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Old March 18, 2014, 02:13 PM
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Okay, time for round 2 of the “Red Rampage” (below is the link to my first build log)

(Red Rampage!)

Some of the goals of this upgrade were as follows (based on the plans and experience from the first build):

- Move from single GPU to dual – not necessarily out of performance needs, but ‘cause I already bought the second block with the plan to wait for the 680 to drop in price
- Install an aquacomputer and related hardware - this was more from a curiosity standpoint to see how well it worked, as well as to maybe leverage some of the functions to help keep my machine running quietly
- Add a second pump so I could install the dual acrylic block that I bought – again not necessarily for performance / redundancy but because the block looked really cool
Change the coolant to the EK blood red (I liked the look of the darker colour)

And, during the last 8-12 months since my first w/c build, I decided to also add some other little tweaks:
- switch to rigid tubing because I really like the look (based on some of the other build logs I saw)
- clean up some of the cable runs (especially on the backside of the case)
- change the air-flow config to basically move to four inward facing fans (3 on the rad, 1 on the case) so I could better control dust (by adding filters to those fans)
- change to some new Triebwerk fans that were supposed to be better suited for radiators

So that was the plan, now for some of the realities…


The price (on NCIX) listed for my GTX680 (that I first bought in November of 2012) actually went up from $450 to $699. I expect this was due to obsolescence and general product marketing tactics to try and force people to upgrade to newer cards. When I went back looking for cards, NCIX had a couple of good sales on 780s, showing a $200 discount ($499 down from $699) so I said screw it and bought 2 new ones, as well as 2 new blocks. Not exactly the most frugal approach to this, but oh well. No kids, no shiny car so I have a little more disposable income to throw into this project.


For the second pump, unfortunately the mounting location of it interfered with the USB3.0 header adapter on my motherboard. I had bought the USB adapter because I didn’t want to take my case front panel 3.0 USB headers and run them back out of the case to plug into the rear headers. And, by pure coincidence, the second pump started leaking on me and sounding a little funny in the case so instead I shelled out for a new aqua computer controlled pump (which I should’ve done in the first place. And note that the pump could be controlled directly through the USB port (with the aquasuite s/w, but since I had the aquacomputer for running the fans and the flow meter might as well hook up the pump to it :p)


Putting in the new Triebwerk fans was interesting – I did a quick inspection to try and confirm the air flow direction – I assumed it went in the direction of the open area (where the shroud was) but it turns out I was incorrect and had to pull it all apart to turn them around (also there was no airflow direction markings that I could find on the fan). Except for the extra work, it did turn out looking better in the end so I don’t really mind.


The only other really interesting piece was around my first experience with the rigid tubing. So, first off, I am somewhat handy with tools but was quite limited with workspace (I took over a large section of my apartment to turn it into my “workshop”), but despite the learning curve, frustrations, many re-works I was ultimately very happy with the end results. I was using Primo-chill tubing with their compression fittings, and here are some of the key things I learned:


- buy lots of extra tubing (or be really good at it!)– I started with 8’ and ended up using closer to 30’ of tubing by the time I got through all of my reworks, initial experiments, scraps etc. figuring out how to work the tube bends


- the Primochill videos (and bending kit which is basically some gloves and a silicon tube) were very helpful


- I ended up using olive oil every time I created bends (with the silicon tube inserted) – I know the video showed that sometimes you can just sand down the silicon tube and slide it in – the oil made sure that I could pull the silicon tube out after making any bends


- using lego to create the jigs worked really really really well!!! I did actually come up with this idea before I started, and ended up going to the lego store and buying a bucked of standard bricks (flashbacks from my childhood). Probably cost me about $15 and saved me a lot of time


- make sure you don’t have any bends close to the ends of the tubes – a lot of the time this can cause a little bit of distortion on the tube which will make it very hard for the fitting’s coupling to slide on properly, and believe me, forcing this will only make it worse. It’s best to leave (where possible) at least an inch between then end of every tube and the closest bend


-also, using the rigid tubing, make sure the bends and dimensions are as accurate as possible – there is a tiny bit of flex in the tubing (if you are off by a couple of ch’s), but if you have a tube going in on a slight angle into a fitting, again it will make it very difficult for get the coupling on. This explains why I went through so much tubing – a bit on the frustrating side, but again ultimately worth it.


And last but not least, and this has been mentioned by just about everybody before me (but I didn’t bother to pay attention) – test your w/c components before you build them into the loop!!! Especially if you decide to strip the blocks down to clean them, and then screw up attaching them back together. I was amazed at how just a little mistake with a sealing ring could cause such a big leak!
Anyway, I will highlight a lot of the above in this log – I hope I did a good job of capturing the build (and my mistakes :p) and will post as much as I can.


Some of the new components of this build:
- 2 x EVGA GeForce GTX 780 w/ ACX Cooler 3GB GDDR5 6008MHZ 863MHZ HDMI DP 2xDVI SLI Graphics Card
- 2 x EK-FC Titan SE – Nickel water blocks
- 3 x TFC - Triebwerk 55mm Optimized Radiator Fan Shroud 61CFM @ 21dB
- 1 x EK-CoolStream PE 360 (Triple 120mm Core Radiator) (I needed a thinner rad because the Triebwerks are pretty damn thick)
- a bunch of DarkSide Single braided extension cables, Graphite Metallic, for GPU and MB cables
- 2 liters of EK EKoolant Premium Liquid Cooling Premix Coolant , Blood Red
- PrimoChilll 1/2" OD Rigid Acrylic Tube – Clear (and after I ran out of the first 8 feet, it was out of stock for a couple of weeks which put a real delay in the build!)
- PrimoChilll 1/2" OD Rigid Revolver Compression Diamond Knurled Fittings - 4 Pack - Anodized Silver
- PrimoChilll 1/2" OD Rigid Tubing Bending Kit
- Aquacomputer Aquaero 5 XT USB Fan-Controller Ver 2
- AquaComputer - Flow sensor mps flow 400, G1/4
- Aquacomputer Modded D5 pump motor with USB and aquabus interface
- distilled water (for rinsing components)

Thanks to Daz and FrozenCPU for all of the parts (and thanks Visa for shouldering most of the burden for those parts!).

Now, on to the hardware porn (provided I can remember how to post images again!)
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Old March 18, 2014, 02:55 PM
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okay, now to start things off (and please be patient while I sort out posting images):



The workspace (basically a corner of my living room, much to the dismay of my wife...)




Starting to drain my loop: and as Lowfat mentioned on my previous build I really didn't accommodate a proper draining system - however a lot of paper towel and some funnels mostly worked...Mostly..



And now most of the liquid is out...



Ahhh...My GTX 680 - you served me well (but didn't come down in price damn you!!!)



And here is all of the components stripped out..


Last edited by bjcsoln; March 18, 2014 at 03:01 PM.
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Old March 18, 2014, 03:12 PM
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So I did go through the effort to rinse out the components, started with hot water, and then a flush with distilled water. Not too much staining after one year, and I also decided to get enthusiastic and took apart the CPU and MB blocks to see if they needed additional cleaning. BIG MISTAKE (which I will explain later - and well not really a mistake just me being a bit sloppy).



Now for building up some of the new stuff - my first 780 with the EK block.



A little concerned because there appears to be one extra screw left over, so here's a sexy close-up!



And now the pair of them together - this better keep me going for the next couple of years!



Okay, sticking this SLI GPU monstrosity into the case..



Now for the dual pump - again as mentioned before it was because of the sexy acrylic block...



Ta dah!!!



Now, this barely fit into the the spot where I wanted to put it - I wanted to have it in the viewing window of the case which is why I shoe-horned it in here. If I was more skilled (and had more tools for modding) I could've probably modified the case some more to put it in another spot, but oh well, this works.



Okay so this is the updated configuration:

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Old March 18, 2014, 03:20 PM
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Now for the acrylic tube bending...As mentioned above this was definitely a challenge, took quite awhile to figure out how to do it properly, but I feel pretty confident now that I could re-do this in about 1/3 of the time. And also, I love how it turned out!

Quick trip to Home Depot for a heat gun, tiny hack-saw, the Primochill bending kit, and some olive oil..



And using Lego to make my jigs for bending tubing (awesome!!!)



Have to be patient and let the tubing heat up till it is fully flexible..



(hmmm..my once clean workstation is starting to get a little bit messy)



Some of the more complex bends...



And my attempt to create a drain pipe - but it's going in the wrong direction (it is easy to get the angles reversed on the jig):



Bugger - of course, thanks to the wonders of Lego its pretty easy to reset the jig, reheat the tube and get it the right way..




And voila! (although I did end up taking this out and replacing it with a flexible hose long enough to make draining a lot easier), but till then voila!


Last edited by bjcsoln; March 18, 2014 at 03:27 PM.
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Old March 18, 2014, 03:42 PM
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Here is one of the most complex bends - I needed this to get from the resevior to the pump intake, and it took a couple of rounds to get it right.



And here's all of the tubes...(boy was I wrong)



Now starting to fit the Primochill fittings, this one specific one I was worried about but it turned out they just fit:



These were the two most straight-forward runs - and no worries with cable kinking!!



I did find out that some of these tube runs cause a bit of strange behavior with the fluid dynamics, there ended up being some pockets where air doesn't seem to get out, but on the other side, having some of these bends allows for disconnections that only require a bit of fluid to drain out so I suppose a bit of a win win..This one between the GPU block and the pump was a little tight.



And this was the toughest one to get in:



The main bay finished:



For the connection to the second res (which was just for show but also to cram more acrylic in the case) I went with the regular tubing - this would allow me to pull out the res (for filling, or draining) while the tubing was still connected. Turned out to be kind've useful and I recommend leaving this hybrid option in for hard tubing builds.



The last run from the motherboard block through the flow sensor to the radiator input - you might recall on my last build I used some standoffs for this run to try and give it the illusion of being straight - definitely easier and looks cleaner using rigid tubing.

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Old March 18, 2014, 04:02 PM
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Now...the messy part And if I had known better I would've bought stock in paper towel companies. By the end of the experience I had a whole box full of red-stained paper towel. Anyone going through my trash may have thought something fishy was going on but so far no cops have shown up so all is good.

And it was originally my first investigation into water cooling on EK's web site where they had some pictures using their blood red coolant. For my first build this wasn't available so I ended up with another dark red but it wasn't quite as dark as I hoped. For this build it was back in stock so I was able to get it and boy did the colour turn out nice..



Starting to get the liquid running through the system - and note that right now only one of the pumps is actually turned on.





First leak - and remember, something about only leaking at one spot at a time...I guess I didn't tighten the pump housing on tight enough, but also interestingly enough this pump made a lot more noise then the other one...Oh well, disconnect some of the tubing and pull out the pump assembly - which turned out to be quite difficult due to the tube that runs from the front of the block around to the res. Apparently the tubing is rigid or something and does not want to get out of the way :p



Now this next leak took a lot longer to discover. As I mentioned I took apart the CPU and m/b blocks to clean them out, and as you can see the sealing ring popped out of it's groove in this one spot which was enough for it to spring a leak. Had to strip everything out, pull out the mother board to get the block off, clean up everything, and then pull the block apart to put the seal back in place. I ended up using little tabs of crazy glue to hold the seal in place as it kept trying to pop out.

So, as everyone keeps saying: test your water-blocks before you install them...Or...you're gonna have a re-work time. (yea I was going to throw another meme in here but I got lazy).





Last but not least, apparently I did not put my CPU block back together properly - I attached the bottom piece rotated by 90 degrees meaning when the fluid comes in and hits the distribution bar, it is spread left - right, instead of top to bottom. What I noticed here was the top of the block was not filling up.



Thankfully I was able to get this block off without stripping everything out, just needed to pull off two tubes and then pull the block out, take it apart, rotate the bottom piece, bolt it back together, and stick it back on:



That's better - now the entire CPU block is filling up. One other interesting thing here - this is the loop with both pumps running (at the lowest speed). For some reason the two pumps interacting caused so much turbulence the liquid became almost a froth (which you can tell by the lighter colour).



Okay...that's enough posting for now...I will continue this log either tonight or tomorrow...WooT!
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Old March 18, 2014, 04:15 PM
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Tubes look sexy :)
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Old March 19, 2014, 08:54 AM
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Nice progress!
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Old March 19, 2014, 10:04 AM
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Okay - a few more pics here...And unfortunately for another leak that I found. This one is (hopefully) the last one I have to deal with, and it was hard to detect as I thought it was actually the fitting that was leaking. Turns out it was a small crack in the tubing (not sure how I did that but oh well).



Now, I had to wait patiently for some new parts from Frozen - I ended up going to them over Daz as he was on spring break and I was uber impatient to get this done. My rig had been down for over a month now (okay, one of those weeks was a vacation but still, urge to game growing stronger...)

This new delivery had the aquaero XT pump, some cable combs (that were back in stock) and a fill meter for the res that I was going to install. Unfortunately Frozen had to back-order the 1/8"-1/4" adatpter for the fill meter so I wasn't able to install it. Another amazing thing here (around this order) is I placed it at 2pm (PST), and yes I paid for expedited UPS shipping, but even with some back and forth over phone and email when they had to let me know about the missing part, the package showed up on my doorstep the NEXT DAY! That's a cross country / cross border shipment in less then 24 hours. Holy crap!



As part of this round of rework, I mentioned that I took the fans and rad out, and switched them around so the fans were now mounted underneath the rad so they would blow into the case. The fan does contain a bit of a shroud (which is located between the rad and the fan blades).



Here is the new rad configuration installed - definitely like the look better...



And now for a few close-up shots of the (I Hope) final config...Note that the connectors to the flow meter are not hooked up yet - the whole configuration of the Aqua-suite of gear will come after the build is stable (and doesn't leak!!!)



The cable combs (while being a real pain to install) do help to clean up the cabling a bit..



Now interestingly here - with only one pump installed (and a plate filling up the other side) it is ever gets half full of liquid. I imagine that this is due to an air pocket that if possible I would like to bleed out. I still might try and install a pump back in this slot (the next time I tear down the loop to clean it) but for now I will leave it as is. Initial testing shows the one pump easily providing enough flow to keep the temperatures in check (and without all of the froth that I got from the original two pump config.



Another close up shot...

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Old March 20, 2014, 08:20 PM
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lookin good

nice work on the hard tube
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