Help for a liquid cooling noob

With the upcoming release of zen 2 and Nvidia super, I’m building a new machine. I’ve already purchased a lian li pc o11 dynamic and I want to liquid cool in this case.

I’m dropping some serious coin for this machine so I want to drop some serious coin for cooling. I would ideally want a hard line setup. I haven’t done a Hardline build before so I beg of the modding gods for advice.

What fittings are the least troublesome or just generally nice to use?

What brands do you like for blocks?

My idea is a 360mm rad on the side as intake but I’m not sure about the rest. Maybe I could do 2, one side, one top…

My budget is not seriously limited in any way but I would like to keep it reasonable. Think best bang for buck at the high end.

ekwb for blocks fittings are hit and miss i stick with xspc for fittings (price and speed of shipping) and alphacool/koolance for adapters bsp-vs npt fitting threads. rads find good copper and the brand is preference with current manufacturing standards on rads.

ekwb for the selection for blocks plus they hold some resale value. alphacool has some really interesting rads single pass and dual pass they tend to stick with copper and nickle. xspc makes some aluminum parts if you are looking for that, ekwb has them on the aluminum waterblocks tho.

fittings imo are not too much of a issue just plan the loop out and you wont end up a hoarder of fittings and adapters.

personally having 2 rads would be my route make sure you have a highflow pump.

I like EK for water blocks.

I don’t think that you can beat Bitspower for their variety of fittings, nor for their variety of finishes. I’ve never had a problem with 'em and they also sell replacement o-rings if needed. Hardline fttings aren’t cheap, Bitspower included, but they look great and I’ve never has one leak.

On my last build I used two 280x140 Alphacool rads and the system never goes above 39C. BTW: radiator surface area is more important than thickness for heat dissipation.

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I concur with the others saying EKWB. In fact I would price out the kits that EK sells, as it comes with a CPU block, pump/res, and a rad. They are set up for soft tubing though so the fittings and tubing wont help but it might make the other things cheap enough. Bitspower is good fittings for cheapish though and I’d probably go for an EKWB GPU block… but literally everyone released water cooling stuff this Computex… maybe @wendell laid some eyes?

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Ek does have a Hardline kit, I was considering but I need to do more research on GPU blocks. Not sure what they would be compatible with. My go to cards have been the strix line. I don’t think those are reference design boards all the time.

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Another thought, should I even attempt bending or just default to fittings?

That is an ass load of fittings. If you have a heat gun i’d suggest bending, tubing is cheap*

definitely do PETG though

edit: and Thermaltake has a neato kit with jigs an stuff
Edit edit: Google informs me that they are actually Mandrels… who knew?

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I’ve bent conduit before so I get some of the math involved. I do have a heatgun. I wasnt sure how much of a pita it is to bend. I’m a bit of a perfectionist so I’ll probably end up buying a ton of tubing.

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Hell, if you did decide to do all straight runs with fittings, You might as well go all in and do copper plumbing or something lol

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I work for a hydronics company so I could get a roll of aluminum pex… I want it to be pretty tho. Black and White build.


Now that I argued for bends… nickel plated 90ies are sexy

could get the tube electrostatic painted. if you did metal tube

personally a more even coat and lasts hella longer and scratch resistant think th paint on lockers takes a hell of alot to take some off

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You don’t want to be mixing too many dissimilar metals, due to the risk of corrosion.

Bending tubing is easy. You will need a silicon rod to slip inside, while bending. Various mandrels are also available to help make consistent, reproducible bends. These tools can be found at and other on-line locations.

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If you want to save your self alot of work, Make sure you can let out air at the highest point, As air will move to the top, Just like in your bathtub, drinking glass or soda bottle.

In an ideal world you would do this by placing your accumulator tank (reservoir) at the top. Or making sure air can climb out the top of a radiator and move towards the accumulator tank.


FWIW, I find the Singularity Computers YouTube site to be a good source for inspiration.

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I can get an auto air vent from work

  1. Flush the radiators out before installing them. Just fill them half way with distilled water, put your thumb on the opening and shake them back and forth.
  2. Think about the loob before bending any tubes!
  3. Buy more tube than you need. Twice as much would be my recomendation.
  4. Fill and drain ports make life easier.
  5. Measure twice, cut once.

Bending acylic tube:

You can skip the pull string part. Soapy water is good to get the silicone in the pipe.

@RoyalBlue has built a open loop into the O11 Dynamic.

A few things I can remember of the top of my head:

  1. Don’t buy too thick radiators
  2. Long GPUs might interfer with the vertical radiator
  3. Too wide GPUs need special manifolds to fit.
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Probably going to go with PETG. Not fully decided yet. Id like to get a radiator with ports at both ends since that side mount will likely be both my low and high point in the system.

This is not directed at you but in general

I should also note, I am essentially an engineer of water systems.

I totally get the best practices of water systems. I appreciate the advice of course. I’m certainly not claiming to know all about liquid cooling either.

I wanted to focus on those that understand what fittings and blocks are worthwhile, and what to avoid. Tube bending tutorials are totally helpful.

Info about fill/drain, air locking, flow, etc… is something I grasp pretty well currently I think.

As the saying goes, “I’m not a complete idiot, some assembly is required.”

With that said, Id like to ask, Is cavitation of the pump an issue when you are at atmospheric pressure? Perhaps the pump should be located as low as possible to reduce this (I think it was going to be anyway) or is it not spinning fast enough/not enough pressure differential to be an issue?

No problem to worry about. As long as it is not running dry, all is good.

What might also help

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