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[Build Log] Smokeless on the Water - First Custom Water Build

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Hello,

First custom water build and first build in quite a few years - so rusty is just a word, but it's a big one (for me anyway.)

The Fractal Design ARC XL is not a perfect box (are there any - maybe) but it has a lot of nice touches that tend to dominate over the few areas where I wish things were different. I am definitely feeling nooby on this build and am definitely eliciting any and all suggestions short of demolition. My first concerns are overall box design, air flow and scalability (build into the future.)

CASE: Fractal Design ARC XL
CPU: Intel Core i7-4970K
MOBO: ASUS Maximus VII Formula
MEMORY: G.Skill Trident X 2400MHz 2x8 (16GB)
GPU 1: EVGA GTX 780 SC 6GB w/ACX
GPU 2: EVGA GTX 780 SC 6GB w/ACX
STORAGE (OS): Samsung 840 EVO 1TB SSD
STORAGE (New Media): Crucial m4 512GB SSD
STORAGE (Old Media): Western Digital Green 4TB 5900RPM
STORAGE (Archive 1): Western Digital Black 2TB 7200RPM
STORAGE (Archive 2): Western Digital Black 2TB 7200RPM
PSU: Silverstone Strider ST1500 1500 Watt
CPU COOLER: Swiftech Apogee DRIVE II (supplied with Swiftech kit)
PUMP: Swiftech MCP35X (supplied with Swiftech kit)
RADIATOR: Swiftech MCR-320QP R2 w/integrated reservoir (supplied with Swiftech kit)
TUBING: 3/4 x 1/2 (supplied with Swiftech kit)
COOLANT: Swiftech Hydrx (supplied with Swiftech kit)
OPTICAL DRIVE: ASUS BW-12B1ST Blu-Ray Burner
GAMING PANEL: ASUS Front Base Dual-Bay Panel
CASE FANS (Front & Back): Fractal Design 140mm Silent Series (3)
CASE FAN (Interior): Silverstone 140mm F121225SL (1) - this is being considered, not certain
RESERVOIR FANS: Swiftech Helix 120 PWM (supplied with Swiftech kit)
THERMAL PASTE: TIM Mate 2 (supplied with Swiftech kit)


Here is a view of the kit in a pre-test setup from the right side. Let me know if photographic quality fails your review. I will supply a better shot if I can!



Here is a Visio diagram of (as best as I can determine) the basic air flow into, within and out of the case. This includes CFM and static pressure specs as per the manufacturer (not measured by me in other words.) The diagram now matches the actual view of the rig from the right side and also now reflects the flipping of the two front fans so that are pulling air into the case, not pushing it out. It also includes an additional Silverstone F121225SL fan pulling are through the bottom front of the case.




The above is my guess as to what is going on - I am debating adding an interior case fan - a Silverstone 140mm F121225SL and place it just above and behind the drive cage located in the lower front of the box.

Any thoughts on the flow? Is it good, bad, neither or completely messed up? Keep in mind, that while the case will have liquid cooling for (at the least) the CPU plus the Copper Chill area provided by the Maximus VII Formula to cool the MOSFETs. Cooling the GPUs is being considered since I would like to do at least some folding and those behemoths should crank out some nice numbers. If I do cool the GPUs I think a second reservoir might be needed but it would probably have to be external unless I sub out the ST1500 (it is larger than the average PSU) and move the drive cage back and place a 240 rad (2x120) at the front of the case.

Again, the above pic is of a test setup as I load OS and test motherboard and other system basic functions. Tubing, CPU cooler and some other odds and ends will be added after tests are successfully completed.

Thanks in advance for your thoughts!


ACQ
Edited by ACharmingQuark - 8/17/14 at 1:41am
    
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post #2 of 9
Subbed! Cant wait bro! biggrin.gif
post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 
Here is the left side of system. I like this kind of design where SSD's are given their own little space. And what I love is the cutout underneath the CPU that makes cooler installations that require access to the underside of the mobo so much easier!

Left side of Smokeless on the Water - I like this design that gives SSD's their own little private space to live and I really like the cutout underneath the CPU that makes cooler installations that need access to the bottom of the mobo so much easier to perform! My slavish following of the red-black ROG motif may be noted here. Are red LEDs far behind?(I think not!)

I've dressed this side up more because it will remain (except) for the two SSD's) when I drill the hole for the fill port of the Swiftech top-mount triple-rad. All the stuff in the case interior will be removed and will rest comfortably far away underneath layers of protection while being sung to by drunken angels.

More to follow - and please chime in on what you think of the air flow situation.


ACQ
    
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post #4 of 9
Why exhausting out of the front panel? I would think you would want to draw the cooler ambient air in from the front and exhaust out the back. With liquid cooling (especially if you add the gpus) i dont think it matters much.

If you plan to fold, i would definitely put the gpus under water and add a 2nd rad if possible.

Looking forward to seeing it come together.
post #5 of 9
Quote:
Originally Posted by dirty elf View Post

Why exhausting out of the front panel? I would think you would want to draw the cooler ambient air in from the front and exhaust out the back. With liquid cooling (especially if you add the gpus) i dont think it matters much.

If you plan to fold, i would definitely put the gpus under water and add a 2nd rad if possible.

Looking forward to seeing it come together.

I have to agree with this. Having a second radiator to aid the GPU's will be ideal for this situation and I'd also just have the back fan as an exhaust. The hot air will escape anywhere it can and the back fan just helps it to escape. Pulling in as much fresh air as you can is always ideal. It also helps keep positive pressure within the case that helps to keep dust down.
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post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
I am pretty much finished with loading OS and drivers and programs. It has been full of the usual *** moments when loading anything Microsoft plus a couple of ASUS "adventures." The rig will now run through the weekend to see how it behaves with a full folding load.



The biggest problems were first, the power button assembly on the Fractal Design was apparently already cracked so when I went to push the button for the first time it depressed and stayed that way. I was able to temporarily work around the issue with the aid of some electrical tape and a plastic tie or two. But obviously a replacement was needed.

Fractal Design has responded in record time and a replacement is already winging its way to me. smile.gif +1 for Fractal Design for customer service, but I think their power button could use some re-designing.

However second, and much more serious issue, was that the Silverstone PSU turned out to be faulty and is now out of the case at least temporarily. frown.gif It is being subbed by an EVGA 850Watt SuperNOVA Gold PSU for the time being. I do have a line on another 1500 watt Strider - hopefully this one will function correctly.

Outside of those issues but the basic system appears stable. Cooling is another matter - other than putting in the radiator in order to confirm that it will fit in the top of the case I have not installed any of the Swiftech kit yet - I will do that next week (I hope - as long as other commitments permit!)

I appreciate very much the comments made so far and here are my responses:

@dirty elf - I thought that balancing (or coming close to balancing) the ingress/egress of air into the case was desirable so that is why I had three fans exhausting to balance out the three fans in the triple rad that were pulling air in. But your points are well taken and I am going to flip the fans on the front of the case around.

As to folding I have already been testing that and have found that at the factory superclocked setting for the twin 780's that I can keep temps at 80-81 at 95% ACX fan speed. With more air and definitely with water I know that will go down. As long as temps are not at 90+ C I am okay with it.

@bramSLI1 - thanks for your input. I am looking at getting a second 2x120 rad - but first I have to implement the 1st one - which I think now will go to cooling the 4790K and the Copper Chill channel on the mobo.

Oops - just had a tad of a scare - turned to the monitor and saw a CRITICAL_PROCESS_DIED error that blue-screened the system. DId a little checking and then ran the Hardware Troubleshooter and it seems that with the devices a new system with the bells and whistles this one has that some of the components were not fully integrated into the OS and driver support was missing or incorrect. The troubleshooter took care of some of that and a few more drivers did the rest (at least for now.)




But as we all know building a PC is always going to have some of these glitches. If one can learn to treat them as challenges and variety instead of problems and misery - you will be a much happier rig builder! In fact, I find myself enjoying the challenges - sick puppy that I am. tongue.gif

Thought I would throw in another picture of the ASUS Front Base gaming panel - sure is nice eye candy and it may prove at least a little useful too!



So it now has been almost four hours since the system has thrown an error - whoopee.

Still early in test mode and no water added yet - so miles to go before I sleep as the poet wrote. Miles to go ...


ACQ
    
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post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
The diagram in the initial (OP) post has been corrected to show the actual state of things - with seven fans in "pull" mode:
  • Three Swiftech Helix 120PWM fans placed above the radiator mounted in the top of the case
  • Two Fractal Design 140mm Silent Series R2 placed in the lower two-thirds of the front of the case
  • One Silverstone 140mm F121225SL case fan placed in the middle bottom of the case
  • One 140mm fan in the EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G2 power supply

And a solitary fan in "push" mode:
  • One Fractal Design 140mm Silent Series R2 placed in the upper portion of the back of the case

I also have added a memory fan - a decorative more than technical pick. It has three very, very bright white LEDs around each of the twin fans. THe effect is like two halos shining out among the foreboding red and black ROG motif. So I'm thinking of ordering a string of Logisys white LEDs from the Egg to continual the bright white contrast with the black and white of the case and red and black of the mobo and accessories.



Let me know what you guys think - about everything but my photography skills - which reek. rolleyes.gif


ACQ
    
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post #8 of 9
photography skills are lacking, haha

i think it will be a beast when you are finished. i dont know much about h2o cooling yet, but i definitely want to keep learning
post #9 of 9
Thread Starter 
The box seems pretty stable - outside of the usual issues (seems that hasn't changed since I've been away) with folding units getting downloaded efficiently and with some video driver crashes. It seems some versions of nVidia drivers are favorable for folding and others not quite so much. frown.gif

But now begins the real learning curve - water cooling.

First I need to drill a hole in the top back of the case to allow for the installation of a quick fill port there.

After that will be the collection of all the parts and tools needed for the water cooling upgrades. Naturally that will involve some determination as to what is exactly needed.

That probably lies outside the scope of this post so I will start a thread in the appropriate cooling forum. If possible, I will link to that thread from here.

Thanks for the interest and encouragement. This is an interesting journey.


ACQ
    
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Three (3) Bitspower 1/2"x3/4" Triple Rotary Com... Four (4) Swiftech 1/2"x3/4" Lok-Seal Compressio... Windows 8.1 Professional (64 bit) Samsung P2770HD  
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Logitech Illuminated Keyboard EVGA Supernova 1300 Watt G2 80+ Gold 120-G2-130... Fractal Design Arc XL Logitech Performance MX 
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Georgia O'Keefe Orchid Spectacular  ASUS SupremeFX Formula 2014 Motherboard Audio ASUS SupremeFX Formula 2014 Motherboard Audio Seagate Backup Plus 4TB USB 3.0 Desktop Externa... 
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G.Skill FTB-3500C5-D Memory Cooling Fans ASUS Front Base Gaming Panel 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Case Mods & Cases › Builds & Case Mods › Build Logs › [Build Log] Smokeless on the Water - First Custom Water Build