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[Build Log] Project Exquisite Ascension

post #1 of 10
Thread Starter 
Trigger is pulled on the following:


I expect some modifications will need to be made as the build progresses, but this should be a solid starting point for my vision.

This project finds its namesake in that I am ascending into four new areas of computing with this build:

1) Water Cooling, this is my first water cooled build. I hope to increase my knowledge and skills of custom PC building.

2) The primary goal of this machine is for it to act as a modest entry point into Bitcoin mining (for those of you informed, I have ASIC's on order, this is a stop gap measure) - thus the ATI cards versus Titans - also I suspect 9000 series is around the corner, so I stepped back from 7990's in anticipation of the new crop.

3) The secondary goal is gaming related. Currently I game on an enterprise grade Dell notebook, so that is to say - I do not game much at all. This build is intended to not just bring me back into the realm of gaming, but to take it to a new level with a 5 x 1 eyefinity setup.

4) Finally, there appears to be a certain art to water cooling builds. I have never considered myself particularly creative - my hope is that this project will drive my creativity to new heights.

Parts should start pouring in next week. Now - to find a decent photography device before than...
post #2 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well, tiny update still waiting for parts to arrive. I have the stand and a new tool kit so far. I had the screens from Amazon, but returned them for the cost advantages NCIX was offering - so those will arrive Friday.

I am pondering switching out the stock thermal padding that comes with the HeatKiller for something of almost assuredly higher grade. I am not certain what the thermal conductivity of the stock pads are - but I see Fujipoly has an option at 17 watts / m K. Unfortunately, they appear to only offer a minimum 0.5mm thickness @ FrozenCPU whereas if order direct you can get as low as 0.3mm +-0.1mm.

Problem being, I need 0.25mm according to HEATKILLER instruction manual.

Does anyone know where I could get 0.25mm thick thermal pads with a high thermal conductivity?
post #3 of 10
Arctic silver compound is no longer on top of the thermal compound list.
post #4 of 10
Thread Starter 
So today my components arrived for the core system. Essentially everything ordered from New Egg.

Here are some box photos and assembled board photos.

I am currently testing components, going to run some benchmarks and see where the stock setup is at.

I did not realize the 3930k did not come with a HSF. So I had to run out to Fry's to get a cheapo. Unfortunately they did not
have a cheapo - the cheapest socket 2011 supporting HSF was $40. I found an open box and promised to return it once my testing was done.

Another interesting find for those considering the Gigabyte GA-X79-UP4. No on board power switch. I had to use a screw driver to jump the pins. Not something I recommend.

Fortunately, everything started up smooth. I had a USB thumb drive configured for boot and preloaded with Windows 8 Pro. The BIOS booted right to the drive and Windows 8 installation launched. The PSU is incredible. The fan is not even spinning. Not that the load is high - but from memory all of my previous PSUs had the fan spinning at all times.

When I disassemble the test setup, I will post individual component picks.

Still wondering about those thermal pads if anyone knows.
post #5 of 10
Thread Starter 
Here are some benchmarks:

BitCoin Hashing - cgminer - 1.2 GH/S (for those interested it amounts to about 1 BTC every 60 days. Pretty slow. But like I said before, its just for gaining experience until ASICs are delivered.

PCMark07 - 5547

3DMark11 (Performance) -P14847
post #6 of 10
Thread Starter 
All components have arrived. The monitors arrived today, I will be modding the monitors by stripping off the casing and possibly internal casing as well, to minimize bezel width. I chose the BenQ's because aside from being a good price and the right specifications, the VESA holes are internal and not just on the plastic casing.

More pics:

I took the front I/O Panel off the Corsair 900D because I have 5 drive bay devices (BlueRay Player, 1 fan controller, a 2 bay fan/temp readout, and a 1 bay flow readout). The Corsair 900D only has 4 external 5.25" drive bays. I am thinking about mounting the front I/O Panel on top which would require cutting through the top grate - alternatively, I might do a custom power On button and run the wires through the grate without cutting it (or at least the outer most portion) and forgo the rest of the front I/O.

post #7 of 10
Thread Starter 
Time for an update:

I have mounted the front panels, fan/temp/flow readout/control.

No problems there, although the molex connectors on the Lamptron Fan Controller seemed out of Tolerance, and did not fit the female connectors on the 1200i. I really had to jam them together and I am worried about the connections not being solid enough. I am debating whether or not to order the tool for popping pins out of a molex along with some new connectors to make sure the connections are solid. Opinions welcome.

In thinking about my flow, I realized I am very keen on right angles and symmetry. I had originally envisioned tubing bending at near right angles, but kinks are too much of a problem in that original vision - so I have ordered more 90 degree Monsooon adapters and some extenders to achieve the clean design I am aiming for. To that point, my motherboard is on hold for now and I am focused on other aspects of the build.

I have de-bezeled three of the monitors so far. I was somewhat disappointed to find the metal caging for the electronics in the monitors was not bonded in anyway to the LCD panel. I picked up some Gorilla Epoxy and am using it to bond the caging along with copious amounts of electrical tape.

So far it appears to be working - Here is the first monitor mounted to the WSGF Edition stand - I realize its a bit crooked, I do not have the right tool to adjust that angle yet.

De-bezeling the BenQ 24 inches was a bit tricky in that the monitor controls are cap. touch on a very long and thin PCB adhered to the front inside bezel. Fortunately, PCB is quite flexible and if I am very careful, I can pry it off the adhesive a little bit at a time until it is out (Special thanks to Matt Sch. for letting me watch him in the lab all those times and teaching me patience with deconstruction). Then I use some electrical tape to adhere it to the back of the LCD panel for easy access. Here is a shot of the PCB. As for the USB ports, I velcro those onto the back of the LCD panel as well in case I want to access them.

Now, I am certain I want my dual reservoirs side by side, looking at the included mounting mechanism and the 900D, it looks like it is intended to only have one resevoir mounted, though the space will clearly fit two side by side. So I bought some sheet aluminum, and black paint and fashioned a bracket that would hold both resevoirs side by side using the included mounting mechanisms.

Still not sure what I am going to do about the front I/O panel w/ power button. I am trying to get some flourascent blue acrylic to create a shelf for my tubing to disappear into for the radiator and for the pump to rest on. If anyone has experience drilling 1/2" - 1" holes in acrylic (plexiglass) I am looking for pointers.

Anyhow, will update at the end of the week once I have the new pieces delivered.
post #8 of 10
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post #9 of 10
Thread Starter 
Ok time for an update.

My reservoir bracket required modifications. The graphics card bumped up against the left side reservoir so I had to install extending plates onto the bracket to move the reservoirs to the right. Unfortunately, this created stress on the arms and they were not parallel - so I had to add more aluminum supports to the arms. They are more stable and only slightly to an angle. If they angle gets larger after I add coolant to - I will add additional bracing to help align the reservoirs. As far as durability the bracket is pretty solid.

Here is what it looks like now.

I plan to get that angle fixed one way or another - if I ever own a blowtorch, I might use thicker sheet metal and rebuild the bracket - for now thin aluminum will remain the solution.

I have since taken the protective sheeting off the plexiglass and drilled a hole in the middle for the tubing to run from the GPU to the rad in the basement with the flow meter half way. The rad assembled look as follows: The Gelid fans are front facing.

You can see on the last photo my drain for upkeep on the rad outtake.

A couple extra pics:

I have two more fittings coming on Wed and I will complete the flow and perform some testing - so expect another update soon thereafter.
post #10 of 10
Thread Starter 
Well. Here is my video of the final build.

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