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Planning SFF custom case, watercooling for i7 and SLI

Discussion in 'Modding' started by shomann, 1 Mar 2009.

  1. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    Thanks for stopping by ;)

    This post is something of a continuation from a previous post:

    http://forums.bit-tech.net/showthread.php?t=163996

    To summarize, I want to put together an i7 system that is as SFF as possible. After researching for the past few weeks on my own, it seem apparent to me that the only way to run the system with any type of O/C is to watercool.

    Problem - the current crop of SFF computers just will not support the level of watercooling gear needed for a high-end system.

    Solution - build a custom system :D (it will be my first scratch build and my first attempt at W/Cing)

    After a bit of brainstorming I have the following layout ready to throw rocks at. The basic thinking is a microATX sized motherboard (The Asus Rampage II Gene is the current favorite) on top of 2x 240mm radiators that are turned on their sides. Airflow would be completely unimpeded from side to side of the case. The 5.25" bay in the back is there for a placeholder - I might go with a 4-bay 2.5" adapter or squeeze 2 x 3.5" hard drives there. The primary optical drive is a slot load in the front of the case. The reservoir will have to be custom and sits in the back of the case under the rear I/O. (My biggest question mark about the cooling is where the res is supposed to sit in the build, so if this location is bad, PLEASE let me know.)

    I would love to see what the bit-tech community thinks of the design, and any advice about watercooling would be helpful. Please note, this is just the layout of parts, definitely NOT the final design, or done to be pretty. Thanks!

    3/4 view from the FRONT:
    [​IMG]

    Top down:
    [​IMG]

    3/4 view from the left side FRONT:
    [​IMG]

    Front:
    [​IMG]
     
  2. tominated

    tominated New Member

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    HOLY CRAP. cramped much?
     
  3. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

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    Oh, that's very nice! As a guy who's played with SFF parts placement quite a bit, your design is quite innovative. I like the dual rad idea. You'll lose some efficiency due to the stacked design, but it will still be more effective than a single.

    As far as the reservoir placement goes, before the pump inlet is the ideal location, but not mandatory.
     
  4. TheAbyssDragon

    TheAbyssDragon Gafgarion

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    What are your plans to keep the mosfets cool? I think maybe a low speed 80 or 92 on the upper deck, in conjunction with the psu exhaust, would give you a nice breeze to keep everything that doesn't have a block cool.
     
  5. Guest-23315

    Guest-23315 Guest

    Aslong as there is some sort of fan, an 80mm, or even a 60/40mm will be fine for the MOSFETs...
     
  6. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    Thanks for the feedback gentlemen :)

    craigbru - I have to say, this project is in no small way influenced by your past (and future) work in cramming as much goodness into SFF design. I love the work you did on Rogue - so your positive take makes me think that I am on the right track at least ;) In regards to the radiator effectiveness, my original design was for the radiators to lay down side-by-side and have the air drawn through the sides of the case and out the bottom (or visa-versa, depending on effectiveness).

    [​IMG]

    I figured the airflow being totally open would be better even with the radiators "stacked" (like they are in the more complete layout above). Any thoughts, anyone?

    About the air portions of the case, I am planning on cheating a bit and using a mini Lian-li motherboard tray to simplify the critical motherboard measurements. That tray has placements on it for 40mm fans. It will be a bit odd to pull air in from what is effectively the rear of the computer, but it shouldn't cause any problems. For the mosfets, I haven't ruled out water cooling them as well, but I do want to keep the water loop as efficient as possible.
     
  7. Guest-23315

    Guest-23315 Guest

    I'd be inclinded to leave atleast 25mm between the radiators and the motherboard, and have some sort of blower to move the air out from under there.
     
  8. jrs77

    jrs77 Well-Known Member

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    Hmm... would'nt a single 240 rad be enough allready?

    I've seen dozens of Shuttle-SFF's (CPU / GFX / NB) cooled with a single 120 or 240 rad.
     
  9. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    The current thinking seems to be that to cool an overclocked i7 and GTX 280 or higher cards, you need more than a 240mm radiator to do it "right". In the OP, I tossed a link to another thread I started so you can see the thinking that led to this design. Basically, with i7, gaming and SFF mentioned in the same sentence, you need serious cooling potential.

    That said, I think one could get by with a 240mm rad to cool the i7 and NB, and leave the graphic card on air.
     
  10. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

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    Okay, looking at your earlier design, the stacked rads would allow for more cooling, mostly due to unobstructed airflow. Although, speaking from personal experience, you'd be surprised how much you can block and still be effective.

    Regarding i7 and a 240mm rad, that's exactly what I'm planning. Granted, my temps might be slightly higher but I just can't give up the space.
     
  11. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    Thanks for the insight. I have been going back and forth on the radiator orientation myself.

    Are you going to be watercooling your video cards as well as the processor with a single 240?
     
  12. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

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    My video cards will be aircooled. I had thought about water, but wasn't in the SFF's best interest. It would require more space than I was willing to give up. Cooling a pair of high end video cards with water would require a 360 rad at minimum. Also, while the Rogue may 'technically' have been SFF, it weighed over 80 pounds. This time I wanted a SFF that was truly portable for once.



    Edit: I thought I'd add one more thing. If you're looking at picking up one of the Lian Li matx trays, they are currently in stock at Performance PC's. They just received them after being listed as out of stock for 2 months. I'd advise picking one up quickly... :D

    http://www.performance-pcs.com/cata...=20966&zenid=183e3a7a829ff6c41c8bb654cb1c70eb
     
    Last edited: 2 Mar 2009
  13. Zeroignite

    Zeroignite So I decided to simulate a Universe

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    Hardware Tetris victory :D
     
  14. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    I was wondering what the final weight might be like. Fortunately, at least for weight, I won't be going quite as far as Rogue ;)

    And by quickly you meant as you wrote this as they are sold out again :(

    Any other place I could find it?
     
  15. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

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    Yeah, the Rogue was in a weight class all it's own. I doubt it could have weighed more if I had filled it with concrete... :lol:

    No kidding? Out of stock already? It was fine earlier when I looked up the link. :duh: I don't know of any other source. Every place I looked had it listed as out of stock, so I waited patiently for P-PC's. Best thing to do is shoot them an email and ask about the next delivery.
     
  16. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    Already did, and already got a response of 1-2 weeks ;)

    That is some fast response time, impressive. :D
     
  17. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

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    Outstanding! They do have excellent customer service. :thumb:
     
  18. shomann

    shomann New Member

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    Another 6 weeks, more Sketchup

    I hesitated to post these new designs as they are not quite finished yet. However, as far as design evolution goes, it is interesting to see where I was, and where I am now (I haven't looked at the older design in 2 months).

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Yeah, I know, lots of very, very basic 3D modelling, but it makes sense to me and has let me get very precise in terms of measurements. To break it down (for those who care), the basic dimensions are very close the Lian-Li V350/351 series. (2) 240MM radiators are now mounted directly above the motherboard to solve the airflow issues of the prior designs (intake will be through vents in the side panels). The entire roof is integral to the frame and allows for removal by sliding it off. The (4) 120MMx38MM fans sit in a tray under the rads for quick removal to allow more space for hardware tweaking.

    The front of the case houses the res, pump, LED/VFD control (leaning towards Aquaero), and a modular PSU (Silverstone Strider 1KW). Right now I am having something of an internal debate as to which side the intake fan faces. If it faces the front, the front panel will obviously have to have venting, but that also means that the LED/VFD control will have to be moved (the power cables all exit down). If the intake faces into the main chamber of the case, it will have to fight the intake air for the radiators.

    What isn't shown are the side panels, a mounting solution for the 3.5" hard drive, the main drive bay which sits on the very bottom and has provision for (2) slim DVD/CD drives and possibly a SSD RAID.

    Main material is aluminum plate, 1/8" (3.175mm) and aluminum angle.
     
  19. craigbru

    craigbru Cramming big things in small boxes since 2006

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    Wow, that's a very original layout. I like it quite a bit.

    Regarding the PSU orientation, facing the fan out would be the best route to go. It would ensure a cool supply of air, although it does complicate the design slightly.
     
  20. tominated

    tominated New Member

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    looks pretty sweet. hope you actually make it!
     

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