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[Complete] Legacy Rocketfish *NIGHT SHOTS ADDED 7/16*

post #1 of 63
Thread Starter 
PROJECT: Legacy

Hello OCN! After many, many months of lurking through work logs, I've finally decided to start my own. I hope you all enjoy what you will see here in the coming weeks as Project: Ad Extremum takes shape. This project is dedicated to OCN and specifically those who have helped me with their words of wisdom because without them, none of this would be possible.


PRELUDE:

Through my years in building PCs, there's always been a desire to build "the one" watercooled rig for my own uses. In the past year, I've spent many, many hours searching for the right watercooling case. I would stare at photos trying to visualize component placement and tubing 'flow'. I even tried out a Mountain Mods case and just couldn't live with it. It was well-built and did its job but it didn't live up to what I had worked out in my head long before. I knew then that I was going to have to modify (gulp) a case if I was ever going to get it just right.

Eventually, thanks to OCN's "Online Deals" section, I learned of the Rocketfish. As soon as I pulled up a shot of the interior I knew it was the case I had been looking for. For $47 I bought two...just in case.

DESIGN GUIDELINES:

-- All watercooling MUST be internal
-- Modifications will follow the understated nature of Lian Li's factory cases
-- Both hard drive racks MUST remain.

THE PROJECT:

Here are some teasers...


The RadGrillz.


If I said I wasn't a little aprehensive about taking a jigsaw to the beautiful top of this case I'd be lying. Slow and steady wins the race. For those thinking about doing this with I give you this advice:

-- If possible, find a saw with variable speed.
-- Try a 32 tpi (teeth per inch) blade and take your time.
-- Double up on the masking tape and there will be no stray scratches



Center Divider / False Floor


Thanks to SumOn3 and the epic "Dark" Desire build for inspiring this false floor. For the record, I clearly stated in his thread I was going to steal some of his ideas This is what happens when some 3/8" angle, 5052 aluminum sheeting (cheap off ebay -- thanks again Sum0n3), and 1/8" rivets "get together":


We'll get a little closer. Through some really tedius measuring and filing, I was able to get it within 1/32" of being parallel with the bottom of the case. I made a jig for the rivet drilling to make sure their placement as well as the finished edge was as precise as possible. It attaches to the Rocketfish in three places via angled aluminum: the front, back, and motherboard tray. What results is a lightweight yet VERY rigid center divider.

The pump will then mount below the 5 1/4" bays where the 3 1/2" bays used to be. This allows me to keep the second hard drive cage in place for future upgradeability.


NEXT TIME...

Pump placement!
Edited by MNiceGuy - 2/17/09 at 8:43pm
post #2 of 63
Thread Starter 
**UPDATE** 6/30/08

Alright guys I had some time this weekend to get some big stuff done with the Rocketfish. I originally intended to place the pump only but I got carried away and actually completed the loop.

LOOP DESIGN GUIDELINES

When designing the loop for this project, there were a couple of guidelines I wanted to follow based on some things I learned from in the past.

-- Loop must be short 'n sweet. Rather than stealthing any of the loop, I gave priority to flow instead. Besides, I think the tubing looks cool!

-- No elbows or coils. I'm not totally against using elbows but I wanted to see if I could run the loop without them first. Coils on the otherhand will never find a place in a machine I build. Besides not liking the look of them, I don't think they're durable in the long-term. In fact, I used a section of leftover tubing from an old build that had some coils on one end. I gave one end a gentle pry and they broke right off with little resistance.

-- Airflow restrictions must be kept to a minimum. I wanted to keep as much of the motherboard area clear for one reason: this case can use as much help as it can get in the airflow department.

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

And here we have it. You'll see a Swifty Apogee GT that I'm using for a mock up (it's mounting hardware has been lost). Ironically, there are prexisting holes in the Rocketfish that match up to prexisting holes on the Apogee. It's not quite in the right position but it's enough to get close.

BLOCK: Undecided
PUMP: Swiftech MCP655 Vario
RES: EK Multioption 150 Rev.2 with Anti-Cyclone insert
RAD: Swiftech MCR320 QP
TUBING: Swiftech 7/16"


Now you can see the false floor doing it's intended job. Not only does it isolate hard drive heat, but it gives me quite a bit of freedom for pump placement. I originally wanted to stealth the pump but I ended up using a different placement. I still may but for now, show me the pump!

You also might notice something unusual near the res. Leading into the next part (insert dramatic transition)...

WIRE MANAGEMENT COVER

Aesthetically, I wanted the most attention to be given to the water loop. Functionally, less wire mess means more efficient airflow. I used 1" nylon spacers along with some long screws to attach a small cover that not only gives a great place to mount the res to but hides the 24-pin power and SATA connections. I plan to cut a hole in the PSU area to route the cables behind the motherboard. Although the res looks crooked (due to the downward angle of the picture) I made absolutely certain that it was within 1/16" of being square and parallel with the other panels.


A MATCH MADE IN HELL

I finally hit my first snag with this project: getting the rad grill and the MCR to play nice together. While A.C.Ryan advertises that the rad grill will fit an MCR320 after enlarging the holes a little, I had no idea that I was going to have to bore them out as far as I did. After punching the fan holes to 1/4" I was finally able to get things together without putting too much stress on either the rad or the grill.


I went with the inexpensive MCR because this is a CPU-only loop. I had originally intended to add the 3870x2 to the loop and use a GTX360 but with the HD4k cards coming on strong, I don't forsee the x2 sticking around long enough to justify putting it on water.

AIRFLOW THEORY

Please forgive the crudeness but this is the basic thoery behind the airflow 'enhancements' I plan to make to the case as well. What do you think?


Alright guys! In the spirit of keeping this log going, I have a tiny little update for you. I should apologize first for the lackluster pics but things have been busy as of late.

THE POWER SUPPLY

This was the one major hurdle I knew from the beginning after I decided to move my sig rig into a modded Rocketfish. From the rear wall of the 'fish to the nearest wall of the hard drive rack is roughly 9". My Toughpower's case along is larger than that. I could easily remove the nearest rack and have room to spare but that violated one of the fundamental thesis of this build: both racks remain.

*DIVERSION* Upon completion of this log, head over to the "For Sale" section where I will be posting the Toughpower at a price that I'm hoping will move it.

Finding the right PSU proved to be a little challenging but I eventually decided on the supurb PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750W. Here's why:

1. It is a quality piece of there ever was one. I have always wanted to try out one of their PSUs and thought now was as good of a time as any.

2. Enough power along with the right connections for a dual 4870 setup should I feel so inclined

3. Since it doesn't have a top/bottom-mounted 120mm but rather a rear-mounted 80mm, I can still use the factory PSU brace in the 'fish to make sure it's nice and solid without flexing the back plate.

4. It's a front intake to rear exhaust system. With the false floor in place, it seems only natural that the best airflow is coming from the front and not the top or bottom. As a bonus, it should help move air through the lower chamber.


ATI FANBOY!

Alright some of you may have already noticed this is the "Crossfire Edition" of the Silencer 750W. Was it the red color? ATi fanboism? Well...I must be honest...maybe just a little. The better question would be was it $30 cheaper than the black version? Yes! Yes it was

BUT WHERE ARE THE CABLES?

In the pic above, all the cables are installed in the case and the opposite case side panel IS installed. You'll notice the 8-pin motherboard lead hanging out. Still haven't decided what to do about that one yet. The SATA power cables are intentially loose since I plan to tidy them up after the drives are in place. Where did I run all the cabling? Behind the mobo tray? Nope! The answer will have to wait until the next installment

MAN! THAT THING BLOWS!

After some much appreciated help from some of the OCN members that gravitate near the "Watercooling" section, I decided on the 120x38 Scythe Ultra Kaze 2000RPM fans for the MCR. They will be controlled by a Zalman 6-channel fan controller. Here's a quick shot of my little fan comparison tonight:


You can see an Antec LED (Non Tri-Cool), a Scythe Slip Stream, a generic fan from a Swiftech kit, and of course the Ultra Kazes. How to the big 38's compare to the others you ask? Imagine Chuck Norris vs. your little sister. Yeah...it's like that
Edited by MNiceGuy - 7/14/08 at 2:41pm
post #3 of 63
Thread Starter 
THE GRAND FINALE

BEFORE WE GET STARTED

Alright guys I am very excited to say that this project is done! It's been a long haul! It took longer than I thought it would and the budget was blown out the window long ago but that's insignificant now. What really matters is the fact I can look at what I've accomplished here, regardless of how remarkable it may or may not be, and take pride in knowing I did it. A year ago I would have never thought this would happen.

CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE

I've said it a few times already but this build is for you, the gurus of OCN! Take a look at what you see here and take some credit for yourself since without you, none of this would be possible! I lurked "Online Deals", "Watercooling", "Case Mods", and "Intel General" for more hours I care to admit

FINAL SPECS

MAIN SYSTEM

CPU: Q6600 running 3.15 @ 1.30v
RAM: Crucial Ballistix Tracer Red PC6400 2x2GB
PSU: PC Power & Cooling Silencer 750 Quad "Crossfire Edition"
GPU: Sapphire 3870x2

STORAGE

PRIMARY HDD: WD Raptor X 150GB
STORAGE HDD: 2x WD 500GB

COOLING

CPU BLOCK: Swiftech Apogee GT
RAD FANS: x3 Scythe Ultra Kaze 120x38mm 2000RPM
CASE FANS: x2 Scythe Ultra Kaze 120x38mm 1000RPM
RAD: Swiftech MCR320
PUMP: Swiftech MCP655 Vario
RES: EK Multioption 150
TUBING: Swiftech 7/16"ID
FAN CONTROL: Zalman 6-channel
COOLANT: FluidXP EXT Phantom Black

ADDITIONAL HARDWARE

SOUND: Razer Barracuda AC-1
NIC: Linksys Wireless G PCI (I know...I know...)
THAT PESKY 8-PIN

While wiring everything up, I sat there for a while wondering how the heck I was going to get the 8-pin AUX up to where it needed to be. The Rocketfish is huge we all know. Tall...and huge. I tried to guesstimate and measure whether or not it would make it if I routed it behind the motherboard tray but still couldn't come up with a confident answer. Some times however you just have to jump in head first

From here....

To here...

Success!! I would have spent a little more time tidying up the cuts but since the edges really should have rubber channel, who cares? The important thing is that the AUX made it with even a little room to spare!

HEY! AREN'T THERE SUPPOSED TO BE WIRES EVERYWHERE?

The Rocketfish is a top-notch case in terms of size, flexibiliy, and so on but there are two things it absolutely sucks at: cooling and wire management. I originally planned to use a hole near the PSU (like you see above) to route everything behind the motherboard. Unfortunately there is next to no clearance behind the dang thing. But then there's that false floor I made... With the angle and HDD racks for support, I decided to sandwich the wires between the two. Here, have a look....


Works great actually. They go under the false floor, up through a notch I cut in the floor itself, behind the panel the res is mounted to, and then on to their final destination. Unused cables are zip-tied to the side of the 5 1/4" bays.

Now if you take a nice long look at the internal case area, there's next to nothing to obstruct airflow. As a bonus, it looks nice and tidy too!

FAN-ATICICAL

This was a tricky decision. On some recommendations from OCN, I decided on the Scythe Ultra Kazes for their good value and performance. The hard part was deciding which ones to get; the 1000RPM, 2000RPM, or 3000RPM. The 3K screamers were out instantly because I don't want to sit next to a leaf blower. In the end I went with a combination of 1K and 2K. One of slower fans is placed as an intake where the exhaust would normally be and the other is in front of the hard drives. The fast fans are on the radiator and then dialed down with a fan controller to ~25%. Here's some Zalman cheddar...


The idea here is that the rad fans are the case exhaust. Period. They not only have to scavenge air through the radiator but they also have to pass air across the internal components that need it. The rear fan and the front fan I plan to add give the radiator a little breath of cool, outside air; bypassing the internal components. Since the rad fans outrun the others, I should (hopefully) be getting a combination of outside air and internal cooling.

If it gets really humid and hot (welcome to Minnesota summers), I have quite a bit of headroom in the rad fans. At 12V they move a helluva lot of air!

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH. LET'S SEE SOME PICTURES!

Well folks here you have it:






ALL SHOW BUT NO...UH...GO?

If you've read this entire log then you know early on I said I engineered this thing with function taking priority over form. I like style just like the next guy but if it hurt airflow or loop restriction, to the trash can it went!

Here are some Core Temp results. I don't have a way to measure the ambient temp but let's call it 70* Farenheit (official thermostat reading). Case fans set to 100%, rad fans set to ~25%.

IDLE: 29*C
LOAD (Prime95 blend): 36*C
LOAD (Prime95 small FFT): 42*C



Not too bad eh?

I THOUGHT YOU SAID YOU WERE DONE?

Alright, alright you might notice there are a few missing details. The inside needs some channel, the rad grill needs a couple screws etc. Or I dunno...a window?? Truth of the matter is I simply don't have the time in the next couple weeks to dedicate to the project so those things will have to wait. I'll be sure to post them up when they're done (hence the final reserved post) though!

NIGHT SHOTS

Athough this project is pretty tame as far as LEDs and cathodes go, it still has a certain something when the lights are out...




Edited by MNiceGuy - 7/19/08 at 9:33pm
post #4 of 63
Thread Starter 
EPILOGUE

It's been a while since I've updated this thread because of vacation and work but I wanted to leave it complete. Among the first things I decided to do was change the name, in the spirit of the famous Doom weapon, to Project: BFR. Not sure why really it just struck me one day and I liked it. It's edgier There were a few loose ends to tie up and after some time I am happy to say I got most of them worked out. Hope you enjoy my final installment!

HELLO 4870!

The 3870x2 found a new home when a good friend made an offer I didn't refuse. Naturally I replaced it with a 4870! I learned quick that this card ran at higher temperatures than even a dual GPU x2. Not that adjusting fan profiles or listening to the stock fan is that big of a deal but I wanted something a little more quiet so I crossed my fingers (hoping the radiator had enough headroom) and put on an EK full cover block.


Here are some results:

CPU Loading: Prime95 Blend
GPU Loading: FurMark 1280x1024 no AA/AF

IDLE


GPU LOAD ONLY



BOTH LOADED



FRONT FAN

Small change. I added a Scythe Slip Stream and a Lian-Li bay converter to the front to give a little more fresh air to the radiator.


WINDOW

I wanted a window but a subtle one. I only wanted to showcase the motherboard area and nothing else. Unfortunately the light show is gone as the Crucials bought the farm recently. Having grown tired of failing Ballistix, I replaced them with a very good but not and visually pleasing Corsairs. I wanted to keep things subtle and simple so there are no plans to add any additional case lighting. Here goes:


Edited by MNiceGuy - 9/17/08 at 8:43pm
post #5 of 63
Nice work work on that false floor
Firefight!
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post #6 of 63
hope this works out as planned...if u dont use the extra case and want to sell, PM me
New Comp
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post #7 of 63
Great start!

subd
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post #8 of 63
+ rep Great start! I will be watching this.
At long last...
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post #9 of 63
sub'd~ can't wait to see this done. its already looking good
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post #10 of 63
Great start! Hope this works out.
    
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