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AeroStrobe Build Log - Complete

post #1 of 2
Thread Starter 
*With the exception of the Lessons Learned section, my build log is now complete! Feedback and comments are welcome!

Well here it is... I've made the leap to make my computer system public. I'm probably not going to work on it much more, so I might as well share what I have!

The Idea behind the AeroStrobe was to develop a complete system for sound and computing; a workstation where I can rock out to my music and do coding and CAD work with elegance.

Since I'm a systems engineer, the first thing I did was set my requirements:
-Silent operation for the music
-Power enough to run Solidworks and Matlab without killing the system
-Not cost me a fortune
-Be upgrade-ready for future

This is my first ever build. I had no idea what I was doing. And now I'm pretty proud of it.

So after lots and lots (read: lots and lots) of designing, research (trolling these forums), saving money and trying a few things out, I now use the following components:
For silent operation, I decided to get a NAS for all of my data, and do a water cooling loop.
Main Computer: (Click to show)
  • Phenom II x4 955 BE
  • Gigabyte GA-990FXA-UD5 Mobo
  • 4 x 4GB Corshair Vengance 1600 (I'll update when I remember more)
  • 2 x SapphireTech Radeon HD 6970's
  • Claro Halo XT
  • Seasonic Platinum 1000
  • Mushkin Chronos Deluxe 120 GB Sata III SSD
  • A-DATA S511 60GB Sata III SSD
  • Scythe 5.25" SSD drive dock / memory stick reader / usb port / esata port dock thing
  • Some random HP DVD-Burner Sata drive
  • Lian Li PC-C33 Case
NAS & Network hardware: (Click to show)
  • QNAP T-219 II Dual-Bay NAS
  • 2 x 1TB Western Digital Caviar Green HDD
  • Netgear R-6300 Wireless router
Water Loop Hardware: (Click to show)
  • Apogee XT CPU Water Block
  • 2 x Danger Den (i think) 6970 rev B GPU water Blocks
  • Black Ice Stealth GT 240 Radiator
  • 4 x Yate Loon D12SL-12 fans
  • Swiftec D5 Pump
  • Danger Den Res
  • Monsoon Free Center Compression Fittings
  • Clear Tygon Tubing - 11/16" OD x 1/2" ID
  • 4 Sets of Koolance Quick Release fittings

I also said that I wanted to make this into a good music system, so I will also list the stereo Equipment I have
Stereo System Hardware: (Click to show)
  • Martin Logan ElectroMotion Speakers
  • Martin Logan Dynamo 500 Subwoofer
  • Emotiva XPA-2 Power Amplifier
  • Emotiva XDA-1 DAC/Preamp (no longer used)
  • Radio Shack interconnects (oh yeahhhhh)
  • Audio Technica AT-LP60 Turntable
  • Vintage Pioneer SA-5200 Amp for the turntable

But what I decided to do with these was base them around a unifying design. What I came up with is what I call AeroTower (see the pattern yet?)

Here is the build, mostly in pictures, of the construction of the of the main tower (shelves, really) that holds most of the equipment:
AeroTower Build Log: (Click to show)



  1. Square holes were drilled into the arms (yeah with a fancy tool) and the arms lock into place:



  2. Once I had the arms finished, I coated and painted them, and tapped them for the spikes for the shelves. I lost the pictures of me doing this; How I lost them is beyond me.

    Spiking the shelves helps eliminate any resonance (rattling) that the arms (metal) and shelves (glass) can generate when they're around loud sounds. It also makes the system stable for the turntable at the top.

    Here is the shelves once they were completed:

I don't have a good picture of the system with all of the shelves empty, and I'm not going to take everything off, that would suck. But you get the idea.

But the tower doesn't house everything. I also made a smaller tower; one that I am quite proud of. This small tower is for water cooling, and holds the rad, res and pump.
AeroCooler Build Log: (Click to show)

  1. Purple Heart is toxic when you cut and sand it because of the oil in it. Be careful with it and wear a mask. The results are worth it though.


  2. For the arms I used 3/4" L-channel aluminum from home depot that I cut and bent, and then used epoxy to hold in shape. I didn't prime the metal before I sprayed it; the paint is chipping off. I should re-do it someday. When I have time.
The idea behind this was to put the cooling system in a different room from the rest of the equipment using tubing and hoses throughout the house to get the noise away fromt the system. Truth be told though, these low-power fans in push-pull are extremely quiet, and I can't hear it running when I stand ten feet away. I'm very pleased with it!

The computer itself was quite a challenge. I had to bulkhead the sides to get the water in and out of the computer, and I also learned that I suck at sleeving cables.
AeroStrobe Build Log: (Click to show)

1.
2.
3.
4.
This is one of the two holes I drilled into the side of the case to allow the water loop to enter and exit the computer. I then put a bulkhead in. It worked really well, even though I didn't entirely have the right and cleanest equipment for the job.

5.
6.
I also cut out a hole so I could have access to my soundcard. You will see in picture 22 & 23 that I changed out the original OP-AMP's that came with the CLARO HALO and put in some very nice, audiophile-grade op-amps. Kind-of like swapping out tubes in a tube amplifier, it was fun to change the sound of my system this way. The sound from this card is impecable, ps.

7.
8.

9.
10.
11.
12.
13.
14.
15.

So yeah, I suck at sleeving. I just wanted the cables shorter, but that turned out to be a daunting task because the Seasonic 24pin power things goes into like 18 pins on the PSU, so it's not a 1:1 cable replacement. So if you want special sleeving for a seasonic PSU, it may need to be done real pro like.

16.
17.
18.

Here is the final assembly:

19.
You will see, right above the optical-out and below the left fan, a 4-pin molex slot. I put that there so I could send power to the external water cooling tower with the blue cable I sleeved.

These fans only kicked on when the NB got too warm, which is close to never.

20.
21.
Yes, cable management was a disaster. I never figured it out. But I don't really care anymore.
22.
23.
24.
25.
26.
27.

In the front of the computer I have a scythe multi-port hub. It holds the two SSD's for the comptuer. One SSD is for the OS, while the other holds all program files. All actual data is stored on my network drive, the NAS.

This is very convenient for back-up, as I can take out the Program files, do a norton ghost from a CD to another drive that fits in that slot, and then repeat for the other drive. It is also nice for maintenance, and whenever I am away I can take out the drives and put them in my safe for peace-of-mind.

Lastly, I would Like to mention some of my lessons learned, which I feel is important because this was my first build:
Lessons Learned (Click to show)
  • When you choose a Mobo, go to the manufactures website and look at the compatible memory list. I didn't even know it existed, and that wasted a good two weeks and $50.
  • Be confident, but make haste slowly. It's important to do it correctly, especially with water cooling, so just double-check things like whether the memory is seated properly, or that all of the fittings are good-n-tight.
  • Use distilled water for your first build. It saved me on three sepearate occasions when my mobo got drenched during leak tests.
  • **** Many, Many more to come

Here is the final assembly: I really do need to get a camera.






Edited by steezebe - 2/16/13 at 2:42pm
AeroMini III
(20 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
intel i7 4790k ASUS IMPACT VII XFX R9 295x2 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Samsung 840 Evo D5 Vario Pump XSPC Reservoir Black Ice 160 Radiator 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Black Ice Stealth GT 240 Radiator EK WB ASUS Impact MOBO Waterblock EK WB 295x2 Waterblock BitFenix PWM Fans - White 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 10 Pro Acer T272HL Logitech K800 Seasonic Platinum 1000 
CaseMouseAudio
Corsair Air 240 Corsair M65 HiFiMeDIY Asyncronys USB DAC 
  hide details  
Reply
AeroMini III
(20 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
intel i7 4790k ASUS IMPACT VII XFX R9 295x2 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Samsung 840 Evo D5 Vario Pump XSPC Reservoir Black Ice 160 Radiator 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Black Ice Stealth GT 240 Radiator EK WB ASUS Impact MOBO Waterblock EK WB 295x2 Waterblock BitFenix PWM Fans - White 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 10 Pro Acer T272HL Logitech K800 Seasonic Platinum 1000 
CaseMouseAudio
Corsair Air 240 Corsair M65 HiFiMeDIY Asyncronys USB DAC 
  hide details  
Reply
post #2 of 2
Thread Starter 
The above computer is for sale (not the cooling tower or the big tower, just the case and everything in it) minus the SSD's. I'm trying to build my rep to sell it, but if anyone else has suggestions on how to get rid of it, that would be great!
AeroMini III
(20 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
intel i7 4790k ASUS IMPACT VII XFX R9 295x2 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Samsung 840 Evo D5 Vario Pump XSPC Reservoir Black Ice 160 Radiator 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Black Ice Stealth GT 240 Radiator EK WB ASUS Impact MOBO Waterblock EK WB 295x2 Waterblock BitFenix PWM Fans - White 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 10 Pro Acer T272HL Logitech K800 Seasonic Platinum 1000 
CaseMouseAudio
Corsair Air 240 Corsair M65 HiFiMeDIY Asyncronys USB DAC 
  hide details  
Reply
AeroMini III
(20 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
intel i7 4790k ASUS IMPACT VII XFX R9 295x2 Corsair Vengeance 
Hard DriveCoolingCoolingCooling
Samsung 840 Evo D5 Vario Pump XSPC Reservoir Black Ice 160 Radiator 
CoolingCoolingCoolingCooling
Black Ice Stealth GT 240 Radiator EK WB ASUS Impact MOBO Waterblock EK WB 295x2 Waterblock BitFenix PWM Fans - White 
OSMonitorKeyboardPower
Windows 10 Pro Acer T272HL Logitech K800 Seasonic Platinum 1000 
CaseMouseAudio
Corsair Air 240 Corsair M65 HiFiMeDIY Asyncronys USB DAC 
  hide details  
Reply
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