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Long time Modder 1st time BuildLog

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Feb 2, 2014
North Okanagan BC Canada
Overclockers Build Log

Hello everyone. Long time reader, 1st time poster. I’ve been checking out a lot of peoples Watercooling Builds, and I’ve decided to update my existing systems to new. A little history. I haven’t had an air-cooled computer since my Coppermine 600. Yup. I’ve been into water-cooling for quite some time. 1st system was a gong show. Comercial water block, Heating Core from a 1984 Chevette, and a 12v Bilge pump locked into a shiny chrome cylinder. These will be my 6th and 7th water-cooling builds since I’ve started.

Think I’ll call them R-Cubed. Reduce Reuse Recycle. Yup, at least 75% of these 2 builds will be with my existing equipment. I’ve decided to go with Rigid Acrylic tubes, so I’ve updated lots of my tools, and my cooling loops to say the least. Also, this will be the 1st time that I have decided to take my time and build things how I want them built, not build them fast to get back into gaming. I’ve decided to use my Macs for my general day to day computing until this project is done.

So, if you don’t mind a “Rookie Build Logger” using recycled equipment, then tag along! I’m sure it will be fun!

Rig 1

1st Rig is dear to my heart. It’s housed in a modded Lian-Li PC67 that my wife bought for me back in 2001 / 2002. I love that case. Sleek aluminium (Yes I say and spell it properly even though I’m Canadian) I’ve done a fair bit of modding to it in the past. She’s going to house a 750 Watt Antec Power Supply, Asus ROG Crosshair IV Formula, AMD Phenom 1080. I think that’s the model number. We’ll have to see when I boot her up. I do know it’s the HexaCore one. 8Gb Corsair Dominator RAM, XFX Radeon HD 4890, and a 512Gb SSD drive. I’ll likely get a Bluray optical drive for it as well because I do like having the optical drives, and I do nice things with them. It’s all going to be cooled by a Swiftec HX220 kit that I bought many moons ago for it. All the components still work perfectly, and it’s more than enough to cool this machine, and make it silent. Swiftec Apogee CPU Block. This will be a generic household computer for the whole family to use, and when buddies come over and want to PC game, we can use it as a 2nd machine.

Rig 2

Rig 2 was actually built 3 or 4 years ago for a client. I knew him well, so when he come to me for the build consultation, I went ahead and ordered all the stuff and was going to bill him the cost of the components at the end of it all. Lesson learned on that one. He reneged on it all, and I wound up biting the bullet on the cost of that. Oh well, at least I got a pretty good gaming machine out of it. It is a Lian-Li PCX900 case, 1200 Watt Silverstone Strider modular power supply, Asus ROG Rampage III Extreme playing host to an Intel 980x Hexacore, 8Gb of Patriot Sector 5 RAM, a pair of XFX Radeon 5970 Black Editions, an LG BluRay burner, Intel Pro/1000 PT Dual port NIC, and a pair of Corsair 512GB SSDs ( I haven’t used a standard HD in about 5 years now) This system will also be cooled by primarily Swiftec components. Dual 120 Rad, MPC655-B pump, and a really nice Swiftec CPU block of which I can’t currently remember the model. It’s 01:26AM and I’m a bit tired.

So, I started things off with Rig 2. Yeah, I want it done first so I can get back to gaming when I have time. Titanfall will be out soon. ;0)

All pictures on this post are the BEFORE PICTURES. They are the crap old build.

As you can see from the Before Pictures, she’s a pretty darn ugly build. I was in a bad mood when I built it and I just wanted to get it working so I could play games on it to make myself feel better. I drained the loop, and stripped her down completely. Every screw that could come out came out, every removable piece is also gone. Took that opportunity to clean it up. I had a lot of Gorilla Tape (black) in there to help hold wires where I wanted them, etc. I was too lazy/impatient at the time to custom length the cables and such. So a couple of hours, and lots of grease from my elbows, I had all the tape residue off, and was left with a super nice shiny clean case. Then came the planning phase. I sat down and stared at this rig for quite some time, going over different placements in my head over and over. What worked from the last build, what didn’t, what I wanted changed, and what if anything I wanted to stay the same. One thing I like to do in my builds is stealth things. I like sleepers. Previously, I had the radiator at the front of the case with the fans in behind sucking cool air in through the rad, over the GPUs, and motherboard heatsinks, and then exiting out the top / back. This works well for the most part, but I had about 18 Microns of clearance between my fan housing, and the edge of my GPUs. This is a big case, but it’s not very deep. :( With what I had planned for this build dictated that I move some stuff around. More planning, deliberating, and finally coming up with my final Radiator location. As you can see from the pictures, it’s at the top of the case. I’ll be crafting up some custom ducting so the fans on the rad will be pulling fresh cool air in from the front, and top back, blowing it into the main case housing, and then out the exhaust port on the back of the case, and out through the PSU. It’s going to make for a super clean looking install, but it is going to be hell getting that ducting work done.

1st order of business….. Dremel time! I whipped out my handy dandy Dremel tool, and started hacking away at the things I wanted / needed gone. Extended the ports in the motherboard tray for my SATA cables, Power Cables, and anything else I could want to port over to the back and then out of site. Created a 2nd port for cabling to go through. Next up was the radiator’s home. I created a template of my radiator, and placed it in the case where it was going to be. Dremeled out the template, and had a near perfect fit for the rad. The grooves and notches all lined up perfectly. I instantly jabbed a screwdriver into my hand to ensure I was awake, and this wasn’t some wild dream. Nope, I bled. I’m awake, and it worked out perfect 1st time round! Wooo hoooo!.

After the radiator was squared away, I started on the front ducting work. I removed key pieces of metal, and in about 5 minutes the front ducting work had a good foundation. I’m going to be building the final duct work out of acrylic sheets, and will be custom bending the sheets with a bending table that I’m constructing. Hey, I might get some customers out of these build logs, so I might as well do it right, and repeatable. ;0).

As I like to have optical drives, the 5 1/4” bay had to go. Drilled out the rivets, and removed the while cage. Since I only want the 1 drive, I did some additional Dremel work to it, and got it all squared away nicely. Mounted the optical drive where I wanted it in the cage, and put it aside for later in the build.

My focus then turned to what was happening in the main case area. I’m a visual guy, so I mounted my motherboard, and power supply in there, and planed out the cooling loop in my head. It was at this point where I decided that I wanted to clean up the interior. I’m not being a blowhard or anything of the sort, but I owned a 2009 Aston Martin DB9 for a couple of years, and I was in love with the cockpit. Actually, I was in love with the entire car. Glossy black, Aluminium, Carbon Fiber, and soft supple white LEDs for the cluster lighting. Simple, elegant……. I miss that car. I miss it a lot. Inspiration!!!! I’m taking the glossy black, aluminium, and white LEDs, and incorporating that into this case. I still have some left overs from owning that car, and I’m going to incorporate them into this build.

I immediately set to work planning the interior. Glossy black acrylic all round, with subtle touches, and highlights. Crafted up some templates out of cardboard that is 1/8” thick (just like the acrylic), and pieced together a fantastic puzzle that will not only look amazing when finished, but it will help with the rest of the build as well.

OK Plan is made, a shopping list put together, and just over $800 later at FrozenCPU (between all my orders) I’m patiently waiting for my components to show up, so I can get into the thick of it!

I hope I didn’t ramble on too much, and I hope to a piqued some interest for the rest of this build. Like I said earlier, I’m an utter NOOB for doing build logs, and I’ve taken some video and pictures along the way. Stay tuned!


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My recycled parts & mode begins...

I must apologize for the crappy pictures. They are taken from my iPhone 4. Going to grab the wife's good camera from now on. Especially when the new toys start arriving, and when I start the good stuff. So, attached here, are my recycled parts that will be going into the Rig 2 build.


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@ Charr

Yes, I have always only used 1 Rad in my loops. Even with things overclocked, my temps have always been pretty good. I'm not doing any super crazy overclocks, and always squeeze out what I can without voltage bumps. If someone wanted me to build them a system with multiple loops, etc I'd certainly do it. I've got a design idea together for a multi rad / multi loop setup that I'm going to do up when the time / case is right.
Minor Update

I received some of my shipment today, so I'm going to be doing some work on the new build this weekend. Got myself some additional tools, some "test" acrylic. Just some 1/8" thick white stuff. 2' x 2' that I'm going to do some cutting, routing, and bending tests with. That way I'll have my tecnique nailed down for when my good acrylic shows up. Got a nice Rigid hand router, a bunch of clamps, and some supplied to make a good routing / cutting table. Going to use my Dremel in the Drill Press station with a router bit on it to do the initial lines for cutting the acrylic. That way my inner cuts will be small width so as to not waste any materials.

I have the cardboard templates for the acrylic done, so it's just a matter of transfering them to the test acrylic, cutting them up, and forming them. All of which I want to get done this weekend.
Minor update again.

Well. I learned a couple things tonight. Cutting acrylic with a router makes a heck of a mess, I'm in much need of practice cutting acrylic with a router, and I need some overalls. I'm sure glad I got the test acrylic to play with. I'd made a lot of practice cuts, some plastic bending, and some measurement fine tuneing. Also found some innovative ways to use the new tools, and some ideas on what jigs to make next. Necessity is the mother of all invention, now I just need to make some proper equipment. Had to get some pics of the dark side of modding. The glorious mess. And oh what a mess acrylic makes.


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Parts ahoy!!!

:)Finally! Parts have arrived!!

OK, so the project has taken a couple of turns in the past month. I decided to sell off my pair of 5970s. They are
now in a happy new home working away mining Bitcoins somewhere in California. I think they were on eBay for about 15 minutes
before they were sold. I played the Titanfall Beta on the Xbox One, and decided that I want to play that on my PC as well.
So, I ordered up an R9 290x from XFX. It's the 4Gb Core Edition one. I went with this model because, well, the super sexy
Heatkiller GPUx3 works for that PCB layout. Usually, I would get the Black Edition, but since I like the looks
of the GPU cooler, I went with this edition. It should be just fine I think.

Here is the latest round of parts.


So, 4 orders with FrozenCPU, a couple of ebay transactions and a whole lot of waiting around for stuff to show up. Most of my stuff has arrived. I'm still waiting for the proper size of silicone tube so I can do some actual tube bending, and my Skill Router table workstation thingy. As much as I love my Micky Mouse setup for running my hand router, I think
I should get some proper tools.

I've been playing around and practicing bending my acrylic sheets, and making cuts with the router.
This big yellow square is my "Tube Bending Station" I placed all my mandrels on it. The white bar on the bottom left is
actually a shelf mounting bracket. It's the perfect size for my tubing. If I need to make something straight again, that will
do the trick. I'm sad that you can't see the grid on the yellow sheet. They are 1cm squares, so I'll be able to measure where to bend and everything nice and easy.

I initially wanted to paint my case the same color as my car was, but I would have to ship the components over to England
where the only people that can get their hands on that particular color are. :( Well, that plan went out the window. I really
want this system up and running for when Titanfall releases. I will do an Aston themed PC in the future.

I put the GPU under the knife, and removed the stock Heatsink. This was pretty straightforward. There were 2 little screws on the
faceplate of the GPU that I had to take out in order to get the Heatsink fully off. That is one massive fan!! I'm glad I never
listened to it.

Next up was cleaning off all the "old" Thermal Compound from the GPU core. LOL Old. It was never even used.
Cleaned it up to a nice shine. Almost as reflective as a Hard Drive platter.

What pretty colors for the thermal pads that came with the Heatkiller.

I removed all the stock pads, cleaned off the chips, and applied the new pads. During my initial checking things out, I found that the
capacitors, and PWMs glide into that nice little valley in the Heatsink. I decided to go the extra little mile, and put some thermal pads on there
to help it out. So, I removed one of the stock pads from the OEM cooler, and placed it on the capacitors/PWMs to help cool them a bit. The pad
contacts the heatsink just enough to help out by the looks of it. Put my thermal paste on the GPU core, and followed the instructions for the
Heatkiller. Man, this is one heck of a heavy heatsink. Measures 1000g (1Kg or 2.2 Lbs), and then the back plate has a bit of weight to it as well.
As you can see this thing looks awesome assembled.

I double checked everything with the backplate, and Heatsink. Nothing making contact where it
shouldn't. That part done, time to move on!

Cut my 1st tube! This was more for helping visualize where the pump needed to be mounted. With this part behind me, it was time to start planning
out where to run my tubes, how I wanted it to all look. By this time it was 1:45AM, and I had to be up for work in 4 hours. With a heavy heart, it
was time to hang up my tools for the night, and twiddle off to bed. But I'm super pumped! Things are really going to start happening with this build now! And thanks to Matt for helping me out with my Picture placements. going to go back through the old posts and clean them up, cause man that looks ugly.


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Thanks! Yes, this is my first build with Acrylic tubing. It's UV reactive orange, to go along with my orange UV coolant. Lots of learning with all this plastics, and acrylic.
Build update

OK. I finally got all my stuff in, and just in time to get really sick. So after a few days off of work, I decided I needed to do something to keep me sane. So, I cranked up the heat in my garage, and went to work.

Time to figure out this acrylic tube stuff. ;0)
Here's the first bend I did!
Yay! Not so bad. Next up, I wanted to finish off with all the super messy acrylic cutting. So, with the wife and kid away, I got those parts done.

Time to get the new switches located, and done. I ordered a 22mm and a 16mm Anti-Vandal switch with corresponding LEDs. The purple one controls the UV lights, and the white one turns the Glow wire around the motherboard on / off.

Time to focus attention back inside the case. Final mounting of the motherboard, and the acrylic surrounding it was then lined up.

Prepping the acrylic for the tubes to go from the pump down at the bottom of the case up to the top where the RAD is nicely hidden from external view.

Time to get the rest of the loop planed out, and built.

Cleverly disguised UV LED strip for the bottom of the case.
Also disguised, the UV LED strip for the top of the case.

More Loop Work.

My internally located RAD.

Now that all the parts are in place, time to put her through a leak test. Strategically placed white stuff will help with that. Also, will help protect my brand new really expensive components.

I spent the entire day Saturday working on the wiring for this project. I replaced the 24 Pin for MB Power, the 2 8 Pin CPU/AUX power ports, the 8 & 6 Pin PCI-E, SATA Power for the SSD, and the optical drive. It's all in the same colour UV Blue wire, so I had to take my time, and follow the schematics to make darn sure I didn't muck anything up.
DSC01646.JPG DSC01647.JPG

Most components mounted, and the lighting positions sorted out. I didn't like how the UV Orange tubes looked under the UV light, and I didn't want to wait and order new fluid. So, I sleeved them! Yup, I paracord sleeved my acrylic tubes, and boy did they turn out a lot better than I expected they would. That is sooooooo the look I was hoping for with them. At the moment my lights are on all the time, as I just can't for the life of me figure out how to wire up these Vandal switches. Either they are not working right (both of them unlikely) or I just don't have the mental capacity to wire them up yet. :bang head

So, here is my machine before this project.
Before-1.jpeg Before-2.jpeg

And now!
After-1.JPG After-2.JPG
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DSC01652.JPG DSC01653.JPG

There is still so much to do, and I'll be trying to get it all done in the next week or so. I can't wait until she's done. I'm really loving it so far. Then once it's all done, I'll give it a rest for a little bit, and then start up with the Silver Aluminium Lian Li case my wife bought me for Christmas back in 2001 - 2003 ish.

My next update should be the finished build.


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Hey tripleM1515

Yes, the acrylic sticks out past the motherboard. It looks decent with the lights off, and the white glow wire that I put along the edge of the MB. Bit of a glowing mirror like effect that the camera just doesn't want to pick up.