Now you can see what I am working with, so on to the what and the why. As for why, pretty much just because I thought it would be a fun challenge. I used to build my computers in giant Thermaltake cases laden with as many fans as I could fit in there. Over time I got tired of the amount of space they consumed, the noise, and the clumsiness when moving them around. I experimented with a SilverStone SG03 case and passively cooled system to see if I could build something powerful enough to keep me happy, with minimal impact. Happily I did, and I used that computer for three years before building this one. This current PC is basically just a ramped up version of that build, similar cooling methods that I had gained confidence in from my prior build, and a better motherboard with SLI. The first time I build this though, I screwed up. I had started with MSI TwinFrozr II 560's, which do not vent out the rear. The result was they stewed in their own heats and couldn't maintain an acceptable temp. I had forgotten to take that into account initially and switched over to the eVGA cards in there now.
So the next step, is going to be one or two GTX680s using watercooling. I decided to use GTX680s due to their relatively low power use, cost, temps, and size. They should just fit inside this case and allow me to maintain my front intake fans. Plus, finally being able to use Surround with a single GPU is a bonus. I had been considering switching to ATI for that option until the 680 was released.
So as you can see, not a whole lot of room to work with here, and I am very picky about how everything needs to go. The point of the project is the project itself, so I won't be taking the easiest, or perhaps even the best route
- NO external cooling components
- Radiators can't be hanging off
- Reservoir needs to be within/part of the case
- tubing needs to remain entirely inside the case
- Computer needs to be movable without handling it like fine china
- Getting it all in there is no good if everything is within an inch of its life
- I don't often lan, but I would like to be able to pick this up, transport it, and not have it fall apart at the destination
- Operating temps only have to be within reasonable limits, extreme cooling is not the goal
- CPU may remain air-cooled, it is silent and within acceptable temp ranges at all times
- As mentioned, the build is for the sake of the build. If I get temps similar to air-cooling, then so be it
- Quiet: The scream of small GPU fans needs to go away
- I hate fans smaller than 120mm, hate them.
- Safe and maintainable
- Easy to fill
- Thoughtful handling of possible leaks