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CaseLabs Merlin SM8 Build

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December 8, 2012 2:51:11 PM

I just rebuilt my system in a CaseLabs Merlin SM8. I also added a far more robust water cooling system than I was using previously. The pump I was using before was a Koolance RP985 bay mounted pump/res combo which was a huge mistake. Not only was the unit hard to fill and bleed, it emitted an extremely annoying humming noise even when ran at low speed. The Koolance PMP450S I am using now runs almost completely silent, pumps 10LPM more and looks much better than the RP985.

I was previously using a Corsair 650D case which I really liked, however, I quickly reached its limitations and decided to go with something slightly larger.

I chose CaseLabs primarily for the flexibility and expandability. I also really like the "industrial" look of their cases as I wanted something with the same clean lines and modern look of the Corsair 650D.

I really hope you guys like my build. Let me know what you think and feel free to ask me any questions!

My system specs are as follows:

Intel 2600k @ 4.7GHz
x2 GTX 680 SuperClocks @3105Mhz (SLI)
Asus P8Z77-V MOBO
Corsair FORCE SSD
Corsair HX850
Corsair Dominator 2133Mhz 16GB
Corsair Link Lighting Kit
Intel 300 Series 60GB SSD
Western Digital 1TB HDD
Creative Fata1ity Sound Card

My water cooling loop is as follows:

PMP450S @ 12v (17LPM) > BitsPower RAM Block > Koolance CPU block > XSPC AX480 > Koolance VGA + VGA (SLI)(Parallel config) > AX240 > 770ml reservoir


THE PICS:

CaseLabs Merlin SM8 with a clear XL window.


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Overview of the entire watercooling system. I was going for a very clean look with no overlapping tubes. I was able to achieve this by using a lot of compression fittings and BitsPower extensions.

The reservoir is 80mm OD by 200mm and holds 770ml of coolant. The entire system gulped down nearly 1400ml of coolant by the end. I really like the look of the cylindrical pump/res combo over the bay mounted pump/res combo.

I am using Corsair SP120 for the radiators, however, I generally run them at a low RPM to keep the noise low. The front fans are Cougar Hydro Dynamic Bearing Fans which I also run at a low RPM. The Akasa 6-channel fan controller controls all 9 fans on 3 channels.


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Close up of my EVGA GTX 680 SuperClocked GPU's with Koolance blocks and backplates running in a parallel configuration. I decided to go with parallel for both better flow and aesthetics.


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I spent a lot of time on the cable management in this build. I feel that I did a good job considering the amount of components that are behind the motherboard tray. I plan to sleeve every single cable on the PSU once my paracord arrives.


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Thanks for checking out my build guys I hope you like it!
a c 205 K Overclocking
December 8, 2012 3:05:38 PM

Nice job! Love the Black and Blue! :) 

Even Moto should be impressed with your wiring!
a c 76 K Overclocking
December 8, 2012 8:27:40 PM

agreed! not many people here opt for the caselabs. Modo will have one huge gripe with that sli cable :D 

btw, I spot an Aquacomuter aqualis res/pump module. I suppose you got the aqualis res and the pump/res mount bracket with it...?and is that mayhem's Aurora dye?

mind detailing the watercooling shopping list :) 
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December 9, 2012 1:12:20 AM

I couldn't be happier with case. It was pretty much exactly what I was looking for in terms of style and was perfect for water cooling. The guys over at CaseLabs really seem to have enthusiasts and water cooling in mind when they design them. I really love the fact that if in a few months I want to bolt on a Pedestal for extra space, I have that option. That is something no other company does as far as I know.

The SLI cable drives me absolutely insane but I haven't really looked into replacing it. Is that even possible?

The pump and reservoir are actually both made by Koolance. Although the PMP-450S is just a rebranded D5 I believe.

I am running Koolance Blue coolant. I originally bought some for my first loop and really like the color so I kept it.

I actually looked into Mayhems Aurora but unfortunately its just for show and you can't run it in your loop permanently. I am not really sure what it does exactly but thats what it says on Mayhem's website. Otherwise I would definitely use it.

Not really sure what you mean by shopping list but here it goes:

Koolance compression fittings

90° w/ compression: 4
90° w/o compression: 3
45°: 5
60°: 1
2 Dual Vid connectors

The BitsPower extensions are 15mm, 20mm, 25mm and 50mm.

a c 76 K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 1:26:42 AM

Quote:
Is that even possible?
our in house martha stewart would suggest blackening with a permanent marker(black ofc) or looking on egay for a black sli connector.

the coolant you're running is not for permanent running either. In fact you'll need to flush your entire loop and refill all of it in at least 6 months from the time you began your loops cycle.

FYI - mayhems dye would suit your setup as you have a tube res. The only issue the dye has is with bay res' like the XSPC.

might wanna try distilled+silver kill coil instead of the same thing but with a koolance badge ontop of it(ofc in a smurfy color).
December 9, 2012 4:41:37 AM

Koolance claims that their coolants can be ran for 2-3 years before it has to be replaced. I generally drain my loops and change the tubing out every 3 months or so anyway so it shouldn't be an issue.

I was actually thinking about going with something a little lighter next time to try and match the MOBO heat sink and Corsair fans.
a b K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 7:04:08 AM

I must say, that is one of the best I've ever seen! It's so... edgy with that look. As you said, industrial design. Love the idea of the HDD's on the backplate but do they heat up at all being back there?

Once again I must say, absolutely amazing rig sir. Kudo's to you!
a b K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 8:18:38 AM

Looking good!Really loving Black and Blue looks kick ass congrats!
a c 76 K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 8:37:00 AM

:)  koolance also claim to have a rad/kit that can dissipate 900~1100W of heat from a loop. So yeah I'll sit without advertising :D 

IMHO - If you're going with the MDPC-x sleeving, you'll achieve the exact color scheme of the mobo and then maybe have the tubing in white, black or clear :) 

* though thas my opinion, you'll most likely might not agree with it...
a b K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 8:43:32 AM

Lutfij said:
Quote:
Is that even possible?
our in house martha stewart would suggest blackening with a permanent marker(black ofc) or looking on egay for a black sli connector.

the coolant you're running is not for permanent running either. In fact you'll need to flush your entire loop and refill all of it in at least 6 months from the time you began your loops cycle.

FYI - mayhems dye would suit your setup as you have a tube res. The only issue the dye has is with bay res' like the XSPC.

might wanna try distilled+silver kill coil instead of the same thing but with a koolance badge ontop of it(ofc in a smurfy color).

+1 strongly agree
a b K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 8:51:54 AM

I Kan verify koolance koolant 2 year deal<-(see what I did there) its just 99% distilled water any way. With blue UV dye and anti corrosive and bacterial additives. there only issue you will have is staining on the blocks and tubes. They dont have much real world hindrance.
Currently I use 25% solution of Koolance or Ek coolant in a loop. If I add more then 25% then i get a soapy bubbly loop for a day. lol.
December 9, 2012 2:01:51 PM

I was worried about the HDD heating up as well but it doesn't seem to. There is actually about 40mm between the mobo tray and the recessed ventilated back panel which I'm sure helps it breathe. The Western Digital Caviar Black really only holds Steam games which I don't think are to demanding but don't quote me on that..

Having the HDD/SSDs mounted back there made the whole build come out a lot cleaner. It really allowed me to show the parts I wanted to be seen and hide the ones I didn't. The lack of a CD/DVD drive also helped to clean things up as well.

I think what I like most about the case is its wide stance. It really gives it a strong, tough look from the outside and made hiding cables a breeze. I wish more manufacturers would do this.

The Koolance Koolant Kan Kause staining :pt1cable: 

I've looked into MDPC-X sleeving and really like it a lot; it's just so expensive. I have actually got 100ft of black and 100ft of light blue 550 paracord coming in the mail one of these days. I plan to sleeve every cable on the PSU. Cable management starts becoming an obsession over time. I probably spent more time sleeving cables and snipping zip ties than doing anything else.

Thanks for the compliments guys, I really appreciate it!

a c 76 K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 3:00:53 PM

you want help sleeving, there's a sleeving thread on OCN(overclock.net) for sleeving any manufacturers sleeve.
December 9, 2012 3:49:16 PM

Lutfij said:
you want help sleeving, there's a sleeving thread on OCN(overclock.net) for sleeving any manufacturers sleeve.



Thats actually where I got the idea to use paracord. That thread is a great resource for sleeving.
a c 76 K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 5:08:32 PM

still believe MDPC is the best out there! :) 
a b K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 5:13:52 PM

Hey halfblazed, question for you. That blue braiding over your cabling? Is there a red type around? And could you link me to that stuff? I'd love to braid all of my cabling like that!
December 9, 2012 5:53:38 PM

Those are actually BitFenix Alchemy cable extensions that I have had forever. They are really well made for the price and look great I think. Here's where I got them:

http://www.performance-pcs.com/catalog/index.php?main_p...

I am pretty sure its just paracord which is really cheap but a little bit harder sleeve with. Heres where I get my paracord:

https://www.supplycaptain.com

Also, heres a link to a thread that should be able to tell you everything about different types of sleeving and the best way to do it.

http://www.overclock.net/t/1262900/frequently-asked-sle...

Happy sleeving! It's actually really fun once you get the hang of it.

Hope that helps.

a b K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 6:25:09 PM

That is AWESOME! I know what I'm getting next! I have so many wires of different colors; it would be nice to have extensions and keep my red/black theme. Thanks halfblazed!
December 9, 2012 7:11:58 PM

No problem, I'm glad I could help.

The extensions are nice because they give you some extra cable to work with when you are routing them behind the case.
a b K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 8:22:06 PM

I do need that, currently a few of my cables are still in front of the motherboard tray. I didn't have a choice as my Quattro 850 didn't have long enough cabling for routing under the tray. Still looks halfway decent in there; but I'd prefer to run the stuff behind the "wall" for aesthetics.
December 9, 2012 9:31:11 PM

I will warn you though, sometimes the female connectors on the PCI-E extensions can be bulky so make sure you have a little extra room for them behind the tray. I had a hell of a time getting them to fit behind my Corsair 650D. Although it may not be as much of an issue if you are only running a single card.

I remember the days of building systems in cases that didn't have cable routing behind the tray! You had no choice but to have a giant rats nest!

Modular PSUs have helped out a lot too.


December 9, 2012 9:42:10 PM

steddora said:
I do need that, currently a few of my cables are still in front of the motherboard tray. I didn't have a choice as my Quattro 850 didn't have long enough cabling for routing under the tray. Still looks halfway decent in there; but I'd prefer to run the stuff behind the "wall" for aesthetics.



Here's a better picture of the BitFenix Alchemy 6 pin PCI-E extensions.




a b K Overclocking
December 9, 2012 10:07:07 PM

A pair of red ones would look so good on my GTX's! I am in awe man. That is one nice looking rig!
!