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Project Donnager, main rig upgrade

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My most expensive card is in the same spot. I have RTX4080, and it's collecting dust most of the time as I'm using it almost only for tests/reviews. For gaming, I'm using RTX3070, which was the recent upgrade in the gaming ITX PC. I don't think I will need anything stronger for games anytime soon, and I'm only waiting for the new Nintendo Switch Zelda and maybe Diablo 4, which isn't really demanding.
I'm still wasting too much money on PC hardware that I don't really need. I guess that for you will be better to stick with a nice build and try to improve it. I mean maybe some hard mods, painting, and anything else that will take you more time and give you satisfaction without a high cost or switching PC components. It looks like you want to keep most of these components for longer so you can have fun with little things like more complicated water cooling or detailing. It's just an idea as it seems you will have some more free time soon.

I'm thinking of reusing some older radiators for the next build but repainting them white (at least the external frame), so I won't have to spend $300. I was searching for white fittings and tubes, and there is nothing available, or everything is discontinued. The same, PC cases with the required space are hard to get. Today I was looking at NZXT H9 ... but it's unavailable in all stores except for one where it's highly overpriced.
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Honestly, the only reason I bought my 3080 Ti was because I was on the eVGA list to get a FTW3 at retail in their queue system. Didn't really want to spend the money, and I could have flipped it for a 50% profit if I wanted to, but I didn't know how long the crypto craze was going to go, so I grabbed it. Otherwise I'd still be plenty happy with my 2080Ti FE. I didn't play a ton of Borderlands 3 but it still pushed the pixels completely fine.

I relapped the CPU with a new tool over the past couple days. It went much quicker since I didn't have to remove the IHS plating. It's now nice and flat. Even though you can see some sanding marks, I can't feel them with a fingernail, and if I angle the camera right you can see in focus reflections, so it's good.

I thought my Fractal R6 was nice when I got it, but this Meshify 2 XL is another step up in refinement and engineering. Most everything pops off by hand with no thumbscrews or push buttons now. It's pretty heavy, too. It's the biggest case I've owned since my Mountain Mods Pinnacle 24 (it's now gone to the Great Recycle Pile. No one would want to buy it for the size and lack of user friendliness now).

Thankfully, the 480GTX radiator will fit as it should. The extra beef on the frame of it will make it a bit touchy to bolt in, but it does look like the radiator and T30s will mount on the top with a little room to spare. I might add some wire grills to the fans, but it's not really needed. The daisy chain wiring on the T30s is a nice touch for this setup. I just bought a 3 and 4 fan PWM splitter and now I don't need them!

Now I need some free time to shut down the main rig so I can pull the pump, PSU, GPU and storage M.2 drives, but that might have to wait a couple weeks. Then the 9900KS and Optimus block will get transplanted into my Ncase M1 build with the Asus Strix Z390 ITX I just picked up to be my HTPC. A bit overkill compared to the AppleTV 4K currently there, but why not?

I did pull the Asus heatsink off the Optane drive, and the thermal pads on the Asus setup do make full contact with all of the parts. Yay!

I'm looking forward to seeing if this setup and XMP at 7200 turns out to be easy or a chore. I'm also rather tempted to pick up another kit and try to run a 4-stick 64GB setup and see how flexible the Hero is with full ram slots and varying speeds, but 32GB is still plenty for my purposes for now.


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I just realized that Fractal marketing couldn't convince me to their product as much as your photos. I don't get why PC cases designed for a specific small group of users don't have detailed info on what cooling you can really install inside, and pictures are always with slim AIOs. Nearly every PC case is missing that 20-30mm for custom water cooling components, and I find it out when I unpack the case at home.
When I solve some issues and the order arrives, then I will rebuild everything in the Hyte Y40. After longer thinking, I want to reuse whatever I already have. I was missing thick 280 rad, tubes and 4 fittings, so I had to order them.

Btw. the first DDR5-8000 kit arrived for review and already passed stability tests at XMP ... but SSD with results died, so I can't post a screenshot, and I have to rerun tests. Once I finish some other things in the queue, then you will see the review on the front page.
I still wish for something 2x24GB or even better, 2x48GB, out of curiosity about how it overclocks. I don't think anyone will send any higher kit soon, as availability was expected at the end of April - mid May... but we will see.
The selection of this case was an educated guess. I didn't know for sure if it would fit, but it had the best chance. There's no AIO in a 480mm format, so by default that mandates a custom radiator for fitment. The 480GTX is the worst case scenario, outside of a super-thick Alphacool, because of the extra frame thickness in width, as well as the end tanks. There's two screw rails that can be chosen depending on if you use 120mm or 140mm top fans. The most outboard which would give the most clearance to the mainboard is preferable, but I'm not sure I can scoot the radiator close enough because of the latches that hold the glass panel on. The inboard rail still clears the VRM sinks fine, so I might have to use those. Another half an inch in length and width would make all the difference. Right now I have zero play with the outboard rails. I'll take more pics when I get to that stage.

Fitment was one of my major beefs with my old Mountain Mods case. I got the 480mm drilled top panel to mount my radiator, and a shroud to go with it. But internally mounting a thick radiator negated the use of 1-2 of the 5.25" bays, and interfered with the power supply mount, making it completely pointless. I ended up externally mounting my radiator to the panel and drilling two holes for the barbs to reach inside the case. Effectively it did the same job, just less aesthetically pleasing being bolted on like a roots supercharger on an engine.

8000 at XMP? Wow. Which board and CPU?
For me it would be too big case (desk space limit) and I can live with 360mm rads. I have to stop rebuilding everything as I always spend money, even if I'm not planning that. In this week I got rid of 4 old cases that I'm sure I will never use. I would buy something, but I try to work on my spendings ... yet, I ordered RTX4070 at 2:30 am on Sunday :censored: .. it was like "I have to go sleep... but I will only check something..."

Probably in this week arrive fittings and some other things that I'm missing, and will put together Intel test rig. So far only tubes and plugs for EK pump/res/block combo arrived (mentioned in another thread). I didn't even check the ASUS Apex motherboard yet. The 8000 XMP was tested on MSI Z790I Edge. It required the new BIOS to pass the test, but all runs fine. I actually tested it twice as SSD with results died (also another thread), but all the performance tests at XMP are lost and I have to run them again. Once I run XMP tests for comparison on 2 memory kits that are in the queue, then I move everything to ASUS Apex for overclocking tests and later to update all the tests for future review comparisons. I don't have enough time right now to run all the tests on multiple memory kits and a newer graphics card, so at least next two reviews will be with RX6800XT (still not so old and not slow).
Did you junk the cases or sell them? I would hate to ship them, and selling a complete rig requires finding a very niche customer.

I think a single thick 360mm rad is good enough for most people with a good CPU and a higher power GPU if you have good enough airflow. My little 13600K/2080Ti "backup rig" is perfectly adequately cooled on a 240GTX with push/pull 1150rpm Gentle Typhoons. A 360GTX would just lower the water temps a hair and let lower fan speeds work better, or single fans.

I just picked up another 1080Ti Kingpin and an eVGA HB-SLI bridge for SLI fun in my 4790K machine. Dual Kingpins weee!
Did you junk the cases or sell them? I would hate to ship them, and selling a complete rig requires finding a very niche customer.
I sold one and "recycled" all others. It's too hard to sell used cases, it's too hard to send them as I never keep boxes and can't protect glass panels, and even if I sell anything then it's not much, while some people always make problems.

I think a single thick 360mm rad is good enough for most people with a good CPU and a higher power GPU if you have good enough airflow. My little 13600K/2080Ti "backup rig" is perfectly adequately cooled on a 240GTX with push/pull 1150rpm Gentle Typhoons. A 360GTX would just lower the water temps a hair and let lower fan speeds work better, or single fans.
I found a perfect spot with 240/30mm rad for every 200W of heat. However, my daily/gaming PC has a 240/30mm rad for Ryzen 7600@80W and RTX3070@200W. The graphics card could run up to 270W at default settings, and all was stable, but I didn't want it to run so hot, so I set a lower power limit, and it boosts almost the same at a significantly lower wattage.

I just picked up another 1080Ti Kingpin and an eVGA HB-SLI bridge for SLI fun in my 4790K machine. Dual Kingpins weee!
Sadly, EVGA is no longer selling graphics cards (new models, I mean). Gigabyte is not convincing, the same as cheaper MSI, or most smaller brands, so the list of possible options is getting short. ASUS is no longer selling the limited OC series like Matrix, MSI is no longer selling the Lightning series, and all others had nothing interesting. Now no EVGA and we have only products for the mass market. We could say that AMD has options like Powercolor Red Devil, but it doesn't exactly feel like the EVGA Kingpin series. There is still Galax, but I have mixed feelings about their products and most of them are unavailable anyway. Like a lot of noise in press releases, but later you can't find it in stores.
In the last few days, after checking available options, I picked RTX4070 FE as it simply looks the best of all the available models. Who would think that a couple of years ago? I think I won't buy any graphics cards for longer. The last one that I bought, and wasn't for mining/already planned for sale, was RX6800XT, so I got it over two years ago.
Finished my final exam today, and less than an hour later I had my main rig drained and torn apart. Now I'm trying to brain how to connect my GPU to the CPU block with as little clearance as there is with the riser in place. I hate to admit it, but it's probably easier to just go the traditional route. I won't get to look at the GPU block all lit up though. It doesn't sag much, either. Alternative is to get a longer riser cable and install the GPU in the case vertical mount, but that's a little cheesy.

I'll probably have to sell the riser on the used market now since the finish is easily chipped and not sure I can return it to Amazon in good conscience.



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Still thinking on this. Might be able to put the outlet of the GPU block on the opposite side and then use one of my swivel 90's. I'll do more test fitting next week. It might work.
Worked on the project a bit tonight. Installed the PSU and fans, routed the wires, and test fitted the radiator and adjusted fan positions. Tomorrow, I think I can clean the GPU block, flush the new components, and start installing the cooling system. It's starting to come together nicely.

BTW, I REALLY like this case. It is so nice to build in with plenty of space. The thick radiator and 30mm fans are flush with the top of the motherboard, giving me full access to fan plugs and everything.

Still need to finalize my GPU mounting. Hoping I can mount it vertically in a clean manner.


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If you're still working out the GPU routing, It looks like it would be a good candidate for parallel flow https://www.ekwb.com/blog/parallel-vs-serial-loop-why-choose-one-over-the-other/. Only thing awkward is running a tube from the GPU all the way to the rad. It would definitely be fine to have an inlet on one side and an outlet on the other. The terminals are set so top/bottom are not separated, but left and right are on most blocks.
I strongly disagree with EK's web page on that. For one, they provide no data. Second, most loops struggle to get above 1GPM, so splitting the flow will inevitably make one block go below .5GPM. Most blocks will start to show performance decreases at that point. Third, GPU and CPU blocks have different P-Q curves. Without knowing that, and given that CPU blocks are generally more restrictive and more dependent on flow compared to GPU blocks for performance, you don't know how low the flow will be going through the most restrictive block. If you wanted to parallel flow two identical GPU blocks, they might have a point. In all, this makes EK's blog post very poor quality and I would not advise constructing a parallel loop based on it.

Serial loop or nothing for me.
Fair enough, I looked for some more info on it and an older rig had a few C decreased performance. https://www.titanrig.com/blog/post/pc-guides-serial-vs-parallel-flow. A higher power system may show more of a delta.

I shouldn't have just linked it implying the performance would be the same, for many users I don't know that the performance difference would be significant though. It's always important to differentiate, "about the same" or "similar enough" from actual equivalent performance.
New hiccup: spilled coolant on my GPU, had to take the block off and clean it, as well as the riser bracket. More frustrating and tedious than anything, but not overly difficult. Sigh.
Always something with these builds. I got the ASUS case, and I thought it was large enough, but 280/45mm rad on top is so tight that I have to replace it with 360/30mm. On the bright side, I don't have to replace the EK block/pump/res combo, as installing the rad on top solved the buzzing issue. The ASUS case also supports more 360/30mm rads (and one up to 56mm thick), so I will probably use 2x 360/30mm. One more advantage is that I can install the graphics card vertically with a riser in the second slot, and I still have a free top spot if I wish to use PCIe 5.0/M.2 card in the future. More work but in the end should be fine.
I spilled some coolant on the EK combo unit a couple of days ago, and I had to remove it and check all the spots near VRM. It's not as much work as with full-cover graphics card blocks, but still very annoying when everything is already installed.
I have a feeling like all these new cases are designed by people who have never built a water-cooled PC in their life. ASUS GT502 case supports 4x 360 rads ... but not at the same time, and someone again failed all the spaces. It's not possible to install 360/30mm rad and 25mm thick fans on the bottom with a radiator/fan bracket that comes with the case. I had to remove it, and it still touches the standard case's front panel and audio plugs on the motherboard. The RGB plug is too long already, so I have to find a splitter and connect it at the top of the case. It's not possible to install mentioned radiator on top + on the side (with fittings up, so it won't cause air to cumulate and eventually go back to the pump/res).

In the end, I installed 2x360/30mm rads, but it's too late today to finish it. It's another case advertised as great for water cooling with described multiple radiator spots, but not everything fits. Even standard 360 rad on the side spot barely fits. I had to push it pretty hard to find out later that I have to remove it anyway, as it's impossible to connect tubes when the rad on top is installed. I don't get it. How hard would it be to add literally 20mm to the height and width of the case? Then everything would fit perfectly. The same problems were with multiple Lian-Li, Corsair, Hyte, and now ASUS cases. On the list are some more, I just don't remember all.
Full tower cases are too big, too heavy and whatever I like is too expensive for me. I guess I make it work, but again I build something and find the same issues.

Btw. Watercool radiators look pretty good and are inexpensive compared to some other brands. When I finish, I will post some photos, but I still wait for white 24+2x8 pin cables. They should arrive mid-next week.

Sorry for spamming in your thread, but we exchange some comments, so I don't want to make a separate thread ;)
Well, I'm really liking this big Fractal XL case. Maybe one of their more normal mid towers might do for you.

I do like the Watercool radiators, but they were all out of stock in the USA when I was shopping. Hardware Labs is solid and I have many of their radiators already.
Well, I'm really liking this big Fractal XL case. Maybe one of their more normal mid towers might do for you.

I do like the Watercool radiators, but they were all out of stock in the USA when I was shopping. Hardware Labs is solid and I have many of their radiators already.

Fractal mid towers are nice, but all are designed for air cooling or AIO coolers (single slim radiator). I feel this is the general problem on the market that most brands advertise their cases as water-cooling friendly, and in reality, they support almost only AIOs, so 30mm thick radiator+25mm thick fans. Unless you get a large case, you can expect various problems and the mentioned "20mm too tight" issue.

Hardware Labs is not available in the EU. I have some options, but it's mainly Alphacool, EK, Watercool, and some mass brands like Corsair, Raijintek, and similar that are not focusing on liquid cooling but added it as additional products. There are also other brands like Bitspower, but their products are hard to get anywhere, and their online stores are only limited to Taiwan/Japan.
Alphacool has reasonably priced and good radiators, but the same as EK, nothing was available in white, and the expected availability was 3-5 weeks. Watercool paint is more like creme-white than cold-white, but it's still fine when everything is installed. For the 30% lower price than EK, I won't complain.