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Best case for internal water cooling loop?

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November 4, 2011 6:51:21 PM

Hey guys,

Planning a new build here, and I'm strongly considering water cooling. I'm wondering what the best case would be to fit a water cooling system inside? I'm going to be cooling either a six core SB-E or quad core SB processor overclocked, along with at least 2 large nVidia graphics cards. I have 570's right now, but when I upgrade to 680's or whatever they'll be I would buy water cooled versions. That means I'm probably looking at a 360mm and a 480mm radiator in one large loop. Is there any regular case out there that people have had success fitting something like this into? I kind of prefer to stay away from the cube cases if possible. My preference would be an HAF X, but I currently own one and there's no way something like that is fitting inside.

Thoughts?
a c 324 K Overclocking
November 4, 2011 6:57:12 PM

You would likely be fine with dual 360's or a thick 240 and 360.
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a c 286 K Overclocking
November 4, 2011 8:52:33 PM

The HAF X can fit those two radiators without problems, but if you want something better go with the Corsair Obsidian 800D
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a c 324 K Overclocking
November 4, 2011 10:48:51 PM

^That's what I was trying to think of...it was slipping my memory. I think you can get a 4x120 in the bottom if I recall...
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a b K Overclocking
November 7, 2011 5:25:31 AM

Depending on your budget I'd reccomend this:

http://www.ldcooling.com/shop/18-atx-hptx

I personally own and love it, save for the removing the panels is a pain

The case is made to fit a 480 on top and either 2 360s or if you want 2 480s on the bottom :p .

I have it with a 480 up top and 2 360s on the bottom.
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November 23, 2011 3:38:24 PM

saint19 said:
The HAF X can fit those two radiators without problems, but if you want something better go with the Corsair Obsidian 800D


You think I can get a 480mm AND a 360mm rad all inside an HAF X? Have you seen it done or have pictures of it done? I'm not disputing you. It's just that in looking at mine right now I see no way that's possible without heavy modifications. I'd love to know how if it is though!
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a c 286 K Overclocking
November 23, 2011 4:18:20 PM

thebski said:
You think I can get a 480mm AND a 360mm rad all inside an HAF X? Have you seen it done or have pictures of it done?I'm not disputing you. It's just that in looking at mine right now I see no way that's possible without heavy modifications. I'd love to know how if it is though!


only a 480 or 360 radiator inside, both can't fit inside.
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November 26, 2011 1:29:17 AM

saint19 said:
The HAF X can fit those two radiators without problems, but if you want something better go with the Corsair Obsidian 800D


Just a shout out here for the 800D. With some simple pretty simple modding I was able to fit a thick 360 and thick 240 internally. Guides on this mod are easy to find. I'm cooling a 2600K at 4.8~ Ghz and two GTX580's at stock and I have plenty of temp headroom. The GPU's don't even break at sweat at load for 30 min plus at stock. Wild. I'm a big fan of this case in other respects too. No complaints... aside from the need to mod the case at all I guess, but that's part of the fun.


(The visible cables were used for the external PSU during filling. The final build is very clean despite my horrendous cable management skills. I won't show you the rear picture, lol).
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November 26, 2011 3:00:56 AM

Awesome build dude. Do you mind posting a picture of your front panel? How much room for expansion slots do you have with pump and res? I was hoping to get a blu ray player, 2 dvd burners, and a front panel for sound blaster sound card, but I'm sure there's no room for that with pump and res.

Also, do you mind posting the specs of your cooling loop? Mainly radiator models, pump, res, and blocks. I'd appreciate it!
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November 26, 2011 4:39:17 AM

thebski said:
Awesome build dude. Do you mind posting a picture of your front panel? How much room for expansion slots do you have with pump and res? I was hoping to get a blu ray player, 2 dvd burners, and a front panel for sound blaster sound card, but I'm sure there's no room for that with pump and res.

Also, do you mind posting the specs of your cooling loop? Mainly radiator models, pump, res, and blocks. I'd appreciate it!


Sure thing, all of that info is on the front page of my build log (link below) to include the mod work. Don't be put off by the rotary tool additions. I have virtually no experience with rotary tools and the mod to accommodate the lower 240 was really easy with the proper tools (any rotary tool, a measuring tape, a $10 rivet gun, and online guides). Even if you fudge it a bit it won't matter because all of the cutting is on the under side of the case. And as previously mentioned, even a little bit of modding adds to the fun and the pride of a finished build :D 

The 800D has room for 5 front bays but I'm using a duel bay rez. If you go with a single front bay res or an internal res I suppose you would have room for all of the stuff you're looking to add. I'm looking at my rig right now and can see that there's room for an internal res and pump that would even accommodate my current loop configuration. You can probably see how that would work based on the pic above.

I will forewarn you that a couple of 45 degree fittings are a near necessity if you plan to add a thick 240 to the lower bay. My loop doesn't have the slightest bit of kinking but I needed some 45's to make that work. Also, with the 800D you'll probably want to remove the two rubber guides separating the upper and lower sections of the case. Doing so gives you a wee bit more angular room to work with in the lower bay. The fan configuration I stole from another 800D user has been successful as well (pic in the build log).

Let me also add that this was my very first watercooling build. My advice would be that if you're "strongly considering" a watercooling build just read the wealth of info online and go ahead and do it. It's well worth it. If you wuss out for the next several years you'll feel a pang of regret every time you look at your massive CPU heatsink. :lol: 

Build Log (Many thanks to the Tom's WC crew, btw :D  ) http://www.tomshardware.com/forum/269332-29-zooka-build...

Edit: Final thought... I love love love every single component of this rig with the exception of my mem choice. It wasn't a bad choice per se but there are better alternatives. But changing my mem at this point would also involve removing my video cards, and that would probably require me me to drain my loop which makes me much less concerned about the whole deal, heh.

.... thank you for the diversion. I just died right near the end of a very large skyrim dungeon and had to rage quit for at least a half hour before continuing.
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November 26, 2011 2:18:45 PM

Man, I really like your build even more after reading your build log. I have been a huge fan of the HAF X, but after reading that you've really got my attention with that 800D and being able to fit a full CPU and 2-3 GPU system inside.

I had strongly considered going to a water cooled system this past April when I made the move to surround gaming. My friends convinced me that the gameplay experience would be much more enhanced by going to 2D surround vision than water cooling so another graphics card and monitors is what I spent my money on instead. I did a ton of research and had a complete build put together, so I'm just going to put that in this thread and see what you think.

First off I should start with the system. I am undecided at this point between 1155 and 2011, but here are the two builds I have put together.

Socket 2011 System:

CPU - i7 3930K
Motherboard - Asus Rampage IV Extreme
PSU - Seasonic X-1250 Gold
Media 1 - Asus Blu Ray Player
Media 2(3) - 1 (2 if it fits) Asus DVD Burner
Case - Corsair 800D (was going to be HAF X)
Memory - 32 GB Corsair Vengence 1866
Boot Drive - 2 x OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120 GB in Raid 0

Socket 1155 System:

CPU - i7 2700K
Motherboard - Asus Maximus IV Extreme-Z
PSU - Seasonic X-1250 Gold
Media 1 - Asus Blu Ray Player
Media 2(3) - 1 (2 if it fits) Asus DVD Burner
Case - Corsair 800D (was going to be HAF X)
16 GB Corsair Vengence 1866
Boot Drive - 2 x OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 120 GB in Raid 0

Things I already own that will carry over:

1 TB Seagate 7200.12
2 x EVGA GTX 570 SC
Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium Champion Series
Hauppauge Colossus
A crapload of Logitech G-series stuff (G13, G930, G9x, G19)

I was going to put 2 x 2 TB drives for storage, but hard drive prices are just stupid right now with the flooding in Thailand so I'm going to wait until they come back to earth.

Now maybe you can also help me decide which system I should buy. Long story short my work is buying the memory and SSD's for whichever system I buy because I use my home computer for work a lot. That coupled with selling off old parts (they're already spoken for) means the Socket 1155 system I have laid out will cost me $88 out of my pocket without any cooling. The Socket 2011 system will cost me $448 again without cooling.

That's one decision to be made. Another decision is cooling. I am either going to buy a Corsair H100 I've decided, or go ahead and build the water cooling system I've been dreaming up for some time now.

Here's the deal with the water cooled system: Right now it's going to be a CPU only loop. When the 600 series cards come out I'm going to sell my 570's and buy 680's or whatever they're going to be. At that time I'll go ahead and buy the EVGA Hydro Copper versions and put them in the loop, but for right now we're looking at CPU only.

I'm just going to go ahead with the system I had built last spring and we can make adjustments from there:



Obviously this system is shown in an HAF X, so I'll have to redo the diagram with an 800 D, but it's essentially going to look like yours. I'll start at the pump/res.

Resevoir: Swiftech MCP35X Rev 2 (attaches directly to pump) - $27.95
Pump: Swiftech MCP35X - $84.95
Pump Out: Bitspower Ultimate G1/4 Compression Fitting 1/2" ID 5/8" OD - 13.99
CPU Block In: Koolance VL3N QDC Male G1/4, Koolance VL3N QDC Female Compression 1/2" ID 3/4" - $12.99,$14.99
CPU Block: EK Supreme HF - Acetal - $70.95
CPU Block Out: Koolance VL3N QDC Male G1/4, Koolance VL3N QDC Female Compression 1/2" ID 3/4" - $12.99,$14.99
Radiator 1 In: Bitspower Ultimate G1/4 Compression Fitting 1/2" ID 5/8" OD - $13.99
Radiator 1: XSPC RX360 Rev 2 - $89.95
Radiator 1 Out: Bitspower Ultimate G1/4 Compression Fitting 1/2" ID 5/8" OD - $13.99
Resevoir In: Bitspower Ultimate G1/4 Compression Fitting 1/2" ID 5/8" OD - $13.99
Tubing: Tygon R-3400 1/2" ID 3/4" OD Black - 12 Feet @ $3.25/ft = $39.00

Stage II (GPU):

Additional fittings and an XSPC RX240 radiator.

Things I still need to select:

Fans
Fan Controller

So I basically have 4 options:

Option 1: Socket 1155, Corsair H100: $208 Out of Pocket
Option 2: Socket 1155, Custom Loop: $513 Out of Pocket
Option 3: Socket 2011, Corsair H100: $568 Out of Pocket
Option 4: Socket 2011, Custom Loop: $873 Out of Pocket

A) Which option would you choose, and B) go ahead and pick apart my liquid cooling system and see what you'd change if you wouldn't mind. Also, I'll take recommendations on fans and fan controllers as there are a million out there and I don't know much about them.

Thanks so much!
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November 26, 2011 2:26:12 PM

Oh, and one more thing to add. I'd really like some red fans in the case. I'm going with a red/black theme with the Asus boards, black case, black tubing, 4 dimms of memory will be black and the other 4 dimms red if I go with 2011, etc. You get the point. I always thought my HAF X looked awesome with 4 red 230mm fans and want to stay with the red balck theme.
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November 26, 2011 2:31:04 PM

I should also add that this build was put together last spring, so any new parts that have came out since then will be beyond me. For example, I had settled on the EK CPU waterblock, but now Swiftech has the Apogee HD out so I'd have to see how it compared to the EK.
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November 26, 2011 6:17:01 PM

xigmatek elysium, 360 in the roof and a 480 in the drive bays
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a b K Overclocking
November 27, 2011 11:30:55 AM

Unless you use really cpu intensive programs for your work, you probably don't need to spend the cash for the SB-E processors, it's honestly a lot of money for bragging rights only with little performance gain in most settings. As for the waterblocks EK vs swiftech the difference is only a degree or 2 last I checked, so go with whats cheaper IMHO. The HAF X is a very popular case, I haven't heard much about the xigmatek case though it looks like it may require less modding.

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November 27, 2011 2:27:49 PM

scopey86 said:
Unless you use really cpu intensive programs for your work, you probably don't need to spend the cash for the SB-E processors, it's honestly a lot of money for bragging rights only with little performance gain in most settings. As for the waterblocks EK vs swiftech the difference is only a degree or 2 last I checked, so go with whats cheaper IMHO. The HAF X is a very popular case, I haven't heard much about the xigmatek case though it looks like it may require less modding.

its designed for the sr2 and is therefore massive, can fit a 420mm rad in the roof with no modding, and a 360 in the drive bays
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a c 324 K Overclocking
November 27, 2011 2:36:21 PM

The majority of fun in watercooling is the modding and squeezing everything where it normally wouldn't go. However, case manufacturers are making it a little easier to get 2 internal rads in a case, but in many instances, this will barely suffice for a CPU and SLI/Crossfire (2x) cards, let alone allow for adequate airflow for the rads to pump out that much heat in watts from the loop while providing good airflow for the rest of the components.
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November 27, 2011 5:14:27 PM

Manzooka,

What are your temps on your cpu and video cards under load? Also what is your ambient temp? That will be a good estimation of how well it will work since I'll be doing probably basically an identical set up to what you have.
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November 27, 2011 5:21:34 PM

we1shcake said:
xigmatek elysium, 360 in the roof and a 480 in the drive bays


Are there any pics I could look at to get an idea what I'd need to do?
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November 27, 2011 6:12:59 PM

thebski said:
Are there any pics I could look at to get an idea what I'd need to do?

youd need some zip ties for the drive bay rad, part form that nothing
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November 27, 2011 8:32:30 PM

The Xigmatek looks like a great case. Do you guys think a 240 mm rad would fit in the bottom behind the PSU?

I am thinking a 480mm rad up top, a 120mm rad on back, a 240 mm rad either behind the psu in the bottom or in the bottom front hard drive bay area standing upright with and move the hard drive bay behind the psu.
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a c 286 K Overclocking
November 28, 2011 12:01:31 PM

Do you want something big for fit radiators inside?

Little Devil LD PC-V8: http://www.frozencpu.com/products/13044/cst-1099/Little...

Quote:
Radiators - Bottom Compartment: 2x Quad 120mm or 2x Triple 120mm
Radiators - Top Compartment: 1x Quad 120mm


This case can fit 3x480 radiators or 2x360 + 1x480 radiator, I think that's enough for cool all your rig.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
November 28, 2011 12:24:50 PM

...At a cost of $700? Holy &*%!

I'd rather tweak out a MountainMods case for a few hundred less. :) 
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a c 286 K Overclocking
November 28, 2011 12:27:33 PM

rubix_1011 said:
...At a cost of $700? Holy &*%!

I'd rather tweak out a MountainMods case for a few hundred less. :) 


:lol:  Yeah, even, you can fit a phase change inside.
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November 28, 2011 12:37:44 PM

Yea, $700 is stupid for a case when A) it looks pretty bland and B) a $220 case can fit enough cooling inside for a cpu and 3 GPU's. Hell, $700 for a case is stupid always.
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November 28, 2011 7:53:21 PM

thebski said:
The Xigmatek looks like a great case. Do you guys think a 240 mm rad would fit in the bottom behind the PSU?

I am thinking a 480mm rad up top, a 120mm rad on back, a 240 mm rad either behind the psu in the bottom or in the bottom front hard drive bay area standing upright with and move the hard drive bay behind the psu.

yup.

if you put the psu at the bottom, there's room for a double at the bottom and a triple up top. if you mount the psu at the top, then you have room for a double at the top and a triple at the bottom.
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November 29, 2011 2:53:41 AM

bejabbers said:
yup.

if you put the psu at the bottom, there's room for a double at the bottom and a triple up top. if you mount the psu at the top, then you have room for a double at the top and a triple at the bottom.


What about a 280(2x140) at the bottom with 420(3x140) at the top? Am I getting too greedy?

The Seasonic X-1250 is 7.48" long per Newegg, fwiw.
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November 29, 2011 4:24:55 AM

thebski said:
Yea, $700 is stupid for a case when A) it looks pretty bland and B) a $220 case can fit enough cooling inside for a cpu and 3 GPU's. Hell, $700 for a case is stupid always.

No if it has a lot of clear panels and flashing lights.
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November 29, 2011 12:21:43 PM

The $220 case has a huge clear panel (almost too big), and will have enough red lights when I'm done to blind somebody.

I'd consider a $700 case if I owned a 3960X, 4 GTX 580's, 64 Gb of ram, and about 480 Gb of SSD storage space, and still had so much money left over it was pissing me off.
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a c 286 K Overclocking
November 29, 2011 12:27:39 PM

Even that, I'd buy the $700 case :D 
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December 12, 2011 3:04:52 AM

so the haf x cannot have a completely internal wc loop with 3 cards? i was thinking of getting this case and another 570. that and my cpu overclocked to 4.5 is 954w. so should i be looking at a new case or is it do-able?
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a c 286 K Overclocking
December 12, 2011 11:04:58 AM

Why not? The HAF X can support those three GPUs without problems.
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December 15, 2011 2:27:16 AM

thebski said:
What about a 280(2x140) at the bottom with 420(3x140) at the top? Am I getting too greedy?

The Seasonic X-1250 is 7.48" long per Newegg, fwiw.


definitely the 420 at the top, bu with such a long power supply, maybe only a single at the bottom. What you could also do (which I did for my rig) is put another single rad over the exhaust on the back panel, which I believe would fit a 140. So that would give you a triple 140 at the top, a single 140 on the back and a single 140 on the bottom. Tons of rad space.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 15, 2011 12:51:35 PM

When it comes to watercooling, you have to think a little more creatively than just 'what fits without making it fit'.

I've said this before, and someone has it as their signature- entering the world of watercooling immediately enters you into the world of case modding.
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December 15, 2011 9:12:36 PM

rubix_1011 said:
When it comes to watercooling, you have to think a little more creatively than just 'what fits without making it fit'.

I've said this before, and someone has it as their signature- entering the world of watercooling immediately enters you into the world of case modding.

investing in a dremel is probably one of the best things you could do.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 15, 2011 10:47:46 PM

Quote:
investing in a dremel is probably one of the best things you could do.


x100
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December 21, 2011 2:09:26 AM

Well I invested in a Xigmatek Elysium, and I'm putting a 420 at the top with a 240 where the drive bays go.

No, I could not mount a water cooling system for a cpu and 3 gpus internally on an HAF X without cutting it all to hell.

I'd rather avoid serious modding as long as I could. I don't mind some minor modding here and there, but if all I'm going to do is decimate a case I'd get out the sheet metal, chop saw, and welder and get to work on my own case.
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December 21, 2011 2:50:46 AM

thebski said:
Well I invested in a Xigmatek Elysium, and I'm putting a 420 at the top with a 240 where the drive bays go.

No, I could not mount a water cooling system for a cpu and 3 gpus internally on an HAF X without cutting it all to hell.

I'd rather avoid serious modding as long as I could. I don't mind some minor modding here and there, but if all I'm going to do is decimate a case I'd get out the sheet metal, chop saw, and welder and get to work on my own case.

it's a very good case to get started with. With some minor modding, the possibilities on that case are endless.

To start with though, I hate how the top of the case looks... it's almost unfinished. See if you can find a shroud that will go over it, so you can mount the fans in push/pull with the pull fans on the outside of the case... Just a suggestion.
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December 27, 2011 7:24:02 PM

bejabbers said:
it's a very good case to get started with. With some minor modding, the possibilities on that case are endless.

To start with though, I hate how the top of the case looks... it's almost unfinished. See if you can find a shroud that will go over it, so you can mount the fans in push/pull with the pull fans on the outside of the case... Just a suggestion.



Yea the shroud they sent with the case is awful and worthless. I have fans mounted in push/pull but everything is inside the case, and just with the screw heads in the top the shroud won't go back on. Also, for whatever reason, when HWLabs decided to make their GTX 420 they decided it would be fun to leave a little space between the fans. They did not do this on their 240mm version. Because of that, the holes in the top of the case didn't line up so I had to do some slight modding by just using a die grinder to extend the holes a little bit. I'm just going to get some decent sized washers, paint them and the bolt heads black and I think it will look fine.
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December 27, 2011 7:46:08 PM

Here are a few pictures of what I have so far. Frozen CPU was out of the Bitspower Rotary fittings, so they shipped late and won't be here until the end of the week. As soon as I get them I can finish up.





Drives painted black to match everything else. The color difference isn't as different in normal lighting as it shows up here under flash. I used a semi gloss paint and should have used flat black probably.







All fans are red LED and I'm still waiting on res, fittings, fan controller, blu ray drive, another 8 gb of memory (red to alternate with the black), and a 240GB Vertex 3.

The res is an EK MultiOption Advanced 250. I fear that the 250 may be too tall. I plan on it going between mobo and media drive bays. The pump will be mounted on top of the hard drive bay.

I was particularly pleased because it required no modding to mount the hard drive bay where it is. The bottom of the hard drive cage has pre threaded holes in it and I was able to line up some of the honeycomb holes with the holes in the hard drive cage and just used the included thumb screws to mount it in place.
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December 27, 2011 10:47:38 PM

looks awesome!
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December 27, 2011 11:14:02 PM

you really dont realise how massive this case is without the motherboard in it, someone should built a m-ITX system in one for comedy value, congrats on the case, looks fantastic
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December 28, 2011 1:49:05 AM

I must say I'm very happy with how it's turning out and how I think it'll turn out. The only problem is I won't have water cooled graphics cards in it until the GTX600/700? series comes out. I have 570's and don't really want to sell them to drop 1500 on 580 Classy Hydro Coppers just to have the 780 come out in a few months.

I also have to mention the motherboard. I am so impressed with the Maximus IV Extreme appearance wise. It's gorgeous and the red/black theme is going to be perfect!
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a c 190 K Overclocking
December 28, 2011 4:41:31 PM

rubix_1011 said:
When it comes to watercooling, you have to think a little more creatively than just 'what fits without making it fit'.

I've said this before, and someone has it as their signature- entering the world of watercooling immediately enters you into the world of case modding.



you called? :p 

@Op, nice looking job man, but yes as you realised, matt black is the way hehe :p 
@Bejabbers,
I'm voting for an additional 480 mounted on the top when Op is ready hehe, some nice legs and it will sit just nice 'finishing' the top off I reckon

Now, lets see how your cables turn out, I'm confident its going to look great
Moto
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December 29, 2011 2:36:02 AM

Motopsychojdn said:
you called? :p 

@Op, nice looking job man, but yes as you realised, matt black is the way hehe :p 
@Bejabbers,
I'm voting for an additional 480 mounted on the top when Op is ready hehe, some nice legs and it will sit just nice 'finishing' the top off I reckon

Now, lets see how your cables turn out, I'm confident its going to look great
Moto

I think there's room in the front for a triple rad, instead of a double... or maybe, with some minor modding, a 2x2 120 rad :) 
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a c 190 K Overclocking
December 29, 2011 3:51:36 AM

yeah...... RX240 sized rad actually inside the harddrive cage :p 
Op, whats the internal measurements on the hdd cage? I'm curious now to see if it would fit hehe
Moto
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December 29, 2011 12:34:25 PM

Any 120mm wide radiator will fit where the hard drive cage is meant to go (i.e. down in the front where I have mine). I was originally hoping to get a 280mm in there, but I tried to put my 420 in there and it was too wide. How big a radiator you get in the front depends on how many media drive bays you need. With 3 media drives, a sound card, and a fan controller a 240 was all I was going to get in there. A 420 is actually larger than a 480 surface area wise so I figured I'd be just fine with a 420 and 240. You could get a 360 in there if you only need 2-3 media drive bays.

I will get you internal measurements later today. I should be tearing into it with fittings and all later today, so I'll measure the width and depth of the hard drive/media drive cage.

As far as the actual removable drive cage that I'm planning to mount my pump on, no you won't be getting any radiators to mount inside that thing.

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a c 100 K Overclocking
December 29, 2011 2:09:22 PM

+1 for buying a dremel. I finally got one and it made my internal 900 II WC project a LOT easier.

Also, I rather like the Silverstone TJ07B. It's just got a really good design IMO. It's big, but not too big. I think the 800D is a little too large lol. I also like that you can stick all your rads in the bottom compartment.
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a c 324 K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 3:26:21 AM

This topic has been closed by Rubix_1011
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