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Case Mod - In Progress Project: Saddlebags

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by stren, 9 Dec 2011.

  1. stren

    stren What's a Dremel?

    9 Dec 2011
    Likes Received:
    I'm rebuilding my work/gaming machine. I have a seperate blog called extremerigs if you want to find out more about my product reviews and builds. Here it is as it looks currently:


    It's gradually evolved/upgraded and this is it's latest incarnation, and probably last incarnation in this case as I'm really at the limit of what I can fit in an antec 300. However I'm waiting for the caselabs TX10 godzilla case before upgrading that so I'm making do with the 300 for now.

    Initial build - 3/2010
    920 D0, asus p6t vanilla, 6gb corsair dominator gt 1600 CL7, zalman 9900 cooler, evga 8800gt, lsi 9211-8i, 2 x25e 32gb in raid 0, 2xWD Black 1tb in raid 1, ocz 550W supply, windows xp

    Linux rebuild - 9/2010
    Upgraded to 980x, added 12gb of gskill 1600 CL9 (yuck), dual booted redhat 5.5 and win 7 pro, added a c300 128gb drive for work in progress files

    GPU and watercooling upgrade - 2/2011
    Added 2xgtx 460 in sli ($60 each after rebate!), jumped to water with a RX360 kit + another RX360 + razor full cover blocks for gpus. Modded the case for better wiring, painted it and added a saddlebag style external radiator holder using 1"x1/4" bar from home depot, resoldered gentle typhoons for black wires and took apart and top mounted the fan controller as I didn't have enough bays for it

    Before (with classy cabling):

    Inside Painted and holes cut for better cabling:

    Pots removed from fan controller board and wired up remotely from the board:

    Pots mounting on the top:

    Getting read to fill the loop:

    Upgrade completed - also cut out the standard fan mesh and replaced with silverstone magnetic filters:

    Latest (last few months)

    - Persuaded my boss to buy me a refurb U3011 - sweet! Left is a 23" 1080p, middle is U3011, right is 20" portrait 1680x1050

    - Moved to an AX1200 after it became apparent the 550W was starting to deteriorate
    - CPU speed makes a big difference for my work so when I saw a good price on a 2nd hand unopened 990x I jumped on it (will be selling the 980x as soon as I have rep)
    - When changing cpus a water leak made the faithful p6t not 100% reliable, so I picked up a rampage 3 extreme that lasted 2 weeks, then another one. Picked up a waterblock for it, found out that the motherboard TIM was awful:
    - Got a great deal on 3 480's with koolance full cover blocks
    - Picked up 360 sized magnetic filters for the rads, but it looks like they're too big to be mounted on a rad itslef, rather to go around them, so they may not work for me.
    - Swapped out the 18gb for 12gb gskill trident 2000-8-9-8-24

    Putting the loop together again:

    I'm not a big fan of the anti-kink look, but I couldn't quite get away without it. I chose the pearl color, but I might have been better off with just clear. Maybe with a few more 90/45 rotaries I could have got away without the anti kink tubing. Missing one sli coupler otherwise I could have leak tested it tonight. Oh well. I also ordered the wrong size clamps for my tubing, so I'm making do without for now.

    >> Next Day

    Worked on the window today, cut out the panel using a jigsaw:


    Test fitting to see how it looks:


    Should have masked off the door, the jigsaw roughed it up a little. Now just waiting to see whether my epoxy is acrylic safe or not

    Also added in led lighting strip, was worried it would be too bright or too dark, but I think this will be perfect with the smoked acrylic window:

    So after epoxying the window to the door, I found out I hadn't left quite enough space so now the door doesn't completely close. I tried bending the frame of the case with some pliers, but it's still not quite enough, tomorrow I'll take a hammer to it. In the worst case I can cut off the part that's in the way, however then the case will lose some structural rigidity on that side. Plus I'd have to take all the components out so they wouldn't get covered in metal shavings which would be a major head ache at this point.

    I also took out the rear exhaust fan, as I lost my side input fan on the door due to the window, I figured I should lose that rear on so as to balance the pressure more otherwise I'd have 2 exhaust 2 intake plus the PSU should be exhausting too. Now I'll have 2 intake, 1 exhaust plus exhausting psu. However now I have a blank spot that is just taped up. So I'm going to try and make an ocn flame symbol to put back there.

    Here's the window - it's making me think the white lights are too bright, I still wanted to see the motherboard led's and the koolance blocks should light up too and I think this lighting strip might just drown them out:


    Here's a shot of the top of the door that isn't flush with the case:


    I realized that I could use the variable resistors (that went to the fan controller that I no longer had room for) as a dimmer for the led lighting that was a tad brighter than I wanted. Wired it up and it works, so that's good, now I can blend it in with the motherboard lighting and the gpu lighting :)

    >> Next next day

    Alright the last sli connector came in finally! USPS guy came about two hours later than usual, I was so impatient. In fact so impatient that I put the sli connector behind the tubing, rather than hiding the tubing. Oh well. I'm sure I'll be rebuilding again soon. It's a real hassle to install sli connectors when the cards are in the slots. Next time I'll just wait

    Started to fill the loop and found out not one but two connectors was loose, water went everywhere :( Tightened one up but had to cut the tube off the bitspower 90 degree rotary to get it tighter. After putting a new piece of tube on the pump just made a loud humming noise. I figured maybe the rotary was now too long a thread and was blocking the motherboard block (EK instructions say to use a gasket on long threaded fittings, but the gasket left no thread to screw in). Worried that the humming was a failing pump, I cut the tube off again and had the pump pump into a bowl. It worked just fine, so this time I tried blowing into the fittings to see if there was a blockage. It took a lot of pressure but I could hear stuff moving. So I guess the loop is just crazy restrictive. It didn't help that there was still so much air in the loop and I think that was the problem, the pump would push and the air would just compress rather than push through and it didn't have enough pressure to force the air through. So I performed a reverse fill by turning the rads upside down and filling through the drain port. This got 80% of the air out and enabled me to put the last section of tube in with more confidence it would this time. As one of the rotaries felt a little loose, I just swapped that section out for regular barbs, it should flow better anyway:



    In this last shot you can really see the amount I hammered the side of the case to allow the door to close, it's still not as flush as I'd like but at least it closes now.

    I'll leave it til saturday morning, running and hopefully drying out, fingers crossed.

    >> Final Day of Phase 1

    And I'm done.... for now

    Computer was dry when I came back home :phew:, so I put in the five hard drives and raid card in the bottom slot and proceeded to try and get the indigo xtreme tim to do its thing. Indigo xtreme requires you to run your loop with the pump off so that the TIM will heat up and melt and fill in the gaps between the chip and the heatsink. Putting the case on it's side is a major hassle. Unfortunately I forgot that you're supposed to drop your overclock when you do this. So I couldn't even boot into windows because the cpu would overheat. As I was concerned that this might be because of the leak, I turned the pump on and put the case back upright and figured the TIM wouldn't melt yet because I wasn't running a stress test. WRONG! The time melted and I saw a blob of solder like material coming out at the bottom of the heatsink. I powered off right away and after about ten minutes managed to remove it. I tried again this time with the case level, but I guess I'd already screwed it up as now the remaining solder type stuff leaked out the side. I gave up and took the block off, cleaned it, applied some old zalman stuff that is decent but not the best and put it all back together.

    SO it works, but the extra restiction in the loop due to the motherboard block and 3 gpu's in serial has really increased my loaded cpu temps by a bunch, I'm thinking ~10C +/-5C, I think I'm going to have to lower the clock until I make the next upgrades where hopefully I'll put the gpu's in parallel and add a ddc 3.25 in series with the xspc pump. I'll also change the tim for shin etsu. If I get a good deal on an rx120, I might separate out the motherboard block onto it's own loop as that is so restrictive. However that might have to wait for the larger case.

    Here's some final shots, night time ones to come:

    The 3/4" plywood is a temporary desk extension til I get round to building a desk big enough

    red white and blue is a very patriotic july 4th weekend theme I guess



    Blurry cause I don't have a tripod



    Phase 2

    - Ordered more SLI fittings to run GPU's in parallel
    - Split out my linux workstation into a temporary rig
    - XSPC pump died, 2xPMP-450s on the way with the 24V controller
    - Lighting will be changed
    - Custom etched acrylic coming
    - GTX480 backplate

    Rebuild in progress:

    I split out my linux workstation into a temporary house:


    Then commenced rebuilding:


    New Dual Pump Reservoir and 24V Controller. Note there is no longer a dvd drive - I realized that after OS install and after putting a no cd crack on my oblivion that every other game I had was online install, so I could remove the drive.


    Guess where this is going? Credit for etch and laser cutting to Pedgette@OCN

    Still to do:

    - Power supply sleeving
    - Mod gpu leds to be red
    - Possibly add another pump to increase flow rate (not sure where to put it though)
    - Finish this, just in time to move to TX10 case

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