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Building a Water Cooled i7 rig.....

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  • Building a Water Cooled i7 rig.....

    After watercooling TheSpunkster's 780i rig here: Linky - I never got round to doing mine & eventually updated all my kit to i7 with GTX480 graphics. So, my water cooled build is now based on the following:

    Silverstone Temjin TJ07's Case with additional Hard drive enclosure
    Gigabyte UD7 X58 mobo
    6GB Patriot PC3- Trichannel 1600Mhz Ram
    Gigabyte GTX 480
    Tagan 900W PSU
    EK UD7 full cover chipset blocks
    EK GTX 480 water block
    Heatkiller CPU block
    XSPC 500mm Black External Reservoir
    XSPC 2:120 high flow radiator
    Thermochill 3:120 Crossflow radiator
    Laing D5 pump with Modified Chrome Impeller
    ~ 8m of Tygon R-3603 1/2" tubing

    The first massive problem was the case. Whilst big enough & posh enough for most builds, shoe horning this little lot in was proving to be a bit of a mamouth task & at one or two points in early thought planning, I nearly went & bought a Mountain Mods Cube case affair. However, I stuck with my first thoughts & saw the huge case bottom get swallowed up with the two rads, not even leaving enough room for my PC P&C 1KW PSU. It did go in but not at the same time as the rads & all the cables from the PSU had no where to go. So I had to downsize to a std size ATX PSU, but still needed lots of horse power & my spare Single Railed Tagan 900W fitted the bill perfectly. Whilst adequate atm, another GraphX card would require an even bigger PSU to keep up with the power demand for such an overclocked rig.

    All modifications to the case are minimal. Extra holes in the base to mount the home made Radiator mount bracket & 3 holes for the rubber mounts on which the pump sits.

    This pic shows the original Hard drive mounts in the bottom of the case & they now reside in the comfort of the Case shipping crate. We also trashed those horrible leads from the cases front I/O panel, just to save on the spagetti in the case. Bye bye Silverstone Hard drive mounts & Front I/O panel.

    The Radiator mounting

    This was a complete headache but paid off in the long run. After a trip out to a friends fabrication shop, I relieved him of some 3mm think Aluminium sheet, worked out my development lengths & threw it into a hand press to make up this base.

    Some more hacksawing & Workmate bending at home & we have this:

    Much more sawing & filing later, we have this proto-type despite many re-thinks along the way & still using what we started with:

    This design will require a Pull-Push scenario with fans back to back inbetween the two rads. The folded up flap also creates direct air flow for the Tagan PSU via the left most fan of the Tripple rad mounting.

    Here are various shots of the whole assembly upto case insertion. Notice the half shelf that was above the original Hard Drive cages has to be removed to install the rad assembly. Also note the pipework is pre-installed & then cut to length already, as there is no way to get to this once the braket is installed. I dry-built this rig & dismantled it far too many times to remember & used some cheap nasty 1/2" id pipe @ pence per metre instead of Tygon & scrapping it @ £10/m. Tight, - stupid no.

    Note the 20mm Chrome Curtain ring above. This prevents the pipe from collapsing/kinking.
    There is also some hackery to the corners of the fans in order to get a better curve on the pipework, but it's all out of sight at the end of the day.

    Time to get the Pump positioned....

    Heres the Mobo in stock form:


    ....chipset blocks installed....

    I also include some close up shots of these blocks showing just how tight things are & the engineering that goes into making some of these specific chipset blocks alone....

    ....Heatkiller CPU block fitted....

    ....& the rear of the board showing the obligatory Backplate for the CPU block....

    Here is the stripped GTX480 with thermal pads already in place....

    The white paste used on all the blocks is Artic Silver Ceramique....

    Et voila.... only 4 hours to bleed the air & here she is:

    There is not much point talking about the build itself. It's fiddly & bloody complicated, slipping a pipe in here & shoving the Mobo tray home whilst standing on your head with a free elbow holding something else. That aside, shes one helluva performer for a siingle GTX 480 core.

    Since building this rig, the SB Live Audigy2 Platinum is retired. It causes a conflict with my Lian Li CF Card reader (which is purley USB Plug & Play without the need for specific drivers) - Ironically, whilst not supporting 60 Sound Benchmarks, the on-board High Definition Sound does better FPS than the SB Audigy2!?

    So, was it all worth it? - Heck yes & here is the proof.

    Look at that RAM!! - Slow up the Timings from 8-8-8-24 to above, apply 1.76V & here's the result for forcing a 10 Multiplier through this board. Ram is rated 1.65 8-8-8-24 & yet does this with 1T timings.

    Oveclocking the GPU from 700 Core & 1848 Stock sppeds to above is a phenomenal overclock for flashing your GTX 480 Bios to unprotect the Voltage OC protection.

    Overclocking this rig from Stock 2.8Ghx to 4.2Ghz yeilds approx 28.5 FPS from 24.5 FPS. **** the GPU with the overclock & the result is above. That is one hell of an FPS increase for the overclock, which is impressive by any graphic OC standards. There are beter, but this isn't DangerDen kit, which is nobtainable in the UK atm.

    Then Mr. nVidia, we switch to the latest drivers; ....and, ....."helllo ATI, where are you??"

    @ Harrison


    Just a laugh at our ATI "Bang for Buck" thing where nVidia do this kind of FPS increase for less than a Month, when ATI do ZiltcH in 9months.

    ....Back @ the rest on the thread.....

    Some of the Pic grabs look XP style & are purely where I was experimenting with diferent OS looks under Win7 X64 Ultimate. Games run much faster on WinXP Pro in a 32Bit environment, but the limitations are DX9 & only 3.5GB of ram from your 6GB investment. Watching OpenGL demos under Win7 are absolutely shocking compared to WinXP 32bit. Having already tried Win7 32 Bit, it is worse than 64Bit, meaning that Win7 for me is still as crap as Vista was & still is. Now having spewed all that, with all this kit, Win7 X64 is the only way to go, but as always with Mirco$shaft, you always need faster hardware for a slower experience. We were doing the same when switching from Win98SE to WinXP. It wasn't until we got Hyper Threading CPU's from Intel before we could entertain WinXP. The 3D hit was far to great to justify, & it's almost of similar fashion today. However, for those of you less educated, please ignore my waffle. You can still turn all the eye candy on @ 1600 x 1200 & lock @ 85 fps in almost every game. Lowest FPS in Crysis is about 65 so far.

    Now I need to fork out £50 for a Legit copy of Dopus 9.5 X64, if I decide to go Win7 X64 for real.


    Not a great deal to say tbh. If you know what home rigs are really capable of under Water thesedays, then you already know this is a monster rig for a Single GPU solution. System wise, things open before you click them & 100Mb of files from your desktop is written in a split second to the hard drive. - It's like it just gets dumped there!
    I'm generally pleased with the results but would be happier with cooler temps on the Mobo & CPU. Whilst the temps in the Pics above are @ Idle, Temp INT2 which is the Northbridge has seen as high as 72 after a couple of hours of Crysis & the CPU max temp is 63. The GPU Never sees greater than 49. - This really isn't bad at all for a Single Loop solution on only 5 120mm fans. The entire loop runs thus:

    External Res to Pump, to CPU to Mofset block, to NB/SB block (hence the heat of the Chipset, though the chipset is rated to 90 DegC ) to Tripple Rad, to GTX 480 to Dual rad, to Res. I'll leave it to you to work out the run of the pipework but, check out that slick maifold event through the mid shelf opening. It all worked out very well tbh.
    Folk do say that Dual Loop solutions offer better cooling chateristics, but with a decent flow rate (1/2") & 9m head pump, what else can be said?

    Plans for this in the coming weeks are to replace the Side window with one that is fitted on the inside the panel. Much better look imho. Also considering pulling the Chipset Blocks off the Main loop & putting them on an independent water loop. The main problem I have getting a finger out on this is where to put the radiator? - Atm, the top of the case is a no no for wanting to keep the overall & very pleasing slick lines, despite the External Reservoir.

    The hard drive cage in the 5.25" bays is now at the top, with a blank plate under, a 3.5" floppy under that & the Fan control plate underneath that. I killed my in-Line Temp display whilst hax0ring it into an Aliminium front 5.25" drive panel. I also need a PCIe Parallel card to interface with a Blue/White Tex display for info on the Pee Cee via Software. Yes, even £280 doesn't get you a Parallel port.

    Reflecting on my work, It'd be nice to get some sponsoring for this kind of stuff. I'd love to build a showcase Mountain Mods based Rig with EVGA's Dual CPU High end board on 980X 6 Core CPU's under Danfloss Ice, with Quad GTX 480 with a Video wall in 3D.

    If anyone ever requires a Rig of this calibre or better have the cash but not the know how, call me. I'm only a PM away.

    Meantime, enjoy the pics, the Pr0n, the OMG, spank meh Monkeh stuff & have a buthchers at the hand held dark shots. (must update with Tripod shots)

    Regards to all & thanks for looking....

    Last edited by Kin Hell; 5 August 2010, 23:55.

  • #2
    what an awesome machine!!! and the GTX480 too! you Sir, are an artist!
    Aacheron and slk486 are my heroes
    A1200D mfilos ed. : ACA 1231/42 , Indivision MK2 , IDEfix Express , Subway , PicoPSU 120w custom 3.9 ROM/OS


    • #3
      That's a tight build
      Been away for a long time, time for comeback?


      • #4

        OMG! I think I've just had a trouser crysis!

        nice job chap v impressed here

        all the best, JuvUK
        Official Amiga Walker


        • #5

          Having seen the piccies I now understand a lot more of what you told me over the phone.

          That is one seriously impressive Rig

          The Cooling components are pieces of art....

          Very well done there mate If I ever have a large chunk of spare cash going I'll be in touch for you to build me one.

          Absolutely Brilliant...and thanks for the piccies & the story

          Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow June 2016, I Was There


          • #6
            Now that is one hell of a build Charlie boy!

            I know systems these days are based on modular, glossy cases but gimme a perspex window and a shed load of cold cathodes anyday.

            Excellent write up and build sequence - enjoy using this monster.
            PC : AMD FX8320 / 16MB DDR3 / Samsung EVO SSD / Aerocool XPredator X1 / Bitfenix Recon
            AMIGA : A6oo resurrection project STATUS: in progress....

            Neokortex Demoscene:
            OldskoolUK Forums: w
   <-- [BaCK oNLINE]


            • #7
              I can't help but feel that x86-build hardware pr0n is a bit like a disgusting kinky fetish. "Eww, you're into x86? That's gross!"

              Nevertheless, that's quite an impressive build. I got out of x86 gaming rigs a few years back myself, but it looks like I might be tasked with one or two for other people in the near-future.

              Cool stuff, Charlie!

              Thinking about accelerating your A1200? Check out my buyer's guide.

              Projects past and present: Amiga 2000/030 | Amiga 3000/040 | Amiga 4000/060


              • #8
                Wow! Very nice work Charlie! Your hacks are always impressive.

                Promoted to Level II Solder Tech and Hackery Padawan


                • #9
                  That, Charlie, is the PC equivalent of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel... a true work of art.

                  I am truly gobsmacked.
                  The future's so Retr0bright, I gotta wear shades.....

                  As rkauer said:-
                  "Retro computers seems like an orgasm: it is always better to have a real one than fake it".


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Merlin View Post
                    That, Charlie, is the PC equivalent of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
                    I couldn't have put it better myself Merl.

                    Be Proud Chas, Very Proud indeed

                    Ritchie Blackmore's Rainbow June 2016, I Was There


                    • #11
                      Kin Hell indeed!


                      • #12
                        Nice work on the build... Just hope the bloody cooling pipes don't leak
                        Kind regards,



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