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Corsair Carbide Air 540 Build

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 
OK, going to be short on pictures ATM, but here are the specs:

Corsair H100i
Asus Maximus VI Hero
16Gb G.Skill Ripjaws X 2133
eVGA GTX 780
Samsung 840 Pro 256gb
Corsair TX 750 (from old build)
Win 8 Pro 64
Asus DVD writer (from old build)

Will order Korean 1440p monitor today, probably an X-star in matte.

Everything is pretty generic/standard as far as builds go...

Unboxed last night after work and did the following:

1. CHANGED THE MOTHERBOARD CONNECTORS FROM THE CASE. There is a minor issue for Corsair Carbide Air 540 owners, the first batch of production units have shorter motherboard connectors (SATA, etc.) that may not reach some motherboards. I browsed the 540 owner's thread here at OCN and noticed that a few users were having this problem. So, I opened a ticket with Corsair, had a response within a few hours and they shipped me the longer cables for free. [NOTE: the newest production should ship with the longer cables, however there's no telling when the "old stock" will be exhausted from retailers].

This process was fairly easy. In order to replace the motherboard connectors, I had to remove six (6) screws from the inside of the back half of the case. These screws are nestled in pronged, chrome/silver plugs. After these are removed, then I had to remove two (2) additional screws on the front of the case. These screws are located on the dividing line between the two parts of the case. If you are facing the front of the case, they'll be just to the left of the power switch, etc. and run on a vertical line approximately in the middle of the case. Once all these screws are removed, then the front cover can be removed.

Once the front cover is removed, the motherboard connectors are revealed. All of them are connected on a thin metal strip and are oriented horizontally on the case. In order to remove the strip, I had to remove two (2) screws. Further, the strip must be shifted to the right (if you are facing the front of the case) and should then be free to pull out the front of the case.

I simply reversed this process to install the new connectors. However, a bit of caution, when re-installing the six (6) screws w/ pronged washers, be sure to correctly line up the male end of the screw with the female part of the case cover. If you do not line it up properly, then you may end up pushing it into the clear space around the female part and get the screw "stuck." I had to get a pair of pliers to pull out one screw after doing this. Nothing major and adds a few seconds to your build, just an FYI.

2. CHANGED THE FANS ON THE H100i AND MOUNTED IT IN CASE (Pull Configuration). Judging by reviews and OCN forum comments, I didn't even bother with the stock fans on the cooler. I replaced them with the SP120 QE PWM models. I also used the "red" bands for the fans, given they match the ROG mobo color scheme. The power cables for the fans were placed so they went directly towards the back half of the case/mobo tray.

The installation of the pull config is fairly strange. I took a single fan and put a single, long-threaded screw into one of the middle mounting holes on the top of the case. I threaded it through the fan to where a small portion of the screw was protruding from the fan. I then lined up the corresponding hole on the radiator and tightened the screw until firm. There was enough space for me to then squeeze the second fan in the case and over the radiator. I repeated the process, again with a central (middle) hole so that the rad. would balance itself without me needing to hold it in place (I used a hole catty-corner to the first hole).

3. SEATED THE CPU ON THE MOBO. This was really simple. Gone are the days of pins on the CPU apparently... I'm behind the times. As always, the little bugger can only go on there one way, so it's not particularly difficult to determine orientation. [not sure why they put an "arrow" on one corner of the CPU considering there isn't a corresponding "arrow" on the mobo anywhere].

4. INSTALLED THE MOBO ONTO THE CASE. The case comes with the setoff screws already in place. There is also a "nub" standoff in the center of the mobo that is great and made it more convenient for me to attach the mobo. [note: there is plenty of space cut out of the motherboard tray to do whatever you need to with a CPU cooler, so it's not something you need to prepare before attaching the motherboard to the motherboard tray].

5. ATTEMPTED TO INSTALL COOLER TO MOBO. I drew in the standoffs on the backplate of the Corsair H100i for 1150 motherboards. Some of the standoffs did not want to slide, but eventually did after some convincing. Once moved to their tightest configuration, they match up perfectly with the holes on the motherboard. I installed the spacers on the other side of the mother board, thereby holding the backplate in place. [NOTE, the backplate can only go onto the mobo one (1) way, there is a cutout for the screws protruding from the CPU socket out the back of the motherboard; the cutout on the Corsair backplate needs to be aligned with the two (2) screws from the socket].

However, I ran into a problem with "wiggle" or "play" in the backplate. I've never worked with a liquid cooler, but I can't fathom that this much play (~2mm?) is supposed to be there. After reading a few stories, I've noticed that more than a few folks have been concerned about loose backplates, even when the backplate is properly installed. There are plenty of folks who also state that this is normal and once the thumb screws are tightened down, that the whole unit will be much tighter. Unfortunately, I don't have any extra thermal paste lying around so, I'm not going to try the install without some plastic/nylon washers handy. I'm dead in the water for now, but will go to the hardware store on my way home from work. It looks like something with a 3/16" center hole and/or #8 washers will do the trick... I'll pick up a grab bag of the things so I don't have to make a second trip. I'll try and find something that is as thin as possible so that I can add more until the backplate is tight. I have seen some people use metal washers and then keep the plastic bushing from Corsair on top, thereby being the only part contacting with the mobo, however I'm not interested in the metal washer route when plastic washers are cheap... don't want any headaches.
post #2 of 6

Enjoy it.


Air 540 is an incredibly fun case to play with. :thumb:

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 
OK, Round 2.

5. CONT'D. I went to Lowe's and picked up some rubber washers. I got a smorgasbord of rubber washers and plastic spacers. My suggestion to anyone with backplate wobble on the H100i is to get 1/8" worth of thickness in rubber washers, with an inside diameter of 3/16" and call it a day. Should be $4 or so. In the small sizes we're dealing with, you'll likely have to get two (2) washers that are each 1/16" in thickness.

With the additional washers on the male ends of the backplate, the rubber washers will be almost exactly flush with the tip of the male end (freudian?). Line one up with the motherboard, get it in place with the corsair spacer/double male ended screw, and then rotate the backplate to fit the other 3 holes. Secure the corner opposite of the one you just secured and it should be locked in place. My suggestion is to lay the motherboard flat and pull the case about 1/3 to 1/2 off a ledge, where you can use gravity to keep the washers in place while you wrestle with the backplate. Alternatively, you might put a double sided piece of tape between each washer so that they will stay in place.

After adding the washers to the back of the motherboard, there is ZERO wiggle and the H100i is tight as hell. We'll see what happens with temps...

The cooler fans connect to a Y cable, which plugs in just above the corsair logo on the pump. The USB cable plugs in to the left of the corsair logo and the cable was long enough for me to route it out the top of the case, down the back panel, and out the front to a USB connector on the bottom of the motherboard. All pretty simple and straight forward.

6. INSTALLED THE GPU. Pretty straight forward. The only thing that irks me about this process is that the angle on the PCI slot, the angle of the Videocard PCI connectors, and the Case mounts rarely match up perfectly. They're always slightly off center and take a very gentle convincing to get into place. I've never had a build where all of these things were lined up perfectly. It also takes pushing in on the back panel to get the screw holes to line up. Nonetheless, the card locked down tight and seems gtg.

7. INSTALLED THE RAM. Used the 1st and 3rd slots (red) as suggested in the mobo manual. The tubing from the H100i did not get in the way and there is quite a bit of clearance between the two.

8. INSTALLED THE SDD. I decided to pull out the hot swappable bays and use the plastic drive cage in the back. The hot swappable cables are easily removed after unscrewing two (2) screws on each bay. Pull them through the case and rock and roll.

The plastic drive bay in the back (above PSU) is not particularly sturdy, but the SSD weighs nothing, so it doesn't need to be particularly robust. The cage has 4 bays, each of which may be easily removed. I went ahead and removed all the bays I wasn't using. For anyone wanting to remove the whole cage, just pull "up" on the whole cage and it will pop off.

9. CONNECTED CASE CABLES TO MOBO. ASUS provided a simple connector with easy to read labels for where each of the connectors were to go (e.g. reset, power, etc.). I haven't seen one of these on a mobo before... probably not new, but it's new to me. I've always just attached them directly to the mobo. This new method is definitely easier. The only problem is that the cables now stick up more and will be more difficult to route below the motherboard a tuck away in the back part of the case. I guess folks were shorting out USB plug in devises by reversing the cables, so they decided to "idiotproof" the process.

Presuming everything works, I should be able to install the PSU and DVD drive and boot up tonight. Hopefully everything looks good and I can get an OS installed and be up and running. Are there any benches anyone wants me to run? Anyone need any measurements?
post #4 of 6
Very informative
Which makes it promising thumb.gif

The specs you got looks awesome, enjoy that 780!

Pictures speaks louder than words, but you sir have enough for me to imagine it.
Can't wait for the pictures!

And also, I shall wait for the updates

Good luck with the beautiful case, wish I have one tongue.gif
post #5 of 6
Thread Starter 
10. INSTALLED THE OPTICAL DRIVE. Very simple. All that was required was to pop out the front plate and slide the drive in... locked into place (toolless) and it's good to go. Very handy.

11. INSTALLED THE PSU. The slider/locking mechanism on the case is fairly... strange. It's incredibly obvious how it should work, however the locking bar can easily get wobbled/misaligned and it took me a second to get the PSU square in the case and the back of it properly flush against the back of the case (so I could attach the screws). The sliding/locking bar is not on tracks and you have to completely pull out the screws holding it in place before you can move it. Nonetheless, it was a very simple procedure and added a few seconds to the affair.

I attached everything to the PSU as quickly as possible! Must.boot.computer.
post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

The mobo started, ran through a bunch of diagnostics (the code LED was churning through the codes) and then died for a second... it started again and so did my heart. However, I got an error code regarding there not being a CPU fan attached...

I went into the bios and everything showed up fine... however, I looked at the temps and my CPU temp was increasing by 1C about every second or two... ***!

I looked inside my case again and noticed that the LED on the Corsair pump was not lit, as it is in all the pictures of everyone else's rigs. So... I start checking cables and, somehow, I forgot to attach the SATA power to the PSU. Wow... I guess I got in a hurry. CPU temp never topped 70C though, so no harm no foul. According to the BIOS, idle is ~27-30C (ambient is probably 24C).

I hooked the fan connector from the H100i to the CPU fan connector and it shows the rad fans as cpu fans (@ 2x the rpm due to there being 2 fans; divide the number in half to get the ~rpm for each fan).

After that, I had to do a google search to figure out how to turn on XMP profiles in the BIOS and set the profiles up without issue... instantly recognized and good to go. here is the how-to link: http://www.gskill.us/forum/showthread.php?t=10713


Wow... windows 8 installed without a hitch... was the most simple OS installation I've ever done... too bad the OS is goofy as a reindeer... it seems faster than windows 7, but is much less intuitive for me. We'll see if 8.1 will fix some of these issues. Regardless, the organizational issues are less than the performance benefits.

Pictures soon.
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