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HELIOS - ASSEMBLED 2015-SEP-06 - (Caselabs SMH10 | Black/Copper | EVGA SR-2 Black Edition)

57193 Views 275 Replies 61 Participants Last post by  kgtuning

Table of Contents

Note: For those posts which are retroactive, the date reflects the date of
the post, not the date when I did the corresponding work.

01. 2013-JUL-01: The SMH10 - Unboxing and Assembly
02. 2013-JUL-01: Radiators
03. 2013-JUL-01: PSU & Pump Mounting, Making the 24 Pin Cable
04. 2013-JUL-06: What 40 Hours of Cabling Will Get You...
05. 2013-JUL-18: Various Small Bits
06. 2013-JUL-22: A Copper Face Plate for the Lamptron FC5V2
07. 2013-JUL-25: The Aqua Computer Aqualis Copper Edition
08. 2013-JUL-29: Interlude: A Retroactive Build Log on My Previous Build, ZEUS
09. 2013-SEP-14: Prototype: The Bitfenix Spectre Pro Copper Edition
10. 2013-SEP-15: Painting the M/B Block Screws
11. 2013-SEP-20: Fan Disassembly: How-To
12. 2013-SEP-22: Quick and Messy Status Shots
13. 2013-SEP-23: The Bitfenix Spectre Pro Copper Edition (cont.)
14. 2013-SEP-23: Copper Paint vs. Actual Copper: A Comparison
15. 2013-OCT-01: Colour-Coordinating the Kryographics Titan
16. 2013-OCT-08: Loop Planning
17. 2013-OCT-09: Colour-Coordinating the Raystorms
18. 2013-OCT-13: Deciding on a Backplate, Small M/B Teaser
19. 2013-OCT-13: The EVGA SR-2 Black Editon
20. 2013-OCT-28: Requesting Opinions on Fittings...
21. 2013-OCT-29: Colour-Coordinating the RAM Blocks
22. 2015-SEP-03: Finally, Progress!
23. 2015-SEP-06: Assembled

Current Status





Hello everybody.

I hope I've put this in the right sub-forum.

Many, many years ago I first came across OCN, but since I was out of the
PC building game for a few years (military, college, bad health) I only got back
into it earlier this year, and finally decided to join up here.

A very short introduction: 27 years old, male, Swiss, finished high school
in 2005, army 2005~2007 (Lt, infantry), worked in Logistics and accounting
2007~2008, studied mechanical engineering 2008~2012. Unfortunately
I was befallen by bad health for extended periods of time during my studies
(nothing life-threatening, but it did prevent me from working for college as
much as I should have) and had to drop out last summer (I will be starting
a degree in electrical engineering next September if all goes according to
plan though).

Since then I've been recuperation (still one more operation required next
August) and did some web development work from home. Finally, this spring
I had the money and time to start putting together a rig which I'd been planning
for a very long time.

Yes, yes, I'm aware: The SR-2 is old news by now. Originally I started putting this
build together in late summer 2011. Shortly afterwards, everything was put on
halt due to health troubles. After it became clear that the pause was going to
be significantly longer than expected, I considered selling off the hardware I had
already bought (the SR-2 among it), since being ill is not exactly cheap for a college
student, even in a country with mandatory health insurance.

However, I still would have made a significant loss, and I just have an inherent
weak spot for dual CPU systems, so I persisted. And this spring I finally had the
money to start buying the remaining components.

The good thing about having to wait this long is that in the meantime, Caselabs
had come out with pretty much the perfect case for my plans: The SMH10.
Originally, it was going to be a scratchbuild. The case I would have made myself
would have been quite similar in layout to the SMH10, also built from aluminium
(2 mm ~ 3 mm). But naturally, it's rather difficult to manufacture something of
similar quality with only the basic DIY tools, and if I had bought the tools
needed for making my own awesome case it would have cost about the same if not
slightly more than an SMH10, so I just went for that instead.

I'm still far off from getting everything I need, so this will take some time to
complete (I hope to be done some time in summer).

Before anyone thinks I'm a millionaire or something: I worked before I went
to college. I've been working since I had to drop out last summer/fall.
Besides that, I'm rather frugal with most other things in my life. So this build
is mostly the result of hard work, dedication and lots and lots of patience.
No miracles were worked and no cheat codes used.

The Name

Hysterical Excess Labouring Independently Of Sanity, aka HELIOS.

Because: It's been going on for almost two years. And I am definitely starting
to question my sanity.

Also: I've been naming my PC's after Greek deities since forever. The first PC I
built was an AMD Thunderbird C 1.4 GHz machine back in 2001, which lasted me for
a few years, and it was called Helios (I use the name as the PC's host name
within our network, for those wondering what practical use it has).

It died a fiery death at the hands of a water cooling accident: Using the Eheim
1048 I had been befallen by the rattling pump wheel. Naturally, I wrapped some
tape around the axle which solved that problem. Unfortunately, the tape became
brittle over time and eventually, a piece of tape broke off and clogged the
loop. Killed the flow, cooked the CPU (no overheating protection back then).

After that, I took that name out of use, until now. It's time for a revival.

The Inspiration

For the most part, PrometheusCU. I'm sure many of you are familiar with it,
and those who aren't: Go read it, now! I'll wait a few days.

Sadly, its creator passed on and never finished it (it did go to a friend of his,
but no activity since last summer, at least not in the original thread
I don't nearly have his set of skills and/or tools, but that doesn't change
the inspiration part.

Main PC Guts

As a side note: The computing power of this rig will mostly go to BOINC (I might
use it for gaming from time to time, we shall see). If [email protected] ever get their stuff
together with regards to GPU folding on Linux (highly unlikely
), I might
switch over to folding again, since I'd been doing that for about 18 months
before switching to BOINC due to the GPU problem (and a few other niggles I
have with the project's behavior towards its donors).

The O/S will most likely be Arch Linux (since I've been using that for about two
years now and am quite comfortable with it), or if I feel experimental Gentoo or
even FreeBSD. Certainly not Windows. I need my xterm and Z shell and UNIX

  • M/B: EVGA SR-2
  • CPU: 2 x Xeon x5680 (not ES, normal retail version, got them for half price
    on eBay, brand spanking new)
  • RAM: 24 GB of Corsair Dominator 1866
  • GPU: 1 x Geforce Titan (should do well at computing)
  • SSD: Intel 520 120 GB
  • HDD: TBD
  • PSU: Enermax Platimax 1200 W (don't need that much power, but the
    weaker models aren't fully modular, more reasoning for my decision later on)
  • Case: Caselabs SMH10, reverse ATX layout, obviously in black
W/C parts

Well, of course it will be under water!. In fact, all my PC's for the last 12 years
have had to get wet.
  • CPU blocks: XSPC Raystorm Copper Edition
  • GPU block: Probably the Aquacomputer Titan block in copper with
    the acrylic top. Haven't ordered it yet though, so this might still change.
  • RAM blocks: Alphacool Dominator water blocks in copper with plexi
    tops. Yes, cooling your RAM with water is absolutely unnecessary.
    I just like how it looks.
  • M/B block: MIPS SR-2 block in Acetal/Copper
  • Pumps: 2 x Aquacomputer D5 without Aquabus
  • Pump tops: 2 x Alphacool D5 pump tops in Acetal
  • Reservoir: Aquacomputer Aqualis Pro
  • Radiators: 2 x Hardware Labs SR-1 560 + 1 x Alphacool NexXxoS XT45
    Full Copper 480 (that's ~14.89 120mm single radiators, for those
  • Fans: For the moment, Bitfenix Spectre Pros in 140 mm and 120 mm,
    respectively. Some people seem to be having bearing troubles, if that
    happens, I will probably go for some Noctuas.
  • Fan and Pump Controller:Lamptron FC5v2
  • Flow Meter and Display: Koolance INS-FM17N with the DCB-FM01
    as its display. I know flow monitoring isn't really necessary, and the
    Koolance flow meter doesn't really look good. This is mostly about satisfying
    my curiosity, and there's enough places in the SMH10 where I can hide the
    display and the sensor so that it doesn't uglify the build.
  • Fittings: 16/10 mm compression fittings, Alphacool shiny copper and
    possibly also in black
  • Tubing: 15 mm OD copper tubing (possibly some normal 16/10 tubing
    in some parts, to be determined). And yes, I have figured out a way to fit
    15mm OD tubing into 16/10 compression fittings and getting it watertight
    (at least according to first tests, let's hope it keeps working).

Although I started this build a few months ago (some may already have seen it
in other places) it is still very much an ongoing project and will be for quite a
while. I will be catching this log up to date over the coming few days.

So, for those who have not been deterred by my introductory novella, let's
get to it.
  • Rep+
Reactions: DerComissar
1 - 20 of 276 Posts

· Registered
556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #2 ·
The SMH10

I ordered it flat-packed. Shipping to Switzerland was ~150 USD and it took 13
days from order confirmation until arrival. Jim was very helpful with advice and
making sure what I ordered made sense

The Box

(click image for full res)

Unpacking the Goodies

(click image for full res)

Guarding the Loot

(click image for full res)

Always Use Protection (a thick wool blanket in this case)

(click image for full res)

Ready, Set, Go!

(click image for full res)

First Steps

(click image for full res)

Getting There...

(click image for full res)

Uh Oh!

The 3.5" HDD cage collided with the tie down points. I wrote to Caselabs and
sent them a pic. They promptly responded saying they were trying to figure out
what had gone wrong.

After a few days Kevin wrote back to me saying that my main compartment divider
(the big vertical plate in the main chamber) had accidentally been manufactured
to an old spec and that they were going to send me a new one.

This actually worked out quite well because I'd forgotten a few small parts in
my first order for which I now didn't have to pay shipping

Mistakes happen, what matters to me is how they are handled and Caselabs'
customer service left nothing to be desired in this case.

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)

Out of Curiosity

(click image for full res)

A Fine Detail I noticed

The threads for mounting the acrylic window and the HDD cages are done like
this. You barely notice them. No fiddling around with screws. Just use the
provided flange nut driver (which is a very nice one btw) and mount the nuts
over the threads. Much more comfortable than screws. Very nice!

(click image for full res)

· Registered
556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

As mentioned, I will be using two Hardware Labs SR-1 560's and one
Alphacool XT45 480, or the equivalent of ~14.89 120 mm single rads.
Both the SR-1 and the XT45 are excellent at the low fans speeds I will
be using, according to Martin's Liquid Lab (SR-1 review, XT45 review).

Group Shot

Isn't that 480 just cute?

Click image for full res

GTX 560

There was mistake in my shipment of the SR-1's. I got the GTX560's instead.
Had I kept them, I would have saved around 50 CHF (~41 EUR, 37 GBP).
However, according to Martin's review, they are only really useful for high
power fans, which is not at all what I intend to run.

Nonetheless, they are a stunning piece of workmanship, so I took a few pics
before sending them back.

Click image for full res

Click image for full res


After a little while, I got what I had ordered:

Click image for full res

SR-1: Longitudinal Shot

The fins on this rad are just about perfect

Click image for full res

Fin Detail

Creating more turbulence (for better heat exchange) and preventing dust
buildup (according to HW Labs' PR).

Click image for full res

Alphacool XT45

Click image for full res

Alphacool XT45: Fin Detail

The fins are structured not as excessively as the SR-1's, but judging from performance, it's still enough

Click image for full res

Bottom Radiator Assembly: Components, Revision 1

The 560's will go into the bottom compartment, while the 480 will be in
the case's top.

Click image for full res

SR-1: Nylon Screws

I ordered some black Nylon M4 hex bolts (to dampen the fans' vibrations).
I knew it was going to be a tight fit (maximum length they were available
in was 30 mm), but I had to try.

Also, I very much like the fact that the SR-1 is using M4 threads

Click image for full res

SR-1: Slightly Recessed Threads

I could just about get the screws into most of the threads through the
Caselabs radiator mount. Unfortunately, the threads on the SR-1 are slightly
recessed. Getting a gasket in between was going to be impossible (and
I could only mount about 10 of the 16 screws per assembly).

And since the SR-1 uses 20 mm distance between fan threads, I was going
to need a gasket.

Click image for full res

Longer Bolts, Plus Gasket

I ordered some 40 mm hex bolts and some Phobya radiator gasket tape.
Let's try this again

Click image for full res

Fan Bolts Cutouts

Click image for full res

One Side Done

Click image for full res

Sealing Gaps

The SR-1 has 20 mm spacing, so there's a gap between fans.

Click image for full res

Radiator Assembly, Revision 2

I will spray paint the bolts with copper later on.
But the painting phase is not quite here yet.

Click image for full res

Small Oversight

Can't have this:

Click image for full res


Click image for full res

No Puncturing

The SR-1 has a 15 mm inbuilt shroud on one side. So there's plenty of room
for those 40 mm screws.

Click image for full res

· Registered
556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
PSU & Pump Mount, Making the 24 Pin cable

I will be using mostly 16 AWG Silicone wires, which have a few advantages over normal PVC wires,
as well as one major disadvantage and one minor one. The minor one is cost; it is actually quite
expensive. 10 meters of 16 AWG wire cost ~ 7.75 GBP (~12 USD).


Not much to say here, it's just an absolute stunner.

(click image for full res)

This is how it's mounted to the plate. There's also a cutout to fit the 230 V connector through
and to access the ON/OFF button.

(click image for full res)

The pumps are bolted to the same plate. Makes for a nice and compact unit.

(click image for full res)

And inside the case:

(click image for full res)

Making the 24 Pin

Advantages of Silicone wire: It's extremely flexible and can tolerate much higher temperatures
(this one is rated to 200 C). The temperature thing might sound a bit silly for a PC, but it
actually came in very handy during making the wires.

The tools I used (courtesy of Lutro0 for the most part):

(click image for full res)

Stripping the wire in preparation for crimping. You can clearly see that there are an insane
amount of strands, which is the other aspect that makes this wire so much more flexible than
PVC coated one (besides the Silicone, obviously). The disadvantage of this is that the wire
itself is substantially thicker than its PVC counterpart, coming in at a bulky 3.1 mm diameter
for a 16 AWG wire. The 16 AWG PVC wires that came with my PSU measure about 2.0 mm in

(click image for full res)

The thickness of the wire requires me to press the crimp terminal onto the wire and then
insert that assembly into the crimper, instead of first fixing the terminal inside the crimper,
inserting the wire into that and then pressing down.

(click image for full res)

Luckily, Silicone is very soft, meaning it compresses nicely under the crimping terminal's wings.
Be careful though: There are (at least) two versions of this terminal floating around: One with
longer wings and one with shorter wings. The short winged version is completely unusable for
this setup. As you can see, this is not a flawless crimp, but the insulation does not come below
the second pair of wings, which I deem good enough for my purposes (otherwise I'd have an insane
amount of wasted crimp terminals
). Still, despite all this, the rate of failed crimps does
noticeably rise when using such a thick wire. The most common fault I encounter is that one of the
rear wings breaks of (the ones which are supposed to crimp down on the insulation).

Fortunately the core's large thickness due to the many strands makes most of these still perfectly
usable since the forward pair of wings hold the wire in place quite tightly (much more tightly than
if you had a rear wing failure with a PVC wire), in fact it takes an enormous amount of force to
rip off the crimp terminal (I've tried a few times to test the blemished crimps).

(click image for full res)

The indispensable sleeving tool:

(click image for full res)

And with the paracord sleeve. Note that I haven't melted the ends, which is on purpose. Melted
paracord becomes quite hard, which doesn't work for what I'm doing here.

(click image for full res)

Distance gauge for what comes below.

(click image for full res)

And here we have the trick to the problem of thick wires. Since the wires are much too
thick to fit into the connector with a sleeve on them (they do fit easily without one),
I had to come up with another solution than the usual one of melting the sleeve onto
the crimp terminal.

Since I absolutely wanted to avoid using heat shrink I came up with this solution. If you
have a look above at all the things I used for this, you will notice a roll of 0.25 mm Nylon
thread. I took that thread and wound it around the wire's ends, making sure to have the right
distance from the crimp connector's end to the Nylon thread and that each Nylon piece had
the exact same number of windings (20). This is also why the paracord is not melted before;
keeping it unmelted and soft makes it possible to tighten down the Nylon thread much more

The advantages of this technique are that it looks much better than heat shrink (at least to
me, which is what matters), and since you can tighten it down very nicely, it also holds the
paracord sleeve in place much better than an equal length piece of heat shrink. Also, this
nicely avoids those "steps" one often has to have when using heat shrink. The downside
of this approach is that it takes an absolutely ridiculous amount of time to do.

Doing this one wire you see here took me 30 minutes (including taking the pics). Without
taking pictures I usually need around 15~20 minutes for one wire, and up to 45 minutes for a
doubly crimped one (of which there are five in the 24 pin cable, an absolute nightmare).

All in all, the 24 pin cable has taken me around 12 hours of work so far.

(click image for full res)

This is where the heat resistance of Silicone comes in handy. Taking the extra paracord
off with a heated box cutter (as in glowing red) nicely terminates the whole thing and
secures it to the wire, while leaving the Silicone undamaged. I've tried this with PVC and
the hot blade easily melts through the insulation if I do things identically to this.

However, one needs to be careful not to accidentally touch the Nylon cord with the heated
blade, or else the Nylon will come undone and has to be redone (happened four times during
the 24 pin assembly).

This is where I was presented with another problem: No matter how perfectly well placed the
sleeve's ends are, there will always be a bit of unwanted colour at the end. Therefore, this
needs to be painted (well, needs is a relative term).

Oh, and in case anyone's wondering: They didn't have black wire in 16 AWG in stock and I
really didn't feel like waiting a few weeks for that. Since you can't see through paracord
this isn't hugely important.

(click image for full res)

Also see here:

(click image for full res)

Another wire in its painted state, this time with black sleeving. The black is a bit more
forgiving of errors (sand colour is not at all), however it's also quite a bit trickier to
see what's going on. I apologize for the blurry picture, it's quite a heavy magnification
so I didn't realize this until it was too late.

(click image for full res)

And finally, the 24 pin before mounting it in the case and lacing it.

(click image for full res)

And after mounting it and lacing it for a few hours:

(click image for full res)

Also, the CPU0 power cables:

(click image for full res)

· Registered
823 Posts
Subbed for some copper tube goodness!

· Registered
556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Originally Posted by Inglewood78 View Post

Subbed for some copper tube goodness!
Hehe, that will be the next big challenge to solve: Bending the copper tubes so that it all
comes together nicely.

Cable-wise I still have to do the CPU1 power cables, the PCI-E aux cable on the M/B as well
as the cooling system (pumps, fans etc.). I must admit I'll be very glad once that's finally done.
Making your own cables is fun and all, but in the end I'll probably have spend about 30 to 50
hours on making cables and doing cable management, so I'll be good for a while.

After that I'll get busy with the copper tubing. I'll probably have to make my own bending
apparatus because I haven't been able to find a 15 mm bender that doesn't cost an arm
and a leg (plus, all the ones I've been able to find have bend radii which are way too large
for my purposes, I need to find the tightest radius which doesn't ruin my pipes).

Thanks for the sub!

· Registered
556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Originally Posted by pcmonky View Post

Finally, some smh10 love. I will be ordering my smh10 in 3 days.

There are hardly any smh10 builds.

Looking forward to this
Yeah, I've seen quite a few STH10 builds, but no SMH10's. Sure, the STH10 is a great case, but IMO the
proportions of the SMH10 are much more pleasing to the eye. The STH10 is just way too high and narrow for
my tastes. Now, of course I won't begrudge anyone the choice to use the STH10 (it is a great case, after all),
but I didn't really need the additional space in that, and I just love the SMH10.

· Registered
556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Originally Posted by 47 Knucklehead View Post

Very nice build.

I love the name ... that is the name of my 32' World Cat boat.
Thank you!

The original HELIOS was actually named after the AI in the first Deus Ex game (loved that game, still
do in fact). Boats? Sometimes I wish we had an ocean adjacent to Switzerland...

· Registered
556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Originally Posted by Barefooter View Post

Subbed for this one. I really like your cable stitching. Nice job!

It took me a while to figure out since cable lacing is not really as common as it used
to be (the curse of zip ties
), and information is therefore relatively scarce,
but with the help of a few videos and some reference manuals by NASA and a few other
sources I finally arrived at this version. I had also looked at Frank's version, which is
pretty damn awesome, but it just took me forever to do and since I have many cables
in my build which will be visible (and therefore need to be laced) I decided to try if I
could simplify things a bit and find a technique that was a tad faster while still providing
me with the desired look.

I've actually made a tutorial on this. The audio is a bit on the low side (I'll fix that
in future vids), but it should be easy enough to follow.
Originally Posted by TPE-331 View Post

Subbed. I'm going to follow this one through.

EDIT: Forgot: I just got the crimp terminals I've ordered form Lutro0, so I will
be doing most of the remaining cables this week and should have an update on the
major cabling by the end of the week.

· Registered
224 Posts
Subbed! Good luck with school and the build

· Registered
556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Originally Posted by Beakz View Post

Subbed! Good luck with school and the build
Hehe, thanks man, I appreciate that.
I'm currently doing the last primary power cables,
so I should have an update on that by tomorrow or Sunday, depending on how much
real life interferes.

· Registered
224 Posts
Great can't wait!

· Registered
556 Posts
Discussion Starter · #17 ·
Major Power Cables Finished

So, this is what about 40 hours of cabling have gotten me: One 24 pin, two EPS 8 pins,
one PCI-E 8 pin and four PCI-E 6 pins. I'm not completely done with them (I need to
reinforce the 24 pin's lacing a bit), but the main part is done when it comes to power

The GPU Cable

This is what the GPU cable looked like before lacing.
(click image for full res)

CPU1 + PCI-E Aux

These are the cables for the CPU1 power delivery (8 pin EPS + 6 pin PCI-E) and the SR-2's
PCI-E auxiliary 6 pin for the PCI-E slots themselves. Makes for 20 wires in total. First I crimped
their M/B terminals:

(click image for full res)

After that I colour-coded them to know which pair of wires needed to be sleeved with which
paracord colour. Doing that 20 wire cable is pretty much the only thing I did this week. All in
all it was about 15 hours of work (cutting, crimping, sleeving, lacing). The PSU side crimps
were only crimped onto the wires once the whole harness had been laced so that the
wires had the right length (obviously the outer wires in the bends will have to be longer).

(click image for full res)

Main Cables

And these are most of the major power cables. What's missing here is the GPU power delivery
because I'd already tied that to the case when I took this picture. As you can see the cables
are all stuck together because of the way I had to do the PSU side of things. How I organize
the PSU connectors is determined by the PSU's power rail design and connector layout.

The harness is surprisingly stiff (considering Silicone wire is very floppy) and holds its shape
pretty well with all the lacing.

(click image for full res)


And this is how the whole harness looks when it's mounted into the case. The messy bit above
the PSU will still be cleaned up a bit, plus most of it will be hidden.

(click image for full res)

Hiding the Messy Bits

Besides the side door, the reservoir mounting plate will hide those bits of my cabling which I
haven't tidied up to insane levels.

(click image for full res)

20 Wire Run

And a glamour shot of that 20 wire cable. I know I could have routed this cable through a hole
which is situated pretty much perfectly, but since I spend this much time on my cables anyway
I thought I might as well make them a proper feature.

(click image for full res)

That's it for today. I have to admit I look forward to doing something else besides cables
now. There's still some cable work to be done (the pumps, fans and some other small
parts), but the major work is done now. 40 hours of cable work is quite enough for now.

Next Up

I'll be starting to experiment with the copper tubing next week.

Thanks for stopping by.
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