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Big Blue V2 1 Build Part 1 Planning

So... Big Blue.

I've had this fella since 2005. It's been in my Cooler Master Stacker CM 830 case since then and has been gutted and refitted twice since then. Two months ago I swapped out its AMD innards with a P6T, i7 920, 6GB setup, using air cooling. It was an unremarkable step-up in that the i7 was now nearly a year old but is/was tried and true. Got it all setup in the case but had to remove the fan door in the CM 830 due to the size of the heatsink I chose (Fenrir). Wasn't really an issue since the other fans in the case (4 120mm fans: 2 rear, 1 front, 1 top) keep the system relatively cool. But yeah. Yawnsville!

I had to pep this thing up. Somehow...

Watercooling!

Yeah, I know! I really don't need it. I don't do a lot of exceedingly strenuous things on Big Blue. I run Folding and maybe play a few games, but still. I want to do something interesting with the system.

As it stands now, Big Blue, I'll call it Version 2.0, looks like this:
  • CPU: Core i7 920 @ 2.67-3.6GHz (I occasionally OC it)
  • MB: ASUS P6T
  • Mem: 6 GB Corsair Dominator
  • Disc: 3 HDDs - Total of ~1 TB of disc space on spinning platters
  • Disc: 2 Optical Drives
  • Video: EVGA GTX260 Core 216 Superclocked ~860MB
  • Monitor: 2 Dell 24in LCDs driven by the one GTX260
  • Coolermaster Stacker 830, Aluminum (circa 2005) with 4 case fans
  • Cooling: Titan Fenrir heatsink on the i7 along with an attached 120mm CPU fan and the 4 case fans. Passive heatsinks on the NB/SB and MOSFETs. GTX260 has attached fan.

BTW, I call it Big Blue because several of the case fans are blue LED which bathes the system in blue light when the room lights are out.

I started to look around at various sites, OCN being one of them, and became fascinated by what others have done with WC setups. Looked like a blast so I started to think about how I might do my own watercooling on Big Blue. I'll call the watercooled setup Big Blue v2.1.

So far, the biggest issue that I have is where in the frick am I going to mount a radiator in/on this case. The CM 830 is a good case for air cooling, lots of ventilation, meshing, fan mounts, but not really that ready for watercooling. The front drive bays 9 total, are already occupied with 5 drives. At the moment, I am not looking to replace any, but am not beyond losing one of the DVD drives. Still, that doesn't leave much room for mounting a radiator without doing a LOT of case modding. Later 830s have vents cut into the bottom of the case, which I am not beyond cutting out, but I don't have casters on the case so I don't have much clearance for a good airflow there. Still trying to figure this one out.

As it stands, after doing my initial research, I picked up my first pieces of Big Blue v2.1:
  • Swiftech MCP655
  • Bitspower Replacement Top

After looking at what most folks used in their systems, this pump seemed like a good choice
given that I have yet to decide on the other key pieces. The pump top choice was driven by my desire to have G1/4 fittings on everything, allowing me to decide later on my setup fittings/tubes, etc.

In the works are still some key things and so far, I'm leaning towards the following pieces:
  • Radiator: HWL Black Ice SR-1 (liking the lower airflow characteristics of this, since I don't want a lot of noise on v2.1)
  • CPU Block: Koolance CPU-360
  • Reservoir: IandH Stealth 175
  • Fittings: 13mm (1/2in) tubing

I'm starting to think that I might mount the radiator externally on something like a standoff made by Koolance or something like the Swiftech Radbox. I would prefer the metal of the Koolance part but $$$! The downside of such a mount is that I have two monitors on the system with DVI connectors plugged into the GTX260 so there's not much clearance. I'll have to do some measurement and some cable bending tests.

That's it so far. My "Work In Progress."

More to come, I hope.

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