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[Build Log] End of Era - Corsair Carbide 540 Air

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post #1 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-15-2013, 11:06 PM - Thread Starter
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So it is time for my first (possibly last) build log.

The rate at which desktop PCs are going out of favour for mass consumption I fear in 4 years time I won't be building another case from scratch. As such I decided to splash out on a water cooling build for the first time.

Mistakes will be made. I'll document what I can. Still learning how to use the nifty features of this forum.

I hope for this build to be visually pleasing and at the same time O/C like a champ. Some decisions were made that go against aesthetics but favour O/C; being new I couldn't quite marry the two perfectly.

Main PC
Intel Core i7 4770K
ASUS Maximus VI Hero Motherboard
Gigabyte GeForce GTX 780 3GB
Corsair Carbide Air 540 High Airflow ATX Cube Case
Corsair Vengeance Pro CMY16GX3M2A1866C9 16GB (2x8GB) DDR
Samsung 840 Series 250GB SSD Retail Box
Corsair AX860 Platinum Power Supply
Cooling
EK Supremacy CPU Waterblock Clean CSQ Plexi
XSPC Razor GTX Titan / 780 Waterblock
XSPC Razor GTX Titan / 780 / 770 Backplate
Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 Full Copper 240mm
Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 Full Copper 360mm
Scythe 120mm Gentle Typhoon 1850RPM Fan
XSPC Premium Acrylic Reservoir for Laing D5 Pumps
Alphacool VPP655 Single Edition 12V Variable Speed Pump
Fittings & Bits
Bitspower G1/4 Matte Black Dual Rotary 45 Degree 3/8 Fitting
Bitspower G1/4 Matte Black 3/8 Compression Fitting CC3
Bitspower G1/4 Matte Black Dual Rotary Angle 3/8 Fitting
Koolance QD3 Male Quick Disconnect G1/4 No-spill Coupling
Koolance QD3 Female Quick Disconnect G1/4 No-spill Coupling
Monsoon Anti-Bacterial Silver Cartridge G1/4
Phobya Temperature Sensor In-Line 2x G1/4 Inner Thread
PrimoChill PrimoFlex Advanced LRT Tubing White 3/8ID 5/8OD 10ft
XSPC 360mm Radiator Gasket
XSPC 240mm Radiator Gasket
Bays & Other
NZXT Hue RGB LED Controller
BitFenix Recon Fan and LED Controller Black
XSPC Twin 3mm LED Kit Blue
Phobya Noise Destructor V1 for Pump Decoupling
3pin Fan Power Splitter

Last nights effort:

All the kit... i wondered how all that fits into that little case


The RADSzzzz.
Current plan is to have 240 with fans on top of it on PULL. The 90deg fitting fits next to the fans on top and will route the hose to the back of the case. The 45deg fitting will go to CPU.
The 360 has angled fittings because that way I can fit the HDD bays without a collision. The 90deg to back of case holes; the 45deg to GPU.


The CPU waterblock is gorgeous!


I could use some help and advice on the rear.
Obviously (or not) I went for quick disconnects to drain. I could not get a G1/4 QC for that hose size so I stuffed around with a F-F temp sensor and a fitting... but it looks scary!
I can adjust the pump with a screwdriver through the back grill so that's not an issue. I moved the whole REZ back on the foam pad for balance because if you glue it straight on it will sag.
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post #2 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-15-2013, 11:18 PM
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post #3 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-15-2013, 11:18 PM
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Desktop computers should still be around in 4 years. redface.gif

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post #4 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-15-2013, 11:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Milestailsprowe View Post

Desktop computers should still be around in 4 years. redface.gif
Sure. Nokia flip phones are available too. I just don't think the reasons to own a desktop will stack up. If I'm wrong, I'll be happy smile.gif
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post #5 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 12:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tomxlr8 View Post

Sure. Nokia flip phones are available too. I just don't think the reasons to own a desktop will stack up. If I'm wrong, I'll be happy smile.gif
Well I hope your very wrong and I will stay tuned for the build

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post #6 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
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It was a bit stop & go last night with the build.

Alphacool rads for this case... well they don't come with washers. So a trip to the hardware store was in order. Ideal size is 3 to 3.5mm ID and maybe 8mm OD. The pin-like screws that come with the rad go straight through the case fan holes.

GPU water block didn't happen. Turns out I need a fancy screw driver with a starfish like head that is impossibly small... Just hope the hardware shop will have it.

Top Rad.
Here you can see where I needed the washers.
Also, I've seen many different ways people route the tube to the back up here and I think this is the best way. Sure, it'll mean unscrewing the fans if you want to take the hose out (as I did last night...twice), but it is damn neat.


Another shot of the tube routed up top


Front Rad.
Amazingly, I had to undo it twice; all up probably spent 4 hours just doing and undoing screws with an allen key. Magically, that gave me a full body work out because this morning every bone in my body hurts...


Front with Rads & some Tube smile.gif
I'd love some feedback on anything related to W/C. The rad to CPU run seems awkward to me when I look at it. I don't know if I should invest in a 45deg fitting or keep it straight. Does the tube look OK?
Also, you can clearly see here how the 45deg fitting on the front Rad clears the hot swap HDD cage. A straight fitting will collide.


Rear with the tubes.
I DREAD the day I have to clean up cabling at the back. It will be a nightmare.


Front bays with the Bitfenix Recon fan controller and the NZXT RBG Hue.
The fan controller looks great. Its texture is identical to the case. The colour is practically the same when you look at it in real life; even if in this photo it looks slightly darker.
I don't mind how the hue controller looks, it's similar enough.
I had to do a little trick to get the fan controller to fit properly. There's no way to screw in the top screw in the bay; I did fit it from the bottom up but that's useless. Behind the front facia of the fan controller the case has a tab. I cut off a section of a cable tie and inserted it between those two. That holds up the fan controller at roughly the right height to be flush with the front of the case. Sounds confusing, but if you buy this controller you'll know what I mean. - Cable Tie, cut a bit off & insert behind facia.



Ok.
I have a small request for anyone who knows about fan controllers.
This one looks great BUT it is only 10W / channel. I hooked up a "fan splitter" and it doesn't run the 2 fans / channel. The Scythe fans are 4.5W to start & <1W to run so it SHOULD work! Could someone help? I see 3 possible reasons:
  1. W / channel not enough. Stuck with running 1 fan per channel.
  2. A fan splitter is not the same as a fan Y cable... and I bought the wrong cable...?
  3. I should not have thrown out the fan cables that the controller came with


Anyway, next step is a star fish screwdriver.. GPU.
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post #7 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 04:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Also, I'll just say that I didn't realise the Scythe GT fans are ugly gray colour. I thought they were white. They are quite ugly so I hope they are amazingly quiet as a consolation.
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post #8 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-16-2013, 04:59 PM
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post #9 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 02:59 AM - Thread Starter
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Got heaps done on the weekend. Just ran out of time to post some pics.

Fixed a couple of issues Saturday.

Issue 1: some fans didn't work
I was blaming the fan controller. It was far simpler and far dumber than that. I used a foam insert between the rads and fans for "greater suction"... thing is, when you tighten those screws up the foam spreads and obstructs the fan. You can't see in the pic but this was the problem area.


Issue 2: 5 out of 6 fans were DAMN noisy
The fan controller I got has an unwritten rule (well it's written, but who reads the instructions!). If you are not going to use the temperature probes - connect them anyway! If you don't, those fans will ran at max power.

Issue 3: I am super terrible at cutting pipe.
Bought a pipe cutter smile.gif
Coincidentally, these became my FAVOURITE tools of this water cooling job:
(the head light by far the greatest tool of all. not only do I feel like a ghostbuster searching for water leaks, but it's damn effective!)


Nothing gave me more satisfaction then dismantling my $800 graphics card to bits. I felt PRO...


Last tubes & GPU fitted smile.gif
Ready to fill the loop & test!




...and we're cruisin'


Sorting out some pics of the final assembly & look. I'll post tomorrow.
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post #10 of 17 (permalink) Old 08-25-2013, 09:51 PM - Thread Starter
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The system is all done now. I will post pics tonight. I waited with the final post till I had some overclocks dialed in as well (not that you can see them). Some final comments:

Fan controller & Hue controller look very good on the case. I recommend having these if you need either. They both work as advertised and aesthetically fit in. After two weeks, I must be honest though that I just let the blue LEDs from CPU/GPU glow and have the light show set to OFF. My kids love it though and they play around with it.

Rads (360/240 xt45s) both fit in easily and you have plenty of room to move around. No push/pull though, which I think isn't needed anyway.

Noise - fans speed is 1000rpm and it's quiet; even with the computer being at desk height. Due to 10W / Channel limitation of this controller I went 2 fans per channel only. The fans aren't completelyl silent because there is no way to decouple them from the chassis with rubber screws since they attach to rads & at the front you have no clearance anyway. At full tit it is definitely too loud so don't expect to run high rpm fans on this case and have it quiet at the same time.

Cabling took about 4 hours and a kilogram of cable-ties (or it felt like that much) but it's completely manageable and you can even make the rear look respectable.

3.5" HDD - The biggest draw back of this case is SATA HDDs. If you mount one in the hot swap bay - they will be noisy and you will hate it. I ended up just removing mine because I didn't want to screw around with putting it on a sponge in the rear and hoping that it doesn't overheat. Without a doubt that is my single biggest complaint with this case.

Overclocking. I got my 4770k up to 4500 stable after 6hrs of synthetic tests (max during test 80C). Also, with the stock GTX 780 I have it at 1202MHz clock passing all the benchmarks (max 35C) & also no issues in BF3. Planning to go 4.7k cpu / 1350mhz gpu soon just to see if I can get it stable. Best part is, everything is just at quiet when maxed out smile.gif
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