The parts for this build have come slowly over the last months. It started last July when I ordered the new ST45SF-G for my SG05, I was reading about Silverstone products a lot. I kept seeing the FT03-mini and realised slowly how it's got the same internal structure as the SG05, but addresses many of the design problems. It also has a smaller footprint and lovely matte black thick aluminium panels. I was thinking I would buy this new case and transfer my parts from the SG05. So I ordered it but it sat in the cupboard initially.
Not long after, I noticed that recent components are getting more efficient and generating less and less heat. Despite the 77W TDP rating, a top-of-the-range Ivy Bridge i7-3770 actually uses only ~62W at full load. A GTX 670 has 170W TDP but actually uses much less at stock, something like 140W. With radiator technology improving, it should be possible to cool both of these components quite well with a single 120mm radiator. Surely you could cool them at least as well or better than with their stock fans. That moment I decided I would put an efficient custom loop in the case, and I started to plan. I didn't want a huge res, or a bulky pump. I wanted short and clean tubes. I saw the Swiftech Apogee Drive II and knew this was the solution. Other people had similar ideas recently too, I've followed and posted in a few watercooling build logs for SG05 and FT03-mini and also the Node 304, which provide extra knowledge and inspiration.
I spent a long time looking at ways to fit everything into the case. It helps a lot when you have the empty case there for measurements, but of course it's not until after you click "purchase" that you realise some component isn't going to fit. I bought the CPU and motherboard last, and somehow the visualisation of the case in my head was a lot different than now that those parts are in my hands. Probably I am going to have to make some compromises, drill a few holes, etc. I'll take my time and try to do this right.
First build, to install Windows and see nothing's DOA.
Well those cables are ugly, so I made some new ones.
But how to do the sense wire?
Cut like this...
Two into one