A long time lurker of OCN, first time posting.
I have had a predilection of tinkering since my first days with a TRS-80 (few of you will recall this seed of imagination). My first true custom PC build was in 1997 sporting an AMD k6-2, back in the days when AMD was gaming king. Due to interesting life experiences, I have not built a custom unit for myself since 2003, consisting of a lovely OC 1.4Ghz AMD, Thermaltake Xaser III, and a passive Zalman Reserator. though I have built and designed air and watercooling units for others since, of course they never let me go nuts with design or budget.
This all began when the lil' Dell 5150 and i had a com-to-jesus-meetin' over graphic lag. Decided to upgrade vid card, and of course discover the MB was lacking in options. My lovely gal said, enough, build a dream system. So I began to design a rig with a $2k budget. Parts got ordered with this result:
Asus P8z77-v deluxe, i3770k, SLi EVGA GTX 670 SC+, Corsair GS800, Corsair Vengeance 4x2, Samsung 840m Pro 60Gb SSD, various fans, HAF-X
I was happy as a clam... for a few weeks. Realized that my cooling options were limited as heck compared to what I really wanted to be able to do with watercooling. Again, prodded by my lady, go big or go home. Design began on current rig concept. I quickly realized the financial scope of what I was about to undertake. Final cost projection was taking me near $10k. But intent was to give as much option for modularity and future proofing as I could. Initial investment would be justified by amortized value over time.
Case options was first to be tackled. After looking at Little Devil V8, Caselabs, XSPC Hive 2 Cube, settled on the Mountain Mods Extended Ascension with WaterBarrel 24 addition. Yup... gonna require that kinda room
Ordered the top case first. what a fiasco... Now, granted love the design options, the quality etc. but...
It arrived with wrong color plexi installed. Ordered with smoke, got clear. Not sure how, but Bob was having a bad day. Intially they said, send back wait 3 weeks and we'll fix it. Now, at this time I thought I was on the verge of the build final purchase, so the time frame irritated me. Option 2, send them $150 and do a mail swap. Wait... send you money to hold hostage while you fix your mistake after taking $800 from me? Um... no. Option 3: Send me the plexi, rivet gun, backup washers, and rivets, and do it myself. Well given that I was having trouble deciding if I wanted clear or smoke in the first place this gave me the chance to pick at will!! So yup now I have smoke plexi sitting n waiting IF I decide to go that route.
Next was custom designed reservoir. I opted for a limited edition design and contacted FrozenQ. Gave design specs, paid, waited promised 3weeks, waited more, contacted, ignored, contacted received enigmatic "soon" response, rinse n repeat. finally 9 1/2 weeks after promised date, received my product
Custom made, 20" Meteor Res, custom base for floor vertical mount, 2in, 2out. Was told on delivery that my lighting request forced him to install wiring out the top and bottom. Not happy given concept I was going for, but will find a way to manage.
Parts were ordered as I could afford, sales, coupons etc lol. Current purchased and waiting part list as follows:
AsRock Extreme11 Z77
Corsair Dominator 32Gb 4x4 2100ghz
Samsung 840m Pro 60Gb SSD x2 (one currently in HAF-X case, one waiting)
Aquaero 5 XT USB (and just read 6 is coming out in January with better amp performance grrr...)
Corsair 120SP Performance 1200 fans x18 (cooling design has changed a few times but they were on sale and grabbed a few)
Custom 20" res
Mountain Mod Extended Ascension Black Anodized finish
Mountain Mod WaterBarrel 24
Phobya G-Silent 2000rpm x13 (beginning of case fans)
Got the WaterBarrel... not happy yet again. The website states front is a 9x120 design. For my purposes, I resuested 9x120 front and back. Current cooling concept required this. Now, in WC circles, 9x120 indicates 3x3 with 15mm screw spacing. Apparently, at MM, 9x120 means 3 3x120 with 15mm spacing vertically, and 35mm spacing horizontally. So now I have to decide if I will a) shell out another $125 for custom panels, b) break out the tools and cut a massive hole to custom mount 2 Mo-Ra3, c) change cooling design to 6 Monsta 360 or 6 Monsta 480 (which would require exchanging side panels as they are currently solid design for another $70). Either way, not happy with customer service over there. Great product, poor explanations, poor responses when there is miscommunication, and always costs the consumer never the manufacturer.
So here i sit, vacillating yet again over cooling design. This complicated by the fact I just discovered that the nuclear reactor type cooling I was going for with Mo-Ra3 and case was already done by another and WON at QuakeCon!!! Even down to the carbon fiber accenting! Damn my slowness, lack of funds/sponsorship, and indecision. Now, probably be seen as a rip off design which bugs the hell outta me.
That said, intent of design: Not flashy bling bling - want sleek, elegant, understated performance. So I guess in a way it is a new take. There are after all only so many permutations on parts before originality of design has overlaps. So now I decided to make the process public, share with you, and open for discussion and concept. This is a massive undertaking for a working-family-man self funding, so parts and updates are intermittent. 9 months in so far lol, hoping to finishing by end of year.