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Scratch Build – In Progress ScrappyBlue - watercooled ITX scratchbuild - Finished

Discussion in 'Project Logs' started by Goatee, 22 Apr 2015.

  1. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    Current update:

    [​IMG]

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    Welcome to my first worklog, in fact only my second post :)

    I currently have a rig for gaming and decided I wanted to build something new. I didn’t want to fully dismantle my existing PC so I would build something on a limited budget.

    Project ScrappyBlue

    This is the first time I’m doing a build without a standard case and will involve a whole load of scavenged and second hand parts, along with a core made up of cheap new parts.

    To avoid going off on flights of fancy, I have set myself 8.1 key commandments:

    1. Thou shalt build thy own “case”
    2. Thou shalt not spend more than £200 including replacement costs for the major parts I have lying around - this is because I’m basically tight and this is just a folly
    3. It shalt be capable of playing games (Elite: Dangerous) on 720p@60fps
    4. It shalt not sound like a jet engine taking off
    5. It shalt be fully watercooled, this means both the CPU and GPU
    6. It shalt be low powered (<200W flat out)
    7. It shalt be small and be able to sit on thou desk
    8. It shalt be neat and tidy with minimal cable mess
      8.1 Oh and a blue theme might be nice.
    So with my fairly small list of self-imposed criteria including a limited budget, I should probably add some more constraints, just to make it interesting:

    • I do not have a workshop or anything more advanced than a drill and a handsaw.
    • All work can only be done once the nipper has gone to bed for the evening and will be conducted on the dining or garden table (weather permitting).
    • It will all need to be cleared up before he comes down the next morning, during what I like to call "project time", it’s also referred to as "playing with computer stuff" or “making a mess” by Mrs Goatee.

    I don’t tend to plan things that heavily in advance (hence the need for some self-imposed rules). So have no mock-ups to share as its all kept in my brain.
     
    Last edited: 21 Sep 2015
  2. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    Brain, Body and Soul – The holy trinity

    The post being delivered when you're waiting for something new is like being a kid a Christmas. The shine of the boxes and smell of fresh stuff always makes me happy, however, ripping off the packaging and dumping it on the floor like a five year old while you play with your new toy does not make Mrs Goatee very happy at all.

    So after a trip to the recycling bin with large amounts of cardboard and plastic, dropping bits everywhere, I present to you the Brain, Body and Soul of my project.

    [​IMG]

    The brain is an Intel G1620 brand new and straight from the manufacturing site in Malaysia (maybe spending a few years on a dusty shelf somewhere, but we will ignore that). Only a dual core Ivy Bridge but should also only sip at the power.

    [​IMG]

    The body is a Gigabyte H61TN. This was chosen for the on-board power helping to save on the need for a separate PSU and that it was on offer. It might be a bit creaky and lacking USB3 or SATA3 connections but should still be able to put in a good shift when required. It also only had a PCIE x4 lane so it will be experimental in terms of GPU output.

    [​IMG]

    And finally, the soul of the project a Zotac GeForce GT 740 LP. This was also somewhat of a bargain coming in at just £18 new! It took 3 weeks to come in-stock at the tropical rainforest but was well worth the wait. It has the added benefit of being able to run straight from the PCIE lane, so no additional power required. The 1GB of Ram is a bit of a let-down, but at least it’s the GDDR5 variant.

    [​IMG]

    That’s it folks, I'm off to relive my youth and open boxes but I must run the hoover over the carpet before the cat spreads all the bits I dropped across the hall.

    Up next it’s time to sort out some of the plumbing.
     
  3. GeorgeK

    GeorgeK Swinging the banhammer Super Moderator

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    Moved to modding until there are pics of work in progress.

    GK
     
  4. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    Waterworks part 1

    I started looking at the most efficient way to provide a water cooled loop given
    commandment number 5 (not to be confused with the jive dance song). Given I’m only
    looking for ~100W of cooling for the G1620 and GT740, a standard full loop would be
    overkill.

    I have a Silverstone TD02 lying around after a very lucky bid on a popular auction site 6
    months ago. This would provide the pump, CPU block and radiator for my new loop and
    with some new tubing and a GPU block I would have everything I needed at a fraction of
    the price of a new loop.

    A quick test with a PSU indicated the pump flows and as I was going to be replacing all
    the pipework I thought I may as well give it a good cleaning out.
    This was especially as the radiator is aluminium and I was wondering what sort of
    horrors would be lurking in the first of my hand-me-downs. I forgot to take a picture
    before I hacked it to pieces, so here is a stock one from the Bit-tech archive.

    [​IMG]

    After draining the unit and removing the awful corrugated pipework I was left with the
    CPU block. Then off came the top.

    [​IMG]
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    As I opened the pump up I saw that it was filled with green residue. Corrosion and deposits seemed to have been building up but after a couple of minutes washing through in the sink most of the gunk had cleared.

    [​IMG]
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    Mrs Goatee wouldn’t be happy with what appears to be a combination of toddler’s sneeze and grit left in the sink, so plenty of hot water soon sorted that problem. I may however, have to empty the U-bend (trap for our American cousins) at some point soon.

    After a quick polish and reassembly, my attention turned to the Radiator. As discussed before the radiator is Aluminium so I wanted to strip it down and have a look and see how it looked. Once the hoses were off and the contents including more gritty snot down the drain, a good wash out and check over was in order.

    Overall the radiator fins look in good condition, with only negligible damage.

    [​IMG]

    Taking the flashing off required removing the plastic covers and a few screws.

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    I did notice some bubbling of the paint in one corner, I’m assuming this was done as part of manufacturing potentially to fix a pin hole leak but it would also have occurred as a user fix somewhere down the line.

    [​IMG]

    So that’s the main components of the water loop cleaned and ready to go. Onto the woodwork.
     
  5. EnviousMods

    EnviousMods Active Member

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    I live for custom builds using re-purposed or salvaged goods. To help keep costs down I commonly use salvageable materials. A couple weeks ago I tore apart a BBQ to make a workspace and re-use the stainless steel panels found throughout. I will be following along for the journey. Keep up the great work.
     
  6. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, I guess I had better give some updates then. :)
     
  7. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    My existing junk in the trunk

    I already had a couple of components to go into this build that I had been building up ready for this project.

    MSata SSD – 60GB Kingston

    While not the quickest SSD ever, it would be limited by the Sata II connection on the motherboard so it’s not that much of a problem, just the OS and a couple of games for testing will fill it nicely.

    [​IMG]


    Generic Ram – 4GB

    More to come on this later…..


    [​IMG]


    Fans

    I have several pairs of 120 mm fans lying around, but plumbed for two Cooler Master “Jet Flo” with blue LED’s. They would need some in-line resistors to avoid breaking commandment number 4, but they would help bring the bling to 8a.

    [​IMG]

    As I planned to have the fans exposed at the end of the build, they would need some guards on them to avoid me having to waste valuable project time sat in A&E with the nipper waiting to get his fingers reattached. Feel free to nominate me for a parent of the year award!

    [​IMG]


    PSU

    As the board accepts a laptop type brick I had planned to use an one from Mrs Goatee’s old retired laptop, which hadn't quite made it down the WEE drop-off point. Upon checking it over I found it had been gnawed at by a small animal.

    [​IMG]

    This was most likely a mouse but could also have been one of the feline overlords who rule our house and look down on me and the nipper as if we are scum.

    While cursing my four legged masters and their obvious superiority over me, I did however find a second power brick at the back of desk while retrieving a cat toy. As I didn't know I had it, it would count it as free for my budget. Sorted. ☺

    Next up testing.
     
  8. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    “Ram Gate” and the “Jet engine of Doom”

    I decided before I actually do anything about building my new case I should check the components without the water loop to make sure they all work OK. It might also be a good time to install windows 8.1 Pro on the SSD along with all the drivers, so when I plug it in it just works.

    Roll on Ram Gate!

    I carefully assembled the motherboard, ram and CPU with the stock Intel cooler, powered it up and nothing. No Bios screen or even a bleep.

    I tried reseating the ram, running through each thing I could think of and even added the GPU in case I was encountering an issue with the HDMI connector. I was stumped.

    [​IMG]

    After several attempts, the development of the ability to swear like a merchant seaman and much reading of the motherboard manual for inspiration, I “borrowed” the Ram from Mrs Goatee’s laptop to check to see if the crucial stick had gone the way of the dodo.

    Much to my amazement, it posted straight into Bios.

    To my even greater amazement the Crucial stick worked fine in Mrs Goatee’s laptop. Mem-test on both sticks indicated no issues, so I was very puzzled but pressed on ahead and made thanks to the RAM gods for my good fortune. Mrs Goatee also got a free Ram upgrade.

    I added the SSD and installed windows. A couple of hours later everything was installed and updated with the latest GPU drivers and everything set.

    The only annoyance was the high pitched scream coming from the GPU. I thought initially I might have had a dodgy fan or some problem with the fan profile but checking in the Zotac overclocking software it appeared the bios limit stopped me from reducing the fan speed to less than 52%. Given I was planning to water cool the chip, I didn't want to bother with flashing it to a more sensible figure.

    I fired up skydiver 1.0 in 3dmark to give it a quick test. Averaging 30fps on the graphics test and a combined of 27fps wasn't that bad.

    [​IMG]

    Then I ran Firestrike 1.1 to try to break it. 8-10fps on individual tests and 4fps on the combined test, so I cam pretty close.

    [​IMG]

    That’s it for now, next step is actually doing some woodwork.
     
  9. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    Woodwork 101 and the scrawling’s of a deranged man.

    If you are still reading at this point then well done. You might actually start to see some modding in a bit. I have raided the local DIY place for wood and after I found a couple of offcuts in the bargain bin, I came home with my prize.

    The nipper had a bath and was tucked up in bed and I settled down with a blunt pencil, my off-cut bargain and only my imagination to guide me.

    I lack the inclination to generate a beautiful 3d render, so the scribbling’s will have to do. I added the standoffs based on the proposed motherboard location and marked off the areas to be sacrificed to the mod gods.

    [​IMG]

    Tubing routing was planned, along with where the boxing in to hold the I/O shield and low profile PCIE brackets was needed at the base of the case.

    [​IMG]

    Once I added the radiator to the board it suddenly started to take shape.

    [​IMG]

    Excitedly I showed the design to one of my colleagues. To protect his identity, I shall refer to him as “Mr Yoda” going forward. When he finished scratching his head, he pointed out the lack of airflow over the board as it would all be blocked by the GPU.

    Taking his advice on board (haha) I decided at this point I would also like to route the tubing back under the board to give a nice clean look and move the radiator to the other side so it would provide some airflow.

    Back to the drawing board (literally in this case) I proceeded with design number 2 which flipped the design around.

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    I used my salvaged board and my l33t cutting skills along with some lengths of old wood i found in the garage. Do you like the random blue paint?

    [​IMG]
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    I filled in all the holes with filler and added the rad and motherboard back in to see what it might look like.

    [​IMG]

    While it looked nice from a distance, the finish and tolerances were not what I wanted. The edges were rough and overall finish was poor.

    I think I might need to reconsider how I'm going to build the frame, additionally, I developed a saw related mortal wound. Remember kids, drinking and sawing is not cool!

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    I now have a prototype board but I’m still not happy with how it looks. I think I might have to go back on my statement about making it up as I go along and doing a proper design to see if I can make something more appropriate.
    In the meantime my water cooling fitting have arrived. Here is the GPU block:

    [​IMG]

    And the small little self-adhesive heat sinks. Aren’t they cute?

    [​IMG]

    Once the card was stripped and cleaned I could see how small the GPU chip was.

    [​IMG]

    After a little trimming of a couple of the heat sinks and the application of paste the card was full completely built.

    [​IMG]

    Any idea what the yellow arrows are?

    [​IMG]

    I had also received the rest of my angled fittings. Barbs would be the external connections, compression for the back of the board where they wouldn't be seen.

    [​IMG]

    Next time hopefully some movement on the actual case.
     
  11. Ocelot

    Ocelot Member

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    Man, that tiny water cooled graphics cards looks cute as hell. I also love modded closed loop water coolers. Those barb fittings also look really cool in the context of this build.

    I would suggest however that you put the heatsinks on the MOSFETs rather than the inductors. Full cover water blocks usually just contact the MOSFETs and not the inductors.

    [​IMG]
     
  12. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    That's some great advice, I messed up there :wallbash:. Will add some on the MOSFETS. Thanks for the input.
     
  13. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    Now with moved heat sinks:

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    I have been having a play with Sketch up. I followed a couple of tutorials posted on here.

    I like the idea of the board sitting in the same position as my prototype and I think the size is about right. I would like to box in the rad and fans too. So here is the final design.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    While my current card is low profile, the base had been brought out to support full size cards. I have left space for a PSU (flex-ATX spec in the brown area) in the future as well. IO port will be cut out off the blue section to route all the cabling out the back.

    Based on this design I will be using seven pieces of MDF (each on a different colour) and for the caging from a kitchen cupboard basket rescued from the skip.

    I make the dimensions 200mm deep, 280mm width and 350mm high. This extra height is to allow a T fill valve to be mounted in the roof and potentially a fan controller and water temperature probe to be fitted (not displayed).

    I did think about shaving 16mm off the back cavity. This would still allow the FlexATX PSU and it would cut almost 2 litres from the total volume, so I might consider it in the future.
     
  15. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    It been a long while since I updated this. I have been busy with a new kitchen, plastering and painting. Happy wife. :)

    Anyway, I can finally get back to to some modding.

    Given I was busy with some DIY, I decided to take a shortcut and order the wood I needed semi pre-cut. Normally I would have done this myself with my trusty saw (and the new multitool I brought for the kitchen work) but with everything else going on I was a bit lazy. It arrived and I started adding the additional dowelling holes.

    [​IMG]
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    [​IMG]

    Next update coming soon.....
     
    Last edited: 7 Aug 2015
  16. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    Drilled / cut a couple more holes for the water temp read-out, power button, fan controller & USB and for the water cooling tubing.

    After some sanding, filling and undercoating I'm almost ready to paint.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    Next to paint!
     
  17. Goatee

    Goatee Well-Known Member

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    Painting all completed and now fully assembled.

    [​IMG]

    The paint went a bit orange-peel but it tough as old boots.

    I encountered a few leaks due I think to the large number and variation in the fittings (I think I ended up using fitting from at least 5 different manufacturers.)

    I got the the fan controller working controlling the two fans on the radiator and LED lighting strip.

    [​IMG]

    Some of the tubing looks a bit twisted in the pictures, but that's just the sleeving, it didn't end up sitting quite as nicely as I had hoped.

    [​IMG]

    I learnt quite a few things along the way and I am pretty please with my first attempt.

    Running Furmark and Pi for 20 mins yields the following.

    CPU: 46C
    GPU 55C
    Water 33C

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: 21 Sep 2015

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