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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
Meet "Wheatley".


Table of Contents
- INTRO [06/04]
- UPDATE #1 [06/07]
- UPDATE #2 [12/30]



SPECS
===========

[CASE] Lian-Li V3000
[MOBO] Asus ROG Rampage VI Apex
[CPU] Intel i9-9940X (@ 4.7GHz, 1.28V)
[RAM] 64GB (4x16GB) TridentZ RGB 3200CL14 (@ 3800CL16, 1.42V)
[GPU] Nvidia RTX 2070 SUPER + XFX Vega 56 + Zotac GT1030
[PSU] Corsair AX1200i
[STORAGE] WD Black 1TB, Samsung 960 EVO M.2 NVMe 500GB, Intel 960p M.2 NVMe 256GB, Samsung 860 EVO SSD 4TB, Samsung 850 EVO SSD 1TB


WATERCOOLING
=================

[CPU BLOCK] EKWB ROG VI Monoblock
[GPU BLOCK] TBD (for 2070S)
[GPU BLOCK] Watercool Heatkiller IV Acrylic Ni-Bl (for Vega 56/64)
[RAD #1] Hardware Labs Black Ice SR2 480mm
[RAD #2] Hardware Labs Black Ice Nemesis GTX 480mm
[RES] Watercool Heatkiller Tube 200
[PUMP] EK-XTOP Revo Dual D5 PWM Serial
[FANS] 12x Corsair ML120 PRO RGB + 3x Splitty4 (modded in serial) + QUADRO
[FITTINGS] Barrow… lots (list when build is over)
[TUBING] Barrow 16mm PETG + Mayhems soft
[LIGHTING] TBD

Hey everyone! Long time lurker, first time modder. :)

After a long period of research, purchases, research, sales, repurchases, and more purchases, I'm ready to start digging into this case and building my system.
First of all, don't let the RGB fool you: I'm going for a quiet and low-key build! But it's a sleeper build: more than enough cooling capability to push CPU and GPUS to pretty high overclocks when benchmarking or gaming (if needed), and enough RGB to light the house if the power goes out (while the UPS lasts). That's where the name came from, to be honest. If you haven't played Portal (2), I won't spoil you, but Wheatley was by far my favorite character and one that had a pretty significant "split personality". This "duality" is what informed my hardware purchases. I wanted gear that could run silent while idling/chilling, and could power through benchmarks like butter.

For those interested, the final goal is to be running Linux has a hypervisor, and Windows + macOS **simultaneously** in VMs with hardware passthrough. That was the reason why I went from a 7820X to a 7900X just a few weeks ago (and a 9940X later on), to get those extra sweet CPU lanes–screw you Intel for capping them on a $600 MSRP CPU…

Anyway, plenty of updates and photos will be coming VERY soon. I have most of the gear, just waiting to measure everything, mod the case where needed, and decide on fittings and tubing so I can order those.

Pretty stoked to finally be modding a case and doing a custom loop. I've been around building computers and overclocking since the late 90s (e.g. my first overclock was a Pentium 166Mhz MMX, where to overclock it, you had to figure out the combination of three 3-position dip switches for the frequency AND three others for the multiplier… no info on the manual either. Got it running at 225MHz, 24/7… for almost 8 years! ;)).

Hope I can tickle your interest and you become part of the "group" here, making suggestions and helping out where needed.

Have a fantastic day, and see you around! :)

--LF

PS: I hang out at a bunch of hardware-related Discord servers (including OCN) and sub-reddits. Feel free to hit me up any time. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Update #1

Pretty big update, lots of pictures, mostly designing and planning.

So, my biggest gripe with this case from seeing builds online was that the basement rad didn't have mount points to line up a 480mm rad with the mesh grill. I'm sure that if you were installing a 420mm or smaller rad, you could move them along the mount and center them (horizontally), but you'd still have the fans off-centered vertically. I don't understand how this went through QA during the design phase, but I'm guessing they didn't bother to actually install rads and check the vertical/horizontal centering before considering the product done. Ah well…

So, with that in mind, I've been measuring and remeasuring everything to figure out the offset of the rad mount so I can get some blocks (probably acrylic) done that will screw into the stock screw points and allow me to screw the rad mount into them. I think I have that finally figured out but that alone took me hours upon hours of trying to eyeball the "true center" of the fans with the rad… *sigh*

With that done, I started thinking of the midplate and vertical cover. My goal is to eventually get a distro plate done but I'm not done designing that yet (I want one with retro-illumination). I've been playing around with cardboard to test fit, and I'm now looking for places where I can order acrylic at a decent price, and checking with family & friends to see if anyone has a table saw (and then buying a blade to cut acrylic).

FWIW, this whole process has me wanting to get into machining eventually. Been researching and drooling over CNC machines… Honestly, if I sold this PC, I could afford 2-3 decent CNC machines… :p haha

Anyway, then I started thinking of the loop and runs so I can finally place the order for the fittings. A little discouraged that there only way to get Barrow is to have it shipped from China, which takes forever and a day, but glad that Barrow exists because their fittings are gorgeous and I want them. :) I have a pretty good idea of how I want to run the tubes. I'm going for a parallel loop, with minimal tubing runs. I really don't like the fancy tube bends that so many folks seem to do… I respect their taste, but that's not for me. The only tubing that will be visible is from midplate to GPUs and CPU, from res to midplate, and from top rad to backplate…

I'm also trying to keep the mods to the case itself as minimal as possible… but it's almost impossible not to cut into it. First of all, and as you can see in the pictures, the rad mount for the basement covers the ports of the SR2 that I want to use. The wall behind the rad support (basement) also covers that area, so I'm going to have to cut both the rad mount and the mid wall to get the tube to pass to the back basement area. Also, going to have to cut a little bit into the basement divider wall, at the top, to let the tube from the res/midplate pass to the pump.

All in all, I'm super excited. I've never modded a case, and I've never watercooled. I've been researching, learning, and looking for inspiration for almost 6 months now. This was supposed to be a "cheap" build (around an X299-A and a 7820X) and it's becoming a LOT more than that… :)

Hope you enjoy the pictures. I'm going to be sure to post more progress and pictures as it happens. Feel free to give advice or suggestions if anything looks wrong or sub-optimal. Thank you in advance.

That's it for now. :)


>> Photos w/ commentary <<

(it was easier to post them on Imgur then spam them here)
 

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BlackSmith Designs
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Pretty big update, lots of pictures, mostly designing and planning.

So, my biggest gripe with this case from seeing builds online was that the basement rad didn't have mount points to line up a 480mm rad with the mesh grill. I'm sure that if you were installing a 420mm or smaller rad, you could move them along the mount and center them (horizontally), but you'd still have the fans off-centered vertically. I don't understand how this went through QA during the design phase, but I'm guessing they didn't bother to actually install rads and check the vertical/horizontal centering before considering the product done. Ah well…

So, with that in mind, I've been measuring and remeasuring everything to figure out the offset of the rad mount so I can get some blocks (probably acrylic) done that will screw into the stock screw points and allow me to screw the rad mount into them. I think I have that finally figured out but that alone took me hours upon hours of trying to eyeball the "true center" of the fans with the rad… *sigh*


So your ok with the rad sitting that far back? Remember, you can buy that universal rad mount,
(here)
https://www.newegg.com/Product/Prod...D8MAf8gUB8jG9BOFFUIaApH1EALw_wcB&gclsrc=aw.ds

then have it sit up front like it is supposed to, and that will give you ALOT more room to move around down there.

Keep in mind, the pump is on one side, and the power supply on the other. I think you can still pull it off the way your doing it, im just worried about the space. I guess I dont know your layout and passthrough plans though.

Once more here is the space left even after I cutout the supports and moved it to the front.

imageproxy (1).jpg

imageproxy.jpg

imageproxy.png
 

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Discussion Starter #8 (Edited)
So your ok with the rad sitting that far back? Remember, you can buy that universal rad mount then have it sit up front like it is supposed to, and that will give you ALOT more room to move around down there.

Keep in mind, the pump is on one side, and the power supply on the other. I think you can still pull it off the way your doing it, im just worried about the space. I guess I dont know your layout and passthrough plans though.

Once more here is the space left even after I cutout the supports and moved it to the front.
Hey man, thanks for the feedback! :)

The basement rad is going to be mounted as far forward as it can go (limit being the fans hitting the grill :p). I'm trying to think of the best way to mount them. Those supports might be the way to go. I keep thinking I should make custom supports, and make them in a way that can help act as support for the midplate… I might just give up on that for now and get those supports though, and revisit any changes to the supports later. I was thinking of making them out of acrylic… I have to recheck your thread and see what acrylic sheets you bought (and where) and how you cut them.

As for the tubing, I'm planning it with that midplate (and a distro plate later) in mind. I need to make that midplate first and figure out how much room I have under, between it and the rad. I think there's enough room to run a couple of straight 16mm hardline tubing runs… Using the SR2 gives me plenty of flexibility on which ports to use...

PS: I PM'ed you on Discord a few weeks ago but you evidently don't use Discord much! haha ;)

Thanks again man! ;D
 

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BlackSmith Designs
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Hey man, thanks for the feedback! :)

The basement rad is going to be mounted as far forward as it can go (limit being the fans hitting the grill :p). I'm trying to think of the best way to mount them. Those supports might be the way to go. I keep thinking I should make custom supports, and make them in a way that can help act as support for the midplate… I might just give up on that for now and get those supports though, and revisit any changes to the supports later. I was thinking of making them out of acrylic… I have to recheck your thread and see what acrylic sheets you bought (and where) and how you cut them.

As for the tubing, I'm planning it with that midplate (and a distro plate later) in mind. I need to make that midplate first and figure out how much room I have under, between it and the rad. I think there's enough room to run a couple of straight 16mm hardline tubing runs… Using the SR2 gives me plenty of flexibility on which ports to use...

PS: I PM'ed you on Discord a few weeks ago but you evidently don't use Discord much! haha ;)

Thanks again man! ;D


No I dont discord often, I check it once every other week for a sec.


Um any acrylic sheets will do. Even extruded acrylic sheets from home depot or lowes would work, as long as its not toooo thin. Cast Acrylic is much sturdier, but also more expensive. I just glued two pieces on each side, secured to the center piece for stability, like feet. The center piece bottom edge laid flat against the ground too, so the weight of the rad was pushed into the ground. The feet were not supporting downwards pressure, just keeping it from falling over.

Like this

Untitled.png


Funny thing is I made that first, really long, the whole 480 mm, then i found those stands online, and was like oh yea i guess i can cut it into two halves. So I did. Making them would save you a little money, if you already have superglue or weldon.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Update #2

I know this build log has been quiet for ages. It's been really hard to find time to work on this so progress has been slow (2nd child born in September; first one was 18 months when she was born :p). On top of that, I've had to change plans quite a few times, order/re-order parts, etc. I guess that's inevitable when you're doing things from scratch. I'll post a full progress report at some point, but here's a quick photo of the current state of things! Pretty happy with how things are turning out.

Next up: some final adjustments, painting, and tube bending! #homestretch :D

Let me know if you have any questions, but I'll have pictures of how I did stuff in more detail soon… <3
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Im still here!
Im glad at least your taking your time and making it nice!
Thanks man! It's so frustrating to have a "perfect" vision in your head and then struggle to put it to reality… xD Oh well, such is life, right? ;)


In other news, started putting components in. That midplate has been an interesting project in of itself: fitting everything under there, and then plugging the tubing with it installed has been… uh… challenging! :stun:
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Those are some great mods...
Thank you! :D :D


So, I got everything up and running, leak tested, etc… I'm now running into a few small issues and a bigger one:
- [small] Can't get fans to run at a constant speed with the Quadro
- [small] One of the MMT PCB PWM splitter simply didn't work (didn't report PWM so fans ran at 100% all the time)
- [small] One of the fans' RGB is acting weird. Need to check cable, but I'm afraid it might be an issue with the fan itself: one of the leds only does matches the others (on the same fan) when doing R, G, or B. Any blend/color and it'll stick to it's dominant color (R, G, or B).
- [BIG] Even using a RockItCool Copper IHS–which is supposed to be slightly thicker to offset the floating IHS Z-height difference–I think my monoblock is not cooling well. If I run Cinebench, I hit 105C almost instantly!! :( This is a MUCH bigger issue because messing with it implies draining the loop and removing the hardest bends to install… :( I have another block that I might try. I'll also have to double-check the contact pattern between the IHS and the block by checking the paste… but this is a lot of work now! GAH Oh well… I "signed up" for this, didn't I? ;)

Anyway, crappy pic of the rig running… ???? #gettingthere #notdoneyet
 

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Discussion Starter #15
Man, I owe this thread a pretty decent update. There have been quite a few changes to this build, and I have been so entrenched in the process of researching, buying, testing, selling stuff, that I kept forgetting to update it.

I'll post a "true" update soon, with pictures, but, among the updates, here are the major ones:
- i9-7900X -> i9-9940X
- EK-Vardar RGB -> ML120 PRO RGB (more like a "sidegrade", but with a cool Splitty4 mod to have all 12 fans working off a single Quadro)
- GTX 1080Ti -> RTX 2070 SUPER (still need to "block" it)

I still need to redo some of the hardline runs, but I'm waiting to get the 2070S block to finalize that…

In the mean time, I tested going with a WS X299 SAGE motherboard (and 128GB Corsair Dominator Platinum). While I appreciated the extra RAM (I do a lot of virtualization), that board had some serious annoyances for my use case. Great board, but was not going to work for this build. Returned the RAM and will sell the board (past return window). Oh well: the "joys" of this hardware hobby… ;)

Anyway, pictures and more details coming soon… o/
 
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