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[Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures)

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  • [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures)

    After years of languishing in the cesspit of outdatedness (2.0 Ghz P4 with 1Gb RDRAM, nvidia 7900 AGP, etc.) I got permission from my wife last November to build a high-end gaming machine. Well, the last part isn't really true but that's how it all turned out (: So at the end of 2007 I started cruising the tubes to research the best build for my situation.

    I never explicitly planned on going water cooling, but then I never planned on working with a computer that sounded like a vacuum cleaner either. My initial build was complete by Jan. 20th:

    Case: Mountain Mods U2-UFO with a thermochill front panel with accessories
    Case Cooling: 9 Yate Loon 120mm silent case fans
    Mother Board: eVGA 780i w/ P03 BIOS
    Processor/cooling: Intel Q6600 with a Tuniq Tower 120
    RAM: 8Gb G.Skill DDR2 1000
    VGA: x2 eVGA 8800GTS G92 in SLi
    Display: Dell 2707WFP (27" LCD)
    Media: Asus 20x DVD/CD-RW
    Storage: x4 WD 750AYYS w/ Vista Ultimate x64
    Power: PC Power &Cooling 750W PSU with a 900W CyberPower UPS

    I managed to stay close to budget, and was very happy with the performance of my new build. There was no comparison with my old machine. My CPU temps were doing well in the mid to upper 30's idle (over clocked to 3.6Ghz), my VGA was around 50 idle (with fan speed at 60%, stock clocks), after fixing some issues with the stock cooling on the eVGA MB, I got my chipset temps down from 108C to 64C idle. It was nice.

    The only downside was that with the new (larger) case I couldn't enclose it in my "computer drawer" and keep it out of earshot. That meant the obnoxiously loud stock nVidia north bridge fan was going full bore, an arms reach away. The VGA fans weren't helping either. Also, not having a fan controller for the case fans meant that they were unnecessarily running at full speed, adding to the din. This computer was pretty loud, and not really by design.

    After consulting with my financier we (hehe) decided a quieter approach was needed. Water cooling was needed. Urgently. Being able to hear the computer in the nursery helped in that regard ;D. So, some new equipment was ordered:
    • Evercool Twinkling VGA Cooler for the South Bridge/MCP chipset
    • 15' of Tygon 3/4" OD 1/2" ID tubing (this whole set-up is 1/2" ID, 3/4 OD)
    • A bunch of sleeving and heatshrink to beautify the cabling
    • ZALMAN MFC1 Plus 6 Channel Multi Fan Controller
    • A RadioShack butane soldering iron with some silver solder (this came in handy!)
    • A few LED's and some UV case lighting.
    • A bunch of reusable swiftech hose clamps and zip-ties
    • I raided about 4 ACE hardware stores and a custom bolt shop and wholesaler (J& E Supply) to get enough black 6-32 bolts of various lengths and cap types (: I liked the bolt shop. It was across the street from five seedy strip clubs.
    • Koolance swiveling angle nozzles
    • Koolance QDC shut-off nozzles (male & female) with a nylon T junction. These are for draining the system.
    • Koolance liquid (distilled water + propylene glycol + anti corrosion + dye)
    • XSPC Black Dual Bay Reservoir 5.25" with Bubble Window (it's HAL 9000)
    • D-tek Fuzion CPU block with nozzle kit washer installed
    • ViperJohn's custom north bridge water block with mosfet heatsinks (ViperJohn is THE MAN, as in YTMND, not "The Man")
    • x2 Danger Den IONE 8800 G92 blocks with acrylic tops and optional SLi nozzles
    • Thermochill PA120.3 Radiator with 1/2" ID barbs and with the performance shroud
    • and a Laing D5 Vario/Swiftech MCP655 Inline 12V DC Pump


    It's a long list for sure, but I think that about covers it. Next up is the rebuild.
    Last edited by Rincewind; 03-04-2008, 11:34 PM.
    ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
    No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

    <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.


  • #2
    Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

    Sometimes it starts with luggage. In this case it all starts with a box. Or two. Or about a half dozen. This is the box that started it.


    Before we open the box, lets look at some naked parts:


    The naked shell of the Mountain Mods U2-UFO. The OCZ Silencer is sitting in there chilling out.


    Here's my storage media. The HDDs are already attached to the MM HDD brackets.

    Okay, back to the unboxing:


    Taking a look inside these boxes reveals a trove of water cooling goodness. On the table is (from left to right) the Koolance Liquid, XPCS reservoir, SB cooler, case lighting, nozzles, Danger Den IONEs, Zalman fan controller, and a kitchen knife.


    A close up of the IONEs. They're pretty hefty for a one piece water block.


    A shot of the Zalman front panel controller. It took one night to sleeve up the wiring included with this unit. It looks MUCH better internally when the wires are sleeved up.


    The Evercool VGA cooler. This will be used on the 780i MCP chip.


    A shot of the Swiftech pump & clamps, the Thermochill PA 120.3 Radiator with gaskets, and some sleeving. The butane soldering tool is hiding in there too. (:

    Okay, enough unboxing :)


    In this photo I'm beginning to align my radiator fans on the Thermochill 120.3 shroud. Initially I wasn't going to go with the shroud, but I changed my mind when I got a closer look at the radiator:


    Yeah, that's right, the Thermochill is bent on the back side. This kink renders the screw holes on the top right half of the radiator useless. Unfortunately, I ordered from NCIXUS.com. They have a strict no return policy on water cooling hardware. But they also have the best prices. I guess I know why now. Grr. So with the shroud I must go!


    After measuring how much wire on each of the three fans I needed, I moved on to sleeving. Unfortunately, I forgot to take pictures of my awesome wiring and sleeving skills. It's a lot of fun though. The whole time I was building this system I was having a blast. Too bad it's an expensive hobby to have (; In the above picture I am taping the shroud with a 6-32 taper. This is so I don't have to mess around with nuts on the bolts that pass through the front of the case, through the fans, and into the shroud.


    Here is the complete radiator assembly mounted to the front of the MM U2-UFO. Yeah, I accidentally installed the middle grill on backwards... I need to fix that sometime... (:


    Below is a shot from a naked 8800GTS 512 and of my Q6600:


    Last edited by Rincewind; 03-04-2008, 05:19 PM.
    ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
    No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

    <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures


      The reservoir sitting tight in the 5.25" bay. "I'm afraid I can't do that Dave." Eventually, I had have to take the reservoir back off for some minor modifications to the bay.


      Here's a shot of ViperJohn's North Bridge chipset cooler. It's a great piece of work.


      A shot of the inside. All smooth and coppery and stuff (:


      Here's a picture of ViperJohn's mosfet heatsinks. That's a Koolance swivel angle barb lurking behind the heatsinks.

      Next up is assembly!


      This is the MCP chip cooler. These spring clamps are not easy to install.


      To seat the 8800 properly, some the MCP fan fins had to be bent slightly.


      This is the NB water block about to go in.


      All the water blocks attached


      A close-up of the cooling assembly.


      Here's a look at the SLI water bridge. You can see that I used the 3603 lab tubing.


      Here's the bit of modification I did to the 5.25" bay. I'll be mounting the pump through these holes.


      Here's the underside of the pump. I used some double sided 3M foam tape as padding. It's also very handy at keeping the pump attached to the bay for mounting (:

      After finishing up the install, it's time for the bleeding!


      Here's a shot of the bleeding in progress


      The reservoir


      A closer look at the pump mounting. All that cabling has been tucked away (:

      After a 14 hour bleeding and leak test, I assembled the parts together. The final results are below.





      This is the messy side of the case (: I didn't do anything super special (other than tuck away wires and zip tie things in place). I just never get the opportunity to see this side of the case! On the wall is some Scott Kurtz and Frank Cho art. (;


      Here she is in her native habitat! All spruced up and ready to go. On the wall is (the much better) art of my 6yo son. He free handed the African continent and filled in the names for the countries. Apparently, there are many pirate islands, sea serpents, and huge spiders surrounding the African continent.


      The parting shot.
      Last edited by Rincewind; 03-04-2008, 11:20 PM.
      ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
      No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

      <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

        Overall, the experience of building my first liquid cooling setup has been great and I accomplished what I had set out to do in my system.

        For starters, the noise is gone. I can actually hear my very silent hard disks seek. I can hear the gentle gurgle of water against the bubble window in the reservoir(that's had me nervous more than once (: ). It's really kind of nice.

        Also, my temperatures are running much lower. My CPU has been as low as 29C idle after sitting around doing nothing all day--I've booted it up and had it running at 26C for a few minutes :D It was running in the mid to upper 30's on air. This is clocked at 3.6. The 8800GTS's are running in the upper 30's idle and upper 40's under load (stock speeds). The fan on the MCP has dropped the temps from 65 idle to 45 idle.

        A water cooling solution isn't for everyone, but after having done it for myself I would recommend it to anyone thinking about doing it. It's very satisfying work. :)
        Last edited by Rincewind; 03-04-2008, 11:29 PM.
        ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
        No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

        <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

          Awesome job! I wish I had that box.

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

            Purdy Rince....

            [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRLEOg0R7HU[/media]

            Aren't you worried about leaks? This is what is holding me back...

            B
            "Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." Gen. George Patton

            Comment


            • #7
              Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

              Nice job!

              DB

              «That looks like a really nice house except for that horrible bathroom.» Donrhos

              | |





              Comment


              • #8
                Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

                I was happy with my 19" widescreen monitor until now, that 27" beast is just AWESOME !

                Comment


                • #9
                  Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

                  That is pure porn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

                    i woulda +repped every one of your posts rincewind, but i gotta spread the rep around =P very nice and detailed walkthrough... and if it wasnt for bc2id's nice video link, i would seriously think about a water setup.. how is the noise(or lack thereof) in your computer room... how loud is the pump?


                    you managed to talk the wife into you getting all that?

                    i can picture the conversation in my head:

                    rince: hey honey, ya know.. my computer is getting pretty dated, and the new program for work is runnin kinda slow.. productivity is getting lower and lower for me, and i dont want the boss to think im slackin... would it be alright if i built a new computer for work? goodness knows what would happen if i got fired...
                    wife: well, i suppose, we did get an awfully large tax rebate check this year.

                    a few days later, the parts start comming in...

                    rince: hey honey, wheres the SD card, i want to take some pictures of the computer during the building stage... who knows, the boss might reimburse me (giggle giggle)
                    wife: here ya go
                    wife: what is all that stuff for... dont you just buy a computer and plug it in?
                    rince: well, i want this to be very productive, so im making it really fast, at the cost of heat.. so it will be cooled by water.
                    wife: hrm...

                    a few days later, the rig is up and running

                    wife stumbles on this thread while on the internet

                    we wont see rince for a while... =D
                    powered by Windows 7

                    . . . .

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

                      Originally posted by Bc2ID View Post
                      Purdy Rince....

                      [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GRLEOg0R7HU[/media]

                      Aren't you worried about leaks? This is what is holding me back...

                      B
                      This is why I didn't do it. If I had the cash to replace my system, I would go with water cooling though.



                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

                        Thanks guys :)

                        First, I got a lot of help and guidance from the liquid cooling gang over at extremesystems.org.

                        Second, I got a lot of support from my wife going into this. No, she wasn't in love with the idea, but damned if I didn't stop bothering her about it after she got on board :) So I really do love my wife :D

                        Lastly, sure I worry about leaks, but like any project you undertake, it helps to research. There are actually a bunch of very good "non-conductive" liquids out on the market now -- Feser One for instance. Additionally, even in a worst case scenario it's unlikely you will do any damage to anything but your pump. Not knowing anything but what I saw in the video, those guys were complete idiots for assuming their system was dead.

                        So don't let the fear of getting wet and killing your box stop you from putting together a liquid cooling system.

                        Tonk, the pump is a very quiet hum. When I crank the fans down low, all I can hear is the hum of the pump and the gurgle of my reservoir (both of which I like hearing). It's nearly silent. When the fans are on high it's still very quiet. In either case, I can't hear it with my open air headphones on.
                        ~~ Veritas simplex oratio est ~~
                        No matter how far a wizard goes, he will always come back for his hat. --T. Pratchett

                        <---- You know you're getting old when you rely on your forum meta-data to remind you how old you are.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

                          OMG that is insane. You could take over a small to mid-sized country with that thing. Great pictures of the process. I have always wondered what that would be like. Well, at least your wife is supportive. Congratulations on a beautiful rig.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

                            Doesn't the water become conductive once it hits the dust from your cpu?
                            "Don't tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results." Gen. George Patton

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: [Project Unseen University] Rincewind's Magical (liquid) Build Log (with pictures

                              It is really a nice setup, I wish I had the nerve to do something like that.


                              You know, I've always wondered why someone wouldn't mount the board upside down. So that if there was a leak, instead of running down the down the board, it would dripped off the block and land on the bottom of the case. Just a randon thought.



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