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New Project, how far will I go?

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Cfn Nexus

Apr 4, 2004
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Well, it's been over 3 years since my last project (http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=286108), which ended up dying of a burnt southbridge/broken SATA headers. No SATA activity on the first set, and when transfered to the second set, must have shorted something in the SB because despite being good connectors, and trying a fresh new cpy of XP Pro, wouldn't load anything. Socket 754 going the way of the dino, Vista making some fairly good inroads for gaming, slowly, and PCIE x16 available, time for a new build. Here's the goodies list:

Case: Lian-Li PC-G70 w/ window
PSU: Enermax Infinity 720W w/ 3x12V rails, SLI-certified
Mobo: ASUS P5N32-E SLI nVidia 680i Chipset
Proc: Intel C2D E6700 Conroe
RAM: 2x Corsair 2GB XMS2-8500D Dominator TWIN2X Dual Channel DDR2 2x!GB Kit w/ Dominator Cooler
Video: 2x eVGA nVidia GeForce 8800GTS 640MB in SLI :attn:
Sound: Creative Audigy X-Fi Extreme Gamer
Monitors: 2x 20" Samsung SyncMaster 206BW
DVD R/W: Asus DRW-1814BLT 18x DL w/ Lightscribe, SATA
HDD: 2x Maxtor 180GB 7200rpm 8ms in SATA RAID 0
Bay Device: AeroCool GateWatch2 in Black
Cooling: 3x 92mm Panaflows on top window plexi, Lian-Li 120mm for case.
OS: MS Vista Ultimate 64-bit

All tubing 3/8" Tygon R-3603 (total used 17')
Pump: DDC-12V 18 Watt Version 3.2
Proc block: DD TDX for LGA775
Chipset block: DD Maze4
Rad: Black Ice Stealth GTS 120 w/shroud & 120mm Panaflow 38mm
Fill: DD Fillport
Pump: DDC-12V 18 Watt Version 3.2
Vid blocks: DD 8800 GTS
Rad: Black Ice Stealth GTS 240 w/ 120mm Panaflow 38mm
Fill: DD Fillport

The Lian-Li case is plain Jane, light, and takes to cutting up pretty well, for my mediocre fab skills. I wanted the full tower because of space; I want my rads/fans internal this time, so the bottom should be good. The Asus board can be iffy to OC, heat issues known for the NB, but the Maze4 should help that. I don't need or want the extra SupremeFX sound, nor a dozen other extra's that come with the Deluxe boards. The Intel C2D E6700 was an open box ready to be taken, and there were rebates on the Corsair Dominators as they are changing their heatsink colours. Should be some tight timings on them.
I took SLI over a single 8800GTX because a) a single 8800GTS just isn't enough for me, in terms of performance, b) in the future, once drivers are better, 2 cards may actually do better than 1, c) price, they happened to be on sale, and d) 2 cards looks damn hot! Dissapointing that the drivers for Dualview gaming aren't there yet, but they should be coming soon.
Before I get to explaining what I've done/am doing let me assure you:
Pictures to come soon!

The Process
Step 1: Ordered and gathered all the parts over a week, via Memory Express here in Edmonton, FrozenCPU online, and USPlastics for the Tygon.
Step 2: That massive Lian-Li begged to be modded. I needed a home for those rads, ports for the fillports, and a skylight. Out to the garage for playtime with the drill, dremel, and jigsaw. A full mornings (and 31C of heat outside) worth of work = lighter case with lots of holes :thup:
Step 3: Plain alu? No thanks, after a few rigs of plain silver, time for a switch. Sanded down the chopped case pieces, reassembled, painters taped and newspapered, and off to spray. Colours of choice...Excel Ultra-black base with Excel Marble Silver deco. 3 coats plus the top coat, an hour between coats, and that Lian-Li looks sick.
Step 4: Installing the WC. 2 Loops, 1 for the proc and NB, 1 for the vids. I didn't need heavy firepower for pumps, so no MCP 655 this time, just a couple DDC-12V's. Maybe later I'll get to the Petra's mod, but I'm thinking because of placement issues, I might not. Now this has been a process of a few days after work and a weekend. Pumps went to the bottom, T-lines to the fill ports up on the top. The proc loop rad went to the 120mm slot on the front, and had enough room to shroud with a drilled out old 120mm fan chassis. The vid loop rad on the otherhand...she just wouldn't squeeze in there and still have the return off the lowest card block clear :argue: Not to mention wicked curves needed to get it plumbed in the first place. The 3/8" ID Tygon I chose because my previous choice of 1/2" ID did turn out nice, but working with curves? It won't cut it without kinking, and it takes up a lot of unmoveable realestate. Plus, if you check the Sticky at the top of this section, Cathar's testing has proven that there isn't a whole lot of difference between the 2 sizes. In my case, it worked out nicely. A pleasing mix of design vs room taken up for aesthetics and cooling capacity :D
Step 5: Leak testing...:-/ Proved to be quite a task. T-Lines did help in putting coolant in (oh BTW, using MCT-5 this time, I like non-conductive, I like the green, like anti-algae, like water wetting properties). They didn't help with bleeding. Being a narrow place to collect bubbles, and the bottom of the loop near the pump didn't help, although the masses of tube used did ease them along somewhat. I did get 2 leaks though, despite teflon taping the fittings. 1st at the rad on the proc loop, 1 inlet decided to tear up the teflon tape. Doubled it and tightened back up. The other leak was at the vid card joins. The O-rings on the fittings from DD weren't too tight on the threads, so tend to squeeze out when tightening. Have to be careful there. But having a jumper for your PSU comes in handy for priming/leak testing.
Step 6: Installing the rest of the goodies. :clap: 2x 12" UV CCFL's along the sides of the window, a hyper white CCFL square for the backside, and the top window. That was a biatch. Weather stripping and bare metal edges are not fun, plus the window size was too big to fit with the stripping and fitting between the frame rails at the top of the chassis. After sanding 3/8" down the sides of the plexi, there's only about a 1/4" of metal between the rails for the stripping. But it looks awesome! The AeroCool Gatewatch2 was something of a pain, the leads on for the temp probes aren't all that long, and the connectors to it's board are behind a cover. Makes install a PITA. PSU being modular (and dark silver shiny!) slide in smooth. Drives all go right in without fuss. The resultant cable mess will be dealt with in a few days.

Step 7: Powering up. Finally. It's been near 2 weeks since recieving all the go-bits like it was Christmas. Blood, sweat, tears, dremel cutoff wheels later... The shiny Bulgin Vandal power switch awaits. On she goes! Sweet POST beep. Everything spins. No leaks. And then an annoying beeping noise??? The GateWatch2 wants my attention. Seems like the 92mm Pana's, despite having sensor wires, give no readings. Darn OEM gear...Thank DD for the DDC-12V's having sensor output wires, the Dominator RAM cooler and the Lian-Li 120mm get the other inputs. But still it BEEPS!? :argue: Enough of that drama, off to bed I go.
Thats as far as I've gotten up to today, more to come (and yes pics will be forthcoming) All comments/suggestions/constructive criticism's are welcome!
JamesXP said:
I think a MCR220/120 would of been better from what i've heard people recoomended.

I haven't used MC before, so hadn't considered their products for this build. Will look into it, always something better for next time :rolleyes:

Pics will be coming! Trust me, I'd love to show this thing off, it's just killer.

Problem's being the usual, last night was spent dealing with my Internet provider, Telus, and their screwed up system for replacing modems. I have the 2Wire wireless gateway they supply for highspeed. It drops my IP lease every couple weeks and doesn't issue me a new one. The damn applet that runs it is crap, the firewall useless and impossible to configure. I've requested they send me a Siemens wired gateway, which I know are available, to use with my shiny new Linksys Wireless-N Gigabit Gaming Router, which I know to be very good indeed. Telus just doesn't want to "downgrade" my modem. So now I'm dealing with their red tape. I'm thinking it just might be better to use the 2wire as the modem, connected to the upstream or WAP port on the Linksys, turn off all the options in the 2wire, and call it a day. See if the applet in the 2wire will like consistently issuing an IP to the router. But will the Linksys let the computers on it connect @ 1Gb/s and to the 2wire @ 100Mb/s at the same time? Anyone help me out with this?

Oh, and a massive thunderstorm right after didn't help progress either :shrug: Only got as far as doing some wire management, tying down cables and wrapping the fan wire leads in tubing and mesh. Definitely will benifit airflow.

Tonight is a B-day party for a friend, so that's a write-off. Tomorrow night might be a little better for getting this thing fully spooled up, and pics taken.
yey pics are on the way!!! woooot. lol....
i hate friggin routers and the like. so annoying....why do the companies sell that crap....get some decent programmers to do them.
What a day. A lot of things decided to all go wrong at once.
Started by putting in the white ccfl hyperlight that I put a pushbutton switch on. Switch decided to get stuck on, light never lit. My UV ccfl's don't want to stay stuck to the case side. Then when I powered up, the Aerocool Gatewatch2 decides it still wants to beep-beep at me, won't stop, can't program it as per the instructions, and one of it's buttons decides to cave. Then notice the LED for the pretty Bulgin switch power switch won't come on. go to check the leads for it, and find the lead set I bought to go with them has a bad connection to the inline resistor. So...gonna have to have a chat with FrozenCPU about all that. Next thing, cause those are fairly minor. Get to start loading Vista...and get the wonderful BSOD when it goes to restart after initializing. Now, the HDD's I had from the previous comp that had the SB go poof, so I thought they may have been toast. But I had them running on the new hardware previous to moving them to the case, and they ran Vista no problems. Go to reload it because of the hardware changes, and I get the bad blue screen. So tomorrow's trek will be down to Memory Express for some new drives, and possibly a new bay device.
Good news is, after trying to run up Vista, a bios hardware monitor check says CPU is a nice cool 40C after all the activity. Until next time...

Side on
Tubing! Yes, there are a lot of bends, but they are gradual, and kinkless. Not to mention look damn good with all the rest.
Better tubing view
Full on open shot
Borderless shot of the opposite side, love the random pattern
Panel off, my wire management. Would have liked to put it behind the mobo tray, but its just too much wire!

The glowage shots will have to wait, as will the front panel and overall pictures until I get the whole bay device situation sorted out.
Great Job on the setup, but can i recommend something before you burn out ur motherboard. You are missing a heatsink one set of the volt regulators. I see that you took the northbridge heatsink out which is connected to the one set of the volt regulator which is missing. I believe you need to keep the heatsink on and get some fans on top of those heatsink. You can buy the fans from the Asus online store.


Those heatsinks get cooled by the airflow provided by the CPU Heatsink Fan which you don't have. I would recommend on getting two of the fans put them on the heatsink.

As for the other heatsink you will have to either cut out the heatsink from the one you took out or get one one these


and cut out the heatsink from it.
Sorry about the pic size, I'll get them down in a couple days. Reason's to follow.
As said, I did the paint myself, all from the local hardware store, brand is Excel, Ultra black base coat, and Marble top coat. 3 coats of base and 1 of top coat, though it does leave the paint a little tacky for a few days.
The heatsink issue...I need to pick up some Arctic Ceramique, I have some vantec BGA heatsinks to go on top of that area, stock heat sticky stuff on them doesnt cut it. Those from Asus are the stock ones that I had to remove to WC the NB.
Now for the fun and games this evening. Vista apparently does not like installing on 4 gigs of RAM. I spent 4 hours on the phone with Microsoft tech support trying to install Vista. Every time it would install, on the restart after "Completing Installation", it would BSOD on me, and go into a restart loop. The final solution turned out to be taking out all but 1 gig of RAM. Have to update everything in order to use the 4 gig. Same deal with my ASUS DVD DL R/W LightScribe. Very odd, have to do a write up about that experience in the Microsoft OS forum.
Talked to FrozenCPU, they're RMA'ing the Power LED cable, and gave me a line to AeroCool, who gave me an email to RMA the Gatewatch2. Now just have to do something about my lighting situation and get this thing up and running! Might have to wait a bit though, weekend is coming as is my Birthday.
Quick update, the reason why the Vista install was going so poorly: Out of the box, Vista 64-bit will not support 4 Gigs of RAM. Not UNTIL you enable Memory Remapping in the BIOS. Refer to this thread: http://www.ocforums.com/showthread.php?t=508492&highlight=vista+64+4GB+RAM and follow the link to the Asus forum. What a hassle. Such is the fun of building a new rig. So off I go to get installing updates and drivers for a couple hours.
Update: Searching and talking to some local techs, it seems Vista 64 absolutely will not install on 4GB of RAM. It must be done on 2GB or less, then updated, then the remap done. The Asus P5N32-E SLI does not have such a feature, it doesn't even have a chispet menu. There is a memory hole in it to work around, but it involves modifying a ton of settings in the BIOS, which may or may not destabilize the system. When flashed to the newest BIOS released on the 27th of July, 1203, the mobo would not boot past the AI logo screen or enter BIOS setup. Memory Express is going to try to RMA it, but that may not go thru since I pulled the heatsink off the NB. Totally unrelated to the BIOS problem, but still a modification. What a crappy way to try and make money. So, bought an eVGA 680i SLI mobo yesterday, to be installed today or tomorrow evening. Can't wait to get this monster running!
I swear this project is cursed. Today after work installed the new eVGA board. Only for it to not boot. LED's on the board give an error code of "--". Searching eVGA forum, this seems to be a common thing. Reset the CMOS, removed everything but proc, 1 stick of ram, and the vid cards. Nothing. Called eVGA tech support. Tells me to unmount the board and everything but the power cables and proc, see if it will boot. Nothing, same error code. WTF is next? Until tomorrow...