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I forgot when I posted before that I had something to do before tubing (which I've had finished for a while BUT MUST UPDATE IN ORDER *rocks back and forth*).

 

Soundcard Power!

 

I'm rescuing the Xonar D2X PCIe Soundcard from my last computer, which still works fine and is desireable for its analog audio recording ability (which I assume is better-quality than the onboard sound). But woe is the card - it wants external power from a floppy connector, and I don't want to string cables out in the middle of nowhere for that. So I do the only reasonable thing, and make another bloody custom cable.

 

I ninja'd from another PSU a Molex (male) to twin floppy cable, and the Lian Li case's fan controller (mostly for its female Molex pins).

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Because I'll be installing the soundcard as far away from the GPU as possible, it'll be sitting in the lowest PCIe slot - right next to the OMG HARDCORE OVERCLOCKING ADDITIONAL MOLEX CONNECTOR at the bottom of the motherboard. "A-ha!" I said, "totes gunna use that sumbitch" (or something along those lines). Problem was, the floppy Molex cable I had came with male pins (to plug into the PSU's female pins), and the motherboard also had male pins. Two males touching pins is fine in some situations, but not this particular one, so I soldered on female ones and grabbed a female Molex housing to put them in (as well as slightly extending the cable length):

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I then sleeved it and all was successful; leaving me with one sleeved female to floppy cable, and one male to floppy cable.

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Plugged it into the motherboard and routed behind the mobo tray to keep it out of sight a bit more (pic), then installed the card and plugged it in:

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Look, it fits! Just. If I hadn't extended it, it wouldn't have fit - and hopefully the card never dies, because a replacement will inevitably place the connector somewhere unhelpful.

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I've got a bit of an ASUS theme going on (pic) - trust me, it was accidental. Or intentional. One of those two :P

 

For those audio guys screaming "omg you're running the sound card's power through the noisy motherboard with all those components rah rah rah" I say "...oh yeah. Oh well. Can't do anything about that now, can I?" :P

 

MOVING ON

 

Silver Antimicrobial Reservoir Treatment

 

Watercooling is great, and water is useful, but what happens to water that's sitting around for a while? It gets all gross and microbial-ey. There are a couple ways to solve that, such as using liquids and additions to the water to kill them, or eschewing water altogether and using something like ethylene glycol (which is as poisonous to microbes as it is to humans). However, liquid additions to water need to be added and topped up and changed and blah blah blah. I decided to go the lazy route and get some silver.

 

Silver's great for its antimicrobial properties, and it pops up in a variety of products like anti-smelly socks. For my needs, I simply immerse some silver into the water in the watercooling loop and all pesky little things will be taken care of. To do that I bought these two things; I probably only needed the first one, but you'll see why I got the second in the pics below:

 

KoolRoom Silver Antimicrobial Strip (~2.71g) - I've had this for ages

COMPUTER PC Sterling Silver Charm Pendant - I've had this for slightly longer than ages

 

You read the second link correctly...

 

IMMA HAVE A COMPUTER IN MY COMPUTER :D:D:D:D

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So, for those who can't quite work out what's going on in that picture, I unscrewed the base of my EK-Multioption X2 Res 250 with the huge anti-cyclone adapter installed, bent the KoolRoom silver strip around it, then hooked the silver PC onto it. I secured it in place with a clamping from a pair of pliers, and it doesn't move when rocked side-to-side:

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Then installed it into the rig as my little Easter Egg :)

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And some extra pics because I have them...

 

The top of the case is lookin' nice

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The back is a huge mess of wires...

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But at least the side panel goes back on (using my patent-pending lie-upon-the-panel-and-slide-using-my-chest method)!

 

Alright, now it's definitely ready for the tubing to be installed. I promise. Maybe. I think I forgot to post the case feet changeover; vote in a comment whether you want me to go back and post that one first, or post the tubing :)

 

Nice pictures of the dremel in action, surprised you did it inside. Looking excellent so far, bad news about the radiator, seen plenty of people make that mistake though so don't feel too bad. I am particularly impressed with your sleeving and custom cables. I originally wanted to do those kind of things to my PC but just lost the motivation once it was assembled and working.

 

I found it really hard to get my tube cuts nice and clean, even with big scissors, but luckily, there is a cheap solution. You can get tube cutters like this from Bunnings for around $9 and they produce a nice clean cut. If you don't see them with the tools, they will probably be near the reticulation stuff.

http://i1196.photobucket.com/albums/aa420/...ds/b461d744.jpg

 

New addition to the family looks cute :) Keep up the good work.

Yeah, the dremelling didn't really create that many sparks unless I had the speed turned up super high (unnecessarily so), which I did for pics :) They weren't hot sparks either, couldn't feel anything on my hand at all.

 

I've already cut my tubes using a pair of Fiskars Cuts+More Scissors I got from Bunnings in the tools section a couple weeks ago for $20, used the rope cutting part closest to the handle. Titanium-coated, was pretty easy to use and made a clean cut.

 

New additions are super cute, we got two of them because they were raised as a pair and were 18wk-old rescues from the pound :)

Edited by TheFrunj

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Alright, it's been just over 48 hours at the start of this post, and no-one commented with their preference, so I'm gonna go ahead and post the loop pics. Spoilsports! :P

 

Cutting and Fitting the Tubing

 

So I've got all the various waterblocks in the proper places; namely the CPU and GPU; and the reservoir, radiator and pump are also mounted. I grabbed the following gear and hooked it up:

 

 

The fittings used for each component are:

 

CPU: 45° angled adapter into compression fitting for inlet and outlet

GPU: 45° angled adapter into compression fitting for inlet and outlet

Reservoir: 90° angled adapter into compression fitting for inlet and outlet

Pump: Single compression fitting for inlet, 45° into compression for outlet

Radiator: One 10mm extension fitting into 45° angled adapter into compression fitting for inlet and outlet

 

 

I wanted the water in the loop to flow through components in this order:

 

Pump > Radiator > CPU > GPU > Reservoir > Back to Pump

 

 

 

To do that, I started with what seemed like the trickiest connection I could do without needing to get anywhere cramped: the tube between the Pump inlet and the bottom of the Reservoir. I held a length of tubing and guesstimated the length (something I should've measured, but it worked out okay). I then unscrewed the compression fittings, removing the collars and leaving the barbs exposed.

 

I threaded the collars onto the tube(pic), and dipped each end of the tube into a mug of boiling water to soften it to make it easy to fit over the barb.

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With both ends of the tubing attached, I slid the collars over the barbs and tightened them with my fingers until I couldn't tighten them any more. I was tempted to use pliers or an expanding wrench, but was wary of scratching the black paint on the fittings (and ultimately it may have damaged the tube). The pump can now use gravity to suck as much liquid as it needs from the reservoir.

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I then moved onto what seemed the most logical step, which was connecting the inlet of the reservoir (its top) to the outlet of the GPU. Again, rough measure, but I left extra length so I could swing the card in and out of the system to allow access to the SATA cables below it.

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Then I cut a length for the tube that connects the CPU outlet and the GPU inlet; though only plugged it into the GPU end as there's not much room at the top of the case and this one was relatively easy to access. I'll leave it for last.

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The pump outlet to radiator was next, and it snakes along the top of the graphics card, passing under the tube. It was especially fiddly to connect; I decided it would be attached to the rearmost fitting of the radiator, which meant it was right near the motherboard underneath the 8-pin EPS CPU power cable (pic). Annoying to get in, and even more so to tighten!

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But tightened it was, and I cut the small length of easy tube that went from the radiator outlet to my CPU inlet, providing cool water to my warm tech.

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I had a bit of trouble with the two radiator fittings, since I first thought they were leaking water, and it took about three re-seatings for me to figure out it was my busted radiator leaking from the fins and channels, and simply dripping down the fittings. Guh.

 

For those keeping score there was only one tube left to connect; that of the GPU inlet; I dipped it in some hot water to soften and whacked it onto the CPU outlet barb.

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Look, all the tube's plugged in!

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Everyone's first instinct at this point is probably to fill that sucker up with fluid and get watercooling... but I decided to go the safe route - good thing I did, as the broken radiator was quite leaky and as it turns out, water doesn't play nice with electronics.

 

The first step before I did anything with water was to head to my modular PSU and unplug absolutely every cable from it, leaving only the 24-pin ATX cable and a single Molex string. I unplugged everything bar the pump from that Molex cable, and having purchased an ATX jumper pin connector dealie (officially the XSPC 24pin ATX Bridge Tool, otherwise known as an ATX PSU Jump Starter), I plugged that into the 24-pin ATX cable.

 

Why bother, you ask? Well, this way, nothing aside from the pump and the PSU receive any power, so in the case of a leak there is a much smaller chance that anything will die. The only thing to be careful about is that if the power switch on the PSU is flicked on and it's plugged into a wall socket (that is obv. switched on) the PSU will immediately start up and begin powering the pump - which doesn't run well with air and can be damaged. So I was careful to only run it wet as much as possible.

 

And my second protective measure was to grab a couple sheets of standard kitchen paper towel, rip them in half, and wrap them around every single fitting to catch any drips; also to warp and make it more obvious the places where water may have been.

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With my preparations done, I grabbed the closest thing to pure water I could find - Deionised Water. Yes, Distilled Water is better, but I couldn't find any. I have a four litre jug, and after filling the system and dealing with multiple leaks, I still have about two litres left, so this is more than enough for my needs.

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I grabbed the funnel and removed one of the stoppers in the top of the reservoir, and filled it as much as it would take without spilling. I then flicked the PSU on, waited a second, and flicked it straight off again. The pump sucked most of the water out of the reservoir and sent it up the tube to the radiator; I topped it up, and did it again and again. Eventually the water level in the reservoir was kept high enough by the returning water sent back from the GPU, and I could leave the PSU/pump running as I filled the reservoir.

 

This was the point I found the dodgy radiator; replacing that was pretty simple, luckily enough. There were obvious bubbles caught in the waterblocks, radiator, and pump, so I rocked the case back and forth every hour or so to dislodge them. I proceeded to run the system for 24 hours to make sure it wasn't going to leak.

 

It didn't, so I have a successful loop! Coming next time, I might post what I did with my lighting system, or the cooling system, or a variety of things that went wrong. I'd ask you to vote, but that went so well last update I'll just do whatever I feel like next time I post :P

 

Until next time!

Edited by TheFrunj

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Oh Mr Frunj thats looking bloody awesome!! All that hard, messy, time consuming effort is paying off in spades! Im so Jelly that its not funny, loving the detailed posts and sweet quality pics, just again excellent work Sire.

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LED Rope Setup

 

While the system was leak-testing, I decided to string the LED rope around my case. I routed it from the small PCB underneath the SSDs towards the PSU, then poked it through the motherboard tray and wrapped it around the mobo itself, tucking the rope underneath the edge of the mobo PCB to hold it in place. The effect is really subtle, and most noticeable in the dark (with side panel off), but light does leak through the front mesh of the case in a dark room.

 

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I really like that second pic, it shines off the PSU and sound card really nicely :)

 

And here's a night shot of the waterblock while I had my tripod out:

 

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Then to fill in some time while it continued leak testing, I grabbed the front I/O panel - that I had long ago removed to install the grille for my radiator - and tore at the plastic to remove the USB 3 cables. Because Lian Li made this case before the internal USB 3 header was finalised, they went with USB 3 extension cables and the intention that they'd route out the back of the case; no sense letting these handy cables go to waste. I'll put these to use plugging in flash drives and maybe USB 3 hard drives :)

 

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Yet another WD Velociraptor breakage

 

Leak testing finished, and I booted into the BIOS to check everything was working. Most things were... except for one of the two 600GB VR drives. Hrm. I checked each drive individually, which involved removing the graphics card and checking out the slots with a torch (pic). Fiddly stuff!

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I pulled out the drive that wasn't detecting... and just like before when its icepak heatsink adaptor broke, the drive's SATA data connector had broken. Fucking shitballs.

 

Did some googling, and people on forums had some measure of success inserting the broken piece of plastic into a data cable, sliding that over the pins carefully, and then securing it in place (with duct tape, expanding foam; there were quite a few methods). I chose cable ties.

 

Top of the drive (closeup pic)

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Bottom of the drive (closeup pic)

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To reduce the pressure on the cable ties, I secured the body of the cable to the drive with more ties:

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Slid the graphics card out of the way, plugged it in, and tested again. No dice. The only fix from here is to grab the soldering iron and manually solder the seven pins to seven wires, then the wires to the data cable.

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But that's for another day.

Edited by TheFrunj

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Finishing up very nicely now, I love the shot of the water block, damn sexy. Makes me wish I went with a plexi top and not the acetal one.

Shame about the problem with the raptor drive, that is some bad luck :( Hope you can get it fixed.

 

Good idea to pillage those USB3 extenders too.

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Thanks guys! :) ♥

 

I love the plexi, I prefer it to acetal just because it lets you see the inner workings of the block a bit better. Copper/nickel top would've been my other choice for slightly better performance, but it's better to see it imo.

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I found it really hard to get my tube cuts nice and clean, even with big scissors, but luckily, there is a cheap solution. You can get tube cutters like this from Bunnings for around $9 and they produce a nice clean cut. If you don't see them with the tools, they will probably be near the reticulation stuff.

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I was looking for one of those years ago but couldn't find it so I got this pipe cutter which I use with a piece of dowel to get a good cut. A lot slower, but still a good cut:

 

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Attempting to solder a SATA data cable to the dead HDD

 

Aaaaand we're back! I totally remembered to update and post here (lies) and have definitely not been busy playing with my new computer (also lies).

 

Anyway, I tried gettin' that stupid broken VR working by soldering a data cable to the pins; should've worked in theory but who knows.

 

First step: strip the plastic sheath off one of the broken SATA data cables with a box cutter. A scalpel or other precise blade would be better, but I didn't have one of those fancy things. I used the tip of the hot soldering iron to clear the plastic coating off the individual data lines in the cable (the ground lines were already unsheathed).

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Then I cut seven lengths of thin wire, stripped each end, and soldered them to the wires of the data cable. Went with red for data, black for ground, purely because I only had a little bit of black wire.

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Next came the REALLY fiddly bit; soldering the seven wires to the seven pins of the HDD. I oriented the cable and HDD, then slid some extra heatshrink on before soldering so the electrical signals wouldn't jump across. Came out looking pretty neat... except a ground pin broke off. Shouldn't affect anything... I think:

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Here it is again from another angle (pic).

 

I slid some big heatshrink over the wires to keep them in place, then gently cable tied it so there wouldn't be pressure on the pins:

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Plugged it in... and it still didn't work. Wouldn't detect. Bugger. So that's a dead drive well and truly, despite my best efforts to save it.

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If only HDD manufacturers used decent plastic for their connectors this wouldn't have happened!

 

Graphics card unstable OMG WTF

 

So the system was built, and I had windows on it, but it was randomly freezing and doing all sorts of weird things at weird times - like as soon as I opened Firefox, or trying to run a benchmark. Turns out the graphics card was a bit unstable, owing to its gigantic length and the heavy water-filled tubing pulling it down.

 

Lucky for me Lian Li already provided a solution to that problem; the stock case has an aluminium pillar running down the midsection that has cutouts for expansion cards. Problem was, it wouldn't fit any more thanks to my bottom HDD cage.

 

BRING ON THE DREMEL

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YAY IT FITS

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SNUG AS A BUG IN A RUG

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CABLE TIES ON TUBE FTW

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And lo, my Firefox (hardware acceleration) crashing problems were solved.

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sweet work man!

 

Keep it up and post some benchies when you get it all fired up and working fine..:D

 

I wanna see how loud it roars..:P

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Back in Green

 

Three years without an update, there have been small things I've done to the system that I haven't documented for various reasons, but I have documented the latest big update so I thought I'd share it (plus I've been feeling nostalgic for computery things after watching some old Linus Tech Tips videos on YouTube with all the products I used to bench and have fun with at Atomic).

 

So let's look at what changes have happened based on the chronology of my OP:

 

Corsair Dominators replaced with Vengeance as I wanted more space for VM/RAMdisk stuff and they were getting Memtest errors. The tiny fan assembly was fiddly and never helped much so I removed it.

 

BDD drive hasn't worked ever since I simultaneously ejected and bumped it, snapping the drive tray at about 45° from normal. Popped it back and it closes, but never worked again. So basically a case blank now.

 

MSI Lightning 7970 died... kind of. It got to the point where I couldn't run any 3D application at all without a hard lock (no BSOD, just total freeze). I also couldn't view some images fullscreen in Firefox, and sites that do a pop-up image over mouse-over would also hard lock. 2D was still fine, I could play Binding of Isaac Rebirth and YouTube, but not much else. It also got hotter over time and harder to keep cool.

 

Waterblock LEDs, Reservoir LEDs, LED strip, basically anything not on the front of the case or ODD - they all died. No idea why, they just got dimmer over time and burned out. So there's no light source inside the case.

 

HDD cage at the bottom of the case was removed as the drive died and I needed better cooling.

 

So what's new?

 

Now's a good time to go over pictures of what's new, since they tell a thousand words and my hands are getting sore.

 

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Hello new card! EVGA GTX970 SSC ACX 2.0+. Slightly overclocked compared to a normal 970, and it comes with an aluminium plate over the VRM and memory chips on the front of the card. Just squeezed into my $500 budget. I would have preferred a card with a backplate too but you can't have everything.

http://www.evga.com/products/Specs/GPU.aspx?pn=e62b059f-ead9-4f90-a4d1-49c3df7ed0b1

 

 

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The back of the card has four memory chips that I will have to cool, otherwise it's pretty normal.

 

 

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My case before I did anything new to it. The old card was crashing - a LOT - so I had to add silly amounts of fans to keep it stable without making lots of noise.

 

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The cheap heatsinks I stuck on the old card were cheap for a reason, they have fallen off over three summers and I find them stuck to things each time I open the case. No shorts though so that's something!

 

Also visible is the noise dampening foam I added to the surfaces that weren't electronic. Basically the side panel and a few bits at the end. It helped a lot with the high frequencies but didn't help with the low frequency stuff at all. I got two sheets of AcoustiPack ML 2-layer 4mm OEM Material, I would probably have enough leftover to do some of the mobo tray with it but I never did.

 

 

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One HDD died so I removed the cage and installed a fan as a filtered intake. Helped a bit with temps. Silicone dampening and bolts.

 

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Just... don't ask. Cable ties, silicone, more cable ties.

 

 

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I have a cable tie problem. In that all my problems are solved with cable ties. Rehab plz.

 

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Test fit of the new card and new positions for things. The old card is just kinda hanging there while I run a few stability tests before removing the cooler on the EVGA and mounting the water block :D

 

Few more updates to come, few more cable ties too. I haven't been doing much in the way of PC stuff for the past few years, I have missed it. Would be nice to do it more frequently but not likely at this stage. Fingers crossed I get the updates out soon :)

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Looks nice!

 

Zip ties. Man's best friend.

 

One last thing, for those who might know what it is...any guesses? ;)

th_ProjectRED_4-packagefront.jpg th_ProjectRED_5-package.jpg

 

Yeah, it's better than pay day!

Edited by RenascentMisanthropy
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Mini-Update: EVGA GTX 970 ACX2.0+ SSC Memory Cooling

 

I pretty much nailed the description, so here we go.

 

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Removed four spring-screws to detach the ACX 2.0 cooler, pictured on the left is the "+" edition's aluminium MMCP (Memory MOSFET Cooling Plate). Very handy for those who wish to use a universal GPU block like I do.

 

http://www.evga.com/articles/00892/EVGA-GeForce-GTX-970-SSC/

 

 

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There are lots of claims by EVGA about how the straight heatpipes help performance, and it's pretty nice, but I won't go into performance stats in this update :) Quite a lot of thermal paste from stock, easily wiped off with isopropyl alcohol.

 

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Continuing my tradition of putting the most effort into things that have a small impact, I decided I'd re-use some of the heatsinks I bought from the internet.

 

BUT this time without the black thermal tape - I don't know if Sony Chemical & Electronics source this stuff from the deepest pits of hell, but it leaves a stupid amount of immovable gunk on whatever you stick it to, which will make RMA impossible if I slap these on my new card. And it doesn't even keep the heatsinks in place well! (admittedly I searched for specific heat tolerances and found none, and VRMs get very hot. But still.)

 

The insoluble gunk didn't bother me too much with the Lightning as I already voided the warranty by dremeling out bits of the cooler, but this time I'd prefer to keep it intact-ish. Or at least easily clean-able.

 

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Using the essential thermal tape cleaning tools, I held the heatsink with pliers and used whichever recently expired plastic card I had to hand (thanks Medicare - you do a lot for me, so here's to going the extra kilometre).

 

Step 1 is to scrape the black gunk in a straight line towards the centre, then rotate 90° and scrape again. It meets in the middle like this, then can be scraped off. I do not advise spraying alcohol on it to begin with - it melts and turns into the same gummy sludge that repeated heat cycles gives it, and you'll spend about five times as long removing it.

 

Step 2: Spray with alcohol, and scrape. Then spray, and scrape. Then spray and scrape. And wipe the card on a tissue or alcohol swab. Then do it a bunch more times until it's clean.

 

ALTERNATE PROCESS: Give up and buy clean heatsinks. I'd definitely advise this rather than trying to do what I did. Good thing time is on my side.

 

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Shiny, clean heatsinks. Had to be careful not to get gunk into the fins on the other side of them, again buy new heatsinks without gunk. But no, I'm impatient and don't want to wait weeks for shipping, so let's painstakingly clean heatsinks for hours. Sigh.

 

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Sekisui #5760 thermal tape, which I used on the old Lightning for some heatsinks I bought from Jaycar. It doesn't have the same properties as the black shit, meaning that it comes off with minimal fuss and is generally awesome.

 

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GDDR5 chips on the back of the card, these are the perfect size for cooling them.

 

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Very pretty. I really quite like the copper look with a black PCB.

 

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And the whole setup is looking quite nice, especially considering the NVIDIA card in an otherwise red-themed build. Oh, and I removed the waterblock from the old card so it wouldn't be taking up space.

 

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However I hit a stumbling block, and I called it quits at this point. The existing mount for the Swiftech MCW80 didn't match the mounting holes on the card.... but I did make it work in the end. Tune in next post for how :)

 

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Mounting the Swiftech MCW80 Universal GPU block on a GTX970

 

Another wonderfully apt title. Let's get to pictures :)

 

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I had initially hoped to swap the GPU block to the new card without draining the loop, but the laziness was rightly overcome by the need to make sure things weren't leaking.

Thankfully I left heaps of slack on the tubes so draining out into a tub was very simple; just unscrewed the compression fitting and it popped off nicely.

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The guts of my Swiftech MCW80 Universal GPU block have stayed quite happy considering it's been wet for three years with not a lot of maintenance.

I gave it a bit of a wash and rinse with some demineralised water on hand just in case, but it really didn't have a lot in it (save for some cat hair, naturally, that stuff is everywhere).

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Thinking to myself "Universal" meant "Works anywhere", I didn't go too overboard with measurements - partly as it's really hard to do that before you've got the card. Even cooling configurator didn't help much.

So I got the block and tried it with the default mount, which was pictured at the end of my last post. It fit exactly between the two sets of mounting holes on my GTX970. But never fear, there's another plate in the box, cried me.

I swapped the plate for the GT200 Adapter Kit that came with the MCW80, and as pictured, it doesn't work either. Instead of a 61mm spacing that the installation guide mentions, this is more like 62/63mm.

BUT I CANNOT LET THE FLAME DIE OUT slash DON'T WANT TO SPEND MORE MONEY.

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Let's be real here. What other solution would I try?

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Close-up of the mad cable tie action.

Note the path of the tie was super curvaceous, going through the GT200 plate, the inner set of mounting holes, the outer set, and sealing off.

Unfortunately in attempting to be clever and hide the cable ties a bit, they exerted so much pressure back onto the block that it actually couldn't be tied down securely to the core.

I tested this with a torch and could clearly see light through it with all four cable ties in. Light means a roasted card, so I tried again.

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My solution? Drop one of the cable ties and replace it with the included nylon standoff and screw/thumb nut combo, then only use a single mounting hole and wrap around the card's edges.

This way I got very good tension and couldn't see through the underside of the block. I was about 95% sure it was good. Not bad odds.

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Test fit. It fit! I also shortened one of my tubing runs, which used to go from the GPU block outlet to the top of the reservoir.

That worked fine for temps but made a trickling noise that I attempted to fix without draining the loop, which made a mess of the reservoir (aquarium filter just gloops into sludge. But made it quiet!).

This setup goes straight in and out of the reservoir at the bottom end, is super quiet, and there's still enough room to tip the res to drain.

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More heatsink action for the card. Jaycar heatsinks for TO-220 bits that I repurposed, with Sekisui tape, stuck together in a line and aligned with a ruler.

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Slapped onto the card. Kinda straight. Not super pretty. But functional and hopefully very easy to remove should I need to do so.

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Finally I did more heatsink cleaning (ugh) and finished off the VRM cooling. Was getting a lot of throttling with no active airflow over the card, and the MMCP isn't enough to keep things stable at load.

I tried to align the airflow top to bottom, not that it matters too much. Was super careful not to touch heatsinks to anything electrical, heck anything that wasn't another heatsink or cooling plate.

 

Next post I'll add in some airflow and change things around a bit, then if there's time/space/energy I'll post some benchmarks. Thanks for reading :)

Edited by TheFrunj

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Final cooling tweaks and stats

 

Photos and a video :)

 

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For the VRM cooling, I wanted to repurpose the Gentle Typhoons that I had removed from the support bracket of the case - which I removed as the new card is MUCH lighter - in such a way that I could remove them if needed without cutting cable ties every time.

This was my solution for the first fan, with the expansion slot cover offset so the fan would clear the motherboard components (capacitors, slots etc).

 

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It fit! This was my first attempt and came out super stable, I also couldn't feel any vibration being passed to the case thanks to the silicone pad.

 

Unfortunately it wasn't centered and took up 1.5 slots, but I figured it was fine for its positioning. This fan made no bearing noise in this position, and didn't touch any other components.

 

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Then it was time to mount the second fan, and man this one was a lot harder. It kept resting against either the graphics card or sound card if I only secured through one of the mounting holes.

It's hard to work out from the picture, but I threaded through the hole, bent around the inside corner, looped through the two slits in the expansion slot bracket, then came back and met up with another cable tie as the 150mm ties were just slightly too short.

This was really hard to do while keeping everything flush, especially while juggling two ties at once and pliers and everything, and it took me multiple tries to get it stable and firmly attached.

 

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We have suspension! Equal tension on both sides kept it more or less directly in the center of the expansion slots, not touching anything else at all.

For whatever reason this bearing makes a humming/buzzing sound over 60% speed, so I added a low noise adapter/resistor for this fan. Ideally I'd have taken it off the bracket and replaced the fan but that's a lot of hassle and expense, so this works.

Both fans are run to a fan splitter, then an extension to the front of case controller.

 

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A quickly edited look at how both fans sit on their brackets. The offset is clear here, you can also see how only one fan has cable ties in both mounting holes.

 

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Another thing I did while swapping the card is notice that the Scythe Kama Flow fan I painted was making a harmonic tonal vibration-ey noise. Hard to describe but pretty distracting in a quiet room.

I had to take it out - none of the original painted fans are still in here thanks to their sleeve bearings wearing down over time.

 

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Past me thought it was a great idea to dremel out the 25mm fan mount to fit a 35mm fan in with cable ties. How wrong past me was.

Here's a view of the Vario pump and an idea to mount a new fan, silicone pads on both sides of a cable tie, then another cable tie threaded through that dampened loop.

 

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A close-up of my final fan mount design, basically with a long tie suspended across the gap, and I looped the fan to it.

 

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New fan installed, it looks pretty cool. I took this from the fan that used to be tied at the top of the 5.25 drive bays that didn't really do a lot.

The 5.25 bay covers go back on, thankfully, as I hadn't entirely tested this before getting the fan in there.

 

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And thanks to mounting on a line, I can spin the fan up to access the variable speed dial on the pump for bleeding the loop. Much better solution.

 

Power consumption, Temps, Overclocking

 

Post's getting long but rather than do a separate one I'll throw some numbers in here for those curious. Unfortunately I wasn't able to run numbers on the old card as it hard locked with anything 3D, but anecdotally the system is a lot cooler and a little bit faster now. Also tables don't copy nicely from Google Sheets so this eyesore will have to do as I've run out of image embeds :P

 

3D Performance

                 970 Stock Air | 970 Stock Water | 10% Core+95 Mem+125
3DMark 2013				
	Fire Strike	 10567  |     10599      | 11029
	Boost clock	1392MHz |    1392MHz     | 1500MHz
				
Unigine Heaven	Avg FPS	33.1    |     33.2       | 35
	Boost Clock	1392MHz |    1392MHz     | 1500MHz
				
Furmark	Boost Clock	1240MHz | 1240-1266MHz	

I was able to overclock the card +95MHz Core, +125MHz memory as a 24/7 OC. If it weren't for the 10% power limit I think I'd get more from it. But a slight improvement in speed is nice I guess - the biggest benefit is the lack of noise from the stock EVGA fans.

 

Power Consumption

		970 Stock Air | 970 Stock Water | 10% Core+95 Mem+125
Idle	Desktop	     182W     | 186W	
				
3DMark 2013	Average	390W  | 395W	
	        Peak	420W  | 425W	
				
Unigine Heaven	Average	350W  | 360W	
	        Peak	366W  | 370W	
				
Furmark	Yes	        412W  | 420W   |  442W

I kept these numbers as close as I could with only changes to fans involved. Measured at the wall with a router, LED lamp, 27" monitor, couple other things also running. Slight increase in power draw without overclocking due to the core being able to run at a more consistent power level.

 

 

Temperatures

Room / Core / Loop
		970 Stock Air | 970 Stock Water
Idle             21 / 44 / 27 | 21 / 30 / 31
			
3DMark 2013	22 / 77 / 32  | 22 / 47 / 39
			
Unigine Heaven	21 / 73 / 32  | 22 / 44 / 38
			
Furmark	        21 / 77 / 35  | 22 / 51 / 43

I ran these numbers before realising the loop still had bubbles in it and hadn't been properly bled, and I haven't bothered to re-run the full bits as I gathered them while doing performance numbers.

 

I tried to address the bleeding with this shaking technique that didn't work:

 

 

Then tried again with the variable speed pump cranked up to 5, which worked a lot better:

 

 

And finally this is what it did to temps at the 24/7 OC level running Furmark and encoding x264 video with Handbrake for two hours:

	Before Bleed | After Bleed
Power           550W | 550W
GPU Core	62C  | 56C
CPU Core	79C  | 72C
Loop temp      51.6C | 45.5C

So yeah, bleed your loops properly :)

 

Anyway that's all I have prepared, probably overkill but I miss doing this kind of thing. Let me know if you have questions, otherwise thanks for reading.

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nice and detailed

 

love the simple diy pci-e fan mounts

 

top rads do have a nasty habit of holding air and it can build up over time gradually lowering performance 21c above ambient is a fair jump though were the fans running a fairly low speed?

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nice and detailed

 

love the simple diy pci-e fan mounts

 

top rads do have a nasty habit of holding air and it can build up over time gradually lowering performance 21c above ambient is a fair jump though were the fans running a fairly low speed?

 

I thought some more about this, and it definitely seems that there's not enough space between the top of my case and the desk I have it in. Maybe 3-4cm of clearance.

 

I swapped around some fans to try and improve the situation but it didn't help much, gotta take more pictures and run some numbers, but I have run it outside the desk for 45 minutes in Prime95 and Furmark, then moved it inside the desk while it was running and left it for another 20 minutes:

Room / GPU Core / CPU / Loop	    Out of desk | In desk
                                     45 minutes | +20 minutes
Prime95+Furmark Temp	    24 / 47 / 66 / 37.8 | 24 / 53 / 74 / 45.8
Loop to Room delta	                   13.8 | 21.8
Power draw	                           535W | 545W
Boost Clock	                        1266MHz | 1266MHz
SouthBridge front panel 	           46.5 | 53.5

All values on the right were still increasing as I stopped the test.

 

It's pretty clearly starved for air, none of the fans run over 1600rpm at full speed because quiet is nice. Not sure what to do about it other than keep the computer outside the desk when I'm rendering and playing a game (which is very rare). Most of the time it's good enough, and verging on inaudible which I prefer. In free space it's great.

 

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Not sure if mounting a 240mm radiator at the bottom would help at all, since it would just dump heat inside the case anyway. Maybe another intake at the bottom? I think I'm out of cutting discs for my dremel and I would probably be lazy and try to cut it out while most of the hardware is still in place, risking shorts and stuff. But maybe would help? Don't have any money for another rad now anyway, just spitballing.

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while the desk will be restricting flow out the top a fair part of it will be heat moving back down around the case and being sucked back in i think you want a baffel around the top of the case that fits to the sides of the desk to stop that and maybe try take some chunks out of the desk to open it up

is the back filled in behind the pc?

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I've thought about making a baffle for the desk but am unsure of a practical way to make it, and also a visually pleasing way. It's open at the back but not a huge clearance, there's a bit of recircling going on.

 

Here's some data I collected over the afternoon, checking in every half hour or so.

 

All fans on maximum speed at idle:

Room / GPU Core / CPU / Loop	Max Fans In Desk |  Max Fans Out Of Desk  | Max Heat Difference
Idle Temp	               23 / 31 / 31 / 31 |  22.5 / 26 / 23 / 25.7 | GPU +5
Loop to Room delta	                       8 |          3.2           | CPU +8
Power draw	                            178W |          177W          | Loop +5.3	
SouthBridge	                            43.4 |          37.4          | SB +6

Radiator exhaust fans, rear intake fan, GPU fans on minimum, front and bottom intake fans on maximum:

Room / GPU Core / CPU / Loop	Quiet Fans In Desk | Quiet Fans Out of desk | Quiet Heat Difference
Idle Temp	             21.2 / 29 / 27 / 28.1 | 21.8 / 27 / 27 / 26.5  | GPU +2
Loop to Room delta	                       6.9 |         4.7            | CPU +0
Power draw	                              171W |         173W           | Loop +1.6	
SB	                                      49.5 |         44.4           | SB +5.1

So at idle, with the fan speeds I run while using the computer for anything other than rendering video or gaming, putting it in the desk has a reasonable effect on temperatures, raising it a few degrees and notably five degrees on the southbridge via a thermistor. Ambient case temp is higher in the desk, but at idle or low loads I don't really mind.

 

The numbers aren't truly representative of the scenario as the system was still cooling down from the load only a few hours prior, but I'll live with it for now as I value the noise. I may get around to adding another 120mm fan in the bottom still, but temps are live-able in the desk, with no crashing of overclocks or anything.

 

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well you could use a chunk of cardboard to test it and see if it makes a difference

 

but as for long term looking ok i would get some wood maybe 1" square (whatever fits)

attach them to the desk each side of the case in line with the top maybe add some strips of like furry sliding door seal

it doesnt have to go all the way to the front if you want it to be less visable

Edited by Dasa

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I thought more about the strip of wood, but I'm not sure it would provide enough barrier for the heat spilling out the back of the case. I haven't discarded the idea, just not sure how to do it yet. More thinking required.

 

Did some research online, I found a product by Lian Li that has since been discontinued, the AD-04B, a rear fan baffle that would direct the intake downwards towards cool air and further from the hot recycled air. There were lots of ideas for fan mufflers and baffle designs, but this is what I came up with using bits I already had:

 

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Luckily I had a project box lying around that I had intended for something else but never did, and it seemed to be the right size for the job at 151Wx90H (mm), so I slapped duct tape on it and marked out where I needed to drill. I did it 1cm down from the project box's holes to hopefully retain some strength in the plastic.

 

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I used a handsaw to cut the box's mounting plate in half, and to cut one side of the box to open it at the bottom.

 

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The assembly is sitting on a 120mm silicon gasket designed for fans, used for the ease of screwing it all together. I wanted to use the silicone pot holder but keeping everything in place was hard enough as-is.

 

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There's enough clearance around the USB ports and everything for my needs, however I can't use the PS/2 port with it on. Good thing I have never used it :)

 

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A view of the inside, showing the two 50mm m4 bolts and the fan filter. I'd really like to keep this as an intake but I may wind up flipping it around, removing the filter, and having an exhaust.

 

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A side view showing the many bits. Case, gasket, another gasket, uneven filter, yet another gasket, project box.

 

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Top view. I think it looks alright, not too ghetto. Certainly could be worse.

 

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This is it in position behind my desk... not 100% clear but there's about 8cm of clearance between the desk and the wall, and maybe 9cm between the computer and the wall. Did some more thermal tests to see if it made any difference to thermals - without any foam in it, it made no difference to fan noise.

Room / GPU Core / CPU / Loop	Baffle In Desk |  Baffle Out of desk   | Baffle Heat Difference
Prime95+Furmark Temp	 19.9 / 53 / 73 / 43.3 | 20.4 / 44 / 61 / 33.4 | GPU +9
Loop to Room delta	                  23.4 |         13            | CPU +12
Power draw	                          546W |         543W          | Loop +9.9
Boost Clock	                  1253-1291MHz | 1278MHz	
SB	                                  52.9 |         44.2          | SB +8.7

The load data isn't very inspiring by itself, but compared to max load max fans in the desk that I did prior, the temperature delta at 20 mins was actually improved, and the numbers above were run for 1.5 hours so were very stable.

 

Perhaps more illustrative of the change is the system at idle on max fan speed for three hours:

Room / GPU Core / CPU / Loop	Baffle Idle In Desk | No Baffle | Baffle effect
Idle Temp	                18.5 / 26 / 26 / 26 | 23 / 31 / 31 / 31	
Loop to Room delta	                        7.5 |       8   | -0.5 loop temp
SB	                                       40.5 | 43.4	
SB to Room delta	                         22 |    20.4   | +1.6 sb temp

The loop temperature actually dropped by 0.5, however the ambient system temp was increased by 1.6. So in all, the baffle did nothing useful, and at load didn't help at all. But I enjoyed the process of throwing it together if nothing else.

 

Starting to think I'll have to flip that fan around as an exhaust.

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the thing is the heat will be getting pushed down under your case from the top as despite heat rising the easiest path for the air to flow from the top fans with the gap at the front and rear being so small is down the sides of the case

 

i think you would be better of blocking all rear vents and removing the fan than making that fan an exhaust you already have three front fans a one bottom? that should be enough to keep up with the rad fans assuming there airflow is similar that should leave you with close to equal pressure maybe even positive with the restrictions the top fans are facing

 

you need a smoke machine to play with :)

 

what i was thinking you needed was to stop the air going down under the case and out the front along the sides of the case where it would be sucked back in by the fan underneath and the front fans

Edited by Dasa

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Haha! You are brave cable tying your watercooling block to your new gpu! Interesting read.

MOAR CABLE TIES!!!

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