Originally Posted by Snerp
At no point did I say that I was going to meet those requirements, but I will stick to them as close as possible and give you a system that will out perform a Bigwater. I did not add a Video block in to the $150 because the Bigwater doesn't come with one.
RAD: 1986 Chevy Chevette Heater Core $18 from auto parts store.
Fan shroud: $2 Tupperware
Fan: Yate-Loon (under volted if you must have silence) $5.95
Tubing: Master Kleer 10ft $4.90
Fillport: Danger Den Fillport $11.95
CPU: Swiftech Apogee $40 with coupon code.
Comes to $71.03 shipped
Pump: Hydor L35 45.99 + shipping (I'm figuring $8)
Water add: $3
T fitting: $2
Sure a MAZE4 is going to cost you $45 more, but considering the fact that the average price tag on the normal Bigwater SE is $129.99 + 29.99 (the average price on the VGA block), I think that if I was given the time to wait for sales as you had, the price would be lower and I'd bet that I could add a waterblock to that for the same price. As an example, I got my Eheim 1250 pump for $32 shipped from ebay. So I think that making a decent custom setup for about $150 is possible.
If that pump wouldn't work for you, take a look at the swiftech MCP350. Transonic had a FAQ on how to increase the flow of it. It is more expensive then the BW pump, but guess what? It doesnâ€™t fail and it works ALOT better.
Thanks for the detailed recommendation--I'm sure it it a good example of an entry-level custom rig, and provides a basis for comparing a good basic kit with a good basic custom rig.
My comparison kit system, based on reviews, is the Thermaltake Bigwater SE, and Thermaltake Aquarius CL-W0038 GPU waterblock. These are available for $115 + $38 from ZipZoomFly, for a total of $153 delivered for CPU and GPU cooling, versus $151 for your custom system with GPU cooling alone.
Also, I doubt that nice big car heater core you're using will fit internally in most cases' stock fan locations without some modding. And I doubt that high-flow pump of yours is silent--my understanding is that one has to pay about $100 for a super-quiet high flow pump.
As I have all along, I concede that a custom system like yours offers superior cooling, and is the best choice for hard-core overclockers (that bigger radiator alone has got to be a big advantage). However, this comparision shows that a custom system isn't necessarily superior in all aspects.
Here are the relative advantages, as I see them:
Snerp's Entry-Level Custom Rig:
Superior cooling--ideal for extreme overclockers
Custom--user has many more choices
Satisfaction and accomplishment of a unique and personal build.
Educational--builder will learn more with a custom kit
DrDeville's Entry-Level Kit:
Excellent cooling--great for stock speeds, and mild overclocking
Compact--fits internally in most mid towers.
Cheaper--$153 for CPU and GPU waterblocks, versus $151 for GPU only.
Easier--only two things to order, and comes with instructions for the specific components.
Quieter--pump and fans are near inaudible--hard to hear over a quiet hard drive.
My point is that both alternatives have something to offer and, despite prevailing prejudice, a good basic kit has some advantages over a good basic custom rig.
Thanks for taking the time Snerp--I hope prospective buyers find our efforts useful.