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[Project Log] "...Long Way to Neverland..."

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Introduction

Title needs some explaining.

I choose "project log" over "build log" because this log will not be tracking just my progress in one computer case, as is what a regular build log entails. I am starting with an open air bench, setting up hardware, playing with overclocks and allowing myself to just use my gear. While the hardware is on the bench, I will be taking a 600t and playing with it till it's in its final form. Then I will start moving hardware in and properly "building" my system. thumb.gif

I chose the project name based on a few factors, main inspiration is the complete sloth-like pace at which I have been working on this computer. I have a receipt for my 600t dated december 31, 2011. I joined OCN a couple months before that, and have been hanging around in the background reading posts and being absolutely amazed by what people have put together on this site.

This project has been on the back burner for years, it won't be done anytime soon, don't expect things to move quickly.

I am not going to be able to update this log on a regular basis, my plan is to have a progress report posted every sunday night. There are a couple delaying factors. First being that I have a few tools I can play with from my day job, but the work horse equipment I need I can only really access on the weekends. I have a neighbour with some pretty nifty stuff, he lets me borrow it from time to time If I am nice to him, which usually involves a 6-pack of beer dropped off every once and a while. Another factor is that I am living in a house that I am also renovating sporadically after work and during the free time I can find on weekends. And a Wife who doesn't mind my hobbies, but doesn't want to live in a Hole of a house either rolleyes.gif I like keeping her happy so I am limiting my time on this project.

This log is mainly for me to keep track of my progress and help keep myself on track, but I hope some of you get a bit of enjoyment out of it too biggrinsmiley.gif

band.gif "...nothing left to see here, but the waves out on the beach."
post #2 of 15
Thread Starter 
Table of Contents

Background, PC Hardware, DIY Open air test bench
Edited by NimbleJack - 9/4/13 at 5:10pm
post #3 of 15
Thread Starter 
Background

I have been lurking on OCN since the first time I heard about Folding, its been something I have wanted to contribute to since hearing about. Then I found the water cooling section on this forum, was completely blown away that people had been doing this for a long time. It immediately caught my attention,and I liked the idea because it relates to my day job.

So why not build a monster rig, set it up to fold 24/7 and water cool the hardware? Awesome, let's get on that.

Problem was, I have not owned anything high end, computer-wise, ever. Mostly just cobbled together frankenstiens 10 years out of date that let me browse the web and watch videos. I spent a ton of time sifting through this site, comparing hardware, comparing water cooling equipment. Lots of research on rads and pumps and tubing configurations, really liked the idea of copper piping. I found the case section pretty quick, fell in love with a few I really liked.

Reciept for 600t is dated dec 31, 2011, New years gift from my wife to me. Mips motherboard blocks for asus V gene purchased christmas of 2012. Pumps bought from BMaverick . I have been collecting water cooling gear before I had even made my final hardware choices. Yes, I am nuts biggrin.gif

The overall design of the 600t build was to be folding 80% of the time and gaming 20% of the time. Initially I wanted to build a pc that would allow me to play skyrim at full res with a whole bunch of mods running. Then I remembered I had a full time job and not enough free time to maintain a long play through of any rpg. Throughout my gaming career I have stopped playing rpgs after a couple weeks of starting them because I usually lose track of where I am and what I was doing. The time between gaming sessions tends to grow after the initial sit down until that memory gap grows too large to over come redface.gif

Anyways, currently playing endless space, FTL and bursts of star conflict. All games of which are easy to pick up and put down. except for endless space, that ones a little hard...put i take solace in the fact that I do a little better every time I start a new game over tongue.gif

Onwards!!!

PC Hardware

3770k
Maximus V Gene
7970 Diamond 3gb, reference
7970 Sapphire 3gb, reference
8 gb Samsung Wonder Ram
Mushkin 240 msata ssd
Cougar SX 850

Progress Report - DIY Open Air Test Bench

Both 7970s were purchased from this site, as well as the Sammy Ram. SSD and Gene board were recently purchased locally at NCIX. Cougar psu was purchased from NCIX's last 'warehouse sale' up in Markham, just north of Toronto. The sale was a complete bust for me, but I did walk away with the PSU and a D5 pump and pump top. Wasn't too unhappy with it. 3770k was purchased from microcenter in VA, they had it on sale for $250. Only cost me a favour from a relative down there, was very happy with that one biggrin.gif

Haha, there is actually an interesting backstory involved with getting everything together. I tend to order things and ship them down to my relatives in virginia, saves me on the cost of shipping from online stores. so things have accumulated there sporadically. I will put up another post eventually with pics of the piles and going down there to test hardware that showed up, I want to get up a post with where things are at right now first though.

Once all the hardware was home under one roof I took some time to put it all together, this was two weeks ago.

First steps

All spread out, I was installing OS and drivers, didn't really care how it looked





No main power buttons! Push to start, yes please!



Spend most of last saturday morning constructing an open air bench...

Material consisted of 3/4 particle board I had lying around, was extra wood from a different house project. I sacraficed one of the spare cases I had lying around for a motherboard tray. the supports for each floor were cut from a length of 1x1, aslo laying around. Screws and hardware were taken from left over ikea hardware, also laying around from a house project. PSU is secured with a number of "screws" on each side. it simply slides into position from above, screws have a rubber trim on them that sticks out a bit, which helps protect the paint finish. The peice of wood the motherboard tray is secured to is not fastened to the frame, it can be removed at any time.







I have a spot planned out for the dvd rom, as well as a spot for main power/reset/leds and a couple usb ports, but since I don't need them I don't know if I will finish that part off. It is not pretty, just functional, and that's all it needs to be for my needs thumb.gif

OS installed, drivers installed, steam, began playing with CPU/GPU-Z and HW Moniter. Everything is stock right now, I probably won't play with over clocks till everything is under water. As a reference here is where we are sitting right now.



I will also probably update the Bios of the 7970s so they match. I will probably OC them a bit once I get the folding software running, just to see what they can do in the mean time.

And in case you want to see whats in store for later...
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)







Good luck guessing what the plan is, and yes that is an RD-30. Disclaimer, RD-30 will not be making it into the final build.

Edited by NimbleJack - 9/4/13 at 5:10pm
post #4 of 15
Thread Starter 
Progress Report

I am planning to build a set of shelves for the watercooling gear to rest on and for the test bench to sit in as well, but I don't really know to exactly what scale I am going to be building it. So I wanted to assemble a couple of the components to have a rough idea of where I am going size-wise.

What I did last weekend, since I was home most of it, was start working on a stand for the rad, as well as a shroud for the fans which will be mounting to it. Again, it was just something temporary so I grabbed two 2 foot sheets of 28 gauge steel to play with. I am loath to put all this up, its a pretty embarrassing attempt, I made the massive mistake of not thinking far enough ahead or planning this out properly. It worked out in the end, kind of.

I justify all this tom-foolery by slapping the "proto-type" label all over this mess. Anyways, that's enough for now, on to the disaster tongue.gif

Also justified by the hope that people, myself included, will take note and not make the same mistakes. That's what history is for, right?

Water Cooling Hardware P1

Hardware Labs SR-1 560 (1)
SilverStone FHP141 (4, in pull)

DIY Rad stand attempt

Saturday Night

The plan here is to construct two large "L" brackets that would be mounted to the screw holes on either side of my rad. This is so that my rad can sit on a shelf somewhere and not have any crazy mounting requirements. A basic stand alone kind of set up, and again something temporary for now, as a template and idea spring board for something a little more permanent later.

I Started with two sheets of 2 foot by 2 foot square, of 28 Guage, approx 0.5 mm, sheet metal.



pretty standard stuff, this is standard thickness for ductwork I fiddle with from time to time. I didn't think anything of the thickness of the metal, first mistake for those keeping score at home redface.gif

First thing I did was go in search of a rad template for the 560 radiator I had. Found a great set of templates from MNPCTech http://www.mnpctech.com/Radiator_Grill_Templates.html All kinds of sizes and setups depending what you need and fan hole spacing too, great resource.



Printed out a few copies, cut and pasted like a two year old, taped off my metal and went and traced it all out.





The only measuring I did was in marking out the positioning of the "tabs" where the fan holes will be Only at this point did the ruler come out to measure and mark anything. Second Mistake, arguably the most MASSIZE...

I ended up flipping the Template over and taking a nail and hammer and marking the fan holes, According to the template some stupid 2 year old cut out, before drilling out the holes to attach to the rad.



Aaaaaand, here is the obligatory "Oh man, here's my stiff manly drink I was swigging away on while I was working" LOL I do like seeing what people are drinking, that wasn't really a shot at anyone wink.gif I thought I was doing really well, this was my candy of choice for the first night.



Here I am putting screws through the metal, the rad is behind and am just trying to match things up. Not everything matched up You don't say? Tell me about all the precise measuring you did at the very beggining rolleyes.gif



Made a few holes a bit bigger so everything would fit...



Marked up the finish on the rad a bit, I was actually surprised at how thin the paint was when I got a chance to look at it the first time. The SR-1 560 is painted with a matte black finish, which I really like. But it felt like it was very thinly applied, and I was pretty disappointed with the finish. Anyways, led to a bit of scratching around the fan holes, since I didn't tape the rad up at all either. Another Mistake.




And now for a different kind of meat grinder, since this is just temporary and not entering any beauty pageants, I opted for the quick and quiet use of tin snips to make my cuts





And that was my saturday night. I put my piece of metal down and walked away from this to spend a bit of time thinking about what I had done. At this point I realized I had made a few mistakes...I felt that the metal was too flimsy, I didn't think it would hold the rad up well. And I considered that I should have been working on this with the idea that it would be the "permanent' bracket setup. Why build this thing twice? I also realized that 24 inches wasn't wide enough for what I had it mind. If you look carefully, you will see that the rad template I cut out is not centered horizontally. Reason being that I had the bright idea that I should really avoid overlapping the threaded ports on the side. Second attempt is centered

So with all that good thinking in mind, I sat down the next night and set out to try again. Since I had all this flimsy metal that wasn't really going to work out I decided to make a metal template of the radiator cut out I had printed off. You know, so that I had something a bit easier to trace out...but of course I hadn't stumbled across the notion of actually measuring and marking where precisely everything is on the rad itself. Not yet anyways.

...The second verse is much like the first...

Sunday, and night

Bright idea time! Lets cut out like a 2 yr old the inside of the cut out and trace that out! like a 2 yr old Things will turn out so much better!



I wish I was kidding, seriuosly, shoot me know, what the hell was I smoking???

And more magic tin snips



checking fitment before drilling holes



Taking the remains of the cut outs to be used to mark hole positions, hammer and nail time Made myself a Sailor Jerry and sprite before I typed this, took a big gulp here



did a bit better this time with matching holes in the bracket to the rad holes. the pic is trying to hide a dark secret, the metal flexes in different spots to make this work



At this point I know I have made another huge mistake putting this together. I sat at the computer searching for a different template, you know, one that would work. Right, because the TEMPLATE was the problem, small sip here Its about this time here that I realize I have not sat down with a ruler and actually measured out distances or tried to actually square things up. Hardware lab's site has a break down of all the dimensions of all their rads, which I am sure everyone knows. But I didn't care to look for that info till that moment.

Moral of the story? Don't try and take the easy and quick way out. Templates are nice, templates are helpful, but rulers are your friends.

Right, moving on.

It is still sunday and I am pissed as all get out at myself, but I still want to salvage things. So lets see if this puppy will work, shall we?

Measure out about time how high I want the rad to sit, then take the distance between the two cut outs, since they are on one sheet together, and seperate them



Then we bring out the big guns and set about making our flat steel into proper "L" Brackets



Long cuts were done on the press, side bits were done with a pair of hand seamers, then I slapped them together to see how they looked



Not too shabby if I do say so myself. Alright, so a complete failure, but slightly redeemed. this will work out for now, we can revisit a more permanent solution later.



Now, since one bracket is centered on the metal and the other is not, I can not easily attach a shroud to each side. One shroud, one set of four fans in pull, for now.



Okay, so now let's work on that shroud, since we have one more piece of metal. I set this up diagonally along the metal so I would have a bit more depth on the sides



Oh, and lets actually measure things out and try and be precise



Again, Long folds with the press, had to fold over the edges to make it fit. should have just cut the tips off haha



Check measurements and fan placement, sorry, not much natural light.



Here we are placed, placement is good, and secured with a couple small self-tapping robbies



Left things at this point, I need to pick up a 5 and a quarter inch hole saw to make some decent circles in the metal.

Went to bed happy, definitely felt like I had salvaged some of my weekend into something usable thumb.gif
post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Progress Report

The weekend is not over yet! Saturday and Sunday are down and out, but we still have all day monday. Nothing is open, so I can't get myself a proper sized hole saw, and my tool-endowed neighbour is gone for the weekend as well, so no table saw.

I came up with a few things to do to get myself ready for getting things wet

Water Cooling Hardware P2
EK Supremacy, copper plexi, cpu block
EK-FC7970 CSQ, copper plexi, gpu block (2)

An odd Res, and 1500 Grit paper

DIY Res

On my wandering journey from having decided years ago that I wanted to fold a bunch of water cooled hardware, to today I have collected an odd ball group of gear that has sat collecting dust for a while.

One piece of hardware I have tucked a way is an Iwaki RD-30, not yet appearing in this film, which I will be using on this temporary setup for ****s and giggles. The RD-30 is an old giant from the watercooling community that I was happy to get my hands on. A lot of people with this pump (and pumps in general) complain about noise and vibration, and having spent quite a bit of time researching pumps and having a bit of hands on experience with some larger hardware I came up with a few ideas to help quiet things up.

My approach in this regard is a multi pronged attack. The pump will be sitting on a nice bit of dampening material to avoid impeller vibration. I want to have a large reservoir to make sure the pump is always fully fed, as well I want my res to have a large enough mouth connected to the inlet of my pump to cut down on cavitation.

I bring all this up to explain the next block of pics I have. What follows is a DIY reservoir, not as messy as my rad stand I promise



we have some 2L bottles of pop, already fitted with attachments to bring their threads to a more manageable NPT type, some 1" gear clamps, 3/4" npt to 1" barb 90 adaptors, 1" barb tees, and out of picture we have some 1" thick walled tubing

Oops, there it is. Also, a saw and guide bloke, since I left my tube cutters at a friends house I am doing some work on.



Setting up tees and adaptors, I cut down the barbs because I want to be able to mount the two bottles as close as possible



And our dual bottle contraption together...



That was as far as we could go with that idea for now. this plan delivers on a few things here: tons of water to feed the pump and a wide feed mouth for our pump. A little later I will build a mount for the pump and show you how this will all fit together.

Water Block Prep

Fiddling with the res chewed up a small bit of my day, so I figured why stop there, and tackled another part of the project I was looking forward to.

I purchased my cpu and gpu blocks from www.dazmode.com, local CDN water cooling shop. I chose to go with EK because I wanted to be able to see the fluid in my system, and I always liked the look of their plexi and copper blocks.

The problem I ran into when I was ready to order blocks was that I stumbled into this hobby before EK had come out with their CSQ line of products, and when the time came to order my blocks, I really didn't like what they had to offer. I was going to go with the aqua computer blocks for my gpus, and an older model, used, ek cpu block, but I didn't like the idea of mixing and matching looks. I didn't have a problem with the circles, so much as I had a problem with the frosting. I knew I could have sanded down the blocks (travelling from 150 grit down to 2000), but I felt that bare plexi was too...bare. I wanted something with some sort of design in the plexi.

I can't remember where I saw it first, but I have had this youtube clip bookmarked for a long time. The idea is a simple one, just lightly sand off the frosting. Use only 1500 and 2000 grit sand to take a little off the top and leave the design intact

And so, off we go!



Started off with the cpu, not going to unpack the box for you, but I will give you the obligatory "Before" shot



Polish and sand paper have been ready to go for a week or so now.



No busy body shots here, straight to the "After" pics, thank you very much




I changed the Jetplate to #3, since I had the block open.

You will also notice that I nicked the side of EK Coin. I started trying to pry it off with a knife I thought was thin enough, obviously it wasn't. If you are planning on doing this, absolutely make sure that you find yourself a very thin, very sharp and sturdy knife for the job. If you feel yourself digging into the coin at all, STOP. your blade isn't thin enough. I have a work knife that takes replaceable razor blades, tried my luck with it and the coin came off perfectly.

Shall we try a GPU block now?



I really like the look of this block, now lets see if we can actually clear things up a bit.

GPU came with a single link adaptor: Before



After



Big block in pieces, Before



Interesting tidbit about this guy, I assumed that I would only have to sand down the top and sides. The underside is also frosted...





Aaaand, After



All back together, adaptor and barbs installed as well, fully assembled and ready to go



Coin reattached, didn't knick this one tongue.gif



I stopped there with two out of three blocks completed for now.

My feelings on this process are mixed. On one hand, I am happy to be see the copper more clearly and as well the prospect of whatever fluid I use. On the other, I can more clearly see the swirls of the milling process that produced the blocks and other imperfections, in the acrylic, that go along with it. I, naively, expected the blocks to turn out crystal clear after the lightly sanding and polishing process.

Its hard to see in the pictures above, but if you look at the CPU before and after pics I think you can understand what I am talking about. Having not had a clear water block before, or any block really, I don't know whether imperfections like this were also visible. This may just be the way things are, and that's fine, once things are in and running I don't think even a really close inspection will reveal the swirls. But before I go through the process of taking apart the last gpu block, I am going to get a few more grits of paper and see if I can't smooth things out a bit more.

That's all I have for now. I don't know how involved I am going to get with that last gpu block, but if it turns out how I like then I will end up redoing all the blocks. we'll see how things go
post #6 of 15
awesome job so far. love the rad stand and polished csq thumb.gif
Lanu Moana
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Lanu Moana
(18 items)
 
Niecey
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CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i7 6700K Gigabyte Z170X Designare EVGA GTX 980 Ti Superclocked +  Corsair Vengeance LED Blue 32GB (4x8) 3200MHz 
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Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 Seagate 4TB SSHD XSPC Raystorm Pro EK XTX 360mm Radiator 
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Intel i5 6600K Gigabyte Z170X Gaming 6  EVGA GTX 980 Ti ACX SC+ Corsair Vengeance LED White 16GB (2x8GB) 3200MH... 
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Samsung 850 Evo 500GB Western Digital 2 TB Caviar Black Enermax Liqmax II 120S Windows 10 Pro 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
First FSM-270YG 2560x1440p IPS Panel Logitech Orion 610 Cherry Mx Red Corsair AX860 Cooler Master Masterbox 5 
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post #7 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Killa Cam View Post

awesome job so far. love the rad stand and polished csq thumb.gif

Thanks! biggrin.gif its been fun so far, i appreciate the comment
post #8 of 15
The Rad stand is excellent!
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post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by theseekeroffun View Post

The Rad stand is excellent!

Thanks for the support! Next one will be better thumb.gif
post #10 of 15
Thread Starter 
Progress Report - Still Rolling

So much for an update every sunday night tongue.gif

Quite a bit has happened since my last post., and I have accomplished close to nothing since then. Water cooling is no where near ready to go. Ran into a crippling windows error that puzzled me to no end. Stumbled across a killer deal too good to pass over. And stopped folding around christmas time. The machine has been off and stone cold for at least half the time between christma and now...

But I have a really good excuse, you see the stork is coming. And there was, and still is, a very long list of things that need to be done. There has been enough free time to get some fun in though, and during a few of those bouts I managed to be a little productive. One particular thing I did do was finally pull the 600T out of its box and fill her up.

The room I had setup the test bench in and stored all my collected knick-knacks has been completely re-purposed. All my gear is now out of that room and I have retreated to another space in the house. I took this oppurtunity to change the desk arrangement as well as sort through and organize (and toss) a bunch of random crap I have accumulated. Changing my setup was a good thing though, because I needed a chance to do a clean install of W7.

For whatever reason, my last installation of W7 had become damaged and wouldn't function reliably any more. I was getting random shut downs and would have to physically reboot my rig every time. Around christmas time was when I came to the end of the hunt for a fix, everything I researched pointed me towards a completing fresh install. So, two birds with one stone, vacate the old room and start EVERYTHING fresh! thumb.gif

End result, minus the repositioning of the computer looks like this.



And I have finally opened up this damn box for the last time!



Aaaaand, the beauty is released... It is still one of the best looking tower cases, in my opinion. I am very appreciative of the use of curves in the design, and the doors as well are a very nice touch.




Alright, now lets get into the meat and potatoes of this mess. Here she is doors off and empty, I have pulled both HDD chasis' as well as the mini stand they stood on.




Gear installed, a tiny bit of wire management, front panel bits connected, and fans organized.




Tried to get a little fancy and installed a pair of ap15s on the door mesh as intakes, and since I have a spare fan controller kicking around I tossed it in and hooked the two fans there. The case fans are all connected to the main knob on top. Front fan is intake, top and rear are exhaust, as it was originally set up out of the box. And since we are doing a fresh install of W7, might as well have a dvd drive as well, eh? rolleyes.gif




...The assembling process was finished about two weeks ago. The fun part started on the following weekend during the OS install. During the OS install I noticed that my sapphire 7970 would not display anything. You'll notice from the first image of the desk setup that I have two monitors ready to go. They are just 19", old lcds, but I figured, why not run them both, since I have them. I tried different monitors, tested the on-board graphics, checked hdmi ports, I couldn't figure it out and didn't have a ton of time to do so. When I did sit down to finish going through the process of installing w7 I just figured it was a driver issue that would resolve itself over the course of process of setting everything back up. I finished setting everything up, with the exception of AMD drivers that weekend. I left that relatively easy chore for the following weekend, when I figured I would have ample time to sort out whatever issue it happened to be.

Needless to say, but it didn't turn out that easy...

I have spent most of today researching pretty much every possible solution, traced every possible clue to its unfortunate dead end. The sapphire 7970 is dead. mad.gif

Two nice bits of luck that have poked through the grey clouds though. I was able to contact the User I purchased the card from, so an RMA may be a posibility, we'll see. And in the process of trying out different bios I found an upgrade for the bios of my diamond 7970.

I am now the proud owner of a HIS R9 280X! In software alone anyways tongue.gif


Previous GPU-Z, the 7970 @ 925 is the diamond, 950 is the sapphire, you can see the bios information the card was previously running if interested (Click to show)


I havent had a chance to stress the card to see if she will hold the new bios properly. But by all accounts the HIS 280x is a 7970 ref pcb, from the original 7970 release lineup, no extra bells or whistles, and an exact match to the diamond ref pcb I have.

I'll report back after I install folding@home and torture these settings for a few days LOL


Oh, and I forgot to mention that wicked deal I found. While putting together the rig inside the 600T for the first time, I had to take a break mid process to pick something up. It didn't make it into the build, per-say, it did show up in one of the pics above accidentally though. I'll explain next time, I'll have pictures of it then biggrin.gif
Edited by NimbleJack - 4/1/14 at 9:09am
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