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New project: Small, wooden, silent gaming PC

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
Long-time lurker, finally registered to share what I've been working on and ask for input.

I've built a number of computers over the past 10 years, and I've been doing woodworking for at least 15 years... I decided to combine these interests in a small, watercooled gaming PC built out of local hardwood (a maple tree I cut down in my yard last year). This will be my first watercooling project.

My main goals are compact and silent; low temperatures and overclocking/performance are secondary. To keep things simple, only the CPU and video card will be watercooled.

Here's an overview shot of the case from Solidworks: (dimensions in mm) (I haven't chosen a finish yet, probably something dark)


A back view:


And the side:


Two rough internal shots: (video card, pump/reservoir, mounting brackets, and tubing not shown)





The pump will be under the PSU, and the loop will be pump -> CPU -> video card -> radiator -> reservoir. Passive intakes on both sides, radiator and PSU exhaust out the back.


Hardware: (mostly already purchased and in-use)

Intel Core i7 950 CPU (at 3.84 GHz)
Gigabyte X58A-UD3R Motherboard
3x 2 GB Corsair XMS3 RAM (at 1600)
EVGA GTX 570 (to replace my current GTX 275)
Seasonic X750 80+ Gold PSU
2x 500 GB WD Caviar Blue, in raid0 (storage)
2x 60 GB OCZ Vertex 2 SSD (1 Windows, 1 Ubuntu for school)
Sony Optiarc slim slot-loading DVD burner


Cooling:
Radiator: EK Coolstream XT 240
Pump/reservoir: EK DCP 2.2 Combo
CPU block: Supreme LT Nickel
GPU block: EK FC580 GTX+ Nickel
Barbs: 1/2", undecided
Tubing: 7/16" ID, no clamps, undecided
Fans: 2x Gentle Typhoon 1850 RPM


My questions:
1. Is the 2x 120mm radiator enough cooling for my CPU and video card, especially with low speed fans?
2. Is the passive air intake going to work, or do I need intake fans?
3. Is distilled water with a killcoil in the reservoir enough to keep maintenance to a minimum?
4. Will the HDDs be okay with no active cooling?
5. Do I need a fan controller for the Gentle Typhoon 1850's, or are they basically silent at 12V?
6. Any other thoughts? Again, I'm new to watercooling.

Thanks for your input, I'm excited to get started on this.



Update: Considering going with a more standard tower layout, which is unfortunately a lot bigger, but makes room for a 3x 120mm radiator, and easier access for maintenance. It also fits on or under my desk more easily. A few pics of my rough model:






Edited by davecasa - 5/21/11 at 10:05pm
post #2 of 11
Nice diagrams, looks like a great build.

Welcome to OCN btw

With all that rad you should be able to bump that OC up a bit.
Edited by Crabid - 5/21/11 at 12:48pm
    
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post #3 of 11
Seems interresting .. Looking forward to see the project .. Sub'd, and welcome
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post #4 of 11
Welcome to OCN

That looks like a nice project.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davecasa View Post
My questions:
1. Is the 2x 120mm radiator enough cooling for my CPU and video card, especially with low speed fans?
It will work but don't expect stellar temperatures. I have 2 120mm rads cooling my i7 860 @ 3.8GHz and a 5850 with a mild OC and I get reasonable temps. Your TDP will be higher...

If you can get an extra 120 in there somewhere it will help a lot. Is there room in the roof?


Quote:
Originally Posted by davecasa View Post
2. Is the passive air intake going to work, or do I need intake fans?
It works.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davecasa View Post
3. Is distilled water with a killcoil in the reservoir enough to keep maintenance to a minimum?
Yep, that is the ideal setup.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davecasa View Post
4. Will the HDDs be okay with no active cooling?
Yes. They will be fine.

Quote:
Originally Posted by davecasa View Post
5. Do I need a fan controller for the Gentle Typhoon 1850's, or are they basically silent at 12V?
They are not silent at 12V, but no need for a fan controller if you don't want one. You can use the mobo headers and control them based on your CPU temps.
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post #5 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by davecasa View Post
1. Is the 2x 120mm radiator enough cooling for my CPU and video card, especially with low speed fans?
2. Is the passive air intake going to work, or do I need intake fans?
3. Is distilled water with a killcoil in the reservoir enough to keep maintenance to a minimum?
4. Will the HDDs be okay with no active cooling?
5. Do I need a fan controller for the Gentle Typhoon 1850's, or are they basically silent at 12V?
6. Any other thoughts? Again, I'm new to watercooling.
I answered the ones I could:

1. I think so
2. I think it would work unless you live in some crazy hot climate.
3. yes
4. same as 2
6. since you want silent, make sure you research your pump/ask people here, I've personally had a few that turned out to be way louder than expected.

gl with your project!
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post #6 of 11
as mention 2x120 will give you OK temps,additional 120 RAD would be nice ,GT's AP 15 are quite but not silent ,if you have no room for fan controller get GT AP 13 or 14 ,
http://www.aquatuning.us/product_inf...20x25mm--.html
http://www.aquatuning.us/product_inf...20x25mm--.html
this worklog may give you some ideas ;
http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/...d.php?t=246408
Edited by coolhandluke41 - 5/21/11 at 1:52pm
    
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post #7 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the input everyone, very helpful. coolhandluke, that worklog is awesome, and is definitely making me think about going with the vertical motherboard.
post #8 of 11
nice diagrams! and welcome to OCN. Just curious what program you use to make the diagrams? O_o
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post #9 of 11
Quote:
Originally Posted by davecasa View Post
Thanks for the input everyone, very helpful. coolhandluke, that worklog is awesome, and is definitely making me think about going with the vertical motherboard.
if you want to go horizontal ,try to install the RAD/s and all the other hardware
below the MB (a lot safer that way )
    
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post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by DNytAftr View Post
nice diagrams! and welcome to OCN. Just curious what program you use to make the diagrams? O_o
Thanks, I used Solidworks, I have it from school (engineering). It has a pretty steep learning curve, but you can get some very nice results, and it's great to visualize problems with one thing overlapping another... Here's some details of the rad + fans I made:
rad 1 rad 2 fan 1 fan 2 rad + fan
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