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Old November 27, 2013, 09:45 AM
Kartner's Avatar
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Default Old liquid cooling build

This is a post of my system which I liquid cooled over 3 years ago but hadn't gotten to posting. Even though I started off inquiring here!

So finally, I return with what happened. Currently I'm working on a ground up case (not a mod) for an ITX build, but I digress.


I had picked out the case and parts I wanted to work with, and modelled everything up to ensure it would work.

The original plan was to create dual loops using a Typhoon III top/res, but things changed along the way...







So I bought up all my parts:

Case: Lian-Li PC-A05NB
Rads: Swiftech MCR320-QP and MCR120-QP
Tubing: 3/8" ID from work
Coolant: A custom blend that we use in our products where I work


GPU WB: Enzotech VGA-IB - couldn't get a full coverage block for my GPU anymore, was too old at the time!
CPU WB: Koolance CPU-360
Res: Typhoon III which allows dual loops from a single pump
Pump: Laing D5 with speed control
Chipset WBs: Two Koolance CHC-122's

Last edited by Kartner; December 8, 2013 at 11:10 AM.
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Old November 27, 2013, 09:49 AM
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Default Modding begins

First step, I need to make room in the faceplate of this case to fit the resevoir. This is the sketched cut-out.


Here I've cut out the material and covered the bright aluminum edges that were exposed since I cut through the anodizing. Fits pretty well!


I may have made room in the faceplate, but the chassis doesn't have room yet. This is the skinless chassis before I started cutting into it.


Cutting complete.


Next thing to tackle is the hard drive bays. They sat right below the 3.5in bay that I just turned into a 5.25in bay, so it's going to need to be lowered and modified. Also, the fan that sits in front of this will also need some trimming and lowering.


Here's the hard drive bay after I've made a cut out in the top, still enough room for the three hard drives though!


Popped the faceplate back on, and it pretty much looks like it was made that way. Satisfied.
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Old November 27, 2013, 09:57 AM
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Default Modding continued

A second radiator is going to mount over the exhaust hole in the rear of the chassis, but the power connector will interfere, so I needed to move that down.


Here's the hole for the power moved down under the motherboard ports panel. This case is a bit unusual, in that the power supply is actually kept at the front of the case so that a full sized motherboard will fit in such a small platform. Lian-li effectively put an extension cord in from the rear of the case to the front which will then plug into the PSU which exhausts out the front panel. I might reverse the fan direction on the PSU though, not decided yet.


The motherboard tray will need a cut-out to accommodate the 200mm case fan I will be putting in on the side panel. Again, there should be no interference issues, just need to make a bit more room.


Done. Also had to leave extra room to get the side panel on and off when that kinda thing happens.


Now I need to make a hole in the side panel for the 200mm fan. I didn't want to just make this a gaping hole, so I took a look around to see if there were any grills or faceplates I liked. I saw a very impressive case mod by MNPCTECH.com which used the hardwarecanucks.com logo, and liked what I saw so I've run with that. Here I've put the pattern in place and masked off the rest of the panel so that I don't scratch it up with all the metal grindings that will be everywhere shortly.


This is the panel with all of the cuts made, but the metal still in place.


Punched out the metal and filed all of the edges clean. I like.


Here's the side panel with the 200mm Cooler Master fan mounted.


I powered up the fan and it looks pretty decent. Ended up ditching the fan sticker later.


Here's the other side panel prepped and masked for cutting to begin.


Metal popped out and edges filed.


The white adhesive backed sheet that I used for this was really sticking and being a total pain to get off; so I've got it soaking in the sink here. The thing is aluminum, so there's no worry about rust. After about a half hour, it all came off easily.


Fan installed and looking alright. Next task is the top panel where the 3 fan radiator will mount.
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Old November 27, 2013, 10:03 AM
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Default Modding continued

Added a hole to the front of the chassis so that I can move the USB and headphone ports up to the front side of the case since the radiator will be take up the space on the top of the case where it used to be.


Rear of the chassis, opened up the fan hole to allow more airflow through the rear radiator.


Side note here: I had tested the Typhoon III and the thing unfortunately leaked like a sieve. Ended up returning it, and using a custom pump top assembly (same pump) and going down to a single loop.

Rear or the chassis, just above the fan hole I added some pass-through and mounting holes for the pump/reservoir to attach and feed the coolant lines into the case.


Top case panel, this it the cut out for the top radiator to exhaust from the case.


Here is the cut and cleaned top panel with the radiator soon to be mounted.


Underside of the top panel with the radiator and fans mounted.


Top panel with the radiator mounted and guards in place. Had to put the guards on even though there are no exposed fan blades here because the fins in the radiator are basically like tin foil and very easily damaged.


Single fan radiator which mounts in the rear of the chassis, fan attached.


Pump/Reservoir and single fan radiator mounted to the rear of the chassis.


Front panel installed with the new front USB port location, and fan controller installed. Still a blank present because I haven't made up the brackets to hold it yet. Chose this fan controller over others because it remains flush with the front of the case, most others had knobs, buttons, or switches which I wasn't fond of for this layout.
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Old November 27, 2013, 10:10 AM
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Default Now to transfer my hardware

Here are the two cases side by side as I begin to move my current system over. Old case is an Antec P-182.


Here's the motherboard installed in the new case, the Koolance CPU-360 water block is installed. I gotta say that it's much bigger and heavier than I ever expected!


My video card with the stock heatsink and fan installed, it's an EVGA 8800 GTS. When I first got this card, it seemed so huge, bigger than any GPU I'd ever seen. Now... not so much, they come a lot bigger.


VGA-IB water block installed and surrounding components in need of cooling with small heat sinks mounted. Having trouble with the bond between the surface of those parts and the adhesive on the heatsinks, they come off easily though I'm not sure if that will improve after some heat to cure it up.


Here are the parts coming together. Top panel is in place now, I like the looks of things here.


Here all the plumbing is pretty much finished up, there's a tweak or two that I want to do before calling it done though. In any case, it all went together quite well, and I managed to get a drain port in there too with a quick disconnect. I'll be able to attach a drain line when I need to and just run the coolant out to where ever without needing to haul the computer around to empty it.

For some reason I decided it would be neat to use the temp sensors that came with the fan controller, so between the previous picture and this one I actually took everything apart so I could remove the water blocks and heat sinks to add temp sensors to the underside. Hope that was worth the effort!


Here I've installed the power supply into it's front location.


I jumpered the power supply to run without being plugged into the motherboard. This is the leak test in progress! The system has been filled with distilled water, and the computer unpowered but the pump is running. So, if any leak happens to appear (which it doesn't look like any will) I don't have to worry about shorting anything or leaving residue because the water can just evaporate. Once I'm convinced the system is in good shape, I'll drain the water (make an adjustment to a tubing length, and then top it up with real coolant!

Only issue I'm really having right now is getting the small heat sinks to stay adhered on the video card. The surface of the ram and other small air cooled parts doesn't seem to work well with the adhesives on the heat sinks. Time will tell if these suckers just fall off later, I'll have to watch for it when I take it anywhere.


The leak test worked! No problems at all. I drained the system, added some tubing length in the bottom of the case from the CPU to the single fan radiator because one of the bends was really quite tight. Also changed the fitting on the drain line to a 90 swivel which tucks away nicely. After that, I put the real coolant into the system and let it run for a couple of days to get all of the air out of the lines and parts, runs nearly silent now.


Installed the hard drives. Tried my best to keep the cables nicely organized this time around.


Shot of the final plumbing.


Shot of the final product. All that's left now is a couple of small brackets to hold the 5.25 bay cover which will fill in the hole that I made for the other reservoir. Another day.


Done.
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Old November 27, 2013, 10:34 AM
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Amazing build log! I have had so much fun reading and refreshing the page waiting for the next part! Glad you came back to share your story with us!!!
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Old November 27, 2013, 11:03 AM
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Excellent looks fantastic

great job!
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Old November 27, 2013, 01:34 PM
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Primochill Typhoon III... remove before failure begins

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Old November 27, 2013, 01:38 PM
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didn't you read where he said this build is a few years old?
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Old November 27, 2013, 02:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kartner View Post
My video card with the stock heatsink and fan installed, it's an EVGA 8800 GTS. When I first got this card, it seemed so huge, bigger than any GPU I'd ever seen. Now... not so much, they come a lot bigger.
haha, so true. I had an 8800 GTS 512 and that thing seemed massive at the time. I remember some cases couldnt even fit them cause the 6-pin connector was pointing out the side and it wouldn't clear the drive bays.
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