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How big of a radiator is big enough?

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Posted · Original PosterOP

I've been kicking around an idea for a while now but I thought I'd reach out to see if the community could help me figure out the thermodynamics. The idea is to create a custom loop when I upgrade my pc some time in the future. The plan is to add my second Asus strix 1080ti 11GB OC to the PC in SLI. I'm aware that ill be needing a new CPU with more lanes to accommodate this (current is an i7 7820X). This will be to support the new 4k monitors with higher refresh rates (>120Hz)when they make their way down to a moderate price. 


I know how to build a loop, what I need to know is just how large a radiator I need to keep all this cool. I'm using an 280mm rad right now and I like the case config (cooler master MC500M) with that size. Is it possible to just enlarge the tank volume to disperse the heat further or do you think a larger capacity or additional radiator might be required?


Thoughts, suggestions, comments are all welcome. Like I said, this is just an idea I'm kicking around at the moment and would like to figure this out a little more. 



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reservoir capacity has a pretty negliagbe effect, its no radiator unless you have one of these bad boys:



I would personally try to fit another 280 probably, depends on what case you are working with though

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Making the tank bigger only slows down how fast the loop heats up. You will want more radiator space if you add in a third component to cool in the loop. You could probably get away with it by cranking the fan speed but I wouldn't be all that comfortable with it.





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it depends on thickness, fin density as well as size  its recommended that you use at least a 120mm with every component you are cooling so in your case you would need a 360 or  adding another 280/240. 

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The most you can fit. Or a bigger case. I’d run a pair of 280’s at a minimum. Assuming you’re ok with more fan noise. 

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Im getting ready for 2 loops...one loop for my HTPC using 2 80mm rads...cause I can (and no other space in the microtower) and the other loop will be having 1 rad per component (240x2 and 1 120) if I get another R9 Fury to xfire (original plan had 2 GPUs just replaced them)  Id rather be safe...then a loud setup (1 of the points of watercooling imho) or inefficient setup.

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OMG its a Zalman Reserator i haven't seen one of those in years...


If you are cooling a graphics and CPU usually a 240mm per device so 1 CPU and another 240mm for the graphics card.

That is if you want to run the fans at near silent while cooling.

You can though do a 240mm rad for both but you will need to crank those fans right up to get the heat out otherwise your loop will start saturating pretty quickly.


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