Incredibly picture heavy update! This is a couple days crammed into one post. I got a lot of work done, with disappointing results at the end...
Well to start off day 1, I needed to make a trip up to FrozenCPU. Boy, what a long 10 minute car ride! Picked up some crystal links (that I never end up using), a backplate for my third 7970, some wire, connectors, tires, and other miscellaneous parts. Oh, and three FC-Bridge Singles!
The first thing I was most excited about was drilling LED holes for the waterblocks on my graphics cards. For this, I used 3mm white LED's with a standard 2-pin power connector.
Some shots of my waterblock. Trying to get proficient with my father's new Nikon professional. I'd love to make photoshop a hobby of mine, so I also took shots of these pictures in raw NEF format as well.
Glad press-and-seal to the rescue! Wanted to play it safe and avoid any thermal pads from getting damaged/dried out. I tend to trash the area I work in when building PC's.
I marked the spots for the LED holes. I can't remember what the measurements were exactly, but each hole is drilled about 1/3 of the length of the block from each end.
To make sure I didn't go too deed, I wrapped electrical tape around the drill bit I was using. I wish I could remember the drill bit size because it worked perfectly.
One block finished and connected. Two more to go!
Let me know what you think! I don't have any pictures of all the cards installed with lights on unfortunately. I did set it up, but forgot to pull out the camera.
While I wasn't excited for this next part, it needed to be done. My fan cabling down in the bottom area of the case was a disaster, and since I have two quad radiators there isn't a whole lot of room for cable management. In order to fix this, I needed to put my sleeving hat back on. Because each of the fan's has the same length wire, but is a different distance away from the fan hub, I needed to cut, crimp, and re-sleeve each fan to a custom length.
^Tools of the trade!
Before and after shots of one side. I did the same process for the other quad radiator. Boy was it tedious, but worth it!
Another issue in the last "version" of this rig was the hard drive area. I got super lazy/overly excited when I was putting the hard drives in so I simply used the SATA power cables that come with the AX1200 white cable kit. Boy was it ugly. Although nobody will see it, having a proper hard drive power cable will help cable management drastically. For this, I used 18AWG white wire and some white SATA E-Z Crimp connectors.
Lining up the connectors for wiring!
I sleeved the tail end of the cable and attached a molex connector to the end.
I went ahead and tested the cable with a PSU tester. While I'm confident with my work, I can't afford to blow the drives. After confirming it worked, it got installed and hooked up.
'This next part was even more tedious than making custom length fan cables: attaching all the fan LED's to a switch. I used the same PCB boards I used for my fans, but 2-pin for the LED's. The thing to note about the LED's on the Bitfenix fans is that they do NOT need power; they are supplied their own power by the 12V line on the fan connector and only need to have a connection completed.
I'll be honest, trying to set this up was a complete . Each fan LED cable has to be facing the same direction on the PCB block for the block to actually work; otherwise the fans make connections with themselves and turn the LED's on just from attaching the cable to the PCB board. While this seems simple, it took me awhile to figure out...
Using some cheap PET sleeving, I sleeved the LED fan cables in white and used them to attach each and every fan. The bottom 8 fans went on one PCB, while the the top four fans were on a separate PCB attached to my 5.25" bays (see later pictures).
I've had so much trouble with spade connectors in the past that I just decided to solder the leads onto my fan LED switch. The 2-pin connector attaches to the end of one of my PCB's, and the three pin power connects to the fan PCB, conveniently located right under the switch.
A shot of the fan LED PCB between the radiators.
Switch on! This is just a shot of the right radiator, but all of the LED's on each fan turn on.
The PCB for the top radiator was a little too tall to fit behind the 5.25" bays, so I had to take off the mounting plate, insulate the bottom of the PCB and remount it with double-sided 3M tape.
Finally tied down those pesky PWM lines from my pumps.
Installed QDC's to the bottom radiators just in case. They also serve as a godsend when I need to drain the GPU loop (which has been happening more often than I'd like to admit).
Motherboard and RAM installed!
Just a fun shot!
The only things inside of my all white case were the blue and purple lines for watercooling, so I wanted accents somewhere else. I purchased these lock ties from FrozenCPU when I went up. Blue is for the GPU cables, purple for the CPU cables, and black for everything else.
Cable management isn't as bad as it used to be thank god!
Loop filled. As you can see, I couldn't use the crystal links I had planned on using, the spacing just isn't right on the Z77 motherboards. I had to get creative using a single and dual parallel bridge from EK, since they don't manufacture a Z77 bridge in Plexi, only Acetal.
Pictures of the front bay with the GX Typhoon installed!
The bad news:
I had originally had issues with my motherboard causing an infinite restarting loop one night while watching a movie. At first I thought I needed to RMA the motherboard, but after much troubleshooting, the culprit lies with two of my three graphics cards being completely dead. Unfortunately I figured this out after all the work I did with my cabling, etc, so the rig is completely torn down at this point. What makes it even worse is that I'm headed 1,000 miles away from home to college soon, so I don't have time to wait for the RMA process to be complete. I'll have to purchase new 7970's and use those, then sell my RMA replacements and bite the bullet on the difference. Oh well, I guess there's nothing I can do...
Hope you guys enjoyed the update, and thanks for everyone who's subbing! I'm actively searching out some reference 7970's (or 7950's with 7970 PCB's) for replacements and should have them by the end of the week.