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I decided that this time around to just go with a fancy custom loop that not only looked cool, but kept my system cooler since I live in the desert with no air conditioning (it's a cool day at 86 F in my room right now). This build will comprise of almost all of my old build since it is still fast enough for what I need, but is really loud with the fans going full blast whenever I load up Netflix =P The only hardware I'm actually changing is my case, fans, and storage drive. The case change will give me the room I need, the fans for better air flow and looks, and the switch to a laptop drive for storage will allow me to get rid of the hdd cage and just use the 2.5" drive bays. This will be my first time building a system that uses a custom loop so I found myself having to buy things in stages; especially fittings. Right now, I'm waiting for my 3rd shipment of fittings. Luckily, nothing extra, just things I didn't see myself needing until I was putting things into the case to check the spacing. It's hard when you have a small case.

The old hardware I'm using can be found under my sig for the NZXT Vulcan build. The new hardware is:

Case: Corsair 350D
Storage: Samsung SpinPoint SATA 1Tb 2.5"
Resivoir: Monsoon S2 D5 Premium
Rads: Alphacool ST30 120mm single, ST30 120mm dual, and UT 60 120mm single
Pump: Switech MCP655-PWM
Tubing: PrimoFlex Advance LRT
Fittings: Monsoon compression, 90 degree, 45 degree, Bitspower extensions, Alphacool T and elbows, Swiftech Quick Disconnect (drain plug)
CPU Block: XPSC Raystorm
GPU Block Heatkiller GPU-X3 "Hole Edition"
Fans: Corsair SP 120 PWM

Links to Updates
8-11-13: Water Test
8-20-13: Finished Pictures
10-28-13: Lighting Updates and Backplate
12-19-13 Updates (Lighting, Drain/Fill port, Carbon Fiber Vinyl)
1-13-14 Updates (Faceplate, Reservoir Lighting, PSU Stickers)
5-25-14 Updates (Rad, GPU, Cables)

Now for the pics (I aplogize in advance for any potato pics since I only have a phone camera):

The old build:


The new stuff:


Once I began, I realized just how unmanly I was because I didn't really have any tools. So, a trip to the hardware store remedied that:


These boxes are great for organizing stuff:


I chose this style of reservoir for space purposes. Since it is a small case, the only place I could realistically fit it was in the drive bays. I had to put my blue ray drive into an external enclosure, but that's ok since I don't use it that much. I ran into a few problems trying to install the reservoir. The pic below shows my first problem. The fins in the drive bay were blocking me from being able to actually put the reservoir in, so that's where the dremmel came in handy.

The next problem I have is that the screw holes didn't line up exactly, so the reservoir doesn't sit flush with the case. I could expand the holes, but I'm actually using the vibration dampener screws so they don't tighten up well enough to hold it in place if the holes were to be expanded.


If you noticed in that last picture, there was a big hole in the top of the case. That's for the fillport. Once I have everything installed, I won't be able to get to the reservoir to fill it without having to take apart some of the tubing, so here's the fillport installed:


Now, here's a pic with the pump cables sleeved and installed. One thing I like about the reservoir is the detail they went into with not only looks, but silencing; as you can see by how the pump is fully covered.

So, here's where I'm currently at. I have some last few fitting that are coming in sometime next week. This weekend I plan on getting what I can installed and ready to go for when I get the fittings in. I'm going to install everything I can before I put in the hardware since I am transferring hardware, I want to do it with the least amount of downtime. There is enough room for me to maneuver my mobo into place with the rads installed. I will do a leak test today of the parts, hopefully none of them leak.
 

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8-1-13:
Let the great leak test begin!





Initially, I ran it for 12 hours with a mixture of distilled water and PrimoChill Sysprep for an extra cleaning/leak test. There were no leaks, so all was good. However, I was still waiting on a few fittings to come in, so I just ran it with just distilled water for another 24 hours while I waited; no leaks.

The water block I got came with M3x8mm screws. Some of these screws aren't long enough for me to use my eVGA backplate, so I had to go on a hunt for some M3x12mm screws, which isn't an easy task where I live. I had to eventually settle on phillips head screws. But, my anal retentiveness won't allow me to keep them like that, so I do have some socket cap screws on order and I'll have to replace them once I get them in. Here's a pic of the gpu awaiting the longer M3 screws. If you notice, there are 6 screws that are already in place are the 8mm long screws. The three in the upper right are also M3x8mm but aren't attached to the water block, so I had to get nuts to put on the other side. There are 5 screws left that need to be 12mm in length.

One final pic in its current state. Most parts are in right now and I will be able to perform the in situ leak test tomorrow.


Putting everything in has proved to be a bigger challenge than I thought. Once I got the motherboard in, I realized that my wifi/bluetooth card (for those familiar with the Maximus V family, I'm using the mini pci slot on the upper right) was in the way of the top and back rads. So, I had to ditch it. Being such a small case, everything has to be assembled in a very specific order and making changes requires everything to be taken out in reverse back to that spot. So, it has been a very, VERY, long process to get things put in and I have to say that I'm now an expert at assembling this build
tongue.gif
 

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I did some updates to my computer; ones that I could do without having to tear down the loop. First, I got a custom-made top grill from ArkAngel. I stuck in the filter that was supplied with it only because the striped grill from the 350D clashed with the hexagonal shapes of this one. It does look alot better with the filter in it.


The next thing I did was to replace the lights. I wanted to go RGB so I can change the colors easily. I found a patio lighting kit off Amazon that just so happens to be powered by 12V. So, I made a cable with this adapter to power it off the 12V line from my psu. Here's an image of the connector showing the layout. Use the 12V for the positive and the GND next to it for the negative.


The cable is finished


It works great.
*

The strip can't be bent, but it can be cut and connected to go around corners. So, I just cut off 4 strips and soldered them together and replaced my old NZXT strip with these. Now, I can change the colors via the remote that comes with it. Now I just need to figure out how to get it to control the leds in the reservoir and I'll be set.




The next thing I did was to make a backplate for my Asus Xonar Xense. I used a piece of aluminum sheet metal and spray painted the front and applied Kapton tape to the back (to prevent any shorting). I also found a cool Asus sticker online. The only downside is that there was some glue gunk that came off when I applied the sticker. I'm not sure how to remove it since any solvent will probably dissolve the paint as well. But at least it's in a place where you don't really see it.



Finally, I used some left over aluminum sheet metal to make a cover of sorts to hide the wires that showed in the back.
 

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More updates. First, I decided to remove the drain port and put it in a more inconspicuous spot. I decided to use the plug that was on the bottom of the UT60 radiator I have in the front. I used a Bitspower extension and a Monsoon plug. To drain, I just set my computer over the sink and let it go. The next thing I did was to move the fill port to the other side of the case. When I first placed it, I didn't think about which side of the reservoir was the input side and just put it there. So, I had to route it over to the other side and it never worked that way. Once I moved it over, I needed to cover up the other hole and also cover up the scratches I accidentally put on the top, so I went with the carbon fiber covering. I also decided to change the tubing color since I had to purchase new tubing anyways and I wanted to reduce the amount of red in it. Another thing I did was to change the lighting. Instead of all around the front, I went with two strips at the top, one in front and one in back. I like it better this way. I also made a cover for the 5.25 drive bay to give it a cleaner look and a place where I can attach my water temperature sensor display and still see it through the side panel window.












The last thing I've done is to make a faceplate for my bay reservoir. I couldn't push the reservoir back to sit flush with the sides of the front because my radiator was in the way, so I pushed it forward to sit about 1mm behind the top and bottom parts of the front. Then, I purchased a spare front panel from the Corsair parts store (15 USD shipped). To remove the metal from the plastic, I had to soak it first in isopropyl alchohol for 15 mins, then use razor blades to start off with. Then, I used the metal I peeled off from the 5.25 drive bay covers to wedge between the metal and plastic to peel the metal off without bending it. It took several soaks and lots of hard work, but after a few hours and destroyed hands (I should have worn gloves) I was able to remove it undamaged. Then, I used some big shears at school to cut it to the right size. I was able to get a 1:1 drawing of the front panel (thanks to Monsoon) and printed it out on sticker paper, then stuck it to the back of the piece. I used hand nibblers to cut it out and then filed down the edges. To paint, I covered the front with painter's tape and painted the back, which also got the sides as well. You can see the rough edges still and some metal showing, which is on the front finish. It would take too much filing to get it smoothed out, so I plan on taking another piece in to a pace after the holidays to have it waterjet cut.



Here's the image I took from Monsoon and I modified it to be the right size for faceplate. The image should be the exact size when you print it out.


Some future updates I plan on doing are:
1) PSU cover with a light-up Corsair logo Changed my mind
2) Custom cables
3) Replace the led in the reservoir with SMD5050 so it will work off my IR controller
 

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I was unable to find a place to make my face plate, so I had to do it myself. After a couple of tries, I was finally able to make one I was happy with. I had to cut the opening smaller and then file it out to get rid of the ugliness on the edge that the hand nibbler I used made.




I also decided to keep the psu uncovered, so I made some custom stickers. Well, I found the side sticker and colored it in red. Then, I used a paint program to made the top sticker. The top sticker is just the side sticker shrunk down, a ROG picture, and then I used Paint.NET to add the text and table.




The last thing I did this round of updates was to change the leds in my reservoir to work off of the led controller I have. The easiest way I found was to just remove the led circuit that Monsoon installed and use a strip of the leds that I have (SMD5050). To remove the circuit, I had to snip off the power plug, remove the sleeving, and then feed the wire through the hole into the place the led is housed. One problem I encountered is that a single strip of SMD5050 (3 leds) is exactly the length of the space that the led circuit fits into (I don't have any pics of it unfortunately). So, in order to avoid alot of hard work trying to do some tricky soldering, I just cut off part of the reservoir so I could fit a plug on it. The part I cut is just aesthetics, you can see it in the picture below. I also had to cut about 2mm off of the cover for the led housing. Since the strip covers up the screw hole, I had to just use electrical tape to tape the cover back on.


Next update is to make custom sleeved cables.
 

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Amazing build. Crazy how clean watercooling makes the computer look. I have a full custom loop but i choose to use my H100i for some reason =P. Great job man!
 

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Video Card I upgraded my old GTX 670 FTW to a GTX 780Ti Classified.




The Heaven benchmark give me~75% boost in gaming performance.



Custom Cables: I have made my own custom cables. I used mostly stuff purchased from Lutro0. I used his Telios sleeving, stealth combs, and crimpers. Here's the colors I decided to go with.

I went with the heatskrinkless method outlined in Lutro0's guides. It started off to be quite difficult to get the sleeving to melt properly, but eventually it started to get easier. I also found that using staples to remove the pins was easier than using a molex remover since 99% of the pins weren't removing just by pulling on them. With heavy duty staples, you can just push one staple in each side and then use something to push on the pin to remove it. It took me the entire spring break to make all the cables I needed: 24-pin power, 8-pin cpu, 2 8-pin pcie, 1 4-pin molex for the sound card, and 1 sata/4-pin cable.




Radiator: After about a month, I noticed alge growth in my reservoir.



So, I used this teardown time to do some upgrades...again. I cut out a little on the front part of the frame; just enough to ensure the front fans aren't blocked at all. I also upgraded the front radiator to a UT60 240mm radiator.


I only put it in push because I didn't have enough fan headers to do push/pull. A fan controller was an option, but I decided against it because it would have been too difficult since I don't have an open bay slot. I would have had to spend alot of money changing over to a tube reservoir and re-doing my cables to fit, which I really didn't want to do; plus at the fan speeds that I'm running at, the difference isn't worth the money I would have to spend to convert it. I also like having everything software controlled.




 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by scrawl5 View Post

Inelastic,

Just reviving this thread to say that your build is awesome. I built my first watercooled PC a few months ago and yours was a great source of inspiration. The custom faceplate looks epic! Have you done any more updates to the build?
Have you considered a fan splitter cable? You can run 2 or more fans off the same fan header, while still having them controlled via software as usual. I have two PWM splitter cables, one from Phobya and one from Akasa, they work great even with non-PWM fans.
Hey, I just saw your post, I haven't been on the site in a while. Thanks. My mobo has 3 fan headers on it so 6 is the max including splitters. I haven't had any issues with temperatures so I haven't bothered looking into anything further.

I actually did a lighting overhaul this weekend. I didn't take any pictures or anything during it so I don't really have a writeup for it. But, basically I decided to use an Arduino Uno to control digital led strips. Adafruit has a great tutorial on the subject. With these, you can control each led individually so you can do things like scrolling marquees or rainbows. You can even use it as an audio visualizer. I have the Razer line of keyboard, mouse, and mousepad which all have rgb lights in it and they have a SDK for it so someone did write an audio visualizer which hooks into an arduino board.
 
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