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Water-cooling Build Log: Project Red-Chalk

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a c 177 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 2:14:35 AM

Welcome to the ongoing build-log for my system, the Red-Chalk. It details from when I first started water-cooling and covers pretty much all the goings on with my rig since then. All my long winded thoughts, idea's and explanations are here, so a light read this is not :lol: .
Big thanks to Moto, Scopey, Rubix , Big-Cyco and amuffin for helping me out when I first inquired about water-cooling, and many others who I have learnt from since.

-- --- --

The XSPC Raystorm 750 RS360 water-cooling kit.
PrimoChill PrimoFlex Pro LRT tubing red, 7/16ID 5/8OD. 2m of it.
And a Killcoil.

Well, I took the plunge and got all that water-cooling stuff yesterday, and now it is assembled, leak tested and probably not fully air bled yet if the pump noise means anything :lol: .
As promised, here is my build log and hopefully all the pictures you could want.

This is before I started pulling everything apart, my dual fan Hyper 212 Evo doesn't even know what happening yet.



Stripped out all the unnecessary stuff, the HAF-X is starting to look empty.


My 3570K tries to hide itself under a layer of thermal paste (which is fairly well applied, I wasnt expecting that good an application considering it was the first time I had done it. Little bit of spillage though)

Remove the Thermal paste with some White Spirits cleaning fluid, and its revealed.


Took the opportunity to clean my PSU. Full modularity is so useful.


Time to get down to business. First the radiator had its stock XSPC push fans screwed to it and then was mounted in the case.
Protip: When water-cooling in a HAF-X with a triple rad, you will need the top 5.25" bay clear if you want to fit a radiator+fan in there, even for slim radiators. I was lucky my fan controller doesn't take up the whole bay, but if you had in optical there and every other bay was full, you'd be in trouble.


Mounting the pull fans, two Coolermaster Silent red LED fans and one mystery red LED fan I found in an old PC one day.


The Raystorm CPU block did go on with some trouble. The LGA1155 backplate was somewhat difficult to place on the back of the mobo, and that caused havoc when you try to screw in the block and the plate has moved. Got it in eventually though.


One uneventful (and undocumented unfortunately) pump/res mounting later, I got down to putting in tubing.
ProTip: Measure everything! Once that tube is around the barb, it aint coming off without a fight. Stuffed up the connection between the radiator and pump/res, spent the next 20min pulling the tubing off each end. Makes me wonder why we even need clamps.

a c 177 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 2:16:13 AM

Filled the loop and now leak testing.


My dog wasnt all that impressed.


After about 2hrs of shaking it and turning the PSU on and off in an attempt to bleed air out, I gave up and called it a day.
The next morning I declared it officially leak tested! Plugged all the cables back in properly, wired everything up and threw in all the components.
Time for some glamour shots!





With the side panel back on.



Thats about it for the pictures. If you want to see all of them (there are actually more), go here.
http://s1146.photobucket.com/albums/o537/Manofchalk/#!cpZZ1QQtppZZ36

Temperature wise there has been a big improvement. On the 212 EVO I was idling at around 25c, now as I have been typing this it has been ~15c (11c coolest core, 21c hottest), which also happens to be ambient temp right now. So a 10c improvement at idle, with possibly more if room temperature would allow it.
Load temps I have not fully tested yet, but an hour of Prime95 before got my CPU to 61c, and 5min of it now gets to 45c. So a 16c drop in load temps (will test more thoroughly soon). I am pretty happy with that, I will definetly overclock my CPU more aggressively now to take advantage of this extra cooling.

Any feedback would be appreciated, and any guidance if a noisy pump is to be expected when its new would be great!
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a c 150 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 5:15:29 AM

Nice ;) 

From that photo though I can see a huge air bubble within your res. Try to adding slightly more water with a straw.

BTW for the fans, those are actually one of the worst rad fans out there. I was using the blue version, and I saw this:
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a c 177 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 5:31:16 AM

So I'm guessing I want that res just barely not overflowing? It seemed that the pump intake and (exhaust is the wrong word here) were underneath the water line, and I thought that leaving a bit would be good as it allows air in the rest of the loop to bleed out. Will fill it to the brim.

The fans I have aren't the SickleFlow variant, it is this one as far as I can tell.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Think they are also advertised as Rifle fans, no idea what that supposed to mean though.

EDIT
Found the product page for the CM fans.
http://www.coolermaster.com/product.php?product_id=6037
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a c 150 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 5:33:31 AM

Those are the sickle flows.

Filling it all up should get rid of any air, which should result to a slightly quieter pump. Is the pump vibrating? I have the same setup, just with an Alphacool VPP655T, I had to slide a little piece of paper under mine to stop it from vibrating. Now my rig is really quiet..:o 
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a c 190 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 5:54:08 AM

Yup, brim that res, air helps noise travel so a full res helps keep pump noise down
Nope muffin, the V2 of the 750l is pretty much silent, you've heard mine :) 
Nice looking build Chalk, pat yourself on the back there and welcome to W/c :) 
Moto
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a c 177 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 5:59:58 AM

Did some digging to find out what the fans are. The site I got them from advertises them as "Rifle Red" and doesn't actually give anymore info than that. Cant find a proper product page for them.
Doesn't help that it has the same image as both the Sickleflow and Silent fans. So it could be a Sickleflow, A Silent or maybe a discontinued Rifle fan.

I cant physically feel it vibrating, and it sounds more like its whirring to me. I'l try filling the res as much as it will go and try packing it to reduce vibrations.


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a c 150 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 6:01:34 AM

Motopsychojdn said:
Yup, brim that res, air helps noise travel so a full res helps keep pump noise down
Nope muffin, the V2 of the 750l is pretty much silent, you've heard mine :) 
Nice looking build Chalk, pat yourself on the back there and welcome to W/c :) 
Moto

I've got my rig pretty silent over the weekend. ;) 
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a c 150 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 6:03:10 AM

manofchalk said:
Did some digging to find out what the fans are. The site I got them from advertises them as "Rifle Red" and doesn't actually give anymore info than that. Cant find a proper product page for them.
Doesn't help that it has the same image as both the Sickleflow and Silent fans. So it could be a Sickleflow, A Silent or maybe a discontinued Rifle fan.

I cant physically feel it vibrating, and it sounds more like its whirring to me. I'l try filling the res as much as it will go and try packing it to reduce vibrations.

Those fans don't output anywhere what is advertised, unfortunate.....
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a c 190 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 6:06:24 AM

Gratz Muffin,
Google the model info on the fan sticker Chalk, usually the best indicator of what it is,
I had to do that with my cases fans (In Win) and they were pretty decent too,
Gelids blue wings are my fan of choice though :) 
Moto
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a c 150 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 6:06:55 AM

Corsair SP fans for me ;) 
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a c 177 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 8:38:45 AM

Damn, fan prices in Australia are ridiculous. To get a decent amount of Corsair SP 120mm fans would cost more than the radiator it would go on.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...

Iv topped up the res as far as I can get it (still a bubble in there, nowhere near the size of what was before) and the pump noise is virtually unchanged. The XSPC manual has a FAQ sheet in it that says it may be noisy for the first 24hrs until all air is bled from the pump, don't know whether to believe that though.
Any more idea's to quieten this thing?
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a c 190 K Overclocking
September 25, 2012 2:56:23 PM

Rotate the pc on all axis' to ensure all locks or bubbles are out
whilst its running ofc
Moto
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a c 177 K Overclocking
November 28, 2012 5:01:45 AM

Did a bit of maintenance to the loop, refilled the water and trimmed down a tube that was slightly kinked due to it being too long. What I have learnt is that its an utter b**** to drain my loop, requires taking off the CPU block (which then needed to be repasted and remounted) and tugging all the tubing off it. Result was somewhat messy and time consuming.
So I'm going to be putting in a drain valve to make this process a lot easier when I am upgrading or maintaining the loop later on.
Anyone see an issue with using this drain valve
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
With these barbs and clamps?
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Only issue I can see is that the barb is ID 1/2" while my tubing is ID 7/16", but from what I have gathered it will still work and may actually be better due to the tighter fit.

The valve will be placed in between the pump/res and the CPU block, as that's the lowest point in the loop currently.

Also pump is still pretty loud, Iv done what I can to pad it (used off cuts of tubing almost as a washer for the mounting screws and slid some under it between it and the optical drive) but noise is still a noticeable issue. The res is as full as I can get it, as due to the design of the fill port it will never truly be full. Any more tips or should I contact XSPC and see if I can get it replaced?
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a b K Overclocking
November 29, 2012 8:28:14 AM

Oh not sure in that pump I use the D5 xspc bay combo but if it is still loud after 2 months sounds like a faulty pump. Have you try removing it from the bay to see if the sound was there there?
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a b K Overclocking
January 2, 2013 4:50:52 AM

Looks great to me good job mate.P.S. Fans are personal choice everybody swears by which ever they prefer.
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a c 177 K Overclocking
January 2, 2013 5:55:00 AM

Small update.
Got a bunch of water-cooling stuff in the mail right now to add in a T-Line to the loop. Decided to go that way instead of a dedicated drain valve, as this way I can also fill the loop easily and removes the necessity of the reservoir. So in the future when I get a GPU block and a dedicated pump I wont have to put a reservoir somewhere in the case. I have an idea on this that I would like to get feedback on a bit later as well.
Heres the WC components that are in the mail (also got another 8GB of RAM and a sound card).
Bitspower T-Block.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
3x Bitspower 1/2" Barb.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
4x Koolance Clamps.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Bitspower Sealing Plug.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_i...
Still have plenty of leftover tubing so I dont need that.
Plan is to put it between the CPU and the pump/res, as that's roughly the lowest point in the loop right now. Also makes filling it easy as all have to do is put the case on its side and suddenly its the highest.

My idea.
The adding in of the T-Line is largely to facilitate future upgrades, I'm pretty much committed to eventually having a full water loop with GPU blocks, dedicated pumps, external rads and all that.
However the problem is that a T-Line in a loop that large is going to become less useful. I could stick one at the bottom of the case (around where a future pump would be) which would be good for draining and adequate for filling (takes ages since the T-Line is tiny compared to a res). While a T-Line at the top nearer to the radiator would be useless for draining and perfect for filling, as the water will trickle down the whole loop and fill up giving heaps of water for the pump to push around the loop.
So my idea is to have the best of both worlds and having two T-Lines in my future loop, one at the bottom for draining and the other at the top for filling. Any issues you guys can see with this plan?

Will have new pics when I get the stuff.

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a c 239 K Overclocking
January 2, 2013 12:10:45 PM

Nice setup!

And also nice to see another bitten by the water cooling bug, and the fact you're already making improvement steps is bug bitten evidence! :) 

Tip 1: I did notice you had mounted your Raystorm and installed the fittings after the fact, it's best to install the fittings before mounting to make sure you have them tight enough.

It's easier to get the feel for the tightness holding the block in your hand, than the block already hard mounted, now I'm sure that's not written in stone, just something I myself learned the hard way and so did ArthurH.

It's just a prelude to a caution, because if those fittings are not tight enough, (but not too tight), moving the block after the fact can cause the fittings to back off just enough to leak, past the seating Oring.

Tip 2: I see you had to remove the CPU block already to drain and refill, anytime you do that cut off the end of the tubing that was seated on the barb and always reconnect with a fresh tubing end, so the seal won't be compromised.

Nice work and good pictures!

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a c 177 K Overclocking
January 7, 2013 8:20:51 AM

Look what arrived up in the mail today! Some water-cooling stuff, an ASUS Xonar DGX soundcard and 8GB of G.Skill Ripjaws 1600Mhz RAM.


Ever practical, I tore open the sound card box first to have a look at it. Wasn't as big as I thought it would be, but I guess that doesn't change anything.


A closer look at whats really important. Three Bitspower 1/2" barb fittings, one Bitspower T connector, one Bitspower Sealing plug and four Koolance 5/8 OD clamps.


Everyone has seen RAM before so not gonna show it.
Here is the T-Block with all the barbs screwed in.


Threw the sound card and RAM in first, very much liking the look of the full RAM bank and the layers of PCB from the sound and graphics card. I think I'v hit the point where anything I do to my machine makes it sexier in my eyes :lol: .


With a new RAM kit came another G.Skill sticker. No sticker with the sound card, I had to pry that off my old PC (which ironically doesnt have a single ASUS component in it). Might be somewhat juvenile, but more components need to come with stickers :D .


Now to what everyone is here for, the T-line. Holding the T-Block in place to get an idea of how long a line I can have.
Mistake Number 1 has been made.


Anyway, I had to drain my loop. Foolishly I didn't include Thermal Paste in my order, so taking off the CPU block like last time wasn't an option. Instead I used the newly created "Case fallen on face and water drain off table" technique :D  .


Was a bit nerve wracking when it first went over the edge of the table. The case is fairly top heavy because of the radiator and reservoir, with only the PSU and 5 HDD's in the bottom to balance it out.


The case didnt fall over thankfully and drained most of the way. There was a small bit left in the res and some repositioning got out what was trapped in the radiator.
With the loop drained, I moved onto the T-Line itself. I decided to use the clear tubing that came with the kit here instead of the red because I would need to see the level of the water inside when I was filling. Also possibly setting up some kind of colour coding system for later use, with only red or coloured tubing being used in the main flow.
Top Tip: These particular Koolance clamps are ridiculously hard to open up. I had to use a pair of pliers to get them open and to hold it. Even then they barely fit on the barb!
Top Tip 2: Tubing that you have left in the corner unused for half a year is pretty rigid, make it a bit harder by trying to cram it onto a barb 1/16" bigger than the hole. Hot water is required to soften the tube.
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a c 177 K Overclocking
January 7, 2013 10:03:57 AM

The T-Line held against the tubing to show dimensions. In hindsight I should have made the line longer, but it wasn't prohibitively short so I didnt change it.


So begins Mistake Number 2.
I decided to swap around the tubes going in and out of the res, as that way the T-Line would be on the higher of the two connections and allow filling to be easier. Also it would have the water travelling through the radiator, through the CPU block and back to the res.
Mistake Number 2.5, as now the water goes into the block through the "out" port and leaves through the "in".


Didnt document cutting the tube and installing the T-Line, was too busy fighting with those Koolance clamps. Heres the finished product. Mistake 2.5 is visible.


Temporary filling docking station.


oh god, oh god, oh god!

Nah its all good. Power was disconnected and was well and truly dry before it was re-connected.

Bonus points if anyone can figure out what is wrong with this picture.

For those who know their XSPC Res/Pump combos, they will know that the T-Line is on the pump exhaust.
Mistake Number 1 and 2 collide.
Filling the reservoir was impossible. The water would trickle in to a certain level and then it started creeping back up the line. I couldn't fill the reservoir beyond approximately halfway due to the design of the pump. The pump intakes water from the res on the right hand side of it (relative to the pic above). So once the intake was covered the water stopped going into the res and backed up the tube. Tilting the case yielded some success, but not much. Lying the case down on its back panel didn't work as there must be some kind of U-bend in the pump, as it still wouldn't fill even with the intake not being covered.
Filling the res as far as it would go and power cycling didn't work, after all the T-Line was on the exhaust end so I couldn't add water while it was going for obvious reasons. When I attempted a traditional T-line power cycle (kinda) it didn't work since the water was so low the pump would quickly start sucking air. Attempting to fill from there worked somewhat, but it got to a point where the water was flowing smoothly and the res was only about 2/3 full.

After about an undetermined amount of time I gave up and filled the res through the dedicated port, defeated for today. Though I have a plan to fix this and make it work, but I must wait another day for my patience to build back up (and to grab some more distilled water, I was forced to put a bit of old water back in on this refill).
The plan is to drain it using the "Case fallen on face and water drain off table" technique and swap the res tubes back around (solving Mistake 2.5 in the process). That will put the T-Line on the intake for the res/pump, will put it in the real lowest point of the loop and near the back of the case. To fill from there I will have to put the case on its side (window panel down) and pour water into the T-Line through one of the cable management grommets. Where it should fill up the res (since the intake will be the highest port) and I should just be able to power cycle from there.

If Neptune the God of Water allows, this will all go off without a hitch.
Thanks for reading this far, I know I am fairly long winded and surely all this must be fairly obvious to experienced water-coolers such as yourselves. Forgive a newb for making such an obvious (in hindsight anyway) mistake, it will be fixed soon!
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a c 239 K Overclocking
January 7, 2013 4:39:23 PM

ROFL :lol: 

Welcome to water cooling! :) 
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a b K Overclocking
January 7, 2013 5:18:57 PM

Looking good! :) 
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a c 177 K Overclocking
January 9, 2013 9:18:25 AM

Neptune has been kind and this went off without any too difficult hitches!

Got myself some more Distilled water. Don't worry, they just misspelled "distilled" on the bottle :D .


I ended up not needing to use the "case fallen of face water drain off table" technique, as the misplaced T-Line was somewhat decent at draining the loop. Just had to tilt the case in various directions to get most of the water out.
Yea, again in hindsight I should have made the line longer.


Swapped the tubes around, The T-Line is now in the right place. Here it is poking out the back. Due to a mix of factors this didn't entirely work, so a different configuration was needed.


I did fill the res most of the way in a different case orientation, but didn't take pics unfortunately. The way it was allowed easy filling but painstakingly slow air bleeding (since I cant use the res fill port to get rid of air).

Much better. Looks so weird upside-down.
This works much better, there's only a few micro-bubbles in the res so I am quite happy with how this turned out.


Finished product.


As you may have noticed, one of the RAM slots is empty since I last showed it above. One of my sticks died, it was an old stick that was already in the system as well. Very strange.
Ah well, gotta take em back to the PCCaseGear to get replaced, quite annoying that.

Anyway, the T-Line is much better placed and I can fill the res a lot easier now. Also didn't mention this before, but I added a lot of padding around the pump/res. The padding plus a completely full res has quietened the pump so much, its still noticeable but nowhere near as loud as before.
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a c 78 K Overclocking
January 11, 2013 12:22:57 AM

well some have made a rolling joke out of this build and yes I did laugh hard when I saw the tube poking out the back of mobo tray, sorry [:lutfij:7] I'll just make a point - case choice and the layout of the loop will always dictate how easy or terribly agonizing the build/rebuild process will be. I had to carry the AMS builds Tt Spedo all the way over my head and shook it around - I lost patience and then laughed at myself for doing such a thing :lol: 

now, the way that it is, all I need to do to drain my rad is open a port at the base of my rad where the res is and for filling/purging remove top lid from vertical res. Just took me some thinking time to figure out what to do and a lil bit of frustration. Rad holds approximately 1 liter of distilled in my loop.

So with the way you could have it is have the rad mounted on the back with the ports facing the back of the case up top - all the air exits the ports and end up at the res. For a Fill port, you could have drilled a hole up top above the drive bays and ra a tubing to the res' dedicated fill port. For a drain line, you could have it at the base of case...or on a longer tube than what is now.

SO, for filling open port at the top. For draining open port at the bottom and tilt case along the x axis to tip the case backwards.

I won't clutter your thread with my pics, you can head down to the AMS build log in my sig :) 

* hopefully you'll be a wonderful addition to our growing list of people who learn from their mistakes (though in limited supply)to stop others from making them :) 

Nice build mate, however your red looks pink in my eyes, what camera you using? any option for tweaking with White balance and exposure compensation? Hold case against the light and not towards it. * a camera isn't as smart as our eyes :p 
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a c 177 K Overclocking
January 11, 2013 2:22:45 AM

Lutfij said:
well some have made a rolling joke out of this build and yes I did laugh hard when I saw the tube poking out the back of mobo tray, sorry [:lutfij:7]


Really, where?
I wanna see what people think is wrong/right/awesome about my loop :D 

I got the HAF-X back when I had no interest in water-cooling beyond a H100 (which is way too expensive in Aus). I largely got it because I liked the aesthetic and knew that it would be pretty future proof case to get. I should have realistically a mid-tower for my build, but I'm glad I didnt now.

Yeah, I know that for optimal draining and filling it would require two T-Lines or similar on the loop , but there isnt much point until I have more "vertical-nes" with the loop. So far pretty much all the water is in a horizontal line, so there's no obvious place to put a fill or a drain valve.
I could externally mount the rad, but I'd like to keep it all internal until I need to put stuff outside the case.

So far haven't modded the case or anything due to a lack of tools and knowledge. Though if cash allows (to get a dremel and such and more water-cooling gear) I'm not averse to doing it. Can already see a surface on the HAF-X's front that would be good for integrating a fill-port into.

Using the camera on my Tablet, haven't messed around with any of the setting except for the flash and some pre-set modes. It does look redder IRL than the images would make it seem, particularly when the LED lighting is on.
Suppose I should know how to set up a shot since I'm studying Media, too much theory and not enough practical!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Retro-active comment from future self :p :
Way to stick to your guns on the external mount thing!
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a c 78 K Overclocking
January 11, 2013 1:28:52 PM

You'll need cableties and cable tie mounts to assist you in the cablemanagement dept. A 90 Deg rotary fitting would also help in your fill port idea...Panzer4 was suggested one in his suggestions thread.
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January 12, 2013 11:32:32 AM

Awesome job, mate. However, it's a shame to have a triple rad only for the CPU. Come next pay day it's time for a HD7870 waterblock ;) 
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a c 177 K Overclocking
January 12, 2013 11:38:36 AM

Nup, I'm saving my pennies and biding my time until I can get a reference 8970 and a water-block :) .
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January 12, 2013 12:12:53 PM

I'll hold you to that promise :D 
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a c 177 K Overclocking
January 22, 2013 12:13:19 PM

When talking of PC's, one must remember their roots.
It started life as a cobbled together machine, pulled together from the ruins of former machines. It first breathed life on coffee table in the living room.

Indeed, it was the first system I had built, on April the Fifteenth.

An old 8600GT (or was it a 9600?) and a Phenom I, not II CPU, in an old case with a cheeky grin.
But against the onslaught of time, BSOD's and memory problems became abundant and it had to be replaced with something new.

It fell into disuse after many months of faithful service, gradually pulled apart for its best features.
Until all that remained was a case, PSU, motherboard and CPU...

Half a year later, it was found again. It had to go, it was simply taking too much room.
And so I had an idea, how to make this live on.
Hastily I grabbed a screw driver 'n drill and got to work.

Sadly the build is no more, thrown into the rubbish bin it was.
But not before I salvaged what I wanted.


A hint of things possibly too come..?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I blame 4Ryan6 for this :p 
Though my rhyming skills are nowhere near as good.

This post was just going to initially be a straight out "I pulled the mobo and rear I/O tray off an old case" post, but it morphed into what you see above. Also my first steps into becoming interested in computers, pulling together a bunch of parts from two dead machines.
Looking through the old photo's, I actually documented a lot of the initial HAF-X build, before I put in water-cooling. Maybe make a separate thread with my whole history of computer interest. A timeline of me becoming more and more enthusiast :D 

Whether the project that is currently swirling around my head is possible I dont know yet, as it looks like I'm in for a busy time this year without adding on additional projects. But who knows, maybe something will come of this.

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a b K Overclocking
January 23, 2013 3:10:28 AM

Nice build log manofchalk, I look forward to seeing your future updates.
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a c 177 K Overclocking
January 23, 2013 3:29:08 AM

Thanks man, been keeping up with your log for a while just never posted on it.

After sleeping/brainstorming/lying awake at 2AM thinking on it, I have some more firm idea's with what I might do with those mobo trays.
Nothing written down yet, as right now I have some other work to do. But soon I'l have something solid to show and get feedback on.
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a c 177 K Overclocking
January 24, 2013 8:32:39 AM

That something solid has been made. What do you guys think?





The support struts and the desk already exist, only what contains the computer and water-cooling stuff will be constructed. As far as I can tell everything is to scale except for maybe the pump. Just imagine there's a water-block on the card for now.
Still deciding on materials, but I am thinking of sheet aluminium with a steel frame. Haven't any of the got the nitty gritty details figured out yet, but I'm working on it :D .

If anyone has any experience of building cases or just generally being good at construction, please give all the advice you can! I have jumped straight into the deep end with this project, its pretty much a trial by fire

If anyone is interested, the Sketchup file is 24MB and can be had here. Just ignore all the ads cause I'm cheap and made the account 5min ago :lol: 
http://www.mediafire.com/?4izv0jlz2b29r7k
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a c 177 K Overclocking
February 6, 2013 8:51:46 AM

After a bit (OK, a lot) of thinking, I'v decided my custom case idea might be a bit too ambitious and costly at the moment. It assumes I have hardware I don't own and I have neither the free time or money to throw at the idea right now. Nor do I have any experience with this kind of thing, I don't think some shop classes from middle-school is sufficient :lol: 
Plus, I realized that the shelf case idea might not be the best way to utilize what I have in terms of the desk. Will probably pursue something like this eventually, but within this year I don't think I will, too much stuff is happening to fit in a project like this.
So, a more achievable upgrade is in order, may involve a bit of light modding if things mesh the way I think they will. Dipping my toes in the shallow end before I try to do something ridiculous like the above.

Plan is to get another 360mm rad, an EX360 Crossflow in particular, and replace the current RS360 with that. This will allow water to travel across the length of the case without the use of tubing. The RS360 will be mounted off the back of the case, using the rubber grommets for the tubing run.
So the flow order will be.
Res/Pump -> Raystorm -> RS360 -> EX360 -> T-Block ->Res/Pump.
I will be using the T-Block as a 90° adapter to get the vertical tube from the EX360, to go horizontal into the res. Then the spare port on the T-block is where the drain line will come off. Also had the idea of using a male-male G1/4 adapter to just outright attach the T-Block to the res, but unsure of how that will work in practice. I'l buy the parts to go with both methods, so worst case scenario I waste a bit of money but have a spare male-male and 90° adapter, best case scenario it works and I have a few extra barbs and clamps :D .

Very sure I will have to mod my fan controller a bit to allow the tubing to get to the EX360, the front port will be well and truly inside the 5.25" bays. Not sure if I will have to expand the back grommet holes, but we'l see what happens.
Also I'm under no illusion that I will see better performance from getting another rad, this is largely just future proofing my loop so I could throw whatever I want at it later.

As always, comments and feedback is appreciated.

PS: A birthday present to myself, been wanting one of these for ages and I figured I might as well treat myself while I'm lashing out some cash.

My first mechanical keyboard, a Ducky DK9008 Shine II with Cherry MX Brown switches. Looking forward to this :D .
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a c 239 K Overclocking
February 6, 2013 9:52:50 AM

manofchalk said:
That something solid has been made. What do you guys think?

http://i1146.photobucket.com/albums/o537/Manofchalk/Desk-case1_zps23364dcf.png
http://i1146.photobucket.com/albums/o537/Manofchalk/Desk-Case4_zpsb00b188b.png
http://i1146.photobucket.com/albums/o537/Manofchalk/Desk-Case_zps12580344.png

The support struts and the desk already exist, only what contains the computer and water-cooling stuff will be constructed. As far as I can tell everything is to scale except for maybe the pump. Just imagine there's a water-block on the card for now.
Still deciding on materials, but I am thinking of sheet aluminium with a steel frame. Haven't any of the got the nitty gritty details figured out yet, but I'm working on it :D .

If anyone has any experience of building cases or just generally being good at construction, please give all the advice you can! I have jumped straight into the deep end with this project, its pretty much a trial by fire

If anyone is interested, the Sketchup file is 24MB and can be had here. Just ignore all the ads cause I'm cheap and made the account 5min ago :lol: 
http://www.mediafire.com/?4izv0jlz2b29r7k


You may have decided this was too ambitious and costly, but it is still a great idea!

Some clear plexiglass doors and some well placed inside lighting would be awesome, I would consider something like that myself, but with all my experimenting, my setup changes shortly after being satisfied with it. :lol: 

It's a great idea, my complements! Ry
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a b K Overclocking
February 7, 2013 12:10:20 AM

I was hoping to see that first project as the concept looked really nice. Perhaps in the future. I'm still looking forward to seeing the coming updates.
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a c 177 K Overclocking
February 11, 2013 5:31:41 AM

Some very nice stuff arrived in the mail today!

First of all and what I am most excited about is the new keyboard, a Ducky DK9008 Shine II. I have talked about it in my new log "From Membrane to Mechanical", so if you want my impressions of the board and ongoing log of moving from membranes to a mechanical keyboard, that's where to go.

But you guys are all about the water here :) .
Unfortunately I don't have the time to install this stuff right now, most likely will be done next weekend. But still got plenty of pics for you.

Its like a buffet...


Heres the water-cooling stuff in greater detail, There is.
2 x 1/2" Bitspower Barb Fittings
2 x Rotary 90° Bitspower Fittings
2 x Koolance 5/8" Clamps
1 x Koolance G1/4" Male-Male extender.


Plus one XSPC EX360 Crossflow Radiator.

Dat FPI, it be low.


And three XSPC Xinrullian 1650 fans, which I did not take a picture of separately :( .
That's all for now, will probably have the new rad integrated by the end of the week :D .

EDIT: I messed up the link so badly.

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a c 78 K Overclocking
February 14, 2013 1:00:22 PM

This build lgo is shaping up quiet nicely.
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a c 177 K Overclocking
February 16, 2013 1:34:50 AM

On Moto's suggestion in another thread, I sprayed my optical drive black. While I was there I also did the mounting standoffs as well.

Isnt the best paint job, but for the first time I'v used spray paint outside of an art context I'm fairly happy.

Next job was to modify my fan controller.
As the Crossflow rad's design placed one of the ports well inside the 5.25" bays, I had to remove obstructions to the tubing's path. Namely, that flat plastic that makes up most of the fan controller.


Now remember, always use the proper tools.
Never bring an Angle Grinder to do a Dremel's job :lol: 

Shout out to NZXT, the ability to remove the electronics from the frame made this a much easier and less risky process.

Sanded the rough edges, chipped off the melted plastic, padded it with duct tape (didn't have any black tape unfortunately) and remounted the electronics. Think its a fairly good result.


The moment of truth...
YES!


Mounted the RS360 to the outside of the case, EX360 is already inside.
Protip: While I am sure the XSPC mounting kit would work on the vast majority of cases, it doesn't do so well on the HAF-X. Because the fan mounts are bit recessed into the case, it doesnt sit very well and the fan screws can barely enter the mounts.


All the tubing is in, looks veeery nice without that T-Line in the middle. Instead my drain line is now coming off a T-Block that is mounted to the res using a G1/4 Male-Male adapter. The drain line is much longer now, which is a lot easier to work with.


Ran out of red tubing, so I had to use some of the clear to hook up the external rad. I just want to point out how tight this run is in two places. Was fairly difficult to make this work


I see some red tubing, a 90° and 45° adapter in my future.
That zip tie is to stop the tube from kinking.

A night of leak testing passes.

So to get fan cables from outside the case, inside to connect to power.
To keep with the modding theme of this upgrade, I drilled a hole of course!

Once the side panel is back on, the hole isnt even noticeable and the cables arent too crushed.
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a c 177 K Overclocking
February 16, 2013 1:38:45 AM

Put the rig back together, gave up on cable management behind the mobo tray (its impossible, I swear it Moto!) made sure it POST'ed and all was well.
Time for some not-so glamoury shots.

That 200mm dust filter is filthy I know.



Popped my modding cherry, have a fairly cool extension to my case and all went off without too much difficulty. I'm fairly happy with how this turned out :D .
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a b K Overclocking
February 16, 2013 2:15:16 AM

Looking good :D .
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a b K Overclocking
February 16, 2013 2:55:50 AM

I agree with bigcyco1, it's looking really nice manofchalk. That sure is a lot of cooling power for just your cpu, are you planning on adding a gpu block in the future?
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a c 177 K Overclocking
February 16, 2013 3:08:08 AM

Eventually, was planning on an 8970 and a water block, but since its been delayed I'm settling for a 7970 and block. Now its just a matter of funding, which is going to be an issue as $500 (7970+Block) is no small amount of money. Thats if I don't decide to get a better pump and reservoir as well, so another $100 on top of that if I decide I do.
But eventually...
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a c 177 K Overclocking
February 16, 2013 5:45:12 AM

Well I just had a small heart attack.
Computer just turned off in the middle of watching a video, didn't shut down, just outright turned off.
Immediate thought "Oh s***, there's a leak and its killed everything".

Thankfully nothing of the kind. I'v been using this power strip that's kind of made for your TV, games console, DVD player type environment rather than computer and three screens. When I put the computer back under the desk after the upgrade, plugged it into one of the ports that turns off after a while if it detects another port (ie, a monitor) is idling for a long period of time.

Made for a frantic 10 minutes, but does show that when troubleshooting it may not even be the computer at fault.
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a c 78 K Overclocking
February 16, 2013 9:59:55 AM

Looking good. You've learnt a valuable lesson matey - always pays to have spare tubing around :) 
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a c 177 K Overclocking
March 2, 2013 9:25:22 AM

The shed got cleaned out today and re-organized as it was an utter mess. So while all the tools were out, I decided to take advantage and do some mods to my desk I'v been thinking about for a while.
No in progress shots unfortunately.

Before the desk was modified. Not the greatest shot I'l admit, but it was taken a while ago to bounce idea's off a friend for the abandoned custom case project. Basically its an IKEA desk with an overhead shelf.


After

Obtained another shelf that fits the desk and used that to hold the monitors above the desk.

Cut out a bunch of cable management holes, for the monitor power and display cables, the desktop/mouse cables, headset cable and a USB extension and web-cam.



To bottom shelf is a bit wobbly, not good for holding three monitors. Fixed the problem by installing long screws through the shelf and into the solid desk below. I did spray them black beforehand, but I suspect I didnt let it dry long enough, because the paint stripped off as it went through.


USB extension cable plugged into the back of the mobo, superglued to the shelf for easy access. The space under the shelf finally gives me a place to put my external drive!


If you scroll back up to the cable management shots, you can see the middle monitor is sticking out a fair bit. Pretty bad risk of it toppling over, so I screwed the monitor down to the shelf.


I'm pretty happy with these mods, the desk is more usable now and looks much better.
But I'm not even done yet :D 
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a c 177 K Overclocking
March 3, 2013 3:32:10 AM

Well....
I stuffed that up.

It all went remarkably well actually until I tried to cut off the excess leads on the LED's, everything was working and the stock blue LED's had been replaced with red ones.
When I went to cut the excess off, I made a stupid decision. Decided to use a pair of scissors instead of something like a wire cutter or tin snip. Bent the lead rather than cut and put excess force on the PCB connection, pulling the wire out of the PCB. While trying to fix that the issues snowballed, first I blew the mouse wheel LED attempting to directly connect it to ground, rather than through the resistor that must have been somewhere. Then the ribbon cable between the two PCB's (bottom for the sensor, top PCB for the mouse wheel and buttons) pulled off the bottom.
Now I am the proud owner of a destroyed Razer Deathadder and a cheapo Logitech mouse until I can replace it.

Damn, this is disheartening.

Now, the dilemma I face is whether to get another Deathadder V2 (I love the thing, easily best mouse I'v ever used), a Deathadder 2013 edition, which is largely the same (some new rubber grips, green LED's, higher yet pointless 6500DPI sensor) but is reliant on the notoriously unreliable Razer Synapse utility, or get another mouse entirely.
Right now, heavily leaning toward getting another V2.
Then the question of whether I attempt to mod that one as well...

Will post a tutorial on what I attempted to do, the stuff up and ways to avoid it. Not many failed mod guides around, but I should keep to the motto I stick under my name after all.
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a c 78 K Overclocking
March 3, 2013 4:24:12 AM

:lol:  after alot of digging I was almost set upon fixing a imperator (that belonged to a pal)- walked the other way when all my research yielded a negative return on my efforts. So naturally I suggested my pal to get a new mouse altogether.

Lets not dwell on our/your mistakes. There are an amazing number of mice's available!!!

Tt Level 10M?
Logitech G9X?
Sidewinder x8?
Steelseries?

personally, I'm not a fan of razer's software protocol after they ran off the freeway with the synapse(crap) but I am an owner of the Razer Marauder+Spectre.

* If you're dad can help you out with woodwork - you could fab a DIY monitor arm out of HDF board and have that mounted off the table or connected to the side support bars and you'll have the monitors float :p  the cables can be routed on either side of the support bars.

There was a thread on apartment therapy where one dude did just that - made a tri monitor arm out of wood. Though, he did need to work out the angles and the distances/spacing between bezels.
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a c 177 K Overclocking
March 3, 2013 4:40:33 AM

My age that apparent Lutfij :lol: 

The thought of constructing a triple monitor stand has occurred to me, and I'v found the material in a local hardware store to do it, just that I have three mismatched monitors and only one of them has VESA mounting.
Dont think I'l bother with something like that until I have a proper Eyefinity setup to mount, which I don't think will happen anytime soon. Gotta get my water in order first :lol: 

I'l check out those mice, but I think I'm pretty set on getting another Deathadder.
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a c 177 K Overclocking
April 19, 2013 11:09:43 PM

My brother has decided to finally replace his rig (Gen1 Core i5, a HD5670 with a generic PSU and case) and that has given me the opportunity to offload some of my old and current parts to fund raise for new ones.
Long story short, I will be down my 7870 graphics card and a few bits and bobs, up $300. Coupled with some money I'v already been putting aside for an upgrade, think I might be able to get the rig to where I want it in one fell swoop.

What I'm looking at for the upgrade, this is the fun bit :D .
- HIS HD7970, already checked and its a reference design board.
- Heatkiller Ni-Bli 79X0 full cover water block.
- Koolance PMP-500 pump.
- Swiftech MC-RES V2.
- Bunch of fittings, tubing and clamps.

Here's the wishlist if anyone wants to see it in more detail.
http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=wish_list...
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