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Old 29th Jan 2013, 01:15   #1
Maki role
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Azure - Phantom 820 mod - Finally Finished!



Hi guys! Recently I decided to embark on my first "proper" modding project, and I thought that it was about time I finally did my first project log with you guys.

A little background:

I had been a lurker since, what 2005/6 I think? My sister's fiancÚ introduced me to this great site, and since then I had always been gripped by the astounding modding projects. At the turn of every New Year I would be salivating over the lineup in the MotY competition, always wondering what would top what was seen the year before. At the same time I wanted to engage in a similar project, but being both an iMac user at the time, and also a teenager, my resources were limited. Fast forward a few years and here I am with a shiny desktop, hoping to intoduce my own mod to the pile.

But enough of the waffle, let's get down to business shall we?

Brief:

My current build consists of a rather cramped dual loop system running in a standard Phantom off of a 240mm rad and a 120mm one. I'd like to change that to a 360, 240 and 120 inside a Phantom 820 for the time being. I could really do with both the added overclocking headroom and reduction of noise (being able to run the fans slower would be much nicer indeed). The slight challenge is that I can't have any meaningful amount of computer downtime and the layout of the case. I'm currently a compsci undergrad here in Bristol, so use my computer frequently for my assignments, so a quick hardware transfer is preferable. The case is interesting as I want to cool the GPUs with the 360 and 120mm rads, which are located in the roof, but the CPU rad is on the floor. I also don't want the insides to look like some Cthulhu relation. Inspired by K.3nny, I've decided to use acrylic tubing to achieve the clean interior finish, along with some creative tubing routes.

And of course with that out of the way, let's get on to some actual content eh?

Hardware:
CPU: Intel i7 3930k
Motherboard: Asus P9 X79 Pro
RAM: 32GB G-Skill Ripjaws Z 1866MHz
GPUs: 2x Asus GTX 590
PSU: Corsair AX1200
HDD: Some 1Tb one
SSD: 256Gb Samsung 840 Pro
SSD: 240GB OCZ Agility 3

Cooling:
CPU: Koolance CPU-370
GPU: EK Nickel/Plexi and EK Nickel/Black Acetal
Rads: Alphacool NexXxoS xt45 360mm, 240mm, 120mm
Fans: Scythe gentle typhoon 1850RPM
Tubing: Acrylic/Masterclear clear
Pumps: 2x Laing DDC
Reservoirs: 2x EK DDC X_Res 140 CSQ
Coolant: Mayhem's Pastel white and UV blue
Fittings: Various Alphacool and Bitspower 3/8"
Fan Control: NZXT Sentry LX

Here are a couple of renders I made for the project, they show what look I'm aiming to achieve at the end of the first part of the project. Sadly they're a tad out of date, I tried to render a new, accurate set but Blender crashed my computer and uninstalled my GPU drivers for me. Took hours to get them to work properly again, so won't be doing that for a while.







And now real pics:

Seems the case is an immediate success with Tali and Amelie (Tali is the snowy one, Amelie the darker)


Rad and SSD arrive! Looking forward to using both.


New fans, reservoirs and another rad arrived. Must say I like the CSQ design, I know it garners a lot of antagonism from many who prefer the old design though. Considering I have old design components in this build too, I actually prefer the newer one.


Rads are all together now.


Most of the fittings going into this build, some have yet to arrive though.


This is one of the changes I wasn't able to make in the renders, my previous build used chrome fittings, went with black this time.


The case in all it's naked glory, couldn't help but test the top rad placement.


Removed the top drive bay to make room for... stuff? Had another layout in mind when I did this, might just put it back. Removed the lower drive cage and rail to make room for the 240 rad.


Some rando-fans I had lying around so I could test placement. The gentle typhoons hadn't arrived when I did this.


What's this? Two packages from Germany?


Ah yes, classic Nils handywork I see.


Asked if he could draw a dinosaur for me, was not disappointed.


Sata cable sleeve and contrast sleeve, liking the two colours. Never worked with MDPC-X before, seen the results from others though. Must say it truly is amazing stuff, looks phenomenal and is just such a dense weave.


The colour really holds up even under scrutiny.


There's no such thing as too much sleeving!


Really love this shade of blue.


Sleeved the fans up, looking much better than the standard ones already. Might spray them later as I'm not a huge fan of the grey.


Top and bottom rads and fans fitted. Can't add the 120mm rad yet though as it's currently in use in my PC!


90 degree fittings at the top here will allow me to have a much cleaner tubing profile.


And that's all for now folks. I'm expecting the remaining components to arrive on Wednesday, and will probably be installing hardware over the weekend. I need to work out the placement of the bulkhead fitting for the back panel tubes, along with cut out the white acrylic. Then it's time to bend some tubes! Oh and I also need to think of a suitable name, I'll sleep on it.

Last edited by Maki role; 4th Mar 2014 at 18:03.
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Old 30th Jan 2013, 18:50   #2
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Right well as planned my packages arrived today! As a result I've managed to make some progress on the case, all seems on track currently. I've also settled on the name Azure, seems in-keeping with the colour scheme, I'll draw up a fancy header later.


Removing the in-built fan controller. Those cables just look so hideous right now, better jazz them up a little.


Much more like it.


Was quite a challenge fitting those pins through the sleeving, saving the sata stuff for later


Looking much better now, no more mass of horrid black, stringy cables.





A new toy eh?


Not a complete mod without a little dremel treatment now is it?


Added in the bulkhead fitting, has a 90 degree on the other side, should help keep the case tidy. The black fitting is just one I had to hand, will use a chrome/nickel one there, although I'm a bit annoyed that the threaded side is showing. I can't turn it around as the extrusion is too great on the other side. I may be able to cut it off, though that's a fair ol' chunk of metal.


Also removed the 140mm fan bracket, the back screw was a PITA to remove though, got stuck so I had to cut it out. These parts will all be finished properly and hidden so A-OK.


This is the route being taken behind the motherboard tray to the radiator. It's a tight fit with the fitting, but the panel just about closes without bending visibly.

That's all for today, next on my list are the plastic components.
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Old 31st Jan 2013, 23:19   #3
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Hi guys, not much progress today as I'm currently waiting for my materials to arrive. They should have been here two days ago, hoping for tomorrow or Monday at the latest.

Meanwhile, I made a rough preview for the midplate out of one of the Scan delivery boxes, quite handy as the card is a similar thickness to the acrylic I'll be using too. It's very rough mind, only using it as a size template.




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Old 31st Jan 2013, 23:50   #4
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nice verry nice!
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Old 1st Feb 2013, 01:00   #5
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Thanks Kenny! Considering your amazing acrylic tubing work on your recent projects was what inspired me to get this mod going, that means a lot
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Old 1st Feb 2013, 17:47   #6
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Bit of an annoying set back today, the acrylic tubing arrived, but it's the wrong size! It's still useful stuff to have around, plus not exactly expensive. But that now means I need to order some more, which will again take time. The ID of the tubing I got was simply way too small to go over the 3/8" fittings, I've gone for some with an extra 1/2mm ID instead this time round.
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Old 1st Feb 2013, 22:05   #7
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wow, nice renders.
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Old 2nd Feb 2013, 11:23   #8
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Very nice colour choice on the sleeving, and you're right, you can never have too many pictures of it!
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Old 2nd Feb 2013, 20:12   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Razarach View Post
wow, nice renders.
Thanks! I've found the 3D models to be particularly useful as I can accurately test out different themes/materials on them very easily. Has saves me a lot of hassle so far, especially on the fittings front.

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Originally Posted by morgansk
Very nice colour choice on the sleeving, and you're right, you can never have too many pictures of it!
Cheers, I'm really loving the sleeving atm, it's just so lovely to work with. Good thing about the pictures too as here come some more!

So today I got a load of sleeving done. Given my cables are still inside my current case and computer (the one I'm typing from), progressing in this area is a rather slow experience. Having to remove from one, sleeve then replace into a very cramped and difficult to reach environment is not ideal. Still, looking forward to when a project features completely new hardware, should alleviate that issue.

Now I was supposed to do a proper before and after shot, but I accidentally managed to delete the photo (and it was a great one too, took ages to get right) whilst taking the newer ones

So you'll have to put up with this rubbish one from nearly a year ago, it's the only one I have left of the cable itself before today.


Before:


After:


All sleeved up, looks so much nicer now in comparison to before


Plastics and what not should be on the menu next!
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Old 3rd Feb 2013, 05:34   #10
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Nice
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Old 5th Feb 2013, 19:04   #11
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Nice
Thanks

Right my plastics arrived today, along with the GTX 590 backplates

Here's a shot of the plates, along with a preview for the update tomorrow:




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Old 5th Feb 2013, 20:50   #12
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Nice start. I like you renderings, they look so life like.
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Old 5th Feb 2013, 23:07   #13
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Nice start. I like you renderings, they look so life like.
Cheers man! The renders were made using Cycles render within Blender, so it's all free and available to everybody. I'm really happy with the rendering quality and speed too. Cycles is a physically accurate, GPU-accelerated renderer so those full res shots at the top only took ~5mins each. The only problem is that although the 590's pack a mean punch, the VRAM is really limiting. I ran into problems with my more recent renders that resulted in my whole system crashing multiple times, all down to how the memory usage stomped up to the 1.5GB limit. Really hoping this Nvidia Titan thing is going to prove to be more than just a vaporous rumour, could really use the 6GB of VRAM without having to shell out for workstation cards.
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Old 6th Feb 2013, 15:43   #14
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Hot damn! Those ARE nice renders! Couple it with some solid hardware, modding ideas, and MDPCX, I think this will be a great build!

I've added it to our (NZXT) FB and Reddit pages for you

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Old 6th Feb 2013, 17:43   #15
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Hot damn! Those ARE nice renders! Couple it with some solid hardware, modding ideas, and MDPCX, I think this will be a great build!

I've added it to our (NZXT) FB and Reddit pages for you
Oh my, wow thanks! As a frequent poster in /r/Buildapc and viewer of /r/NZXT, this really means a lot.

And to add, here is a small progress report. Didn't have a huge amount of time sadly today, and powertool-ing after 5pm is a bit rude to those around me. Still, managed to get some work done on the midplate, coming together nicely. It needs a lot of sanding/polishing at this stage, but the shapes are what I had envisioned. You may notice that the shape is slightly different to the one in the renders too. That's because those renders feature an older version of the model that doesn't take into account the drain system. The idea is I'm going to have two drain ports in the upright flange underneath the motherboard. I'll try to update the renders next week, they're significantly slower to make now as the project has exceeded my VRAM capacity, so I'll have to render on the CPU instead.



Here's one with the reservoirs in their rough positions. Naturally they'll be higher up thanks to the pumps underneath.


MY next steps are going to be finishing the midplate to a high enough standard, along with lining up fittings/ports etc. I'm also working on the custom bracket that will hold the reservoirs and pumps in place. The plan atm is to have it 3D printed, may potentially be able to do that tomorrow if I have enough time.

Thanks for all the encouragement guys!
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 15:52   #16
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So just to give people a heads up on where this is going ATM. I've had a bit of a setback with fittings, as my usual places don't have enough of the type I want in stock. I'm hoping the ones I've ordered will be here by the weekend, going with Matte black Bitspower C47 multi-links for the acrylic tube sections. Another set back is that somebody has gone and broken the 3D printer. How they managed that is beyond me, but it's looking like it'll be a while before it's operational again. As a result, instead of custom printing my bracket, I've ordered some Alphacool ones that'll do the job nicely, admittedly they won't be quite as stylish though. Maybe later on, when the printer is repaired, I'll print the custom one and swap the others out.

If all goes well, I'm hoping to have most of the work done this weekend. If deliveries are slow, looking at Tuesday or so.
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 16:06   #17
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This build looks amazing. Really like the renders. My build in my head looks heaps like your build in your renders. We may end up with similar looking rigs by the end of it!

I have a dilemma with mine whether to go all out and fully water cool the rig or just to stick with the CPU for now - having a non reference PSB GPU is hurting now.
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Old 13th Feb 2013, 14:47   #18
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Small update for today, since the parts have been dispatched and are now on their way, I decided to work on the midplate a bit. Sanded down the whole thing to 240 grit, need to get some finer grits though in preparation for polishing. Also added the drain ports in, they're making handy use of one of the cable routing holes.

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Old 14th Feb 2013, 00:17   #19
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Verry nice ! progress i like <3
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 16:53   #20
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Quote:
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This build looks amazing. Really like the renders. My build in my head looks heaps like your build in your renders. We may end up with similar looking rigs by the end of it!

I have a dilemma with mine whether to go all out and fully water cool the rig or just to stick with the CPU for now - having a non reference PSB GPU is hurting now.
Cheers! I should really get round to updating those renders as they're quite out now. The core components are still going to be the same, but they're missing the drain loops, carbon backing, res brackets and extra plates I'm planning on adding. Hell for the GPU you could always just go crazy and opt for a custom block, possibly a difficult job but the results could be seriously awesome. On the other hand you could probably just jazz up a universal block too, could have the backplate custom instead.

Quote:
Originally Posted by K.3nny
Verry nice ! progress i like <3
Thanks, it's not much though atm. Looking forward to the weekend when hopefully I can get some serious work done
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