Building a new PC.

It was time to get a new workhorse for the office, and being a bit of a computer enthusiast I made a project out of it… Here is how it went.

I decided to make a liquid cooled PC, mostly because I’ve never tried that before, and because I like my computers fast and silent. Living in Brazil it would be impossible to buy locally, so all the parts had to be ordered from various places in the US, making it necessary to know exactly what to order since there was little room for mistakes, with extremely high shipping costs and import taxes (close to 100%). So I spent a couple of months just researching hardware and water-cooling before I started to buy any parts.

As the stuff I ordered started to arrive I could being the project. I ordered Noctura NF-P12 120mm fans to cool the radiators. These are some of the best fans on the market when it comes to airflow and low noise levels. However they only come in brownish color, so I had to paint.

I ordered sleeving kit to help conceal exposed wires on fans, pumps etc.

Sleeving Result:

With the fans done, for a Black Ice GT 360 and a SWIFTECH 240 radiator. It was time to take apart the Graphics Card stock cooler and attach the EK-FC480 GTX water block.

The graphics card is Nvidia Geforce 480 GTX, pretty easy choice since it’s the fastest single GPU card on the market (May 2010). And it’s SLI performance is unmatched making it great choice for upgrading with a second or even third card when the PC needs a performance boost.

For PC case I chose to get the Thermaltake Level 10 Chassis. Actually not optimal for the amount of water cooling equipment I needed to fit, but I liked the case so much that I decided to make it work.

The case arrives:

Since it’s my first water cooled system I decided that a good visual indication of the system is running would be a must, so I ordered a drive bay water reservoir, that required a little metal work to fit in the case. This would allow me to keep and eye on the water flow in the case at all times.

But with a Dremel tool at hand, it was easy to make the necessary adjustments.

As more parts started to arrive I began assembling the computer. Here I’m running tests of the case and radiator fans, adjusting voltage to minimize noise level,.. also adding small spacers between the fans and the radiators proved to reduce noise a fair bit.

Attaching the Apogee XT CPU water block from Swiftech. I used IC Diamond 24 Carat thermal compound.

I finally started to set up the water loops and make sure everything got connected in the best possible way. It took a fair bit of modifications to make it all add up. With home made brackets and some new holes in the case to fit the radiators and run the tubes.

And I was ready for adding water(red nano fluid) to the system for the first time. I made sure that only the water loop had power, so there was no chance for destroying the hardware in case of a leak.

Now, if you’re an experienced water cooling dude, you’ll notice that there is a lot of tubes and two radiators and just one little pump. It was however capable of running water through the whole system. I left it running for 24 hours before powering up the rest of the computer to make sure there was no leaks.

Here the whole system is running, completely nerve wreaking to press the power button for the first time, but everything ran smoothly.

However, I wasn’t completely happy with the water flow and decided to order another pump to the system. Now adding a new pump is no guarantee that temperatures will drop, since the pump it self adds heat,.. but in this case since the flow was a little low, it gave me a good 4-5 degrees C reduction to the full load temperatures.

Almost finished building at this stage, the system is running very nicely and very quiet, barley audible, and even over-clocked the temperatures stay very good.

With a little metal work on the front panel its finally complete.

Running pretty fast too, Futuremark Vantage: P27999 3DMarks

Even windows 7 seems happy about it. 🙂

The full specs:
CPU: Intel i7 980X @ 4,34 GHz
Graphics Card: Gefore 480 GTX @ 875 MHz
RAM: 12 GB Patriot Viper PS3-14400 1800 MHz
Mother Board: ASUS Rampage III Extreme
HDD: Crusial C300 SSD 256 GB
PSU: Corsair HX 1000W

Thanks for reading.

  1. RenatoRenato09-13-2010

    And thou shall name it “Skynet”….

  2. bjarkebjarke10-29-2010

    Very nice job Tom..

  3. ZachZach01-22-2012

    This looks awesome. I want one…

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