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Thirsty Work -My Little Devil PC-V8 [Build Log]

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Thread Starter 
[Introduction] Thirsty Work - My Little Devil PC-V8 Build Log

First off, for those of you looking for photos, this will start with lots of text, but transition to lots of pics. So be patient with me biggrin.gif. Now with that said … Greetings OCN! Here is my first build log, which is for what will become my first liquid cooled computer.

I am comfortable enough tooling around with computers, but I haven't done it in ages. I've built a few PCs in my day, but the last one was centered around an nForce 2 motherboard and Athlon XP 2100 - so we are talking nearly 10 years ago. However, after a friend of mine got a really nice new PC built for him, which was both overclocked, quiet, and well put together, I got curious about the current PC building scene - and eventually ended up here at OCN. Without all the information on the OCN forums, as well as the excellent reviews at Martin's and Skinnee's sites, I would never have had the confidence to try a custom loop liquid cooling project, and this certainly wouldn't have become what is now essentially a new hobby.

So without further ado, I present my build log. Exciting times! As I mentioned above, I am new to water cooling, so if anyone notices some awful oversight I'm making, or just is curious about a decision I've made, feel free to speak up.

[Motivation] - Big overclock, whisper quiet
I want a hearty overclock on a PC optimized for photo processing (large panoramic photo stitching, Lightroom, Photoshop, etc. - so 6 cores is worth the various tradeoffs entailed) with enough GPU to rock out some single-monitor gaming (I'm not interested in devoting the necessary desk space to more than 1 display at the moment - and my current display has sentimental value, so it's going to hang around for awhile). The twist is that I want all of this while keeping the machine whisper quiet - ideally, quieter than a 'quiet' air-cooled, all stock configuration. Perhaps that sounds like a lofty goal, but without a challenge I would consider this just a PC build and not a venture into a new hobby.

Also, I want the machine to be as clean and polished as possible - with clean wire management and a custom touch here and there. At first I thought individually sleeving every wire in a case was crazy, but it makes things look so crisp, and I figure if I'm going to go the custom loop, water cooling route rather than getting a pre-built machine, I may as well go all out.

[Build Plan Summary]


[Build Plan Details]

[Case] Little Devil PC-V8
Picking a good PC case for water cooling was more of a research challenge than I expected - but the research was also a lot of fun - which is part of what got me hooked on this process. I considered cases by Mountain Mods, Lian-Li, Case Labs, XSPC, and Corsair, among many others. At first I was gunning for the Corsair 800D, then the my preference switched to the Lian-Li PC-V2120 (due to it supporting more radiators - 120x3 +120x2 for the 800D versus 120x3 + 140x2 for the Lian-Li, with less modding required for the Lian-Li).

However, after much deliberation I settled on the Little Devil PC-V8. It has room for lots of radiators (triple 120mm x 4, plus more if you are creative), which is important if you want a big overclock while keeping fan speeds as far below 1000 RPM as possible. Also it looks to be very well crafted, comes in tons of color options, and LD Cooling has a responsive and friendly owner/staff. The fact that the company seems to basically be a hobbyist with design and business savvy (or at least not a big company like Corsair or Lian-Li) certainly doesn't hurt anything either - and to top it off, this may well be my first 'Made in Slovenia' item :-).

[Radiators] XSPC-RX series
After reading loads of reviews, I settled on the XSPC-RX as my radiator of choice. Though it is a 'thick' type of radiator, (at 58.5mm, while 'thin' radiators tend to be around 35mm) as a consequence it performs really well around 800 RPM, which is my goal fan speed.

I'm planning on have two 4x120mm XSPC-RXs in the bottom of the case, and a 3x120mm one at the top of the case. The top will fit a 4x120mm rad, but then the last part of the rad encroaches on the top 5.25" drive bay. I have big plans for those drive bays so I want plenty of clearance up there.

[Fans] Gentle Typhoon and Noiseblocker
Picking the right fan can also be a tricky choice. For radiator fans, I've learned go-to on the OCN forums is the Scythe Gentle Typhoon - they are a quiet fan while with lots static pressure - static pressure being important for pushing air through radiators. Thus for my radiators, I went the the Gentle Typhoon AP-14. They max out at 1450 RPM, opposed to the more popular AP-15 that maxes out at 1850 RPM. Compared to the AP-15, the AP-14 may be slightly quieter at equivalent speed(but I acknowledge the difference is so small it may be sample variance). Also, I assume these graphs imply that the AP-14 will put less stress on my fan controller when under-volting, which I will do to keep noise down when I'm not stressing the CPU (as forcing a 1450 RPM fan, e.g. to 800 RPM is less stressful than pushing a 1850 RPM fan to 800 RPM). Either way, I don't want to get my fans up to 1450 RPM, much less 1850 RPM, so the AP-14 sounds like a solid choice to me.

For my case fans I went with something different. I didn't pick Gentle Typhoons for everything because the Little Devil PC-V8 has 140mm and 92mm fan ports, and Scythe doesn't make Gentle Typhoons in anything other than 120mm size. Thus I went with NoiseBlockers, specifically the Multiframe and SilentPro series. They review quite well , are quiet, and have a sleek, all-black look. And of course they come in 140mm, 92mm and 120mm sizes.

[Fan Control and Monitoring]
I considered a lot of options here. At first I thought I'd go with a Sunbeam Rheosmart which I could hide in my case, and then use my motherboard fan control software to control the fan speed. However I changed my preference to the Aquaero 5 after reading more about it and also due to having some mild concerns about the Rheosmart (regarding their failure rate, as well as how many of them I would have to use to control all of my fans). The Aquaero also has a low-restriction water block available, so of course I'll get that which should help me use extra fans :-) To power all the fans I will end up having, I'm also getting a pair of USB Poweradjusts which connect to the Aquaero 5 and work like extensions for extra fans. I'm going to mount the Poweradjusts behind a 140mm case fan, which should keep them cool and productive.

I'm also going to get a couple of water temperature monitors and a water flow-rate monitor - the flow rate monitor is mostly for the fun of knowing more info about the water loop, and the temperature monitors will be useful both for the fun of having more data, and for ramping up the fans as the water temperature rises.

[Power Supply]

I went with the Seasonic X-1050. It may be overkill for my current needs, but cost wise it isn't much more than a 750-850 watt supply. Also, at a given number of watt load, it is a tad bit quieter than Seasonic's 850 watt unit and can run at a higher load without having to turn its fan on.

[Sleeving, Tubes and Fittings]

I haven't made my final decision on tubing brand, except that it will be 3/8" internal diameter, 5/8" external diameter. This size is reportedly easier to bend than large tubing, and you don't get much benefit in flow rates want you go larger than 3/8" tubing anyway. For fittings I am going with Bitspower compression fittings. For sleeving, it is MDPC all the way. It is high quality stuff.

[Pump]

Based on Martin's review I'm going to go with the Swiftech MCP35X2. I likely could get away with just one pump, but having these dual pumps will let me run both at lower speed, which should keep my noise down.

[Motherboard, CPU, etc.]

Regarding the motherboard, CPU and all the actual computing parts, they are kinda secondary considerations in many ways as it isn't particularly challenging or interesting selecting these components. Regardless, I'm going with an nVidia GTX 680 for graphics; it will be a bit overkill for what I would use it for, but when you throw in the extra $100 or so cost for the waterblock to liquid cool the card, I figure I may as well get a fancy card that I will be happy with longer. Regarding the motherboard, I would have gone with the MSI XPower Big Bang II- if only the SouthBridge heat sink wasn't so….unique (it's a bullet magazine, with shiny copper colored bullets). I just can't rationalize this board given how much time I've spent planning to get everything looking nice. So, since no one has announced plans for a SouthBride water blocks for the Big Bang II, I narrowed down my choices to something from Asus. I'm going for a 6-core X79 board because of my photography focus - and looking at Asus for X79 boards we've got the Sabertooth and the Rampage IV and the P9X79. I went with Rampage IV Extreme as the blue color scheme of the P9X79 doesn't appeal to me and there are lots of full-coverage water block options for the Rampage IV Extreme, thus I can get rid of the fan cooling its SouthBridge - I don't want to put all this time into making a quiet computer to have a teeny, whiny fan on the motherboard ;-)

My monitor, sound, HDD and all the rest are all hold-overs from my current computer. I have some Sandforce-based SSDs I will use for the OS and applications, a WD Caviar Black for my photos, and WD Caviar Greens for on-site and off-site backups. Headphones are powered by a NuForce uDAC and external speakers are via TOSLINK output to my living room stereo. The monitor is a 23" 1920x1200 IPS unit.

[Other stuff]
Obviously there are plenty of required components I haven't yet mentioned. I'll get around to it, but I can't show all the goods on my first post - so stay tuned!

In the mean time, here are a few photos ...

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Fans!

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RAM, Motherboard, CPU, and an air cooler for testing everything before the water cooling is ready...

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The thermal paste on the Intel air cooler was smudged a bit during shipping...

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After cleaning off the factory applied thermal paste...

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A little dab of Phobya HeGrease...
Edited by Kallor - 6/27/12 at 9:08am
post #2 of 93
those GT's.... mmmmmm......
post #3 of 93
I added you to the LD club, can't wait to see it built.
LIQUID DEVIL v3.1
(15 items)
 
File Server
(10 items)
 
Work Rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 3930k @ 4.7 Asus Rampage IV Extreme MSI GTX680 Lightning MSI GTX680 Lightning 
RAMHard DriveCoolingCooling
Corsair Dominator plat 16GB M4 128GB, F3 1TB CPU loop: 480mm RAD, 655/bay res, EK HF GPU loop: 480mm RAD, 655/top, 250mm RES, EK GPU... 
OSMonitorPowerCase
windows 7 PRO 64bit Asus PB278Q Corsair HX850 V2 LittleDevil PC-V8 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Pentium G2020 MSI B75A-G41 Intel HD Corsair XMS3 4GB DDR3 1333 Mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOS
(OS) Samsung 64GB SSD Samsung 500GBHDD x2 WD 2TB GREEN Windows Server 2008 R2 
PowerCase
Corsair TX650 Coolermaster Cosmos S 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 2600k ASUS P8Z77-V MSI GT 610 1GB Corsair 1333mhz 16GB 
Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
Intel 330 60GB Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO W7 Corsair CX500M 
Case
Cooler Master Elite 334U 
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LIQUID DEVIL v3.1
(15 items)
 
File Server
(10 items)
 
Work Rig
(9 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
i7 3930k @ 4.7 Asus Rampage IV Extreme MSI GTX680 Lightning MSI GTX680 Lightning 
RAMHard DriveCoolingCooling
Corsair Dominator plat 16GB M4 128GB, F3 1TB CPU loop: 480mm RAD, 655/bay res, EK HF GPU loop: 480mm RAD, 655/top, 250mm RES, EK GPU... 
OSMonitorPowerCase
windows 7 PRO 64bit Asus PB278Q Corsair HX850 V2 LittleDevil PC-V8 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Pentium G2020 MSI B75A-G41 Intel HD Corsair XMS3 4GB DDR3 1333 Mhz 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOS
(OS) Samsung 64GB SSD Samsung 500GBHDD x2 WD 2TB GREEN Windows Server 2008 R2 
PowerCase
Corsair TX650 Coolermaster Cosmos S 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Core i7 2600k ASUS P8Z77-V MSI GT 610 1GB Corsair 1333mhz 16GB 
Hard DriveCoolingOSPower
Intel 330 60GB Cooler Master Hyper 212 EVO W7 Corsair CX500M 
Case
Cooler Master Elite 334U 
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post #4 of 93
I am monitoring this thread :3
"All Your Base"
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AMD A-series A4-3400 Gigabyte GA-A75N-USB3 Gigabyte Radeon HD6450 OC 1GB DDR3 Kingston HyperX 
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Crucial M4 Ubuntu 12.04 Silverstone SFX 450W Chieftec BT-02B *moded* 
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"All Your Base"
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AMD A-series A4-3400 Gigabyte GA-A75N-USB3 Gigabyte Radeon HD6450 OC 1GB DDR3 Kingston HyperX 
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Crucial M4 Ubuntu 12.04 Silverstone SFX 450W Chieftec BT-02B *moded* 
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post #5 of 93
Subbed for sure. Good luck!
i5 Gaming
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i7 Folding
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(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-3570k @ 4.5 Biostar TZ77XE3 2 x Gigabyte R9 290 w/ EK block Crossfire 8 GB Corsair Dominator 1866 
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Samsung 840 Pro 128 GB WD Black 750 GB XSPC Rasa XSPC RX360 
CoolingMonitorPowerCase
Swiftech MCP655 3 x Acer S231HLbid Eyefinity Corsair AX850 NZXT Switch 810 Gun Metal 
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4770k GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-UD3H G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB Rosewill CAPSTONE-450-M 450W 
Case
Rosewill Blackbone 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
AMD A8-5600k AsRock FM2A75 Pro-4M 8 GB G.Skill DDR3 1600  Crucial M4 64 GB  
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LG Blu Ray Scythe Big Shuriken Windows 8.1 Logitech K400 
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i5 Gaming
(17 items)
 
i7 Folding
(5 items)
 
HTPC
(10 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5-3570k @ 4.5 Biostar TZ77XE3 2 x Gigabyte R9 290 w/ EK block Crossfire 8 GB Corsair Dominator 1866 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingCooling
Samsung 840 Pro 128 GB WD Black 750 GB XSPC Rasa XSPC RX360 
CoolingMonitorPowerCase
Swiftech MCP655 3 x Acer S231HLbid Eyefinity Corsair AX850 NZXT Switch 810 Gun Metal 
CPUMotherboardRAMPower
4770k GIGABYTE GA-Z87X-UD3H G.SKILL Ripjaws Series 4GB Rosewill CAPSTONE-450-M 450W 
Case
Rosewill Blackbone 
CPUMotherboardRAMHard Drive
AMD A8-5600k AsRock FM2A75 Pro-4M 8 GB G.Skill DDR3 1600  Crucial M4 64 GB  
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post #6 of 93
Thread Starter 
[Adventures in Radiator Flushing]

I was surprised to learn that when you receive your shiny new radiators, they don't come ready to use straight from the factory. Thus, one must flush out the various debris inside new radiators, left over from the manufacturing process, before using them for water cooling (unless you want those debris to clog up your water cooling loop, effectively being filtered out by your cooling blocks as water circulates in your cooling loop). I guess this process is skipped at the factory to keep costs down - and the shipping process might knock extra debris loose, so maybe this is a smart move by the radiator manufactures.

The most recommended method of radiator flushing calls for using a heated mixture of water and vinegar (between 10% to 50% vinegar, depending on who you ask). So with that advice in hand, I did a little shopping and got ready to flush the two 4x120mm radiators I currently have.

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One of said 4x120mm radiators

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Radiator flushing supplies!

I heated up the water/vinegar mixture, filled up the radiator most of the way a let it sit for about 10 minutes, giving the radiator a vigorous shake here and there. The first flush turned the flushing water a lovely blue color (which surprised me, but is not unusual). I emptied the water from the radiator into a glass pan sitting on a white towel so that any sediment in the rinse water would be visible.

398
Despite its blue color, this radiator run-off tasted nothing like Gatorade or Kool-Aid, and was decidedly unrefreshing

I repeated this process over 10 times. The amount of sand-like particulate that rinsed out of the radiator gradually decreased and the blue color went away, but particulate was unfortunately still somewhat prevalent even after about a dozen flushes.

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The radiator still had sediment, even after about a dozen flushes

I wasn't looking forward to 10-30 more flushes, and then repeating that for additional radiators. A bit of searching showed that people frequently attach a hose/tube to their sink and connect that to the radiator, and flush hot tap water through the radiator for a few minutes as an easier and faster method of flushing the radiator. This process is then concluded by several rinses of distilled water to ensure no contamination is left behind by the tap water. My sink is one of those that has a nossle on a retractable hose, and it turned out after removing the nossle, the hose made a great seal on the radiators fill ports. So I flushed hot water from the tap through the radiator, and a few short minutes later, the flush water being emptied out of the radiator was nice and clear. Yay!

398
Finally the radiator is clean!

I then did several more flushes with distilled water to double check for sediment and to ensure that anything left behind by the tap water was also cleaned out. Now my first two radiators a sparkly clean both inside and out.
post #7 of 93
Our builds are similar, subscribing.
underworld
(15 items)
 
  
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Intel Core i7 3960X RAMPAGE IV EXTREME NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 
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G. G. G. G. 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Intel 510 SSD 250GB Koolance CPU-370 Heatkiller GPU-x3 alphacool vpp655 
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Swiftech MCP35x2 Coolgate quad 120 radiator BlackIce SR1 480 quad radiator 
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underworld
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Intel Core i7 3960X RAMPAGE IV EXTREME NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 NVIDIA GeForce GTX 580 
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G. G. G. G. 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Intel 510 SSD 250GB Koolance CPU-370 Heatkiller GPU-x3 alphacool vpp655 
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Swiftech MCP35x2 Coolgate quad 120 radiator BlackIce SR1 480 quad radiator 
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post #8 of 93
Thread Starter 
[Getting the skeleton up and running]
As the pictures in my previous posts show, I've had my CPU, motherboard and RAM for a few days - the main thing missing keeping me from booting Windows up to test the hardware was the video card. Thankfully, my GeForce GTX 680 has arrived!

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[After removing the box from its shrink-wrap]

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[OoOo Shiny!]

PNY seems to have done a solid enough job creating this card, following nVidia's reference design. That this is a refence design is critcial, as waterblocks typically only fit these models. PNY, however, did rush the driver DVD....

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[PNY's driver DVD has some homemade...charm?]

All the parts play nicely together thus far, and now I've managed to get Windows installed along with a few other pieces of software. As I am still waiting for my case, I figured this would be a good time to familiarize myself with my Aquaero 5 fan controller.

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[I've got to open this stuff at some point!]

I was curious precisely how many fans the PowerAdjust 2 would properly run. The PowerAdjust connects to the main Aquaero 5 unit, and basically acts as an expansion fan controller. The Aquaero 5 unit has 4 fan connections, and each PowerAdjust you add gives you 1 additional fan connection point. I was hoping each PowerAdjust could manage 4 fans apiece. After some experimenting, 4 fans will work, but not so smoothly. When I had 3 fans on one PowerAdjust, the temperature of the PowerAdjust heatsink was about 37C. Adding a forth fan shot the temperatures up to about 48C; that still isn't all that hot for a computer component, but the PowerAdjust stopped being able to keep all 4 fans undervolted properly. I was trying to keep the fans at about 700-800RPM each, but with 4 fans PowerAdjust kept them at a few hundered RPM for a bit, then ramped up to max speed at 1450 RPM, then alternated back and fourth between a fast and a slow speed. Looks like 3 fans per PowerAdjust is the limit - and to be extra safe, I think I may use just 2 fans per PowerAdjust.

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[My current, super messy testing setup]

More to come as more parts arrive!
Edited by Kallor - 4/20/12 at 10:02pm
post #9 of 93
Looking good, Looking forward to see how this build goes biggrin.gif
post #10 of 93
Looking forward to this build!
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