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[Build Log] Watercooled Z170 mITX in Caselabs Nova X2M (gaming build)

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
So after 4 years with my current i5-2500K machine, it is finally time to start a new build. This build is going to be big departure from my previous machine being that it is a mini-ITX gaming machine (something that I have never attempted before), but is going to be much of the same in the fact that it will have a custom water cooling loop that will stretch the Caselabs X2M case to its limits. As far as small form factor systems go, this is going to be one of the bigger ones since the X2M isn't exactly small, but given that it is an ITX-only case and I am coming from a gigantic modded Thermaltake Armor, I think this sub-forum is the best place for this build.

The component selection is pretty straight forward. The i5 cpu was chosen specifically because I didn't think the i7 was worth the extra cost for a gaming only machine and they should achieve the same max clocks under water. The RAM was chosen for its overclockability and low latency. The SSD chosen because it uses the M.2 Ultra port on the back of the motherboard and there isn't anything faster for the consumer market. The motherboard was chosen because it has all the features I need, none I don't, and is built for overclocking. Also, I know the PSU is overkill, but I would like to be able to reuse it in a future machine if I feel so inclined.

Main Components
Case: Caselabs Nova X2M - Gunmetal | Ordered 1/19/16
CPU: Intel i5-6600k | Purchased
MB: ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 Gaming-ITX/ac | Purchased
Memory: G.Skill TridentZ - 16GB DDR4-3200 (15-15-15-35) | Purchased
GPU: Asus GTX 980 Strix | Purchased
PSU: EVGA SuperNOVA 850 G2 | Purchased
Storage: Samsung 950 Pro - 512GB | Purchased

The water cooling components are a lot less straight forward and are not set in stone until I get my case and make sure everything is going to work as planned. Basic plan is a CPU/GPU loop with two radiators (one 240 and one 280), a D5 pump/res, and hard tubing (another thing I have never done before). More complex part of the plan is that I want everything to work in both case configurations, standard and reverse. I also want a good balance between performance and sound. I am coming from a case with two HWLabs Gen2 Black Ice GTX radiators and five 51dB 148cfm Delta fans, so this is another big change for me. Plan is to use PWM and fan profiles to get it where I want it. So far this is my plan/options.

Water Cooling
Pump/Res: EK-XRES 100 D5 REVO PWM
Tubing: Rigid PETG 12/16mm
Radiator 1: HWLabs Nemesis GTX 240
Radiator 2: HWLabs Nemesis GTS 280
120 Fans: EK Vardar or Dark Side Gentle Typhoon
140 Fans: EK Vardar or Noctua
GPU Block: EK FC-980 Strix (Nickel/Plexi) | Purchased
CPU Block: XSPC Raystorm Pro

Might as well start off with my Caselabs X2M order that I placed yesterday and how it is configured. Stay tuned for a lot more pictures and details!


Edited by turbocharged - 1/27/16 at 7:24am
Heavy Armor
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 Asus GTX 980 Strix 16GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Sandisk Extreme SSD Samsung Spinpoint F3 (RAID 0) Under Water Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Catleap Q270 (2560x1440) Deck Legend "Fire" Corsair TX750W "Heavy" Armor (Thermaltake Armor Case Mod) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Mionix Naos 7000 Mionix Sargas 400 Creative Titanium HD Sound Card AKG Q701 Headphones 
AudioAudio
Schiit Vali Headphone Amp Zalman Clip-on Mic 
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Heavy Armor
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 Asus GTX 980 Strix 16GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Sandisk Extreme SSD Samsung Spinpoint F3 (RAID 0) Under Water Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Catleap Q270 (2560x1440) Deck Legend "Fire" Corsair TX750W "Heavy" Armor (Thermaltake Armor Case Mod) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Mionix Naos 7000 Mionix Sargas 400 Creative Titanium HD Sound Card AKG Q701 Headphones 
AudioAudio
Schiit Vali Headphone Amp Zalman Clip-on Mic 
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Reply
post #2 of 8
Looks like it's going to be a pretty meaty build. Keep us updated (lots of pics). It's a shame that the Asus Strix cards are so voltage locked even bios mods doesn't do anything. My Strix has so much potential in it but it's locked at 1.185V... I'm sure with a WB on the strix you could get some insane overclocks if only you had overvolting capability...
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cakewalk_S View Post

Looks like it's going to be a pretty meaty build. Keep us updated (lots of pics). It's a shame that the Asus Strix cards are so voltage locked even bios mods doesn't do anything. My Strix has so much potential in it but it's locked at 1.185V... I'm sure with a WB on the strix you could get some insane overclocks if only you had overvolting capability...

Thanks.

The locked voltage on the Strix is definitely unfortunate as mine clocks great and I would love to crank up the voltage a bit. Really there is little reason to watercool it other than the fact it looks cool and I got an awesome deal on the waterblock ($70 NIB).
Heavy Armor
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 Asus GTX 980 Strix 16GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Sandisk Extreme SSD Samsung Spinpoint F3 (RAID 0) Under Water Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Catleap Q270 (2560x1440) Deck Legend "Fire" Corsair TX750W "Heavy" Armor (Thermaltake Armor Case Mod) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Mionix Naos 7000 Mionix Sargas 400 Creative Titanium HD Sound Card AKG Q701 Headphones 
AudioAudio
Schiit Vali Headphone Amp Zalman Clip-on Mic 
  hide details  
Reply
Heavy Armor
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 Asus GTX 980 Strix 16GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Sandisk Extreme SSD Samsung Spinpoint F3 (RAID 0) Under Water Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Catleap Q270 (2560x1440) Deck Legend "Fire" Corsair TX750W "Heavy" Armor (Thermaltake Armor Case Mod) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Mionix Naos 7000 Mionix Sargas 400 Creative Titanium HD Sound Card AKG Q701 Headphones 
AudioAudio
Schiit Vali Headphone Amp Zalman Clip-on Mic 
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Reply
post #4 of 8
Looking forward to this build!
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
Quick update...

I have now ordered all the PC hardware for this build and updated the first post with the final build specs. Check it out and comment at will.

I have also been crunching numbers and playing in 3D CAD land lately to figure out my water cooling loop since I still have to wait a few more weeks for my case. The original plan was to run an EK XE240 radiator up front and an EK CE280 radiator up top to get the most performance in a tiny space. After a few emails with Caselabs asking for extra dimensions, I threw together a quick 3D model and found out that this probably won't be possible.

Here is the XE240 and CE280 combo...I put a piece of 12/16mm tubing in there to show the interference. They are also too close to expect to get a 90-degree fitting in there to avoid the interference.



So once I knew that wouldn't work, I tried several other combinations of the four radiators that I am considering...the EK XE240, EK CE280, Hardware Labs Nemesis 240 GTX, and Hardware Labs Nemesis 280 GTS. It ends up that every combination works "fine" except running the two EK's together like I showed previously. This left me with the question, which do I choose if they all will work? Answer isn't all that simple because performance-wise each combination is extremely similar to one another.

After my eyes started bleeding from reading data from various tests and reviews over and over, I came to estimate that the best performance would come from the EK XE240 and Hardware Labs 280 GTS combo (at the low to moderate fan speeds that I plan on running at). Unfortunately the carbon-black coating on the HW Labs radiator doesn't really match the paint on any other radiator out there and that bothers me. So right now prime path is to take a tiny performance hit and run both HW Lab radiators to make the build look much nicer. After all, this much water cooling isn't exactly necessary or highly advisable for a CPU/GPU mini-ITX loop. One way or another, I'm not buying any water cooling components except CPU and GPU blocks until I actually have the case and can do some mock-ups in RL.

Anyway, here's a quick rendering of what the two radiators are going to look like in the case...






Edited by turbocharged - 1/27/16 at 8:02pm
Heavy Armor
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 Asus GTX 980 Strix 16GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Sandisk Extreme SSD Samsung Spinpoint F3 (RAID 0) Under Water Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Catleap Q270 (2560x1440) Deck Legend "Fire" Corsair TX750W "Heavy" Armor (Thermaltake Armor Case Mod) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Mionix Naos 7000 Mionix Sargas 400 Creative Titanium HD Sound Card AKG Q701 Headphones 
AudioAudio
Schiit Vali Headphone Amp Zalman Clip-on Mic 
  hide details  
Reply
Heavy Armor
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 Asus GTX 980 Strix 16GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Sandisk Extreme SSD Samsung Spinpoint F3 (RAID 0) Under Water Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Catleap Q270 (2560x1440) Deck Legend "Fire" Corsair TX750W "Heavy" Armor (Thermaltake Armor Case Mod) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Mionix Naos 7000 Mionix Sargas 400 Creative Titanium HD Sound Card AKG Q701 Headphones 
AudioAudio
Schiit Vali Headphone Amp Zalman Clip-on Mic 
  hide details  
Reply
post #6 of 8
Thread Starter 
My Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 SSD just got here and damn is this thing tiny.

Here it is next to a 2.5" Samsung 830 SSD and a pen for sense of scale...

Heavy Armor
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 Asus GTX 980 Strix 16GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Sandisk Extreme SSD Samsung Spinpoint F3 (RAID 0) Under Water Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Catleap Q270 (2560x1440) Deck Legend "Fire" Corsair TX750W "Heavy" Armor (Thermaltake Armor Case Mod) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Mionix Naos 7000 Mionix Sargas 400 Creative Titanium HD Sound Card AKG Q701 Headphones 
AudioAudio
Schiit Vali Headphone Amp Zalman Clip-on Mic 
  hide details  
Reply
Heavy Armor
(19 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel i5 2500K @ 4.5GHz Gigabyte GA-Z68XP-UD4 Asus GTX 980 Strix 16GB G.Skill RipjawsX DDR3-1600 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Sandisk Extreme SSD Samsung Spinpoint F3 (RAID 0) Under Water Windows 7 Ultimate (64-bit) 
MonitorKeyboardPowerCase
Catleap Q270 (2560x1440) Deck Legend "Fire" Corsair TX750W "Heavy" Armor (Thermaltake Armor Case Mod) 
MouseMouse PadAudioAudio
Mionix Naos 7000 Mionix Sargas 400 Creative Titanium HD Sound Card AKG Q701 Headphones 
AudioAudio
Schiit Vali Headphone Amp Zalman Clip-on Mic 
  hide details  
Reply
post #7 of 8
Wow that's awesome! Let me know how fast it is getting your OS installed with that bad boy!
post #8 of 8
Any update?
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Overclock.net › Forums › Specialty Builds › Small Form Factor Systems › [Build Log] Watercooled Z170 mITX in Caselabs Nova X2M (gaming build)