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Building The Lian Li DK-04X Gaming Desk

The Mounting Plate Is All About Compromise

The design of the large radiator’s 45-degree mounting plate is nothing new, but it still offers a reasonable compromise when it comes to space. We removed all HDD cages, as we preferred to install SSDs and needed additional space for our cooling solution’s fluid pressure regulator, also known as a surge tank. 


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USB Ports, Power Buttons, And More

The front side presents a standard complement of USB ports and power buttons, adding controls for RGB mixing, too.


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What We Put Inside It

We wanted a robust, gaming-capable machine inside our new desk and decided on the following specs: an Intel Core i7-6950X overclocked to 4.3 GHz, 32GB of G.Skill TridentZ memory at 3400 MT/s, an inexpensive cooling block from Phobya, and an 850W be quiet! Dark Power Pro 11 PSU.


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Fitting Two Radiators Required A Little Work

Using two radiators required slight customization, as the larger of the two, a 480mm Alphacool NexXxos XT45, had to be mounted on a support plate to allow sufficient space between the unit and the desk's glass surface. 


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What You'll Find Underneath

As you can see, the desk's underside only has one hole grid for screws. This doesn’t leave much real estate for fans. On top of that, the threaded openings on the radiator would not have fit the grid, hence our change.


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Keeping Cool With An Extra Radiator

To provide sufficient cooling, we required an additional 240mm radiator as well. Its thickness was limited to 45mm; anything more would have resulted in contact between the fans and the motherboard's VRM heat sinks.


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Worry-Free Coolant Removal

Installing the smaller radiator deeper in the table allowed us to add a drain hose that could be conveniently passed through the bottom. This guarantees worry-free coolant removal should we ever need to swap out components or perform hardware maintenance.


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Forget The Conventional Pumps

Having already demonstrated the cooling capacity of Alphacool's Eiswolf GPX Pro, we deliberately passed on a conventional pump and used two Eiswolf GPX Pros (combination VGA cooling block and pump attachment) to allow both coolers to work as independent all-in-one solutions.


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Entering No-Man's Land With Two GTX 1080s

Our decision to run a pair of GTX 1080s in SLI put us in the technological version of no-man’s land. Cooling was at the front of our minds: should we use one pump for one card and a standard heat sink on the other, or should we try two pumps and risk any negative interactions between them?

Before we continue, a little explanation of Alphacool’s cooling technology is necessary. To make a long, convoluted discussion of patented (or unpatented?) technology short, Alphacool’s pumps use a reverse flow approach. The rotor in the pump rotates in the opposite direction of a normal pump, thereby sucking water in and spitting it out into the micro-canals to cool the GPU. This diagram presents the Alphacool reverse flow pump technology in picture form.


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Wait, Will This Even Work?

The real question is whether or not this configuration will even work the way we want it to. During testing, we came to the conclusion that one large radiator was not sufficient to guarantee that both GPX Pro coolers were filled with water at start-up. As such, we had to make some changes.


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