It’s been some time since I last did a project here, life kind of got in the way and I’ve just been reading the forums for the last year or so. Well, now I have some time to do a project, so here it is!
My PC (sig rig) has an FX 8350, because of the relatively large difference in ambient temps in my flat between summer (up to ~35°C, usually ~30°C) and winter (window open: ~0°C, with heating: ~ 18°C) I have had to have different overclocks in the summer and winter months. Summer OC was 8x4.2 GHz and 4x4.6GHz boost, winter OC was 8x4.3 GHz and 4x4.8GHz boost. The limiting factor in all situations is the temperature, with operating temperature averaging at about 55°C. My current cooler is a Thermalright True Spirit 120M, which is by all means a good cooler, but it’s a bit overwhelmed by an FX 8350 @ 4.4 GHz on all cores.
Since I’ve been working hard recently, I thought I’d treat myself and get watercooling for my CPU. Unfortunately I can’t afford a full-on custom-loop, so I got the next best thing: the Fractal Design Kelvin S36. This isn’t like other AIOs, the Rad, CPU block and pump all actually come from the well-known watercooling brand Alphacool. The Rad is full-copper and the CPU-block and pump are combined into a custom housing. The whole kit is supposed to be expandable and has all-standard fittings. Hopefully, if I end up wanting to go full-out with watercooling I won’t have to throw it all away and start again. The Kelvin S36 has a 360x120mm Rad. Here are some pictures:
There is no doubt that the Kelvin S36 will Do a good job of keeping my CPU cool, but unfortunately it won’t actually fit in my case, the Corsair Carbide 300R. Currently my PC looks like this:
Normally the HDDs, SSDs and PSU are hidden underneath a shroud. The HDDs are mounted on sponges with Velcro in order to fully dampen the vibrations, works like a dream!
As you can see, there is literally nowhere a 360mm Rad will fit. Time to get modding!
After taking everything out, the case looks like this:
The HDD-cage has already been removed from this case. Ironically I removed it to make space for the HDDs (mounted with sponges)!
So, the plan is to mount the Kelvin S36 in the front of the PC, to do this I’m going to remove all the metal that’s in the way and make some brackets to hold the Rad. After removing the metal in the way the case then looked like this:
Corsair designed this case a little weirdly, it looks like they made it purposefully difficult to mod and put loads of unnecessary holes in the frame at the same time. Removing the metal from the case made the front supports really flimsy, even though they have a U-shaped profile.
I didn’t do the best job of cutting the metal away because I had to use tin-snips (AKA aviation shears) to make the cuts
. Using an angle grinder would have given a much cleaner cut, although it might have torn the weak bits apart. I’m hoping the Rad will improve the structural integrity of the front panel and stiffen everything up again. I’m not too bothered by the rough cutting on the case because once everything’s assembled it won’t be visible from the outside.
The next job was to make some brackets to hold the Kelvin S36. I chose to use aluminium instead of steel for this as I could do a better job with the tin-snips with aluminium. Here’s the first rough cut:
Looks a bit rough and nasty, but, like with the cuts to the case, no-one will see these once the front bezel is on.
I cleaned up the brackets with a file, drilled the mounting holes and fixed them to the case using rivets:
Yes, I know they’re wonky as [insert term not allowed by the OCN TOS
], but they fit and the holes line up. The top-left bracket is by far the worst because there were so many holes in the case already I didn’t really have anywhere to put a rivet!
Still, no one will see it once everything’s assembled …hopefully…
Time for a test fit:
Now, the eagle-eyed among you will notice that I’ve mounted the cooler upside-down. This wasn’t intentional and I will admit I very nearly peed my pants when I noticed it, I was afraid the cooler wouldn’t fit properly the right-way-up. Luckily it did fit the right-way-up, it was a bit harder to mount and a couple of the bolt holes had to be widened a little but there were no major problems. I think I was lucky there; but as they say: it is better to be lucky than smart!
The rad did, in fact, stiffen the front of the case up nicely, once the rad is installed I don’t think there will be any problems with the strength of the case.
I then wrapped the case for spraying:
I wanted to spray the brackets and scratched case metal matte black so that they don’t reflect light back through the front vent and remain invisible, at least that’s the plan.
So, that’s the first 2 days of work for you! Tomorrow, while the paint on the case is drying, I hope to get the front bezel done. If all goes to plan I should be able to rebuild my PC on Tuesday or Wednesday.
Please tell me what you think, feedback and questions are very welcome!
Thanks for reading!