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  1. #1
    ROG Guru: Grand Master Array
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    Oct 2012

    i7-5960X Watercooling Results With EK-KIT X360

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    Having owned the i7-5960X and the Rampage V Extreme for a few months now, I was looking to extract some extra performance from this awesome combo. However, my current air cooler wasn’t going to help me achieve my goal. As much as I love air cooling, I was convinced that I need to cross over to watercooling to be able to overclock this 8 core monster. There was just no way around it.

    While AIO closed loop liquid coolers are very popular nowadays, I wanted more performance than what they can provide. But also being a newcomer to the custom watercooling world, I didn’t have the knowledge or funds to spec out a capable watercooling loop on my own. So I did the next best thing and went with a watercooling starter kit to get my feet wet. Since custom watercooling is so versatile, I am sure that I can always swap out some of the components in the future or even upgrade my custom loop to watercool my graphics card.

    EK-KIT X360
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    After doing a little research, I found this nice EK-KIT X360 from EKWB. Since EKWB is a popular and reputable brand in the watercooling industry, I was positive that my i7-5960X and Rampage V Extreme were in good hands. And besides - the X360 kit includes a 64mm thick 360mm radiator that should allow me to push the CPU beyond 4GHz easily.

    Overview of the Installation Process
    The installation manual that EK has provided with the X360 is one of the most detailed that I’ve ever read. It explains in a clear and concise way on how to install the kit from start to end. What I loved most about it was the extra tips that were present in each step. It’s almost like you had a veteran watercooling user guiding you along the way. Instead of boring you with the details, I’ve decided to do a quick summary of what I did.

    I removed the Rampage V Extreme from the case so that I have more working space. After thoroughly cleaning the CPU’s HIS with isopropyl alcohol, I proceeded to apply the included TIM using the dot method. I installed the thumb screws and springs then started to fasten the thumb nuts in a crisscross pattern by hand. I must say that I’m loving this tool free design.
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    After putting the Rampage V Extreme back into the case, I decided to attach the three fans into the radiator. I’m rolling with a push configuration which works best in my scenario and ambient temperature.
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    All that is left at this point in the installation process is to mount the reservoir and pump to somewhere in the case. Afterwards, I started to cut the tubes and connect them to each component using the compression fittings. I double checked all my connections and then started to fill the loop carefully.
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    I wrapped all the compression fittings with paper towels to start the 24 hour leak test. Let’s fast forward to the next section.
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    EK-KIT X360 Cooling Performance
    My i7-5960X has a stock voltage of 1.14V at load which got me a little worried about how much overclocking headroom is left. The only way to find out the quality of a chip is to test so I proceeded to the BIOS and started overclocking. ROG Realbench was used to stress test the CPU for stability at each frequency. After many days of arduous work and BSODs, you can find my results below. They are presented in delta temperatures so that you can get a better idea of the EK-KIT X360’s performance.

    The EK-KIT X360 is truly amazing and performed flawlessly to keep the temperatures in check. The delta temperature readings are below 40C up to 4.4GHz. You might notice that there was a substantial increase from 4.4GHz to 4.5GHz. There is a reason for this but it has nothing to do with the cooling however. I’ll show you in the next graph.
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    Since I keep notes during my overclock sessions, I’ve graphed each frequency with the corresponding voltage necessary to achieve stability. This is valuable information as it tells me when to back off. Normally your CPU voltage scales in a linear pattern as you start increasing your CPU frequency. Eventually you will get to a point where it needs a hefty increase in voltage for an extra 100MHz. That’s the point where diminishing returns start to kick in.

    For my particular CPU, the sweet spot is at 4.4GHz. To get to 4.5GHz, I need to feed it 0.19V which is three times as much than what I need to go from 4.3GHz to 4.4GHz.
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    The EK-KIT X360 has proven that it can definitely keep the i7-5960X’s temperatures under control. Depending on your room’s ambient temperature, you have as much headroom as high as 1.47V on the vcore. For an average chip, you should be able to achieve 4.6GHz to 4.7GHz with this starter kit.

    BIOS Configuration
    Since the three fans that come in the package use three pins, I’ll choose DC Mode in the BIOS.
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    Being non PWM fans, my options to control them to my taste are limited. I can choose between the typical profiles like Silent, Standard or Turbo. Since it’s winter time where I live, my ambient temperature is decent. So I decided to run the Silent profile.
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