Halp: My first custom loop

So long story not told at all, I am looking to get into my first custom loop, the problem is I am on a tight and fixed budget.

I run a system with an R5 2600X overclocked to 4.2ghz 24/7 and since I made a GPU change in the case, it is too hot to sustain it’s 65 degree average on Prime95 Small FFTs test.

Sure I could improve my airflow, but I am already at 7 case fans in a Thermaltake 71 TG. So on to what I am actually asking for.

I am looking for a pump and reservoir, everything else I have pretty much figured out, although nothing is ordered, so full kits are a possibility as long as they fall into my ~$200 USD budget.

Thanks in advance for taking the time to even click on this topic and read what I had to say.

I forgot to add a few details, due to the increase in temps from the GPU I get mid 80s on Small FFT.

I am also building this with a 3950X in mind as I will be getting one in August, I also wish to water cool my GPU as well on the same loop, just passing through 2 seperate radiators. I have 8 months, 7 of which I’ll have that budget and I am dead set on not building a 2nd rig to go with it.

The reason for the temperature increase is that I started running a minimal Manjaro install with a Windows VM, and I am passing through a Sapphire RX480 Nitro+ OC 8GB, and it is the cooler of the two GPUs.

65 under a prime95 load is great, not sure where the problem is.

maybe list what you have and what your plan is so people can actually help.

I wouldn’t watercool that chip, just get a NH-D15 and call it a day. That is more than enough cooling for that chip and you’ll also be able to get good overclocks.

If you need better airflow pick up a pair of good fans. You can probably pick up a used set on eBay for 10-15 bucks a piece – that is for fans that usually go for $30 bucks a piece.

If you have a $200 budget I wouldn’t even get started with watercooling. It quickly balloons, speaking from experience :man_facepalming:t5:


Yea I didn’t realize I forgot the most important details until well about an hour ago lol.

I appreciate the advice, however if $200 will only buy me a reservoir or a pump, so be it. I’ll just have to collect the parts over time, so I am still looking at a $200 budget per month, I couldn’t save the money if you paid me to so if its going to be that much piecemeal is my only option.

if you are not picky some parts can be bought from china for hyper cheap and then use a anti corrosive to prevent issues in the loop i recommend fernox water boiler anti-corrosive

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Ek has this aluminum open loop kits on the cheap just have to stay all alu tho so makes upgrades a bit difficult.

Really shouldn’t go custom loop tho if you don’t have money to blow it’s a horrible investment

Fair enough, shouldn’t isn’t really something I worry about though. The only reason I don’t have the money to blow is because I am absolutely horrible at managing my finances, and have never been able to save more than $30-40 at the end of the month.

I don’t actually NEED the complete cooling until august, I mean is there really no objective way for me to get a good custom loop with $1400 over the span of 7 months? (cause the next month I’m already broke)

As an alternative to a full custom loop… maybe consider an alphacool CPU kit and then plug in a GPU kit later?

They have quick disconnects… less hassle to construct, etc. The radiators can be carried over to a future full custom loop if/when you retire the blocks (with inbuilt pumps).


That sounds like a decent idea, I’ll check out the alphacool kits.

Thank you.

Is right around your budget

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So… you have an R5 2600X and two GPUs right now? What workload do you run on the 2600X 24/7? Prime95 Small FFT is meant to be ran as a 10-minute absolute worst case temp test. There’s very few workloads that can make a CPU get as hot as P95 Small FFT, chances are you’re not running those and so your CPU likely sits at 15-20C less than your max temp under normal use. So 60-70C at the worst I’d imagine, and even the 80C under extreme stress tests is below the recommended safe max of 85C for Zen+.

Doesn’t seem like you really have that much of a problem, you’re just not understanding what P95 Small FFT is and what it does. I’ve had my HEDT stuff hit 93C in P95, under normal load (gaming and general use in my case) it never broke the 70s.

If you want to go for a custom loop, don’t do so on a $200 budget, especially not if you’re planning to move to a $750 CPU in the future. Just save till you get your 3950X, and plan and buy a loop then. Get all the stuff in one go, less chance of you moving stuff around and losing fittings or forgetting to buy a certain part or general goof-ups like that.

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I am not arguing it is not cool under load in most circumstances, I generally am usually compiling, rendering or computing in my normal 24/7 although I would prefer to be able to do all 3 at the same time, allowing me to better manage my time. Under computing circumstances it sits in the high 70s low 80s which does not worry me, everything else it is much lower, generally never peaks above 70.

I understand not to do this on a $200 budget, I’ve been told this multiple times now, so I put forward that my budget is $1400 over 7 months, but $200 a month, and I am incapable of saving so its got to be a radiator here a pump there.

All I am looking for is some names of types of pumps and reservoirs that can preferably be purchased individually, maybe have some modularity to them so that I can start purchasing said parts.

I am just trying to avoid watching hundreds of hours of videos on the subject and formulating my own hypothesis based on the commonality, by asking people who know what they are talking about with respect to the hardware itself, who actually have the experience that I lack.

I am a certain type of person, I am sure you know one or two, who does a big system build every 5-6 years but it takes a year or 2 to actually finish that build. At this point I have considered the idea of moving to an 8 core, but financially it doesn’t make sense to me to just take the hit having to sell the processor in 8 months, so I want to put together the framework for that processor in the meantime.

TY mutation666. I still haven’t gotten around to actually checking out their products, this is a helpful stepping off point

Sounds like you’re pretty committed to creating a loop. I did my first loop last year, here are some lessons learned.

I would try to do as much planning before the purchase phase as possible as @ZandoBob suggested. Otherwise, you will end up with stuff you don’t need (like I did). Sort of like how you’ll CAD out machining before building it – measure twice, cut one.

Try to find a great case first. I went for the biggest case possible and over time I hated it. That’s is going to be a big factor in your cooling options and setting the parameters of your build.

Pick a theme: silence, RGB, budget, max cooling, Zero-RGB This will help you with a your part selection.

Explore other brands besides EKWB. I feel like they are so popular first-timers gravitate to them and you might overlook Barrow, Watercool, BItspower, Thermaltake, Phanteks or Alphacool. You can often find better and cheaper fittings.

Thicker radiators sometimes cost more in space vs their cooling benefit. Most of the time their extra performance comes in at higher fan-speeds, a fan speed you’ll likely want to avoid. So don’t underestimate the power of slimmer 30mm radiators.

Don’t go overboard on fans: push/pull will give you the best cooling performance, but not always the best acoustics. And also, those suckers add up and you reach diminishing returns quickly.

Buy a thermal sensor, you want to regulate your fan speed by the water temperature, not the CPU temperature. This is a lesson learned when my push/pull was just get so loud whenever CPU load spiked – this approach is not effective with watercooling.

Try to make the pricing fun, create a spreadsheet, be sure to include estimated tax and shipping. Experiment with different combinations of parts. I can share my spreadsheet with you, if you like. This will really help you evaluate your purchase.

If you don’t, you’ll get hit with the Arcade business model (or toll-road), where you would never turn $20 into quarters in an arcade up front, but you might spend $20 in an arcade, $0.50 cents time after time. This ends up happening when you forget a few fittings, a reservoir mount and then you have another shipment with $10-15 dollar shipping costs.

Lastly, have fun – and take your time selecting the parts. The good thing about waiting until you can get everything at once, there is less likelihood that something gets released while it’s sitting on your shelf that you might wish you could’ve purchased had you waited.


This exactly 1000%, that is where I am at, I am in no hurry as I won’t even be able to start this venture until the end of January. Ultimately I’d like something that I can swap out individual parts and use in the long term, bringing it through multiple systems for my primary desktop (so at least a decade).

I preferably do not want to skimp out on anything.

I really like this idea, all of my game designs I thoroughly spreadsheet out formulaic calculations for balancing, I like math to keep things in perspective for me, rather than just ideas.

I am definitely going to take this into consideration, and leave the bigger pieces, technology that is more likely to get better in that time frame till the last 2-3 months.

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After pricing up the bits and pieces to do a custom loop several times, and then wondering if i missed bits, etc… alphacool Eisbaer and Eiswolf kits work out cheaper. :smiley:

Retire the GPU block and add a pump/res when you switch out the GPU, keep the radiator.

Retire the CPU block when the cpu block pump dies, swap out for a plain block and use a shared pump that you bought to replace the GPU block…

GPU kits including rad/block-pump/pre-filled with quick disconnect here are $250 AU for a 240mm radiator included. Thats cheaper than i could build a loop for… much cheaper and no screwing around. And because the alphacool kits are modular you can re-use the components when you go full custom…

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