• Welcome to Overclockers Forums! Join us to reply in threads, receive reduced ads, and to customize your site experience!

Project Donnager, main rig upgrade

Overclockers is supported by our readers. When you click a link to make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn More.

Voodoo Rufus

Powder Junkie Moderator
Sep 20, 2001
Bakersfield, CA
Project Name: Donnager
Reference: https://expanse.fandom.com/wiki/Donnager-class_(TV)
Purpose: succeeding Mjolnir as my daily driver for the next few years.

As you might have noticed from my sig, I like naming my computers after sci-fi references. Naming this one after one of the BAMF battleships from the Expanse seems fitting. This one will succeed Mjolnir as my main rig, and my first DDR5 upgrade now that it looks like the memory standard has matured enough in terms of speeds and timings. Now, it won't be a full build, but a main board swap-out. It will retain the cooling loop and 3080Ti in the current Fractal R6 case.

Build list:

Mainboard - Asus Z790 Hero
CPU - 13900KS
RAM - Kingston Fury Renegade 32GB DDR5-7200 CL38
SSD - Optane 905P 380GB M.2 - got this off ebay last year. Tempted to try to run this as the boot drive, because Optane! Another 2TB M.2 will serve as the game drive. I'll consider a Gen4 M.2 for boot if there's a good suggestion.

So, if people want to lend me some opinions on CPU, memory and SSD, I'm all ears. I kinda want to shell out for the 13900KS for giggles and the 6GHz holy speed mark (reviews indicate that there might be some room left to optimize power and clocks), in order to totally debottleneck the rig for the foreseeable future, and maybe increase my 3DMark scores with the 3080Ti a bit more. The 13600K is a fine chip, but very much wasted with such a monster VRM. The Asrock Z690 Extreme doesn't even break a sweat with all-core loads, and it's "only" a 13-phase, 60A setup. The Hero is 20-phase, 90A. I'm sure Buildzoid might say this board doesn't need heatsinks.

Enjoy the unboxing pics below for now. I thought my Z390 Aorus Master was nicely built. This Asus Z790 Hero is HEAVY and the build quality is just something else. It has all the detail things I like, such as a Sabre DAC, gold plated surround audio outputs, clean layout, water temp sensor header for fan tuning, post code debugger. Heavier than a decent laptop. Instructions are top notch, and it even includes small brackets for 40mm fans you can add for VRM or memory cooling. The only thing it's missing is 10GbE, but I have a card for that. The Haswell Z97 Asus Impact board I got runs pretty nice, so I'm hoping for a good experience with this one, too.

I better buy my wife her new laptop ASAP. Between this and my retro rig dreams, I gotta keep her happy, too. She finally said I could water cool her ITX rig only if I added RGBs to her case. Sigh....


  • IMG_9586.jpeg
    728 KB · Views: 11
  • IMG_9584.jpeg
    812.7 KB · Views: 10
  • IMG_9583.jpeg
    1 MB · Views: 13
  • IMG_9582.jpeg
    990.1 KB · Views: 15
  • IMG_9581.jpeg
    903.6 KB · Views: 13
  • IMG_9574.jpeg
    870.6 KB · Views: 11
  • IMG_9573.jpeg
    664.7 KB · Views: 9
Last edited:
So, the 13900KS is on the way. I bought the memory direct from Kingston, and it is a super sexy kit. Nice heavy black and machined aluminum finish. The new contact frame and PCIE4.0 riser arrived earlier this week. Other goodies from Performance PCs is en route, like EK ZMT tubing, more barbs, hose clamps. The stars are another Heatkiller IV Pro black copper block and Watercool's Heavy LGA1700 backplate. I plan to move my Optimus V2 with the 9900KS into my Ncase M1 at some point. Ordered some bulk long sandpaper today for the lap job. I was running real low on it.

Debating swapping out my Fractal R6 for the Meshify 2 XL which has 480mm rad support. Right now my GTS360mm and GTX280 rads do duty in the top and front of the current case, respectively, and do just fine, but hose routing and mainboard access is terrible the way it's set up.

The task list so far:

Asus Z790 Hero
- install memory and SSDs

Intel 13900KS
- lap to 2000+ grit
- mount with Thermal Grizzly contact frame
- mount Heatkiller IV with heavy backplate

Kingston DDR5-7200 - Samsung A-die
- test XMP settings with built in Memtest86+ on the mainboard

Intel Optane 905P 380GB
- has Thermalright 22110 heatsink mounted
- attempt Win11 Pro install on it

XPG SX8200 2TB - storage and game drive

eVGA 3080Ti FTW3
- has Heatkiller V waterblock mounted

Qnap 10GbE card
- will it fit with a GPU vertical bracket? Nope.

Win11 Pro

An RGB strip or two?

Attempt pump move for push-pull on the 280mm rad again


  • IMG_9939.jpeg
    649.2 KB · Views: 4
  • IMG_9940.jpeg
    889.7 KB · Views: 4
  • IMG_9969.jpeg
    883.9 KB · Views: 4
Last edited:
Gonna be awesome!

Wondering that that thermalright heatsink will look like on the board compared to default...
Last edited:
It's a good looking heatsink I think. I could always take it off and run the Asus one, but the thermal pads will need to be thick to contact all the chips. They're not all the same height, unfortunately.


  • IMG_7973.jpeg
    485 KB · Views: 6
It's a good-looking heatsink, no doubt! But it breaks up the look of that awesome board. I'd bet the factory heatsink , the big PCIe 5.0 one above the PCIe slot, will work better than that thermalright (unless its actively cooled) too.

The factory thermal pads are usually 1.5mm thick which allows for over one mm of z-height difference. It's not uncommon to have different heights among the bits (controller/dram/storage ics). I test with a Phison where the controller is a hair (0.5mm?) taller than the other bits on the same side of the PCB and I don't recall any with poor contact with that tiny distance.
You're right, it would be more consistent to use the board sink and might work better. The Intel Thermal Solution was more like Thermal Band-Aid. The TR sink keeps it well under throttling temp on benchmarks.

Now it's a debate between showing off my shiny aftermarket heatsink, or blend in stealth-like. Hmm....
Next item to hunt down: looking for a PCI slot mounted vertical GPU bracket like the one below. I'm totally down to return the TG cable if I can get a nice bracket since I can't find one without the cable included, and the TG cable is really long. The one below is compatible with Fractal cases without mods apparently, which is nice. I'm guessing a 15cm cable would be long enough as well.

Ordered today: HW Labs GTX480 radiator and 4 Bitspower 90deg G1/4" swivels. I normally don't like to use 90s because of pressure losses and I'm a loop flowrate purist, but they do serve a purpose.

I was also browsing plate reservoirs and basic distro plates, but to heck with those prices. Too much for what they are. I'm not afraid to be one of those guys who uses soft tubing with a distro plate, either.

Me to wife: I swear I'm done for a while after this build! I'll even sell the Fractal R6 case.
Wife: Sure you are....
Alphacool recently released distro plates and they look pretty good. Not cheap but I guess still cheaper than other brands. A combo with VPP/D5 pump seems cheaper (if you don't have a pump).

Btw. instead of buying separately risers, brackets and some more, you could grab something like Hyte Y40/Y60 which has everything included. Now it's too late, but PCIe 4.0 risers are highly overpriced when purchased separately.

One photo of Hyte Y40 with Alphacool Core Distro Plate 240/left + Alphacool APEX VPP/D5 pump, and the RAM you have but with RGB.
I highly doubt that anyone designs a full-cover block for the Colorful RTX4080 card that I have, but it's still great and is quiet.

Last edited:
I didn't give the Hytes a lot of thought, unfortunately. I really wanted to get back to a 480mm format radiator, though.

That Alphacool plate does look rather tidy. How has your experience with hardlines been?
I like 10/16 black rubber tubes the most, but recently I was playing some with brass tubes - black and chrome. It's only because I got them with other stuff for tests/reviews. Hard tube sets are too expensive and hard to reuse them for another rig as sockets or graphics cards are usually in different places. So it's great if you are planning the PC for 3+ years, not when you replace hardware for each new generation (typically 1-1.5 years). However, I like brass tubes much more than acrylic. It's because they're easier to cut (with a simple tool) and are more scratch resistant. On acrylic tubes, I see little scratches (even on new ones), and during installation can easily scratch them too.
Chrome tubes seem great for builds that you keep for longer. You can't see what's inside tubes, but chrome reflects light, can't really see dust, and is easy to clean.
Well, my Fractal Meshify 2 XL is MOA. Ordered through Amazon but fulfilled through Newegg. Disappointingly, Newegg shows the light tinted version as backordered. Got a tracking number, but nothing else. I might need to switch to the dark tinted version in stock.

I installed the ram and got out the waterblock just to look at it in the meantime. I didn't realize that the Heatkiller's finish is going to look awesome with this ram. This rig is going to be sick when it's all done.

I just got done messing around with Dirt 5 tweaking and benchmarking on my backup rig, the 13600K/2080Ti/Ballistix Max combo. It is such a fine running machine with a sweet little cooling loop. 300W and under 50C gaming load, maxed out settings with RTX enabled. It really gives me second thoughts about this project almost. WTH am I even doing? Combine that with my retro rigs I just built and I think my wife thinks I've gone mad. I realized I could have done the entire retro gaming project in my 4th gen ITX box instead of 3 ATX boxes. Shame on me. But the curiosity and creativity bug got a hard hold and didn't let go.

Anway, here's some more parts to show off.


  • IMG_8825.jpeg
    955.7 KB · Views: 15
  • IMG_0118.jpeg
    773.6 KB · Views: 15
  • IMG_0084 (1).jpeg
    IMG_0084 (1).jpeg
    1,013.1 KB · Views: 12
  • IMG_0083 (1).jpeg
    IMG_0083 (1).jpeg
    1 MB · Views: 13
  • IMG_0197.jpeg
    775.9 KB · Views: 14
  • IMG_0203.jpeg
    610.6 KB · Views: 16
  • IMG_0016.jpeg
    808.8 KB · Views: 16
  • IMG_0015.jpeg
    788.4 KB · Views: 14
  • IMG_0014.jpeg
    673.2 KB · Views: 11
  • IMG_0013.jpeg
    652.1 KB · Views: 15
Last edited:
Don't worry, I get my lifting time in. I picked those up when the gyms were closed here in CA. Now I need a rack so I can rest my feet under that desk on something other than iron.

Even lifting my Fractal R6 with the fully loaded cooling loop is no joke. I almost wish cases could still receive castor wheels.
Lapped the cpu tonight with 400 all the way to 5000 grit. Maybe not my best job since I wore down the sides of the Thermal Grizzly lapping tool a fair bit since this is the second time I've used it. If my temps aren't great I may re-lap it but it should do fine.

Earthdog won this round: I can't mount the optane with the Thermalright heatsink without substantial mainboard disassembly, so I'm using the Asus solution.


  • 9924C6CC-8CD8-4248-B00E-6CC1116906E6.jpeg
    1.5 MB · Views: 9
  • 0C3F9402-C776-4809-9158-2331998D7BDE.jpeg
    2.3 MB · Views: 7
  • 89F8219C-7C3E-457D-A9AA-ADF9FBC548DD.jpeg
    1.4 MB · Views: 5
  • A7F68115-A639-4C15-8E9A-81BF1394C76B.jpeg
    1.2 MB · Views: 7
  • BF9DE364-FD79-4CD2-A357-7C41A7AB7CB5.jpeg
    1.7 MB · Views: 8
Well, phooey. I was right, my lap job is junk because I wore out the lapping tool. The tool wobbles on my counter, and my block can rock back and forth on the CPU. I think I'll do a test mount of the CPU block, but I don't think it will make good contact. Time for another lapping tool I think....

Also, for those that use this contact plate or others, on heavier mainboards (8-layers or more) the screws are often not long enough. Interestingly, the threads on the ILM are 6-32, not metric. Adding 6-32 3/8" screws gives the proper amount of thread engagement. Unfortunately, Lowes did not have these screws in a small bag because their stock was disorganized. So now I have 100 screws and nuts to go with them!

Enjoy the German cooling sexiness. Heatkiller and Thermal Grizzly just feels like a right combination. The heavy backplate replaces the factory ILM backplate, so the contact plate or stock CPU hold down bolt directly to it. It doesn't get any more solid than this.


  • IMG_0642.jpeg
    584.6 KB · Views: 5
  • IMG_0641.jpeg
    905.6 KB · Views: 5
  • IMG_0640.jpeg
    790.9 KB · Views: 5
Did you get that Fractal case? I guess you have to when you already have a 480mm rad ;)
I was thinking about the new Phanteks but I have mixed feelings. I thought it supports 480mm rads , but the specs says 4x120mm fans or a 360mm rad - https://www.phanteks.com/NV7.html I still have to figure out what about a PC case for the Intel test rig. I could use a bench table but it's a compact version and it doesn't look or doesn't feel right with larger AIOs while I need at least 360mm rad. I have one 360/65mm rad and EK block/pump/res combo for LGA1700 that looks great and I could use it, but I have no idea where to install it or what to buy (I have some cases from older builds but there is always a problem and I have to get rid of some that I doubt I will ever use again). I'm not in a hurry, so can browse available options for some longer, but the list of good cases for custom water cooling isn't really long. Most cases are designed for AIO or air coolers.

The stuff which is in the post #8 went to Corsair 5000D (2x360mm rads right now), and I switched hard to soft tubes, so can easily replace components. These Hyte cases are really annoying. They look great when you put all together, but I couldn't even replace RAM without removing the top cooler or at least one fan (which is not as easy as it seems). Fractal XL 2 seems even too big for your build, but I understand it's one of only few options for a 480mm rad and there is a lot of space to easily install everything.

I'm not lapping CPUs as if it's not ES then probably will be sold. Anyway, I thought that the lapping tool lasts for longer than one use.
In the latest leaks was mentioned Raptor Lake refresh, which gives hopes that the LGA1700 will live longer than expected. I wish as these mobo/socket changes are way too frequent.
Yep, the Meshify arrived yesterday. That NV7 looks interesting, but if they don't spec it for a 480 then I would be leery buying it and finding out. I think case companies have gotten better with what will and won't fit.

I considered the Corsair 1000D but I didn't think dual 480s was necessary. And it would be heavy as hell fully loaded.

Maybe my technique was off, but plexiglass is no match for coarse sandpaper, either.
Yep, the Meshify arrived yesterday. That NV7 looks interesting, but if they don't spec it for a 480 then I would be leery buying it and finding out. I think case companies have gotten better with what will and won't fit.

I considered the Corsair 1000D but I didn't think dual 480s was necessary. And it would be heavy as hell fully loaded.

Maybe my technique was off, but plexiglass is no match for coarse sandpaper, either.

Yes, if they say that 360 rad or 4x120mm fans will fit, it probably means that they failed the design saving 30mm where fittings should go. The same is with most cases nowadays. They are designed for AIOs or fans, so most spots for radiators are designed for 30mm thick rads and 25mm thick fans. Corsair 5000D isn't any better. It looks like 3x 360/30mm rads should fit, but it's impossible. I had a problem with 2x 360/30mm and a distro plate. The same in Hyte cases or most Lian-Li ... always 20-30mm is missing for easy installation.

I saw some comments that the lapping tool is good, but there is not enough sandpaper in the set. I still haven't seen anyone lapping more than one CPU with this kit.
Last edited:
Sandpaper variety kits are like $5 on ebay. I got one and it had way more than I needed. Not sure it was wet/dry capable though. Assing water just hazed over the copper again, but at least it helps lift the particles off the paper.

I used this lapping tool on my 13600K and needed more paper than was included in the kit. That CPU turned out flat enough. I think I wore the tool enough with that first CPU such that it gave me a poor result this time around in combination with the sheer amount of paper was using, which was basically a vicious cycle of trying to achieve flatness and not being able to.

Not sure I'm brave enough to try to de-lid this CPU like I did my 9900KS (which was soldered, too).
All you need now is to wait for a shiny new 4090 Ti to replace that "weak" 3080 Ti which can go to your backup rig! :unsure: