I'm currently in the process of tearing up my December 2015 build and will do doing a full custom watercooling loop.
What's currently in it. A lot of it was picked up through Black Friday weekend sales. For example, the motherboard and RAM were a combo deal at Newegg. It was insanely cheap (not what's listed below).
I currently have the 4790k overclocked to 4.7GHz at 1.295V (adaptive). The 980ti seems to be stuck at 1485MHz Core and 7800MHz Mem. I think the card is voltage limited at 1.224V or so. I'll try a custom bios once it's watercooled.
PCPartPicker part list / Price breakdown by merchant
CPU: Intel Core i7-4790K 4.0GHz Quad-Core Processor ($329.99 @ SuperBiiz)
CPU Cooler: Corsair H80i GT 70.7 CFM Liquid CPU Cooler ($87.99 @ Amazon)
Motherboard: Asus Z97-A/USB 3.1 ATX LGA1150 Motherboard ($141.88 @ OutletPC)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Black 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($72.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Memory: Kingston HyperX Fury Black 16GB (2 x 8GB) DDR3-1600 Memory ($72.99 @ SuperBiiz)
Storage: Samsung 850 Pro Series 512GB 2.5" Solid State Drive ($212.98 @ OutletPC)
Storage: Toshiba X300 5TB 3.5" 7200RPM Internal Hard Drive ($139.99 @ Micro Center)
Video Card: EVGA GeForce GTX 980 Ti 6GB FTW ACX 2.0+ Video Card ($639.99 @ Amazon)
Case: Fractal Design Define R4 (Black Pearl) ATX Mid Tower Case ($79.99 @ Newegg)
Power Supply: EVGA 850W 80+ Gold Certified Fully-Modular ATX Power Supply ($117.99 @ NCIX US)
Operating System: Microsoft Windows 10 Pro OEM (64-bit) ($121.98 @ B&H)
Monitor: Dell U2715H 60Hz 27.0" Monitor ($440.33 @ B&H)
Keyboard: Corsair Vengeance K70 Wired Gaming Keyboard ($134.99 @ B&H)
Mouse: Logitech G502 Wired Optical Mouse ($79.00 @ Logitech)
Headphones: Sennheiser HD 650 Headphones ($379.68 @ Amazon)
Other: Bottlehead Crack w/ Speedball (Purchased For $425.00)
Other: Matrix Mini-i DAC (Purchased For $330.00)
Other: Mackie mr5mk2 (Purchased For $300.00)
Prices include shipping, taxes, and discounts when available
Generated by PCPartPicker 2016-01-23 19:52 EST-0500
Parts Planned for Upgrade
Fractal Design Define S - Windowed Side Panel
Why I didn't just buy this to begin with, I'll never know.
Assorted Barrow White Fittings
Rumor has it that they make the fittings for Bitspower. Maybe it's not true, but reviews have been positive. I ordered a bunch of white compression fittings, 45 degree and 90 degree extensions, and a ball valve too for a drain.
Components Awaiting Order -
Heatkiller IV Pro - Copper NI with Backplate
I really like the look of this one. Plus, the cooling performance is really good.
EK Thermosphere - Nickel Acetal
There are no full cover blocks for my EVGA 980Ti FTW. Of the universal blocks available, I liked this one the most for what i have planned. I will be retaining the midplate on the 980Ti for passive cooling of the VRAM and VRMs. That means I will either modify the mounting plate on the EK block or use copper shims.
Black Ice Nemesis 360GTS and 280GTS
I wanted slim radiators for my Define S. These were among the best slim radiators.
Mayhems Ultra Clear
I may to rigid this summer. Figured soft tubing would be a good start.
I wanted something with anti-corrosion properties, mostly out of paranoid with the EK nickel block.
Cablemod E-Series G2/P2 Cable Kit - White
Because it'll look great.....
Koolance 200mm reservoir with Bitspower top and Aqua-Pipe
Ended up with a 200mm Monsoon MMRS kit instead with the D5 mount attached. The pricing is similar, plus the mounting solution looked better than the one on the RP450.
Barrow temp sensor plug
I plan to have the BIOS adjust fan speed based on water temp instead of CPU temp. This will be use to plug one of the ports on a Primochill Vortex flow indicator.
2x NoiseBlocker Blacknoise Silent Pro 92mm
These are actually for the GPU VRMs and VRAM. They will be mounted to a PCI bracket and connected to the mini 4-pin on the 980ti through an adapter. I hope to automate their speed based on GPU temps through Afterburner (or a custom bios).
3x Fractal Design HP-14
3x Fractal Design HP-12
Lots of options for fans. These won me out. Check out this Youtube channel. They have a site as well. https://www.youtube.com/user/CoolingTechnique
Silverstone CPF04 PWM Fan Hub
Might as well.
Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut
Apparently the best right now.
Assorted screws, sleeving material, and heatshrink
Most of the parts arrived a few days ago from Performance PCs. I'm still waiting on the fittings from Barrow. They've been sitting at the Los Angeles USPS ISC for almost a week now.
One of the first things I wanted to deal with was the G80 bracket on the EK Thermosphere. If you look at the pictures of the EVGA 980Ti FTW below, you'd see that it has a midplate that EVGA calls Memory MOSFET Cooling Plate (MMCP). I wanted to use this midplate along with the universal VGA waterblock from EK because I didn't like the solution that Alphacool offers with their NexXxos GPX coolers, which were just released for my graphics card. The issue with the EVGA midplate is that it contains four protrusions that will interfere with the EK bracket, as it does with other cooling solutions such as the NZXT G10. A viable solution would have been to use a copper shim, and I actually ordered a set of 25mm x 25mm x 1.5mm copper shims for this purchase. I decided that I'd rather not have two layers of TIM and a piece of copper between the GPU and the waterblock, so I ordered a spare G80 bracket from EK to modify. You can also see how the stock ACX 2.0 heatsink has notches cut out to deal with the midplate protrusions.
The bracket is 2mm thick. I figured 1mm removed at the pertinent locations should be sufficient, so I got started with a dremel.
It was working, but it wasn't very pretty, and it was taking way too long.
So out came the cutting wheel. Sorry, I didn't take any pictures of the cutting, but here is the really ugly but working final product next to the original.
After that, it was just a matter of cleaning the block with the 91% isopropyl alcohol, spreading some Thermal Grizzly Kryonaut on the GPU, and mounting it.
In addition, I needed a way to cool the VRMs even with the midplate still mounted. I picked up two NoiseBlocker Blacknoise Silent Pro 92mm PE-P fans from PPCS and a PCI fan bracket from eBay for this purpose. They're wired up to a 4-pin PWM to mini GPU 4-pin fan connector so I can still let the 980ti control fan speeds. I've tested the fans hooked up to my motherboard. They're surprisingly quiet even at 1800 rpm. They're rated at 20db at full speed.
I have the reservoir and pump combination put together and mounted. I also test fitted the radiators. There were not without challenges.
I sleeved the cables coming from the D5 pump, which were not difficult since I've sleeved speaker cables in the past. The sleeving wasn't very dense, so you can still see some of the red. I may resleeve that portion at some point, but it'll be fairly hidden from view once everything else is installed, so I might leave it until it's time to drain and clean the loop (or when I upgrade again).
I really like the white and black combo that I picked out. The only complaint was that I had some difficulties mounting the D5 housing onto the reservoir base. I ended up tearing apart the rheostat on the pump due to the force. Most of that was likely my own stupidity. Lesson learned. I was able to test the pump to check that it still runs, and it does. So onward we go.
I really like the mounting system that Monsoon designed. For some reason, I assumed that two brackets would be included. One ended up being pretty sturdy, but to make sure it was more secure and would remain vertical under weight, I used some 28mm M4 screws along with the radiator mount bracket that Fractal Design included to secure the top mounting position on the reservoir to the case. Having the reservoir mounting slots already designed into the Define S was definitely a plus.
Black Ice Nemesis Radiators
I picked these because they were the best 30mm radiators, at least according to a test by xtremesystems. My plan was to have the 360GTS at the top with the ports at the rear of the case. The 280GTS would be mounted in the front, near the top. The coolant would flow from the reservoir/pump to a flow indicator before hitting the GPU block. From there it would enter the CPU block, followed by the 360GTS on top. The exit from the 360 would be routed along the top of the case, hidden from view, before entering the 280 in the far side port before exiting the nearside port and back into the reservoir from the top.
Well...it wouldn't all fit. The ports on the 280 would end up hitting something on the 360. It was the 360 radiator itself or the fans on the radiator that would interfere with the ports on the 280. I didn't want to flip the 280 so the ports are at the bottom, mostly because I don't think I'll like the way it looks with soft tubing. I ended up removing the front filter on the Define S and sandwiched the fans and 280 to the case. Since I didn't want to lose the filter, I found that the filter could sort of be snapped back onto the fans. Some electrical tape made it more secure.
My only complaint about the case so far is that the fan mounting slots at the front of the case don't run the entire length. I know that it's designed that way to not block airflow, but it meant that I was fairly limited at how high or low I can mount my fan and radiator combo.
Interestingly enough, with the 280 radiator in the upward orientation, I couldn't fit a third 140 fan onto the front. I'll do push pull with the extra fan. I don't think I can get a fourth fan onto the 280 since it will interfere with the 45 degree or 90 degree rotary that I will need at the exit.
Plan is to route the tubing from the 360 to the 280 through this area at the top of the motherboard.
Fan and grill
I'm expecting the Barrow fittings to show up tomorrow. As long as there aren't any problems with the order, I hope to have this up and running by the end of the week.
Fittings are here! Missing the white sleeved sata data cables though. They'll resend them. If anyone is curious, I bought this from ZERO Water Cooling on Aliexpress.
Some of them look a bit rough on the inside, and some of the 45 degree onces aren't perfectly round near the lip. I don't think it'll affect the function. The good news is that they don't have a lot of play in the rotary. The shut off valve is for the drain that will be connected to the lowest port in the Primochill Vortex Flow Indicator.
Let's not forget the temp sensor from Barrow, sleeved, of course.
The parts are installed.Thing didn't turn out as planned. Most of if had to do with getting all the runs exactly as I had pictured it. The problems were most with the exit from the front 280 radiator back to the reservoir and with the Primochill Vortex. Fortunately, I had enough rotary fittings to make the former look okay. The latter I'm still not happy with. The Primochill Vortex has trouble spinning with the top right to bottom left flow. I'm too lazy to take it apart and have it enter bottom right and exit bottom left right now. Maybe in a few months. A quick tab on it seems to make it spin again.
There's not much else to say. I'll let the pics talk.
Oh, one more thing. My fingers are raw for twisting all the fittings.
Added some night shots. Could be better. Maybe it's time to bust out the lighting equipment.
Also, you can see the new flow indicator set up. I like the connection from that to the GPU much more.
The lighting is handled by Cablemod WideBeam LEDs. I think they're a knockout. I only wish I had bought more than a 60cm strip. There are the RGB magnetic strips.The fact that they come with a IR controller that I can easily hide makes it a really good product. I chose this over the regular strips because I wanted brightness control.
Temperature update. Running AIDA64 for about 20 minutes gets the water temp up to 28 degrees and seems to stay there with my fans at about 850rpm. Intake air temp was 23 degrees. My CPU is at 4.7ghz with 1.295V. Temps are between 50s and 60s, with max temps spiking up to the low 70s. I'm not sure if that's normal under stress testing. I'm going to go ahead and repaste and reseat the CPU block to be sure.
Looping Unigine Heaven gets the GPU up to 40 degrees.
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