[Build Log] Obelisk of Fire & Ice - Matte Black Switch 810 - Overclock.net - An Overclocking Community

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[Build Log] Obelisk of Fire & Ice - Matte Black Switch 810

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post #1 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Objective: Build a X79 powerhouse that is whisper-quiet to replace my current, aging, jet engine loud Socket 939 system.

As you can see, my sig rig is getting very long in the tooth. This December, the core of the system will be EIGHT YEARS OLD. However, don't be mistaken. She still puts up one helluva fight. I play all my current games at max or near max settings (things like Diablo 3, Starcraft 2, Team Fortress 2, Killing Floor, Star Trek Online, and a few others). This is due no doubt in part because my monitor's resolution is 1280x1024. I've had to pass up on quite a few games (Skyrim, Deus Ex, Metro 2033, Crysis, GTA IV, The Witcher 2, and Alan Wake come immediately to mind) because I don't like playing games when I have to turn all the settings down. After graduating law school and passing the Bar on my first attempt, I decided it was the perfect time to celebrate and finally build a new, up-to-date machine.

Design/Build Philosophy: Strategic Overkill and Aesthetic Synergy

My approach to this build was to research what's currently available, but more importantly, to see what's coming down the pipeline. Then to make decisions based on cost, performance, and taking into account upgradeability in the future.

With that in mind, I settled on a X79-based system, because the ability to upgrade to Ivy Bridge-E and octo-core CPUs is something that was important to me. I'm sure I'll catch a lot of flak for my CPU choice of the i7 3930k as being "a complete waste" or the multitude of other things I've heard in the past few weeks, however it doesn't bother me. When I built my sig rig originally, it had a FX-55 and as soon as the X2 dual-core chips were available I got the 4400+. I got a lot of crap then from people saying "why would you waste your money? nothing uses dual core." That turned out to be one of the best decisions I made. So is having more than quad core a waste? Perhaps, sure. But I'm looking down the line. Hence, strategic overkill. I hope to get the same 7 or 8 years out of the base of the machine, only upgrading the CPU and GPU once in a while, much like I did with the current one (CPU was upgraded once from FX-55 to X2 4400+, GPU was upgraded twice from 6800 GT to 8800 GTS to the current one).

That might be confusing then, seeing as I'm using a GTX 670 and not a 680. Again, strategic overkill comes in to play. The minimal performance gain the 680 has over the 670 (5-9%) is not worth the cost (20% more for the 680), especially once overclocking comes in to the picture. Furthermore, I will be getting GK110 aka Big Kepler when it's finally released, so I'd rather save the extra money for purchasing whatever will be one step below the flagship card.

Once I had an idea of where I wanted to take the system, I began to think about how this system will look. I settled on a red and blue scheme. The red is to represent the heart of the system, the power or "blood" of the system. As such, all of the power and data cables will be sleeved in UV Red reactive sleeving. The blue is to represent the cooling of the system. This is accomplished by having UV Blue reactive fans and using Mayhem's UV Clear Blue dye in combination with clear tubing. This way, when the UV lighting within the system is turned off, it's looks like any ordinary watercooled system as the coolant will be clear. However, when the lights get switched on, that's when the interior comes to life as the coolant becomes a fluorescent, glowing blue. Is it a simple theme? I will admit it's not very creative, however I think when you see the machine completed you'll appreciate the "simplicity" of the scheme, and hopefully my aesthetic synergy philosophy will come through.

And of course, the cooling of the system is not left out from my strategic overkill philosophy. Everything that would benefit from watercooling is getting a waterblock mounted to it to be included in the loop. The cooling parts were all chosen for their top of the line performance in conjunction with their aesthetics.

In conclusion, I suppose most people would say this is a top-of-the-line build, and I won't dispute there are definitely some high-end parts within the system. But at the same time, there are parts of the build that could definitely have had more money spent on (such as the RAM or SSD), but I felt I didn't need to or there was nothing that I personally would gain from it.

Hopefully, this gives you all a good idea of how I came into this build. Now, let's get into the nitty gritty.

Build Parts
Main Components
  • CPU - Intel i7 3930k
  • Motherboard - Asus Rampage IV Formula
  • Memory - 16GB (4x4GB) Samsung 30nm DDR3 SDRAM MV-3V4G3/U (the infamous "budget" RAM)
  • GPU - Gigabyte GV-N670OC-2GD GeForce GTX 670 2GB
  • SSD - Mushkin Enhanced Chronos Deluxe 240GB
  • HDD - 2x Hitachi Deskstar 7K2000 2TB (each shortstroked to 1TB, possibly even less) 7200RPM drives in RAID 0
  • Optical - Pioneer BDR-206 Internal BD/DVD/CD Writer
  • PSU - Seasonic Platinum 860W
  • Monitor - BenQ XL2420TX
  • Keyboard - Ducky Shine with Cherry MX Black switches and white LED backlighting
  • Mouse - Logitech G400
  • Speakers - Klipsch ProMedia 2.1
  • Headphones - Grado SR225i
  • Case - NZXT Switch 810 Special Edition in Matte Black

Cooling Components
  • Aquacomputer Aquaero 5 PRO
  • Aquacomputer Aquaero 5 Copper waterblock
  • EK-Supreme HF Copper Plexi CPU waterblock
  • EK-MOSFET ASUS RF4 Copper Acetal Motherboard waterblock
  • Watercool Heatkiller GPU-X³ GTX 680 LT Reference Design GPU waterblock with backplate
  • Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 Full Copper Triple 120mm Radiator
  • Danger Den Monsoon D5 Premium Dual Bay Reservoir with UV LED lighting
  • Aquacomputer D5 Pump with RPM Sensor
  • Aquacomputer Flow Meter Sensor
  • Aquacomputer Temperature Sensor - Inner and Outer G1/4" Thread
  • Innovatek Water Filter with 150μm particle filter
  • Swiftech Lok-Seal 1/2" ID x 3/4" OD Compression Fittings
  • Bitspower Dual Rotary 45-Degree 1/2" ID x 3/4" OD Compression Fittings
  • Koolance Quick Disconnect (High Flow) No-Spill Shutoff Nozzles - Female Threaded and Male Compression
  • Tygon E-1000 1/2" ID x 3/4" OD Plasticizer Free tubing
  • 6x Scythe Gentle Typhoon AP-15 fans
  • 6x Gelid Solutions Wing 14 fans
  • Phobya HeGrease Extreme Thermal Paste

Miscellaneous
  • Monsoon .999 Fine Silver Bullet Plug
  • 2x 22mm Bulgin Style Latching Switches - Black with UV Ring
  • 2x Phobya LED Flex Light 36 Count SMD UV Light Strips
  • 2x Sound Activated Light Modules
  • 4x SATA 3.0 Cables in UV Red
  • Single Sleeved Extensions in UV Red sleeving and heatshrink - 24 pin, 8 pin PCI-E, 6 pin PCI-E, 8 pin EPS
  • Mayhem's X1 UV Clear Blue Dye
  • Custom Demciflex filter for rear intake fan
  • Lamptron Slot Protector Kit in UV red
  • Dust covers on all unused ports

Whew, I think that's everything. I apologize for the length of the post, but I just want to be as thorough as possible. I'm going to reserve some posts after this one for update/progress pics. Also stay tuned after the build is complete, because I'll be doing an overclocking performance log afterwards. This log's focus is on the build itself.

Thanks everyone for reading. If you're interested, please subscribe so you can see when updates get posted. I really look forward to this build and having some serious fun with it. smile.gif
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post #2 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Update 6/23/12
I've got a large chunk of the parts in. I snapped some pics of the most important/interesting parts. Things that are still incoming include the case, radiator, fans, reservoir, and some other small bits.
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Update 6/24/12
Really minor update, but I ordered the last part I needed which was the keyboard. I went with a Ducky Shine with MX Blacks and white LEDs from TankGuys, as I had to have that OCN logo. Gotta rep my favorite site where I can. thumb.gif

Update 6/30/12
I apologize for the lack of updates for the past week. I wish I could start the build, but to make a long story short I'm waiting on a new replacement Switch 810 due to damage. And unfortunately NZXT is in California which makes the shipping times really bad to me (4-5 business days for UPS and FedEx ground). I'm hoping that I have it sometime next week, but have no idea how the holiday will affect it. Not to mention I will probably be out of town with family. So again, I'm really sorry about this build being at a dead standstill right now. I made a mistake in that I shouldn't have posted the start of this log/build until I had all of the mission critical components AND that I had verified everything was undamaged. You would think the box being PLASTERED with fragile stickers on every side would deter FedEx from treating the package like a god damn soccer ball, but I guess that's wishful thinking. mad.gifmad.gif

Also, I did some test fittings and I've got a problem because the Swiftech fittings will not work with the GPU block. The ports are too close together, thus it's physically impossible for me to install the fittings as they won't screw in without hitting each other. The idea I have to resolve this is to get one additional 45 degree rotary fitting, which will hopefully give me enough clearance. And I should probably do it this way anyways so that the tubing going from the outlet of the CPU block to the inlet of the GPU block doesn't have to bend as much.

So to at least turn this update from totally bad news to somewhat bad news, on the plus side yesterday I received what I believe is the last missing component that I needed: a Ducky Shine keyboard with Cherry MX Blacks and white LEDs. I'm not sure if I've ever seen an unboxing of a Ducky Shine, but enjoy nonetheless. smile.gif
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I don't know where this trend started for putting things inside velvety bags, but I love it. I'm a sucker for it. The Seasonic Platinum PSU also came inside a velvet bag.
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It comes with a instruction sheet (which does a poor job IMO explaining what the switches on the back do) and a nice dust cover when not using it. I was really glad to see that, because the monitor also came with a dust cover (which I've NEVER seen before), and as you all probably know the keyboard and monitor attract the most amount of dust and are the toughest to keep clean. Whereas the tower has nice, flat surfaces that all you have to do is wipe down with a microfiber cloth.
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Reppin' the OCN. Gotta share my love for my fellow overclockers out there. thumb.gif
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Update 7/21/12
I pretty much fell off the face of the earth there, but now I'm back. Real life got in the way, but things are now FULL STEAM AHEAD. I have every single part I need, and with the weekend here the build can actually move forward.

These are all the empty boxes. Glad that Newegg seems to have improved their packaging a bit.
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Switch 810 hiding
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Components ready and waiting
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Work area prepped
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Getting ready to flush the radiator. The submersible water pump is inside the bucket along with a gallon and a half of distilled water. The filter was a GE household sediment filter, perfect for this application. I didn't use the good tubing, just whatever was the cheapest at Home Depot. I really regretted that as this was the worst tubing I could possibly imagine, borderline impossible to fit over the compression fittings.
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Loop setup and ready to run.
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This is how it looked before.
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Results of filtering for about an hour. Now imagine that running through the pump or the blocks. eek.gif I'm really glad I took the time to do this.
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Next up, I'm going to take out the motherboard and assemble all the components, mount all the waterblocks, mount the motherboard inside the case, cut tubing to appropriate lengths, and begin a full system leak test. Hopefully I can get all this done by the end of tonight so that I can start the leak test and have it run overnight, and therefore leave tomorrow for actually installing the power supply and *fingers crossed* have the machine POST by tomorrow night.

Update 7/22/12
I wasn't able to get as much done yesterday as I wanted, however I did get everything prepped and ready for the leak test. Just have to mount the motherboard, tubing, etc. So at the very least I know I'll have the leak test done by tomorrow morning, which means during the week I'll be able to start bring power into the picture and start connecting everything. Thus, assuming I can work on this an hour or so each weeknight, 1 week from today the monitor WILL be showing the Windows 7 desktop. thumb.gif

Ready to work.
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The patient before surgery prep.
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Stock MOSFET/VRM heatsink removed.
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Waterblock installed nice and snug. Really like how well it fit, not to mention I think it looks great.
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Mmm, so much power between my 2 fingers. This is the C2 stepping as indicated by the SR0KY code.
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So many contacts...
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I hate this part so much. DON'T BEND THE PINS! No pressure...
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Phew, no sweat.
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Money shot, one of many.
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Shiny.
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Another great install. Probably the easiest CPU cooler I've ever installed. Literally 3 steps: screw in the 4 standoffs, apply TIM and slide the block over the standoffs, and put the springs on the standoffs and tighten down with the thumbscrews until you can't twist anymore which means optimum pressure is being applied. Looks damn good.
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Money shot #2. Mmm 16GB of RAM...
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Installed.
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Side shot. I really love the way this low profile RAM looks. Lends itself to a really awesome aesthetic, especially due to them not having heatspreaders. I'd say this is money shot #3.
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The 2nd patient.
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This was the easiest disassembly I've ever had of a video card. As soon as I removed the last screw, the whole thing just fell off. It startled the hell out of me, especially as I wrestled with my GTX 260 for a good 5-10 minutes trying to get the damn shroud off.
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Patient prepped for surgery.
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It's interesting to note the VRMs to the right of the memory chips had that dinky little aluminum heatsink as you saw 2 pictures above, however the 4 tiny chips above them to the left of the power connectors had nothing on them.
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GK104 goodness. You can see the difference from the picture above that the 4 chips will now be cooled.
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Money shot #4. Made in Germany goodness.
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Bling bling. I do have to say that getting the fittings on was a MASSIVE pain in the ass as the base will not rotate without using a set of pliers (obviously good for not having leaks, obviously bad for install purposes). Not to mention I had to use these, because NONE of the available straight compression fittings will work on this block. Swiftech, Monsoon, Koolance, etc: You name it, I tried to fit it. The ports are just too close together for a compression fitting to work. That left me 2 choices: these Bitspower 45 degree compression fittings or barbs. Barbs were out of the question so I went with these. I'll be better off with these anyways as it will make it easier to connect the CPU block to it with a shorter run of tube and not have any kinking due to not needing to bend the tube as much.
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I am sort of nervous about this, as I've NEVER had a card be this heavy before. I assume that the backplate makes this possible, because I don't see how that much weight can be hanging off the PCI Express slot. Yes, you are reading that scale correctly: it weights 3 AND A HALF POUNDS! eek.gif
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Next up, leak test time.

Mini-Update 7/28/12
I didn't want to make a full update, so this is just to include the pictures I forgot from the 7/22 update for SilentKilla78's question. Also, the leak test has been successfully completed. Pics are forthcoming, most likely tomorrow morning.

This is why I went through the hassles of finding fittings that would work for installing on the same side. Excuse the finger prints, they were immediately removed once I saw this picture. The finish is so nice, but it's an incredible fingerprint magnet, just like the backplate.
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If the ports were even a fraction of a millimeter closer, this wouldn't have worked.
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Installed. I was BLOWN AWAY by the backplate. I had my index finger on the power connectors and could feel the 3.5 pounds. As SOON as the bottom of the PCB inserted into the PCI Express slot, I felt almost nothing. Now I finally understand the hype around backplates, as this one really works. Not to mention it just looks awesome.
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Close-up. Just look how level the card is, no sagging here. Simply incredible.
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Update 7/29/12
Leak test is all done and water has been drained from the system. Not going to have much time tonight, but the PSU will be mounted along with the optical drive and SSD, and as many wires as I have time for will be connected including the case's front panel cables, power connections with extensions, and data cables. So much for my goal of having it at the desktop. mad.gif I hope now that I'm past all these roadblocks, it will be much smoother sailing as there will no longer be any waiting for parts. If I'm not done a week from now, I may just lose it. wink.gif

Below you'll see the trials and tribulations I had trying to figure out a layout for the loop tubing to work. Suffice to say, this royally sucked.
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FINALLY, after waiting/wasting 2 more days waiting for new fittings (admittedly my fault), I've got the loop setup perfectly. I should have just bought 90 degree rotaries in the first place.
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LEAK TEST! Not a drop was to be found. I was really excited by this, considering this is my first foray into watercooling.
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Update 8/6/12
What an awesome weekend this was. Got my first paycheck from the new job, so took Mom out for a surprise dinner. Great weather today. And best of all, made some serious progress on the build.

Pioneer optical installed.
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Secured with the awesomeness that is thumbscrews.
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SSD mounted.
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Nice and cozy in its new home, soon to be shared with some 2TB mechanical drives.
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SSD and optical data cables.
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Time for a little mad science in the lab (aka measuring and mixing the coolant for the loop tongue.gif)
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WHAT?!? Why would you hack off the clip? You'll see...
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Yea...this is why. Literally no room. There's probably a MAX of 1mm of clearance between the fan blades and the cables.
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Asus' awesome little Q connector for the front panel cables (power, reset, and LEDs).
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All front panel wires connected. Unfortunately, I could not do anything about those 2 wires you see coming from the upper right. NZXT made the power and HDD led cables RIDICULOUSLY short. The one on top in particular is pretty much pulled taut. Not happy about this at all. mad.gif
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All power connected. Good thing with the side panel on you can't see all those wires on the bottom right. The one wire that's disconnected has the blue cap on it to remind me to plug it in later on. This USB lead is for the Aquaero, and so I don't want to throw it into the mix until everything else has been installed and there are no driver issues. Also, I need to figure out something for covering the wires coming out of the power supply.
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Time to step it up to the next level of the build.
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The moment of truth. Not going to lie, this part always scares me.
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IT LIVES!!!!! wheee.gifwheee.gif Booted right up and into the BIOS.
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Good night and rest well. You've got a big couple of days coming up.
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Stay tuned, folks. I'm in the home stretch now, but this is when things get interesting. Assuming all goes well tomorrow and barring any distractions, there should be an update posted tomorrow night showing the Windows 7 desktop.thumb.gif

Update 8/7/12
Getting better at this. This time only a 1 day delay instead of a week. tongue.gif

Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit install begins from USB stick.
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Done installing and first restart at this point. I've never seen the install go this fast before on any install across many, many different machines. To be fair though, this is the first time installing with the SSD/USB combo.
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Everything completely done at this point and sitting idle. Holy mother of god...eek.gif
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Chilling at the desktop after a mere 7 minutes and 16 seconds. This is what I've been wanting to see for so many weeks now.
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Now it's time to use Sean's optimization guide and get everything ready.
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post #3 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Update 10/28/12
After disappearing for almost 3 months, I am profusely sorry for making it look like this build log was abandoned. But fear not!

I'm proud to say that the build is official complete. It's actually been done for most of the time since the last update post, so my excuse for not posting any updates is that I've been enjoying every free minute I've got on this monster. It truly has limitless power.

So without further ado, here are 2 videos I made yesterday. There will be one more video coming later tonight, along with some more pictures.

Daytime - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ReSEdWGrtZo&hd=1
Nighttime - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5C04SgISuA&hd=1

Can't wait to hear the feedback, both good AND bad. After all, how can I improve my techniques/skills, and as a result my builds, without hearing what I did right and what went horribly wrong. tongue.gifthumb.gif
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post #10 of 50 (permalink) Old 06-23-2012, 10:41 PM
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Subbed! smile.gif Also why not get the new EK CPU block? (Supremacy.)
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