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Two Towers TEC Build Log

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post #1 of 64 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 09:33 PM - Thread Starter
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Two Towers TEC Build Log

Hey everyone, this is going to be my build log for my TEC build. After months of waiting, saving, researching, and asking questions I finally have all of the parts together and have finally started on the building, ill use the first few posts to update the progress so far and then continue as more progress is made.

I’d like to thank a number of people for their help in the build process and also in providing information. A big thanks to my brother and father for lending me tools and their expertise for the case mods. Without their help a lot of this would have taken much longer and been much more “utilitarian”. My other brother will also be helping with some painting in the future, but due to me not having the material yet we haven't been able to work on that yet. Future thanks to him. Finally I’d like to thank all of those in the OCN TEC community for their support, patience, and friendly help, specifically Skyl3r and Toolmaker03. I’d also like to extend thanks to OCaddict for the original concept, and note that many aspects of this design are borrowed from his. Without the tips and advice I’ve received in my original thread this project would not have been possible.

Now for the meat of the project. The loop I’ll be running will be 2 air cooled TECs, specifically the CTE 19911-5L31-15CQ. I’ll be cooling them with 2 Reeven justice coolers, and the water will be cooled using 2 Alphacool NexXxos XP3 blocks with the OCaddict mods. I’ll be cooling a R5 1600, clock speeds determined based on the cooling performance. My loop differs from other projects in that I’ll also be incorporating a radiator for low loads and idle, to save on power consumption and heat. The coolers will be mounted in the front of a modified HAF 932 on a fabricated platform (where the 5.25 drives should be. The TECs are going to be controlled to come on when liquid temperature reaches a certain temperature, and shut off once it passes a lower barrier. These limits will be determined later during testing. Full build specifications will be detailed later.

There are a number of potential issues with this, which I have attempted to plan for, and will require testing once the loop is finalized. The first issue is temperature control, or rather when to switch from the radiator to the pelts. The sensor on the controller is best fit to be used with the liquid, however it may be more practical to use a different sensor on the side of the CPU IHS, this will have to be determined. The inclusion of a radiator also presents a unique problem, as if the liquid drops below ambient this will result in the radiator acting as a heater. This is on one hand an advantage, as I do not want this loop to be significantly (more than 5c) lower than ambient as there are many times when my computer is inside of a less than ideal environment. However, if the loop is capable of taking the liquid down quite far, this could result in a strange balance of temperatures which will require further testing. Pending performance testing, if this proves to be a problem I’ll be using electronically actuated ball valves to route the flow of the loop around the radiator while the TECs are active. The final potential issue will be that the combined heat from the CPU and the TECs will be too much for the air coolers to dissipate. If this is the case, then the only option will be to redesign the loop to add in another pelt/block/tower, in which case the heat on either tower from the CPU would be reduced by roughly 20%, ideally creating enough of a difference to allow the loop to perform well. However, given the exceptional results of OCaddict’s loop with a significantly higher heat load, I do not feel this will be an issue. I’ve done a fair bit of research and comparison in selecting my parts and I’m confident the performance will be enough

The purpose of this build is not to build an ultimate cooling setup, but rather to build one that will perform better than a custom loop, as well as providing a base and more importantly experience, for building a better, more refined, and more powerful setup in the future. While future plans is not the focus of this build log, I feel it worth noting. Eventually I would like to machine blocks for both the hot and cool side of the pelts, and upgrade to a 3 or 4 pelt setup with a much better system for cooling the hot side, in theory increasing performance dramatically, and either allowing for better performance on a similar load or increasing the load that can be placed on the loop.

Finally, the build will have a slight “theme” to it. I’m not a big fan of super themed builds and mods, however to give this build a bit more character I’ll be basing the colors, as well as styling around a “Nazgul” theme. A black on “green flame” sort of color, with an aggressive styling. The addition of chains to the top of the platform to come later, as well as a shroud with a helmet painted on top or a lightbox with the helmet design, as well as a “fan grill” in the shape of the helmet, as well as lighting and other thematic elements. I’m open to suggestions here, just nothing over the top. I don't want the build to scream Ringwraith, rather have just enough theme to suggest the overall idea. I’m thinking of ways to incorporate other elements as well, as the original idea started with a “two towers” theme, due to the two CPU tower coolers. Much of the styling will not be complete by the time the “build” is complete, due to issues getting a hold of a piece of metal to make the shroud, as well as the fact that my father and I cannot for the life of us find the brake we need to bend one.

I have pictures of the progress so far, which I will be posting as I sort through and make a “timeline” of the progress. After this initial wave of posting, further progress will be documented as it comes. I would have started this at the beginning but I’ve been really busy with work lately, and only recently had the time to organize all of this. One final note that I'd like to make is that I'll not only be embedding images in the forum, but also will provide a link to a imgur or similar where the images will all be stored. This is to prevent any issues with non-members, or future visitors from seeing the pictures. Info on TEC builds is hard to come by, and nothing has made me more upset than finding what seems to be a really interesting build or thread and all of the images are no longer available. So, I'll be posting pictures, here, there, and possibly a link to a folder in drive or similar to prevent these issues.
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post #2 of 64 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Details of the build

Computer:
CPU - AMD R5 1600
Mobo - Gigabyte AX370 Gaming K7
RAM - 2x8gb G.Skill Trident Z RGB 3200mhz
PSU - ‘Ol Reliable (Seasonic X series 1250w, will be powering TECs as well)
GPU - the other ‘Ol Reliable (My trusty Sapphire 290)
Storage - 512gb Crucial MX500, 4 Samsung 256gb SSD (OEM 850s)
Fans - x2 Coolermaster 200mm (stock with the HAF 932), 3 Darkside Gentle Typhoon AP-60 (2250RPM), Coolermaster Masterfan MF200 RGB (Needed for lighting effect on front)

Loop:
CPU Block - EK AM4 Supremacy MX
TEC Blocks - x2 Alphacool NexXxos XP3
TEC coolers - x2 Reeven Justice
Pump - Swiftech MCP655 with Swiftech acetal pump top
Res - Bitspower Water Tank Z 100ml
Fittings - XSPC 3/8 Barb Fittings, x2 Koolance 90 3/8 barb fittings, with hose clamps
Tubing - Mayhems Ultra Clear 3n8 ID 5/8 OD
Radiator - HWLabs Black Ice Nemesis GTS 120mm
Temp Monitor - XSPC LCD Temp Display
Controller - Thermomart DIN300A-30A
TECs - x2 CTE 19911-5L31-15CQ (Run at 12v)
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post #3 of 64 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 09:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Mods to the Case

The case has had the original drive cages fully removed, as well as all but one of the 5.25” drives. I left one to accommodate a fan controller in the future, or other device if need be. In place of these will be a platform to both support and mount the block/TEC/Cooler sandwiches. The platform will be held up by 4 legs and will allow the coolers to mount in the front of the case. In place of the typical 5.25” covers, I will be using expanded steel, mesh, or some other material to keep fingers (and the cat) from getting eaten. As soon as possible, I will also be adding a shroud along the length of the bottom which will cover the pump and will feature either a painted on decal of the Witch King’s helmet, or better yet a diffusal plate and gradient plate of the helmet, so that it glows through the shroud. Think like the murderbox illumination panels for a TJ-07, but in this case only a helmet cutout. The case has been repainted to fit the build, in this case a undercoat of a deep blue that I will come over in black to get a deep blackish blue look, more similar to the night sky than a simple black, as well as showing variation in the colors instead of plain black. In the future I would like to modify the front panel to have more modern ports. As it stands the front features eSATA as well as USB 2.0, I would like to upgrade this to more modern USB 3 and USB C ports. There are no other major modifications to speak of, simply took an old solid case I got for a great price and made it what I needed.
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post #4 of 64 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
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First step was to remove the HDD cages and the 5.25 bays. I thought originally that the plate at the bottom of the 5.25 would work to hold the coolers, but with some prototyping that was very quickly ruled out. The front fan would stick out of the case, and so this was around the time that I realized the need for a separate piece for a platform. I have some videos of the cutting procedure if anyone is interested, I can throw them together and share a link. Ignore the mess, my basement floods anytime there's a lot of rain at once and it's monsoon season in Southern Indiana.
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post #5 of 64 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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After realizing the platform at the bottom of the 5.25 wouldn't work, there was no need to keep the back plate of the bays in place, and the plate needed to be cut. This time instead of using the angle grinder in the basement my buddy was nice enough to let me come play demolition in his garage, even use his angle grinder. Shout out to him! I was able to finish cutting out the platform piece, as well as finish cleaning up the inside of the case. The HAF 932 looks pretty clean once you take everything out of the front of it.
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post #6 of 64 (permalink) Old 07-24-2018, 10:20 PM - Thread Starter
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After finishing with the interior changes, the platform and the legs needed to be finished up. I used an angle grinder to rough out the holes in the middle for the pelt sandwiches, and then used a hand saw to finish the cuts and a file to clean up. The legs are aluminum square stock, cut to length. The ends have been tapped out for bolts, although the bolts i have may need to be cut slightly to fit. My father was nice enough to use some of his tools to help with the tapping to help get them much closer to center than they otherwise would have been by hand. After finishing with both of these, he also helped out and bead blasted the legs and the surface of the platform to help them be easier to paint.
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post #7 of 64 (permalink) Old 07-25-2018, 12:40 AM - Thread Starter
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The last bit of "catch up" updates. I just finished this today. The side panel gets a new window, nothing fancy, just some acrylic. I wanted to bring the window out a bit more compared to what is offered stock on the 932, as well as show off the coolers in the front. The side panel turned out great, and should look really good on the build. I haven't figured out how I want to mount the acrylic just yet, whether or not that'll be glassier points, bolts/nuts, screws, silicon, etc. but I'm sure I'll figure it out. I kept the protective sheets on the acrylic, so that's why it seems cloudy and has the finger prints. The actual acrylic is very clean and clear, with no scratches (yet). The case is going well too. Rather than a flat boring black, I thought it would be nice to add some color or accent for the lights in the case to catch, as well as give it a bit of a flair. I painted a base coat with the blue, and am coming over in a few coats lightly with the black. The idea is that the case will have some character and difference in the paint, rather than being an even coat all the way across.
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post #8 of 64 (permalink) Old 07-25-2018, 12:44 AM - Thread Starter
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It's really hard to tell, but the inside is already really neat, in dark lighting the case looks black, however, in lighter areas the blue is still to prominent. Another coat tomorrow should address the issue, giving me the midnight with a bit of blue I wanted. I'm not sure how it'll turn out with the lights though, may need to get those out early and demo it to see how everything works with the case and the paint. I like it so far, its different enough that it catches the eye, especially in the light and in person, but still simple enough it doesn't seem overdone. It's really hard to get a good picture in this lighting, the basement lights make it seem just black, and the work lights cast a harsh glare and bring out more blues that you otherwise wouldn't see. I'll try to get a good picture tomorrow after the final coat.
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post #9 of 64 (permalink) Old 07-27-2018, 08:12 AM
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Very intriguing project, looking forward to future updates

CPU
AMD Threadripper 1900x
Motherboard
Asus Prime X399-A
GPU
EVGA 1080 Classified
Hard Drive
Samsung 960 Evo
Hard Drive
Intel 750 Series 400GB U.2
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 Pro 512 GB
Hard Drive
Samsung 850 Pro 512 GB
Power Supply
Seasonic 1050w 80+ Gold
Case
Corsair Air 740
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro
CPU
i5 6600k
Motherboard
Asus Z170i Pro Gaming
GPU
Sapphire R9 Nano
RAM
Kingston FURY 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR4-2400
Hard Drive
Samsung 950 Pro 512 GB
Power Supply
Athena AP-MFATX40 400W Flex-ATX
Cooling
be quiet! ​PURE ROCK ​SLIM
Case
Lian-Li PC-TU 100B
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro
Monitor
ViewSonic XG2401
Keyboard
MK Disco RGB TKL (KBT Brown)
Mouse
Razer Mamba TE
Mouse
Razer Firefly Cloth
Audio
Beyerdynam​ic DT 770 ​Pro 80 ohm
Audio
Antlion Audio ModMic 4 w/ Mute
Audio
Schiit Fulla 2
Other
Noctua NF-A9x14 (x2)
Other
Fractal Design FD-FAN-SSR2-92
Other
Fractal Design FD-FAN-SSR2-60 (x2)
Other
Fractal Design GP12-WT
CPU
i7 6800k
CPU
Xeon e5-1620 V3
Motherboard
EVGA Micro 2
GPU
Asus GTX 780
GPU
Sapphire Fury X
GPU
Sapphire RX 480
RAM
Kingston - FURY 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2400
RAM
ADATA - XPG Z1 8GB (2 x 4GB) DDR4-2400
Hard Drive
SanDisk - SSD PLUS 240GB
Hard Drive
Kingston - SSDNow V200
Power Supply
Corsair HX850i
Cooling
be quiet! - PURE ROCK
Case
Thermaltake Core V21
Operating System
Windows 10 Pro
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post #10 of 64 (permalink) Old 08-02-2018, 01:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Sorry for the delay, ended up working more than I expected as well as helping my brother out with purchasing a car. As such work has been slower than I would like. Beyond that, I've run into the first snag of the project in this shipping error. One of the pelts I received came with a broken lead. I'm not sure if this is fixable with soldering, but I did get a hold of CTE. They should be sending a new one out soon, so work continues.
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