ATX Super 2000 CSX917CComponents (Click to show)
▪MSI Z87M GAMING (repaired)
Cooling (Click to show)
▪Intel Core i5-4670K (abused)
▪CORSAIR Vengeance 4x2gb (used)
▪xfx xtr 750 (new)
▪GIGABYTE Radeon HD 7970 GHz Edition (used)
▪sandisk x400 (new)
▪Seagate Barracuda Green 2TB (used)
▪old water block (repaired)
Materials (Click to show)
▪heatkiller gpu block (Used)
▪dc 12 pump (used and rebuilt)
▪DarkSide LPX360 (new)
▪DarkSide LPX120 (new)
▪4 Corsair SP120 High Performance fans (new)
▪3/8 x 5/8 acrylic tube (hardware store)
▪1/2 x 5/8 vinyl tube (hardware store)
▪7 1/2 barbs assorted (used)
▪5 Alphacool 90 adaptor fittings (new)
▪1 90 degree Alphacool 1/2 barb (used)
▪1 90 pvc elbow (hardware store)
▪1 g 1/4 female adaptor (hardware store)
▪2 g 1/4 male adaptors (hardware store)
▪Air line splitter (hardware store)
▪12 hose clamps (hardware store)
▪Plastikote red oxide primer
▪Krylon flat camo brown
▪Krylon flat camo tan
▪Krylon semigloss beige
▪80-400 grit sand paper
▪3m scotch brite red
▪sheet of acrylic
▪4 used subaru lug nuts
▪4 bolts 12 x 1.25
Where did it all begin? It was shortly after I had installed a second watercooled video card into my PC that I learned that while it worked great on some games, others would run worse with 2 cards than one.
The second problem was that my better half wanted something to play games with that wouldnt run on her laptop.
So I was pondering the idea to split up the cards and build a second PC when I was moving stuff around in my shop to work on my car and I stumbled upon this old little case under a pile of car parts.
When I looked at it closer I couldn't help but laugh at a sticker on it that said "Y2K Hardware Ready"
So I opened it up to find out what it looked like on the inside and I was surprised to find a quick release motherboard tray and power supply.
I knew at this point that I had to build this case so I painted the motherboard tray and the frame.
Telling a friend about my plan to build a second PC He told me a story about a customer of his who tried to removed a video card and didn't know about the release latch and ended up ripping the socket off the board. The cost of ordering in a new matching slot and repairing it was close to the price of a new board and the guy didn't want to wait so he bought a new board and left this one at the shop.
I didn't care if the slot was the wrong colour and I convinced His co-worker transplant a slot from a dead motherboard onto this one for a good price.
Around the same time my friends brother was upgrading hardware and he was thinking of switching back to air for his new case. He had an AIO Originally, then the pump failed and we gave him our old pump and water block to use with the AIO radiator.
So he offered to give me the entire loop if we provided and installed a decent air cooler for his PC.
When I took the loop apart the threads striped out of the water block, so for the time being I mocked up the loop without a CPU block just to get a sense of how little room I had to play with.
I was testing the fans with an external power supply and decided I needed more air flow so I started drilling more holes in the front of the case.
This chip has a story of its own, my friend owned this chip and delidded it. At one point another one of our friends needed to test a motherboard he was buying so he lent him the chip and the board worked. Afterwards we were leaving and the chip was launched off a plastic tray by a package of sausage that was dropped on the tray and it catapulted off the counter and bounced across the floor without the heat spreader.
We feared the worst (wurst) at this point but we put it pack in his computer it seemed to work, but as weeks went by he was fighting computer stability issues so he sold me his chip cheap because he couldn't trust it.
So I ended up stealing a CPU block and fittings from my main PC to test the components. I knew I wasn't going to be keeping the loop assembled for a long time so I let the Mrs have free reign on the fluid colour, which ended up looking like STI pink.
I also borrowed 4 fans from my rig,
and a power supply too.
Here it is getting stress tested, having 0 stability issues, sounds like my friend's problem wasn't the chip. I also drilled more holes into the front of the case for more airflow but I was still not entirely satisfied with the temps as they were very close to what you could get on air with a good aftermarket cooler.
So a few hours into the 24 hour test I grab the 360 rad from my main rig and I'm looking at it next to the case and thinking... can I actually fit a triple in here? I went nearly mad with a tape measure and comparing dimensions of radiators online and I ordered something slightly smaller than this radiator that I determined should fit with enough cutting.
So the double rad came out to go into a friends PC and while waiting for my radiator I found some 3/8 x 5/8 acrylic tubing and a pipe threading kit at the hardware store. So I drilled out the stripped g1/4 holes in the water block and threaded it g3/8 and then threaded the tube and spun it into the block with some sealer. I made a new acrylic front mounting plate for the CPU block and I then bent the first tube. While letting that cool I used a back plate from a friend who mounted his cooler on a different socket and drilled and tapped it so I could use some ready rod as I couldn't find any long enough bolts the right size at the hardware store.
Here is what it looks like from the front ready for a CPU block.
Here is the back plate with nuts to secure the rods from turning.
Ended up having to drill holes to clear the motherboard tray. I could have cut out a big square but I don't need to remove the back plate to take off the CPU block so I'm not too worried about it.
This first bent tube not only clears the power supply but it leaves room for me to fit a second GPU here should I buy a new video card for my main PC and pair these cards up again and just disable one card when I need to... maybe more games will work better with dual cards by then too who knows.
This is the run to a single GPU so that adding a second just means adding 2 parallel tubes later. I was also was theorizing the location of the pump in the loop at this point.
Here I made the first bend on the return tube to make it clear the power supply. Being an Auto Electrician for over a decade now I took inspiration from turbo cars for this loop where you often have solid intercooler pipes and short pieces of flex connectors connecting the components.
Here I am flushing and testing the block with an external power supply for leaks before running it in the system, because even if you don't fry your hardware because your smart enough to use an external supply, its still a pain in the ass to clean and dry off all your components after.
So a day later my CPU block repair showed no signs of leaks so I threw it in the machine and booted it up to check temps and everything checked out ok.
So at this point I was expecting my radiator to show up in the mail only to find out that Canada post had lost it in shipping. My better half was wanting to use the computer to game so ended up connecting this PC in series into the loop of my main PC.
This means I could only run my second PC if I turned on my main machine. I have a thick 360 in push pull and another 120 in push in this one with a d5 pump so it can handle the load of both machines. When the second PC is doing a stress test it raises my temps on the first PC by about 20-30c (about 40c with one PC at idle and about 80c stress testing both PCs).
With the computer being usable for the time being and the replacement radiator for the one lost in shipping on its way along with some extra goodies this time I turned my attention to painting the case.
I sanded it down to metal and painted it rust oxide primer, then brown, tan and beige followed by more tan in random places and brown in all the cracks.
Then I sanded the panel back down revealing the layers of colour to create a patina look.
On the second one I remembered to take some in progress pictures of the sanding.
Slowly working my way around the panel, the marks showing through the layers are actual dents in the case.
Here is the second panel finished.
Finally the top panel sanded and the empty case assembled.
I made a salt water sprayer with a nozzle from a rattle can and a drink bottle powered by my air compressor.
Here it was after a couple days of spraying salt on it.
After 2 weeks it was getting close to full coverage on the rust.
Finally my parts arrived in the mail so I separated the conjoined twins and headed out to my shop to get started.
After some cutting of the cage behind the front panel I managed to fit my new radiator into the case.
Here I am mocking up its final position in the case, the entire end tank sticks out into the front panel and the angle of the tank at the back just clears the empty slots so I don't have to cut them.
If you didn't notice in the last picture, I also ordered a single 120 rad for the front. This is the bracket I was making from a piece of an old case laying around.
Mocked it up on the front panel to use existing screw holes in the case and then drilled in the bracket to mount the radiator.
Here is the front rad and the pump mounted. I chose to hang this old pump in place by the tube because it acts as a vibration dampener reducing noise and I have had no problems in the past mounting pumps this way with these fittings.
I made another bend to the upper tube and completed the loop by using an air line splitter to make a micro reservoir with a fill port (or drain when I flip my PC upside down).
Here is an angle to show how close the tubes run to the power supply while giving me enough room to swap out the ram.
Back together with a bunch of mismatch fans I took it like this to my Brother's Lan party and gave it some real world stress testing.
After several weeks I found some fans on sale that met my requirements so I tore the case back apart again so I could flex the loop at its pivot points and remove the fans.
While it was apart I deburred everything and repainted all the interior bits that got scratched up in the build process.
Here I am testing out the fans pwm controller in the bios while waiting for the paint to dry.
I used a piece of plexi as a false floor to reinforce the case. The front and rear panels now attach to the case by fan screws going through them into the plexi instead of case being riveted together.
I start putting the case together by mounting the radiator to the bottom panel. The feet on this case are lug nuts from one of my old Subarus that died from automotive cancer (rust).
Next I install the back panel into place.
Then the front panel.
Followed by the top panel. You can see my HDD and SSD mounted to the top panel next to the radiator using a hacked up HDD bracket from another case.
Power supply back in and all the cables tidied up. It could have looked nicer if I had shortened the cables but then I would not be able to swing the power supply out of the way on its quick release hinge without unplugging it.
A view from the front with the panel off. Only a skeleton of the original front panel remains.
A look from behind the scenes of this case.
The rear, where things to go I/O.
Back together and ready hit the road. Overall this project took about 6 months from the first picture till now because I built it out of used and broken parts that I repaired and some hardware store materials. The only new parts from a computer store in the build are the power supply, rads, fans and 6 fittings which were ordered online because I waited until something I liked went on sale.
I would say that This Chapter of the build is complete, but that this is not the final chapter of this build. Eventually when I upgrade the video card in my main tower I will run dual GPU, and I have some plans to add some more natural detail to the patina next summer.