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[Build Log] Midwest Super Pixel Synchrotron - Tri-fired i7

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Greetings!

This is my fist time at this, trying a build log. I'll warn you up front that this is going to be a meandering, wandering path. I've built computers before, but there's never been any thought to things like cable management, aesthetics or any of that stuff.

Component list:

Corsair 900d case
Gigabyte z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI BK
Intel i7 4790K
G.Skill Trident X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866
3 * Asus Radeon R9 290X 4GB DirectCU II
2 * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" SSD
Seagate Barracude 1TB, 7200 RPM 64MB cache
Corsair AX1500i 1500W 80+ Titanium Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply




Diving right in, this is ultimately going to be a water cooled pc with some mods. Out of the gate though, it's going to be a mix of air cooled and OTS closed loop systems. I want to do a bit of a burn in before voiding warranties, and also set a baseline for what was possible with air coolers on the GPU's.

Component Comments:

Corsair 900d:

I picked the 900d because I knew I was going to be doing at least a tri-fire, with the possibility of going to a quad fire later in life. I also knew that those GPUs would want watercooling, so I wanted a case that would fit that. I also considered building a custom case, but decided that was too ambitious, and would turn into one of those never done projetcts. I'm happy with the choice, as there's plenty of room for even a fumble fingered guy like me to work in there. Also, my 3 year old son can hide inside, so that's cool.

Gigabyte z97X-Gaming G1 WIFI BK

I spent more time picking a motherboard than any other component. I really liked some of the z97 mobo's that were hitting the market at the beginning of the summer, as they were really dense with features. But most of them were not friendly to builds with an irresponsible amount of graphics cards. That left me looking at boards with a plx pex switcher on them. Out of those, the gigabyte board had the most features, including an intel ethernet option. Every other plex switched mobo I'd seen in the segment had the killer ethernet, which has had mixed reviews. This board had both. In addition, I liked that the mobo came with a 168 hour burn-in, and a reputation for durability.

A note about bandwidth: The going wisdom has been that a 4x pcie 3.0 lane is plenty for a modern graphics card. That might have been true up until recently. According to my (rudimentary) calculations, you'd need a 6x lane to avoid throttling the latest and greatest cards. Since you don't find 6x lanes around, I'd consider 8x to be the minimum per lane per card to avoid throttling. There is the potential for some latency with the plex pex switcher, however most reviews said it was un-noticable. We'll see if real life bears that out. In any case, this mobo lets the cards run at 8x/8x/16x, and 8x/8x/8x/8x if I add a fourth card later.

Intel i7 4790K

Purchased off the advice in Tom's Hardware monthly CPU guide. Room to play later if I want to.

G.Skill Trident X Series 32GB (4 x 8GB) DDR3-1866

I've had very good luck with the G.Skill memory line, and decided to go with the Trident series this time out. I got a bit of room for overclocking later, if I decide to go that route. I'm also an oracle dba, and this will let me run some lab clusters of server vms.

3 * Asus Radeon R9 290X 4GB DirectCU II

It was down to the 780 ti or the R9 290X. When I bought stuff, the R9 290x had a better performance for the dollar value, and reviews from trusted sources had the cards performing more smoothly in a multi gpu array than the 780 ti's. In addition, I like the idea of mantle, and hope that that takes root. As such, this is a bit of 'vote with your dollars' at work.

2 * Samsung 840 EVO 250GB 2.5" SSD

Was only supposed to be one, but life conspired to give me two. No complaints! I set them up in a RAID 0 because why the hell not? My OS and applications go on these drives.

Seagate Barracude 1TB, 7200 RPM 64MB cache

Simple storage. In addition to this, I have a bunch of eSata and usb3 docs for other drives. For what I do, there's really no reason to fill the computer up with hard drives. I had initially planned on just having an os drive, and doing all permanent storage externally. When I get to the water cooling phase, that could still happen, with the ssd's migrating up into the 5.25 region, and the seagate moving outside into an eSata dock, to make room for cooling/aesthetic stuff.

Corsair AX1500i 1500W 80+ Titanium Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply

The r9 290x's are hungry! This is was bought with the intent to run everything, absolutely everything off of one power supply. I did consider getting two smaller supplies and running a dedicated power supply for the GPU's, but ended up going with this option instead. I was also trying to future proof a bit, in case I add another r9 290x to the array later.
post #2 of 7
Thread Starter 
Reserved for links and updates
post #3 of 7
Thread Starter 
Build 1.0 - MWSPS Rough Draft

The first iteration of this build is going to be stock coolers on the gpus, a corsair h100i on the cpu, and a bunch of case fans for airflow. I'm doing it this way for a few reasons. The first is to set baselines, the second is to have a bit of a burn in period without voiding any warranties on GPU's. The third is to let me figure out what the heck I'm going to do for water cooling, since I've never done that before.

Corsair 900d:

Big case. Big in the manner of Texas, and other big things. Also, lots of configuration options, and clearly meant to be water cooled. First thing I noticed though? The panels on the bottom sides that cover the opening to the basement of the case are held on by magnets and their hinge is realy flimsy. One was already out of plumb when I unboxed it, and didn't want to stay closed.




The hinge is a flange, set at 90 degrees to the panel, with a keyed hole for the pin that the panel pivots on, at either end. These flanges quickly get out of the neccessary 90 degree bend. this can be fixed by unscrewing the two pivots from the case. They'll immediately drop out of the bottom of the case, and hide from you, but thanks to the case being an inch and change off your work surface, you can get them. Plenty of room for working in here too, so no biggie. Take the pannel, and rest the flange against a flat surface, and gingerly apply force to bend those flanges back to 90. The first mod I'm doing to this case is to reinforce this flimsy design.

Also, you'll note that there's slots for 9 tradditionally sized HDD's in here. I guess that's great if you're making a server, or something. One of the cages is rigged for hotswapping sata disks. You'll also notice that a bracket that's just begging to have a 4x120 radiator installed hanging out down here. There's a matching one on the other side that needs to be installed. You can also see the built in cable management points here. We'll be visiting these later!




There's also hardware down here to mount all three drive cages, if that's what you'd like to do. These rails are made of plastic, not the aluminum of the rest of the case.



The first thing I did was pull the extra cages out, and move the hot-swap cage up under the 5.25 drive bays. The thought here is to open up space for radiators later in life.



Next, in goes the motherboard. Even a full atx motherboard looks small in this cavernous thing. Thanks to gigabyte, we'll be going with a red/black/grey theme. I did like that the motherboard itself was a matte black. Also, they have a water cooling option on the chipset which will be nice later.



Here's another view of those drive rails. You can also see the brackets that go on the frame of the basement to create the mount point for the left side of the case for fan/rad installs. note that you have to pull those rails out, otherwise fans wont fit, never mind a radiator.
Edited by OniNoKen - 8/19/14 at 10:11pm
post #4 of 7
interestd to see how this goes, my next rig will probably follow a similar build path (air cooled to begin with, possibly with closed loop systems then into a full WC setup)

nice choices so far, should be fun to see it come together
post #5 of 7
Nice way of joining OCN-with a 900D build..
I love the case , you picked out nice components too..interested to see how this will play out..
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Air 240 Purple
(17 items)
 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
intel i7-4790K Delid Asus Z97 Gryphon Sapphire Vapor-X OC R9 290 4GB  
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB 1600MHz @ 1866MHz Western Digital 2TB Red  Samsung 840 PRO SSD 256GB Samsung 840 PRO SSD 128GB 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
Corsair H75 Hydro series Push/Pull Corsair Air Series SP120 Quiet Edition High Sta... Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition High Air... Windows 10 Pro 64bit 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
Samsung Syncmaster P2470HD TV monitor Dell U2713HM Magicforce 68 Gateron Reds Coolermaster V850 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Corsair Obsidian 350D window Logitech G502 Proteus Core Corsair Vengeance MM200 Extended Edition Gaming... Creative Gigaworks T40 SeriesII 
AudioAudioOtherOther
FiiO Olympus 2 E10K Beyerdynamic DT 990 NZXT Sentry Mix 2 Fan Controller BitFenix Alchemy extension cables blue 
OtherOther
TP-LINK TL-WDN3800 Sharkoon 5.25" Bay Extension 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Intel Atom Quad Core Z3740 (1.33-1.86GHz) Intel HD Graphics(Ivy Bridge) 2 GB DDR3  32 GB eMMC  
Hard DriveHard DriveOSMonitor
OCZ Vertex 4 128gb Kingston 16Gb Micro SD Windows 10 Home 32-bit 10.1" IPS (1368 x 768) 
CaseMouse
iPearl mCover Hard Shell Case - Blue Logitech M560 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-4670 ASRock z97m Pro4 msi Gaming 280X  Kingston HyperX Savage 2x4gb @1600 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Kingston ValueRam 2x4gb @1600 Mushkin Triactor 120gb SSD HGST Travelstar 7k1000 1Tb Cryorig C7 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Corsair SP120 Purple LED X4 Windows 10 Pro  Samsung UE46D6500 46" 3D LED smart TV Anne Pro-Gateron Blues 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Corsair HX620W Corsair Carbide Air 240 White edition Connect IT Ci-156 Sony DAV-DZ860W Home Theater 
Other
BitFenix Alchemy 2.0 60cm RGB Magnetic LEDs 
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Air 240 Purple
(17 items)
 
CPUCPUMotherboardGraphics
intel i7-4790K Delid Asus Z97 Gryphon Sapphire Vapor-X OC R9 290 4GB  
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
Corsair Vengeance Pro 16GB 1600MHz @ 1866MHz Western Digital 2TB Red  Samsung 840 PRO SSD 256GB Samsung 840 PRO SSD 128GB 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
Corsair H75 Hydro series Push/Pull Corsair Air Series SP120 Quiet Edition High Sta... Corsair Air Series AF140 Quiet Edition High Air... Windows 10 Pro 64bit 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
Samsung Syncmaster P2470HD TV monitor Dell U2713HM Magicforce 68 Gateron Reds Coolermaster V850 
CaseMouseMouse PadAudio
Corsair Obsidian 350D window Logitech G502 Proteus Core Corsair Vengeance MM200 Extended Edition Gaming... Creative Gigaworks T40 SeriesII 
AudioAudioOtherOther
FiiO Olympus 2 E10K Beyerdynamic DT 990 NZXT Sentry Mix 2 Fan Controller BitFenix Alchemy extension cables blue 
OtherOther
TP-LINK TL-WDN3800 Sharkoon 5.25" Bay Extension 
CPUGraphicsRAMHard Drive
Intel Atom Quad Core Z3740 (1.33-1.86GHz) Intel HD Graphics(Ivy Bridge) 2 GB DDR3  32 GB eMMC  
Hard DriveHard DriveOSMonitor
OCZ Vertex 4 128gb Kingston 16Gb Micro SD Windows 10 Home 32-bit 10.1" IPS (1368 x 768) 
CaseMouse
iPearl mCover Hard Shell Case - Blue Logitech M560 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i5-4670 ASRock z97m Pro4 msi Gaming 280X  Kingston HyperX Savage 2x4gb @1600 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Kingston ValueRam 2x4gb @1600 Mushkin Triactor 120gb SSD HGST Travelstar 7k1000 1Tb Cryorig C7 
CoolingOSMonitorKeyboard
Corsair SP120 Purple LED X4 Windows 10 Pro  Samsung UE46D6500 46" 3D LED smart TV Anne Pro-Gateron Blues 
PowerCaseMouseAudio
Corsair HX620W Corsair Carbide Air 240 White edition Connect IT Ci-156 Sony DAV-DZ860W Home Theater 
Other
BitFenix Alchemy 2.0 60cm RGB Magnetic LEDs 
  hide details  
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post #6 of 7
Thread Starter 
Thanks, and welcome!

Corsair h100i:

When I started this plan, my hopes were to use corsair link hubs to control all the fans, and avoid a dedicated fan controller in a drive bay slot. I'm growing skeptical about the likelihood of that happening. In any case, it was that idea that lead me to get the h100i, partially as an intro to water cooling, albiet closed loop, and to play around with the corsair link software. More on that later. For now, lets take a look at how the 240 rad fits in the 900D...



Plenty of space here! Install was a breeze, since the top of the 900D is set up like the rest of the case, with ready made ports for attaching radiators. This has to be one of the best turnkey water cooling cases around. I know there are some others that are equally adept, but man, this is making at least one part of water cooling a lot less intimidating.



I configured the provided fans in a pull configuration, since I knew that the GPU's beneath the rad were going to be venting heat straight into the case. still lots of space up there. If the h100i were going to be my long term cpu cooler, I'd probably replace the fans with something better. Since I'm doing all corsair stuff for this computer, it'd be with SP120's, the high static pressure kind. I may still do that anyways.



Mounting the waterblock/pump/rave light led thing was straightforward and easy. The backplate for the h100i is secured before installing the water block. This is a nice touch, since I've had other coolers that wanted you to evolve a third hand to hold components together with while you screwed the thing together. Since one big reason for doing the build this way is to see how these components perform off the shelf, I used the provided TI that corsair sends along with this cooler.

The mounting position was a meeting of form and function. The hoses didn't look good at all, when I tried to mount them on the left side of the cpu. On the right side, they look fine. And the ship is right side up! this does, however make connecting the water block/command unit to the fans and the rest of the system a bit more tricky.
post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 
Corsair AX1500i:

First impressions: Corsair wants to make one!



Power Supply Royal! I gotta admit, I wasn't expecting that. Also, I may have to rename this build to 'Big Component Collider' or something like that, because this power supply is huge! The basement of the the corsair 900d is set up to hold two 480 rads*, and this power supply soaks a solid 240mm worth of space. It's a modular power supply, and most every connection you could ask for comes in that little black bag, with one painful exception. Corsair cases come with 3 pin fans, and neither the case, nor the power supply gives you any fan power cables. Now, I was able to run one down for a dollar at the local computer parts place, but man. If it's a buck there, why omit it from such a refined package?



All of the cables provided are of the flat style, which I've never dealt with before, but actually seem kind more difficult to manage. They don't bundle well without alot of though into routing and what not. I'll be replacing these with sleeved cables down the road. Definitely need to make less cable behind the motherboard, one way or another.



Here you can see some of the power cable shenanigans for the h100i. The two fans are pwm fans, and they hook up to a y splitter which connects to the h100i cooling block/pump/etc. That connects to a sata power supply. There's another cable that connects to an internal usb header, so that the device can talk to the corsair link software. All those cables coming out of the upper pass throughs are for the h100i.

* The basement of the case is dedicated to housing the power supply, as they left no top mounting option available. This would have been a nice option, because then you really could fit two quad rads in the basement. There's space up there for a power supply, particularly if the cpu is being cooled as part of a loop. On the other hand, you'd probably need an engineered cage to support something the size of a 1200 - 1500 watt power supply, so I can see a case against it. Still, in a case that has so many confiugration options available, this seemed like a puzzling omission.
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