Mlcaouette's build/update evolution log

So this thread is to showcase how my builds have evolved over time and how my building skills have improved (with the help of tom's members of course).

It will also serve as a place for me to place update pictures of my current rig, which is constantly under renovation.

Since I no longer have any of the old machines I won't be adding specifications to them unless someone is curious. At which point i will either answer from memory or so some digging to find some invoices.

I will start with my first build and work my way towards the present day build.

Here are pics from my first two builds to get this thread started:


Keep in mind I was a brand new builder when I under took these projects and my level of knowledge was fairly low.
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  1. Now onto my third build. This build is still evolving and I will likely keep for a while longer. I have actually built two other machines but I have no photos of them since one was for my mom and the other for a friend.

    Pictures are still in chronological order starting with the oldest:

    It seems that I don't have any photo's of when I added a second HD 4770 to the setup above. Not much to see with that change anyway.
  2. Added a gtx 470, did some painting, and light modding:

    Next up my first entrance into water cooling.

  3. Water cooling update #1:

    Reworked cable management, Thanks to moto for all the help and suggestions:
  4. New case(courtesy of my super girlfriend!) as well as a new power supply since my last one exploded :o :

  5. New power supply again due to an excellent sale I just couldn't resit, also removed some fans:

    Specs can be found in my member config. Comments and suggestions are always welcomed. New update next week once I get the rad I just ordered and a few fittings to help reduce the excess tubing.
  6. There's a cable on the bottom right, slightly above the PSU and to the left of the tubing to your GPU. Anyway of rerouting that? :P
  7. Flip PSU to draw air from under case and it'll look a lil more stealthier.
  8. amuffin said:
    There's a cable on the bottom right, slightly above the PSU and to the left of the tubing to your GPU. Anyway of rerouting that? :P

    Are you referring to the two cables coming off the LED light strip I ran under the case? The only way I can think to reroute it would be to put the lighting somewhere else. Do you have any ideas on rerouting it?

    For the power supply, normally I do put them with the fan down. This time I did it the opposite because I was being greedy and didn't like how the PSU spec sheet was facing out. I will consider flipping it this week once my new parts get here. Amuffin, what do you think would look better for the power supply?

    Since I only had about fifty dollars to spend this time all I got was a AX120 rad which I plan to put where the small hard drive cage is and two fittings a 90* and a 45*. The 90* will go up on the res to make the res to rad an easier tubing fit. The 45* I plan on putting on the gpu intake tube to make that bend from the cpu easier to take.

    In the future I'd like to get some tubing that is actually black and maybe even some orange tubing. Thanks for the suggestions!
  9. well I would ask you to get some green rams for your mobo, something close to the army green you have or maybe something in army sands.
  10. Lutfij said:
    well I would ask you to get some green rams for your mobo, something close to the army green you have or maybe something in army sands.

    I totally agree with ya on this one, this will probably be something I update at the same time as the cpu (thinking going to a fx 8320). I plan on taking the old parts and building a HTPC out of them, since moving my PC to the living room projector is a pain. I already have the spare power supply and a spare 212+ for the HTPC, I'm not too worried about noise since I can always just turn up the speakers.
  11. Here is another update. Added the 120mm rad to the bottom of the case and got a couple of new fittings.

  12. RX or AX?
  13. It's the AX120, I couldn't afford the rx version :( I only had 50 bucks to spend and with the two angled fittings I was already pushing the budget.
  14. It looks to me like the bottom rad is an RX/EX/RS but not an AX - they have a nice outer exterior without protrusions and any engravings.

    The loop is looking good!

    Proximon gave an excellent pointer! All you'll need to do is add this
    or this
  15. I can see the evolution of your cablework nice man and its good to see :)
    Thank you for the nod :)
    That led could come out from the rear of the motherboard, bend it back on itself if you want to keep the same lighting effect, +1 to flipping the Psu, it will also give you a little more slack on cables at the back,
  16. It was the EX not AX, sorry that was my mistake.

    @ Lutfij so you think that paint will work on my current heat spreaders or should I buy some new ones and paint those?

    Thanks for all the tips so far guys!
  17. Paint usually means adding a layer of well you know coating that may deteriorate the thermal efficiency, is there any way you can find engine enamel/ceramic thermal paint that matches your theme...? that which is used in automotive?

    Something I found, you may be interested and hopefully needed for others looking to paint parts;

    Well you could strip the black paint that the heat spreaders come in and paint it with the colors mentioned in my previous post.

    Cut throat prices but something to ogle;

    Heat transfer was my first thought but with dimms running at lowered voltages - you're good, just remove the stock paint off of the heatspreaders on the AC high finned spreaders.
  18. Interesting links. I'm just not sure if it will be worth the cost, to buy paint and heat spreaders. Keeping in mind I will need ram for my planed HTPC.

    So here are my options so far:

    This military green ram kit from corsair (I would likely buy two for 16Gb):
    about $106 for 2 kits


    Buy the two cans of camo paint and possibly more heat spreaders.

    As for the light strip I think I will be moving it soon, since it doesn't have the effect I had hoped for. Under the case you can tell exactly where each individual light is. I'm either gonna move it to the top of the case or perhaps around the inside.
    or (matched sets and probably binned off the same assembly line, than your dual kit solution - that may have minor issue in timings and IC's)

    Getting a themed build isn't an easy took me time and some patience to get the parts I have for my builds. Some were out of stock and some were added onto my list when I realized how I'd like to keep the theme.

    But its your call entirely!

    The best idea could be to go with ordinary samsung rams and then add the heatspreaders and then spray paint - the added issue would be that you'd be clocking the dimms to 1600 hopefully.

    like these:

    cathode's give off a full illumination at the bottom of case or if you'd like fabricate an acrylic panel with orthogonal sanding/lines(closely packed) and illumination led strip such as the one you have.

    As for black tubing, Norprene tubing...?
  20. Black tubing? Wrap it in duct tape or my favourite fabric tape :P
  21. Motopsychojdn said:
    Black tubing? Wrap it in duct tape or my favourite fabric tape :P

    The fabric tape will probably be a cheaper solution than replacing the tubing. I was pretty disappointed when I got the tubing in the mail because the description said it was black, but as you can see it is more of a blueish color. I still don't know where to find the fabric tabe, would a craft store have it?

    @Lutfij- I like the look of those crucial sticks and they have better specs than the corsair set, all for less money. Thanks and good find!
  22. You're welcome, I fixed the links in my previous post...

    * YOU SURE, the heat dumped by the rads aren't being recycled uptop by the same fans cooling your rad??
    Egay has fabric tape if you scour 'taxidermist tape' 'black fabric tape' and the like,
    and I know Xspc's 'black' tubing well, I have it myself, I'm just lucky you can't see any of it hehe
  24. Lutfij said:
    * YOU SURE, the heat dumped by the rads aren't being recycled uptop by the same fans cooling your rad??

    Curious as to what you meant here? Would setting up my upper rad differently work better (besides having it outside the case, I really wasn't pleased with how that looked last time)?

    I couldn't find that fabric tape on ebay in the US but I did find this one:
  25. Yeah about that, I meant - your rad being installed internally on the top is fine, but when I noticed your rad with the fans in push to exhaust, I scrolled up to notice that more than 1/3 rd of your cases top is covered with a shroud without any mesh area thus leading me to think that you could get better temps.

    You could mount the rad at the rear of case and do some nifty work with your tubing routes - and this the only way I see you accommodating that rad without any modding.

    You'll need 6-32 standoffs or nylon extended washers, but you already have the external XSPC rad mounting hardware.

    ahem , ahem , AHEM!!!


    and finally the paints
  26. On the rad, right now I just don't have a fan on top where the top doesn't have any mesh. If I ever need better temps I'll consider moving the rad to the back of the case.

    Thanks for the fabric tape links, I think I'll order the black and camo ones. I'll use the camo for the tubing and just have the black lying around for now.
  27. You're welcome!
  28. A couple of updates coming soon.

    Seven new fans for better performance on my rads:

    Some new hose clamps (x10) all painted black:

    ^These will be reusable unlike my current zip-tie solution.

    I'm still undecided on if I want to camo fabric tape my hosing or just buy some new better looking hosing, cost wise they will be similar since I would likely need more than one roll of fabric tape to do up all my hosing nicely.

    I just ordered the fans today and I'm painting the hose clamps today as well, so all will be added once the new fans come in the mail. I'll probably flip the PSU when i do this next update.

    Curious on all your opinions here with my rads in there current setup should I have the fans push air out of the case (current way on both rads) or pulling air into the case or should i have the lower rad sucking air in and upper pushing air out?

    Thanks for your time and opinions.
  29. I would have the lower rad intaking air and the top exhausting. Makes more sense to me to push hot air up than try to push it down.
    Maybe flip that rear 120mm fan so it intakes cool air right in front of the triple rad. Get a positive pressure system going with only the top fans as exhaust.
  30. Well some of the cooling isn't listed above, so here is the full cooling fans list as it stands right now:
    front: 120mm intake
    rear: 120mm exhaust
    bottom: 2*120mm exhaust on a 120mm rad
    side: 2*120mm intake and 200mm intake
    top: 5*120mm exhaust all connect to 360mm rad

    Proposed cooling layout (taking manofchalk's suggestions into account)
    front:120mm intake
    rear: 120mm intake
    side: 2*120mm intake and 200mm intake
    bottom: 2*120mm intake connected to the bottom 120mm rad
    top: 5*120mm exhaust fans attached to top 360mm rad
  31. A new development is in progress, a rad box consisting of my old NZXT gamma case.

    Here is what I have so far:

    And here is my one eyed helper:

    I just ordered an 8 channel fan controller and one more fan so all 480mm of rad space will have push/pull with xspc 2000rpm fans. I'm also considering tearing apart some old fans to make some shrouds for the radiators.

    Pics should be up sometime next week depending on my work schedule.

    In a future update to this I will add a T-line for draining the loop from within the rad box and quick disconnects between the two cases.
  32. One of us, one of us, one of us.....

    Hehe, nice one mate, glad to see you coming to the Cool/Dark side hehe

    You'll need some 14-18AWG wire to make a molex extension connection up for the fancontroller (And pump when you stick another one in there)
    Another res would be a nice addition as well, increase the mass, lower the overall temp and makes it easier for the loop to keep things cool
    Shrouds are great if you have the room, which you do, just remember you need much longer screws to fix them to the rads/case,
    quick disconnects to make things easy when you need to move the beastie
    and T-Line? I wouldn't but its your call :)
    Anything I can help with just shout up
    **Edit, your cat looks like one of our cats, she wouldn't help though, thats the males job :)
  33. Interesting supervisor!

    None of our cats are allowed in either of our offices especially Pixie, she is an habitual small wire chewer, and has destroyed numerous valuable items with her chewing fetish.

    Cables around the size of USB are her specialty!

    We love her despite it all and had to armor plate the wiring where she is allowed to access, the other cats, Dixie and Rambo, don't chew anything except their butts and feet, which is normal cat behavior I guess. :pt1cable:

    Well enough of that.

    You've really come a long way in your computer addiction, :lol: I only call it that because we're all infected!

    Most don't understand our desires or drives to make it better, as least as we see it as better, to most they don't understand why?

    Because a lot of my friends are still running older machines they think are great and see no need to upgrade at all, they never upgrade anything until it breaks down, and then usually for lack of maintenance and allowing dust to kill the machine.

    Your machines are really clean!

    I like that!

    It's easy to see your learning adventure as you've gone through these changes and upgrades.

    I do have a question but only after the fact, as obviously you didn't have a problem from it or maybe there's a fan dedicated I cannot see in the pictures.

    You water cooled your GPU and left the stock memory and VR cooling plate on the card, but I don't see any dedicated airflow over the plate to cool the plate that was normally cooled with the fan mounted on the card?

    The fan on the graphics card was not just cooling the GPU die, it was also cooling the memory and voltage regulators with the plate that was covering them, it was all working together.

    Without dedicated airflow over that cooling plate you would be running much hotter memory and VR temps, seriously shortening it's life, did you have alternate airflow?

  34. At Moto, for the wiring I was planning on using leftover wiring from my old antec power supply that blew up, I kept all the modular wiring and I gutted the fan from it to make a shroud.

    Another res is a good idea gravity feed the loop a bit, I'm gonna have to look into ways of building my own.

    Another pump is just like the quick disconnects I had to postpone getting until I have more money to spare. Right now I'm just trying to get the most cooling performance from what I already have.

    Ryan with the graphics card I had attached a 120mm fan directly to the card for a little while but it looked like crap, a new solution has yet to be found. I do have the 200mm and 2*120mm fans as intake fans on the side panel of the case which should be helping a bit.

    I'm glad to have such formidable members here to call upon for help and suggestions.
  35. **I was planning on using leftover wiring from my old antec power supply that blew up**
    As long as you are sure its 100% sound then yay for repurposing :)
  36. Disaster struck last night! To sum it up, leak near the top of the loop with the res being the lowest point...flood! Back up today for a new leak test and so far so good.
  37. Hehe, there are no disasters, only lessons :)
  38. Well it's finally back up and running, pictures up later today.
  39. Ok I finally have pictures to share, I apologize for the delay but I had to reseat the GPU block and re leak test the last time I posted that it was up and running. There is still work to be done, but I was tired of working on this and wanted my computer back so fixes will come in the future when I update something.

    Starting work:

    The heater hose was also just an experiment to see how well it worked. There is only one place in town that carries the correct size screws, so I bought exactly what I needed only to find out that one of the screws was too long! One hour and a half later, after I check the closer hardware stores I can get back to work:

    I know the cables are horrible right now, I attached all the fans to the rads thinking that the cables would be on the side not showing, since I didn't have the case in place yet I had it backwards in my mind :(

    Built on a wheeled cart so transportation between rooms was possible.

    Stuff that I will have to fix in the future:
    1. Paint and move the fan controller to the other side of the rad
    2. Reattach all the rad fans the other way round so the cables are hidden
    3. Fabric or electrical tape for the fan controllers molex power cord
    4. Cut and paint some sheet metal to fill the extra holes in the back of the rad box
    Any other suggestions for the future are welcomed.

    PS my girlfriend calls it my Frankenstein.
  40. now this is what i like to see thinking outside of the box :lol:

    Now for the real challenge getting that second case to look nice as well, I failed at my endeavor to do so with my rig.
  41. Nice work! :)

    I was thinking more like one of the Transformers, than Frankenstein!
  42. Yup, Coolimus prime hehe,
    for the fancontroller, why not drill holes in the panel/roof and mount it directly through? that way you have access to the knobs without having to move stuff and open the case up,
    some good planning here and forward thinking, I'm liking where this is going man
    (and attention to cables always get you brownie points with me :P)
  43. HEH, I'd side with Ryan on that note! - That's one menacing looking Transformer!
  44. Thanks for the responses guys, and "Coolimus prime" I like it! Maybe I'll add this thread to my sig and use that name as the link title.

    Mounting the fan controller through the top panel is a good idea, you showed me it once before a while back and I thought about it but didn't wanna take the time this time around. The next time I go to do some work I'll be asking you for some help on the best way to accomplish it.

    I might be trying for some more high stable overclocks in a little bit. I just have to get over my fear of way overvolting this chip, highest I've gone so far is 1.59vcore while trying to get 4.4ghz stable.
  45. Ryan's the guy for advice on grinding that chip to its gums :P the thing I love most on coming back to these threads the ability to bounce off ideas off of members :)

    ^ our own Illuminati circle :D
  46. As long as you have the cooling, the voltage isn't so much a concern,
    look at the voltages utilised on monster LN2 clocks :)
  47. I think my new setup will be able to handle the heat, the old setup could cool the 1.59vcore @4.4ghz I just kept crashing about 20-25mins into prime. If I have any success I'll post up in the AMD OCing club.

    On a side note, this thing sounds and feels like a wind tunnel when all the fans are on full
  48. Love you shrouded both sides of the 360!

    No blockage, Nothing but air going through that bad boy!

    Sweet! :)
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