Page 1:Making Tough Choices In Volatile Markets
Page 2:Graphics, Memory, And CPU
Page 3:Motherboard, CPU Cooling And Case
Page 4:Power Supply, SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
Page 5:Radiator Installation
Page 6:Finishing The Build
Page 7:Overclocking Through Firmware
Page 8:Final Touches
Page 9:Benchmarking Configurations
Page 10:Results: 3DMark And PCMark
Page 11:Results: SiSoftware Sandra
Page 12:Results: Battlefield 3 And Far Cry 3
Page 13:Results: F1 2012 And Skyrim
Page 14:Results: Audio And Video Encoding
Page 15:Results: Adobe Creative Suite
Page 16:Results: Productivity
Page 17:Results: File Compression
Page 18:Power, Heat, And Efficiency
Page 19:Value Conclusion
Finishing The Build
With the radiator installed onto the bracket and the hard drive cages removed, it’s time to pop the assembly back into the case.
I usually install heat sinks before securing the motherboard. However, my closed-loop system is already attached to the radiator, which we just mounted to our chassis. Although the CPU and memory modules could have been dropped in after getting the board into place, I added them first out of habit.
Designed for three-way SLI, the third PCIe x16 slot on ASRock’s X79 Extreme4 borrows eight lanes from the second slot. That’s still fast enough for every card we’ve tested, and enjoys the advantage of better spacing and, consequently, cooling. The only potential problem is that the hard drive cage I relocated overlaps the space consumed by these cards by less than 1/8”.
The cage is flexible enough that this installation would have worked, but it probably would have transferred noise from the card's fan through the rest of the enclosure. Rather than sticking a strip of foam between the two components, I decided to instead use the motherboard’s middle slot for my second Radeon R9 290.
The pump body is upside down because that's the cleanest way to run the hoses. My only concern was that the air bubble present in all closed-loop coolers might be recirculated. It should get trapped in the radiator, but the upside-down radiator doesn’t leave much room for the air bubble either. The best way to find out if the bubble is small enough to trap within the top of the radiator tank is to start the system and listen for noise that lasts more than a few minutes.
Another alternative would have been to mount the radiator on top of the chassis. That probably would have worked well in an exhaust configuration, especially with the blower-style coolers used on our graphics cards, since they push GPU heat out of our case. Mounting the radiator up top also provides more room for the cooler’s air bubble and would have firmed up the case’s somewhat-flexible roof.
- Making Tough Choices In Volatile Markets
- Graphics, Memory, And CPU
- Motherboard, CPU Cooling And Case
- Power Supply, SSD, Hard Drive, And Optical Drive
- Radiator Installation
- Finishing The Build
- Overclocking Through Firmware
- Final Touches
- Benchmarking Configurations
- Results: 3DMark And PCMark
- Results: SiSoftware Sandra
- Results: Battlefield 3 And Far Cry 3
- Results: F1 2012 And Skyrim
- Results: Audio And Video Encoding
- Results: Adobe Creative Suite
- Results: Productivity
- Results: File Compression
- Power, Heat, And Efficiency
- Value Conclusion