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Advice & Log:Water Cooling a Sabertooth 990fx (rev 1.0) in a Blackhawk mid-ATX

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Valk

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2002
I had read that and belive me, the decision was not made in haste. Hope the new revision fixed this.problem but not ill just add more screws and silicon. Maybe ill put my fan controller above it though lol
 
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DJDelusional

DJDelusional

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Mar 18, 2014
Keep a close eye on that XSPC reservoir. I have 3 of them and within 12 months of hard usage every one of them began leaking from the top. Its an easy fix just pull the 12 or so screws out pry the top off and epoxy the lid back on. Just keep an eye on it I lost 2 fan controllers to that silly reservoir. It does look hot in my case though.

I read about that. My plan is to mod the res almost immediately upon arrival.


I also agree on case size. Ive seen 4x120mm radiator shoved into an MITX case before. Just take your time, plan it out, and everything will turn out nice. Note I have 2x 2x140(280) radiators in a mid tower, and I have room for at least one if not two more radiators if it was ever necessary.

I'm sure it's possible. It's just hard. No idea how to get even the 1 rad into the case properly, but I'm sure the solution will come once i get the rad in my hands and am able to work on it in person rather than work on theoretical measurements, etc. I work much better when I have the pieces in front of me.
 
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DJDelusional

DJDelusional

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Mar 18, 2014
After I got home today I decided to be productive until my parts arrive tomorrow. (YES! :D) by working on how I will do the cable management... And before long (well 3 hours later, but it didn't feel that long) I had it mostly completed.... and most of the parts back in the machine.

Yes most of them will be taken back out during the leak tests, but I did want to see just how many of the cables I could clean up. To give you an idea, this is what it looked like before.

attachment.php


And this is what it looks like now.

IMG_2036.jpg


Most of the components are still there. Just 3 fans and the CPU & heat block are removed, and thats all to make room for the stuff I will be adding tomorrow.

I'm not sure why I didn't do this sooner. It was a total b***h to do, but it looks amazingly clean now.

The USB3 cables will be replaced after I get a header extension to reach into the back of the case. The current breakout unit I have is just too flimsy to keep in the main compartment... and it looks messy when its set up in there anyway.

Yes I am also leaving all 6 HDD drive units in there. I need the disk space too much. removing them from the unit would just be much too inconvenient for me. If I have to mount the rad on the exterior of the case as a result, thats fine with me. I will make it the best exterior rad mount ever made. ;-)

My baby has never looked so clean, and now she is gonna be all decked out with fancy lights and water tubes. :-D

Is there anything else I should consider before my stuff arrives? I have been doing this too long and i left my checklist in my other brain.
 

Valk

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2002
much better! your quite lucky to have all that room behind your mainboard tray to stuff it.
you definitely have plenty of room fro two rads in that case. one exhausting out the top and one drawing in from the front without making any modifications to your case. that is the route id probably take but it but i guess it would require moving the hard drive cage a little bit. id probably run a pair of stealth rads, under 30mm/thick or at least a thin one in the front drawing air through the front.

with your cables all tucked like that you ave a lot of posibilities!. of course for $100 you can get a fractal design which is pre designed to accept water cooling without those covers you have there. I very nearly got an r4 as it is really easy to work with but im sticking it out with my lian li.
 
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DJDelusional

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Mar 18, 2014
Trust me, it was a tight fit. The back panel almost didn't fit. I also think I am just going to stick with 1 rad for now. That's all I ordered anyway. If I need more I can always work on getting that at another time, but for now I should be fine.

I wish I had a different case to be honest. A super ATX would be awesome to own, but then I would need a different PSU as the cables on this one are just barely long enough to reach. the CPU power cable almost didn't make it when routed behind the MB. I really don't need that big of a system right now though.

I am still unsure as to how I will mount the rad + fans, but at least I have this unit looking nice and ready to start the modding process later today. If all goes well I should have my system finished tomorrow. :)

That is assuming, of course, that my package comes in today... *crosses fingers*
 
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DJDelusional

DJDelusional

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Mar 18, 2014
So, out of pure excitement I went across the street from my office to the post office. I couldn't wait to get my parts today. I asked the nice lady if my package had arrived there (knowing already that it had). She mentioned they normally don't give packages over the window and asked if I really needed it. Knowing that I would die of sheer anticipation If i didn't get my package asap, i said yes I really did need it, and she was kind enough to give it to me. :D

After showing some ID and signing for the package, I went back to my office. Since I am waiting on a restore of files at the office today that will take several hours (yeah, the mac desktop died and I had to reinstall OS X :( ) I will be going home shortly to work on the rig.

20140320_100559.jpg
 
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Valk

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2002
Pretty simple to moubt rad. Try using the screw the rad comes with to clamp the fans to rad and then to that big open spot you have up top.
If the screws don't work, mcmaster it.

Honestly, with rad installed 90% of the work is done. Just falls together.
If your not using a res/ pump combo, try to mount your pump on the case floor. Pumps like to be the lowest point in system.
 
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DJDelusional

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Mar 18, 2014
Well, the system is setup and running for the next 24 hours. Sadly there was no good way to mount the rad to the inside of the case without either significant modding. Turns out the CPU power port blocks the rad from even fitting. :-( So I went for the next best option... a wing on the back. Once i spray-paint the brackets black it will be just as good, and its more noticable that something is different about this system with the rad on the exterior.
The exterior mount isn't a big deal to me either. It makes it easier for me to get the performance out of this machine, which is the real purpose of the whole mod in the first place. Looks come in at a close second.

I must say I am impressed with this kit. I never thought it would be so easy. Sure its a lot of work but its super simple once you know what you are doing. The biggest challenge will be configuring my cable management and setting up my lighting to a switch in my case. (hardest part is making the mount for the switch) but it should be all good. It won't be long now. ;)


In the mean time, here are some photos. Thanks for the advice so far. I will need some more before I am finished. Overclocking comes next. x.x

So what do you guys think? I know its not a $5000 custom powerhouse, but i feel like it still stands out from the crowd.
 

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ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Nice progress Alex (or do you prefer Alexander?), looks like the tubes are definitely red enough without red fluid as well!
 
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DJDelusional

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Mar 18, 2014
Nice progress Alex (or do you prefer Alexander?), looks like the tubes are definitely red enough without red fluid as well!

Either way works. I am called both on a regular basis. My friends call me Alex though. Some even call me just Swensen. :screwy: I never got used to it but I don't mind it, haha.

Yep, seems decent enough. No leaks so far. Tried jostling around the case how I normally would when moving it and doing stuff in it to see if anything was loose enough to leak if moved. Everything is tight as can be. I'll be letting the system continue running but I'm going to start moving parts back in as I don't see any seriously damaging leaks coming from this setup. Seems I did the job right.

I got some red LED's for the XSPC unit in the mail today as well. Turns out the blue ones that come with the unit are much more promising. The red ones are dim and disappointing so I will be putting in the blue ones until I mod the red ones with decently bright LED's. (and being sure to give them a poor rating. grrr.)

Well, back to the grind stone. If I am lucky I can play titanfall tonight. :comp:
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
I'm in the process of removing all LEDs from my system :p

Hope all goes well while putting the system back in!
 

Valk

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2002
funny. I vultured the xspc leds to replace the stock ones in my lian li. both leds are blue now to match the mainboard accents.

you should look into the front of your case as a possible rad mounting spot but the external works just fine. thats a pretty nice kit you got.
im amazed what you can get for how much these days. Im still old school and thinking in terms of custom made stuff lol.
oh china....
are you only going to cool the cpu? should be able to get a pretty good oc with dedicated liquid cooling there.

ill actually change my tune about your case. you dont HAVE to replace it, but for $100 you can have a fractal design r4. that case is ideal for the liquid cooling kit you just baught. then you could skip the psu upgrade for a little while. its a little wider so you have tons of room for the cables in the back and even coolant lines... like a full inch of backboard space.

I very very very very nearly go that case.. might still get it if i build a actual workstation box for solidworks/slicer cnc stuffs.
 
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DJDelusional

DJDelusional

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Mar 18, 2014
I'm in the process of removing all LEDs from my system :p

Hope all goes well while putting the system back in!

Thanks, It did! The results are stunning! I will post them soon.

funny. I vultured the xspc leds to replace the stock ones in my lian li. both leds are blue now to match the mainboard accents.

The stock blue ones are awesome. Its the red ones I don't like. They are much dimmer. If i had a decent light meter I would give the exact amount of difference. Sadly I don't have one. Simple to say I notice a difference.

you should look into the front of your case as a possible rad mounting spot but the external works just fine. thats a pretty nice kit you got.
im amazed what you can get for how much these days. Im still old school and thinking in terms of custom made stuff lol.
oh china....

I would put it there, but it's too much work to worry about now that I have it all mounted and running. Maybe when I do some maintenance on my machine I will look into other options. For now it's perfect.

are you only going to cool the cpu? should be able to get a pretty good oc with dedicated liquid cooling there.

For now, yes. I only had money to get a CPU setup. Maybe when I have some time and money I will do the same to my GPU. For now I don't need to, It runs everything I throw at it with ease... (Then again, so did my CPU... now I need to find more things to throw at it. )


ill actually change my tune about your case. you dont HAVE to replace it, but for $100 you can have a fractal design r4. that case is ideal for the liquid cooling kit you just baught. then you could skip the psu upgrade for a little while. its a little wider so you have tons of room for the cables in the back and even coolant lines... like a full inch of backboard space.

I very very very very nearly go that case.. might still get it if i build a actual workstation box for solidworks/slicer cnc stuffs.

I'll take a look at it. In a few more years when I build my next machine I will look around. For now, I am quite satisfied with this build. And now I will show you why.

1896740_10152237427645862_603866094_n.jpg
1959937_10152237594880862_652298392_n.jpg

It's not perfect, but its one hell of an improvement. This block not only performs well, it looks f*cking amazing! With a 12" red CCFL light I installed in the top of the case, this thing has already been called a Flux Capacitor among my social media circles.

Right now I am running Prime95. Have been for about an hour and I haven't gotten above 32C. It's slowly rising, but I don't think it will get all that high in this unit. This thing is amazing. I am considering leaving Prime95 running for several hours to see what comes of it, but I have an appointment with some friends of mine on Titanfall.

Anyway, I will be posting some better pictures later.

So what do you guys think? :)
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
Looks great, but it definitely needs those red LEDs :p

Have you looked at getting your next set from DigiKey?
 
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DJDelusional

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Mar 18, 2014
Looks great, but it definitely needs those red LEDs :p

Have you looked at getting your next set from DigiKey?

I actually like the red & blue. Looks awesome to me.

I do need more red in the bottom section of the case though. No light is getting there.



I have never even heard of DigiKey. I tried going through their website.... I am spoiled by Amazon. -.- I can't find anything on DigiKey, lol.
 

Valk

Member
Joined
Oct 31, 2002
yeaaaa thats a bit of an inprovment over what yo had lol. nice work.
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012
I actually like the red & blue. Looks awesome to me.

I do need more red in the bottom section of the case though. No light is getting there.



I have never even heard of DigiKey. I tried going through their website.... I am spoiled by Amazon. -.- I can't find anything on DigiKey, lol.

Toss me the specs for the LEDs. I'll get you a link and/or part number for DigiKey.
 
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DJDelusional

DJDelusional

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Mar 18, 2014
Valk: Thanks. Its a serious improvement in my book.

ATMINSIDE: Here is the amazon page for the LED's.
Most people say these wear out too fast though.
My guess is that the LED's aren't really rated for continuous use at 12v.
I would like ones that are the same size but brighter than hell. (Without breaking the bank. ;-) )
 

ATMINSIDE

Sim Racing Aficionado Co-Owner
Joined
Jun 28, 2012