This project started in 2012, At the time I was running my computer in a hollowed out Harmon Kardon amplifier on air when the motherboard in my girlfriends pc (my old watercooled pc) had died.
I ended up putting my motherboard/chip into her case with the air cooler I had on it and picked up some faster hardware for my next watercooling adventure.Current Components (Click to show)
▪ MSI Z87 G43
▪ Intel Core i5-4670K
▪ EK Special Edition water block.
▪ Ballistix Sport 2 x 8GB
▪ xfx xtr 750
▪ GTX 1080 SEA HAWK EK X
▪ 2 ssd's 128GB for boot and 1TB for games
▪ Seagate Barracuda Green 3TB for storage
▪ d5 pump
▪ 120 radiator (My first radiator from 05)
▪ 360 radiator (Thermochill PA 120.3)
▪ 7 BitFenix Spectre Pro 120mm Fans
▪ stock 200mm AZZA fan (relocated)
▪ 12 Monsoon compression fittings
▪ 6 XSPC 45 rotary adaptors
▪ 2 Bistpower 45 adaptors
My friend gave me his old 360 radiator for my birthday and so I measured it very carefully and spent several weeks looking at cases and checking the dimensions and eventually I found this little case on sale for $49
All my friends doubted my choice, they said that it was a "cheap brand" and that I should buy a much bigger name brand case with pre-drilled holes for a 360 radiator.
It had what I was looking for. 9 bays tall of mesh on the front and a simple office PC like shape to it. A clean canvas you could say.
I had to cut out a peice of metal near the very bottom of the case that was a cross brace for the drive bays but the radiator fit into the case with less than a millimeter to spare vertically so the friction actually holds it in place.
The 4 slot hdd cage that came with the case was designed modularly so you could choose where to place it. I chose to place it in a pile of old computer parts as it took up too much space and I quickly cut up a small cage from an old PC to hold 2 drives and found a spot to mount it.
A few months go by and I find some fans on sale and decide to go push/pull for this thick radiator
This of course meant that the pull fans occupied the space where I had mounted the hard drives previously so I once again had to get creative to mount the drives. I also picked up a faster video card around the same time.
At this point it was 2013 and I found a pump on sale and finally bought a reservoir. I have been watercooling since 2005 and one thing I learned from years of experience was how to design a loop so it could be removed from the case without needing to drain it.
Here is a clue as to why I would remove my pc from its case after just building a loop in it. To create the radius for the corners I used a cd for a stencil.
Here is the result, I also cut a hole in the top of the case to relocate the 200mm fan to compensate for the lack of a cpu fan cooling the motherboard components. I also put my 650w power supply in my old pc and put in a used 850watt for $50.
Next I found an ultra thin slot load dvd burner from a laptop and I made a simple bracket from some of the metal I cut out for the window.
Then I used a dremel to cut a slot in the front of the case.
I took another piece of the scrap and bent it to come up with unique hard drive location number 3 just above the power supply.
Here is where I placed the ssd, there is not much room back here to work with.
Picked up a coolant temp sensor and managed to fit the display inside one of the drive bay inserts, I removed the mesh from the plastic, slipped it in between and snapped it back together. It fits tight without any movement.
Around September 2013 I picked up a water block for my video card as the noise it made under load was getting to me. (More realistically it was annoying my wife who would then annoy me complaining about it.)
In 2014 I decided to add my old 120mm rad to the loop that I used from 2005 to 2011 to help it run just a little cooler. I only had to trim a little bit of metal near the i/o bracket to clear the end tanks to make it fit.
Unique hard drive location number four! (Final location I think LMAO)
I found a fully modular power supply on sale and the fan on the power supply (facing up because its on carpet) would be blocked by my old hdd location so I had to get creative again.
So fast forwards to the beginning of 2015 and ummm yea...
So heres the story so the picture makes sense, my friend bought some new hardware only to find out his air cooler had clearance issues with the new motherboard. I ended up giving him my water block and my old pump to use with a radiator from an AIO with a dead pump. The funny thing is he gave me this waterblock and pump in 05.
This air cooler is so huge I couldn't fit my side panel on with it installed. I spent the next couple of months looking for a new waterblock and ordered one on sale.
I ended up getting a special edition Canada maple leaf EK waterblock and a few months later I ended up buying a second 7970 with a dying air cooler for an amazing price.
I knew my better half was going to Germany for a cousins wedding when I bought the dying card, so I convinced her to bring me back a matching Heatkiller waterblock saving me a ton on shipping.
I chose to run the cards in series because I didn't have 2 more fittings to run parallel.
I ended up running it in crossfire for about 6 months and for some games it worked great and others would run better with 1 card turned off. This really became annoying at a LAN party where I would start a game with both cards on and have to back out and shut one off when I would start running into problems. (Mostly older games causing problems.)
At this point my friend upgraded his cooling because and gave the block and pump back to me again and I came across a deal on a repaired motherboard and split up the cards to build a second PC.
When I went to change the barbs on the old water block from 3/8 to 1/2 the threads stripped out. So to test the used chip I bought for the second PC I decided to take apart my PC and borrow parts from it.
While I had the loop apart I took the opportunity to clean the CPU block as I had been running it a full year at this point. I also hatched a plan to fix the old CPU block and ordered what I needed at a local hardware store.
With my second computer up and running and my main PC in pieces I decided to take the opportunity to paint my case.
I had been wanting to paint it for years but until now I couldn't decide on a theme.
Part of me wanted to do some kind of arctic camo paint job because I wanted to do something with blue and I had just recently learned how to use local vegetation as stencils to paint a woodland pattern on my paintball clothes.
I spent months looking at different styles of camo trying to pick one but coudn't come to a conclusion. Then one day I am digging through a pile of parts looking for a good piece of metal to make a radiator bracket out of for my other PC and the idea hit me.
I call it Computerflage. These are the pieces I used for stencils.
I started with a large coat of blue.
I placed the cd stencil where my dvd drive actually sits in this case.
Next I did medium coverage in white.
The hardest part is getting the patterns to line up around the corners.
Then a medium coat of lighter blue.
After this one I didn't take any pictures because I was doing light coats and wasn't waiting for paint to dry, but I used cast iron metallic, polished aluminium and then black.
Here it is after clear coat.
A shot with the motherboard, the colours turned out quite nice.
My radiator was scratched up so I figured I would paint it even though you cant see it with the side panel on.
Here is how it sat, waiting to get its water block back.
Then the materials came in and I fixed my old water block for my other PC and I was excited to put this computer back together.
Im sure someones facial expression looked like this when they saw my thermal paste. After this photo I spread the paste out evenly, I have been using this brand of thermal paste fixing automotive electronics for a decade with much more complex heat syncs than computer chips so I wasn't to worried as the size of the CPU is much smaller than the heat spreader and good coverage in this area is matters most in my opinion.
Back together and running.
The back side.
Then due to some circumstances I made some "minor" changes to my loop.
The radiator I had ordered for my second PC was lost/stolen in shipping and my better half wanted to use the second computer so I added it into the loop in series meaning I had to turn on my computer with the pumps and radiators in order to turn this computer on.
How it sat for weeks until my parts arrived.
I now have 2 separate computers working again and I added a strip of blue leds in the bottom of the case to help balance out the light as it was dark in the bottom of the case.
Most people would consider a build complete at this point but I know that like a hot rod, this is only the end of another chapter. The next thing to change will probably be a video card but I don't have plans to buy one this year.