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[Fractal Design Arc Mini] A Micro-ATX Watercooling Journey

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
Hey Guys,

I built this rig a few weeks back and didn't really take many photos while I was building it.. But now that I'm looking at changing it up a bit more I figure better late then never!

My goal was to build something small and powerful, I looked into Mini-ITX alot but eventually settled on a Micro-ATX build which resulted in the below parts..

The Hardware!
**Spoiler for those that don't want to read the wall of text** Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
CPU - Intel i5 3570k (Delidded)
MOBO - Asus Maximus Gene V
RAM - 16gb (4x4) G.Skill Trident X 2400
GPUs - 2xSapphire 7950 (AMD Reference Cards)
Case - Fractal Design Arc Mini
SSD - Samsung 256gb 840 Pro

The first part I settled on was the Fractal Design Arc Mini, I loved the look of this case and after some research into some other builds using the same case I went out and ordered one. For those that don't know what it looks like...





After I settled on a m-ATX build I originally wanted to stick with Gigabyte for the motherboard, I love there boards and I've never had one fail on me.

However... Because I wanted to run crossfire I wouldn't be able to actually fit all of my parts in the case.. So I settled on the ASUS Maximus Gene V, lets hope it fairs better then every other ASUS board I've purchased.. (I've had to return all of them on warranty..)



Having picked out the hardest bits, I then settled on two of the Sapphire 7950 AMD Reference cards, These seem to overclock pretty well so I snapped up two!



After I had all the main parts picked out I had a hard time working out what RAM to buy, I'd love some of that Samsung Green Magic RAM but getting it in Australia is just too slow. After a bit of research I settled on the G.Skill Trident-X 2400 4gb dims, they also allow me to remove the red fins from the top to make room for large heatsinks etc. The stock timings and speed of this kit seems pretty decent at 2400mhz 10-12-12-30 2T, hopefully we can get them up to 2600mhz~ with decent timings!



The cooling!
I wanted a good overclock out of this build and ideally I wanted it quite, so water really was the only option!

I originally thought this would of been harder to work out then it was but I settled pretty quickly on the below parts.

XSPC Raystorm CPU Block
XSPC D5 Dual bay Reservoir
D5 Vario Pump
2xRX240mm Radiators
2x EK FC7950 Waterblocks with back plates
Red Primochill Tubing

The core of this loop comes bundled as a kit (Raystorm D5 RX240 Kit) which made my life alot easier, the face plate for the res also fits in with the case very well so I'm overall pretty happy with the kit thus far!













And that concludes stage 1..
Edited by S3phro - 4/19/13 at 9:18pm
Renegard - H20
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Renegard - H20
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post #2 of 6
Thread Starter 
**Update**

So I've been toying with the idea of fitting a 360mm radiator in the top of this case for a while... Anyway I started playing with sketchup and one thing kind of led to another..

So far I've come to the conclusion I wont be able to use the xspc + 25 bay res if I run a 360mm radiator in the top. I'm a little disappointed but after measuring it up and doing some playing around in sketchup I just can't see it fitting properly. The case is 484mm deep, most 360mm radiators are 400mm deep and the xspc dual bay reservoir with the pump is at a minimum 10cm deep when you include the back of the pump (If someone can prove me wrong then I'd be over the moon but I'm not holding my breath!)

Initially, by keeping the xspc res I'd be able to create a fill port in a really nice position on the top of the case, this wouldn't be seen from the outside once the top case panel is on + it'd blend in nicely if it was matte black.

Then I got another brain wave! If I put a 360mm rad in the top, I have a spare 240mm rad to play with. Now I love the idea of fitting a radiator sandwhich in the front of this case, and it kind of dawned on me that I could integrate an epic radiator sandwhich into my side panel plans.

To give you an idea, and a basic idea of why my reservoir on the top wont work here's my sketchup drawing.

Note: I know the psu is upside down but I've really just got it in there to give me an idea on size since I want to grab a seasonic 1000w psu in the near future. Also the reservoir is slightly different to mine but it does give me a reasonbly realistic idea of how it would fit with the 360mm rad. Also, the res and the front radiators do fit because I have a rx240 sitting under the entire 5.25" bay at the moment.





I must say, for some reason I really like the look of that rad sandwhich 0_o

Regardless of what I decide to do about my res the 5.25" bays are going to either be removed completely or shortened dramatically. I'm really just not sure what I'd do with those 5.25" bays without the res there, it looks really nice.. frown.gif

I'm also going to swap out my piping for copper piping, not sure whether I'll get it chrome coated afterwards but it's definitely going to happen!

Anyway enough ranting, I'm gonna work out how I'm going to fit this stuff!
Renegard - H20
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Renegard - H20
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post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
Allright so after measuring everything up properly I've confirmed there is no way I can keep the XSPC res and d5 pump combo.

At the moment I'm thinking a tube reservoir just above the power supply would work pretty well, and I can easily fit the d5 pump with a top in front of the power supply. If I go with this approach I'll probably section off the power supply and pump with some acrylic awesomeness!

With the 5.25" bays I'm looking at either creating a cover to place there to make it look pretty, or some sort of fan controller if I don't go with PWM fans.

Anyway.. Back to the drawing board!

EDIT: After a bit of research I'm looking at using one of the XSPC Lain D5 Reservoirs as below. Using this I should be able to keep the case looking a bit neater, I could potentially hide it from view with some acrylic segmentation that I mentioned earlier so that it ends up hidden along with the power supply.



EDIT: This is the tube reservoir I'd be looking at using, I'd like to keep height to a minimum so I don't have to worry about the reservoir hitting the top radiator. EK-RES X3 110


Edited by S3phro - 4/17/13 at 4:51am
Renegard - H20
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Renegard - H20
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post #4 of 6
Is there any way you could share the Arc Mini sketchup model. I have been looking for one forever cant find one.

In the next year or so Il be attempting a liquid cooled system in this box and want to model it. I'm just not good at modeling major components.
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
Sure thing mate, I'll send you a pm once I've finished it.

It isn't too hard to do yourself to be honest, it probably only took 20 minutes to make the basic part of the case.
Renegard - H20
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Renegard - H20
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post #6 of 6
Any updates?
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