My liquid cooling adventure

I have had my Thermaltake ProWater 850i Liquid Cooling System up and running for a couple of days now. Everything seems to be running as it should. The building process for my first liquid cooling adventure didn’t go as smoothly as I would have liked. However the basics of setting up the Thermaltake ProWater 850i are fairly simple. If you have built a computer you should be able to setup this water cooling kit as long as you take your time. My thought is that the build would have gone a bit smoother for me if I had a modular power supply, a tube cutter and had taken a bit more time thinking about the overall layout of the tubes.

The Thermaltake ProWater 850i wouldn’t have fit into the my Tsunami Series Aluminum ATX Mid-Tower Case with Clear Side if I hadn’t previously ripped out the hard drive cage. Since the hard drive cage was no longer taking up space I was able to position the tank and pump combo in it’s place. This was one of the issues that came about during the build. I originally had things setup where the unit was bolted to the computer case with three screws. Getting this accomplished wasn’t easy. After analyzing the placement further I decided I would have to put the tank pump unit further towards the front of the computer case. This would allow for better video card clearance and easier access to system panel connector area of my motherboard. So after unscrewing the unit it was time to use the included Velcro to place the tank and pump. Of course this is not the optimal setup. But to get things the way I wanted them it was the only solution available.

With the pump placement sorted out it was time to install the radiator with fan. This should have been easy but was slightly hindered by the small screws Thermaltake includes with the ProWater 850i. I had to remove the Antec TriCool 120mm Trilight LED Fan that was installed at the back of the case. I did see a picture of a setup where the radiator was placed outside of the case with the original case fan still in place. I opted to just get rid of the colorful fan and install the radiator inside. I’m currently missing the light show that I used to have do to removing that fan.

Now that I had the pump and radiator where I wanted them it was time to start consider tube placement. It should be kept in mind that this was my first try at liquid cooling. I figured tube placement and setup would be the most challenging part of this build. I’d expected that ThermalTake would have included a tube cutter with the kit. It would seem that this isn’t something considered necessary. I’ll definitely be investing in an inexpensive cutter for the tubing in the near future. Trying to cut tubing smoothly with a pair of scissors just doesn’t get the job done. So the ends of my tubing were definitely a hack job.

I thought I had done a good job at guessing what lengths I would need. Of course I didn’t do any type of measuring. I just placed the tubing in the general location and determined what length I would need. Honestly I thought I had this worked out fairly well. Only later would I find out there were a few flaws in my thinking. The tubing connected pretty much with ease. However once the tubing is connected even before clamping it down it’s pretty much stuck there. Trying to pull the tubing off isn’t going to happen easily. Now this is what you want when running a water cooling system. But it makes for some real aggravation if you want to make a change or adjustment. I ended up leaving a small about of tube with a not so smooth bend in place because I couldn’t get it removed to replace it. My hope was that once filled with liquid things work themselves out. This of course did not happen. So now I’m stuck with having to drain all the fluid and figuring out how to remove the tube without causing damage so that I can resolve the bend issue.

Along with the short tube not curving with ease. I had some clearance issues that I hadn’t taken into account. Yes I was aware that I would have to put the case door back on. It would be logical to take into account clearances for the case door fan. But of course I didn’t take either of these into account when deciding tube lengths. So in the end I had to get rid of the door fan and the clearance is just enough as to not hinder the flow or layout of the tubing.

With all the parts and tubing in place it was time to fill the reservoir. The first time I did this things went smoothly with no spills. The only aggravating thing was trying to get the PrimoCHILL UV Green Dye Bomb to spill it’s contents. To be honest I’m not to happy with that product for several reasons. Needless to say when I figured out how the tube worked I ended up getting some dye heading towards my face. After turning the machine on and letting the liquid cycle it was time to add more PrimoCHILL to the tank. At this time I asked for Cheryl’s help. Why? Because the ThermalTake reservoir is so dark that it takes a bright flashlight angled just right to see the top fill line. As I’m sure you probably guessed this process didn’t go to well the second time around. Blame it on being tired and frustrated from an issue I’ve not mentioned and you have a disaster scenario waiting to happen. So of course the PrimoCHILL ends up overflowing because I put just a bit to much in. The tank gets it and the pump does as well. The liquid makes it to the bottom of the case and I figure I’ve just ruined the machine. After we got everything cleaned up I found out I was wrong. No parts had been trashed and the setup ran smoothly.

2 thoughts on “My liquid cooling adventure”

  1. I just got the same system and installed it the other day. I noticed that the temp w/o load is basically the same however under 100% load I found like 7/8 degree c difference. I am curious did you ever resolve the bent tube I have a tube that I would like to replace too just not too sure how to go about bleeding the system or getting the fluid out before hand. Anyhow if you got any ideas email me back please thank you for your review also

  2. How to drain your liquid water cooling system easily – I added the link and a few others to the original article above.

    That is how I have drained the system. Worked flawless for me. As for the bent tube. It wasn’t extreme. But it was enough that I have since reworked the tube routing a bit. Not totally happy with it honestly.

    Temperatures I’m happy with. When I had this machine overclocked though I felt the temps were close to what I got when cooling with air.

    Right now the temperature coming out of the radiator is 33C. This has been much lower this year when the room is colder. I’ve booted with temps at 21 or 22C. The 33 is with the machine having been on for a good amount of time & average every day use.

    Keep in mind I’m cooling the CPU & two SATA hard drives. The only real noise now comes from those drives.

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