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1st Timer Build Log - Phanteks Evolv ATX

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey all! I decided to go ahead and post a (mini)build log of my first attempt at water cooling. Mostly to show you guys what will come out of the help I got here thumb.gif

I won't do an extensive list or lots of updates. That said, I just ordered all my parts and I'm super stoked so I thought I'd start by sharing my parts list!

Computer Hardware:

Case: Phanteks Evolv ATX Tempered Glass (Satin Black)
Mobo: ASUS ROG MAXIMUS VIII Hero
CPU: Intel i7-6700k
GPU: EVGA GeForce GTX 1080 FTW
RAM: G.SKILL Ripjaws V Series 32GB (2x 16GB)
SSD: Samsung 950 Pro M.2 512GB PCIe 3.0

Watercooling Kit:

Blocks
CPU / Mobo: EK-FB ASUS M8G Monoblock (Acetal/Nickel)
GPU: EK-FC1080 GTX FTW (Acetal/Nickel) + black backplate

Radiators
Front: EK-CoolStream XE 360
Top: Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis 280GTS XFLOW

Pump
EK-XTOP DDC 3.2 PWM

Reservoir
EK-RES X3 150

Fans
Front: 3x EK-Furious Vardar (intake, push)
Top: Relocating the Evolv ATX's two 140mm front fans for top rad (exhaust, pull)
Rear: 1x 140mm included case fan (exhaust)

I initially was looking at lower RPM, quieter Gentle Typhoons for the front intake. However, doing some quick math the Evolv ATX's fans are rated at ~82 CFM per fan. Times 3 that gives ~246 CFM of exhaust. The Furious Vardars are rated for a max 107 CFM, with 3 totaling 321 CFM. The next step down Vardars have 77 CFM for a total of 231, which is cutting it kind of close. The best GTs I saw are a bit less than that.

Now I know those numbers are not the end of the story, since static pressure has a lot of say in a restricted environment like this. That said, from what I understand both the Vardars and the included Phanteks fans have decent static pressure. Then you have to consider that the 60mm rad in front is going to be more restrictive than the 30mm rad up top. But then also the top of the case is pretty restrictive... So yeah, not sure how that's gonna pan out but I figured going for the Furious Vardars made more sense just to make sure that if anything I wind up with more intake than exhaust, for positive pressure inside the case.

Tubing/Fittings
Monsoon Hardline 3/8 x 1/2 clear tubes (made sure to get extra!)
Monsoon Free Center hardline compression fittings (red) x12
EK-CSQ 45 degree adapter (black) for the top of the pump to join the line from the reservoir
EK-AF T-Splitter (black), EK-CSQ 45 degree adapter (black), EK-AF Ball Valve (black nickel) & 2x EK-AF extender male-to-male 6mm fittings for a drain off the 360 rad's outlet


Plus some odds and ends... that's about it biggrin.gif

The idea is for it to wind up looking something like this:



NOTE: Most of the models were borrowed from around the web

Let's see how close I can get!!

Ahh.... the waiting is killing me already lol.



UPDATE

Glad to report all went well, though it took far longer than expected! I'm happily posting this from my brand new, water cooled, near silent rig biggrin.gif

Before I put up the pics, I'd like to share some lessons learned / mini reviews for those looking to try water cooling for the first time. Hopefully it helps!

Hardware

Tubing - Don't forget extra lock collars!

I made sure to order more than enough tubing. I actually wound up with half of it unused. But I made a huge mistake in not getting additional lock collars for the Monsoon hardline fittings. Luckily, as part of a mishap with PerformancePCS shipping me old acrylic collars, Monsoon sent me a new 6-pack with 4 additional spares. Which was great, because I wound up needing two of those smile.gif

Rads - Clean them.

I read a few threads and blogs saying that this step is either optional or can easily be handled with some hot distilled water. I tried boiling distilled water and letting it cool off a minute or two. Tons of flux and other strangely colored particles came out of both rads. So much so that I ran through my first gallon of distilled and stuff was still pouring. I went to the store and got some white vinegar, did a 4-part heated distilled to 1-part white vinegar mix and let it sit for a good 4-5 hours.

That seemed to finally get most of it out. Even then, a small amount of flux was still coming out on the last of 3 rinses.

For what it's worth, the EKWB rad had about twice the stuff as the Hardware Labs one, but I wouldn't have gone without cleaning either.

Rotary fittings - Make sure you get 'em if you need 'em!

The T-fitting I used for my drain/fill port required some male-to-male adapters. Not thinking about it, I got regular adapters from EKWB. These are great, except that they don't rotate. As soon as I got the parts in my hand I realized there'd be a problem. Sure enough, when tightened, the T-fitting's outlet, the one I planned to use to continue the loop, faced the wrong direction.

No adjustment with a non-rotary fitting.

Time and patience persevered and I was able to work the fitting into place while still being reasonably tight. Save yourself the hours of frustration and get a rotary fitting.

Phanteks Evolv ATX - I would've liked it to be just a tad bigger.

I had more than one person here tell me I should go for a different case. I want to go on record as to say you were all absolutely right to push me away, lol.

Getting the pump at the bottom, under the PSU shroud, was a real pain. The reservoir mounted nicely, but I could not use the provided mounting points due to the girth of my GPU. I had to use the hexagonal cuts for ventilation, which held fine using washers. Not ideal, but it does work. But it also only just fits. There's probably 2mm between it and the glass!

Also, the quality of the case left me wanting a bit. At least compared with my previous case, an old CoolerMaster HAFX, the frame of the case (with all panels removed) feels like it has a lot of flex. I'm sure part of that is down to the lack of drive cages, but it was a little concerning.

There's also little things here and there, like the LED for the front light strip being held on with a zip-tie (no joke). That's an ok case mod for a DIYer, but definitely not ok for the OEM to do, in my opinion.

Plus the Tempered Glass (TG) version feels like they just swapped the panels out for glass and called it a day. No additional/better cable management for the side that would've been invisible in the normal case. That itself isn't too bad, since cable management is pretty decent as it is. That said, the case's own cabling (for the power button, LEDs, etc.) comes strangely routed through a hole that makes it incredibly obvious. I had to push one of the stoppers that grabs the front metal panel out of the case so I could pull the cables through a smaller, much more discrete hole closer to the top of the case. It took some forcing, but worked great and those cables are nearly invisible from the side. Why Phanteks didn't do this themselves, besides laziness, beats me.

For the cost of the case, I found these things pretty concerning.

With all that on the table, the case looks phenomenal. The aluminum panels look and feel fantastic. The LED lighting is great. And, to somewhat contradict my previous points, they add some very thoughtful details. For instance, the fact that the power button and its LED are not attached to the top panel, so it's easy to remove it and keep it off without having to drag around wires. Not least of all being the awesome little box of categorized screws they include with the case.

All in all, if I had to do this again, I'd stick with the case but pick a different res/pump combo to mount just behind the front rad, in the provided mounting points.

EK-CoolStream XE 360 and accompanying Vardar fans - not a fan!

I did a lot of research on the radiators, and the EK-CoolStream XE 360 was a great performer in every single benchmark I saw. With that said, holding it in my hands next to the Hardware Labs 280GTS XFLOW, it feels subpar as far as quality goes. I know that's not apples to apples, comparing a 280 cross-flow slim rad to a 60mm 360 rad. What I mean is that the rad housing feels somewhat flimsy.

The worst part of it was that, for some reason, the mounting holes didn't line up quite right with the 120 mm mounting points on the front of the Evolv ATX. Not only that, but the EKWB-provided mounting screws are only just long enough to go through the Vardar fans and attach to the rad. The added ~1 mm thickness of the case's mounting points makes it so the screws are almost too short to work. Combining that with the fact that the mounting holes on the rad are flimsy and were bent inwards slightly from the factory made for a very, very frustrating time getting the front fans on.

I literally had to take a slightly longer screw included with the Phanteks case to "pull" the radiator frame flush to the case so that I could fit the EK screws on the other holes, tighten, pull the longer screw, put in another hole and repeat. I would've just used the Phanteks screws but only 4 were included.

Now, I know why they did this - apparently one of the bigger issues with rads is people running screws through the fins/piping of the rad. However, I submit to you that instead of this short-sighted solution of using screws that only barely work, EKWB should've redesigned their rad. Put a metal stop in there to keep a screw from going too far. Or move the piping out of the way. Simply provide slightly longer screws, even. The Phanteks screws went on and still had ~2mm clearance from the fins.

The Hardware Labs rad did not have these problems....

As for the fans, they're great except that they came with super short, pre-sleeved cables. With some modding I got them to just work, with 0 slack. The bigger issue here is that they're pre-sleeved in red, for some strange reason. That's not an issue for me as my theme was black with red accents anyway, but it seems strange, considering color is such a huge thing for custom PCs, that they would choose red instead of going with plain black or even white.


Tools

The Monsoon hardline tools I grabbed were invaluable. I simply would not have been able to get the results I got without the mandrels. The measuring tools were very helpful also. Between those, bending was a cinch. I managed to get all my tubing done with only a single redo.

That said, the mitre box was a bit of a letdown.

For one, with all the talk of "fixturing" the mandrels one would think the mitre box would have some easy way to fixture it to a work bench so it's not sliding around. But no.

Also, every cut I did was at least somewhat crooked. I'll admit I've always been awful at this sort of thing and I'm sure it's probably all my fault. Still, on the first cut ever I actually cut into the mitre box, widening the opening by about 1mm towards the bottom. I couldn't really tell the difference in resistance, being my first cut, and was surprised that the thing meant to keep my cut straight got itself cut at an angle...

Vendors

The vendors I dealt with - EKWB, PerformancePCS, Monsoon - were all phenomenal. Seriously, some of the best support I've ever had, ever.

The only reason I even had to contact their support in the first place was due to:


A. The GPU waterblock being a "pre-order," which threw the shipping timeframe into question

B. A small mishap with PerformancePCS sending me old acrylic lock collars for the Monsoon fittings, and getting my rad order wrong


With that said, the process of returning the rad to get the proper unit I'd ordered was pretty stressful. I can totally understand how the mix-up happened - seriously, Hardware Labs, could you have made the name longer?? - but PerformancePCS' return process was unnecessarily difficult.

First, there was no option on their site to start a return due to receiving the wrong part. That meant I had to wait until Monday for them to respond. Fine. They sent me an e-mail asking for a picture to prove I got the wrong thing. I thought that was weird (why would someone lie about that??) but ok. Had to wait until Tuesday for a response. They gave me a prepaid label and said they would not ship the replacement until they saw "activity" on the tracking. At that point I got a bit upset, as I felt like they were treating me like a scammer.

The bigger issue being that it was too late to drop the thing off at the post office, meaning I had to wait until Wednesday morning in order to get a receipt to prove I'd dropped it off (which I had to e-mail them a picture of). That threw into question whether I'd get the rad in time to start on the build that weekend. Last thing I wanted was to be sitting there waiting on a single part to come in.

In the end, their support was great and they got me taken care of, and got the replacement part back to me in time for me to start my build. It was just too bad that a completely understandable mistake on their part, coupled with a bad process, made for a stressful situation on my part.

Putting It All Together

The single biggest thing I can say is that this took way more time to do than I'd anticipated. Granted, this was my first time doing anything like this, and my anal nature when it comes to this stuff had a lot to do with it. I like to take my time.

With that in mind, I'd hoped to get this done over one weekend. It took the better part of 3!

That easily could've been even longer if I hadn't researched well enough to get all the parts I needed on the first go around.

The Result

TL;DR, look at the pictures tongue.gif

Hope you guys like it. I know I do! thumb.gif
















Edited by kriz225 - 10/4/16 at 10:14pm
post #2 of 14
Nice mockup. Looking forward to the build.
What colour scheme?
post #3 of 14
Just finished a build in that case! it is a lot of fun to work in. Very clean looking case, with only a few limitation depending how far you go to mod it. Looking forward to your build. If you want to see some thing I did to get an idea you can check out my build log. http://www.overclock.net/t/1607002/
MänəKrōm X99
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X79 Build
(23 items)
 
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel Core i7-6850K Broadwell-E Processor  ASUS X99-DELUXE II LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 Nvidia Titan X (P)  G.SKILL TridentZ Series 128GB (8 x 16GB) DDR4 3... 
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SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 512GB PCI-Express  SAMSUNG 850 PRO 256GB SATA III  SAMSUNG 850 EVO 500GB SATA III  Water cooling Mixed parts 
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Windows 10 pro 27in. Asus PB278Q PLS 2560x1440 WQHD  Qisan Gaming Keyboard Mechanical Wired Keyboard... Seasonic 1050 Gold 
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phanteks enthoo evolv atx tempered glass  Logitech MX518 Old School Razer Logitech 5.1 
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MänəKrōm X99
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X79 Build
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Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 512GB PCI-Express  SAMSUNG 850 PRO 256GB SATA III  SAMSUNG 850 EVO 500GB SATA III  Water cooling Mixed parts 
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Windows 10 pro 27in. Asus PB278Q PLS 2560x1440 WQHD  Qisan Gaming Keyboard Mechanical Wired Keyboard... Seasonic 1050 Gold 
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phanteks enthoo evolv atx tempered glass  Logitech MX518 Old School Razer Logitech 5.1 
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Intel 3930k overclocked Asus Rampage IV Extream Evga GTX 690  corsair dominator platinum 32gigs at 1866mhz (t... 
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post #4 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by smithydan View Post

Nice mockup. Looking forward to the build.
What colour scheme?

Thanks! Outside of the motherboard (red accents), RAM and fittings (both red), everything is black. I initially wanted a black/green setup, but finding parts that fit the color scheme was going to be a bit difficult and I'm trying to keep a more understated look anyway.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kyouki View Post

Just finished a build in that case! it is a lot of fun to work in. Very clean looking case, with only a few limitation depending how far you go to mod it. Looking forward to your build. If you want to see some thing I did to get an idea you can check out my build log. http://www.overclock.net/t/1607002/

Very nice!!! Definitely a much more professional job than I'll be managing...

I have to ask. When you opened your boxes and saw all those RAM sticks, did you scream "ALL THE RAAAAAAMMMM!!!!!"?? Feels like the only appropriate thing to do! biggrin.gif
post #5 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by kriz225 View Post

Thanks! Outside of the motherboard (red accents), RAM and fittings (both red), everything is black. I initially wanted a black/green setup, but finding parts that fit the color scheme was going to be a bit difficult and I'm trying to keep a more understated look anyway.
Very nice!!! Definitely a much more professional job than I'll be managing...

I have to ask. When you opened your boxes and saw all those RAM sticks, did you scream "ALL THE RAAAAAAMMMM!!!!!"?? Feels like the only appropriate thing to do! biggrin.gif

Haha, yea I ran home early from work just to see it all in it glory! Still trying to figure out how I'm going to use it all.

I'm excited for your build no matter the level of it. As long as you enjoy it.
MänəKrōm X99
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X79 Build
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Intel Core i7-6850K Broadwell-E Processor  ASUS X99-DELUXE II LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 Nvidia Titan X (P)  G.SKILL TridentZ Series 128GB (8 x 16GB) DDR4 3... 
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Windows 10 pro 27in. Asus PB278Q PLS 2560x1440 WQHD  Qisan Gaming Keyboard Mechanical Wired Keyboard... Seasonic 1050 Gold 
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MänəKrōm X99
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X79 Build
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Intel Core i7-6850K Broadwell-E Processor  ASUS X99-DELUXE II LGA 2011-v3 Intel X99 Nvidia Titan X (P)  G.SKILL TridentZ Series 128GB (8 x 16GB) DDR4 3... 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
SAMSUNG 950 PRO M.2 512GB PCI-Express  SAMSUNG 850 PRO 256GB SATA III  SAMSUNG 850 EVO 500GB SATA III  Water cooling Mixed parts 
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Windows 10 pro 27in. Asus PB278Q PLS 2560x1440 WQHD  Qisan Gaming Keyboard Mechanical Wired Keyboard... Seasonic 1050 Gold 
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phanteks enthoo evolv atx tempered glass  Logitech MX518 Old School Razer Logitech 5.1 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
Intel 3930k overclocked Asus Rampage IV Extream Evga GTX 690  corsair dominator platinum 32gigs at 1866mhz (t... 
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corsair dominator platinum 32gigs at 1866mhz (t... Samsung 840 Pro 256 Samsung 840 Pro 256 SanDisk SSD 
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WD Raptor WD raptors 2x 32GB WD My DUO Cloud NAS 6TB Asus DVD/CD 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
xspc ex240 kit, added ex120 in loop, front bay ... Windows 7 64bit pro 27in. Asus PB278Q PLS 2560x1440 WQHD 22in. Samsung syncMaster 
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razer blackwidow ultimate 2013 Mechanical SeaSonic X 1050 80Gold Silverstone TJ10 ESA Edition.  Mx518 Logitech 
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Razer Headphones Wacom Intous5 Tablet 
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Intel i7-3930k  Asus Rampage IV Extream EVGA GeForce GTX 690 corsair dominator platinum 32gigs at 1866mhz  
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Western Digital WD Black 500GB Samsung 840 Pro SSD ASUS DRW-24B1ST Corsair H100 Closed loop 
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post #6 of 14
I'm in. Lets see it!
post #7 of 14
Where did you download the 3d models of the components?
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post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Hey @redshoulder! Sorry for the delayed response. The case actually came from someone else's post in this forum. I can't recall where exactly I found it. The rest of the models I used came right from SketchUp's 3D Workshop.

Here's the current one, if it helps you:

https://1drv.ms/u/s!Aq2fMS6p7sjcj60FYCApTfa2o4lloQ

Keep in mind that I don't believe the dimensions of these things to be 100% accurate. I think the case at least was adapted from photos by scale rather than measured properly. Seems pretty close, though.
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post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 
Selfish bump biggrin.gif

I updated the first post with some thoughts and, more importantly, pictures! Let me know what you guys think.

All in all, this was a lot of fun. I'm very happy with how it turned out. The PC runs cool and it's much quieter than my old machine.

Now, to get to overclocking wheee.gif
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