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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Build is somewhat successful, somewhat failed. I don't have any more time to give to it, and the work that it would take to finish the build would be so tedious, it wouldn't be worth it at this point. Here's some final pics. Read through the posts for the log.











All the parts have arrived for my liquid cooled NES-PC. Its been air cooled for about a year now and I can't stop trying to make it better. Ill be mounting parts on my currently hacked up NES this weekend. The purpose of water cooling this build is more for fun factor than performance. I am, however, hoping to see a substantial decrease in GPU temps at load. I'm currently getting 80 C while gaming and 90 C in Furmark. Silence is also an important factor in this build.

I'll post pictures and run stress tests before the weekend is over. For now, here is a parts list:

Intel i7-3770S
Sapphire HD 7750 LP
EVGA GTX 660
8 GB Corsair 1600
256 GB Crucial M4 mSata
750 GB Seagate Hybrid
Intel DQ77KB Thin Mini-Itx MoBo
Intel Centrino WiFi + Bluetooth
NES Controller USB Adapter
XBOX Wireless Controller Receiver
Pulse-Eight CEC Adapter
160W Power Brick (just received a 330W Dell power brick. Not sure if the 19.5V rating will work with the 19V specifications for the MoBo, though. Any input there?)
330W Power Brick

Custom Loop:
Swiftech MCP35X
Black Ice Stealth GT Single 120mm
Apogee LP CPU Block
Koolance 210 GPU Block
EK gtx 660 block
Noctua NF-F12 120mm Fan
 

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Looking forward to the pictures.
thumb.gif
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I finished putting together and leak testing the loop! It all fits (albeit a very tight fit
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) and I've been running stress tests.

I was blown away by the GPU temps: 30 C at load! Although nothing special for water cooling, that's 50 C cooler than my air cooled 80C!!! Unfortunately, something's wrong with my CPU block. Temps immediately shoot up with any use. In prime 95, it shot up to 70 C almost immediately and I only let it run a few seconds. I tried reapplying thermal grease, and even cranked down the screws some more. Same results. Now I have the problem that two of the screws are turning at a joint in the middle, instead of at the actual socket, and I can't get them out. Ill figure that out, but HAS ANYONE HAD ANY EXPERIENCE WITH THE SWIFTECH APOGEE LP BLOCK? Any other cpu blocks out there with outlet/inlet on the side?

Wish me luck!!!

Here's a miserable picture of the mounted loop with an open case. The MoBo is mounted on the roof of the NES-PC and the graphics card gets Velcroed to the bottom of the NES-PC. The rad and fan get mounted to the bottom as well. Small feet allow the fan to exaust underneath (and out of sight). I'm using 1/4" tubing and anti-kink coil, which has saved my life with so many tight turns.


BTW, ill be cutting and sheathing all cables to size. I have a couple NES cases in the mail, one of which I'll neatly cut and frame holes in the back and bottom (for ports, intake, and fan exhaust on bottom). The two controller ports on front are usable and behind the scenes are usb adapters. From the front and sides it is always mistaken to be an original NES. The LED is red when in sleep and green when in use (mostly it sits on red, being my living room htpc and gaming rig).

Here's some old photos from when it was air cooled. They'll give you an idea of what it'll look like when I'm done. Keep in mind the final product will be much more polished (straight lined, framed cuts; sheathed, trimmed, and dyed black cables).


 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Quote:
Originally Posted by maarten12100 View Post

You're not planning on cutting the NES are you?
Sorry, no way these components are going to stay cool without some serious intake and exhaust. The 120mm fan means its super silent, though
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I'd be worried about the DC-DC circuitry on the MoBo (not to mention the VRM on the GPU) if there was any less airflow.
Quote:
Originally Posted by maarten12100 View Post

Have followed that other WC nes mod and that yieled some great ideas.
You mean one of these?
http://www.overclock.net/t/977745/robertwhamms-project-the-watercooled-nes
http://www.overclock.net/t/1064158/worklog-aquanes-scratch-case-water-cooling-build

Already saw Robertwhamm's. Just subscribed to the AquaNES. Wish I would have thought of the name first
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Robertwhamm was trying to use a slim fan, which I don't think would work. He made the case bigger and was planning on putting some stellar vinyl images on it. I like confusing people too much to make it look different than an original NES, so I won't do that, however.

It looks like the AquaNES hasn't been updated since parts came in. I've been through all kinds of parts before i got to where i am now. The space and power constraints are pretty darn complicated for a newb like me, not to mention the new world of WC.
 

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I meant another one but those 2 are pretty to.
http://www.overclock.net/forum/newestpost/1332383
That one

I understand it needs ventilation but can't you do like 2x 50mm intake in the back and then let the fan stick out the bottom so is both out take and blower?
One goes to hell and back trying to keep it as original as possible.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by ettescott View Post

Not sure I follow you. You mean do the same thing that I'm already doing, but make the cutout in back smaller? As in only a small cutout for the ports and a thin 2mmx50mm strip for intake?
What I meant is that you use 2 50mm fans to take it in and use the 120mm fan to take it out and push it to the sides of the case.

I made a paint so you can get my drift:


Pink are the 2x 50mm fans
Red is the 120mm rad
Orange is the 120mm fan
Darker blue is the NES case
Purple are the standoffs underneat the case
Light blue is cold intake air
Gold is hot outtake air.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
No sure how that's different from what I have, except for adding two extra 50mm fans in the back. You'd still have to cut holes into the back for those two fans.


Update: turns out I stripped the threads in the cpu back plate and I wasn't able to get the screws out. I tried cutting them with a dremmel and it didn't work. A replacement board is in the mail and should arrive by Tuesday. Im wondering if I just didn't put enough grease on it. I wont know till that replacement comes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
In the mean time, ill work on cables.

A picture of the Xbox receiver, NES controller USB adapter, and USB port.
The Xbox receiver and USB adapter are taken out of their casings. I fasten the Xbox receiver to the case with heavy duty Velcro
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the board is sheathed in vinyl (comes in a roll, used for that craft lettering people put on walls). I use the same vinyl for framing cutouts in the case. The usb controller adapter doesn't fit with the graphics card where it is now. Ill cut the leads, solder on wires, reroute the circuit board to a convenient location, and sheath it all. The USB port will be mounted laterally on the bottom of the case, similar to the old photos in my earlier post. Ill trim and sheath it as well. Having the usb in the front is far too unseemly, but having it just on the side is nicely convenient.

The pulse eight HDMI CeC adapter, mounted on top of the Bluetooth + wifi mini card.

This lets me control XBMC using my TV remote. XbMC is awesome, with all my movies, music, and games (wii, n64, snes, PC, etc) all in one place. It makes the nESPC act as any other home theater device: turning on with the TV, going to sleep when the TV is turned off, play, pause, etc in XBMC. Just plain cool
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Ill trim and sheath these long wires too.

Btw, frontx is a fantastic place to get the usb end connectors and some similar items. Ships from Malaysia but shipping and parts are affordable. Not at all like getting a couple of screws from Frozencpu like I did :/
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Replacement Mobo came in the mail today. Thanks, Amazon! I used different screws and was more liberal with the CPU grease this time. Idle CPU temps ran at 30C and Prime95 ramped them up to 60C. Better than before. CPU temps ramped up to 80C while stressing the gpu in furmark, though. Then I noticed the pump wasn't running. I tested the pump for the next 40 minutes. It started and stopped periodically. I hooked it up to a separate PSU. The pump ran solid for a couple minutes, then died entirely. Ughhhh!

I have a few problems to work out now:

The pump. Was it air bubbles or what? The pump ran ridiculously loud at full speed, but was nearly inaudible turned all the way down. I wouldn't know the difference between a noisy pump and air bubbles. Ill see how it goes with the replacement.

My GPU came before the CPU in the loop. I didn't think that it would make that big of a difference which was first. Maybe the pump had stopped and that's why it didn't run well. Or could I still have problems with the CPU block? I'm not too excited about troubleshooting that one.

I would appreciate input from you veterans. Everything fits and the GPU runs so cool, I don't see why the CPU shouldn't follow suit.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Note: I decided to postpone cable management till everything was running and in the box.

The pump came in the mail. However, I've been sidetracked by a GPU project for this build. Yesterday, I added a picoPSU 120WI to the case. It is spliced into the 330W adapter that also powers the MoBo. The picoPSU provides the additional 6-pin power to the new graphics card, a GTX 660. So far, the system has run well (temporarily air-cooled) in Furmark and Prime95. While running the GpU at load in Furmark, the entire system draw is about 200W.

The ToDo list for this weekend:

-undervolt the GPU. The 660 runs considerably hotter than the 7750 that I was using. Under volting will reduce heat (and water loop delta).

-attempt to fit all the new components in the case. I used a cardboard cutout to test the fit of the new GPU. Now it's time to try out the real thing.

-re-tube the water loop with the CPU first in series. Also, add a t-line with the manifold that came in the mail. Previously, I tried the bathtub method and that may have killed my pump.

-benchmark temps. If temps are too high, I can underclock the gtx 660. Even underclocked it will be an improvement from the 7750.

-manage power to picoPSU. Currently, it is running any time the power adapter is connected. A 12v relay will fix that, though, sending it a Power_On signal only when 12V is running through the MoBo.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Ugh!!!!!! I feel like I'm so close but the GPU power situation simply isn't working. It worked at first. Furmark ran just fine, etc. Just enough to get my hopes up. Then intermittent momentary mouse freezes and 'driver stopped responding' messages. I even played some Skyrim and AC3 on highest settings. But reliability has just gone downhill. Eventually, I noticed a high pitched squeak from the picoPSU 120WI when the card was at load. Whenever the card dropped out (and the 'driver...restarted' message came up), the noise stopped. The system became responsive in conjunction with the noise resuming. I decided that the 120WI specs were at 12V input and it perhaps didn't support enough current at 19V.
I ordered a picopsu 160XT w/ 12V 12A adapter, and the PicoPSU exhibited a similar noise at load, but similar instability issues persisted. I then tried wiring the 12V brick directly to the GPU. Instability again....

I apologize for anyone following the thread, but I'm kinda stuck on this GPU power thing. I really really really want it to work and all the numbers add up. Ill only move on and back to the 7750 if I can discover the problem, or a significant amount of time has passed.

Here's the possibilities for my instability issues:
-The GPU isn't receiving enough power. Either the 12V power brick can't deliver enough power or the picoPSU's simply can't do it, even though they all advertise about 10A on the 12V rail. Maybe the brick or Pico can support the current draw, but the connections being used don't.
-Dual PSU discrepancies. The card draws power from both the slot and the 6-pin connector. Perhaps the GPU can't handle slightly different inputs? But I've seen dual gpu setups, so that doesn't seem to jive.
-maybe my card was damaged with the first picopsu? That would mean any other troubleshooting is just running me in circles.
-maybe the problem is at the slot. The motherboard is advertised as only supporting 25w at the slot. However, I know of one person that has an 80w card running on the same mobo with various 12V headers on the mobo spliced into the 6-pin power.

Ughhhhhh......

Update: with the 12V brick plugged straight yinto gpu, the gpu itself makes a noise when in use. Uh oh.

Edit: that gpu noise is normal for high end gpu's. It has to do with voltage regulation. Increasing core speeds can make the noise higher pitched and less obvious, or so im told. Ill play with the speed/noise after the build is fnshed.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Success!!! Returned the GPU and the replacement arrived in the mail today (Amazon, will you marry me?) 19v brick is hooked up to the Mobo and the 12V brick is wired up to the GPU. No system instability so far. Skyrim is at a whole new level of eye candy, as well
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.
I have a wide input 12V regulator in the mail from china. Hopefully it will work so that ill only need the one 19V brick. Even if it doesn't, ill stick with the two brick scenario, because I like the upgraded graphics too much.

Here's the ugly looking setup up for testing (cooled on air).


The 12v step down regulator that's in the mail.

Next on the list:

-More stress testing (on air)
-custom water loop
-stress testing on water

I probably won't get to the dirty work for the water loop till this weekend.
 

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Dude, this is amazing. I'm subbed
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also, your question about the GPU coming first in the loop, it doesn't matter. The water is moving so fast in the loop that it is virtually the same temperature everywhere in the loop, at worst varying 1 degree Celsius (in a large loop). Again, this is amazing. I can't wait to see final pics!

Also, forgive me if you already stated this in one of your earlier posts, but are you going to keep the radiator external or try to stuff it in there with the rest of the components?
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
The rad will be inside the case, along with the fan. The fan will stick out the bottom by just a few millimeters. It all fit when I finished the custom loop the first time, but because of pump and other issues I didn't take pics. I'm excited to get this put together!

edit: About the loop and cpu temps. My CPU block came with scratches on bottom. Not gouges, but still they are scratches. Thermal grease will easily fill those up, right? I'm just worried that my CPU block was the reason the CPU temps were so vulnerable the first time.
 

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It seems to me like small scratches wouldn't make a difference with thermal greese, but I'm not too sure. Honestly I'm not very experienced with watercooling myself, just the basics. I would check some of the devoted watercooling threads around here and see what some of those more experienced people have to say
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ettescott View Post

Wishing this was more than concept art...
That would be really easy to do yourself. Buy a silver wireless controller, but red abxy buttons and get black paint and properly tape off the stuff. Or get someone else to do it for you, plenty of controller modding/custom painting services out there
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