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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone!! Thanks for checking out my build log and first ever case mod! So I've built several computers for myself and friends/family, but that only ever meant buying parts and sticking them into a case. After several months spent thinking about how I would mod my won case so I finally decided to get one and migrate one of my old systems into the new case.

Below is my old system:
Case: Phantom 001 White/Black
CPU: i7 3820 [email protected] Ghz
Cooler: Corsair H100
Mobo: Rampage IV Formula
Memory: G.Skill 16GB
GPU: GTX 770 4GB
PSU: NZXT Hale90 1000W
Storage: 1TB 840 Evo (got it for $200
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) + 2TB HDD raid 0

That was my first ever build so you can probably tell not all the parts fit together that well (especially the 1000W PSU
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) but it has served me well and never let me down so far. For the new system I wanted to give this computer a nice water cooling loop and maybe upgrade to 2011-3, which would basically make it a new system. For now however, my only goal is to finish the case for the loop I planned and possible go with a black/gold color scheme I decided on. The loop would consist of five 140mm rads (2 280's + 1 140) with one 280 being at the top, another at the front and the 140 going on the rear exhaust.

My plans for the new system are as follows:
Make room for a nice water cooling loop
New paint job (black/gold)
Window on the left side
Keep it quiet!

I got my gifts yesterday (I'm German, We get presents on Christmas Eve
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) and got a white/black 500R and a Dremel 4000 kit. I already pulled the case apart and checked that all of the rads and a pump would fit, based on basic dimensions. I forgot to take pictures before I worked on it so here is a nice stock image, followed by the stripped one.



Since I didn't have the rads with me though, I decided that the best thing to do first would be cut the slot for the window. Originally I wasn't planning on uploading this case mod, so the first picture I have is of the post cut product. I did some sanding afterwards to prep it for painting, but decided it was too windy to do any actual painting.


After sitting around with nothing to do I decided that I could also mod the HDD cages since I need two cages for the raid drives, but can't leave them in the front if I also want to get in the front 280. Here is a picture of the finished product with a tentative placement. I screwed it in on one side but only taped it down on the other since I'm probably going to move it later. I left a 200mm space behind the cage for the psu and a 135mm space in the front for the radiator.


After that I traced some lines for cuts on the top of the case for the fittings on the other 280 rad. Just a maybe for now.


Thats it for today!!! The real reason to post this online was really to get some advice from everyone on here since I've seen how supportive you guys can be
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. Tomorrow I plan on cutting the 5" bays for the 280mm rad.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·
So second day. First thing I did today was cut out the plexi for the window. I was scuffing down the sides and the file slipped right into the middle of the plexi
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. I'm gonna have to buy some more at some point.

However, I finished the optical drive cage mod and it turned out better than I expected. I'll probably find some scrap metal that I can use to cover up the ugly bits on the side and below. I'm planning on putting in an Aquaero and a card reader.


After that I started work on a little piece of metal that I cut out of the door I removed yesterday. Can anybody guess where it goes??


It goes where the tray used to be! I have an idea that I want to try to make work for that part of the case (its a surprise
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), but I need all the room I can get up there. The tray was already to too bulky and most of the plastic cross bars up there will have to go as well.


I worked on that plate for probably 2 hours and to be honest I can't believe how well it fits. Here are some pictures of what it looks like with everything assembled. The silver lines on the side are where I sanded it so that it sits more flush with the edge.


Sadly it was still too windy to paint
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but I guess I can wait with that. I did order a few parts so that I can take actual measurements for screw holes and the like. Thats it for today. It ended up being a very short update I guess.
 

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what rads do you plan to use? you can forget the 140 on the rear. it would be using recycled air from the 280s. it wont be doing much of anything. 2x 280s will be enough to cool your cpu and gpu plus another gpu. 2x 280 rads is a bit larger than a 360 + a 240 rad. use the rear 120/140 as exhaust.
bad luck on that plexi for your window. good luck on the second sheet and your build log.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Yeah I decided that a 140 in the rear doesn't make much sense and I don't think it actually fits in that part of the case. I'm deciding between an SR2 or a coolstream for the front. Top I'm not really sure yet. I'm not actually home for the next week (celebrating my Grandpa's birthday in San Diego) but once I get my front rad I'll see how it would fit up top and decide from there. Thanks for the advice!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pc-illiterate View Post

what rads do you plan to use? you can forget the 140 on the rear. it would be using recycled air from the 280s. it wont be doing much of anything. 2x 280s will be enough to cool your cpu and gpu plus another gpu. 2x 280 rads is a bit larger than a 360 + a 240 rad. use the rear 120/140 as exhaust.
bad luck on that plexi for your window. good luck on the second sheet and your build log.
He's right you know, You need something like an Silverstone AP series fan to punch through the back alone, or cut out the stock metal completely and fashion your own mount and rivet it in place. As for the top it looks like you had a similar idea to me, but I would suggest modding the roof and front to mount up 2x 360mm rads.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMhmToasty View Post

Yeah I decided that a 140 in the rear doesn't make much sense and I don't think it actually fits in that part of the case. I'm deciding between an SR2 or a coolstream for the front. Top I'm not really sure yet. I'm not actually home for the next week (celebrating my Grandpa's birthday in San Diego) but once I get my front rad I'll see how it would fit up top and decide from there. Thanks for the advice!
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you wont really be able to use anything fatter than a 30mm up top because of clearance issues with the motherboard. it was a huge pain with an xt45 240 and later 360. i had to slide the rad(s) over(modding the case) to get the clearance. the 140 wide rads wont have the clearance even after modding to fit. bad news, yes. corsair buggered the case by not making it 1 inch taller. it would help so much to have that extra bit of room.
i can throw up some crap camera phone pics of my empty case of what i had done to it before i moved everything into this HUGE MONSTER of a case i have now. the case is filthy inside so if you want the pictures, not a word about the dirt!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjiw View Post

He's right you know, You need something like an Silverstone AP series fan to punch through the back alone, or cut out the stock metal completely and fashion your own mount and rivet it in place. As for the top it looks like you had a similar idea to me, but I would suggest modding the roof and front to mount up 2x 360mm rads.
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just cut out the 'mesh' back there and its fine. i used tin snips and just cut it out then filed/sanded/ground with a dremel all the sharp bumps off. it works pretty well.
2x 360 rads would be nice but a single 360 and 240 is enough to cool a cpu and sli/xfire pretty well. i had a 9*C water/air delta using an ek dcp 4.0 pump and uni blocks on my 670s. im sure a bigger better pump would keep full cover blocked sli 770s about as cool.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by pc-illiterate View Post

you wont really be able to use anything fatter than a 30mm up top because of clearance issues with the motherboard. it was a huge pain with an xt45 240 and later 360. i had to slide the rad(s) over(modding the case) to get the clearance. the 140 wide rads wont have the clearance even after modding to fit. bad news, yes. corsair buggered the case by not making it 1 inch taller. it would help so much to have that extra bit of room.
Yeah I was pretty sure that was the case. I ended up getting an EK-Coolstream 280 XTC for the front based on a review I read on Martin's Liquid Lab for the XTX (the 120 mm version). I'm going to see how it fits into the front once I get back and drill holes. I was considering the Alphacool NexXxos UT60 but I have always liked EK a lot. I'll most likely get the Alphacool ST30 for the top though. Thanks for giving me the 30 mm number because I was pretty sure I would not be able to fit anything more than 25.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Benjiw View Post

cut out the stock metal completely and fashion your own mount and rivet it in place.
Quote:
Originally Posted by pc-illiterate View Post

just cut out the 'mesh' back there and its fine. i used tin snips and just cut it out then filed/sanded/ground with a dremel all the sharp bumps off. it works pretty well.
Just to clarify, does the mesh in the back block the airflow so much I should remove it?? I was going to replace the mesh around the case with modders mesh since I didn't like the provided one that much either but I didn't think there would be a problem in the back.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrMhmToasty View Post

Yeah I was pretty sure that was the case. I ended up getting an EK-Coolstream 280 XTC for the front based on a review I read on Martin's Liquid Lab for the XTX (the 120 mm version). I'm going to see how it fits into the front once I get back and drill holes. I was considering the Alphacool NexXxos UT60 but I have always liked EK a lot. I'll most likely get the Alphacool ST30 for the top though. Thanks for giving me the 30 mm number because I was pretty sure I would not be able to fit anything more than 25.

Just to clarify, does the mesh in the back block the airflow so much I should remove it?? I was going to replace the mesh around the case with modders mesh since I didn't like the provided one that much either but I didn't think there would be a problem in the back.
Because there is a gap and it doesn't "seal" the hot air just bounces back into the case. It isn't restrictive just doesn't let the case breathe properly, the mesh at the front isn't that bad as there is a massive hole under it where you pull the front bezel off. My SP120s are doing a great job of feeding fresh air into my case which i'm glad of.

I agree with you, modders mesh or any more open mesh is a massive improvement, especially if you have your top rad venting instead of intaking fresh air like I do, the top cover hasn't been on my case since moving to water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Alright. Big update. I've been working on the computer for a while now. I received this bad boy yesterday:

Very, very solid build quality. I found it while browsing around on Frozen CPU to find my rads and everything else and thought it was a much more elegant solution than the custom one I came up with. Also it allows me to remove the hdds vertically meaning I don't have to remove the entire front water cooling setup just to get to my hard drives.

I also received my EK radiator and I'm pretty happy with it. I do have one question for the experienced out there. While I was admiring it I noticed this brown glint on the inside. Is it exposed copper or should I be worried about rust?


Now the main mod I did this week came after I received my EVGA slim slot load DVD drive. First I opened it up and took a cover off of the switch to release the DVD since I'm going to attach it to the reset button:


Then I got to modding the top panel. I was still able to keep all of the top panel screws even though I cut out a lot.


It ended up kinda rough so I did a lot of filing to clean it up and it fit beautifully
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:


I cut into the front panel as well to allow for the CD of course:


I've painted it by now and it looks pretty nice. I really need to get better at painting... I alway get blobs when I do. But whatever, here is an image of my black paint job on the top panel:


Last thing I did was make a small hole for wiring right next to the 5 inch drive bays. It allows me to route all the front panel, top fans and DVD drive wires. Eventually I would also be able to add the card reader and the Aqauero through this hole:
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
SOOOO finally in working condition!! Its late and I have to get up in five hours, so I'll keep it short. Here are some pictures of the final product:


Need to get some better lighting
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.

The final specs are as follows:
CPU: 5820K
MoBo: Gigabyte x99soc Champion
Memory: G.Skill Ripjaws 4 16 GB
GPU: Watercooled Gigabyte GTX 970 G1
Storage: 1TB Samsung 850 EVO, 4 TB Raid 0 storage (2x2GB)
PSU: Corsair AX 860i

Now for the cooling loop:
CPU Block: EK Supremacy EVO Acetyl/Copper
GPU Block: EK GTX 970 Gigabyte G1 Acetyl/Copper
Res: Bitspower Z-Multi 250mm inline res
Pump: PWM D5 (I think its the 655 not sure)
Fans: 7 x Noctua Industrial PPC 800-3000 RPM fans
Rad 1: EK XTC 280mm Radiator
Rad 2: Alphacool NexXxos ST30 280mm Radiator
Fittings: Orange Monsoon Freecenter Bearings (1/2x5/8)
Also got a D5 Modkit, quite a waste since its not visible in the final product

The case was pretty extensively modded, with some parts still not being fully done. My plan is to slowly complete it over the next few months one piece at a time. The list currently is:
Attach PSU cover
Get new front/top mesh
Repaint exterior
Add 2nd 970 w/ watercooling
Add slot load dvd drive (mine stopped working, have to replace)
Aquaero?
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GPU Backplate... They were out when I ordered.

But yeah, I know its a concise update. I also applied one of the standard overclocks for fun, and I feel like something is wrong with my temps... 4.3 GHz and 21 degrees. Then again I am running 6 Noctuas at 3000 RPM in this picture, but who knows.


Edit: Going to post a more extensive update tomorrow!
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Alright, so for the larger update...

It will have to wait, on vacation with family. But I can give some background on what changed.

One of the changes I wanted to make earlier was to scrap the hard drive bays and replace them with the Lian Li bay meant for the SM8. However, I decided to go with the 250mm res from Bitspower, which meant the pump would go where the drives were supposed to. Problem. So I came up with a solution! I drilled two horizontal rectangles behind the mobo, just wide enough that a M3 screw fits through. I then attached two SSHD 2TB Laptop drives behind the motherboard tray. I could have fit the seagate 1TB drives currently in my main rig, but the speed decrease doesn't matter to me that much (the 4TB will mostly be for non-vital data) and the added storage space is welcome. Plus it gives me 4TB of very clean, hidden storage.

The position of the res was also quite tricky actually. I've seen a lot of styles that I like a lot. For one there is DocHP's Bitfenix Pandora where the pump is recessed into the psu cover. Then there is the classic vertical alignment, but I wasn't sure whether I liked it more in front of the mobo (like this), or in the back (like this), near the GPU. Also, originally I wanted the pump to show, but that would probably not be possible with the 250mm reservoir, so I ultimately decided that vertical would sacrifice a visible pump and my $100 Bitspower pump mod kit... Then lastly there was the horizontal alignment, either below the motherboard, or outside the case like in the Rebel A by MNPC, but above the top radiator. I ultimately decided on vertical because it was easiest and augmented the layout of the case nicely I thought. I still have a spare 150mm though, so maybe in the future?
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The other larger mod was the panels, which actually cover the entire interior of the case except for the motherboard. I was not a fan of the original rubber grommets and holes where the res now is, so I made a panel to cover that. Then I made 4 more, two for the PSU cover and two for the front rad. The front and top of the case also have a panel (not home right now so I can't get pictures). All of these panels were cut out of plexi using the dremel (the ones with the fan holes and the curved one for behind the res took 2+ hours to finish and sand) and then painted. The pictures don't really do the paint job justice I feel. It was made using 3 coats of a gray primer. I let that dry and then added a VERY light coat of glossy black auto enamel. The black coat is dark enough that it barely lets the grey show through, but can't become completely glossy. This means that it creates an effect where individual paint specks are somewhat shiny. I can't really describe it but I thinks its gorgeous (and also took me 3-4 tries to get right). You may notice that the top PSU cover is somewhat reflective. This was done on purpose; only the area under the motherboard reflects and I think it shows off the motherboard a little more.

I also added some orange brushed aluminum vinyl onto the CPU block. I like the look and will probably add some more designs similar to it (got the inspiration from the orange on the Mobo) to the PSU cover/Rad cover. Also planning on adding my schools bumper sticker to the PSU cover to show off my school spirit (hint: our color is orange
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)

But yeah that's all I can think of right now... Going to keep working on her for the next few months probably. Still a lot of stuff to do, which is always a good problem to have in my opinion
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. I'll add some more photos once she's all set up in my room! Thanks for checking it out!!
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Edit: also still have to sleeve some wires (if you couldn't tell already)
 
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