[Build Log] Project Erebus - 8700K, MXF & GTX 1080 Ti in a dark themed SMA8 - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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[Build Log] Project Erebus - 8700K, MXF & GTX 1080 Ti in a dark themed SMA8

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post #1 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 03:15 AM - Thread Starter
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[Build Log] Project Erebus - 8700K, MXF & GTX 1080 Ti in a dark themed SMA8

Project Erebus
From Chaos, the Primordial Void, came Darkness and Shadow – Erebus was born.

Index:

1. Introduction and project overview
2. Used components
3. System Design philosophy
4. Case modifications
5. Cooling Setup
6. ToDo
7. FAQ
8. Special Thanks
9. Updates

1. Introduction and project overview

Hi there! I’m proud to announce project “Erebus”: a Coffee Lake based, water cooled gaming rig built in a CaseLabs SMA8.

This project has been in the works for a while due to part availability (the board and memory are hard to come by). As of the time of writing, I have most of my components and the build is in progress. If everything goes according the schedule, the project should be finished somewhere between the first half and the end of February.

The focus of this build is a sleek, clean design in a black-white-chrome theme, combined with a whisper quiet cooling system.

2. Current list of components:

Owned - Ordered - To order

Hardware:
Processor: Delidded Intel Core i7 8700K @ 5GHZ (binned chip)
Motherboard: ASUS Maximus X Formula
Memory: 16GB (2x8GB) Dominator Platinum DDR4 3733MHz (Samsung B-die)
Graphics card: eVGA GTX 1080 Ti 11GB GDDR5X Founders Edition
SSD: Samsung 960 EVO 1 TB
Audio: Schiit Modi with Denon PMA560 & a pair of B&W DM-620
PSU: Corsair AX860
NIC card: Undecided - Probably 10Gbase SFP+
OS: Genuine Windows 7 Pro (modified to boot from NVMe and work with Coffee Lake)

Case and customization:
Case: CaseLabs SMA8 Reverse-ATX Black
Lighting: Custom built sLight (delayed)
Sleeved PSU Cables: Full MDPC-x
Sleeved fan cables: Full MDPC-x custom length fan splitters
Custom switches: Vandal White 19mm (power) and white 16mm (reset)

Cooling:
Management & control: Aqua-Computer Aquaero 6 Pro
Sensors: Aquaero inline temperature sensor
CPU Block: EK-Supremacy EVO - Full Nickel
GPU Block: EK FC1080 GTX Ti Acetal-Nickel
GPU Black plate: EK-FC1080 GTX Ti Backplate – Nickel
Radiator 1: Black Ice Nemesis GTX 560
Radiator 2: Black Ice Nemesis GTX 280
Pump: EK-XTOP Revo D5 PWM sleeved
Reservoir: EK-Res X3 250
Fans: 9x NoiseBlocker eLoop B14-PS (PWM) Black Special Edition
Fittings upper: Bitspower multi-link C47 fittings instead.
Fittings lower: EK AFC 13/10
Fittings: lots of EK adapters
Tubing upper: Bitspower 12mm black crystal tubes
Tubing lower: 13/10 EK ZMT

Thermal paste: Gelid GC-Pro
Coolant: TBD (most likely clear, I haven't had the best experience with dyes)

3. Design Philosophy

Theme & Color
I’ve build my share of flashy, shiny, RGB-filled systems, but I guess I’ve grown tired of trying to create seizures for everyone that walks into the room. So, this time, I went with something completely different: a simple, yet elegant mix of black, white and – yes, shiny – chrome. I must give credit to Charles Harwood & co for inspiring me with his style with his Murderbox Mk.II and MBX-forma.

I also took a liking into reverse-ATX. In my opinion, it looks better than “normal” ATX when properly implemented, although the biggest reason for me to go with reverse-ATX was simply because I’m putting the case left of my display – and looking at a flat black side panel with a system like this seemed foolish to me.

After figuring out when I wanted in terms of style, I faced the hardest task: finding a suitable name for my latest creation. After lots of doubting I finally decided on Erebus, after the Greek primordial deity of darkness.

Cooling
Considering how difficult and costly it is to design and implement a passive phase change system such as Calyos uses – not to mention how hard it is to make it look good, I went with a custom water cooling loop. The design of my loop relies on a very high radiator surface, paired with low rpm fans to keep temperatures low without making the system noticeable under full load. More on this later.

Hardware
My hardware choices mostly speak for themselves. While I would rather have had a Z370 version of the GigaByte GA-Z270X-Gaming9, I was informed by GigaByte they wouldn’t be releasing such a board. And even though there have been promising signs about getting Coffee Lake working on Z270, I figured I might as well go with the Maximus.

For storage, I will mainly rely on a single Samsung 960 EVO NVMe SSD and on my high-performance FreeNAS build. This is also the reason I plan to pop-in a 10Gbe network card to set up a dedicated 10Gbe line between Erebus and my NAS. Although performance on this storage isn’t that important, it will lift the sequential bottleneck while also allowing for better random read/writes without congesting my Gigabit network connection.

The reason I went with the AX860 is because I had it lying around from a previous build, that got repurposed as a FreeNAS box. It’s in a perfect condition and because it’s smaller size (yes, it’s the shortest high quality 850W-ballpark ATX PSU AFAIK), it allows me to squeeze in the 280 without having to get extreme creative with pump mounting.

For sleeving, I rely on a contact that does this very well. I’ve sleeved my AX860 before for another build and while it looked good, it wasn’t perfect. He has a lot more experience with sleeving, so I happily entrust him with this task!

4. Case modifications

While the CaseLabs SMA8 is probably one of the most water cooling friendly cases out there, I still had to make some modifications. The 2 most important ones probably drilling holes in the mid-plate for my pass-through fittings and the modified radiator mount.

My radiator fans are set only in push because the eLoops don’t play well in pull. This meant I have about 3cm of room on the left side of the case that I wouldn’t be utilizing. On top of that, the way CaseLabs designed the radiator mounts, they are really hard to install and remove when the lower compartment is crowded. They did fix this is their new revision (SMA8-A) though!
The local solution was to modify the radiator mount to waste less space on the inside and to attach it externally. The result is more wiggle room inside, easier building, easier maintenance.

Initially, I also ordered the wrong flex-bay mount (4.120) – and later ordered the correct one (3.140). My initial reaction was: “Ah #([email protected]” – but I later realized this could actually be used to make the design just that little cleaner: use the 12-bay 4.120 grill with the 11-bay 3.140 – giving me one big grill instead of a big one and one smaller one. And before you think “Hey, that’s clever”: CaseLabs also sort of fixed that in their new revision.

The standard CaseLabs switches have non-white colors. That’s pretty much the only reason why I swapped them out.

And finally: I’m using an “sLight” uniform light plate as lighting. I went with this over just LEDs because it gives less disruptive light pattern and because it plays well with the reverse-ATX design where the GPU is positioned above the CPU. Under the case I use generic RGB LEDs. Both the sLight and RGB LEDs are hooked the motherboards RGB controller. Due to the combination of the sLight and reverse-ATX, I won’t be able to access the cable routing hole for the CPU. I’ll either make a hole in the sLight, or cut myself a new hole just under the removable motherboard tray.


5. Cooling Setup

Yes, we’ve gotten to the interesting stuff! For my cooling setup, I went no-compromise all the way. 2 high-end Nemesis GTX radiators, EK Dual D5 PWM pump, NoiseBlocker eLoops etc. And before you start wondering why I didn’t go with Bitspower: I might have – if they just offered logo-free fittings. I really don’t want the ugly green logos on my monochrome build. Edit: they do seem to have a variant of hard tubing fittings without the logos!

Both the radiators will have a push-setup with 140mm eLoops, hooked up to a single PWM channel on the Aquaero. I might change this later to 2 different PWM channels and just run the 280mm radiator at on the lowest setting when the system is idle if it leads to lower noise output – but I doubt it will be any quieter than also running the fans on the 560mm radiator.

In the front, I’ll also have 3 140mm eLoops on a separate channel to provide a minimal directional airflow through the case. Even though the system is water cooled, some heat will still be released in the case. And unless the air is continuously refreshed, this will build up over time. I might also add another 120mm eLoop at the back later.

The pumps will run on their own separate channel and likely be running on their lowest speed.

For tubing, I went with 12mm (OD chrome-plated copper) -> switched to Bitspower Black 12mm crystal tubes (due to quality and bending problems) in the top compartment and 13/10mm EK ZMT in the lower compartment. Getting everything bent (or fitted) correctly in the lower compartment with metal tubing would have been a total nightmare – and even if done perfectly, it wouldn’t be visible anyway. ZMT also avoids all the possible problems with tubing such as plasticizer, while offering great flexibility.

Because of the ZMT tubing, I’m also able to easily remove the radiator mount of the 280mm radiator for maintenance/modifications.

And of course, I’m also adding a fill and a drain port with a valve.

6. To Do
Fix coolant
Fix/check pump
Take pictures
Squeeze every bit of performance out of it
Choose and install 10GBit Ethernet solution


7. FAQ

None so far!

8. Special Thanks

Manuel, for making and sleeving my cables at a very reasonable price. And if you're reading this: expect more orders in the future :thumb:
District3K, for allowing me to showcase my build on their LAN-party this Saturday
My dad, for allowing me to lend his tools

8. Updates
  1. 22 December 2017: CPU arrived
  2. 3 January 2018: Good and bad news
  3. 8 January 2018: More good and bad news
  4. 19 January 2018: RMA, cable sleeving and the 10GBASE-T network
  5. 13 February 2018: Mistakes in ordering and loop design
  6. 15 February 2018: Drilling, assembly
  7. 4 april 2018: finally some progress!
  8. 8 april 2018: coolant and pump problems & a teaser

Erebus
(12 items)
CPU
Delid i7 8700K @5GHz
Motherboard
ASUS Maximus X Formula
GPU
eVGA GTX 1080 Ti
RAM
2x8 GB Dominator Platinum 3733MHz CL17
Hard Drive
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB
Power Supply
Corsair AX860 /w custom length MDPC-x cables
Cooling
Silent custom liquid cooling
Case
CaseLabs SMA8
Monitor
Dell U3415W
Monitor
Dell U2715H
Keyboard
Corsair K70 Cherry MX Red
Mouse
Mionix Naos 7000
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Last edited by xioros; 04-08-2018 at 12:16 PM.
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post #2 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-17-2017, 03:17 AM - Thread Starter
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Reserved

Erebus
(12 items)
CPU
Delid i7 8700K @5GHz
Motherboard
ASUS Maximus X Formula
GPU
eVGA GTX 1080 Ti
RAM
2x8 GB Dominator Platinum 3733MHz CL17
Hard Drive
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB
Power Supply
Corsair AX860 /w custom length MDPC-x cables
Cooling
Silent custom liquid cooling
Case
CaseLabs SMA8
Monitor
Dell U3415W
Monitor
Dell U2715H
Keyboard
Corsair K70 Cherry MX Red
Mouse
Mionix Naos 7000
▲ hide details ▲
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post #3 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 03:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Update 1

CPU arrived and it seems like it's got an okay voltage. I can't test it yet, but I should be receiving my motherboard, RAM and SSD next week or the first week of January yessir.gif




Erebus
(12 items)
CPU
Delid i7 8700K @5GHz
Motherboard
ASUS Maximus X Formula
GPU
eVGA GTX 1080 Ti
RAM
2x8 GB Dominator Platinum 3733MHz CL17
Hard Drive
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB
Power Supply
Corsair AX860 /w custom length MDPC-x cables
Cooling
Silent custom liquid cooling
Case
CaseLabs SMA8
Monitor
Dell U3415W
Monitor
Dell U2715H
Keyboard
Corsair K70 Cherry MX Red
Mouse
Mionix Naos 7000
▲ hide details ▲
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post #4 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-22-2017, 04:02 AM
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Sub! I want to do similar tubing. wubsmiley.gif

MEGATRON
(17 items)
GIGATRON
(10 items)
CPU
Ryzen 7 1700
Motherboard
Crosshair VI Hero
GPU
Gigabyte RX 580
RAM
2x8 G.Skill Trident 3200 CAS14 @ 3466 CAS14
Hard Drive
2x1TB WD Black RAID 0
Hard Drive
3TB WD Red
Hard Drive
Samsung 840 Evo 250GB
Power Supply
FSP Aurum PT 1200W
Cooling
Stock... hue hue
Case
Thermaltake Core X9
Monitor
Benq XL2411Z
Monitor
Dell U2412M
Monitor
Dell U2412M
Keyboard
KBC Poker II MX Clears
Mouse
Zowie ZA11
Mouse
old school Razer Goliathus
Audio
Aune T1 -> Yamaha A-720 -> Sennheiser HD650 | Sony MDR-XB500
CPU
Intel Xeon E5-2650 v4 @ 2.00GHz
CPU
Intel Xeon E5-2650 v4 @ 2.00GHz
Motherboard
SuperMicro X10DAL-i
GPU
nay
RAM
2x8GB (for now) Kingston DDR4 @ 2133MHz/C16
Hard Drive
Samsung 840 120GB
Power Supply
SeaSonic SS850-AM
Cooling
EK-Vardar F4 on an Arctic Freezer i11
Case
overrated
Operating System
Ubuntu Server 16.04
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post #5 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 01:21 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fragamemnon View Post

Sub! I want to do similar tubing. wubsmiley.gif

First time bending metal tubes here as well tongue.gif

---

Good news!
  • Rest of my water cooling parts arrived at the postal office (wasn't home then the delivery service rang the bell). I plan the pick them up one of the next few days.
  • According to my hardware supplier, they should be able to ship my order (Mobo, RAM & SSD) this year.
  • The chrome pipes have been shipped. I expect them to arrive one of the next days.
  • Hardware store has shipped my order with tools and step-drill (for the pass-through)

Seems like I'm off for a good start in 2018 biggrin.gif

Erebus
(12 items)
CPU
Delid i7 8700K @5GHz
Motherboard
ASUS Maximus X Formula
GPU
eVGA GTX 1080 Ti
RAM
2x8 GB Dominator Platinum 3733MHz CL17
Hard Drive
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB
Power Supply
Corsair AX860 /w custom length MDPC-x cables
Cooling
Silent custom liquid cooling
Case
CaseLabs SMA8
Monitor
Dell U3415W
Monitor
Dell U2715H
Keyboard
Corsair K70 Cherry MX Red
Mouse
Mionix Naos 7000
▲ hide details ▲
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post #6 of 34 (permalink) Old 12-28-2017, 01:41 AM
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Subbed

post-flame-small.gifTEARS IN RAIN A Blade Runner inspired build (2017)post-flame-small.gif
post-flame-small.gifPARVUM WARFARE An Advanced Warfare themed build (2014)post-flame-small.gif
post-flame-small.gifPARVUM TITANFALL A Titanfall themed build (2014)post-flame-small.gif
post-flame-small.gifROBOCOP A Robocop themed 900D build (2013/14)post-flame-small.gif


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post #7 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-03-2018, 05:42 AM - Thread Starter
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First of all: happy new year rolleyes.gif


Good and bad news.


The bad news is that the piping that I received was damaged. It had deep scratches that I suspect to have been present before they even got chrome plated. The damaged pipes are going back to the store and hopefully the next batch will be in a better state.
I'm still unsure on how the piping (or rather, the chrome plating) will respond to bending. There's a good chance I'll have to start over with bare copper and they get it chrome plated afterwards - but that's a very expensive procedure.

I'm also sending my current 1080 Ti in for RMA because it is having issues: Driver craches, display signal drop-out, BSOD. Clean install doesn't fix it, CPU & memory are fine (passed 24h of Memtest and 24h of OCCT). It's had these for a while, but I only confirmed that it was the GPU fairly recently. It's really hard to reproduce or provoke crashes and seems to happen at random.
It also has major (very loud) coil while - and that alone is enough to send it back considering the amount of money I'm throwing at cooling to keep my system quiet.



The good news is that I have most of my parts now. The rest of my fittings and water blocks have arrived and I just received an email that my supplier FINALLY managed to ship my order (Maximus X Formula, 16 GB Dominator Platinum 3733 CL17 & a 1TB 960 EVO). I also received my step-drill, although it's going to be a very busy month, so drilling is probably going to have to wait till February.


I had some free time to start drawing my light-plate as well. Hole in the right top corner is for the CPU power cable. The other two are for pass-through fittings.


Erebus
(12 items)
CPU
Delid i7 8700K @5GHz
Motherboard
ASUS Maximus X Formula
GPU
eVGA GTX 1080 Ti
RAM
2x8 GB Dominator Platinum 3733MHz CL17
Hard Drive
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB
Power Supply
Corsair AX860 /w custom length MDPC-x cables
Cooling
Silent custom liquid cooling
Case
CaseLabs SMA8
Monitor
Dell U3415W
Monitor
Dell U2715H
Keyboard
Corsair K70 Cherry MX Red
Mouse
Mionix Naos 7000
▲ hide details ▲
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post #8 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-08-2018, 05:06 AM - Thread Starter
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More good and bad news.

I've now received pretty much all my parts and nothing is DoA. Unfortunately, my Maximus X Formula is plagued by light coil whine - but I might be able to reduce it by playing around with the ASUS DigiVRM settings. The Windows 7 installation went very smooth, despite the potential issues with NVMe and USB. Updating also works out of the box, but I expect this to break soon (but it should be fixable with the DLL-mod)

The 8700K runs well, but I can't say how well it clocks yet because it's just running a temporary Mugen 5 PCGH for testing. Memory does the XMP profile out of the box without further tweaking to the IMC and I have high hopes for squeezing some more out of the DIMMs.

Currently on the to do list:

• Finish planning loop design. Still haven't made up my mind. Possible designs coming soon!
• Modify drilled holes in radiator mount and flex mount to make them fit correctly
• Drill holes in the reservoir mount
• Design and build the sLight -> Decided to outsource the manufacturing to a 3rd party that has experience with these - but I need to finish the loop design before I know where I'll put my
• Cut hole in motherboard tray (optional) -> Decided to route the CPU power through the light-plate.
• Spray paint the Aquaero cover black -> Sanding paper: check, still need to run by the local paint store for a primer and a can of black.
• Complete the assembly
• Install Windows
• Squeeze every bit of performance out of it
• Measure required cable lengths so my contact can start making the custom cables


In other news: the ASUS Aura suite is absolute trash. Clean Windows install, fully updated with all drivers and it still crashes on launch I hope his is related to the Spectre/Meltdown patches. Maybe we'll see a version that won't crash on launch before my build is finished?

Erebus
(12 items)
CPU
Delid i7 8700K @5GHz
Motherboard
ASUS Maximus X Formula
GPU
eVGA GTX 1080 Ti
RAM
2x8 GB Dominator Platinum 3733MHz CL17
Hard Drive
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB
Power Supply
Corsair AX860 /w custom length MDPC-x cables
Cooling
Silent custom liquid cooling
Case
CaseLabs SMA8
Monitor
Dell U3415W
Monitor
Dell U2715H
Keyboard
Corsair K70 Cherry MX Red
Mouse
Mionix Naos 7000
▲ hide details ▲

Last edited by xioros; 03-14-2018 at 10:39 AM.
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post #9 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-19-2018, 09:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Small update:

  • My GTX 1080 Ti is on its way to eVGA for the RMA - but I forgot to include the RMA-document doh.gif Already contacted eVGA support and hopefully we can get this sorted.
  • Pipe bender arrived
  • Measured required cable lengths and my contact is now making my sleeved cables.




To do: lots. I expect do have more time on my hands beginning next month. thumb.gif


And: my ultra-cheapo Dell X540-T2 POSTs and boots in the Maximus X Formula. For those who don't know: the X540(-T2) is a dual 10Gb ethernet adapter. There are some other brands out there too, but most of them don't offer the driver and offload support that the X540 does. They are often close to 400 USD new (if you don't count the "Ghost Run" china knock-offs that have potentially malicious firmware) and close to 200 USD used.

Bought it for about $25 on Ebay and I've had it for a while, but I never got it to POST on my Maximus VI Gene - which seems to be a common problem with these adapters and the Z87/Z97 chipsets. I knew it was a functional card because I got it running on a H110 test setup, but I'm happy to see it runs on my Formula.

Unfortunately, it's the active cooled version, which means it's a noise-fest. I'm currently looking into making my own passive heat sink for it and coat the PCB in black electrical spray-on tape because Eeeeew. Green PCBs puke.gif
It's this version:


Micro update:
I just ordered a black aluminium heatsink off Ebay:
150 x 50 mm surface and 27mm high - which is literally the perfect dimensions to cover the card. I will have to cut off some parts and drill a couple of holes, but considering this is aluminium I don't expect to much problems. A 300g alu heatsink should be able to cool this card, I think? rolleyes.gif One-of-a-kind, all-black Intel X540-T2, here I come wheee.gif

Erebus
(12 items)
CPU
Delid i7 8700K @5GHz
Motherboard
ASUS Maximus X Formula
GPU
eVGA GTX 1080 Ti
RAM
2x8 GB Dominator Platinum 3733MHz CL17
Hard Drive
Samsung 960 EVO 1TB
Power Supply
Corsair AX860 /w custom length MDPC-x cables
Cooling
Silent custom liquid cooling
Case
CaseLabs SMA8
Monitor
Dell U3415W
Monitor
Dell U2715H
Keyboard
Corsair K70 Cherry MX Red
Mouse
Mionix Naos 7000
▲ hide details ▲
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post #10 of 34 (permalink) Old 01-31-2018, 01:35 AM
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Hey xioros,

I've been in conversation with you on some Caselabs threads regarding EU imports. That brought me here to check out your build log. I am very interested to see what you will be doing. I can see from your component choices that you have thought things through very carefully. Many of the components are exactly the same as I have selected for my next build. (GTX rads, eLoop PWMs, delided CPU etc). So subbed... interested to see how this will progress.

You only have 1 CPU and GPU to cool. So you are just going to fit a 560 and 280 in the lower compartment and not bother with a radiator in the roof? And just make it single loop? If so I am guessing that you will put the CPU block and GPU block in parallel?

Anyways, some feedback from me from when I did my Mercury S5 mATX X99 build: I used 120mm eLoops. I know the 140mm eLoops are 29mm thick compared to 25mm... regardless, I have been very impressed with the low noise output and the noise "quality" of the eLoops. Great fans. As you know that can only be used properly in push. I swapped one bank of eLoops out to fit Vardars in Pull and have regretted it. Nasty bearing sound. On my next rebuild of that system the eLoops will go back in (or I might fit Sterrox if available).

One thing that was less impressive and the noisiest part of my build are the D5 pumps. I imagine that your lower chamber will be very full with PSU, rads and fans... where will you install your pump... on the reservoir? I used 2x D5 in series (EK dual top). One pump runs at 40% the other at 60% which minimises noise. But it is still too noisy for my taste. On the SMA8 I will think about better mechanical and noise damping for the pumps. For your build you have quite a long loop for 1 D5... you might have to turn up the power (not have it on minimum speed) in order to have sufficient flow. I expect that head pressure will be less a problem as you are - probably - running blocks in parallel.

Anyways... looking forward to how this progresses.

(And yes - like you - I was also impressed by the design of the MBX Mk.II. But the cooling capacity of that case is just a little too limited in my opinion and I am not sure that all the space devoted to HDDs and SATA SDDs is worth it when - like you - we can use NVMe M.2 SSDs and 10GbE NAS.)
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