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Old 12th Feb 2013, 09:06   #1
Elenos
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Project Azura - NZXT 810 Switch (white) Updated:25/02/2013 by Elenos

Project Azura

I googled Azura and got all sorts of things about the blue of the sky and the mix of blue sky and white clouds which is a hint at the colour scheme. I then image searched and came up with a load of cruise liners This is not a cruise liner!

I better say a quick hello. This is my first post and coincidentally my first major mod project. I have been building my own PC's for about 10 years but have never taken the time to mod or personalize them in any way. I am hoping that this project turns out to be something powerful, minimalist and beautiful. This is also my first crack at watercooling and having read what feels like every article on watercooling under the sun, hopefully I have some idea of what I have let myself in for!

The project should speak for itself so onto the build.

Current Specs:
Case: Thermaltake Armor+ Silver
PSU: Enermax 850W
Mobo: Asus P8P67-M Pro
CPU: Intel Core i5-2500K
RAM: Corsair XMS 16GB
GPU: MSI GeForce GTX 670 OC Twin Frozr Power Edition
Storage: Crucial Real SSD M4 128GB
Storage: HDD 500 GB
Storage: 2 TB
CPU cooler: Scythe Mugen 3
Displays: 2x Asus 24" 1 x Asus 23"
The hardware is pretty good - room for a few tweaks and upgrades here and there - but the case is huge and heavy, it doesn't fit on or under the desk so has to sit next to it! I did some research and found some great mods with similar themes to my own by joejoe69 over on the corsair forums Project Cobalt Corsair Carbide 500R and by seongishere Corsair Obsidian 650D watercooled.

Reading through their project logs they seemed to "switch" (pun intended) to the NZXT 810 Switch case as a further mod or expansion so this was my place to start.

Edit:
Bought and arrived
NZXT 810 Switch case in white.
XSPC RX360 Radiator
Alphacool VP655 pump
Bitspower Mod Kit
Bitspower D5 mod top V2 Extreme
Phobya balancer 150 reservoir Black Nickel
XSPC Raystorm CPU water block
BitFenix Recon fan controller
EK compression fittings Black Nickel 1/2" - 3/4"
3m Primochill tubing
1 litre Mayhems Pastel Blue
Bitspower Mod kit
2x 500mm x 500mm white acrylic
1x 500mm x 500mm clear acrylic
2x 200mm x 200mm white acrlic
1x 200mm x 200mm clear acrylic
Various thread extender and thread changer fittings.
I let the moths out of my wallet and this is what turned up.













There's more arriving in the post but when it arrives I will add it here.
For structure - the modding takes place in the following posts.

Last edited by Elenos; 25th Feb 2013 at 16:24.
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 13:44   #2
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The Radiator




XSPC RX360 Radiator in black.
All the guides tell you to wash out the rads first so I did that using this.



And this is what came out!!



All sorts of crud. This was after about 5 washes, so I did another 5 and they all came out clear.

Black doesnít really suit my theme Ė especially this amount of black. Thankfully Hayling Laser Sailor over on Aria PC forums Project Switch 810 has written a great guide on how to get a good spray coat finish on metal work. The steps are spread out over a number of posts with helpful images so well worth a look, but I will summarise them here. All credit to Hayling Laser Sailor but the images are my own.

Step 1: Spend plenty of time covering the fins, A5 paper is the best size for this with the edge folded over, then stick it down where necessary with masking tape, as it is nice and easy to remove. Make sure you cover all the fins, so you can no longer see them, for the G1/4" fittings,I just rolled up half a sheet of A5 and stuck them down the threads to prevent them getting covered in paint.



Charlie Bunny making sure I did a good job


But he got grumpy when I took his chewy sticks of paper away

Step 2: Use a very fine sandpaper preferably worn already and rub the surface of the radiator all over to allow the new primer to key to the surface. Make sure this is done well as if this isn't done well the new primer may not key to the surface. Then get you finest towel and give it a good wipe over to remove the dust ready for the new primer (don't actually use your finest towel, fine something dirty and old)



Step 3: Find a method of hanging the radiator to spray it and cover the surrounding area. This should be outdoors or somewhere with good ventilation. I used a pair of pliers and a paper-clip to go through one of the M3 holes and then tied it up using a piece of string. Works perfectly.


Note the paperclip top right

Step 4: Get your primer and give it a good shake making sure the contents are well mixed and fluid. Then spray your radiator with the most awkward bits first (All of the edges, end tanks and around the threads) then paint the rest of the radiator from top to bottom, ideally keeping it in lines where possible. Apply from a 20-30cm distance and apply thinly, lots of passes with less is better than one with lots causing runs. Try to avoid going over the same area numerous times within a short period. Keep going until the original colour can no longer be seen. If you happen to get something on the radiator, leave it until the radiator is dry before you try and remove it. This took me a good 30 min to do, however I have done this before, take your time if it is your first time. (Elenos Ė It took me 40 minutes)





Step 5: Make sure the radiator is completely covered and leave hanging to dry. The paint says 30min to 1hr to dry however I would leave it overnight before the next step.

Step 6: Get a clean piece of sandpaper, I am using grade 400, and give the radiator a few light passes all over to remove any imperfections. You should be left with the primer still on there looking slightly scuffed up but with a very smooth finish. If you are taking primer off you are pressing to hard! You need the lightest of passes 1/2 should do it fine. Get your towel again and wipe it down to remove any dust and other rubbish.

Step 7: Before you start painting, check to see if any areas are less well covered than others and check that your first coat has covered everything. Get you 2nd can of primer and ensure it it shaken well, then apply as before in a line motion, starting with any areas that maybe didn't get a great covering then the edges etc, be sure not to touch the radiator when it is wet. If you happen to get runs, you are spraying too close, but leave them as you may well remove the lower layer of paint if you try to take it off. Spray all over the radiator to ensure every part is covered with enough primer. Then leave the radiator to dry again, again I recommend over night or a good 8hrs to ensure the paint is dry and hard enough to lightly sand.

Step 8: After applying the 2nd coat of primer repeat the processes that I did before applying the 2nd primer coat give it a very light rub down to remove any imperfections and to make it extremely smooth. Then give it a wipe down to remove any sanding dust etc. Give your white gloss a good shake and apply in the same way as before, however gloss paint will run easier so apply thin coats about 30 minutes apart, I gave it 4 coats out of a 300ml can. Then once again leave hanging to dry for a good 8 hrs, do not touch it during this time.

Step 9: Get your lacquer and keep it inside to prevent the lacquer getting cold. Especially this time of year this is very important. I used a fan heater to heat up the radiator surface and the room, a long slow heat is much better than a fast very hot heat. Allow the radiator to warm up making it not cold to the touch. This is also very important all year round if you want to prevent blooming which will ruin your finish and you will need to remove the lacquer after it has dried and start again. The lacquer is what gives the finish that wet look (makes it look even more awesome than gloss alone) . Give it a good shake and apply with extremely thin coats about 10-15 minutes apart. I have done 5 coats at 15 minutes apart and it looks amazing. Keep the environment warm for the next 1hr or so to prevent the lacquer blooming. By this time the lacquer should be dry but avoid touching it, bring it inside to harden off and leave for 2-3 days to allow the finish to harden, without touching it. Lacquer is even worse for running than gloss so apply very thinly but often to build up the finish.





And fully revealed



Itís snowing here so not the best light.

Really pleased with the outcome it should set the case off really well. Some of the paint is a bit grainy and I put that partly down to my inexperience, the poor light levels, the fact it was snowing and the cheap paint. Also for some reason I decided to wear a woolen jumper when doing a coat of the lacquer and there is a very fine strand in one of the coats that will forever be preserved on my radiator Itís on the bit that hides in the HDD bay so no bother there.
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 14:07   #3
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Breaking down the case and Initial fit up

The NZXT 810 Switch is beautiful. The contrast of white on black is really striking and the black is minimalist enough to not be overpowering. There are a lot of more arty pics than anything I can reproduce in my living room but I wanted to pickup a couple of features that I found really nice.




Firstly itís the detachable front with fan filter and the free 140mm fan you get with space to mount another. This area at the front is either ideal HDD cooling or 240mm Rad territory for the future.



The two bottom drive caddies are only held in with screws so are easy to remove. They have a bracket system top and bottom that lets them slide in as one unit and makes them really secure when screwed in. The sliding bracket is removable too. There are two swivel fan mounts for directing air along your GPU or towards your CPU cooler. Also another free fan.
In some later pictures you will see these drives removed and the space that opens up.



This sliding drive bay that leads out the front of the case is really nice too with connections on the back. The whole sliding tray can be removed for any monster bay reservoirs you may have.



Top exhaust and Rear exhaust fans (another 2 free fans!)



The cable routing on the back is factory shipped but I will neaten that up in due course. See the little black board in the middle?



Ok you can see it now. A nice power splitter for up to 7 fans. No need to have loads of cable splitters all over the place.



A huge space under the top of the case for even a 60mm thick rad and then room on top for three fans to sit just above the case. This area is covered over by a louvered set of plastic fins.

Fitting the Radiator

Ok I checked the radiator before painting it as I wanted some sort of modding to take precedence in this thread. The first thing I had to check out was the fitment of the rad and how much of the 5.25Ē bays I was going to lose once it was in.



The short answer here was ďa fair bitĒ You couldnít fit a drive into either of these bays as the depth just isnít available any more. Thankfully I had a cunning plan.



This fan controller from bitfenix not only suits the colour scheme really well but also can be controlled via the web or a smartphone. I was a bit concerned with how much room there would be behind the controller once it was fitted so I popped it in with a couple of screws and then had a look round the back.



Everything fits in but cable management in there is going to be a problem Ė particularly if I go push pull with the fans.



This shot is looking through the tiny gap in between the drive bays. The bit on the left is the rad.

The last job of the weekend was to have a look at the reservoir and see where it might fit.



The thing isnít tall enough for the brackets to spawn one of the rubber grommets vertically. It is a pretty snug fit in the holder though but itís made of metal and therefore rather heavy. Will the weight of the liquid make it move? I donít have enough stops to plug up the four holes at the bottom and find out but I did put some water in it to test the top and bottom screw seals. Theyíre water tight

By this stage my faithful assistant had given up and started watching Heroes Ö




The rest of the hardware is still in a complete rig and will probably stay that way until the case mods are all done - no point breaking up a working PC at this stage. I do not to measure up though and work out how much space to leave for things.
I do have a bit of a dilemma facing me though. I originally intended this build to be in two phases. The first phase was a watercooling loop for the cpu and the second phase would include the GPU(s).

A couple of issues with that:
i) The P8P67-M Pro will only run SLI at x8/x8 speeds rather than x16/x16
ii) The MSI gtx 670 power edition is a non reference PCB design so there are no waterblocks to fit.
iii) Sitting and thinking about the water loop Ė anything that doesnít involve the GPU is going to look really messy. I can hide one of the lines from the rad behind the rad itself to try and help. The ultimate goal for me is a bottom mounted 240mm rad with a mid tray to hide it all.
So the dilemma is whether to go for a 2 phase approach or just to bite the bullet and do it all now.

Also realised that the 4 free fans supplied with my case will do nothing for the 120mm mounting holes on the radiator - time to go hunting for something appropriate. The key is silence rather than beastly performance at this stage.
Next time I hope to have some more parts to show and will have sketched out the interior. Stay tuned!
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Old 12th Feb 2013, 14:54   #4
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Nice looking gear! Be sure to keep us updated as you progress!
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Old 14th Feb 2013, 13:39   #5
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Wow all three posts were supposed to come on the same day. Forgot about the forum moderators needing to proof it all first. Hopefully that is all behind me now. Let the modding continue.
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 20:15   #6
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That rad looks amazing! Like it came from the manufacturer in white or atleast done by a pro!
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Old 15th Feb 2013, 22:52   #7
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Originally Posted by AverageNinja View Post
That rad looks amazing! Like it came from the manufacturer in white or atleast done by a pro!
Thanks man! The most spray paint I've ever done is base coating plastic models. Really pleased with it though.

The blue sleeving I bought is too dark. Pics sometime...

Might have to contact Nils and get the proper stuff.

Last edited by Elenos; 18th Feb 2013 at 10:35.
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Old 16th Feb 2013, 21:57   #8
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Stripping down the current rig & New arrivals.

Made a fair bit of planning progress today. Charlie decided to eat through the main power of my rig last night and tripped out the shower feed at the main consumer unit - strange electrics. He was a bit dazed for a while but some carrot flavored treats sorted him out.

With the rig out of action for a bit it seemed like a good excuse to break it down and get it cleaned up and then measure some of the parts and plan how they will fit. Some pics will explain my thoughts along the way.







Its like a jungle in there.



The mobo screw in the centre of the pic decided to unscrew the standoff rather than unscrew from the standoff - this made the screw spin and made it a lot harder to take out.



Time for a quick clean - nothing pics up dust like an inquisitive rabbit.







The inside of the PSU - this was literally caked in dust and crud before I attacked it with a soft brush. It's over 5 years old so no qualms about voiding warranties here.



This is how the cable sleeving is held on inside the PSU - should be easy to swap this out with other sleeving.



Just so many cables coming out of here already and so much room for expansion - I think I had only one modular cable fitted to give me some extra SATA power connectors.

The parts are all now carefully laid out on my dining table while I measure them all up and draw them up. I did have a package arrive yesterday though and before I could open it someone thought it was Christmas again...



And inside the 9 miles of bubble wrap was this:



So I started measuring up and creating a template to see where I want it to fit.



I also made a template for the Midplate cover and the HDD cage cover and transferred these over onto the acrylic. I bought the acrylic from sheetplastics and they left a note inside asking me to tell them if I will be doing anything too wacky with it... we shall see.

I made a trip over to a mates house today to rob his supply of Blue LED's as well as a soldering iron and a heat gun (Cheers Husky).

Without time to cut the acrylic tonight or the light to take better photos I did some more planning using the measurements that I had taken - just to make sure it will all fit in the case. The case is huge so no problem there but the 1/2" - 3/4" tubing is pretty chunky and tubing runs need to be thought about.



I've borrowed an idea here from Adi to mount my SSD's in a clever place. Some of the items in the picture are for future expansion but just planning them in here. Still not sure whether to just do a cpu loop and then do a GPU later or do it all at once.

I had a practice fit with the reservoir and some tubing and whilst trying to tighten one of the EK compression fittings I managed to slice my hand and finger open in several places. The barb on the fitting has a slot cut in the top which if you grab it just right takes 2 layers of skin off your hand without you noticing. Not fun.

I was planning to talk about cable sleeving and the kit that I bought but without pics it won't make much sense. Better light tomorrow means more pics. So until then. Sleep tight.
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Old 17th Feb 2013, 20:07   #9
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White out!

Mini update this evening just to talk about some of the progress from yesterday and show what I achieved this afternoon. Yesterday was all about making cardboard templates for the areas to be covered by acrylic. Today I transferred the marks onto the sheets and started cutting.

I am now a proud member of the Dremel club

I used a normal Jack saw for most of the long straight cuts. It is probably now very blunt and the edge will need a fair bit of smoothing but for long straight cuts I can't beat it. I used the Dremel cutting disc to do some of the smaller cuts and the sanding drum to smooth off some of the long cuts.

I created a jig to make the bends in the acrylic using a length of 4x2 as a base, the acrylic on this overhanging the edge, and a small piece of baton with a quick clamp either end to keep it in place. As all the bends are all 90 degrees and perpendicular to the long edge (trying to make boxes) I used a set square to line up the acrylic before clamping it down.

To make the bends I used a heat gun, the sort you use to strip paint with, turned it up to full and made passes across the material until it started to droop on its own. When it gets really floppy I pressed a flat piece of wood against the bend to make a crisp 90 degrees and held it there for 30 seconds to let the bend stick.

With the heat gun it is possible to burn the material and for sap to come out of the wood and stain the acrylic. Try to avoid this but if it does happen to you, I was able to polish it out with a soft cloth and some Pledge - I guess any polish will do.

The end result looks a bit like this.







The backboard is a great fit and should look really good when it has its finishing touches. I have marked out the cpu backplate cut out and will use this as the datum point for cable holes.

The midplate is slightly too deep on the top side - I measured it to the back of the case without the backboard in so its 3mm too big. This was the rough edge anyway and needed smoothing.

The drive bay cover will hold two SSD's so it needs some cable holes as well.

I spent a long while figuring out where all the fan controller wires will go and where the 2 HDD and dvd drive cables will run to keep them out of site. Thankfully there are some slots in the top drive bay I can use so I will widen these out with the Dremel and smooth them off and use that as primary cable routing.

Should be more presents to come in the post and should make more progress with the acrylic this week.
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Old 18th Feb 2013, 10:34   #10
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Originally Posted by XNine View Post
Nice looking gear! Be sure to keep us updated as you progress!
Thanks XNine. The 810 Switch in white seems to be pretty popular right now Certainly see NZXT representing on these forums in a lot of builds!
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Old 20th Feb 2013, 15:13   #11
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That's some pretty interesting work on the acrylic. I never though about using a heatgun like that, but it makes total sense. Can I ask why acrylic over say, aluminum? Not that one or the other is better, I'm just wondering what your choice was made by.

I find that a lot of the mor ein-depth builds (not just NZXT, but all mods/builds) are here on Bit-tech, so it's a pleasure being part of the community and learning from everyone.
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Old 21st Feb 2013, 13:24   #12
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Really enjoying the build so far and looking forward to the next update
Love Charlie BTW
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Old 21st Feb 2013, 14:58   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Elenos View Post
White out!

Mini update this evening just to talk about some of the progress from yesterday and show what I achieved this afternoon. Yesterday was all about making cardboard templates for the areas to be covered by acrylic. Today I transferred the marks onto the sheets and started cutting.

The end result looks a bit like this.

Should be more presents to come in the post and should make more progress with the acrylic this week.
Nice work! I also have a Switch 810 and was thinking of making an acrylic PSU cover. What dimensions did you use for yours, if I may ask?
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Old 25th Feb 2013, 16:11   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XNine View Post
That's some pretty interesting work on the acrylic. I never though about using a heatgun like that, but it makes total sense. Can I ask why acrylic over say, aluminum? Not that one or the other is better, I'm just wondering what your choice was made by.

I find that a lot of the mor ein-depth builds (not just NZXT, but all mods/builds) are here on Bit-tech, so it's a pleasure being part of the community and learning from everyone.
Thanks XNine. I have a bit more experience with plastic than with metal - I tend to shred my hands open on metal work! Also acrylic gives you that deep colour painted finish right from the outset so you know what you are going to get out of the build before you start.

It has its downfalls though. Drilling with too sharp a drill bit causes the surface to fracture - it can be very brittle - and sawing needs to be done slowly and with a very fine tooth blade!


Quote:
Really enjoying the build so far and looking forward to the next update
Love Charlie BTW

Hehe Charlie loves helping with the cabling. I had to shut him in his hutch whilst all these LED's were sorted out - he just couldn't leave them alone!

Quote:
Nice work! I also have a Switch 810 and was thinking of making an acrylic PSU cover. What dimensions did you use for yours, if I may ask?
The depth is 250mm with a bend at 100mm. The length is the length of the sheet 500mm (give or take). Easier to measure what fits in your case. I put a backboard in but forgot to measure this and had to chop a bit off the back of the PSU cover to make it fit - easy to rectify.

Not sure how it will get attached to the case or how to strengthen it to sit the pump on top etiher!

Mobo Management


Some new stuff has arrived; I have worked a bit on the SSD caddy and the backboard; The fit up of components is going well :-)

I start this post with some sketching out














And then set to work cutting this out with a . circular cutting discs do not square holes make .









The cuts required a fair bit of work to get them straight and smooth and they still aren't worth looking at . Luckily a good friend has a scroll saw So i can make some hole caps to cover them up .


The idea is to have a nice glow behind these holes so I lined up some LEDs














Wired them up
















Added some tails and insulation

















and will connect these up to the FAN/LED controller when the right connectors arrive .









Some new toys have arrived
























And some new art supplies Thanks Nils!













More to come plus some "assembly" shots :-)

Last edited by Elenos; 25th Feb 2013 at 16:21.
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Old 28th Feb 2013, 16:54   #15
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Looking good
Can't wait for the next update (Including Charlie or not)
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