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am3+water+diy+not quite so redneck=win (big update)

post #1 of 32
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i've been wanting to put my pc underwater for quite some time now and have been very slowly gathering stuff to do it. i finally bit the bullet and did more than just think about it. my intent was to spend as little as possible on this seeing as how it was a virgin run, if it failed miserably and i hadn't spent a lot of money then no biggie. on the flip side if it worked great and i did it for cheap then that's like pure profit right!?

some thing to bear in mind: i'm about as artistically inclined as a rock, i have an appreciation for aesthetics, but i don't have the knack for it. i've seen so many amazing pictures of fantastic builds and i think about how great it would if i could do it too, but it's kind of like watching someone do something they've done for years, and they make it look and sound easy, then when you try it looks like roadkill meeting a jackhammer.

there were some tools i ended up buying for this project as well, some i needed, some i didn't, but i'm not going to include the cost of them in this as they were by and large things that i had planned on getting anyway and would have even had i not done this.

the first thing i acquired for the project was the radiator. i'm a CNC machinist by trade. the shop i work in also has industrial welders. one day maintenance was throwing away a power supply for one of the welders and i just happened to notice that it had a pretty good size radiator hooked to it, once i found out they were tossing it that was all she wrote. yoink! (it's not stealing as long as you say yoink when you take it .... ) really though no one cared, they were literally throwing it away anyhow.

you can see the size of it in this pic



just for reference, those are 4 120mm yate loons sitting on top of it. it's 5/16" copper tubing with all aluminum fins and frame.

after a bunch of articles, threads, posts, benchmarks etc i decided on the xspc rasa water block. for a pump i picked up a submersible fountain pump at a local pet store. for a reservoir i was originally planning on using this plastic folger's coffee container i found laying around.



back of the block



the reason for the coffee can resevoir was i initially planned on doing a fully enclosed (minus massive rad) setup. after getting tired of trying to make the square pins fit in the round hole i gave up and finally used the rubbermade container you'll see in the end.

this is what it all looked like a few days ago



that's my sig rig. i'll never forget how excited i was when i went from a 19" crt to my 22" acer LCD. but that didn't come close to preparing me for when i went from the 22" LCD to the 65" DLP. even then i wanted more though, so i paired it with my 1,200 watt onkyo 7.1 surround sound system. the most important part though, the pirate ship, it definitely makes it go faster.

really what it was though is after oc'n my ph II x4 to 3.6gig my temps under prime would sometimes hit 70c. i decided i'd had enough of those shinanigans and was going to teach it a leason.

here's what it looked like before i got good and started.




as i mentioned my *(plan)* was for an enclosed system. i figured i would take the hdd bays out, drop the 5.75" bays down to were the hdd bays were, get some adapters for my hdd to fit the 5.75" bays, set the pump in the reservoir (aka folger's can), make a lil shelf for the top of the 5.75" bays, set the res on the shelf, and all would be well with the world!

with that plan firmly in mind, i set forth to slay windmills.

case stripped apart and getting primered (note the absent hdd bays)



when i was buying my paint i decided it was going to be blue. why blue? hell if i know. i stood there staring at all the colors, most of which looked a lot like most of the others (i'm colorblind), and finally with a meh and a shrug grabbed a can of blue. i really wish i had some great story to tell about how some guy in a blue coat saved me when i was a kid and now it's my favorite color and everything i do that has an optional color i always pick blue in honor of him, but, i don't. it just happened to be the can i grabbed.



after letting it dry overnight, and through the next day while i was at work it was time to start putting some stuff together. it quickly became apparent that i could have saved myself a couple bucks worth of spray paint, 20min of my time, and a fume induced sinus headache if i'd have just foregone the paint job, in the end it looked like crap and i scratched/beat a ton of it off with all my pounding, drilling, screwing, and riveting.

case in point, this lip on the bottom of the 5.75" drive bay that i wanted on the bottom of the case. i ended up beating it with a hammer to flatten it out so that i could securely rivet it to the bottom of the case.



but in the end i won, and riveted to the bottom of my case like i wanted it became.



with that done i decided i wanted to see what the rasa would look like on my mobo and what the mobo with the block on it would look like in the case. yes, completely removed from anything remotely resembling a logical order of operations.



that picture makes it almost look good, don't be fooled, it looks like crap by the time i'm done with it.

that concluded that evening's adventure's. the following day, actually early today at the time of this writing, i decided to test out my pump. so i grabbed a small container of water, filled it up, dropped in my pump, and headed outside.



thar she blows! yup, pump works.

ok, now stuff get's kind of interesting. if you remember back near the beginning of this i said that the rad i got had 5/16" copper tubing. seeing as how this thing was made for a specific use on a specific welder i couldn't just toss a couple barbs on it and move on with life. the stars aligned and decided my stuff had to be a special kind of pain in my ass. not only was the rad 5/16" but the pump was 3/4" and the rasa was 3/8". hmmmmmmm......... well, i've got a buddy that owns a plumbing business so i called in a favor and basically said here, make this stuff work!

we decided to make it all 3/8" because the cpu block left the least amount of room to try and adapt it to something else. upon closer inspection we realised that the pump was a 3/4" fitting on 1/2" threads. so i got a 1/2" thread base with a 3/8" barbe and that was that. for the block we just left the 3/8" fittings it came with for it. for the rad though we couldn't find a 5/16th feral, furrel (i never did figure out *** he was calling what we were looking for) to 3/8" barb. that would have been too easy!

in the end what we had to do was take a 5/16" to 1/4" reducing coupler, stick a 1" section of 1/4" line on it, then take a 1/4" line to 3/8" barb we found and stick on the other end. according to him they'll act like built in pressure relief valves. maybe they will, i don't know, to me all they do is drastically impair the flow of water, but what do i know.



well since we had to do all that southern engineering to get my rad how i needed it, doing the self contained system was pretty much shot. we couldn't find any 1/4" copper line, so ended up having to use plastic line, and it's more than enough to take the pressure i'm sending through it, but it bends easily. in order to get bends tight enough to fit in my lil el cheapo tin can case it puts too much pressure on those line and bends them. so i had to make the lines longer and put the res outside the case.

i decided that since i was going to have to have the res on the outside there was no need for the folders can (the top wasn't very secure and i couldn't get rid of the coffee smell). so i got me a handy dandy rubbermaid container at the dollar store. lid snaps on nice and tight.

now it was time to mount my rad to my case. i found some "L" brackets in a box in my buddies garage, he said he didn't know what/why he had them so yoink! more freebies.



since the top of the case is mesh, i was leery about leaving it just pulling against the mesh so i took 2 more of the "L" brackets, grabbed my handy dandy framing hammer, and beat the snot outta them till the resembled something sort of flat. then i used my ... "l" brackets? for a snazzy reenforcement.



this was right before i realized i wasn't going to be able to make the internal res work and i had to undo the rad and flip it around to get the fittings facing out towards the now external res and pump.




well, after much epic and oafish cutting of metal, and twisting of lines, and cussing of words i finally got it all in a ..... well it's something all right. note the 5lb weight i had to use as a ballast so the damn thing wouldn't tip over!






as we spec it's still sitting in the floor silently churning away. i havn't found any leaks thus far. if it hasn't leaked by the time i get home from work tomorrow i'll put everything else back inside and see if i'm going to have to bust out the zip ties and put those yate loons on there or if it'll be able to handle it with just the rad.

*edit*
put it all together. i'm idling at 30c. after a 1hr occt run it ended the run at 52c. that's with just the rad. no fans at all. 22c ambient.
Edited by pr1m3val - 11/25/10 at 8:08am
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post #2 of 32
Thread Starter 
ok, after having this setup for a couple days i can provide a bit more feedback as to it's effectiveness.

the virgin occt run was as reported, but after that, when i started up boinc, it ran for about 2 hrs then shut down due to heat. my best guess is that it kept it kool enough until all the water in the loop got heated up, and then after that it wasn't dissipating fast enough via the rad to drop the temp of the water back down before it hit the cpu so it just steadily got hotter and hotter until it shut off.

i put a box fan on low speed in front if it blowing on the rad/res/case and it immediately started shedding degrees.

this whole thing was mainly just an experiment to let me decide how much i'd like the watercooling before i invested too much into it. for my current ghetto setup my price list is

xspc rasa block: ~$50
misc plumbing parts: ~$8
tubing: ~$6
res: ~$5
distilled water: ~$1
spray paint: ~$3
rad: free
case: free

so like i said, low cost experiment. after seeing the results of this little project i ordered some real stuff yesterday and this morning and once it's all here i'll update this again with the new stuff.

stuff i ordered
thermaltake mozart tx monster case *special thanks to K092084 for the killer price* -i'm VERY excited about this case-

XSPC RX240 - Dual 120mm high performance radiator supposed to be fantastic performance with low/med speed fans and at a good price.

Swiftech MCRES-Micro Rev 2 anyone want to buy a pro mod'd, fully custom rubbermaid res?

YATE LOON 120mm Case Fan(med speed) i went with med speed because the rad i got says it works great with med and low speed fans and i don't feel like listening to the high speed ones.

i decided to go with the actual watercooling rad not for looks, because i personally think my industrial rad looks beast, but for the (hopefully) better flow. the pump i have is rated at 296gph with 6.8ft of head. in the ghetto loop, the flow out of the return line is really little more than a trickle. if i hold the hose horizontally it pushes water out maybe 1.5". if i hold it vertically it just falls down over my hand. i know what's killing a lot of my potential flow is the fact that the lines through the rad are only 5/16", add to that the fact i had to use so many reducers and expanders to make it all fit together, and the fact i had to use extra hose to reach everything without bending my fragile 1/4" line adapters, and i can understand why my flow is a mere trickle.

so with the new rad and such i'll have proper, matching 3/8" fittings throughout, and less hose, and the only adapters will be on the pump itself. i expect it to not only look better, but to perform better as well.

one last note for now: thanks for reading! hope i didn't bore you too much.

*edit* updated parts list.

instead of the 480 rad i'm going with 2 240 rads. even though this case is jinormous there just isn't a really good spot for a 480 rad. there is however a spot that's perfect for 2 240's side by side. the res i initially ordered, was the wrong one completely. i accidentally ordered the one made to fit a laing 355 underneath it, i meant to order just a plain double bay res. unfortunately by the time they came in the mail and i realized what i had done the rez i wanted was sold out so i got the micro rez instead. i also have a laing 655 pump with detroit top coming to replace the cheap aquarium pump. over the past few days the pet store pump has started making very odd noises. it's not constant, just randomly sound like the impeller is getting bound up. not sure why but i got a good deal on the 655 so figure if nothing else this will let me eliminate one more cord coming out of the back of the case.

will add pics of the new stuff once the proper res and rads get here.

*edit*
well i ordered 2 xspc rs240 rads, and the order went through, then the next day i get an email that they cancelled my order because the rads were out of stock. boo. was going to get 2 of the swiftech mcr220 rads but they were out of stock too! after reading some reviews and such i decided to get an xspc rx240, i'll try it with 2 of the loons in push, then all 4 in push/pull. if neither of those setups give me enough cooling then i'll order another xspc rx240. i'm about 99% sure that just one of the rx240's with 2 of the loons in push will be sufficient though.

like before, pics when they get here.

*edit*
well the last of my parts finally arrived yesterday, so once again i sallied forth to slay windmills.


xspc rx240 rad
swiftech micro res
laing d5 with detroit top and un bracket
mozart tx case

after taking everything out of the tin can, one thing i noticed was that the water block mounting had the motherboard bent in a manner i didn't care for. it's hard to tell in this pic, but look at it in person the bend was quite obvious, so much so that i don't see how i missed it when i originally installed it.



after a brief *** moment i hit upon an idea. why not put some of those stock amd back plates that i have laying around to use. i initially thought i'd need to drill it out to be able to fit the bolts used for the rasa through it, but upon careful examination i realized that the threaded corners on it that attach the stock lever hold down are just pop riveted in place. so i grabbed my handy dandy hammer, a wrench, and some pliers.



i took a small wrench, laid it on a cinder block outside with the threaded insert up, took my hammer and GENTLY tapped it down.



once the inserts were knocked loose i took my pliers and with some pullin-n-wigglin got em the rest of the way out.



after that i remounted the waterblock but now with the mod'd amd backplate. this time i was able to mount it even tighter than it was previously and with absolutely no bending of the mobo. yay me!



this is a pic so you can see the size diff between the mozart tx and my old hacked up tin can. the tin can is a pretty run of the mill atx mid tower. the mozart tx is def not run of the mill.



the previous owner removed a couple of the fan grills, i decided to continue were he left off.



tin snips by themselves make quick work of it, but they also leave sharp jagged metal behind. i really need a better set of tin snips. for now i cut out the hole with the tin snips, then go through with a set of dykes and clean it up. on the left is after just the tin snips. on the right is after they dykes. (note: for those that don't know, dykes is the proper name for diagonal cutting pliars)



after i was done cutting out the fan grills i spent some time trying to decide exactly where i was going to put my res and pump. there are a lot of places i thought about putting it but none of them offered easy access to the fill port. in the end i decided on this placement of the res and pump mainly because i didn't need to drill any holes in the case to do it. there were already holes there for a fan, but since i wasn't putting fans in that spot i repurposed it.



one thing i learned from this, is the next loop i do i'm definitely going with a t-line instead of a res. with the experimental run detailed in the first post i had a massive res, it held damn near a gallon of distilled. all i did was dump in water, let it blow all the air out, dump in some more, and i was done. with this micro res i had to make a special run to wal-mart, find the smallest funnel i could so it would fit into the fill port, then sit and fill the res, turn on the pump for a couple seconds till it got low, stop it, refill res, and that took about 15min to finally stabilize the water level. it sounds like a pain, but it really wasn't, and it means there is a lot less coolant in this loop than in the other. im no expert but after having that massive res in the last setup i felt as if the res was holding in a whole lot of heat, minimize the res, minimize it's potential to hold extra heat because since theres less water in the loop as a whole, it takes a lot less time for all the water that's in the loop to make it through the rad.

maybe it's faulty logic, maybe my way of trying to explain it will just confuse someone, but it makes sense to me.

after letting it run for about 2hrs to leak test and bleed i decided to finish putting it all together. yeah, i know a lot of people say leak test overnight, or leak test for at least 24hrs but 2hrs was plenty in my book. honestly it would have been less than that but i got side tracked looking at black friday deals online!

i think it came out looking pretty clean personally.




and the final shot of it in place and running next to my lil monitor.



overall i'm very happy with it. it's not going to win any awards or beauty contests, but it looks a helluva lot better than it did before. after working with this case i will say it's definitely not for everyone. even though it's massive, it still manages to feel more cramped in some aspects than most good full tower cases with a more standard layout. it's extra wide, and extra tall, but it's shorter than a standard full tower. that made it quite cramped when trying to fit in the res and pump, the return line tubing going to the res just barely fit. and by barely fit i mean i cussed and shoved and crammed it until it went were i wanted it to go. also, cable management turned out to be much more of a pain in my ass than i anticipated since between the res, the pump, and the power supply it go pretty tight behind the mobo. i did eventually get everything in, and it looks good, but really i was anticipating a cake walk when putting everything together in this beast. turned out to be much more work than i imagined, but in the end, still well worth it.

even though it has 6 fans going in it at the moment, 7 if you count the one built into the psu, it's still more quiet than the tin can was. i haven't done any occt to thoroughly test the temps yet, but my gpus are definitely running cooler and quieter since they have 3 120's blowing on em.

i'll update this later with temps once i have time for some occt action.


Edited by pr1m3val - 11/25/10 at 8:56am
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post #3 of 32
turned out pretty good in my opinion.Rep+
could always have it powder coated, if your not happy with how your paint job turned out.
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post #4 of 32
Proper Ghetto! Nice one!
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post #5 of 32
I like this a lot. Always nice to see people tackle projects in uncommon ways.

and those temps are pretty awesome for passive.

rep+
post #6 of 32
ghetto

btw...please resize the photos....urg
bandwidth dying

resize them to 1280 or 1024 please
post #7 of 32
Haha nice way to keep the computer quite, but you do know you must try overclocking it with 4 x Ultra Kaze blowing!
post #8 of 32
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Power_Man View Post
turned out pretty good in my opinion.Rep+
could always have it powder coated, if your not happy with how your paint job turned out.
thanks! if i was happy with the case overall i would have it powdered but it really does look like a hacked up tin can to me. new case is on order though, hopefully it'll be here next week.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mitche01 View Post
Proper Ghetto! Nice one!
i was determined to find some way to make it work. i must say it did look much better in my head beforehand though.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sexybastard View Post
I like this a lot. Always nice to see people tackle projects in uncommon ways.

and those temps are pretty awesome for passive.

rep+
thanks! i know there are lots of threads with people sharing their amazing work (which i envy) but i felt some of use more artistically challenged but otherwise creative thinkers deserved some coverage too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr.Pie View Post
ghetto

btw...please resize the photos....urg
bandwidth dying

resize them to 1280 or 1024 please
done! the first few i took i had my camera set to max res and didn't realize it till later. i resized the 2 massive ones to 800res. all the rest should be 800res anyway. please offer your bandwidth my sincerest apologies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CULLEN View Post
Haha nice way to keep the computer quite, but you do know you must try overclocking it with 4 x Ultra Kaze blowing!
yeah, i WANT to oc this thing higher but it's given me nothing but grief when it comes to oc'n it. 3.6g is the best i've been able to do without ridiculously high voltage.

if you want to know more regarding my oc'n misfortunes you can see this thread.

2nd post updated with some more info!
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post #9 of 32
You, sir, have been added to my list of heroes. That was an excellent read, and the results of your kludging is phenominal.
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post #10 of 32
That is an AMAZING way to get some watercooling! I laughed heavily at the ballast on top of the case!

Also, those temperatures were without fans mounted?
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/hwaw
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2x4gb Samsung RAM @ 2000mhz 9-10-9-28 1.425v OCZ Vertex 4 Hitacho Deskstar Crucial M550 
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Corsair H80 (CPU) Thermalright Spitfire (GPU) Gelid Icy Vision (GPU) Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
BENQ GW2450 Asus PB278Q Cooler Master Quickfire Rapid Seasonic 750w  
CaseMouseMouse Pad
Black Interior HAF 932 Roccat Kone  Artisan Hien Hard 
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Overclock.net › Forums › Case Mods & Cases › Builds & Case Mods › Build Logs › am3+water+diy+not quite so redneck=win (big update)