I'm changing so often my setup (even small change) that watercooling is at the end very cumbersome for my personal usage. That's true watercooling remains the absolute best performer versus aircooling...after main difficulty is to witness real & noticeable changes in rendering tasks or fps. On this last point, watercooling seems useless nowadays, either on CPU or GPU, as air coolers improved a lot recently (especially on GPU , like Asus Tuf or even MSI Gaming Trio RTX 3080).

However watercooling are also great for look and RGB..:D

Eager to see your setup
 
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Kallus

Caliper Novice
Feb 27, 2018
24
8
Thanks for your reply, MarcParis, as well as for sharing the various inspiring and tested configurations on your perpetual Cerberus X log. I have yet to go through every page in your thread to gain build and cooling ideas, but I plan to do so. This will actually be my first build ever, and I've learned a lot online the past few weeks.

My desire to make rotoscopic animation (i.e. like the films/series Waking Life, Dream Corp LLC, A Scanner Darkly, The Gold Sparrow, etc.) is a hobby in the sense that I'm not currently earning money from it, but it is a passion that I wish to develop and eventually share with the world. Such a powerful build concept that I'm presenting here will hopefully support the hundreds of layers, shapes, and keyframes, as well as efficient rendering that will be utilized. My 5 year old Sager laptop already has outdated components that cause my video effects programs to lag and give non-snappy response, so I figure it's about time to upgrade.

As far as opting for water cooling, the i9-10850K is TDP 125W and past 200W at peak, so it will get a bit hot and need adequate cooling. Of all the testing and reviews I've observed (particularly Gamers Nexus), water cooling is superior to air cooling in terms of getting lower temps. I'd much rather have air cooling, though, and not have to fear any potential water leaks in my build, but air cooling may not be enough for the i9-10850K (also, I'm somewhat leery of the physical stress a heavy air cooler may have on the mobo), and quality water coolers are highly unlikely to leak (however, eventually they'll stop pumping and may need to be replaced every 5-6 years if used consistently). I really hope I could be proven wrong, and I could find an air cooler that would effectively cool the i9-10850K and fit adequately in the Cerberus X. I honestly don't have any experience testing thermals and airflow yet, so all of this theoretical for me at present.

I've ordered most of the components, but I still need to decide on a cooler, Noctua fan sizes + RPMs, and custom MDPC-X power cables (perhaps Mod-One), and I'm patiently awaiting the launch of the Nvidia RTX 3070.

It seems to me that a lot of the concerns that you have with regard to this build are really non issues in the real world. You mention wanting to have something like 5 airflow fans in the case. The concept of diminishing returns really applies here since the more fans you have the more airflow you have, but each fans also ends up contributing less to the total air velocity in the case and contributing much more to the noise level.

You also mention concern about mounting a heavy air cooler on the motherboard. This is also not really an issue. And don't just take my word for it, there are many people who have used things like the noctua nh d-15 for years without a single problem. The mounting hardware also distributes the load over a fairly large area, the mounting of air cooling towers is also something motherboard manufacturers take into account when designing their motherboards.

In terms of airflow I think you should do some research on positive and negative pressure if you haven't already since that will give you a lot of insight in regards to making a decision on how many fans you want and how you want to mount them.
 
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