Concept Sub-8lt & Sub-10lt Full CLC Case Ideas

theGryphon

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jun 15, 2015
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237
Hey people,
Before I present this case concept, I'd like to inquire on a technical question on liquid cooling, the answer of which might just break it.

Here is the thing, visualize a CLC loop with the following components:
1) A CPU waterblock (90-degree adapters needed)
2) A full-cover GPU waterblock (90-degree adapters needed)
3) A pump-res combo (with max dimensions of 70x70x122, e.g. EK-XRES 100 DDC MX 3.2 PWM)
4) A thick 240x120x38 radiator (a la EK-CoolStream PE 240) (90-degree adapters needed)
5) A thin 120x120x26 radiator (a la EK-CoolStream SE 120)
6) No fans directly on the radiators
7) 3 of 92x25 fans (a la Noctua A9 PWM) creating negative pressure inside the case

So, the idea is to use the 92mm fans to suck in fresh air through the radiators, albeit indirectly, and out of the case. The Noctua fans, for reference, each have 46.5 CFM, 2.28mm H20 rating at 2000rpm.

And the million dollar question is, how effective would this CLC loop be? More specifically, what total heat output can it comfortably handle? More practically, what kind of CPU+GPU combo(s) can it handle?

All inputs are highly appreciated, thanks! :thumb:

PS: If the answers are favorable, how would you evaluate the market for a console like case (with external dimensions of 315x315x100, worked out in detail) comprised of all of the above, a mini-ITX motherboard, two 2.5" drives, and a flexATX PSU?
 
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BlackRogue

Trash Compacter
Oct 22, 2016
45
26
Well the Corsair One uses a similar setup, where it has one fan in the top of the case that exhausts out of the top of the case pulling air through the side radiators, so it's thoeretically possible. However this is on a much smaller scale and given how big the case is you might not have direct enough air flow to get the throughput needed to cool the radiators adequately
 

theGryphon

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jun 15, 2015
299
237
Sorry for late response, life...

Yes, this case relies on indirect airflow similar to Corsair One. That case being a proof-of-concept, I believe this case would also work fine. I'm however no expert on things liquid cooling, so any educated opinion on the potential of this case and potential pitfalls, I'd appreciate it.

I am below posting a SketchUp model of the case layout. Clearly, the success of the negative pressure idea will require that the case is as sealed as possible except for where the radiators are installed (also except for the top, duh). A single-slot-bracket GPU would work the best and thankfully most new generation ones do not require double-slots.

Other notes are that the CLC loop pretty much requires flexible tubing. Based on my knowledge in physics of cooling and the case layout, a loop as Pump -> CPU -> GPU -> Rad240 -> Rad120 -> Pump should work the best. I also have the case thought-through (but not fully modeled) using 1.63mm thick Aluminum 5052-H32. This case should arrive at 315x315x100mm = 9.92lt. I shall call this, Model 1 (see below).

via Sketchfab



In the mean time, I also came-up with another case layout using almost the same components but at much smaller case dimensions of 306x307x85 = 7.99lt. I shall call this one, Model 2.

What Model 2 foregoes is the thick (PE series, 38mm) 240mm radiator in favor of the thin (SE series, 26mm) version. However, it now sports two 120mm fans with direct airflow through both 120mm and 240mm radiators. Oh, and Model 2 supports only single-slot GPUs, but that shouldn't be any concern with most modern GPUs. The only caveat with Model 2 seems to be that the pump+res unit is now installed horizontally. The manufacturer claims it should operate just fine in that orientation, but I'll leave the discussion on potential handicaps to more experienced audience.

So, here is Model 2:

via Sketchfab


Full details on Model 2:
  • 1 x EK CoolStream SE 240 rad (280x120x26)
  • 1 x EK CoolStream SE 120 rad (160x120x26)
  • 1 x EK-XRES 100 DDC MX 3.2 PWM or similar size pump+res combo
  • 2 x 120x25 fans
  • 1 x full-length GPU with full-cover block (one-slot thickness and bracket)
  • 1 x FlexATX PSU (81.5x40.5x150)
  • 1 x miniITX motherboard
  • 1 x 2.5’ drive

  • Airflow relies on two things: 1) the top 120mm fan to create negative pressure and preventing any heat build-up, 2) the bottom 120mm fan is to create a wind-tunnel through the radiators.
  • Only both sides of the bottom 120mm fan is to be perforated.

  • Case is to be manufactured using 1.63mm thick Aluminum 5052-H32.
  • Considering tolerances, the case outer dimensions are to be 306x307x85 = 7.99lt.
  • CLC loop is to be Pump -> GPU -> Rad240 -> CPU -> Rad120 -> Pump

Between the two, I certainly favor Model 2, as it achieves a much smaller volume and favorable proportions. It truly would be a console-style case with 85mm thickness. It also requires much less perforations. Plus, the positioning of the GPU enables using a clear side-panel (or a clear window) to display the GPU ;)

Any comments?
 

theGryphon

Airflow Optimizer
Original poster
Jun 15, 2015
299
237
To clarify one thing about the orientation, I intend to include a small hatch at the back, so the reservoir can be refilled without opening the case or removing the unit, by just turning the case on its front face (which will be solid).

I am also thinking about changing the placement of the 2.5" drive to lower the pump+res unit in order to give more space for tubing.
 
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royalba94

Airflow Optimizer
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Great project!

I love the embedded 3D viewer bit as well, I need to figure out how to do that :)

I am also mostly in favor of model 2 but I'd be slightly worried about the airflow but more so about the clearance for the fittings to the GPU since they'd be right in the area where VRM heatsinks and everything is on the motherboard.

Custom cabling is essentially required for this case in order to not restrict the airflow further but I'm ok with that ;)

It also strikes me that the Gigabyte B350 mITX mobo would be basically perfect for the Model 2 config :)
 
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Biowarejak

Maker of Awesome | User 1615
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Mar 6, 2017
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I am also mostly in favor of model 2 but I'd be slightly worried about the airflow but more so about the clearance for the fittings to the GPU since they'd be right in the area where VRM heatsinks and everything is on the motherboard.
Same here. I definitely appreciate the space efficiency, but it looks to me that you'd have to choose the proper fittings adapter to the water block in order for it to work (like the EKWB swivel fitting adapter).