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Mainsil's Merlin - Completed - Page 6

post #51 of 86
Thread Starter 
No overclocking at this point.
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Mainsil's Merlin
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post #52 of 86
So, are you pretty much through?
post #53 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mandrix View Post

So, are you pretty much through?
Mostly, sorry for the lack of posts, I've been distracted by the fun of playing with my new toy . I reconfigured the setup to put the radiator on the bottom. Will upload some photos and write a lessons learned, etc.
Mainsil's Merlin
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Mainsil's Merlin
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post #54 of 86
Thread Starter 
Since my last posts I hooked up the second radiator, wrapped my Blu-ray drive in Di-Noc, and sleeved the only two lines that did not come pre-sleeved (pump motor and diode). This configuration worked well, looked OK, and I considered keeping it this way.


However, I was concerned with the fact that the tube connections for the 120.4 were hanging right over the motherboard and, more importantly the video card. Additionally, one of the tubes was quite droopy. So I decided to move the big radiator to the bottom of the box. The downside of this is the lack of a screen on the bottom, and the fact that the house is quite dusty (we keep our windows open most of the time due to the mild climate). Next I will post the finale pictures along with some lessons learned.
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Mainsil's Merlin
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post #55 of 86
Thread Starter 
The conclusion:

The final configuration is to have the big radiator on the bottom, just so I can stop worrying about all that water just waiting for a topside tube to come loose and spill water over my motherboard and video card. Here are the final photos, please ignore the stuff in the background, we are repainting a bedroom (another reason for my tardiness in posting...)
Exterior shots Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)




Now, some random interior shots: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)









Observations and lessons learned:
This was my first attempt at water cooling and I learned a lot. Below are some observations and lessons learned.
  • The biggest thing to be wary of when water cooling, is complacency. My first iteration had no leaks, the second and third iterations had some minor leaks, and my final iteration had multiple leaks. This appears to be due to complacency, and the fact that the parts actually don't seem to seal as easily after removing and replacing multiple times (e.g. have to use more torque to get a good seal between the radiator and the fitting).
  • Fan color is pretty important, particularly since you will have a lot of fans. Noctua fans are downright homely in a black case.
  • The mechanics of a water cooling are not particularly difficult, but figuring out an efficient layout is maddening.
  • Caselabs cases are ideal for a beginner to learn water cooling. From what I've seen of the build logs on this site, in the hands a of a master they become sheer art.
  • The accessory plate for the case is sturdy enough, but it bows noticeably with my pump and reservoir. Not a fault of the manufacturer, but gravity. If I were using a larger reservoir I would have to find a different solution.
  • The SM8 Merlin case can hold a lot of radiators! My current configuration is fine with just the 120.4, but I added a 120.2 for fun and expansion opportunities. Even so, with a bit of work, I could probably fit a second 120.2 in the roof, and the 140 spot in the back could also have a radiator.
  • PWM fans work really well. I am extremely pleased with my decision to use PWM fans (if not the color of my choice) controlled by the motherboard.
  • PWM fan harnesses which allow control of multiple PWM fans powered by a Molex provide a simple, if not elegant solution of how to power and control fans.
  • Cable management with stock cables is problematic at best. Luckily, the case allows most of the clutter to be hidden.
  • Casters on the SM8 Merlin case are essential. The case is big, its heavy, and casters make it easy to move.
  • Cable sleeving is not particularly difficult, but it is tremendously tedious and tough on the fingers.
  • Di-Noc vinyl and a hair dryer can be a nice alternative to painting.
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Mainsil's Merlin
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post #56 of 86
Nicely done ! About the only thing I would add is to invest in a tripod to improve the stability, but back to the case and your notes.

Articulate and comprehensive these notes are. I've noticed that the Cougar orange fans look REALLY GOOD in a black CL case.

I'm wondering how one comes back down to earth after building in such a great case, and sharing that with a build log, I mean ... how do you get back to normal ? and avoid pursuing upgrades or even starting a new w/c build ? I've seen it happen in the short time I've been on OCN, and while it looks interesting, unless you are a builder for hire, or you have people that will buy your latest build to fund the next build, its a hobby to some, but I'm sure its an addiction to others.

So, guess I'm asking what your plans are ... trip to Disneyland ??? wink.gif
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post #57 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by socketus View Post

Nicely done ! About the only thing I would add is to invest in a tripod to improve the stability, but back to the case and your notes.
Articulate and comprehensive these notes are. I've noticed that the Cougar orange fans look REALLY GOOD in a black CL case.
I'm wondering how one comes back down to earth after building in such a great case, and sharing that with a build log, I mean ... how do you get back to normal ? and avoid pursuing upgrades or even starting a new w/c build ? I've seen it happen in the short time I've been on OCN, and while it looks interesting, unless you are a builder for hire, or you have people that will buy your latest build to fund the next build, its a hobby to some, but I'm sure its an addiction to others.
So, guess I'm asking what your plans are ... trip to Disneyland ??? wink.gif
Thanks for the kind words.

I agree that a tripod would do wonders, as would a real camera, both of which I have somewhere around here. My view is that the value of the photos is mostly functional; someone planning a build can use what they glean from the photos to plan their builds. Unfortunately it would take considerably longer to take really good photos, and the information content improvement would be marginal to the few people who would see them.

Coming back to earth is pretty easy. I am a dabbler not a dedicated hobbyist, so I just dip my toes into various things to see what it is like and move on. I also have a rather extensive "honey do" list, including various "home mods" and "upgrades" to fulfill my need for projects. tongue.gif
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Mainsil's Merlin
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post #58 of 86
Thread Starter 
OK, obligatory temps. GPU temps are nice, but CPU temps are lacking. Ambient is 24 degrees. I'm not sure why the GPU temps look so low, I would expect them to be a bit higher. Likewise, the CPU temperatures are higher than expected.

Stock,idle Cores at ambient + ~9 degrees. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Stock with CPU under load Cores at ambient +~29 degrees Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Stock with CPU and GPU under load Cores at ambient + ~31 degrees Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

Using AI to set overclock Cores at ambient +~38 degrees
Manual overclocking is no doubt, far better, but overclocking is not really a major goal of this build, so I took the easy route. However, it is not as stable as it should be, Prime95 would only go a minute or two before dropping a worker. Temps are getting higher than I like, so no double load with GPU in this case. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
Mainsil's Merlin
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Mainsil's Merlin
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post #59 of 86
Nice build. Did you end up doing a drain off the the bottom rad with a valve on the end? I'm going back and forth between some Black Ice SR1s and the Alphacool rads. Didn't even think about doing a drain off the Alphacool rad's extra port.
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post #60 of 86
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bern43 View Post

Nice build. Did you end up doing a drain off the the bottom rad with a valve on the end? I'm going back and forth between some Black Ice SR1s and the Alphacool rads. Didn't even think about doing a drain off the Alphacool rad's extra port.

Thank you. Yes it is a tube with a valve at the end. You can see it in the photo below lying at the bottom of the case running from right to left. The hose is long enough to make draining into a bowl easy. I used a downward facing in/out radiator port instead of the utility port since it is a bit lower and will likely drain more water from the radiator. I don't think the utility port is all that useful with radiator horizontal. However, with a vertical radiator it does a nice job of bleeding off air, or draining water depending upon its orientation. However, the reason I went with the Alphacool UT60 was the all copper interior.

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Mainsil's Merlin
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Western Digital Caviar Black Samsung 830 Series 2.5 inch 256 GB Sata III MLC... ASUS BW-12B Blu-Ray Optical drive XSPC Raystorm CPU BLock 
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Windows 8 ASUS PB278 Sidewinder X4 Corsair AX1200 
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Caselabs SM8 Logitch G500 8 Noctua NF-F12 PWM Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 Full Copper Quad 120mm R... 
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XSPC Tank Reservoir - Laing D5 / MCP655 w/ Blu... Koolance Fittings  MCP655 Pump Tygon 2475 Ultra 
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HEATKILLER® GPU-X³ GTX 690 HEATKILLER® Geforce GTX 690 Reference Design GP... 
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