Stalled Project O² - Mostly Without "H"

Phuncz

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Immediately after my watercooling loop inside my Ncase M1 started leaking (block seal malfunction), I checked what air coolers have a perfect fit inside the Ncase M1 and perform well. Luckily a day and a half later I was up and running again.

I suddenly remembered how easy air cooling is to install and doesn't need constant monitoring. Air cooling can only really be ruined by a broken fan, which watercooling doesn't like either. You lose sight of these simple things in life, when you have a full-time job you don't want to come home to another few hours of work on a PC because it decided to spring a leak on you. No matter how carefully you installed it.

How did my newly purchased Kabuto II and Arctic Cooling Accelero Extreme IV perform ? Extremely well. It was quieter than my watercooling loop and it had close to the same performance. But it was essentially completely silent at idle. Bliss.

So with this motto and the upcoming Cerberus, I was contemplating to continue this heavenly cloud of airy computing but not just transplant it. I wanted to get another Radeon 290X and Crossfire the thing, ON AIR. Yes you read that correctly: 550W TDP on air. Some of you might feel light-headed, most of you will think I'm stupid. Is a mad scientist ever stupid when he doesn't know any better ? This is actually more of a test than anything, because I was/am not sure it will work.

"But how you crazy nutjob, there is no room for the Arctic Accelero, not even with three slots !" You are correct. So I'm going to need to put the card or the heatsink somewhere else. The card is tricky, as the case itself won't have much room to put that block of molten lava anywhere relevant. (Except the front, that could have maybe worked...)

So I'm going to use heatpipes to put the heatsink where the fan bracket is, roughly resembling this:


Thermalright Spitfire (EOL)

But the problem is, there doesn't seem to exist a suitable "L-bracket". So I need to make one myself, using two blocks and heatpipes. After many many hours of searching, I found the only good block that seems remotely capable of handling the TDP:


HDPlex H5 passive GPU heatsink system

But it wasn't compatible with the R9 290X according to the website, probably because of the 95W max TDP (remember: passive) but also because the screw hole distances were half a millimeter off. I ordered one anyway, see if it fit. It did, although barely. So I ordered another one, along with ten 6mm x 220mm heatpipes and a copper pipe bending tool. The second heatsink arrived today and here is what it came of it.


Arctic Accelero with the HDPlex H5 GPU block and 8 heatpipes attached.


It's not easy to get an equal amount of pressure on all 8 heatpipes. I haven't used thermal paste on the one attached to the Arctic Accelero yet.


Yes the heatpipes are mounted the wrong way, no worries.


Still with straight pipes, I want to test this with straight ones first to see how much of a difference it could be.


1629 gram of copper and aluminium. A Noctua NH-D15 heatsink weighs 980 gram.


I used the screws that came with the Accelero because the ones from the HDPlex block were too short. But these were too long so I needed to cut these.


The monstrosity I need to figure out if it is viable.

So how does it run ? I scrambled some parts together, grabbed an Ubuntu Live USB stick and fired off Heaven benchmark. But I can't read temps or atleast I haven't figured out how to yet. But it does work, both heatsinks heat up and the Arctic Accelero absorbs heat too. But because I can't monitor temps and I have it laying flat on the table upside-down, the VRMs aren't getting ANY air so I don't want to stress it just yet. This weekend I'll get a Windows install running and fire up the brimstone.
 

Phuncz

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I have yes. But the problem is reading metals and heatsinks, even though I can change the emissivity on mine. I'm going to look at contact temperature sensors for my Fluke multimeter for that purpose.
 
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Aibohphobia

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Piece of electrical tape on the metal will get around the emissivity problem.

And I look forward to how this project turns out!
 

iFreilicht

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I personally like to use Psensor on Ubuntu. It's a simple and clean UI that uses lm-sensors internally but is much nicer to use.

you crazy nutjob
Yes you are. I want to see this happen so much.
What's the idea for the second GPU? I guess you want to use the heatpipes for the top one and install the second one two slots down so you've got space for an accelero without additional modding, right?
 
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Phuncz

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The one featured in the pics will be the primary/top-most GPU, the one in my Ncase M1 will be transplanted like it is, if it can fit this way. They will indeed be using "slot 1" and "slot 3", if an mATX board would have 4 slots.
 

Phuncz

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Shit just got real !


I put two glasses beneath both HDPlex heatsinks to raise the card, added 3 fans (2x Noctua redux 140mm, 1x Nexus 120mm) to simulate the installation, put them on a low setting with random fan controller (I guess 7V, no PWM) and let the benchmarks do their thing.

Unfortunately, my ye olde PCIe extenders are not the best of quality, it was having difficulty keeping a stable signal. I limited it to PCIe 2.0 but it was still struggling with texture loading in Heaven benchmark. So I fired up FurMark, a benchmark that's not my favorite because of its unrealistic scenario, but since its texture cache is tiny, the GPU can perform at full speed.

Results:


80°C after more than 11 minutes.


My desktop, same card, same heatsink, PWM 120mm fans, inside a case, no heatpipe transmission.

Damn, this actually works. And I haven't even properly screwed one of the heatsinks down and only applied thermal paste on one block and very conservatively too.
 
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Phuncz

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The screws touch the inside of the PCB's holes though and I needed longer screws, just a few mm though. But it fits, no problem with any components hitting the block.
 

veryrarium

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I noticed you asked a question in the Cerberus thread a while ago regarding the offsettability of the installed SFX PSU to the mobo side and I suppose it's related to side-mounting of the Accelero Xtreme heatsink+a fan (or fans) ...have you come up with an idea of how to go about installing it on the side bracket of Cerberus? I'm kinda assuming you want to mount a fan on the underside of Acclero Xtreme as opposed to the flat side (top side) of the heatsink to use space effciently, and let the fan on a down-draft CPU cooler do the pushing or pulling air thru the rear half of Accelero, but those fins of the aluminum top of the HDPlex unit still protrude a bit too much for your purpose, I believe. Are you going to shave them off with a grinder?
But even if you do, the maximum height of a down-draft CPU cooler will be severely limited. (Another idea is using a cooler such as Silverstone NT01-Pro in such a way that goes around the Accelero but I don't know whether the NT01-Pro can clear the large VRM heatsink on the north or west side (whichever side you orient NT01-Pro) of the CPU on whatever mobo you will be using.

Do you think you could do away with a shorter GPU heatsink than Accelero Xtreme so that clearance with an SFX PSU is an non-issue?
 

Phuncz

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I'm basically limited by my imagination at this point, since I'm not fluent enough with 3D drawing software to mimic it. I'm waiting for the case to arrive since you'd never know what changes could be made to the final design.

If the fans go on the front or back of the heatsink I'm not certain, it will depend on how well it fits insde the case. I can also move the heatpipes on both heatsinks to offset it some more if needed but I was indeed thinking about the fans behind the heatsink too.

About the CPU cooler I'm undecided since my main priority is the GPUs fitting (and cooling) properly. In the end I'll have to cool 550W worth of GPU TDP, so the CPU is a fraction of that.
 

veryrarium

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I see. I'm looking forward to how the whole setup will turn out once you obtain a Cerberus case.
 

Phuncz

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Crap. The benchmarks for the Radeon RX 480 are leaking in and it's performance in games like DOOM are well above 390X levels. This basically means my dual R9 290Xs will not just consume about 2.5 times the power than two RX 480s, but also be performing worse.

So in the name of science © I'll be testing out how my project will perform, most likely immediately followed by replacing them with dual RX 480s. I knew these new cards would put the hurt on the previous gen, but this is bonkers. I bought the second R9 290X believing AMD would start at the top and I'd be able to squeeze atleast a year or two out of the usefulness.

My project would still be applicable with the RX480s but considering their severly reduced heat output, I'd probably not require dual Arctic Accelero Xtreme coolers to get them to behave.
 

veryrarium

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Haven't seen benchmark comparisons among R9 290X (390X) and RX 480 but assuming what you said, I kinda find your testing 2x 290Xs with 2x Accelero Xtremes in Cerberus to be a waste of time. Just starting off with 2x RX 480s and see how quiet and cool at the same time you can make your rig with two open-air GPU coolers plus a CPU cooler inside would be an interesting enough project. As suggeted in my last post, my prediction is that it would be next to impossible for a decent air cooler for the CPU, an Accelero Xtreme for the top GPU, and an SFX PSU to reside together in Cerberus, unless you tweak the SFX PSU bracket as well as Cerberus's frame somehow and let an SFX PSU somehow sit similar to how it does in NCASE M1 orientation-wise without hitting RAM modules, the bulky ATX24pin cable connector, part of whatever CPU cooler/fan you'd choose, etc. So I think it's wise for you to save time by reallocating your time and effort for the 290X experiement to a quest for a better-suited GPU cooler capable for silencing your top GPU while leaving enough space for a decent CPU cooler (assuming you'll still pursue this offshoring-the-GPU-open-air-cooler approach).

I feel Aiboh can chime in and give his insight as to the clearance issue I'm talking about. I don't think he said anything specifically on this when you threw that SFX-bracket-offsetting question in the Cerberus thread.
 

Phuncz

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I see your point and I agree, but I'll have to wait for Cerberus anyway to continue, because:
a. I don't have an mATX case to house two cards so I don't need them right now
b. two cards only work correctly on an mATX board (splitter won't work on Asus VII Impact)
c. I don't have an mATX board yet
d. there's no challenge in getting two short low-power GPUs in an mATX case
e. I promised a project and I'm damn well going to finish it
 

Phuncz

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Awesome, thanks ! I'll be checking this with the specs when I get home from work to see how it matches up.
 

Phuncz

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I looked up the heatpipes I bought on eBay, but no specifications are given except the length and thickness. If I succeed in bending all six pipes without breaking one, I'll look into opening one (safely) to see if it's sintered or not. These were about the cheapest (<10€/piece) I could find before Conrad.de sold out their Gelid heatpipes which did have specs.

The link you gave was insightful, a quote:
Given that one should generally design a two-phase device to operate at 70% of its Qmax (we’ll use total power of 70W), we see that the thermal resistance of an un-bent device from 0.047 degrees c/w (3.3 °C) to 0.063 (4.4 °C) for a device with a U-shaped bend. This translates to a delta-T of only 0.9 degrees Celsius.
So if I'm interpreting this correctly, bending doesn't have a severe impact on the performance, although orientation is not mentioned here so I'm guessing this is measured horizontally and not vertically.