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446 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey all, I just finished my wall mount water cooled rig. Took me 4 weeks and 100+ hr of work to put together, and I'd like to share with you guys the completed build log and rig gallery. Enjoy!

Its been a while (1.5 yrs) since I updated my computer. I thought about upgrading to the next gen i7 (I'm still rocking the bloomfield), but didn't really see the need for a faster processor. Thought about getting the new Corsair 900D to replace my 8 year old Super Armor, but wanted to do something different.. something unique. While browsing Battlestations on Reddit for ideas, I came across a very simple yet elegant looking wall mounted computer, and that is where this whole project began.

Just finished building the smaller and lighter version. Meet MAXxPlanck_mini!


Core Components
  • Intel Core i7 950
  • Asus Rampage III Extreme
  • 2 x AMD HD7970
  • 6 x 2GB Corsair Dominator
  • 4 x 120GB Corsair Force GT SSD
  • 2 x 1TB WD Caviar Black
  • 2TB WD Caviar Green
  • 1.5TB WD Caviar Green
  • Corsair AX1200i
  • Creative Sound Blaster Zx
Cooling Components
CPU Loop
  • EK Supreme HF Full Copper
  • Swiftech MCP655 /w Speed Control
  • FrozenQ Liquid Fusion V Series 400 ml Reservoir - Blood Red
  • XSPC RX360 Performance Triple 120mm Radiator
GPU Loop
  • EK FC7970 - Acetal+EN
  • Swiftech MCP655 /w Speed Control
  • FrozenQ Liquid Fusion V Series 400 ml Reservoir - Blood Red
  • Watercool MO-RA3 9x120 LT Radiator
Fittings / Misc.
  • Koolance QD4 Quick Discounnect No-Spill Coupling
  • Bitspower G1/4 Silver Triple Rotary 90deg Compression Fittings
  • Monsoon Free Center Compression Fittings
  • Phobya Angled Clip 90° Tubing Guide
  • Phobya Terminal Strip Tubing Clip/Holder
  • PrimoChill Advanced LRT Tubing Bloodshed Red
  • EK UV Blue Non-Conductive Fluid
  • Bitfenix Alchemy Premium Sleeved Extensions
  • Corsair Individually Sleeved Modular Cables
[Build Log]
I acquired pictures of all the components I will be using, and accurately sized them according to their physical dimensions in PhotoShop. This way I can move them around and get a feel of what it's going to look like, and also to plan the tube routing. Here's a few layouts I came up with:

Ditched this one because there's too much blank space at the bottom right. Also the motherboard is the left most component when it should be the center of focus for the entire board.

Moved the PSU to place the motherboard closer to the center. Still lots of blank space on the bottom right. In the final build, inlet/outlet tubing is ran all the way to the right, and two thermometers are placed at bottom right.

Drawing the motherboard template onto the acrylic sheet

Since the video cards are going to be fairly far from the motherboard, I was chaining 3 200mm PCIe Risers from eBay for each of the card. Here, I'm testing that chaining 3 risers will still work. Later, I had huge problems with EMI/crosstalk between the unshielded cheapo eBay risers; because the ribbon cables were on top of each other. The system would get stuck at VGA BIOS when booting, and would only work if only 1 PCIe riser was used. Eventually I had to resort to very expensive properly shielded risers.

The goods arrived! Most of my WC parts was from Performance-PC. They even gave me a free EK shirt and 2 mouse pads!

Motherboard mounting plate.

All the acrylic panels are cut at 45° angle to get the edge lit effect.

Holes drilled and tapped. Standoffs installed.
BLAST!! The Rampage III Extreme is an eATX board. This is a standard ATX formfactor..
An eATX mounting plate was later made.

Time to gut my old dusty rig!

Shot of all dem speed.

The drives are installed in Vantec HDCS caddies that converts 2 5.25" bays into 3 HDD mounts.

Layin out the dough

All of the component's backplate.

Custom acrylic pump mount.

Closeup of the rough finish made by the table saw. These will be sanded later.

A triangular cut was made at the center of each plate. This will reflect the light which is projected perpendicular to the plate onto the edges of the plate. Without the cut the edges barely glow at all.

Lighting test with the sound card mounted.

All the back plates are wet sanded with 120 grit paper.

Close up of the sanded edge.

All the acrylic backplates with the mounting holes drilled.

Under the table saw. Acrylic "snow"

Painting those fins red.
Surprisingly, Corsair put thermal pads on the fins, even though these doesn't get hot at all.

Laying out all the components on the board to mark various slot and hole locations. The board is a 1/4" 48 x 30 hardboard.

All the slots and hole locations marked.

Preparing to cut the slots with my dremel.

Gluing on the frame.

Colored the inside edges black just in any parts are left exposed after the carbon fiber sticker.

Soldering the LED strips.

My soldering rig.

LED strips taped down temporarily.

Applying the giant vinyl sticker. This part was ridiculously hard and frustrating.. Gave me high blood pressure.
Imagine applying screen protector to your phone, but 1000x bigger.

No bubbles!

Used aluminum tape on the top of the HDD and SSD backplates to hide the LEDs for where there are gaps in between the hard drives.

Meet my helper Tommy.

All the backplates are mounted to the board using #10 screws into tapped holes in the acrylic.

Testing the lights.

Coolant and cables arrive! I'm using Bitfenix sleeved extensions for the component end, and the corsair sleeved cables for the PSU end.

The one on the left is the Bitfenix cable, and the right is the Corsair cable. The Bitfenix doesn't have the black heatshrink on the ends, which in my opinion is better looking than the Corsair ones.

Red zip ties to tidie up some of the lose hanging bits.

Back of the computer with all the power connected.

Leak testing the system while its on the ground and easy to trouble shoot.
Powered on the system for the first. No boot. Plugged in the iROG USB to my laptop to see boot message. Gets stuck at VGA BIOS.
Unplugged one of the risers and the system boots. Tried the other card by itself and also works. Try both cards again and still no boot.
Did some research and found out that unshielded PCIe risers with the ribbon cables are very susceptible to EMI. So I tried to shield the risers myself by wrapping them in multiple layers of crisscrossing aluminum foil strands. See pictures below.

After 4 layers of foil, I could get the system to boot with 2 cards. But, it would freeze as soon as I start a game or any 3D program that kicks both cards into 3D mode. Even worse, I had my Soundblaster connected with a daisychain of 3 x1 PCIe risers running behind the x16 risers, and it would interfere with the video cards and cause the system to lock up as well.
Finally, bit the bullet and purchased these shielded risers made by 3M.

3M risers installed. These were longer than the 3x daisy chain I had and was able reach the first slot and get both cards to run at x16 mode.

Got the SoundBlaster Zx to replace my Fatality. This card looks totally awesome!

Everything is running pretty smoothly at the moment. The entire rig has 2 fans on the board; the AX1200i fan which barely comes on, and the chipset fan which I had replaced with a silent one. The pumps are also running at the lowest power setting. The rig is pretty much silent. One annoying thing is that without a case, you can hear some component buzz (high pitch whine) very clearly. For me, it's mainly the GPUs and the 1TB blacks that makes the most noise.

The EK UV coolant is incredibly reactive to UV. I know I'm not supposed to mix the coolant to retain the non-conductiveness property, but heck, if I were to use it undiluted I probably wouldn't be able to see the spirals in the reservoir. For both of my loops, I used about 1/8 of a bottle, and the rest is distilled water.
Here is a short video I made mixing the coolant in the reservoir. It looks pretty cool!

And another video of me topping off the reservoir with the same coolant a few month later.

I have received many questions regarding the performance of the PCI express extenders. So to get some quantitative answers, I ran many benchmarks on my test PC with various extenders and compiled them here:

Thanks for browsing this long build log! And of course, I'm open to any questions, suggestions, and feedback.

Like a fox!
3,057 Posts
It looks totally awesome. I just have one comment.. I sincerely hope you're going to seriously overclock that thing to at least 4 ghz.

It would be very, very, very sad to run a setup like this at stock speeds.

I mean.. The entire thing is beyond fantastically awesome, the components should be running just as awesomely awesome. ... did I say awesome?

Edit.. it looks like your system in your signature there, is it already running @ 4400 mhz then?

695 Posts
Nice, saw this on facebook

i have another comment too, are you going to mod the hdd's? the window mod could be a bit overkill but covering the raised part in some leftover carbon fibre vinyl would look epic imho

730 Posts
Well done... I find myself just staring at each picture. I would love to see this in person. Well done...well done (slow clap....slow clap).

edit: ...oh you are in Canada....where? (no intent on breaking and entering to steal that piece of art).

1,475 Posts
Your PCIe riser gave me a great idea for my up and coming build, so I went on ebay and found a 90 degree version that I ended up buying.

Custom builds are all about being different... Yours is a testament to that... So I hope my idea turns out well.

446 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Originally Posted by d3vour3r View Post

this is a awesome mate! nice work! can you explain what and how you did those PCIE extensions?
I got the shielded PCI express risers from Digikey, I linked it in one of my build log pictures. One end simply plugs into your motherboard, and the other end is a regular slot to plug into your GPU. eBay also has many cheap unshielded alternatives. They work fine as long as your don't daisy chain them or put them near strong EMI sources.
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