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[Build Log] Project Red - (Carbide Air 540, Sabertooth Z77, Ivy Bridge)

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

I'm a long time lurker/forum stalker - said I would post my first build log.

I've had a Corsair Obsidian 800D for a few years now, and it's seen me through many different builds and upgrades. However, I found it to be too large and awkward in the last year or so and have decided to build something a bit more compact.

After building a HTPC using the Bitfenix Prodigy (fantastic chassis by the way!) I realised the potential for smaller setups and got the itch to downsize my primary rig.
I had hoped to upgrade my board (Sabertooth Z77) and CPU (3770k) to Z87/Haswell, but after a bit of thorough research I realised it was a pointless performance/price upgrade.

I did, however, replace some of the components in my rig that were due a retirement. Mainly the PSU, Intel SSD, H100 and several chassis fans.

Apologies for the poor photos. They were taken late in ambient light and I'm no photographer smile.gif

Here's the new stuff I'll be using:

Corsair Carbide Air 540 Chassis
Corsair AX1200i PSU
AF120 Low Noise fans x4
SP120 Low Nois fans x2
NZXT Hue RGB Lighting Kit
H100i AIO Cooler
Crucial M4 128GB
Crucial M4 256GB

Not pictured are some of my old components and some other accessories for later in the build

Asus Sabertooth Z77 motherboard
Core i7 3770k Process
16GB GSkill Ripjaws RAM
2 x Gigabyte GeForce GTX 680s
Sound Blaster Zx Sound Card
Seagate 3TB 7200rpm HDD
Seagate 2TB 7200rpm HDD
Corsair Vengeance K70
Razer Naga Epic
MadCatz amBX Cyborg Pod Lights (x2 kits)


Firstly, I've got the Air 540 unpacked. It really is beautiful to look at, and (as I was to find later) also beautiful to work in.

Next, I've got to strip my old Obsidian 800D down and get what I need out of it. Here's a size comparison first:

Here's the before and after:

The 800D always sat on the floor, which is carpet, and was always a bit of an ordeal keeping dust out of. All the more reason for me to get my rig off the ground.

frown.gif gutted

After I've gotten everything out, I can transplant into the new case and get started.


Firstly, I get the board in ready for hooking up the extras. The case is already pre-rigged with standoffs for ATX boards, so its a simple drop and screw.

Starting to take shape smile.gif
I've planned to remove the AF140s that come with the chassis and replace them with low-noise AF120s with red rings. Since my overall theme is red, I'll try embed it as much as possible.

Here's the stock AF140s

And here's the result

My supplier had no AF140s in stock for me to replace the rear exhaust with, but that's not an issue and can be done down the line. For now I'll keep the stock AF140L that comes with the case.

Next job is to remove the old paste off the CPU, clean her up and the hook up the H100i cooler. I've removed the stock SP120 fans that come with the H100i, and included SP120 Low Noise versions (with red rings to match the intake fans).

I may set this up as a push/pull later when I put my overclock back on, but for now I'll leave it as is. I may also reverse the fans and have them pull air through the rad and then exhaust it out the rear via the 140mm fan. I'll probably do this at a later date.

On to stage 3!


Next thing is to get the power supply connected up. The room to the back of the case is HUGE. But it doesn't be long filling up. It's a shame they didnt include more space for 3.5" drives, but I'm sure something can be modded down the line.

The AX1200i is HUGE and it weighs a ton.

These are the stock modular cables that came with the power supply. I wont be using these. Instead I will be using all red braided modular cables, with the exception of the 24pin cable, which will be braided back.

The red cables are very nice smile.gif

Keep in mind these are full replacement modular cables and not extension cables.

After patching the necessary power cables and connecting SSDs I can finish up cabling in the back and get back around to the front. I've connected the NZXT Hue controller and my optical drive.

The vertical 5.25" bays are the only thing im not fond of on the case, but I can live with it.

Next I have to check that the GPUs fit okay before I get everything internally wired up.

I've patched the SATA cables though to the back, hooked up fans,etc.
Finally, GPUs connected to power smile.gif

Time for the final touches!


After dismantling my whole desk and setup initially, I now have the joy of trying to put it all back together, tidy cabling, etc.

I use a Dell 30" IPS panel - here's a size comparison with the build beside it.

Here's how it looks powered up with the Hue set to red

Im surprised at how quiet the case is. Even with all the fans.
Next step is to make the Corsair logo on my H100i red.

After a lot of frustration I manage to get it done. Corsair have a LONG way to go when it comes to their software. Corsair Link is quite possibly the buggiest software I've ever installed. Hopefully they will fix it soon.

The window on the side of the case is tinted, so it's quite difficult to photograph it correctly. I've removed the side panel for a quick snap.

As you can see my two 680s have some dust on them from the old case.
Backplates may be an interesting addition at another time.

Im not a huge fan of the hotswap drives visible at the bottom of the case, but unfortunately nothing can be done about this. I still think that a cage for 3 x 3.5" drives could have been done easily in the rear of the case, out of sight, but this seems to be an oversight on Corsair's part.

Next up, time to hook up my amBX kits to the rear of my monitor, connect my peripherals and get everything back to normal smile.gif

amBX kits are awesome and allow me the same RGB functionality as the NZXT Hue. My rear wall is blue, however, so I have to balance the colours somewhat. (White would be nice but I hate white).

As you can see, the side panel window is quite reflective, but does have a nice tint to it!

Heres how the amBX kits look behind the LCD - I have two either side


Time to get my desk back to normal and I'm done!
My keyboard and mouse both have red LEDs

Finally, everything where it should be

And with the lights off:

And I'm done!

I hope you enjoyed viewing this build as much as I had creating it,

Thanks for reading!

Edited by nakquada - 9/21/13 at 6:03am
post #2 of 21
Hey, this is great. Nice clean build. Like the use of Cyborg lights to add to it's effect.

Clean, tidy and simple setup, well done. thumb.gif
post #3 of 21
I like the ambient lighting. I might have to get some myself! It's good for the eyes to have ambient lighting as well.
post #4 of 21
Thread Starter 
It's very easy on the eyes alright. Also, I can go for whichever colour I feel the mood for smile.gif
post #5 of 21
I have horrible eyestrain so I might be able to convince the wife to let me get these. Kinda hard to convince her to let me spend money after buying two 780 classifieds. rolleyes.gif
post #6 of 21
Thread Starter 
You're going to have a hard time convincing her then!

I know I've a hard time convincing mine!
post #7 of 21
Originally Posted by nakquada View Post

You're going to have a hard time convincing her then!

I know I've a hard time convincing mine!

I've convinced her to let me go ahead and get another ASUS VG248QE because of my problems with screen flickering. I'm hoping one will solve it, if not. Maybe I can convince her to let me go ahead and get another? biggrin.gif

I'll be doing a build log once I can get the funds together to do a water cooling loop. I wish I would have done one before, but I built my computer before officially joining OCN. I"ll have to tear down the rig completely to install the watercooling because I'll want to clean the entire case and such before installing it.

I absolutely love your red theme. I did the same. The laptop I'm looking at buying even has a red and black theme. XD I initally didn't plan on doing a red theme, but I fell in love with my mobo and the 770s I had. After a month the 770s developed coil whine and I sent them back and got 780 classifieds instead. Now I hate the mobo (just because it no longer really fits the build without the graphics cards) but still love the red theme. Although, next build I think I'm going to do a green and white theme.
post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 
I had considered a green and white theme first before settling on black and red - green and white sounds awesome though!

Id love to do a custom WC loop too (i've had several over the years), but I see no need to do so at the moment and am quite happy with my H100i.

One of these days you're going to REALLY have severe eye problems and when you go crying to the wife she's not going to believe a word you say smile.gif
post #9 of 21
She knows I have bad eye problems. I habe tinted "gaming" glasses and the 144hz lightboost monitor helps a ton.

I get severe migraines easily, so she lets me do what I can to combat it.

I just think that black/red theme is well over used, but for good reason it looks awesome. I just want to do something a little different next time.

I'm pretty happy with my h110, but since I'm going to water cool my 780s, I figured having the extra rad space foe them to keep cool, too would be a good idea.
post #10 of 21
Thread Starter 
Are the 'gaming' glasses any good? Do you have them in a prescription or are they just regular glasses?

I get the odd eyestrain/migraine myself, but not that frequently.

Yep red and black is done to death, but there aint much choice out there, unless you get the paintbrushes out smile.gif
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