Huge update with lots of pics:
Busy weekend! The wife and kid were out of town, so I spent a lot of time on the build. After spending a lot of time installing Windows and drivers and flushing radiators (won’t bore you with pics of that), I decided to start trying to fit some components and ended up doing a lot more than I expected.
Of course, I didn’t do it all by myself:
First, thanks to mrbean’s build log
, I knew I’d have to make some room under the motherboard for the Apogee Drive II backplate. I considered putting in some washers to make the screws sit up higher, but I didn’t feel completely comfortable with that, not knowing how the block would sit and whether the washers would damage my motherboard. I also considered cutting off the bottom of the screws, but decided against that in case I needed to make a warranty claim on the block/pump for any reason.
So, time to remove the PSU cage and make a backplate cutout. With the Dremel and a simple drill bit, it was easy to drill out the rivets:
And we’ve got a removable PSU cage!
I wasn’t too worried about getting a perfect cut here, as no one will ever see this except you guys. So I just masked off my outline…
Made my cut (the sparks really flew!), and filed down the edges as best I could:
And whew, those edges are sharp! I cut my finger like an idiot. But nothing a band-aid couldn’t fix…
…well, nothing a band-aid and a beer couldn’t fix. You’ll note the finger is still capable of opening beer, so I’ve decided to keep it (the finger, not the beer. I drank the beer).
Anyway, lesson learned. Be more careful with the Dremel. I decided to put some electrical tape around the edges of the backplate cutout as a future finger-saver. Kinda the same idea as rubber strip around a case window, except it doesn’t need to look as nice since no one will ever see it after this:
I drilled out some of the holes to 4mm and put in just a couple of M4 screws with washers and nuts (no need to replace every rivet), and the PSU cage goes back in as such:
At this point, I tried fitting the PSU in the cage with some cables attached, and boy there is not a lot of room in here. The PSU does fit, but you really have to force it in. I considered getting the Dremel out again and cutting out the front of the PSU cage to make more room, but decided against it, because that’s where I want to mount my SSD (and potentially something else I have an idea about):
Went ahead and mounted the Apogee Drive II (super easy) with some PK-1 (pea method), and mounted the board. The cutout worked great and the board and backplate now fit without a hitch:
And since I’m mounting the SSD on the PSU cage, I decided to go ahead and remove the SSD cage on the side panel. This will also help in case I decide to do two case windows (what do you guys think, should I?):
Now, time for the Swiftech Komodo GPU block. I like that this cooler covers the entire card. Helps keep the card from warping due to the weight of the GPU block, and helps with my black-on-black look, as well. Off comes the stock cooler easily enough:
And at this point, I’ll make a plug for the best electrical component degreaser I’ve used, CRC. Comes in a big spray can at ACE Hardware—can’t go wrong:
And my favorite rubberized cloth, which I used to clean the GPU and memory modules, as well as keep everything clean through the block install. Finger grease is no match for the CRC and this guy:
The Komodo’s thermal “pads” are basically formed blocks of TIM with thin blue protective sheets that must be removed. A bit of a challenge to do without peeling the thermal pads off of the block, but not too difficult.
And some Prolimatech PK-1 goes on the GPU (pea method).
On goes the tension bracket and backplate:
And we’ve got ourselves a single-slot 7970 ready to go diving! Note the red LED light on top. I’m a bit nervous whether this is going to make the whole case red. I might disconnect it before my final install of the loop.
And now for some sneak peek shots…. I spent a good bit of Saturday playing with radiator and fitting placement. I changed some of the fittings around in the loop order and I think I’ve got it how I want it. Of course my reservoir is still backordered, so if anyone has a spare Bitspower Z Multi 40 Ice Black or maybe even a Technofront Nano Black lying around, let me know. For these shots I left the back panels off so you could get a better view of the angle of the fittings and a better idea of the path of the would-be loop.
As you can probably imagine, it was quite the puzzle, but everything just
fits. At this point I’ve taken it apart and put it back together about as many times as an army grunt disassembles and reassembles his weapon in basic training, so I know how it all fits together. The tube run from the CPU to GPU might be the world’s shortest (anyone have any ideas on just using fittings?) And yes, the fan blades on those AP-15s up top will turn—just barely!
Opposite view, sorry if it’s a bit blurry:Now, for a poll:
I’ve gone push-pull intake with the front 120 rad. Should I do push-pull for the 240 rad up top, putting fans on top of the case, or should I leave it as is with everything in the case? Please vote!
Thanks again for reading. Now comes the daunting task of getting all the cables run neatly. Yikes!