The Hard Drive Set-up
Since the hard drives are going to show through the window on the main side, I’ve been thinking of different ways to make it look better than just looking at the stock hard drives. This isn’t a very good picture, but it’s the only one I have at the moment with the door on, and hard drives in. Keep in mind these are not the actual hard drives I’ll be using, more on that later.
I thought about putting some kind of vinyl sticker over the outside hard drive. That would be fairly easy to do. Then I came up with this idea. Since I’m only using two hard drives instead of four like I originally planned. I was going to have a one inch thick piece of acrylic cut into the same size as a hard drive and mount that in the outside slot of the hard drive cage.
Then I could have some etching done on the back, and drill some LED holes in the sides to light it up. This would look much better than just looking at the stock hard drive by itself.
Here’s something I was thinking of having etched onto the acrylic block. My Barefoot skiing buddies used to put stickers of feet all over the place. So these feet would show through the window all the time, and the “DEVASTATOR” would show if the door was open or off. I thought this would look pretty cool.
Then I came up with an even better idea. While I was looking at the Bitspower web site for the new SSD waterblock, I saw that they have hard drive water blocks listed on the same page. That’s when it clicked! I’ll put waterblocks on the hard drives, and the waterblock will show through the window
So I immediately head over to the PPC web site, and I find some waterblocks with a nickel plate on the outside. I thought that would match the build theme nicely. They only showed to have two left in stock, but that part number was not even listed on the Bitspower web site. That tells me that these blocks are EOL, so I snapped up those two blocks immediately.
The nickel plating is so shiny and reflective, that it almost looks more reflective than a mirror! You can see the reflection off the backdrop. These blocks are not even listed on PPC anymore, or anywhere else that I could find. These waterblocks are absolutely gorgeous!
Right after ordering the blocks above, I’m looking on eBay and I see a listing for a Bitspower waterblock with clear acrylic top which is another discontinued part that I can’t find anyplace online. I ended up winning that as the only bidder.
I’m thinking to myself, "man I wish this guy had two of these waterblocks, I should email him and ask". Before I have a chance to email him, he emails me, and asks if I want to buy a second one! So I ended up with two of these waterblocks too. Both were not even ever opened.
Here’s the back side of the block.
I really like these blocks!
I just screwed one waterblock onto a hard drive without any thermal pad just so I could see what it looked like.
The next issue I had was how to mount the hard drives into the hard drive cage. The cages are designed so the label side of the hard drive is on the outside, but for the waterblocks to show they need to be mounted backwards.
I picked up some grommets that fit in the larger size of the opening, the inside is the correct size for the screws, but they are too thin and the hard drives don’t fit snug on the inside of the cage.
So I decided to use the stock grommets and mount the hard drives backwards in the stock locations. Mounting the first drive in the first slot backwards puts the hard drive sitting mostly in the second slot with the waterblock in the first slot. The second hard drive then mounts in the third hard drive slot with the drive hanging over into the fourth slot, and the waterblock in the third slot.
You can see all the milling marks on the inside of the waterblock. I’ll be polishing this block to look like glass, and removing the Bitspower logos.
You can see the LED hole in the center between the water ports. There are two LED holes on the other side of each block as well. So each block will have three 5mm white LEDs.
Here is a look with the hard drive cage back in the case.
I like this look so I am going to go ahead use these blocks. I know hard drives don’t need water cooling… kind of like RAM doesn’t need waterblocks either. This is mostly for the aesthetics, and the cool factor
This is my busiest time of year, so I won’t have a lot of time to work on the build over the next few months. So this will keep me busy while I wait for the new Nvidia cards to come out.
Here is the list of what I need to do to finish up the hard drive section of the build.
- Polish the acrylic waterblocks and remove the Bitspower logos.
- Purchase and test the hard drives.
- Mount the waterblocks to the hard drives.
- Make the LED wire harnesses for the waterblocks.
- Make a custom power cable to the hard drives.
- Sleeve and possibly shorten some SATA cables.
- Make the tubing runs from the SSD block to the hard drives, and then onto the top radiator on this side.
Obviously this will be much more work than a standard hard drive set-up... but it will be fun