Case Mod - In Progress ⭐ ALUMIA by JR23

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by JR23, 18 Jul 2017.

  1. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    Welcome to project ALUMIA, originating around EK's new all aluminium Fluid Gaming kits which informed and reinforced the deeply rooted theme of Auto Union Grand Prix cars. However it won't be a 'themed' build in the commonly accepted sense, I have no intentions of building an augmentation between a race car and a PC. Instead it will be a sympathetic reflection of the cars materiality, purpose and craft.

    This build will eventually be a successor to my previous system alphaclass, with an excessive amount of GPU prowess to comfortably push 4k. That way I can relieve Chocolate Box of daily duties and return it to rapid deployment LAN status. Using a single GPU system every day is wearing thin having had SLI since I built my first PC so i'll definitely be stepping back up. Perhaps not to quad again, an appropriate balance between raw power and VRAM needs to be reached. Following graphical power acoustics are by far the most important characteristic for me so i've held back my excellent Essence STX and a pair of Aquaero's to keep all the rotational devices in check.

    CPU - Intel i7-7700k @5.2GHz
    Motherboard - EVGA Z270 Classified K
    RAM - TG Xtreem 4x8GB 4133C18 "8 Pack Edition"
    GPU - Nvidia GEFORCE GTX 1080 Ti x2
    Audio - ASUS Xonar Essence STX
    SSD - HyperX Predator M.2 960GB x2
    PSU - EVGA Supernova 1000T2
    Case - Caselabs Bullet BH7
    Fans - Noctua NF-F12 iPPC 24v 3000 x4
    Controller - Aquaero 5 LT x2
    Watercooling - EK Fluid Gaming A240G x2

    I - Inspiration
    II - Classy K
    III - EK A240G
    IV - HR-07 Duo
    V - HyperX M.2
    VI - GTX 1080Ti
    VII - Bullet BH7
    VIII - Schlauchbinder
    IX - ...

    JR​
     
    Last edited: 19 Aug 2017
  2. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    I - Inspiration

    I can't exactly remember if it was the Auto Unions which came to mind when I heard EK would be making aluminium components or if I hounded EK into sending me aluminium components because they would be a great fit for an Auto Union build. The important thing is the result and I now have the joyous task of reproducing what I have envisaged. So to start things off i'd like to familiarize everyone with the beautiful 1939 Auto Union Type D twin-supercharger.

    (Unfortunately these aren't my photographs, I believe credit goes to Audi themselves)

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    When building PC's we often try to reduce the different finishes, metals and textures visible to a minimum in favour of consistency and colour. Yet the variety and harmony of so many different and purposeful elements on display within the engine compartment is exceptional here. Cast, machined, polished, painted and tarnished surfaces all co-exist elegantly. There are no philips or allen head screws, just slotted, hexagon nuts and bolts everywhere. Nothing is bonded or welded, just rivets and fringes of copper gaskets. Not to mention the louvres and drilling.

    JR​
     
    Last edited: 20 Jul 2017
  3. MLyons

    MLyons Half doge/ half dev Staff Administrator Super Moderator Moderator

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    Might want to remove the text colour formatting from the text like I've done to "JR" at the bottom so it renders properly on all styles.
     
  4. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    Yep, I see it now, no idea where i'd pulled that font from but it looks consistent now. We will make it eventually and it will be glorious :)
     
  5. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    II - Classy K

    Now we could just look at cars all day, but I get the feeling at least some of you would rather see hardware. The Z270 Classy K really chose itself as soon as I saw EK's parts, I did wait out all of Computex to see if they would bring this aesthetic over to X299 but i'm glad that didn't happen actually as this has just the right amount of slots for me to completely fill out.

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    With the first major piece in my hands most of the remaining hardware choices have been locked down and are on the way. I've even decided on a case which I ordered from a shop (weird), using some kind of currency! So strange, it's been so long since it worked like this. Don't worry though, i'm sure the Parvum team will get involved when there is machining to do and dankness to be added.

    JR​
     
  6. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    III - EK A240G

    Last week many packages arrived but before having a chance to properly unbox them I had to head away to Beauleiu for the weekend. But on the plus side I did encounter several relevant cars in the motor museum so once again lets start with some automotive inspiration, this time my pics too! Firstly this 2010 McLaren Mercedes MP4/21 in it's very German livery.

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    Also relatively recent was this straight six Honda CBX motorcycle, I disapprove of the *JIS head screws however the castings, chrome, bright silver paint and black frame were an instant reminder.

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    Perhaps sharing the most similarities was the 1930 Bentley 4.5 Litre Supercharged with it's humongous blower and drum brakes, no doubt slightly on the heavy side knowing British engineering of that period.

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    By far my favourite car on display this 1935 Auburn 851 Speedster, maybe followed up by the Gulf 917.

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    Just wandering among the former land speed record holders when the lights came up over this 1920 Sunbeam 350hp and I noticed the fan positioned ahead of the radiator. How original that fitment is i'm not sure, at speed it would seem redundant but an instant trigger back to the land of PC's.

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    And of course what was waiting for me to open when I returned home.

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    Just like in other EK-Kits i've had lots of normal retail boxes and some rather more interesting mystery boxes.

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    Like this spooky water block.

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    And the unmarked box of many things.

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    The second layer was just a bit more eventful with this awesome Alu Supremacy, not quite an MX duplicate I was pleasantly surprised.

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    Cheeky SPC always welcome, these things are so quiet and compact.

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    Right, what's left. What haven't we seen yet...

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    Ooooh a block and a backplate!

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    Many many things from just one of these little boxes. Each piece so neatly formed.

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    Right lets take a look at the stuff with the board, whiiich is about the only thing I have, no CPU :(

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    An epic match though.

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  7. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    Right time to get a whole lot more abstract with the photography as we explore this new GPU block. I mean, all the other parts are excellent but this really is a significant and impressive piece of engineering. I saw a prototype many months ago, I liked it instantly but didn't look too hard, the cavities were interesting and the compound angles achieved on the edges were really special. But it wasn't until I looked straight through that I realized it was an extrusion, no parallel boxes but epicly inclined planes and edges... take a really close look.

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    Also really could not match the board finish and style any better at all.

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    One minor oddity were the little acetal stop plugs, I expected aluminium versions of the conventional EK plug but also pleased they were slotted, just in case I do end up using them.

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    So much hype now, I just want all the bits!

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    Just to accelerate things I found all my old parts and cleaned them up.

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    Perfect gold, another accent for the plethora of metals on show. I've had it so long now little parts of the coating are wearing where it fits into cases, looks just like it's been through a season of races.

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    One thing that became increasingly apparent today was that everything is very black, perhaps a disproportionate amount of silver so something my have to get re-finished or remade. Essence shroud, IO shroud and GPU backplates are likely candidates. I'll keep a close eye on the overall balance of things. It's quite easy to add bright plated items but some rough cast textures will be needed.

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    And two Aquaero 5 LT's equipped with heatsinks, how i'll use both i'm not sure, maybe I won't. But they are ready when needed, the de-stickered look certainly helps too.

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    And finally some much needed rough alu on the heatsinks.

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    Lastly a little MDPC-X, well. You know how it is if you get over 3 times more than you actually need in the hypothetical scenario where you decide to do every wire all one colour. Plus it's a great price per metre and one day it could be very useful. So 100m of Copper Brown, 100m of Shade 19 and 100m of Black. Not gonna lie, MDPC-X is just the best retail therapy possible after becoming hardened to new hardware releases.

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    Well that's a whole load more stuff than I had last week, lets see what comes this week!

    JR​
     
  8. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    IV - HR-07 Duo

    Welp it's late but i'm way too hyped about this update, somehow I don't think many people will be expecting this! What you're about to witness is straight out of 2009, discontinued long before DDR4 was even rumored and actually ridiculously hard to locate. Despite that this morning a pristine package from Czechoslovakia arrived at my door containing a factory fresh set of Thermalright HR-07 Duo Type H and Type L memory heatsinks!

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    Pretty sure these have always been completely pointless and even way back less desirable than the classic Dominator GT's... which is exactly why I was so excited to find them.

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    They don't exactly have any styling, no branding either, just two heatpipes and a fin stack, literally what you expect of a memory heatsink.

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    Might be jumping the gun a little here as I don't yet have the RAM for this build buuuut i'm still gonna try out a few configs. I bought one of each type purely because I was unsure which would look right.

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    L-L

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    I was planning to run two tasty 8GB B die DIMM's but seeing all 4 heatsinks woven together by 8 heatpipes, I think I need all 4!

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    Yes, exactly right, looking good against the copper brown MDPC-X too. Still finding it hard to believe they really arrived!

    JR​
     
  9. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    V - HyperX M.2

    No big packages in the mail yet, just these awesome little guys. Well, not this exact one actually, I decided to move my 960GB Predator into this build and pop the new 480GB into my R1.0 as these will be the only drives used in this build. I think. Unless I need to fill a space out with 3.5"'s.

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    Also got these M.2 heatsinks a few weeks ago, back when EK definitely weren't going to make M.2 coolers!

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    The original black finish was slightly glossier than the board and it didn't really fit, so I sanded most of it off to get this... not quite all of it because I wanted to try a slightly dirty look.

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    One thing to note is that the clips did not fit around the double sided HyperX Predators, for now they are just 'in place' but i'll use some adhesive thermal pads once i've decided.

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    I'm quite pleased with the outcome although not entirely certain, what do you guys think? I'm considering trying the nickel plated EK ones, or their black ones, or fully chemically stripping them, or sandblasting them to a duller finish... so many options now!

    JR​
     
  10. HackJoe

    HackJoe Active Member

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    Loving this! you've gone heavy with the photos this time round, I like it. Great to see those old RAM sinks on build this side of 2004. What do you think the EK ALU kits?

    J.
     
  11. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    Every time I update Chocolate Box it becomes a new standard as far as photography, edits and presentation goes for me. Then everything after has to match that level so it's certainly going to be fun staying on top of it for this entire log. Plus it's my first kinda official casemod since the 750D, weird uncertain stuff lies ahead!

    I've not actually used the Alu parts yet, if I get the CPU before I start breaking the case then maybe i'll try out a loop with one whole A240G kit, EK did ask me to do that, but nyeaaah, might do. But in terms of impressions and close inspection they are absolutely awesome, a lot of care has been taken to make it feel like a true set. The Supremacy-AX for example, it's not just an MX plexi piece, MX cover and MX bracket with an Alu base instead of copper. Instead all the finishes match properly, match the GPU block and in the most minimal EK way possible it all has a unique identity. The GPU block is an absolute highlight however, the extrusion implementation is sublime.

    Reservations would be as always 10/13mm tube just shouldn't exist and the terminal cover is a bit unnecessary, it feels like a very Californian addition rather than a Slovenian refinement so to speak. It actually works with the Alu design much better than the standard blocks but as a thing it just doesn't belong 100%. That being said I think new users will like it and they will also appreciate how much easier 10/13mm is to cut and assemble.


    Anyway I digress as a cost considered entry point to watercooling I think the A240G makes more sense than any other kit, any AIO or any expandable 'system' the market has seen so far. And I also think people will snap them up as a bit of an alternative toy among the modding community just as a change from playing with heavy expensive copper.

    JR
     
  12. Vault-Tec

    Vault-Tec Green Plastic Watering Can

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    I like the idea of this. Reminds me of Boyd Coddington's "Alumatub" where they basically built a scratch built hot rod using as much alu as they could.

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    It was freaking beautiful.
     
  13. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    VI - GTX 1080Ti

    Many thanks to Nvidia USA for these big graphics doggos and Nvidia UK for passing them on, I was quite surprised when they arrived at Parvum on Friday morning! It now feels like i'm well past half way to acquiring all of the parts now, such progress.

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    Oh not you again FE!

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    Many many microscopic screws later...

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    Very much like my Titan X Pascal, aside an absent memory IC and DVI, however great to see all of the power phases filled in with VRM's.

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    Time to build it back up lighter and faster...

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    We'll take a much better look at the blocked cards soon, I got a new phone on Saturday so bartering with EE and playing with that put me a day behind on taking pics. Hopefully I can build some things up in the case and start developing a plan tomorrow.

    JR​
     
  14. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    VII - Bullet BH7

    I said something about a case soon I know but I had to see how the cards looked on the board, just because all that brushed black aluminium together.

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    Ok, now maybe just a little look at the case too, USA! The third major part to be sent from California, well not to me, I got it from Romania.

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    I don't plan to keep the powder coat, so I thought it most appropriate that it should start off white just like the silver arrows.

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    Now time to start thinking what to do with it, most urgently I need to find space for rads and there just so happens to be a huge well ventilated and isolated chamber ready to go. Even a little extra width for some other stuff next to the PSU.

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    The E-ATX Classified drops in no problem, sort of.

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    In front of the motherboard tray there was an extra little cable tidy which fitted back in the wrong way around quite neatly.

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    The first placement i'm 100% set on! The Aquaero's have definitely got to go up here at the back.

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    And the second 240mm radiator quite logically placed in the front.

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    Some things that definitely won't be positioned as anyone anticipated are the USB3.0 and auxiliary PCIe power, because i'm pretty sure they won't fit inside the case. Starting to make 7-slot seem weird, but i'm all about saving space and not having USB headers.

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    RAD > CPU > GPU

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    Missed until now, EK's very stealthy backplates.

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  15. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    So, I think that's all the things

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    Yeah, definitely no chance of front fans while using standard length cards, i'd say getting a flat front bracket cut and countersinking the rad screws might just net enough space for slim fans.

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    Definitely do need all 4 memory heatsinks, the hierarchy is just right.

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    So a lot of things i'm starting to figure out, pump/reservoir placement not so much, maybe infront of the PSU. To actually fit front fans and have room to route tubing i'm definitely going to need to extend the case just a bit. I knew that all along and I do desperately want to get rid of the windows and hideous holes for handles that ruin the look of the case. Thanks handle people, you killed it for everyone. But then do I make it significantly longer to fit a 360 and start putting parts inbetween the motherboard and the radiator. Many decisions to go...

    JR​
     
  16. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    VIII - Schlauchbinder

    Hello bit-tech! Please excuse the lack of chronological integrity in the previous few posts, as of this point you are all fully up to speed. Apologies, there were a few technical *ahem* obstacles but we are all synchronized now. :)

    Time for a very peculiar installment, I was hoping to have a little more design work done but i've been relentlessly busy with work away from home. Sooo instead just lots of weird stuff. Last weekend Dave from bit-tech came over to nosey around my place and chat modding (go find the article on my social media). Anyway he was desperate to play with my lathe so I set him up doing something useful!

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    For now the ACF style 10/13mm fittings are EK's only aluminium offering, 13mm OD was a limitation I really didn't want on this project as EK don't have a ZMT that small and it's just too thin walled for my liking. So my plan was to turn off the compression ring threads and use them as simple barbs.

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    Off to the shed me and Dave went! Using an old pass through fitting to easily hold them true in the chuck without risk of damaging the 1/4" threads.

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    With and without threads removed. I didn't take off all the material purposefully to make sure the tubing didn't flare over the taper and bunch back in.

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    It's me! Doing a concentrate.

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    Mine and Dave's completed EK Aluminum 10mm barbs!

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    Conveniently enough to try out one tubing run.

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    Right, now the weirdness of me appearing in my own project log is over lets move on to my equally odd mail.

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    If memory heatsinks weren't a significant throwback today we are going way further to a style of hose clamp popular 50 or more years ago. I was inspecting the hose clamps of the Auto Unions best I could in photographs and noticed they were far from the screw/gear/srping types typically used today. The closest ones I stumbled across belonged to early Mercedes W113 SL's moments before contacting Mercedes classic parts I found these on a website in the Netherlands.

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    Surprisingly simple they consist of a small buckle, a cotter pin and a roll of thin steel ribbon which can be cut to any length.

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    With a scrap of 10/16mm ZMT I tried one out, first the ribbon is folded over the buckle. then wrapped around the tube once and under the cotter pin with the cut edge facing out.

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    After completing a second loop the ribbon passes back out through the split of the cotter pin ready to be trimmed down.

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    Trimmed....

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    Then simply tightened by coiling the loose end around the cotter pin.

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    With the method nailed down it actually proved far less fiddly than I expected on such small diameter tubing. So I unraveled my test piece and cut off two strips the correct length.

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    And there we have it.

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    I'm really enjoying this project! <3 The combination of minimalistic fittings, oversize ZMT and old school hose clamps strike the perfect balance between elegant PC hardware and the automotive inspiration. Hopefully I can tear myself away from building PC's long enough to work on building this PC a little more next week but if it all goes this well then i'm not too worried. Thanks to Dave for your work on the project and some of the shed pics.

    JR​
     
    Last edited: 30 Jul 2017
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  17. AleksandarK

    AleksandarK New Member

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    :jawdrop::jawdrop::jawdrop: AMAZING. Keep up the good work.
     
  18. ML MODS

    ML MODS New Member

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    Awesome work :)
    P.S I love your photos!
     
  19. JR23

    JR23 Member

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    Just a fast written update to let you all know that the project is still going strong, I just had to slow down and get some other builds done before LAN but I will be taking this with me, just air cooled with the stock case. It was a fair few parts short of being a full build so today I set that all straight and bought all the outstanding gear. Inbound is an EVGA Supernova 1000T2, 4x8GB 4133MHz C18 Team Group Xtreem '8 Pack Edition', a 5.2GHz bin 7700k from Silicon Lottery and another HyperX Predator 960GB. (OP updated) Hopefully the Noctua parts are arriving just in time too!

    I was hoping to use a Silverstone PSU as usual however supply of 1000W+ units seems to be extremely limited at this moment so I deviated a little to EVGA. Much like the tubing the cables will be of a more purposeful style, not the flat parallel affair that's fashionable so the pinout wasn't super critical.

    Pretty sure that's everything! It's going to be a mad rush to insomnia now but i'll try to sneak some pics in as I get everything together.

    JR


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  20. Cheapskate

    Cheapskate Insane? or just stupid?

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    I see where you are going, and I think you need some stainless steel hose braid. :D
     

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