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[Build Log] The addiction continues with a desk build!

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Jul 17, 2016
My first watercool build was a tough learning experience. Tons of fun.

Now for something new, in honor of the AMD Ryzen launch. Sure. That's why I'm doing it. I can stop any time I want. I'm building in a Lian-Li DK-02 desk case.

Mostly chosen because the DK series seems to be the only desk-case you can readily purchase in the US! I went with the DK-02 mostly because I wanted the larger desk. I might install a second mITX system some day, but have no need for it right now.
Not much going on in there yet.

The PC:
AMD R7 1800X
Asus Crosshair VI
Gigabyte G1 GTX 1080
32GB EVGA RAM (3200)
Plus the drives

Watercooling Gear:
CPU Block: EK Supremacy EVO Green, reused from last build
GPU Block: EK G1 GTX 1080, reused from last build
2x XSPC D5 Photon 170 Pump/Reservoir Combo
2x Alphacool XT45 240mm
2x Alphacool XT45 360mm
Tubing: Monsoon Hardline Acrylic

Using acrylic will be new, the last build was PETG. Same concept, but I hear it's a little more finicky to work with. But I have plenty of tubing. This time, I'll be using some Mayhems pastel dyes.

New this build will also be a couple temperature sensor plugs so I can watch coolant temperatures. (for science!) Also, I stumbled across a "manual pressure release plug" fitting. Best I can tell, you can push in on it and it will bleed air out of the system without actually having to take off the fitting or something. It was like 8 bucks so I'll give it a whirl. If anyone has experience on the best use/position for this, let me know. (or if its a dumb gimmick, let me know that too)

Two independent loops will run, blue and green. (hence the two pump/res combos) The radiators are overkill, but I figure there's possibly SLI additions or even an entire second machine later down the road, so why not get the radiators. Also, both the front 2x240mm fan slots and the side 2x360mm fan slots actually move air through a narrow vertical channel around the edges of the desk, airflow will be much more restricted than a typical case.

Still working things out in terms of best setup. The horizontal nature is a new challenge. There aren't any screw holes intended for mounting radiators, so nothing aligns with the Photon's included mount. Do you folks think some of that 3M tape on the underside would sufficiently secure the pump/res?
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Nice!!! I have always wanted a desk like this. But they sure dont give you anything for cable management eh?

No routing area for cables, no. The -03 and -04 have some of that, but I didn't feel it was worth the price premium. (I got this on on sale) In hindsight, I probably should have gone with the -03.
The DK-02 does come with some cable management help though: a couple of "cable tubes" and a bunch of little loops you can stick anywhere in the desk. I had to order an extension for the 8-pin CPU power cable, it's just not long enough to reach all the way across in any decent-looking manner.

The back of the case does have a bay area that will work for some cable routing, but there's not a ton of access points. I plan to stick a fan controller back there, out of sight. Unfortunately, only that CPU cable makes much sense to send back that way. The front connectors, power button, etc, are all on the wrong side.
Radiators installed, plan to flip the labeled 240mm so the ports are closer to that open left-hand portion. Going to be long runs over there, good thing I have lots of tubing.


I'm also pondering just cutting out that left-hand triple rad entirely. The GPU could then run on both 240mm rads and the CPU just on the 360 on the right. Still plenty of cooling. Much easier tubing runs. But then there's this giant empty space in the left section until I install a second system there. (which may be never)

Flipping that left-hand 360mm radiator with the ports on the "south" side would be easier, if the dang front I/O cables weren't right there.
Why not make a plexi board with LEDs for effect or ambient lighting and have your OS and storage drives displayed there.

I personally would make it one big loop and position both res/pumps in the middle as I've seen common on most desk builds. But than again, not sure if it will fit if the PSU's in the way unless that can get moved to another spot.
Why not make a plexi board with LEDs for effect or ambient lighting and have your OS and storage drives displayed there.

I personally would make it one big loop and position both res/pumps in the middle as I've seen common on most desk builds. But than again, not sure if it will fit if the PSU's in the way unless that can get moved to another spot.

That could be a neat use for the space! I'll play around with it.

In other news, I did PETG tubing on my first build. I'd heard acrylic was harder to work with, so I went PETG. But I'd also heard PETG is a little more clear-looking, so decided to give it a whirl this time.


They weren't kidding about PETG being easier. I have one of the little twisty-type cutters. Kept cracking the tube. Read up a bit, people say "go slower!" So I went super slow. Spin around like five times, give 1/16 turn, twirl five more... bleh. Maybe it's just a crappy tube cutter. Or I'm just bad at it.

Are hacksaws a bit easier?
Are those the acrylic tubes? If so, why did you decide to use that instead of PETG? Benefits outweigh by a large margin IMO. Subbed though, I'd like to see how this turns out as I was in the market of getting a DK-04 myself but decided against the price tag.:-/

I'd heard acrylic looked more clear, so thought I'd try it. Will probably hop over to microcenter and grab some PETG instead.
Leak testing!


These D5 Photon reservoirs from XSPC seem to take a while to bleed. The water mostly flows directly from the inlet to the outlet because it's under some anti-vortex baffle. Very little movement of fluid in the reservoir. End result is a lot of bubbles shoot through the system into the reservoir only to go right back out into the tubes. Going better now that the desk is flat again. (I have to tilt it vertical to fill properly)
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Update! Been busy with work, but managed to do more over the weekend.

The coolant I ordered had one of the bottles dated from June 2015. I was skeptical to say the least.

Got some replacement coolant.


Hey, you know an advantage of UV-reactive dyes? When one of your fittings leaks like crazy, dumping coolant down the backside of a radiator out of sight while you finish making dinner, it's easy to find the half pint that ended up on your carpet using a UV LED strip!


There's parts of the case I just can't access to clean. Ah well, they're also out of sight :)

Lit up again:


I decided not to use the pastel coolants for now. Good thing I didn't, or that would have been all over the place too!

PS. Don't buy Thermaltake Riing fans. The software is utter garbage. I literally can't even get it to run properly, much less control the fans.

But things are looking pretty good.
I used UV reactive dye for leak testing purposes too, although mine was intentional & I didn't find any leaks :/

That looks very cool lit up, nice job! Those colors work really well together.