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Can my GPU be water cooled easily?

3090 FTW3 Ultra.  Would it be complicated to water cool?  Can it be water cooled at all?

 

If I don’t water cool the GPU, is making a custom loop for just the CPU an option?  Is that something people do often?

My new build - CPUIntel Core i9-11900K I GPU: EVGA RTX 3090 FTW3 Ultra Gaming I MotherboardAsus ROG Maximus XIII Hero I RAM: G.Skill Trident Z Royal (Silver) 32GB 4000 MHz C15 I SSDSamsung 980 Pro 2TB I PSUCorsair RM1000x (2021) I Cooler: Corsair H150i Elite Capellix (white) I CaseLian Li O11 Dynamic XL ROG Certified (white) I FansCorsair QL120 (white) x10 Cables: Corsair Premium Individually Sleeved (white) Keyboard: Corsair K100 RGB I Mouse: Razer Basilisk Ultimate Mouse Pad: Corsair MM700 RGB Speakers: Bose Companion 2 Series III Headset: PULSE 3D Monitor: Waiting on HDMI 2.1, currently using Asus MG28UQ

 

My first build:

  • CPU - Intel Core i9 9900KF @ 4.97GHz
  • GPU - EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Super FTW3 Ultra
  • Motherboard - Asus ROG Strix Z-390E Gaming
  • RAM - 32GB (4x8) Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB @ 3600MHz
  • Storage - Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD and Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SSD
  • Cooler - Corsair H100i RGB Platinum SE w/LL120 Fans
  • Case - Corsair Crystal Series 680X (Black)
  • Fans - [3x] Corsair QL120 RGB LED (front), [1x] Corsair QL140 RGB LED (rear), [2x] Corsair LL140 RGB LED (bottom)
  • PSU - EVGA Supernova 1000w G+
  • Monitor - Acer Predator X34
  • Keyboard - Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT
  • Mouse - Razer Lancehead, Tournament Edition (Mercury)
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Yes, it can be easily water cooled. All the major manufactures make blocks for it, EK, Optimus, Bitspower etc... Some are easier than others to install depending on if it has preinstalled thermal pads or not. Personally, I would go with Optimus or EK as my block of choice. 

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26 minutes ago, lerodemmy said:

3090 FTW3 Ultra.  Would it be complicated to water cool?  Can it be water cooled at all?

 

If I don’t water cool the GPU, is making a custom loop for just the CPU an option?  Is that something people do often?

Ease depends on our skill level, confidence with hardware and the type you want to do. Soft tubing is easier than hard. Using a kit is easier than piecing something together.

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21 minutes ago, Skiiwee29 said:

Yes, it can be easily water cooled. All the major manufactures make blocks for it, EK, Optimus, Bitspower etc... Some are easier than others to install depending on if it has preinstalled thermal pads or not. Personally, I would go with Optimus or EK as my block of choice. 

 

8 minutes ago, Blue4130 said:

Ease depends on our skill level, confidence with hardware and the type you want to do. Soft tubing is easier than hard. Using a kit is easier than piecing something together.

I should clarify what I meant by “easily.”  How do you install a waterblock on a graphics card?  Does the graphics card need to be taken apart at all?

 

I have no custom cooling experience, and taking apart my new card is something I think I’d be afraid to do.

My new build - CPUIntel Core i9-11900K I GPU: EVGA RTX 3090 FTW3 Ultra Gaming I MotherboardAsus ROG Maximus XIII Hero I RAM: G.Skill Trident Z Royal (Silver) 32GB 4000 MHz C15 I SSDSamsung 980 Pro 2TB I PSUCorsair RM1000x (2021) I Cooler: Corsair H150i Elite Capellix (white) I CaseLian Li O11 Dynamic XL ROG Certified (white) I FansCorsair QL120 (white) x10 Cables: Corsair Premium Individually Sleeved (white) Keyboard: Corsair K100 RGB I Mouse: Razer Basilisk Ultimate Mouse Pad: Corsair MM700 RGB Speakers: Bose Companion 2 Series III Headset: PULSE 3D Monitor: Waiting on HDMI 2.1, currently using Asus MG28UQ

 

My first build:

  • CPU - Intel Core i9 9900KF @ 4.97GHz
  • GPU - EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Super FTW3 Ultra
  • Motherboard - Asus ROG Strix Z-390E Gaming
  • RAM - 32GB (4x8) Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB @ 3600MHz
  • Storage - Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD and Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SSD
  • Cooler - Corsair H100i RGB Platinum SE w/LL120 Fans
  • Case - Corsair Crystal Series 680X (Black)
  • Fans - [3x] Corsair QL120 RGB LED (front), [1x] Corsair QL140 RGB LED (rear), [2x] Corsair LL140 RGB LED (bottom)
  • PSU - EVGA Supernova 1000w G+
  • Monitor - Acer Predator X34
  • Keyboard - Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT
  • Mouse - Razer Lancehead, Tournament Edition (Mercury)
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17 minutes ago, lerodemmy said:

 

I should clarify what I meant by “easily.”  How do you install a waterblock on a graphics card?  Does the graphics card need to be taken apart at all?

 

I have no custom cooling experience, and taking apart my new card is something I think I’d be afraid to do.

Yes, you would need to take apart the GPU (essentially strip it down to just the PCB, install new thermal paste on the GPU, thermal pads on VRMs and memory chips, etc). After the card has been waterblocked, you'll need a pump, reservoir, radiator, and tubing.

 

It can be pretty daunting, so if you're not comfortable taking apart a GPU right now, then custom watercooling might not be for you. 

 

EDIT to answer your other question: Yes, it's definitely possible to just watercool the CPU (and maybe even add your GPU to the loop later). However, it involves many of the same things that watercooling a GPU requires, so I wouldn't recommend it if you're not comfortable. 

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Got any questions about my system or peripherals? Feel free to tag me (@bellabichon) and I'll be happy to give you my two cents. 

 

PSA: Posting a PCPartPicker list with no explanation isn't helpful for first-time builders :)

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@lerodemmy - if you take your time and watch a watercooling block install video specific to your GPU you'll have a better idea of your confidence level.

 

That said, there's a few things to watch out for (I have the EK Vector 3090 FTW3 3080/3090 block & backplate on my 3090 FTW3 Ultra)...

  • When taking the card apart, be careful and try not to force or unduly bend the PCB (there's been a number of users who have bricked their cards albeit the jury is still out on who is to blame). Wiggle it about without bending the PCB until you can break the seal formed by the thermal paste/putty.
  • Once separated, disconnect all 3 fan headers and the RGB header found near the top right of the card.
  • Any thermal pads that remain on the PCB should be removed placed where they mate on the cooler or backplate. Place all the screws you removed into a ziploc bag and store the screws and old cooler in a safe place in case it is needed at a later date. 
  • You need to get rid of the thermal putty from the VRMs. The easiest way is to use shop cloths to wipe off the excess and then Isopropyl alcohol and old (soft bristle) tooth brush to loosen the remainder and clean up with shop cloths.
  • If you are installing the EK backplate (the original backplate can work if you drill out a few of the holes on the backplate), check what screws are required to attach it and leave those out for the time being.
  • Install the EK supplied screws to fix the waterblock (taking note to the previous bullet point).
  • For the backplate: (if using EK's version) - cut the thermal pads reasonably precisely and make sure you use the correct thickness pads as per the instructions, not doing so may cause the the PCB to warp when installing backplate.

 

Hope this helps.

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On 3/27/2021 at 10:42 PM, bellabichon said:

EDIT to answer your other question: Yes, it's definitely possible to just watercool the CPU (and maybe even add your GPU to the loop later). However, it involves many of the same things that watercooling a GPU requires, so I wouldn't recommend it if you're not comfortable. 

What if I got one of those motherboards with a pre-installed CPU waterblock?  Would that make the watercooling process less-involved/easier for a novice?

My new build - CPUIntel Core i9-11900K I GPU: EVGA RTX 3090 FTW3 Ultra Gaming I MotherboardAsus ROG Maximus XIII Hero I RAM: G.Skill Trident Z Royal (Silver) 32GB 4000 MHz C15 I SSDSamsung 980 Pro 2TB I PSUCorsair RM1000x (2021) I Cooler: Corsair H150i Elite Capellix (white) I CaseLian Li O11 Dynamic XL ROG Certified (white) I FansCorsair QL120 (white) x10 Cables: Corsair Premium Individually Sleeved (white) Keyboard: Corsair K100 RGB I Mouse: Razer Basilisk Ultimate Mouse Pad: Corsair MM700 RGB Speakers: Bose Companion 2 Series III Headset: PULSE 3D Monitor: Waiting on HDMI 2.1, currently using Asus MG28UQ

 

My first build:

  • CPU - Intel Core i9 9900KF @ 4.97GHz
  • GPU - EVGA GeForce RTX 2080 Super FTW3 Ultra
  • Motherboard - Asus ROG Strix Z-390E Gaming
  • RAM - 32GB (4x8) Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB @ 3600MHz
  • Storage - Samsung 970 EVO Plus M.2 NVMe 1TB SSD and Samsung 860 EVO 1TB SSD
  • Cooler - Corsair H100i RGB Platinum SE w/LL120 Fans
  • Case - Corsair Crystal Series 680X (Black)
  • Fans - [3x] Corsair QL120 RGB LED (front), [1x] Corsair QL140 RGB LED (rear), [2x] Corsair LL140 RGB LED (bottom)
  • PSU - EVGA Supernova 1000w G+
  • Monitor - Acer Predator X34
  • Keyboard - Corsair K95 RGB Platinum XT
  • Mouse - Razer Lancehead, Tournament Edition (Mercury)
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31 minutes ago, lerodemmy said:

What if I got one of those motherboards with a pre-installed CPU waterblock?  Would that make the watercooling process less-involved/easier for a novice?

Not really since you need to remove it to put the cpu in, then you are at the same amount of work as using a regular board and third party block. 

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