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G-relk

[Build Log] My main PC

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So, I have started the work on my new main gaming rig, and thought I would get this going to show my progress.

 

The plan is to get my CPU and both GPU's, watercooled, but have all the W/C gear internally mounted. I also aim to have a large window in the side to show everything off. I will be using a Fractal Design Define XL as the case.

 

Hardware:

 

Asrock Extreme7 Gen3 motherboard

i5 2500K

8GB corsair vengeance

2 x reference 6950 2GB (one XFX, and one HIS)

Asus Xonar Essence STX

2 x 300GB velociraptors (in RAID 0)

1TB Samsung F3

 

Watercooling stuff:

 

Koolance PMP-400 pump

Koolance COV-RP400 Pump top w/ res mount

EK MultiOption X2 250 basic reservoir

XSPC EX120 rad

XSPC EX360 rad

XSPC Raystorm CPU block

2 x XSPC Razor 6970 full cover block

12 x XSPC black chrome 1/2"ID barbs

4 x XSPC black chrome stop fittings

XSPC black chrome fill port set

5 x EK black 90 degree rotary adapters

2m Primoflex 7/16"ID black tube

 

Misc:

 

NXZT black 24pin 250mm extender

4 x Mod/Smart black 6pin VGA 8" extender

Mod/Smart black 8pin EPS 8" extender

Bitfenix black 3 x 3pin fan splitter

4 x CoolerMaster XtraFlo 120mm red LED fans

30CM Red car neon light

Phobya 360 stripes black rad grill

4m black 1/8" sleeve

4m black U channel edging strip

3mm thick clear acrylic

(hopefully) 4.5mm thick solid red acrylic standoff for the rad grill

 

 

The very first thing I did was fairly straight forward, I changed the power LED from blue to red. Next thing was to remove extra crap from the case. I removed the HDD cage in the upper chamber, as well as the second cage in the lower chamger. Nothing drastic, but it will help with the weight of the case (which is quite heavy)

Posted Image

 

 

The bracket for the pump had to have one corner lopped off so it would fit underneath the edge of the motherboard. 5 minutes with my trusty Dremel fixed that. I also had to gauge a hole in it so it would fit over one of the motherboard stand-offs. again, just dremeled it out without a problem.

Posted Image

 

 

As the Koolance pump top and EK reservoir had different threads, I had to glue the reservoir tube to the joining ring that came with the pump. I put a heap of epoxy glue in the thread on the joining ring, then just screwed the two together as best I could (which was probably water-tight anyway).

Posted Image

 

 

And the pump all together and mounted in the case. I will probably end up spray painting the pump mount black yet, but for the moment it's all good.

Posted Image

Edited by G-relk

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Awesome! really looking forward to seeing this to conclusion. I've always been a fan of these cases and I had a thought that watercooling could fit pretty well in it.

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Awesome! really looking forward to seeing this to conclusion. I've always been a fan of these cases and I had a thought that watercooling could fit pretty well in it.

The only thing I would say against it so far is that it is fucking heavy; possibly more-so than my old antec P180. Besides that, it's a great case. Heaps of room to work in, looks great, awesome layout, and it's a completely blank canvas for modding work. If you were so inclined, I think it would fit a 3 x 140mm rad in the top, though it would knock out nearly all the ODD bays.....

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Looking nice so far dude. :D

*pulls up a chair*

Cheers man :)

 

I've also just sent off a design for a spacer that will go between the rad grill and the case. Will be made from solid red 4.5mm thick acrylic (if the fab's can make it). Should hopefully raise the rad/fans out of the case JUST enough to make them fit inside a little better, as the pump/res is a bit taller than I expected.....

 

 

I've also got to buy a 1/4" BSP tap for the top of the res so I can have an external fill port. For those interested, to tap your own G1/4" fittings, you need a 11.8mm drill bit, and a BSP 1/4" 19TPI tap to do it.

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I've also got to buy a 1/4" BSP tap for the top of the res so I can have an external fill port. For those interested, to tap your own G1/4" fittings, you need a 11.8mm drill bit, and a BSP 1/4" 19TPI tap to do it.

I think you can buy tops for the EK res with hole already in it, but I am guessing you want to do this yourself? :P

I've ordered one from GamMods along with a taller tube for my combo. Should make filling way easier.

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I've also got to buy a 1/4" BSP tap for the top of the res so I can have an external fill port. For those interested, to tap your own G1/4" fittings, you need a 11.8mm drill bit, and a BSP 1/4" 19TPI tap to do it.

I think you can buy tops for the EK res with hole already in it, but I am guessing you want to do this yourself? :P

I've ordered one from GamMods along with a taller tube for my combo. Should make filling way easier.

 

Yeah, true. I'll see how much the tap is first, and if it's cheaper to get the other top, I will. I just know this top is in the perfect position for the inlet, so I'm a bit hesitant to get another top......

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What are the size measurements of the Fractal Design Define XL wondering because I have the HAF X and whether it was larger...I have this want for the largest case, so I can fit the largest motherboard say an EVGA SR-2, not that I could ever afforded a rig running it anyway. Just insurance for the future, and which the HAF X doesn't fit it =(.

 

Also looks good I like the idea of the red lighting. Shall be interested in seeing the outcome/final product.

Edited by thesingularity

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It measures 560 x 560 x 230mm or so I think. They are listed on Fractal's website anyway.

 

It can take an E-ATX motherboard, so it could potentially fit an SR2 (I think). Though you would lose the cable routing holes in the motherboard tray, and probably the top HDD bay too.

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Interesting, will have to compare sizes against my HAF X. Noticed recently on PCCG Enermax have released a massive case.

 

You can fit the SR-2 on the HAF X but not with 4xSli/CF because of only having 8 ports not 10 ports.

Edited by thesingularity

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Interesting, will have to compare sizes against my HAF X. Noticed recently on PCCG Enermax have released a massive case.

 

You can fit the SR-2 on the HAF X but not with 4xSli/CF because of only having 8 ports not 10 ports.

The Define XL only has 7 PCI slots, so I doubt it would work.....

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Ah yes this is what I like to see. One of my favourite things in the world - modded PCs. Will be keeping an eye on this thread with interest. Good stuff dude, I hope it all works out perfectly for you.

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Good news!

 

The EX360 rad just turned up from PCCG, along with the 24pin extender and some black sleeving. I did a dry fit of the rad and fans, and everything should fit inside pretty easily :D

 

I also got a bit of work on the top for the res done on Saturday. I routed a flat section along the side, and got the hole drilled so it's ready to tap when the tapper arrives.

 

Tonight I will make the three extenders that I bought the sleeving for, and I might even get a chance to drill the hole in the divider in the middle so I can run the PCI-e cables through it. Doubt I will get time to cut the hole in the top of the case for the radiator, but I will see what happens.

 

 

 

As a bonus (because I am pretty bored ATM), here's a mini review for the various cable extenders I am using:

 

The NXZT extenders themselves look pretty good, though the sleeving on them is only the cheap stuff. The heat-shrink on the ends is all the same length, and looks great too. One pin came loose, but that was easily fixed. The other thing that was annoying, was that the cable was folded in half inside the packet, and is now kinked. I will have to warm it up and pull it out to straighten it....

 

The mod/smart cables also look just as good as the NXZT, but the sleeving is a much tighter weeve, and looks better on closer inspection. The heat-shrink is all uniform, and like the NXZT, one of the pin's also fell out (again, easily fixed). However, the cable wasn't folded in the package, and as such, it came pout nice and straight, and without any kinks in it - much better.

 

Lastly, the BitFenix cable. These are the cheapest of the three, and from a distance, they look OK. However, on closer inspection, they don't hold up. My cable had glue coming from the ends of some of the pieces of heat-shrink. The sleeve just looked like my cable was covered in black shoe-lace due to using cloth sleeve instead of the usual nylon stuff.

 

Comparing the mod/smart, NXZT, and BitFenix cables, my pick would be the mod/smart. Not only do they come in an awesome range of colours and 2 different lengths, but they are top quality, and packaged quite well. Add to this the fact that they are priced very well (the 6pin VGA cables being around $4-6 less than the NXZT, and only $2 or so more than the BitFenix), and they are a winner to me.

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Got the three other cable extenders I needed made tonight. One for the motherboard (which needs a molex power for crossfire), another for the soundcard, and lastly, one for the DVD drive. Pretty happy with how they have all come out too. The white plugs will be hidden away behind the motherboard tray, so their colour isn't a concern (plus, I only had white ones anyway), but I did get lucky when I found the black 90 degree molex pwer at work in a box of cables, it's perfect for the motherboard power :D

 

Posted Image

 

Also got a picture of the mostly-complete reservoir top from saturday that I forgot to post. Still needs the hole bored out a tiny amount before I can tap it though.

 

Posted Image

 

 

Hopefully I will get some time after work tomorrow to start cutting the hole for the rad, and modify some other little bits and pieces too.....

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Well, some progress and pics!

 

Got the side panel window all cut out and finished, as well as the hole in the top for the rad. I also cut off the vertically mounted PCI slot bracket, and covered over that area with a piece of spare metal from one of the removed HDD bays.

 

I'm just about done making the hole for the fill port too, just need to bore it out a bit more. The only other thing I have to do is finish off the extra hole in the top of the res for the fillport and the modding side of things is done.

 

I'll upload some pic's later tonight. I have the case back at home, but I left the side panels back at work, so you will have to wait until tomorrow for pics of it.

 

 

 

While dry fitting everything earlier I found out that BOTH of my 6950's use a non-reference PCB layout, so my full cover block's don't fit >.< I have already ordered a pair of 6970's to replace them though. I will also have to order 2 8 pin VGA power extenders too, which sorta stucks. Oh well.....

 

EDIT: added stuff

Edited by G-relk

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Right, picture and update time!

 

Got a HEAP of work done on it over the weekend. Managed to get all the cabling done (except for the neon which I forgot to install), as well as finish off the last little bits I needed to mod, and install most of the hardware too :D

 

Before I put the PSU and more of the WC stuff in:

Posted Image

 

Behind the Motherobard before I put in the PSU:

Posted Image

 

Most of the WC stuff and hardware in:

Posted Image

 

Close up of the HDD's

Posted Image

 

Close up of the cabling around the motherboard/res:

Posted Image

 

And lastly, the top of the case:

Posted Image

 

 

As you can no doubt see, it still needs the other rad installed, plus the two graphics cards (which should be arriving soon), and all the plumbing done. I also have to get 2 x 8pin PCIe power extenders for the new cards, which is a pain.

 

I should be able to get the rad installed tonight, and do a bit more of the plumbing too, then it's just a matter of waiting for the GPU's to arrive....

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looks awesome mate. did you cut the hole for the rad in top? SO much neater than my hack job. looks like its meant to be there and the grill seals the deal.

 

the sleeving is very neat too. really brings it together. inspiring me to get stuck into my sleeving again although i think im going to buy a roll of paracord to try. also i have a heap of 8pin/24pin extenders at work (pretty common for servers) so if you can't find any let me know i can post you some.

 

my only suggestion for improvement would be to turn the HDDs around (if they fit) so the cables are hidden on the other side. depends how often you are adding/removing drives though.

 

edit: did you individual sleeve your fan cables too? I was able to sleeve them as one but it was a bit of a bitch. i just noticed the fan extender up top and it looks quite good that way.

Edited by p0is(+)n

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The only cables I sleeved were the molex ones for the sound card and motherboard, plus the one for the ODD (shown three posts or so above), the rest are ones I bought because I was too lazy to make them :P The fan splitter is a Bitfenix one, and is sleeved in a paracord like stuff. It looks alright, but you will have to glue the paracord to the cable to stop it sliding around, or use heat-shrink that has a glue lining in it.

 

Koolroom have the pre-sleeved 8 pin extenders, so I am going to order a pair from there, along with a new LED for the CPU block that will hook up to the HDD LED header on the motherboard. Should add a touch of extra awesome-ness...

 

Regards sleeve, get some of the small stuff from MDPC-X, it's the best I have used thus far. Plus they also sell really good pre-cut 4:1 shrink ratio heat shrink for a really cheap price that is AWESOME. 10m of sleeve works out to be about AUD$10, so it's pretty cheap.

 

I did the drives that way for practicality, they aren't seen so it's not an issue really.

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I think I want your computer. It is all black and oh so perfect and clean and tidy as well. Now if you just tossed in either red or gold but not both it would also most probably perfect or even better...ASUS ROG board drool.

Edited by thesingularity

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I think I want your computer. It is all black and oh so perfect and clean and tidy as well. Now if you just tossed in either red or gold but not both it would also most probably perfect or even better...ASUS ROG board drool.

It will have red lighting and coolant, so that should be enough to provide a little contrast to it all.

 

On a side note - I haven't got anymore done. Some stuff turned up for my other computer I am working on so I was doing that. Should be able to get the last rad and fan, plus some hose in tomorrow. And, post permitting, the two 6970's as well :D

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2 steps forward, fucking 15 back......

 

Mounted the last rad, then got the hosing in for the CPU block, main rad, fill port, plus half of each the pump/res and last rad.

 

The pair of 6970's arrived, only they were not reference cards, and so were useless. I have managed to swap them both for a pair of older reference cards that are perfect for what I need though - crisis averted

 

Before I packaged them up for the swap, I test fitted them though - too long! FFFUUU Solution is fairly simple though - Dad made me a new mounting bracket for the pump/res to move it close to the ODD bays so the cards will fit (by about 5mm, if my dodgy measurements are anything to go by).

 

Shame I had to pull everything apart to do that, and because I have 7/16"ID hose, and 1/2" barbs, the hoses had to be cut off the barbs. Bugger. There goes a good 50cm or so of hose.....

 

 

Monday should be serious update time. The GPU's will have arrived, the new pump bracket will be in and working, and the cabling will be a little neater. plus I will finally be able to get the PC running.....

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Weeeeeeeeeeeeee

 

 

FINALLY got all the hardware and plumbing in!!! Everything has turned out as good, if not better than what I had hoped when I started this build.

 

With the pump/res moved towards the ODD bays, everything fitted without a hitch. The cabling is also much better now, and a lot easier to manage thanks to more room around the cable routing holes.

 

Likewise, all the hose fitted perfectly with no really tight bends or anything (except at the fill port, which doesn't matter really).

 

The last thing I have to do is fill the loop with coolant, and then test for leaks. Hopefully everything should be pretty well water-tight, though there is always the risk of a dud fitting or something....

 

 

Anyway, here are some more really crappy pics because I haven't been arsed to take some nice ones....

 

Cables behind the motherboard tray:

Posted Image

 

Inside:

Posted Image

 

all the hose in the ODD bays:

Posted Image

 

Graphics cards:

Posted Image Posted Image

 

Case from outside with the sides on:

Posted Image

 

 

 

Once the coolant is in, and the rig operational, I will get some nice pics posted with the case lighting on etc.

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looks awesome dude. has really come together well. can't wait to see it in operation.

the tube run is ideal, nothing too long. could possibly benefit from some 45's in some places, but nothing looks tight enough to need them though.

what kind of water/coolant are you going with? Also FYI you probably only need 1 of those crossfire bridges.

 

now off to write a mini update on my log.

Edited by p0is0n

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nice mate, howd you find the xspc waterblocks for your cards?

Edited by tunksy

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