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KSP Computer Building/Buying Megathread


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I actually got most of my parts in person at Fry's, they actually beat Newegg's prices when you take shipping into account. Did have to get the processor from Newegg though, they were fresh out at Fry's.

I did the research beforehand, of course. I walked into Fry's with a part's list, I didn't go in there willy-nilly and construct a computer in my head on the spot. :sticktongue:

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Look good or should I do better?

Trying to keep it low cost.

Looks like a pretty decent build. The hard drive seems a bit small for most people, a minor investment could get you a bigger drive.

I built my computer on Dec 28 -29. Here are the specs:

Intel i5 3570K @ 4.20GHz Stable ~ Cooler Master Hyper 212 Air Heatsink

8GB Corsair Vengeance RAM @ 1866MHz

Windows 7 Professional 64-Bit

EVGA Geforce GTX 660 Superclocked - Until April 22, I won't have a GPU because mine died and a new one is in the mail returning from a RMA

Cooler Master Silent Pro 720w - I realize that this was overkill, so I won't make the same mistake again.

Cooler Master HAF 922

ASRock Z75 Pro3 - My next computer will have a better motherboard so I can upgrade it

Seagate Barracude 500GB 7200RPM

Asus 24x Optical Drive

Sure its not the best, but its my first custom build. Now about getting that SSD upgrade...

Actually that's quite nice. There are always faster rigs, but this could run pretty much anything at a really nice quality. Like you said it just lacks the SSD.

Thats why you use an SSD for OS+applications and an HDD as data grave + games. An SSD has lower access times by an order of magnitude and is not slowed down by a mechanical read/write arm (randomly acessing small files on a hdd is painful).

I've got a 128 GB SSD and I am using some heavy software suites. Nonetheless there's still room for some games; Minecraft, KSP, Skyrim and some others are run from my SSD. 128 GB is a lot cheaper now than when I bought mine, a good one (Crucial M4, Samsung 830, 840 of 840 Pro of pretty much any Intel) can be had for around a 100 euros.

A little pro tip: shy away from anything with a Sandforce controller, like all the OCZ drives, since they tend to generate a lot of problems. Don't be fooled by made up or manipulated specifications, the SSDs mentioned above are not only way more reliable but also as fast and often faster.

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SSD's are almost universally regarded as the most cost efficient performance increase upgrade you can make. They're not super cheap, they're just that good.

Anyway, here's my build from around a year ago:

500GB SSD of course, the rest is just common for the time: GTX 670, i5, 8GB DDR3, etc.



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I use the Intel's stock heatsink fan. It is doing surprisingly well. Usually the CPU doesn't go much over 30 degrees celsius. I would say water cooling is better simply because I have had no experiance with mineral oil cooling.

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The more I see that thermal armor on boards the more I like it. What kind of temps are you getting from the Water-cool Kit? What does everyone think about mineral oil cooling over water cooling?

CPU/GPU sit around 25-30 C no matter what you throw at them.

The more I see mineral oil cooling the more repugnant it seems. Water-cooling is ridiculously over priced. Alone the water block for Foamy's GPU is +$200. Which mind you equates to another GPU.

I only paid £67 for that waterblock, and that was like a week after release. Full watercooling was probably around £300, that's how much I paid for the GPU alone, plus most of it can be reused for several builds.

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You could modify an automobiles electric radiator fan. Ive noticed that a Volvo electric radiator fan is just big enough for most Mid towers. If someone could get creative with the splicing of cables it would be the end all to computer cooling.

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Any Advice for someone who would get into watercooling?

Find someone you trust who has experience with it. My build above was my first with water, the build and design went perfectly simply because I talked about every aspect with a friend who has done it a lot before. I trusted his judgements and essentially let him design the water section of the build.

Then when it comes to building, do it with that person and do it slow and right. We only made one or two very minor mistakes with the build because we took a day and a half to do it and were very careful.

Lastly, if you're in the UK then buy the expensive bits from scan.co.uk and get scansure. This insures you for any installation mistake for 30 days after you buy and it's not very expensive. When you're having to disassemble a brand new GPU to put a waterblock on it you will be very glad for that safety net.

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I actually prefer air cooling. Proper heatsinks (as in, quite big) cool almost as good as watercooling (the difference is at best a few hundred of extra MHz's on full out overclock, usually about 200-300 MHz) and require a lot less maintenance, there is less that can go wrong (water and electronics generally do not mix), it is less expensive (although proper air cooling is also not really cheap) and usually actually quieter if you know what you are doing, due to the lack of a pump.

Of course, doing it the hard way can be fun :P I do not mind spending a lot of time selecting parts (hell, I sent three months on every small detail of my current rig), but I want it to be - in principle - fire and forget. I love spending time tinkering with the thing, but I hate having to tinker with it. I have to be able to rely on it being there when I need to do some major project.

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Water cooling can be very daunting, but its also much easier than it seems. It also has the potential to get ridiculously expensive, though it doesn't have to, and the bulk of that is a one time expense that lasts you through years of upgrades.

And with that, this post is not going to be small.......

For a start, some links.











Those are some of the more well known names anyways.

What is needed?

Well, for a ground up build, you'll need:

blocks for whatever parts will be in your loop.

a radiator to vent heat

a pump


fittings-2 per block, 2 per other item, essentially one each for inflow, and outflow, per item included.


Recommended but certainly not required are also:

a reservoir -more fluid, more peace of mind

a T fitting - useful in loop draining/filling.

a valve + quick disconnect - if you got the t-fitting, how else do you stop the leak?

ATX powersupply bypass adapter. - useful in getting your loop full of fluid without having to start up.


quick disconnects -easier loop cleaning/draining

Optional, but possibly useful:

a flow rate sensor

temperature sensor

leak sensor

pressure fill valves - these are neat

fluid filters

ultraquiet high performance fans - super quiet system with noisy radiator fans???

So, having said that, the first thought most people tend to have is:Water, in a computer!? Are you nuts?

For a start, lets put your mind at ease. Any proper watercooling solution is non-conductive. You could put your tower, while its running, into a tub full of this stuff and it wouldn't care at all. Temps would be amazing though........ Suffering a leak, or making a bit of a mess is essentially harmless as a result.

Some people prefer to make their own water solution, using distilled water, an anti corrosion agent, and an antibacterial agent. I tend to take the easy way out and just buy premixed, you need not worry about mixing, just fill and begin.

I love this stuff: http://www.tfc-us.com/product/f1-pure-performace-pc-cooling-liquid/

The anti-corrosion agent is needed to ensure that your parts stay in one smooth piece so they maintain a good thermally conductive surface and shed heat effectively. it helps to also match the metals in use, don't mix metals, try to pick one and stick with it, I prefer copper personally. I've seen silver blocks, and they are rather ridiculously expensive, the price difference just doesn't warrant the smallish performance difference.

The antibacterial is to help ensure you never get any algae or other gunk building up. Little bit of air, plus warmth, and water tends to equal horribly fetid water in a matter of days, the antibacterial brings an abrupt and effective end to that.

I'd recommend buying at least 2 liters to start. A Watercooling loop will eat most of a liter, if not a bit more, so the second bottle both ensures you have enough, and have some left over. Three could be a good idea of course. It doesn't expire quickly so there's no harm in stocking fluid in advance.

So the next question then is what sort of loop do you want to build.

For some a simple CPU only loop is enough. For those people an all in one solution might be all they need. In those cases you get a CPU block that has its own build in pump, radiator, fan, fittings, tubing, etc. Give it fluid, mount, and begin.

for example: http://www.newegg.ca/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181035

Most I think will go with CPU and GPU for their loops, since it includes the two warmest parts, and often noisiest parts.

In some cases the motherboard may be warranted, and if you really want, you can also include the Ram, they do make blocks to keep your ram cooled, and yes, even your HD's.

So lets say you decide to do your motherboard, CPU, and GPU. you'll need to know how many blocks your motherboard will need. Often at least the Northbridge chip needs to be cooled, frequently you'll also need to get the Southbridge as well. if you plan to push your mosfets, you might want to give them better cooling to handle higher voltages without increasing heat. A good example are the early X58 chipsets. They relied on airflow coming off the CPU heatsink to cool the North, South, and mosfets, so if you watercooled the CPU, they lost their airflow and are guaranteed to get warmer. push them at all and you could have problems if you don't watercool them then, or find another alternative solution.

Having gone this far already, adding in more fans, especially little ones as they are almost always noisy little things seems a waste. Watercooling is near silent, the two worst offenders for noise are gone, why add noise back in, and watercooling is more effective at controlling temps anyways.

So lets assume an X58 chipset.

you'll need blocks for each part.

For example:




Not quite the same as i had grabbed, but very similar, for the purposes of this post, close enough.

Next you need a radiator. Cooling with water does you no good if your not also doing something to get rid of that heat.


Im a fan of that one. might be because my case has a 2 120mm fan mounts side by side on the back of my case, and thats exactly the space that radiator needs, so it was perfect.

Then you need a pump. After all, something has to get that water moving. This is the one piece thats going to make some noise on you, lol, but its cool, sounds like a turbine when it starts up, so much more pleasing than the usual "bwaaaaaaaaaaa".

The MCP 655-01 pump is a good solid choice and well regarded. Its by no means the only choice, but it is what i went with.


you don't always get a say in the port diameter of your pump, this one is modified to use industry standard fitting threads, so you can mount just about any fittings you want.

So you've got a pump, radiator, your blocks, your pretty much good to do for the most part. Now you'll need two things, Fittings, and tubing. As a measure of reliability, its usually a good idea to get your fittings and tubing from the same manufacturer. it helps ensure that nomenclature and any possible measuring differences are a complete non-issue. it can happen that they both run a 1/2ID, but one is 1/8 thick, the other isn't, and you'll not be able to get a good fit if you used compression fittings. by sticking to the same manufacturer, they tend to have a single line of tubing, or will generally state which models of fittings are compatible when you select your tubing.

For tubing im a fan of Primochill Tubing.


thats a good solid choice right there. if its a first time build, buy extra. if you change your mind about how your tubing will be laid out, it would suck to not have enough tubing to complete the build if you've already cut some of it. For a full size ATX tower, you can expect to eat quite a bit of tubing. I bought 12ft, and had less than 6in left when I was done, and i'd planned it all out in advance. 18 ft is not a bad idea by any means, extra is always good, its not like it goes bad.

Be aware of wall thickness in your tubing. you can get 1/2in ID tubing that is 3/4 or 5/8 OD(outer Diameter), and if you go with compression fittings, its very important that they be the right size or you will not achieve the compression needed to seal tightly. For barb fittings with clamps, you clamp down on the tube, so OD doesn't really matter, but ID still needs to match up with your barbs or this might get interesting.

Some people have chosen to go with a slightly smaller tube ID than their barbs. it makes for a VERY tight fit, but its also much more difficult to get your tubing over the one size too large fittings.

Now that you have tubing, you have one last decision for your loop, what fittings. i have tried both barb and compression fittings. They both work if you put in enough care to do a good job. Compression fittings need more space as they are wider around the outside, so its something to be aware of. The recurring theme here is research, know the measurements, and pay attention so you don't have any surprises. its like the old saying measure twice cut once, except in this case, measure twice, purchase once.


those are the barbs I went with, no leaks, no problems of any kind, on a pump that easily maintains a 50PSI working pressure. They're fairly inexpensive, which is good, because you'll need quite a few of them.

So far we've got a CPU block, a GPU block, 3 blocks for the Motherboard, a pump, and a radiator, so thats 14 of these that you need, 2 each.

Its worth mentioning that you have all kinds of choices, and the fittings are no different.




if you can figure out how you want your layout to work, you can almost definitely find suitable fittings to make it happen.

if you went with compression fittings, your done at this point. If you went with barbs, you need clamps. They don't come with, you choose the ones you want and order those.


these things are great, squeeze the hell out of them when you put them on and they won't ever let you down. A good sign you did it right is if they are a major pain in the ass to remove, lol. They're also cheap, so if you want, you can always buy excess and just break them when you want them off. The plastic isn't brittle, so they will flex quite a bit and take quite a bit of abuse.

So by this point, you have all that is required to go watercooling. There are still some recommended items that come in very handy and are worth considering.

a reservoir. remember how I mentioned a slight loss of fluid over time to evaporation? Well, you can't do anything about that except to add more fluid. Your pump can burn out if you let it run out of fluid, and your parts don't cool well/at all if there's no fluid passing through them, so you definitely need to keep enough in your loops. You can't miss it if the fluid level gets low, the pump makes quite a bit of noise when it eats an air bubble so you will know when the fluid level gets low. its kind of like how a garden hose makes little noises when it has air bubbles in it.

A reservoir holds another few hundred mL of fluid so you need not babysit the loop, you can let it run for a long while and when it gets low, one quick top up and all is good again for quite some time. There's a lot of variety at this point. You can mount the reservoir internally, or externally, cylindrical or square, how large or small.


thats a fairly good choice right there. Puts your fluid level right in full view for you to keep an eye on, and makes filling your loop easier. If you get a reservoir, remember to add two more fittings(and clamps if necessary) to connect it.

Quick disconnects, these can be very useful, or an unneeded expense. its one of those personal choice things. Where they can come in handy is that you can put a male/female paring in between any parts, and you can then sever your line there with little to no mess or fuss. GPU dies, pop the quick disconnects, put in a new GPU, attach a length of tub with disconnects on it and continue on without the GPU in your loop. No fuss, quick and easy. Bought a New GPU and it arrived before the waterblocks did?, no biggie. Unhook your GPU form the loop using the quick disconnects, reconnect the loop without the GPU, install your new GPU, and carry on as if nothing ever happened. When the block arrives, mount it, attach tubing, quick disconnects, mount, attach to loop, carry on gaming.

Unfortunately they are quite a bit more costly than fittings, about 8 times more for good ones, lol. The beauty of fittings and quick disconnects and well, everything except your blocks is that you never need to buy new ones if you like the ones you have. Upgrades don't affect them, once useful, always useful so its a one time expense to make your life easier. The only exception to that is the pump, someday it'll die, but until then.



those are a good choice if your so inclined.

If you can easily get at a fill port on your reservoir then you don't really need a fill point. if you chose not to get a reservoir, or don't have easy access to its fill port, or if it doesn't have one, you can solve that by putting in an inline T fitting with a valve on the end so you can open or close the line on a whim letting you fill or drain the system when needed. Such a line is useful for draining unless you used quick disconnects as you can then just separate everything, move them to a sink, and remove a disconnect to drain it there.



and as ever, don't forget your fittings(4 of them), and clamps if necessary.

Why would you need to drain it? Well, every so often you should flush the system out, run some cleaning solution through it, and then revert to an ordinary fluid mix, just some basic house cleaning.


add that to some coolant, run your loop for a bit, empty it out, and your clean and ready for ordinary operations again with some fresh fluid. Another reason to keep some extra fluid around.

There is one complication. Remember I mentioned that ATX power bypass? What it is is a 4pin molex connecter that plugs into a wall outlet. it lets you provide power to your pump, without having to turn your system on, or short the pins in the motherboard cable to make the PSU believe its just been told to turn on. So why is it worth having? Well, its not a good idea to run your system with no cooling, and when you first try to fill your loop, you'll need the pump running to achieve that, and don't want your parts to over heat. Same goes for draining. you can briefly run the pump to raise the line pressure so you dran much more quickly, just be ready to yank its power when it starts to run dry. The pump is usually cooled by the fluid it passes, so you only get a few seconds of dry running before you'll burn it out, brief moments of dry operation, such as fill and drain operations won't hurt it as long as they're over quickly.

here's the two types. here's a bypass that jumpers the wires so your PSU things its plugged in and told to start, plug this in and your PSU is on.


I prefer this thing


Much easier to unplug quickly giving you greater control over how long its powered, plus you don't have to unplug your motherboard to run the pump for a moment, or unplug everything else. With the jumper, your PSU turns on, so EVERYTHING gets power. You've jumpered the Motherboard cable, so its not getting power, but your HD's and disc drives are, plus your GPU's through their 6pin plugs. Thats not an issue if you run the pump all by itself off the wall outlet.

This is one of those items you absolutely do not need, but will likely thank yourself for buying.

At this point, nothing else is really in the recommended pile or suggested pile, so on to the extras that might be useful or of interest.

Fluid filters. Nothing will kill your cooling performance like a little bit of crap plugging up your blocks or radiator. There is also an ever present if tiny chance a little bit of debris can damage your pump through abrasion. relatively painless to work with, easy to check on, but perhaps a bit pricey.


Flow sensors. A good one can give you an actual readout of the flow rate, so you can monitor it and get some advance warning on things like your pump dying off and losing power, or your lines becoming clogged and harder to push fluid through. Keeping an eye on your temps can do the same thing though, as either a clogged line in a block, or reduced flor rate will cost you in increased temperatures, so when your temps start rising its time to clean the system anyways. one thing it IS good for is a quicker alert to pump failure. Some flow sensors have alarms and will freak out if the fluid flow stops or falls too low for any reason.


leak sensors. little more than wires that look for voltage changes, but to do that the fluid must be at least a little conductive, and the whole point of liquid cooling is to use a non-conductive fluid........


liquid level indicators. a good idea if you can't easily keep an eye on your fluid level, though if you can see the reservoir itself, they are rather....redundant.


pressure sensors. useful for diagnosing clogged filters or blocks, or ailing pumps. likely too expensive to consider permanent mounting in the loop, but with quick disconnects they can be attached anythere in your loop to measure pressure, for example, before and after your gpu. If you know the pressure differential when everything is new and clean, and three months later its much lower, you know the GPU block needs a cleaning as its beginning to bottleneck the loop. Again though, your temps will take a hit as fluid flow falls off, and if you keep an eye on those, you won't need this indicator.


Temperature. Arguably the most useful of the sensors. Keeping an eye on your fluid temp gives you a very good idea of whether your radiator is effectively doing its job or not. If you work your system hard, and the temp in the reservoir doesn't rise at all, you have a very effective radiator, if on the other hand it shoots up, you either don't have enough radiator capability:too small, or not efficient enough, or its in need of a cleaning. Of course, if your fluid temperature rises, it won't take on as much heat, so your temps will rise, and if your watching those......common theme that...


Pressure valves. They can be a good idea if you experience large temperature shifts in your fluid, such as if the indoor temp can't be effectively controlled(gets warm indoors in the summer even with AC, or no AC at all?). As temperatures rise, so does pressure. nothing sucks more than having one of your fittings let go because the loop pressures got too high. Its not a particularly significant risk if all is done well, and the reservoir has a small air pocket that the pressure can squeeze. Still, it is one, and at 500l/hr pump capability, your 2l loop capacity will be gone almost before you can unplug the system if you blow a line. in practice you'll have more time than that implies, as the pump only achieves 500l/Hr with no resistance, every block you add increases resistance, so its definitely flowing slower, how fast requires a flow sensor to determine......


Controllers. If your a control nut or thrive on sensor readouts, these are for you. Expensive, and entirely unnecessary, they are none the less cool. Pretty much all of them can control the pump speed to reduce what little noise it does make, and many of them can read info from any number of sensors and display it in a windows ap, or trigger alarms, or shutdowns of the system. the last feature is likely the only reason to really consider these in my opinion. Suppose you go out for a minute and blow a line.....would be great if your system could say oh shi...all by itself, and shut down. The danger is no worse than a fan failure on your GPU or CPU, which is a very real risk even for stock systems, its like car insurance. have to have it, when was the last time you actually needed it? of course, if you need it and don't have it? This is really just a good example of watercooling getting expensive, lol.

last but not least, give these a viewing.


.....that took a while.

edit:forgot the fans, lol.

Im a major fan of the Noctua NF-P12's. whisper quite and very effective. at $21 each they aren't cheap though. Quality is definitely a cut above however. For the above mentioned radiator, you'll want two. Goodluck finding another 120mm fan that will push that much air that quietly.


Edited by Amram
derp, forgot the fan I mentioned at the beginning.
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I couldnt imagine watercooling being as hard as everyone says watercooling is. Assuming you use good quality parts and take your time.

I wasn't saying it is hard. I'm saying it is a bit more fiddly, may cause some problems air cooling does not have, is typically more expensive and most importantly, costs more time to maintain properly.

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