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[Build Log] Fantome Nadir (800D)

post #1 of 68
Thread Starter 
Posting a log here to keep track of my progress and possibly contribute to the community. First time watercooling here - I hadn't even intended to watercool, but Corsair's refurb sale tempted me so. So here we are, 5 months and 3 cases later, with a giant 800D. Cable management was a PITA switching cases so often!

As a first time WCer, I hope to share my (in)experience and stumblings. There's so much information out there.

The Build:
Pieced and revised over the course of three weeks two months+, my master reference. Schematic will be updated as change of plans occur.

Build will be primarily black and copper, with carbon fiber and silver/nickel and possibly white accents. It will also feature copper tubing to match heatkiller blocks.

Part list: Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
  • Intel 3930k
  • Asus Rampage IV Extreme
  • 32GB Corsair XMS 16GB 2000 C9
  • XFX 7970 Black Edition x 3
  • Samsung 830 256GB x 2
  • Seagate 7200.11 1.5TB
  • Creative X-Fi Titanium HD (pending removal)
  • Seasonic X1250
  • Corsair 800D
  • Sony Optiarc DVD R/W
  • Lamptron FC9

Watercooling gear:
  • Koolance 380i
  • Koolance RIVE Full Block
  • Heatkiller 7970 with Backplate x 3
  • Heatkiller GPU-X Multi-link Adapter
  • Alphacool NexXxOs UT60 480mm x 2
  • Bitspower Tank Z-Multi 150 POM
  • Swiftech MCP655 with Bitspower Pump Top and Mod Kit x 2
  • Bitspower C47 Multi-Link Adapters x 16 (tentative; minimum 4)
  • MPC12-G2 12mm Nickel-plated Brass Push Fitting x 14 (tentative, maximum 26)
  • Bitspower 90 Degree Dual Rotary Adapter x 4
  • Bitspower 45 Degree Rotary Adapter x 7
  • Bitspower 7.5mm Extension Adapter x Many
  • Koolance Dual VID Adapter
  • Alphacool Pass Through Fittings x 6
  • Koolance VL3N QDC sets x 2
  • Gentle Typhoon AP-15 x 16

Here's some pictures before:
500R, "finished" as of February 2013

800D in pre-teardown state. Noctua fans haphazardly thrown in.

And as of last week, the loot slowly dwindled in:

And Monday a giant box came in with the rest of Phase I:

The first setback already, the UT60 only came with 12 30mm and 12 35mm screws, enough to only mount 6 fans. rolleyes.gif Luckily PPC took care of it right away, stuff should arrive by Friday.

I couldn't resist, so I assembled the pump first for space mockup in the case. It's a beautiful thing.

To begin working on the 800D, I had to transfer parts (again) back to the old 500R. Quite a few people on Guts thread got understandably annoyed rolleyes.gif

Side note: this is the MOST silent computer I've ever run. Since I didn't bother connecting any power/HDD LEDs, I wouldn't be able to tell if its on if not for the monitor.
Since the 7970 Sapphire was not reference, it was the first to go. I shall miss it, it ran cool and quiet at 57C under load on air.

And the masking begins:

Just as planned in measurements. 22mm offset front (front plate off), 23mm offset rear.

Radiator mock-up. Pencil lines will be where I gut the case.

And carnage. Used a dremel at first. It was slow and tedius, lines sort of wobbly. ABS steel ate through a wheel in no time. Switched to a jigsaw - finished the rest in 15 minutes. Dremel a pilot hole, let the jigsaw do the rest. To future case modders, wear earplugs. I got some after my first side and my ears were still ringing hardcore. (Obvious in retrospect...)

After a ton of filing, lines are pretty smooth and straight.

In a hurry to see what the case looked like without the tape, I removed the tape without remembering to drill in the mounting holes. DOH! Looks like I will have to retape and remeasure tomorrow. That's tape residue, not paint flaking. Although it wouldn't really matter, as the Koolance shroud covers all imperfections.

Also, I've found out the screws that come with the UT60 - M3 x 30/35mm, their heads are only 5mm in diameter. The screw holes for the Koolance are also 5mm in diameter, essentially making the Alphacool copper screws useless. What's a good solution? Hunt down M3 screws with a bigger head? M3 nuts?

Tomorrow's plans:
- Tape and drill shroud mounting holes
- Mock-install radiator - I think the copper stop plug is preventing the radiator from mounting flat and flush. Will have to cut when necessary.
- Possibly notch more of the case to give stop plugs clearance.
- Go to Home Depot to find some M3 30mm screws, preferably Philips head and >6mm head diameter, and pick up some metal mesh sheets and tube cutters along the way.

Future plans:
- Get some biocide. Eventually.
- Order 700D windowless side panel for bottom 480rad.
- Mount PSU to front, drill out all the stupid HDD cages on the bottom.
- Cut rear panel of hotswap bay to allow for PSU cables to hang out.
- Find pantyhoses.

I'm waiting for the 7970 with waterblock to appear, then the build will kick into high gear. Stay tuned for more failures yet abound. smile.gif
Edited by sakerfalcon - 6/1/13 at 12:22am
post #2 of 68
Looking good, keep up to good work biggrin.gif
post #3 of 68
Ah, another 800D modder smile.gif Super excited for your build and to see the final results! I was contemplating whether or not to to a push pull configuration on top for my 800D. Very interested to see more pics and the progress.
post #4 of 68
Thread Starter 
Another day, another tackle at the problem. Minor update.

The mounting of the top radiator array is as follows: Koolance shroud > GT15 > Rad > GT15. The shroud sits on top of 800D. Long screws secure the shroud, GT15, and rad together. Slightly shorter screws secure the rad and bottom GT15s.

So it turns out that although the UT60 is indeed 60mm thick, that includes the stop plugs on both sides. For mounting purposes though, the radiator body itself is actually 58mm, with 1mm extra on top and bottom. The plug itself is ~3mm and is countersunk by ~2mm. So, that extra 1mm is giving me a bit of grief, since it will not fit flush on the Koolance shroud's bottom.

Here is a gap of 3-4mm to illustrate my problem:

And the shiny copper plugs, the cause of my grief:

In my moment of brilliance, I've decided that instead of notching the 800D / shroud further (cutting semicircles to clear the plug), or using spacers inbetween the shroud and fans, I've ordered some Silverstone air filters, which are about 4mm thick. That ought to solve all the clearance problems brought forth by the stop plug. Whether it'll actually solve the problem, we shall see. I needed air filters anyways.

And then another problem, although already well-documented. DOH! I'm going to have to buy some BP extension fittings.

Probably these 45 degree extenders:

I honestly think Bitspower should just include them with their top. It seems like a big design flaw. I've found some used BP fittings on the supercheap, so I think a few 45 degree extenders will be nice to make the loop look cleaner.
post #5 of 68
Thread Starter 
Another day, another update.

I've completely removed the innards of the 800D, removing the 5.25 bays, the hotswap cage, and the bottom HDD mounts. God f*ing rivets. I hate them. They're awful. Everything's doubly connected together with rivets. The bottom HDD cage was very hard to remove, and resulted in some fatalities on the mid-board itself. Towards the end I've resorted to a bit-o-violence and ripped the hotswap cage apart. rolleyes.gif Pictures will come tomorrow in better lighting.

In the meantime:

I've gone ahead and ordered from FrozenCPU:
- 4 x 7.5mm Bitspower extensions
- 4 x Bitspower 45 degree single rotary adapter

... and god were they fast on shipping, I ordered in the morning and they were in the mail in the afternoon. biggrin.gif

I've also ordered from Zorotools:
- 100 x M3 x 35mm screws
- 100 x M3.5 x 8mm screws
- 100 x M3.5 x 2.8mm hex nuts
- 1 sheet Preforated Steel Sheet, 22 gauge, 40" x 36", with 0.156 diameter holes
- 1 package of JB Weld.

Surprisingly, a flat $5 shipping.

This will turn into an interesting project. After two days of brainstorming I've found screws which will attach shroud > filter > fans > rad, WITH a head diameter of 6mm. This will allow them to sit over the shroud's holes, which are 5mm in diameter. This also bypasses any need for nuts (not that I'm in shortage of them anymore), or two-screw solution for mounting the top rad array.

As far as beautification goes, plans are to go full-scale with the preforated sheet to build some PSU/HDD enclosures and grilles, some (read: a lot) 3M 1080 Carbon Fiber Vinyl Wrap, and a can of Krylon 4290 black spray.
post #6 of 68
Hey sakerfalcon, looks like this is going to be a great build, so i'm subbed. biggrin.gif

I was just curious, you said your old Sapphire 7970 wasn't reference but are you sure that it wasn't compatible with the Heatkiller waterblock? Because i have a Sapphire 7970 Dual-X and i've been using that same water block on it with no issues, everything fits the card fine.
post #7 of 68
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by beanscene View Post

Hey sakerfalcon, looks like this is going to be a great build, so i'm subbed. biggrin.gif

I was just curious, you said your old Sapphire 7970 wasn't reference but are you sure that it wasn't compatible with the Heatkiller waterblock? Because i have a Sapphire 7970 Dual-X and i've been using that same water block on it with no issues, everything fits the card fine.

Was it the version with a black or blue PCB? My Sapphire was a blue PCB, which had an extra phase module which made it non-reference. To my knowledge Sapphire (like XFX) changed things halfway with a new model number yet still sold it under the same Newegg listing. The black PCB was reference, blue was not.

And so, the gutted case. The front hotswap bay lip and the four pegs (that held up the rubber pad) still needs to be cut.

Closeup of that f*ing rivet that caused so much trouble. The specks not immediately adjacent to the hole are pieces of metal, I haven't cleaned the case yet because more work needed to be done.

The carnage. I should bend that hotswap bay back. rolleyes.gif Basically, the four pegs are secured to the rubber pad, the cage is secured by those four bumps + 4 rivets in front, and the top is secured by rubber strips that are interlocked with the 5.25 bays above.

And then a minor change of plans: instead of mounting the PSU length-wise, I'm going to mount it width-wise. This will save up some space and allow the case to look a bit more clean. The PSU will intake from the front and exhaust out the side panel. I will build a half-enclosure to beautify the front, which conveniently will have a space wide enough to fit the tube returning to the reservoir from the bottom. Unfortunately, this PSU orientation limits the maximum length of the PSU - for example, an AX1200i is too long. I'd wager the maximum allowable length to be about ~176mm (227mm total space, 26mm for R/A CL13 plug, 25mm for all the PSU cables). I've sourced a right-angle CL13 plug locally for $1.75 + tax, so none of that $7 shipping BS.

Now onto the question of 3.5 drives: I've found out that they conveniently fit very snugly lengthwise in the 5.25 bays. The front 90mm will be saved for a future fan controller, limiting the maximum drives to be 3.

#1: Either vertical:

#2: Or horizontal:

The former would have to cut the little flanges on the side walls to allow for mounting of three drives, a bit of work. The latter horizontal would require zero work to mount them. Of course, holes will be cut to allow cables to be plugged in, but we're not stranger to destroying computer parts now. biggrin.gif

A quick check with radiator and fans reveal quite a bit of space let to spare:

#3: Or a third option entirely, which is to mount the HDDs after the PSU, inbetween the PSU and the pump. There's ~62mm of space, enough for two drives. This option I'll have to fab the HDD mounting mechanism and another cage to 'hide' them.

So, thoughts / opinions? Vertical mounting (#1) could give the best airflow, because there's fans pushing air down on the drives. Of course the 5.25 bays will be covered up nicely in its final metamorphosis. Community input is requested, since you're all better at this than I am. tongue.gif
post #8 of 68
Thread Starter 
Another periodical update.

The state of the case. I've discovered that the UT60 actually does not fit on the bottom of the 800D in the default position of the midplate. Not that it matters, because I've decided to build some backlit midplate. biggrin.gif Thus, new measurements were in order...

This is what $50something worth of acrylic looks like. Heavily inspired by Project Bright Panel's build, I've also decided to do three-layer backlit panel. No drawn illustration for now, but it will go thus: 1/8 thick mirrored (bottom) - 1/8 clear (mid) - 1/4 P95 matte finish. It will be bordered by some black acrylic panels and wrapped in CF. I've ordered some extra black panels for future projects or mounting.

Oh, I also picked up a CL13 right angle plug for the PSU. Less than $2 locally. I wish I could source all my components locally. Then this project will go a lot faster - 85% of the time I'm waiting for shipping. Anytime I want to do something I'm waiting a week for things to arrive, so lead time is horrible.

I've also received my 7970 with waterblock, but unfortunately has some case of staining, so some dismantling + vinegar is in order. frown.gif

And so concludes the updates for now. I've actually dremeled, sanded, and smoothed out the default 800D midplate, but that's totally irrelevant now. I'm just waiting for my CF and RGB LEDs to arrive, then we can have some fun wrapping things and having fun. biggrin.gif
post #9 of 68
Thread Starter 
Another update, and hopefully this will be of use to people who have corrosion problems.

TL;DR: Vinegar bath, then Brasso. Brasso WILL scratch your copper blocks.

I just hit a whole bunch of problems in a row. It's incredibly frustrating and ended up sucking up all the time that should have gone in furthering the build. To summarize:

  1. Heatkiller had huge corrosion problems. Still talking to original owner to see how to solve this.
  2. Second D5 pump has faulty speed controller which snapped when i tried testing it. I 'gifted' PP because he has outstanding feedback. f* me, right? Hopefully this will work out.

Going back to the first problem:

The Heatkiller looks beautiful from the outside. It's the most beautiful thing in the world, of copper and nickel. Feels quite hefty too! With the help of OCN, I figured out how to open it: There's a hidden screw under the decorative nameplate. It requires a two very small screwdriver and a pointy object to pry it open, using a little notch on the left.

And the block itself. Holy ****! A true horror story. The loop itself looks to have been run with ink.

At first, generous applications of Brasso were applied in hopes it would rub off easily. It did not.

The above picture was after a 30 minute scrubbing session with a cloth. Not pictured is the backside of the nickel plate, where similar corrosion formed an "A" shape from the two holes to the very left longish hole.

Then, I escalated to a generic hotel toothbrush + Brasso. It was immensely helpful in getting gunk out of the narrow channels, but the black stuff still stuck like crazy.

After a good deal o scrubbing I escalated yet again to a pan + vinegar. I used up the household's supply of vinegar, a bottle that's been sitting in the cabinets for over 7 years (at least). Chinese people don't like distilled vinegar (no flavor), we like red vinegar instead. thumb.gif

Take note of that smaller copper block, it's pitch black. T = 0 for vinegar.

T = 30 minutes. You can see bubbles as the mild acid kicks in.

T = 1 hour 30 minutes. Looking a bit better.

T = 1 hour 30 minutes. Small copper block for comparison.

T = 3 hours. Progress. (I checked back every 30 minutes to do some whimsical toothbrush action)

At this point two things occured:
1) Since it was 2am, and the situation was occuring, I decided to leave it overnight in vinegar.
2) A random thought occured to me that the tray was aluminum and you shouldn't mix aluminum with copper. I switched to a ceramic serving platter. I think that did more harm than good in retrospect. (Chem majors, feel free to chime in. I only deal in 1/16th inch increments. biggrin.gif)

T = 8 hours. This was the morning after.

Where last night looked alright if not for the awful corrosion within the channels, the outsides were rather unscathed. Now it seems the corrosion stuff did fall off the copper, but during the course of the night managed to reattach to the copper.

But, at least it provided a workable platform.

So the next couple hours (? a long time, and a lot of elbow grease later), it was a cycle of the following:
1) Apply Brasso generously

2) Scrub vigorously with toothbrush until paste turns grey or arms hurt

3) Rinse in water.

4) Does area look okay? If not, go back to 1)

(Above pictures many cycles in)

After more scrubbing...

After a LOT more scrubbing, things were looking remotely presentable. Plates are clean but scratched up. From afar they look good, but up close they look like ****. The sides and front, thankfully, did come off with just cloth + Brasso.

Left to do: Sand and buff! To be saved for another post.
post #10 of 68
Thread Starter 
Since I'm a bit busy, here's a sneak peek for all the one subscribers there biggrin.gif

If anyone needs some jeweler's rouge, let me know. I have a ton of it.
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