Water Cooling the Cooler Master CM690 II Advanced

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I have been admiring from afar the new Cooler Master CM690 II Advanced case for some time.  I decided to pull the trigger and buy one for myself, after reading Hokiealumnus’ excellent review of it.    This is my tale on how I managed to convert from a full tower case to this mid tower one and all of my travails.

I have three goals for this build:

  1. Upgrade to two dual 120mm fan radiators for more cooling capacity.
  2. Keep it all the water cooling components internal to the case.
  3. Reduce the noise generated from the case while keeping cooling good.

My system was is in a Thermaltake Armor full tower case at the time.

Thermaltake Armor 1

Thermaltake Armor 1

My tower was water cooled with a fairly standard arrangement.  There was a from mounted dual 120mm fan radiator, a pump with an acrylic top, CPU water block, “Y” for filling and bleeding.  Nothing to special.  Actually there is one thing that was a little special.  I had water cooled the North Bridge chip.

Now I’m going to go off the case topic for an aside about my North Bridge cooler.  I hope you don’t mind.

The existing ASUS chipset cooler on my P6T Deluxe v2 was heatpipe based.  But as with all heatpipes it had an aircooled component.   ASUS give you special threaded standoffs that thread into this heatsink.  This allows the mounting of a 60mm fan.

Chipset Cooler With Fan

Chipset Cooler With Fan

The problem I had, was that it ran fairly hot and it was not water cooled.  I toyed with the idea of removing the entire chipset cooler and water cooling each component separately.  But the problem with that was that it also cools the power circuitry.  This got me wondering “what’s under this thing?”

Chipset Main Heat Sink

Chipset Main Heat Sink

I removed it to happily find a nice big copper block as the junction of the heat pipes!

Heat Pipe Copper Block

Heat Pipe Copper Block

I was a bit shocked at the thermal pad that attached the heat sink to this copper block.  It barely showed signs of being compressed to touch the copper.

Heat Sink TIM

Heat Sink TIM

On to water cooling!  I tried a commercial chip set water block that I had on hand from a previous build but it’s contact area was pretty small.  Clearly, it was designed for a hot chip not the large surface area of the copper block.

Commercial Chipset Block

Commercial Chipset Block

I puzzled on this for a few.  I have made many water blocks in the past (most of the articles are here if you look).  I dug out a “spiral type” block that I had made years ago for AMD CPU cooling.  This block had already been modified as a 680i North bridge block, so I figured it could fill the bill here.

DIY Chipset Block 1

DIY Chipset Block 1

Very close to perfect!  Only, the mounting holes don’t line quite up.

DIY Chipset Block 2

DIY Chipset Block 2

I can fix that!  I threw it in the drill press and made a few new holes. *Disclaimer: Don’t try this unless you know what you are doing and can be safe about it.

Drilling Block

Drilling Block

Fits good!

Block Mounted 1

Block Mounted 1

Same block rotaed 180 degrees.

Block Mounted 2

Block Mounted 2

The bottom wasn’t lapped to too fine a finish but it’s fine for this application, in my opinion.

Block Finish

Block Finish

I mounted it up and plumbed it in.

Plumbed In 1

Plumbed In 1

Plumbed In 2

Plumbed In 2

Plumbed In 3

Plumbed In 3

All right, back to the main topic water cooling the CM690II Advanced my way.  This is the actual victim as the shots above were with older video cards.  I now have two core 216 GTX260’s!

Thermaltake Armor 2

Thermaltake Armor 2

I started by taking everything out of my case and piling it on my desk.

My Stuff

My Stuff

Wait I missed something!  My DVD drive.  There you go everything … but the power supply!  Well you get the picture.  A word or two on the new Swiftech MCR220 Drive:  It attaches the pump to the radiator in a combo of pump + radiator + reservoir.

MCR220 Drive (with my MCP350 attached)

MCR220 Drive (with my MCP350 attached)

When I bought the MCR220 drive I bought it without the pump because I already had an MPC350 with an alpacool top that I wanted to reuse.  To use it I simply had to take the alphacool top off my MCP350 and attach it Easy enough, only four screws.

MCP350 with alphacool top

MCP350 with alphacool top

I had earlier bored the inlet out to 7/16-inch (~22mm) which is just about as bit as the internal diameter of the fitting that goes there.

Pump top inlet

Pump top inlet

The MCR220’s pump inlet isn’t nearly as big at 1/4-inch (~6mm) but I’m leaving that alone (for now).

MCR220 drive pump inlet

MCR220 drive pump inlet

I threaded in the fittings that came with the MCR220 drive. On to attaching the pump.  This is were I ran into my first snag.  Can you spot the problem?

Pump not quite flush

Pump not quite flush

Yep the MCP350 has “feet” for mounting in a case but they interfere with the pump attachement in this application.  I tried to rotating the pump 90 degrees.

Pump fits this way but ...

Pump fits this way but ...

It fits but the feet are going to be a problem during installation. in the bottom of my case because they stick out more that the 25mm fan that will be attaching it to the bottom of the case.

More than 25mm needed

More than 25mm needed

So I could have used some stand offs but my gut told me that would be a problem so I separated the case from the motor.  It comes apart easily after the mounting bolts are out.

Naked pump

Naked pump

A quick trip to the garage and a few moments later viola!  No more feet!

No Feet

No Feet

Now it assembles like it was made too!  I’m sure that is what it looks like if I would have purchased the model with the pump instead of reusing my existing pump.

Pump Fits!

Pump Fits!

That’s sorted! On to the top radiator.  Nothing special here, just a MCR220 mounted with to 120mm fans sucking air out.

Top Dual 120 Radiator

Top Dual 120 Radiator

I put the MCR220 drive set up in the bottom with two 120mm fans blowing air into the case.  This is as seen from the bottom inlet side.

Bottom Shot of Lower Radiator

Bottom Shot of Lower Radiator

A side shot of the lower radiator.

Lower Radiator Side Shot

Lower Radiator Side Shot

Backed out a bit for this shot of the whole case and lower radiator.

Case with Lower Radiator

Case with Lower Radiator

It’s a tight fit but it clears my power supply with a little space for cable attachment.  Plus those fittings will have to be changed to clear my dual video cards but more on that later.

Lower Radiator Just Barely Fits

Lower Radiator Just Barely Fits

Part of this build is a Danger Den fill port.  I started by drilling a 1-inch (~25mm) a hole in the plastic top.

Holey Plastic Top

Holey Plastic Top

And quickly realized that there is a metal top right below that!  So I drilled a hole in it too!

Holey Metal Top

Holey Metal Top

Now I can plumb in the rest!

Plumbing

Plumbing

A closer shot of the video card problem I mentioned.  You can see the 90 degree elbow I had to put on the pump outlet to get tubing round my dual video cards.  I used the low profile fitting and a trimmed down 90 degree elbow fitting on the pump inlet side.

Improvised to Overcome

Improvised to Overcome

A blurry picture sorry, of the top radiator plumbed in.

Top Radiator in Place

Top Radiator in Place

Here is a shot of just how tight the MCR220 Drive fits.

Pump, But Only Just

Pump, But Only Just

A frontal shot of the fill port and top radiator.  I added a “Y”  fitting for fill and bleeding the system.

Frontal Shot 1

Frontal Shot 1

A closer shot showing the fill port and my dinged up radiator.

Frontal Shot 2

Frontal Shot 2

Here is a top shot showing the fill port ready for filling.

Fill'er Up

Fill'er Up

This set up worked great!  But I didn’t keep the loud 120 mm fans.  Instead I switched them out for the 140 mm Cooler Master fan that came with the case and a second I bought.

Bigger Fans Are Better

Bigger Fans Are Better

I did the same thing on the top.  But with the 120 mm Cooler Master fan from the back of the case and another from a second CM690II Advanced I bought (don’t ask).

Quiet Fans Are Good Too

Quiet Fans Are Good Too

One thing to note if you try this with 140 mm fans.  There aren’t enough mounting holes for the front 140 mm fan.  I had to improvise.  And I did find that only one hole lines up to attache fan to case and radiator.  But in the end it all works!

Attached, Sort of

Attached, Sort of

A final shot of the whole system.

Full of Watery Goodness

Full of Watery Goodness

When it was all done I had a case that was much much quieter than my full tower.  I now had double the radiators and they were all internal.  And cooling is top notch!  I’d say it was a success!

Thanks for reading!

Owenator

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    Besides the fan you'll also have to check that the cooling compressor is running, from your description, it sounds as if it isn't. There may be a reset switch that needs to be operated.


    Reported.
    Besides the fan you'll also have to check that the cooling compressor is running, from your description, it sounds as if it isn't. There may be a reset switch that needs to be operated.
    Thanks for the kind words! I haven't taken any hard temp data since the upgrade, sorry. I was really after quiet and supporting my i7-920 overclock to 3.8 GHz which it does just fine! :D