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Old 3rd Aug 2012, 23:59   #1
epetersson
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Project - Dream Recovery, 3rd August, Completed



Hello boys and girls!

I thought I'd upload my first build log/case mod project log here on bit-tech!

First let me introduce myself. My name is Emil, I come from Sweden. I'm turning 17 years old this month and I'm a technology enthusiast. Technology has always been the thing that I have been interested in and felt really driven towards. Every little gadget I can get my hands on makes me happy as a little child with candy.

Since I was about 10 years old, it has been a dream of mine to build a computer. And in may 2012 I started getting issues and problems with my heart, and I was told by the doctors to stay at home all days long and rest and not do anything what so ever, and to be honest, after a while I got pretty sick of it... So I thought, what better time then now to make my dream come true? That is where the name of the project originates from. Dream, since it has been a big dream of mine for a long time, and recovery because I know doing something I love and enjoy will take my mind of the current situation and therefor help me in my recovery.

Anyway, like I said, what better time to make my dream come true? What I did was I took my savings and bought myself some pretty good components. I had so much fun putting everything together, but it took less than a day and it looked like every other computer and I didn't think it had anything to make it special and ''mine''.

So therefor, I present to you my continued project and my first REAL modding and computer project!
This project will involve case modding, PSU Sleeving and water cooling.

Fractal Design Sponsored me with their awesome full tower case called Define XL. This case is optimized for air-cooling, and not for water-cooling, but that just equals more fun with modding! I will cut open 2 fan holes in the top for 2x 120mm fans, I will remove the plate in the middle of the case and the two hard drive cages in the bottom to be able to fit a 240mm radiator that will be standing in the bottom. I will cut out a window in the side panel with my own design, I will cut in 2 fan holes in the side panels to be able to give the radiator fans some air, and at last drill some holes in the back to be able to mount my reservoir.

I have always been a sucker for design and things that look aesthetically appealing, so I plan on making this build an ''eye candy'' build. This project will have a black/blue and a hint of white theme. I will use blue fans, clear tubing with blue liquid, and of course sleeve my power supply, and I chose to use 550 paracord as my sleeving material.

Alright, so here are my components:
CPU: Intel Core i5 3570K
MOBO: Asus Sabertooth Z77
GPU: Gigabyte Geforce GTX 670 OC 2GB
RAM: 8GB Corsair Vengeance
SSD: 120GB Corsair Force
HDD: Seagate Barracuda 1TB
PSU: Cooler Master GX 750w

Watercooling components:
CPU Waterblock: Ek-Supremacy Nickel Plexi
Radiator: 240mm Alphacool Nexxxos Pro ll
Pump: Phobya DC12-220
Reservoir: Phobya Balancer 150 Black Nickel
Tubing: Transparent Masterkleer 10/16mm
Fittings: Silver 10/16mm Kompression fittings

What to do:
Cut out window and fan holes in sidepanel [X]
Cut out fan holes in top [X]
Remove harddrive cages and middle plate to mount rad in bottom [X]
Make rad-stand [X]
Drill holes to mount reservoir [X]
Repaint chassi [X]
Sleeve powersupply [X]
Install components [X]
Leak-test [X]

Big thanks to Fractal Design for sponsoring me with their awesome Define XL case!


Here we go!

First I thought I'd upload an image of my build looked like at first, as you can see, nothing special..


Now to the build log itself

This is the first idea I had of what the case would look like, funny to see how much this idea evolved to something much better!




Components!

Corsair Vengeance 8GB 1600MHz


Corsair Force SSD 120GB


Intel Core i5 3570k (Ivy Bridge)


Asus Sabertooth Z77


Gigabyte Geforce GTX 670!


I sat at home drawing by hand, trying to come up with a new design for the window. The E.P was an idea I had back then, E.P is the first letters of my name.


Drew the design in Google SketchUp


The fans I ordered! Xigmatek XAF-F1256. I think they look awesome, I like it when the lightning is discrete.

Specs of the fans!
1500 rpm
75.3 CFM
Max 24 dBA
Blue/transparent blades
4 white LEDs




Hmm.. Anyone that love packages as much as me? :P


Package from CDON, contains my 4 fans!


I still can't believe 70m Paracord fitted in that tiny little package..


Bit oversized package for only a water block...


Watercooling!


Xigmatek XAF-F1256



Paracord!


I was afraid that the blue color of the paracord would look very dark, but man it looks amazing!


White!


Black!


Ek-Supremacy Waterblock!


Haha, I even got some candy in the package with the water block!


Watercooling


Pump!


Reservoir:


Radiator:


Feser one UV blue liquid, and tubing!


Enough with boxes... Sleeving time!!


Non modular... Sigh


Breaking and entry!




Inside!


Once again... Sigh


Bad luck strikes everyone, and I accidentally cut a cable that goes to the 24 pin...


But that's nothing a soldering iron and some heat shrink can't fix!


After a few hours, a few accidents and very soar fingertips, I managed to remove and mark all of the pins on the 24-pin connector!


Here's the method I used to sleeve the cables:

I remove the pin with a paperclip:


Then I measure out the paracord to the right length:


Then with a lighter, I melt the loose threads that spreads around:


Then I use some electrical tape before inserting the pin through the paracard, to prevent tangling.


Then I melt the end on the paracord to fasten it around the pin.


Here's a sneak peak of what my messy workstation looked like aswell as the semi-sleeved power supply!


Sata Power!


I was annoyed in my last build, because the SATA connecters had to be turned upside down to fit the connectors, so I flipped the connectors instead!


To be able to sleeve my Molex cables, I had to cut the cords, put the sleeving on and then solder them together again!




After all the sleeving was finished, I had to use my Dremel tool to make the hole bigger, because the cables would not fit


Added some paint!


Here's what it looks like finished! This took me about 35 hours spread out over a few days.. I also removed a SATA cable, and 2 6+2 pin connectors.


20+4pin!


4+4!


6 pin!


Sata Power!


And a random picture


I tried the power supply and it did not work... But after a lot of troubleshooting and a lot of tries the problems was that I had put some pins on the wrong positions but it was easily fixed.


CASE MODDING

This is what the case started out as!


But when it comes to modding, I started with highlighting the size of my acrylic window, so I knew how big the window can be at maximum.


I also highlighted the amount of space needed for the 240mm fan holes.


Here's the window design!


Workstation haha, looks a bit ghetto..




Tools for the side panel mod! Dremel and Jigsaw!


Made the first cut with the dremel, to be able to fit the jigsaw


Window finished, but now time to sand the edges down and make it look pretty


Done!


Now, time for the top fan holes.






BAM!






Now time to drill some rivets out to remove the middle plate and bottom hard drive cages!


Man.. I thought this case looked huge before, it's even bigger now! Or, looks bigger at least


Side panel without fan holes, it looks sweet!


Unfortunately, there where some scratches from the modding of the case..




Same goes with the top..


So what I had to do was repaint it! And since I'm not a painter, this was not easy..

After a hundred tries, I managed to get a great looking layer of paint on the top..


And since I liked the layer so much, I thought I'd put a protective coat of paint over, but that protective coat resulted in not being matt, but glossy. So after a few hours it seemed dry, so I thought I'd sand the protective layer down. Well, bad idea..


But, after a lot of sanding, I managed to get it even. Then I went out and bought some better paint, and then everything went like a charm!

Painted Top!




Side panel, with fan holes, sanded down and getting ready for paint!






PAINTED


Now, more modding!

I made a home made radiator stand!








With side panel on!


I also drilled some holes in the back to be able to mount my reservoir inside the case!


Speaking of reservoirs... Mine was faulty


Problem number one, weird colors inside!




Problem number two, one of the top holes where lacking the possibility to screw anything in!




But this was easily fixed by good customer support and a new one was shipped the same day!

Anyway, back to the case mod. This is what the case looks like when finished! LOVE IT


Component installation time!

i5 3570k mounted on the Asus Sabertooth motherboard!


I wonder what's hiding inside this box..


The awesome EK-Supremacy CPU waterblock! Looks great.




Shiny!


Waterblock mounted!


Top fans mounted


Time to install the motherboard into the case!


Done! Looks great


Storage inside the soaring hard drive cage!


GPU! Gigabyte Geforce GTX 670 2GB Windforce edition




PSU and radiator mounted!




Pump mounted behind the radiator


Remember the holes I drilled for the reservoir?




Time to mount some fittings!






TUBING! Reservoir to pump


Radiator to CPU block


Block to reservoir


Since this is my first water-cooling build, this part was really exciting and fun to do. Time to fill, leak test and bleed the system!


The Feser One liquid looks amazing!













I don't want to say that my project is completed, because there can always be improvements, but for now, I'd say it's 98,5% finished. Here are some pictures of the build up and running! Enjoy!



























I must say that I'm darn proud of myself. I've spent so much time and effort into this project, and it really payed of. It definitely helped me with my recovery from heartissues since it was so much joy around it.
I love the clean look I managed to create, I love the way the colors blend together, I love the overall aesthetics of the project. And I must also say, I'm proud that I dared to use water-cooling, since this is my first real build!

Thanks a lot for checking out my build log! Hope you guys can give me some feedback, since that is something I really feel makes a person grow and become a better (in this case) modder and pc builder! So feel free to comment what you think, doesn't matter if it's good or bad!

Bye for now!

Last edited by epetersson; 10th Aug 2012 at 12:43.
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Old 10th Aug 2012, 12:14   #2
epetersson
What's a Dremel?
 
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Hello again! I'm here to bring you some more pictures of the finished project taken with a better camera! Please post a comment with some feedback. Since this is my first build, I have a lot to learn, so feedback would help me grow as a better modder/builder!
































Last edited by epetersson; 10th Aug 2012 at 13:38.
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Old 10th Aug 2012, 13:00   #3
hoochy
Need moar cooling
 
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Nice build there mate - very similar to my sig rig. It has given me a good opportunity to have a look at how I might be able to watercool my rig when it comes to it. I really like the location for the radiator and the home made stand you created.

What temps are you getting for the CPU?

Any plans to watercool the GPU? Is a EK block available?

I have the R3 case and have seen that a standard sioude panel with window in is available to buy that i'm tempted by, but where my pc sits it would be a bit wasted as you wouldn't see it! Still....
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Old 10th Aug 2012, 13:44   #4
epetersson
What's a Dremel?
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoochy View Post


Nice build there mate - very similar to my sig rig. It has given me a good opportunity to have a look at how I might be able to watercool my rig when it comes to it. I really like the location for the radiator and the home made stand you created.

What temps are you getting for the CPU?

Any plans to watercool the GPU? Is a EK block available?

I have the R3 case and have seen that a standard sioude panel with window in is available to buy that i'm tempted by, but where my pc sits it would be a bit wasted as you wouldn't see it! Still....
Thank you! The rig is great, I love the R2/R3/Define XL series, I think they look so clean!
I'm glad to have given you some inspiration!

So far, my cpu temp has not hit over 31C, even after some benchmarks (Although I have not yet put it at max load for a few hours in a row)

I most definitely want to add water-cooling to the GPU, but it's not possible right now. Yes there is an EK block available, but since my GTX 670 uses the big PCB that GTX 680s use, I would have to get a GTX 680 block!

Don't buy a side-panel with a window already cut out! Much more fun if you do the modding yourself, you'll appreciate it a lot more.
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Old 19th Apr 2013, 12:22   #5
ProZac
What's a Dremel?
 
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Nice build
I had the same case as this, but just changed for the XL R2 version
Btw, you do know that the white HDD trays already have holes to fasten SSD disks? Saw u where using extra brackets to hold it in place

Anyway, great work and work log, hope you will continue and expand the watercooling to get the GPU and so
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Old 19th Apr 2013, 14:13   #6
Darkwisdom
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Really nice. I also have a soft spot for the Heatshrinkless Cable sleeving. I think you should've taken a little more time though, you can see quite a few burn marks where you've probably held the lighter a little too close to the paracord. You've used a little too much heatshrink on those sata cables too.

The rest looks great; although a GPU block would've finished it off =p
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