It has been a long time coming and thankfully this project, Rhapsody in Red (named after a song written & performed by my band in college), is finally complete. Stop in and check out what some great looking fans, cables and a case-matching fan controller can do to really make your build pop!
First, We Thank Our Sponsors
BitFenix helped make this build big, bold and beautiful, then Lamptron came in at the end with a matching silver fan controller and put the final touch on what turned out to be quite a good looking build. So a hearty thank you goes out to both companies.
The bulk of the heavy mod-oriented lifting comes from BitFenix. They supplied 120mm and 140mm Spectre Pro LED fans, Alchemy Multisleeved cables and Alchemy LED strips.
To wit, here is all of that in the flesh.
The Alchemy LED strips are pretty self-explanatory, though you should note that one kind can be daisy chained and is much thinner. The other kind is waterproof and cannot be daisy chained.
First up for closer inspection are the Spectre Pro fans. Who knew someone made a fan that came with so many accessories? You get silent rubber mounting grommets, screws and a MOLEX-to- 3-pin fan adapter. The added bonus is a 2-pin wire that you can use with a compatible BitFenix fan controller to control the LEDs independently of the fan itself.
The fans are just plain cool looking and the way they light up makes them look quite nice as well. You’ll see that later on.
Now we’ll look at one of the Alchemy cables. What I like about these are their seamless looks. Unlike some cables and many home-made sleeved cables, there is no heatshrink outside the connector on these cables, the sleeving goes right into the connector. They are just the right amount of stiffness, allowing you to shape their path but still flexible enough to keep that shaping from being a pain.
The sleeving itself is also good quality; you can’t see wires through it at all, even with very sharp bends.
Lamptron has supplied a fan controller for this build. There are almost zero silver fan controllers available right now. When Lian Li sent their silver PC-V750 for review, my heart sank because I didn’t have one and couldn’t find any at the time. So I reached out to Lamptron and they were happy to help us out. As an added bonus, not only is it silver, its brushed aluminum front panel matches the case perfectly.
There are a couple improvements from their old accessories too. They nixed the product catalog in favor of a calendar, but much more importantly they have greatly improved the cables that come with their controller. The old cables were typical red, yellow and black colored wires. They have seen the light and now use a sleeved MOLEX extension, sleeved black fan wire extensions, and black thermistors. All of that adds up to a superb value-add over their older offerings.
Well, with sponsored accessories out of the way, let’s get to building the system.
Mini Build Log
If you followed the Rhapsody in Red build log, you’ve seen these photos before. I won’t go into too much detail about the build, but rather show more of a quick overview of how things came together.
The components going into this build are a veritable who’s-who of top-end components. With a red color scheme, what else would you have besides an ASUS Republic of Gamers motherboard and GPU. Add some TridentX G.Skill RAM and you’ve got plenty of color-coordinated, high-end computing goodness to go around.
Rhapsody in Red Components
|Processor||Intel i7 3960X|
|Motherboard||ASUS Rampage IV Extreme|
|RAM||32GB G.Skill TridentX DDR3-2400|
|Graphics Card||ASUS HD 7970 DirectCU II TOP|
|Main SSD||240G OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS|
|Benching SSD||Patriot Inferno 100G|
|Storage||Samsung 1TB, Hitachi 2TB|
|Power Supply||Cooler Master SPH 1300W|
|Case||Lian Li PC-V750|
|Water Pump||10W Liang DDC (aka Swiftech MCP-350)|
|Reservoir||XSPC Res Top for Liang DDC Pumps|
|CPU Water Block||Swiftech Apogee XT|
|Wiring||BitFenix Alchemy Multisleeved Cables|
|Fans||BitFenix Spectre Pro LED|
|Lighting||BitFenix Alchemy LED Strips|
|Fan Controller||Lamptron FC5v2|
(The links above lead to our reviews of those components.)
To start off with, we have the Lian Li PC-V750 case, a beautiful aluminum case with a twist – the PSU goes in the front.
Speaking of PSU, here is the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W going in this build (it is serious overkill; this PSU is not needed for these components, but it looks great). You have to put a bracket on the PSU, then mount it in the case.
Here’s the pump we’ll be using. Whenever I use a pump in my cases, I use 3M picture hanging strips to mount it. They work great, hold very well and when you’re done with the case, they come off clean.
Next the three 120mm fans and the motherboard were installed.
Then we hit the only snag with this build – the holes aren’t cut for radiator fan spacing. That wasn’t too bad though. Breaking out the ol’ drill and expanding a couple of those holes fixed us right up.
Unfortunately, the fans and radiator wouldn’t fit inside the case together. This turned out quite well, showing off the Spectre Pro fans on the exterior, but it was a serious downer at the time.
Once the holes were expanded, the radiator and fans mounted right up. The grilles that came with the case fit perfectly on the fans and the shape of the fans even worked out great, allowing me to bend the sharp corners down over the fans. For external fans, I think it turned out great. The wires are thin and went right in between the case side panel and case; they ended up barely noticeable.
Here we’re finishing up with the water loop.
This is by far the ugliest shot you’ll see – the rat’s nest of cables on the back. It did clean up relatively well, especially the drive power connectors thanks to BitFenix’s cable and entirely too many wire ties.
After the loop was installed, I filled that and then installed the LED strips while it was bleeding.
The drives were already in place, but you haven’t seen them before. The storage drives and main SSD went in the drive cage. The benching SSD, used in part for its matching color, was installed with some more 3M picture hangar tape.
That’s enough of a build log for one day. You can read all about it in more detail (including the case switcharoo – this build started in a Lian Li PC-Z70) in the build log on our forum.
Rhapsody in Red, Finished
When I finished the build, I posted “It. Is. FINISHED.” on the forums, promising to give you a ton of photos in this article. Now the wait is over! We’ll start by showcasing the top and front panels before getting to the interior. As you can see the top fans turned out great, both from above and from the front. They make the top of the case pop in a way that internal fans wouldn’t. (Yes, I’m partly saying that because internal mounting was plain not an option.)
For Lamptron’s part, the fan controller looks stellar in this case. It’s just a little bit shinier than the case but still goes very well with it. That is light years away from the black fan controller in there before now!
Now on to the inside, we’ll start with photos of the build with external lighting. They can speak for themselves.
Of course, we wouldn’t be Overclockers if a machine like this wasn’t overclocked! For 24/7 purposes, the CPU runs happily at 4.5 GHz, the 32 GB of RAM (due to this CPU’s weak IMC) runs at DDR3-2133 with timings of 9-11-11-31 and the GPU screams along at 1250 MHz on the GPU and 1750 MHz on the vRAM. As an added bonus, the ASUS components and build’s red theme go great with the ROG-skinned CPUz and GPUz.
Now the moment of truth. The crowning achievement. I present, with the lights turned off, Rhapsody in Red.
That’s it for this project. I certainly hope you liked watching it come to life at least a little bit as much as I enjoyed bringing it to you. If you like any of the accessories featured, you can buy most of them at Newegg except the cables, which can be found at Performance-PCs. Just click the links to check them out: BitFenix Spectre Pro fans, BitFenix Alchemy Cables, BitFenix Alchemy LED Strips & Lamptron Fan Controllers.
Thanks for checking out our handiwork!