First off a big thank you to my sponsors: CaseLabsMonsoon FreeDT WaterblocksCorsair, EK Waterblocks, Lutro0 Sleeving, Primochill, Alphacool

This spoiler is for the old old log before the rebuild – ignore it if you want to see the more recent stuff 🙂



I am working on a huge monster build that will showcase CaseLabs newest case – the monster TX10-D.  This monster case can fit two SR-2 (HPTX) systems with full water cooling.  As shown it could fit multiple Mo-Ra 140×9 raditors, or 6 140.4 radiators.  It can even fit front mounted 140.5 radiators.

The main feature will be two giant custom waterfall reservoirs that will occupy the front bays of the case:


Here is the current hardware that I have to go in, as well as the minimum upgrades that I wish to put in:


Unboxing Videos and Pics

I picked up the case directly from Jim – so the packing was reduced in order to fit in my car.  If you buy one of these it will come in two boxes as it’s packed a lot more securely.

Lots of parts

Building the case

As Jim knew the case was going to be powder coated by FTWPC he saved FTW the hassle of sandblasting it by skipping the CaseLabs normal black/white powder coat.  Because of this the case is not only in it’s raw bare aluminum state, but it also is less assembled than normal in order to save on time taking everything apart.

The Pedestal frame consist of top, bottom, front and back that are screwed together with countersunk screws
Screwing the casters in
These are the spring clips that hold the panels on – they hold the panels tight, while still be pretty easy to remove for changing your loop up
Pedestal frame with one of the clipped side panel and the back plate screwed on
Pedestal with all panels attached except the top/bottom cover
Main case frame coming together, this is the view from the back showing the holes for the dual vertical motherboard trays
Case + Pedestal with XXL window fitted on one side

Here’s a video of the partially assembled case:

Choosing colors for the powder coat

To make sure I was making the right choice on the color I decided to get some card and tape it to the frame.  I removed the acrylic window and used a grey piece of card to model the motherboard:

Metallic Charcoal Grey and Metallic Crimson Red

Metallic Charcoal Grey and Metallic Crimson Red
Metallic Charcoal Grey, Pearl White and Crimson Red
Metallic Charcoal Grey with Metallic Pearl White


1/3/12 – Paint samples came in today – it looks like “Galaxy Grey II” will be the exterior and “Silver/White” will be the interior.  It’s hard to show the texture, but those two are both similarly smooth, with a bit of shine but not much.

1/10/12 – Some parts came in – open box xonar stx, ax1200 (another one as my trusty 550W is slowly dying), and an EK 250 reservoir for the workstation motherboard/gpu loop.



Thought you guys might want to see some pics of the existing hardware that will be *partly* reused as well as some of the new pieces.  Apologies that the photos aren’t that great, my wife took the camera with her tonight so I had to use my phone.

Here’s my modded Antec 300 that contains my gaming rig (i7-920, Rampage III Extreme, 3xGTX480, Xonar STX, AX1200).  When the workstation gets SB-E this will get the 990x.  Note that one gentle typhoon is stopped – I unsoldered the power wire because it’s out of balance so the noise is annoying.

Here’s the front of the case with the space efficient but bubbly Koolance dual D5 reservoir as well as the dual 24V controller.  I’ll be using this reservoir until the 18 bay FTW reservoirs come in.  No dvd drive, I removed it after installing windows and a couple of games.  Most other games I have are on origin/steam.

Here’s the interior – cable routing isn’t perfect because I knew I was moving to the TX10 soon.  I’ll also be replacing all the blue LEDs with reds to match the ROG theme a bit better:

Here’s the workstation in it’s current temporary incarnation in a DD torture rack.  i7-990x on an asus p6t.  LSI raid card, 3 ssds and 3 hard drives and a 8800gt to drive the monitors.  It has the H100 cooler temporarily and as you can see it needs some sleeving work:

Here’s a front shot showing the push/pull AP15’s on the H100, they perform about as well as the stock 2600rpm corsair fans at max, but with a *lot* less noise

Trident + turbulence memory – back in the day this was sweet stuff 3x4gb @ 2000-8-9-8, now of course you can get better for a lot less money haha such is progress!

And now for some parts waiting to be installed – vintage EK gpu block:

My old rasa block – I’m hoping to not use this and instead get a second raystorm soon – note the o-rings on the barbs seem to be dying:

EK 250 res and DDC-1 for the worksation gpu and motherboard loop that will be self contained on the motherboard tray.

1/17/12 – More parts:


Work has been crazy busy, however I made my deadline so it’s time to celebrate with new fittings:



Seeing as my boss gave me the week off (why not a raise?) for having to work like crazy the last month I decided to test out some of the components that came in on my workstation.  for the last few months it’s been running the H100 cooler, now it’s time to switch it to partial watercooling.

In the end the workstation will have two loops:

1 – CPU (raystorm) – mora 140.9 – dual D5 varios

2- GPU (8800gt) – GPU (9800gt) – motherboard – DDC-1 – RX360

The GPU’s only do 2D, so there’s very little heat on loop2.  Both loops will eventually run with low speed yates and I’m hoping it should be close to silent while giving excellent overclocking performance on the cpu.

As I don’t have 4 D5’s yet (still one short) I’ll be temporarily running this loop with a DDC.  I picked up one of the NOS ones from bmaverick, they’re not that powerful but this won’t be driving a critical loop.  I picked up an xspc acrylic top (later I’ll run some dye for the money shots):

However the XSPC screws don’t fit the old DDC’s so I had to drill out the holes a bit larger


Then with the EK 250 res fitted.  I used a bitspower shining silver male to male rotary fitting to attach them:

Also remember that talk about the acyrylic vs delrin 8800gt blocks, well I ordered the acrylics and they arrived the other day:

They do look sexier!

Taking apart the 8800gt:

Then I realized I didn’t have any non-conductive TIM left, so I put it to the side and put the 9800gt in for now.  Built up the temporary cpu loop in the torture rack

Kind of a funky radiator setup – the torture rack only supports 240 rads, so I ran 2 fans in push and 2 fans in pull.  I have 12 more gentle typhoons coming from the ocn group buy:

Then more stuff came:

Fan adapters for the gtx 560, plus rubber fan isolators.  Not sure if they’ll do much but they were cheap if I bought the adapters, so I picked some up:

Mounting the adapters to a gtx560:


A box arrived

You said flap :rolleyes:

The largest usb flash drives known to man and some awesome sauce:

Sometimes the front view is better than the back:

Opening a door:

Socket 2011 is bigger than I thought:

Inside the box is two more boxes:

– Curiously only a 2x CFX cable, but yet 2/3/4x SLI cables

– The sata 6gbps cables are black with partly white connectors as opposed to full black for the rest of the cables.

– The OC key that plugs inline with your monitor doesn’t support high res monitors – bit of a fail there Asus.  Shouldn’t affect me as I can use the USB cable from my other rig anyway

– It would be nice if the back of the backplate was also black rather than the shiny tin foil like other boards

And the last tease for the night:


Had some time for another photo session seeing as the cpu doesn’t get here for a few days:Took the board out:

Took the ram out, seems to be the fastest I’ve seen at 1.5V with 4GB sticks.

Installed the ram, note that the polarity is reversed on each side, which makes sense if they flipped the pinout on the chip.

The paint job on the fins wasn’t that even – some sticks definitely got more coverage:

Time to take off the heatsink in preperation for the EK full cover block:

Only the VRM area had thermal pads on the back and front of the heatsink:

Looks like Asus have moved away from that horrible yellow TIM they had on the R3E:

The VRM area with heatsink removed:

Chip arrived, motherboard and ram blocks don’t come until tomorrow though.

SSD is actually for my wife’s rig.  I don’t have an ssd on my gaming rig.  I only use it for games so I wouldn’t see that much benefit from a boot drive.  I use my workstation for web browsing etc as it’s on all the time.  I’d need a 512gb drive or so to cover my games, so I’m waiting for prices to come down more

Batch on the 3930K is 3152B448, we’ll see how it clocks soon 🙂

Suddenly a wild EK party!

Nickel plexi because I want to run some red dye (on special occasions only for all you dye haters out there)

Finished cleaning the TIM off the south bridge only to find a piece of tin foil with more TIM underneath.  Weird.

Pretty easy to install when the block is in two parts, the single piece blocks are much harder:

VRM area:

Full board:

and one more:

That’s all for now
With ram blocks, the fittings aren’t the final ones, just more for planning.  I’m working with Monsoon free to see if something special will make the tube routing super clean 😉

the ram blocks remind me of battersea power station:

Now adding in the gpu makes it look ugly and busy 🙁  The copper and green pcb really don’t match.  I called a nickel plating company to get a quote on plating both copper GPU blocks and it was $175 for both!  So that’s not going to happen.  I may switch to the other acetal/copper block and paint the edge of the copper silver.  I have another idea for the PCB 😉

Much better with the gpu off again


So like I mentioned before I really didn’t like the green/copper look clashing with the black/red R4E theme:

So I started to paint the GPU with liquid tape – first coat:

So here’s how it looks now after two coats on both sides:

You can see some of the texture here, liquid tape is hard to work with – either annoyingly thick, or very thin and see through:

From this angle the texture isn’t as bad:

However it would look a lot better with a backplate, I’m thinking something like this, smoked acrylic with an etch and a couple of LEDs to light it from the side:


The temporary parts came in to see if I could get some clean routing for the motherboard/ram/gpu loop:

However it didn’t quite work as expected- I couldn’t get the 40mm extensions to work with the 5 way rotary snake, however a SLI connector did fit.

Here’s another possibility:

Now I’m not sure whether to:

– get two more sli connectors (I need this one)

– use two compression fittings instead

– get two of the bitspower crystal sli links to match better

Got some more parts today:

3 ssds and a bunch of fittings:

This meant I could do some leak testing with the gpu/motherboard/ram loop.  Still missing the other gpu for now though, but the important thing was to see if the ram block connections were good:

You can see water on the bottom right of the board.  The GPU didnt’ have it’s spare ports sealed tightened down properly.  Didnt’ see that leak for a few minutes as it was dripping down the back of the block and was mainly hidden by the card and the block.  You can see it coming out and filling up the pci-e socket:

The bitspower crystal linke sli fittings were part of the order too.  The closest one in this photo leaked initially as it had fallen out of the o-ring.  They’re not that sturdy so it’s a bit concerning that they might fall out.  We’ll have to see how it goes.

The top view is much nicer now though:

With red dye the crystal links won’t look so out of place.

That’s all for now.  Case should be back from powder coating with another 14 gentle typhoons on tuesday, so expect a big update then 🙂  Until then the board can dry out a bit 😉  I need more time for working on the backplates and the reservoirs.

Unboxing pics:

2 motherboard trays are better than one:

Some accessories:

These are only the frame parts – the exterior skin is still at smasher’s place:

“Super Mounts” – From top: 120×4, 140×4, 180×3 and 5 way hard drive flex bay mount (120×5)

Pedestal front and back:

Frame top and bottoms for case and pedestal:


3/10/2012 – Assembling the painted Case
I have a video that I’m trying to put together of building the case.  Here’s a shot of assembling the pedestal pieces:

– Unfortunately no more photos of the pedestal, but essentially there’s a front and back and a top and bottom, each of the four joins  look like the pic above.

– They get screwed together with 7 screws along the top and one on each corner (side).

– Screw the top and bottom to the front, and then add the back on.

– Then start work on the main case.  Start with the center and work outward.  Here’s the motherboard compartment – the two inner vertical sheets and the top and bottom sheets.

– Assemble the two vertical sheets to the top sheet (8 screws):

– Then add the other bottom sheet (8 screws):

– Then put the case down on it’s front and add the back (34 screws)

– Then put the case back on it’s side so you’re ready to easily add the front panel:

– Screw in the front panel to all the other pieces (36 screws) and put the case on top of the pedestal.

– Screw the case to the pedestal (4 screws) and it should look like this:

– Screw in any flex bay mounts and accessories

– Add the motherboard trays to the motherboard back plates and attach the handles (6 screws total)

– Add the hinges for the doors

– Rearrange any back panels

– test your super mounts fit

– Clip on the exterior frame panels

– start building or clip on the frame

Here’s mine without the exterior panels, don’t worry the black plate covers will dissapear by the end of the build (18 bay waterfall reservoir to come)

3/12/2012 – Tour of MakerPlace

So I got the opportunity to tour this new workshop close to downtown that just opened.  It has all the workshop tools you could never afford to buy yourself, and you can buy day passes or month passes depending on how long you need.  So this resolves all my issues with manufacturing the waterfall reservoirs myself, as well as opening up possibilities like custom waterblocks…

It was the launch weekend so there was a free bbq (there were plenty more people later on)

Wood shop room, saw stop tablesaw, planer, chop saw etc. bunch of other stuff that isn’t shown:

Large CNC Mill for wood:

Sand Blaster:

Vinyl cutter so you can print your own stickers:

Forgot to take a photo of the 3D printer, but here’s an 150W laser that cut through some hefty steel plate:

There’s two other lasers good enough for acrylic/wood, and a third one is apparently on the way:

Spray paint booth, they have an oven for powder coating, but not all the rest of the powder coating tools yet:

Metal press and folding machiens:

Other metal machines, bandsaw, grinders and a lathe:

Metal lathe:

Old school mills:

CNC mill – can you say custom waterblocks!

Electronics room – not much here, bunch of soldering irons, power supplies and scopes:

So what do you all think I should do with this opportunity?

I definitely want to:

– make the custom metal backplates for GPUs

– make the waterfall reservoir

– make some custom waterblocks for parts that aren’t ultra high performance e.g. raid card, memory blocks etc.

3/14/2012 – Paints, Blocks and Fans
Alright here’s an update.  Can you say gentle typhoooooooooooooooooooons?

Don’t worry they’re not all for me.  I only have 14 of those plus the 10 I already own.

My waterblocks also came in, thanks again to DT Waterblocks, here they are next to my spare rasa (both my raystorms are still in systems)

You can see there’s plenty of room for fittings.  On the back you can see the copper base plate is pretty chunky – this should mean it should distribute heat better laterally through the plate but worse directly through it.  Not sure the right trade off, but this copper block is the largest I’ve seen both in terms of area and thickness.

Here’s some results from Martin’s testing:

Temps in comparison to the raystorm:


“Performance is about as good as it gets, but there is some refinement in the mounting system needed.  Considering this is their first block produced and it’s not only keeping up but lower in restriction than the other blocks says a lot! Overall, I see it as a block with a ton of work and emphasis put into the design and quality of the block itself. That 5Noz is something very special and it’s very refreshing to see a design done very differently from the norm that also performs extremely well.”

It should be noted that the mounting mechanism now has thumb screws.  Next update I’ll show you a pic of it mounted.

Anyway the other big news on this update is the exterior panels.  Here’s some close up shots of the color, it’s a dark metallic grey flake with a smooth finish to the touch:

Even closer:

And as much as I can loosely hang on the case without it being clipped on.  You can see one motherboard has also been mounted.  The TX10 makes EATX look like a MITX lol.

Working with Smasher and Jim on this has been a delight and I highly recommend them 🙂

So while I was waiting for the screws, I decided to mount a reservoir to the motherboard tray. As the motherboard tray is HPTX there is a lot of spare space.  Initially I wanted to also fit an RX360 on there, so that the motherboard/gpu/ram loop was self contained on the tray so that I could just pull it out and swap CPUs without disturbing that loop.  Now I have another plan for the radiator instead.  Here I am drilling the tray:

With the res mounted (it’s a 250 EK multires if anyone cares and there’s just enough room for a D5 underneath):

From the back with the reservoir mounted.  You can see the two nuts holding it on:

Now with the motherboard tray back stiffening and tiding plate added:

Here’s another shot of the front also showing the new cpu block.  BTW any barbs are just place holders.

A quick test inside the case:

I also did a test run with the gtx560 radiator and the fan adapters with my new shiny 2150 rpm gentle typhoons!

That was it for the night, then the next morning I found an extra fitting and connected the res to the ram block.  Almost a straight line lol.

No one had photographed the new thumbscrews on the cpu block – so I took a couple of that also:

Again ignore the barbs, I haven’t quite decided how to route the tube out of there yet.

Here’s a pic of the iwaki next to a D5

Then I put the dvd drives in. These will eventually be hidden 🙂

Then I starting putting in the new ssds into the hdd side mount:

I have another 3 ssds and 5 hard drives to put in later on, when I really transplant everything over:

And now a tease of the case with the panels:

More to come soon 🙂


So the only thing I got done this week was changing the switch plate to one that matched the exterior color.  Here’s the original:

The cover is held on with two nuts:

Put the new one on:

Reattach the switches:

Install it:

And put the panels back one:

That’s probably it for the next week at which point a large order of parts should be coming in :thumb:

Alrighty the fedex guy came, so here’s some unboxing action:

Woooh packing

Opened some boxes – the front rad is an ex560 – not quite sure why this was the first 560 rad that XSPC made.

Mora 140.9 revealed – way thicker than the EX of course

Can you say quick disconnects?

So I played around with my own version of the big slappy mod for the Iwaki – the idea is you tap the cylinder res for a much larger feed for the pump.  The pump can’t be on it’s back so you need a nice slow 90 degree bend.  The tough part is then getting down to the 5/8 OD pipe that is the inlet to the Iwaki.  Here I used 1″ pipe going to a 1/2″ female converter fitted with a 5/8″ brass barb.  I butted the barb up right against the inlet and stretched some 0.5″ tube over it:

The feed may not be quite as good as the original big slappy as that only had a bout 3/4″ of 5/8 inlet tube, vs this 2.5″ on this version.  However the downpipe is 1″ instead of the 3/4″ that was used.  So hopefully the extra width balances it out a bit.  Here’s a photo of the original big slappy:

and amuseme’s version:

We’ll see I might change to what they did, I feel like it might have better performance.

Also started spray painting test colors on a dead GT.  I made a quick spray booth:

Done – there’s some metallic flake in the paint, the color isn’t quite as orange as the tube though:

Reassembled (kinda)

Then a final comparison with it mounted on the 120 rad (this rad is just for the motherboard block loop).  The rad will be painted silver to match:

So what do you think?  Are the colors close enough?  Both are slightly off.  I wonder if I can get a color match from the powder coat supplier.  I think I’ll look for a different red at the least tomorrow.  The match does depend on the lighting though.

Got some more today seeing as I got done with my deadline yesterday.  I wanted to get the 120 rad painted to match the fan to see how it looks and what fittings to go with.  So I started sanding down the brand new gt stealth:

Masked it off and applied primer:

Then painted a matching cover to dress up the fan a little:

While I was waiting for paint to dry, I did some work on the pump mounting.  I added a drain port to the inlet tube and mapped out the cuts I wanted to make to the base panel.  Air has to flow through the base panel, so there has to be some cut outs.  Because the pump will vibrate, I’m worried about making the noise worse with a floppy piece of metal, so I was thinking to stiffen it with two 1″ by 1/4″ steel bars screwed underneath the base plate (these are the two dark shaded strips.  I’ll have to add some rubber strips to try and isolate the baseplate from the frame also.

Here’s a quick look at the painted rad from earlier with the fan on top:

And here’s a piece of acrylic that was laser cut and then painted to match.  The dimensions aren’t quite right though:

Not sure whether to do something like this or not.

Originally I had wanted to paint all the fans, then I got lazy and thought, well I’m more likely to screw them up by painting them (imbalanced rotors and all), plus they won’t be seen so who cares.  So I took a look to see if I could justify lazy or not:  Here are the stock typhoons showing:

Here’s one painted typhoon just rested up in there.  Obviously the space around the fan (fan adapter) would be painted silver too so it would blend better.  The red can’t be seen too well though:

So I figure I have three options:

A) leave the GTs stock (lazy and quieter but looks ugly)

B) paint the GTs housing only and leave the rotor grey (quiet but stands out less

C) paint the GT fully (risks noise from a now unbalanced rotor and doesn’t look much better than option b)

D) paint the GT fully and add some white LEDs to actually show the metallic red rotor off a little bit

What do you all think?

The results are in:

A – 2

B – 7

C – 0

D – 6

Other suggesions:

– not paint and add leds – 2

– paint the housing and add leds -1

– paint hubs only and add leds -1

I liked some of the suggestions – I think what I’ll do is actually not paint, and use red LED’s to light the blades.  I’m going to do a test run in the next couple of days.  I’ll also create a plate to attach the fans too that will cover some of the ugliness so only the blades will be seen.  I can then create some back lit patterns.  I need to check how much room is left in between the fans and the metal panel though.

Meanwhile I mounted the 140×9 radiator (without fans as I’m waiting on delivery), and checked the QDC’s:

Unfortunately there is not enough room – only about 3/4″ to make the 90 degree turn:

Luckily I had a non rotary 90 spare that could help out:

A rotary there would inevitably leak due to the weight of the QDC.  I don’t like the restriction of that tight 90 though so I may end up taking the QDC off of the radiator and putting it in line instead.  I decided to leave it for a bit though and work on tapping the reservoir.  The parts I need came in, so now it’s time to build a makeshift tap handle lol.


So I received some more primochill LRT tubing that is definitely a different color than the previous stuff I have.  It’s not aging or the supplier because the existing stuff I have is of different dates and different suppliers.  I contacts ppc’s and they said to email primochill (although I do wonder if they shipped me feser by mistake).  Either way we’ll see what primochill says.

The difference looks 3-4x worse than the photo shows.

Also got some parts that were correctly manufactured (EK D5 top and lots of drain ports):

Bunch of fill ports:

I also got done with the clearcoat on the radiator so I could finally take the masking tape off:

Then I built a quick and dirty tap handle:

We’ll see how it works, I may have to buy one but thought I’d try this first.

I attached the D5 top to the res with a rotary male to male connector.  There was about 3/8″ gap between the mounting plate and the motherboard tray though, so I picked up a rubber table leg weight distributor that felt like it would be good for damping vibrations.  It’s just the right size to hide behind the mounting plate.  I had to shave it down a bit though as it was more like 1/2″:

Here it is hiding:

If it’s visible from the window, I’ll have to replace it, but I think it’s good.  Here it is with the plate bolted down lightly (the barb is temporary):

Here it is mounted from the front:


I made a review of the case

Also a quick project update:

So I started off by putting together the workstation upgrade.  My gaming rig can be down, but I still have to work, so that’s the first priority.  The workstation consists of two loops:

1. i7-3930K – Mora3 140×9 – Dual PMP450S (D5 Strong)

2. EK R4E full cover block – 2 EK ram blocks – EK 8800GT block – D5 Vario – EK 250 cylinder res

As most of loop 2 was done, I started work on loop 1.  So I started off mounting the fans to the mora3.  Here it is with the CaseLabs “Super Mount”.  There are four dedicated mounting points independent of the fans which is nice:

This means you can just mount the fans to the supermount and not the radiator:

This is useful for cleaning because you can just undo the four mounting screws between the supermount and the rad.  I.E. You don’t have to remove every single fan for cleaning.  FYI the fans are low speed 140mm yates (700rpm).  I chose these because I wanted something cheap and quiet, and yates are both of those when at 700rpm.

Here’s the super mount with fans mounted placed on top of the rad:

Then I attached the rad to the super mount:

The only downside to this is a tiny gap between the fan and the rad.  However it’s small enough that I don’t think it will cause a problem:

Here it is mounted in the top of the case:

I then attached the quick disconnects to the CPU block for loop 1.  Originally they were going to attach to the case and then have compression fittings on the cpu block.  However there wasn’t enough room to make the 90 degree turn, so i think this works better:

In the final setup I’ll have some bitspower pass throughs that go to the top chamber.  For now the tubing curves around to the drive bay area where the temporary reservoir and pumps are:

Again you can see the pink vs red tube.  Primochill have shipped me some replacement tube – so props to them for taking care of it.

So to build the workstation loop I also needed a rx360 rad from my gaming rig.  So this meant that it was time to take the gaming rig apart.  Here you can see it minus one fan that was clicking and had been removed.  Yes you can cool 3 480’s, a 920 and motherboard block with 5xAP15s but yes your water gets pretty warm lol.

So once the radiators were removed, I could take some side by side pics with the new case:

Yes the TX10 is huge!

So enough posing, it’s time to take the guts apart:

You can see how the window was hiding some messy wiring.  I hadn’t bothered to tidy and sleeve much after putting in the Koolance res and STX because the TX10 was already on the way.

Lots of dust to be cleaned, here you can see the “saddlebag” setup of the external rads

About to take the fans and reservoir out:

Top fan and PSU removed:

Parts on the ground, parts on the ground looking like a fool with my parts on the ground!

The STX is a sexy card:

Alright so more photos taking the old rig apart – we left off by removing the pci cards and the power supply:

So now let’s remove the cpu block and check the tim spread:

Not the best but not awful.  Now time to take the motherboard out:

Out it comes:

Which leaves a sad empty and dusty case!

Now it’s time to take apart the rad setup:

Remove the steel bars:

Then the fans:

I noticed one side of the rads now had white stains on them, these were the sides on the top:

Compared side by side to the underside (bottom rad):

Anyone know what that is?

So we left off with the antec 300 emptied out, here’s another shot of it next to the TX10 now that it’s empty:

I was also now left with a big stack of fans.  This is without the 15 fans that have already been used in the TX10:

Now I could start rebuilding the gaming rig into the TX10:

Adding the 120 rad for the motherboard loop:

Testing that it still fits in the case:

Soon it must be time to start tidying up before I get slapped!

However first I need to get my work computer up.  The free 360 is being used for the workstation motherboard/ram/gpu loop and will sit approximately here:

So now to take apart the loop that was leak testing in order to add the rad:

I changed out the 45 degree bitspower compression on the GPU as it felt like it had a slight leak in in that position, so it has a temporary barb, I also removed the pump sticker.  It’s much cleaner now, and who needs an overpriced dress kit 😉

That’s all for now!

Here’s a quick update – time to start drilling!

Adding some fill ports:

2 done:

All done:

Not as messy now:

Time to get the workstation up and running so I can get back to work (once I’ve cleaned up of course).  I’ll be using the Koolance dual bay dual D5 reservoir for now.  It’s a real pain to use because it doesn’t bleed well, however if you add on some tube from the fill ports on the res up to the fill ports on the case you can keep the water level above the reservoir and it really helps.

Now we’ve freed up a 360 rad for the workstation gpu/motherboard/ram loop, we can put the loop together:

I’m using AP15’s temporarily until I’m done painting the low speed yates.  Also that one barb is temporary too:

The wiring is temporary too.  So for loop testing, I disconnected the QDC’s pulled the motherboard tray out of the case and the 360 out seperately, then I reconnected and filled the loop and left it to bleed/leak test on the counter for a few hours.

Alright time for another update.  Here’s the loop testing for the workstation.  Bear in mind this is not the final loop – it will be tidier with nicer fittings, for now I need to get my workstation up and running, I can pretty it up later.

Some of the tube is the pink tube that I had mentioned before, that will be replaced.  Bleeding of the annoying koolance reservoir was made easier by the dedicated fill ports and by the QDC’s.  The D5’s struggle to push that much air out of the system, so it was much easier to bleed the cpu section and the radiator seperately and then connect them up as a whole:

Now that it had passed leak testing it was time to take it to the office:

It was now heavy (and bulky) and I didn’t trust the BP crystal links not to loosen up if I didn’t take it down the step smoothly, so I found a piece of plywood in the shed to help:

First boot! Yay!  It was just the kitchen that was covered in parts, so was the office, it’s a real mess as I still had my old workstation running while I tweaked the clocks on this one.  I temporarily put the power supply in the top chamber while I did the overclocking tweaking:

Did a quick bench to see the limit of the chip, I couldn’t get past 5.22GHz on water.  I tried up to 1.66V, but nothing past 1.56 really helped.  5.22 means it’s a pretty average 3930K, certainly no golden chip 🙁  I tried to settle for a 24/7 clock of 4.95, but I didn’t like the volts, so settled down for 4.9 instead, I’ll see if I can tweak the memory faster than 2133 CL9 later, here’s a SS of the 5.22:

Next I installed the power supplies properly, here you can see the optional PSU support bracket for long power supplies.  It’s probably not necessary, but why not?  It comes with some rubber tape to damp any vibrations:

Here’s the first PSU installed:


Took a little break to build a mATX rig for a co worker:

A board!

blah blah blah marketing – where’s the window that the extreme boards have?

Now there’s a board

I liked the door hanger – unfortunately this is for an overclocked workstation so not too useful here:

A large box for some memory (32giggles):


Oh and a cpu:

Best put that in the socket then:

We should remove that plastic cover too:

Putting in that H100:

Yeah I know no custom water loop, but this is going to someone who can’t be trusted with such things 😉

miniThief is getting there:

miniThief- now with 100% more PSU:

Don’t forget a GPU (9800GT ftw!)

Close up:


So back to the *real* project.  Now that my workstation was up and running, I could take the old one down:

OMG dust!  This is three months worth:

Still yucky:

Got out the duster and started taking it apart:

Nearly done

Now I’ve gone and made the kitchen messy again:

So as it’s the weekend you get bonus updates 🙂

This is how I initially wanted the PSU’s to give maximum air intake:

However the left PSU once it had cables would conflict with the 360 rad mounted in front of it, so I decided to move it:

Done, you can see there’s still a good amount of space in between:

Now to mount them – they’re going in the second to bottom compartment:

and mounted:

Now time to mount all the hard drives – here are the gaming rig drives:

Now let’s add in the workstation drives:

old skool x25e:

All done:

Now to cable it – I hate how asus only give you sata cables with right angles at one end and straights at the other.  For this build I really need straight to straights, so I had to order some more from the egg, this is the temporary rats nest:


Alright a quick update as I got some more time to process photos (on a side note the first mdpc package came woot!)

I got the workstation back up and running:

But I had to use the gaming side for location of the power supply as the cables were not long enough to reach the real location.  As you can see it makes a good storage room also:

Workstation in action – no 2nd 8800gt yet because I’m only driving two screens, the card is being used as a test card for now for some other rigs I’m building.

Again a lot of fittings are temporary.  So now back to the gaming rig.  I transferred the sweet trident ram from my worksation to the gaming rig (I think it maybe hypers), it can do 2130 CL 8 and probably more but that’s the limit of my 990x IMC.  Should have tried two sticks in the 3770K rig I slapped together to see what it could really do!  The ugly p6t board that was being used for the workstation is now going into a generic network maintenance use and will be put in a rack.

A shot of that sexy ram:

And the motherboard tray:

Here you can see I had soldered on an extra molex connector to the board (just to the bottom of the STX).  My old case didn’t have room to connect a power cable to the real connector, so this helped me give the gpus enough power.

And now time to swap the 920 for that sweet 990x:

Alright time to swap those cpus – out with the 920:

And in with the 990x:

Close it up:

Mount the CPU block and add the g3/8 adapters – luckily the 5Noz has a very wide port spacing:

Which means you can mount the high flow VL4N quick disconnects – unfortunately they are g 3/8 and don’t come with right angle options, so I have to have adapters both ends and then a g1/4 female to female before I can add in the 90 degree rotary fitting:

Here we are with the old GPUs mounted too:

And here’s how it will look as this will be the reverse ATX side:

Now it’s time to repurpose that clown board:

And done til the case comes:


Second update of the day – sleeving came in:

Always interesting to see stamps from a foreign land 😉  And of course the obligatory nils drawing

The results from the last survery were clear:

So now I made them with real sleeve   (24 pin left and 8 + 6 pin right)  (only one row of course) (photographed outside under cloud, the background is the pedestal back plate which is powdercoated the same color as all internal parts):

I’m leaning towards D or F.  However there’s one last complication there is red or the “x” color that is basically a deep red-brown kind of color.  As far as I can tell, the x looks better when next to white, the red otherwise:

Let me know what you think!

Thanks to everyone – results are in:

So now we can eliminate the less popular and simulate these with the motherboard tray – yes it’s a walk off!  Jeppzer’s suggestion is now also included:

Option C

Option D

Option G

Option Jeppzer

Let me know what you think – and please keep it to these four only!


Alright – another diversion to clean up the odds and ends – well I got some packages to help with that:

Inside a box….. is another box:

And inside – the opposite of a CaseLabs case – cheap design, cheap steel, cheap manufacturing:

Despite knowing how badly the edges were finished I still managed to cut myself!

Mounting the old workstation board:

Now let’s see what’s come in from the egg:

The PSU for that mATX build I did (those photos were slightly out of order), another ssd (because 7 isn’t enough) and a cheapo gpu for the 4u case:

Passive GPU is passive, crappy sas card is crappy:

Got those straight to straight sata cables too:

So Primochill came through on delivering me the replacement tube.  They also sent some extras in order to sponsor the build and I guess future builds because there are multiple colors:

two dual gigabit cards came in for the network upgrades:

Fitted one to this box:

Then mounted that box in our rack in the office:

Thought you might like to see our main server – it’s a supermicro barebones 4u box that’s capable of fitting two gulftown xeons, however we only have one hex cpu fitted right now:

You can see they built a plastic shroud around the ram and cpu to force the air through the heatsinks.  Anyway back to the real project.  Sanded down another radiator:

Masked it up:

Ready to go:


While I’ve been busy working on this, my sponsors have been busy with new products.  Detroit Thermo has come out with a new block called the “sniper”, it’s a tiny bit more restrictive but is supposed to have better temps:

I’m hoping to do an apples to apples comparison with the rasa/raystorm/ek hf supreme/5Noz/Sniper 🙂

Also Monsoon Free came out with some sexy new rotary fittings:

Including a special version with optional end plugs:

[quote]Yes the other version has Light Ports that let you install several different types of plugs. An LED plug that has super bright 15 degree LED’s that make your tube glow sort of like a fiber optic cable or neon tube. A temp probe plug. A shorty version of the silver bullets, and of course our standard Monsoon plug. The plugs are available in all 10 Monsoon colors. The Light Port Rotaries will sell for a buck or two more depending on where resellers price them.

Actually the LED plugs don’t come in the two color form shown below, but you get the idea.[/quote]

Excited to use these, but it gives me more decisions to make as to which color to use lol.
Quick update on my project:

While I was procrastinating sleeving/custom wire harnesses for the power supply I figured I’d work on getting the radiators up and running for the gaming rig – I mounted the AP16s to the 140mm adapters:

Then got ready to resolder and sleve:

First time sleeving so did a pretty uneven job:

Decided to move that to the back side of the radiator and now that I had my system down, did a much better job on the front side:

Both sides done, but still awaitng fan headers:

Mounted back in the case:


Been slow on the updates because work has been kicking my behind.  Anyway the 580 3gb cards came in.  I know some of you may say why not get 680’s (or even 670’s), well these were a lot cheaper (awesome 2nd hand deal) and will perform plenty well enough to max out 2560×1600 @ 60Hz.  With my 480’s I never had a problem running out of processing power, but I did run out of vram, so I think these will be plenty until I upgrade the monitors 😉  Once I upgrade then I’m sure I can justify a few GK110s 😉

As you can see two of the backplates are 480 ones:

So I had to switch the cards around so that the 580 one was at the bottom of the stack.  I had to take them apart anyway to check for nickel problems and gunk.  I’d be more concerned if I wasn’t suspecting that I’ll change GPUs again before the build is finished.  Here they are rearranged and plugged in:

The 120 radiator is for the motherboard only loop:

I’m still working out how to route the tubing for optimal performance without making it look like a mess – should I come out the side or go out the top?

Although the board has two loops on it, it will really look like it has three as there will be a  560 rad in between the cpu and gpu:

Motherboard loop routed with temporary fittings – I thought this would look better.  I don’t really like the way it looks – too busy and crowded, I need to work out a way to keep the tube out the way more.  Maybe a memory block would help:


Ok so a quick recap -not much had been done the last few weeks as I was busy with work and then went on a brief vacation.  Now I’m back the build will continue, however I’ll also be doing various things in between including a review of Rich Chomiczewski aka Spotswood’s new tech station.  I’ll also be doing a CPU waterblock round up which will include:

DT Sniper

DT 5Noz

EK Supremacy

EK Supreme HF

XSPC Raystorm


MIPS Iceforce HF

Thanks to DT, EK and Indigo Xtreme for sponsoring the blocks and TIM, thanks to Rich for sponsoring the tech station which will be used as the test bench 😀

So without further ado, let’s get back to some pictures 😀

The tech station arrived from Rich in a fairly small box:

However there was still plenty of room for packing:

The case comes “mostly” assembled, here’s the motherboard tray:

that mounts above the base which includes mounts for DVD drives, HDs and SSDs:

Here’s the rest of the frame:

And all the screws and accessories, interestingly Rich includes an allen driver, as well as an allen key, and a torx key also

The frame makes use of extruded aluminum with a pattern that makes it easy to use screws and bolts/nuts to easily customize the setup.  Here’s one vertical strut getting slid onto the base:

There is then a hole allowing that screw to be tightened.  Before you know it all 4 are up:

You can then add some feet:

Then attach the PCI card support to the motherboard tray and then attach both to the frame:

Then the PSU can be attached with two small plates:

Although this is solid enough for benching (and the PSU does not move), a 4 screw mount would be more solid if you were moving the case as there is potential for the PSU to bend those small plates.  The hard drives, dvd and SSDs use small rubber grommets that get screwed into the base of each device:

You can then slide these on the same extruded frames which have pre drilled access holes to make it easy to swap them in and out:

More to come tomorrow!

I also had ordered a crystalfontz setup so that I could monitor temps accurately, although the aquaero is more of a system, it doesn’t support the dallas temp probes that can be calibrated to <0.1C accuracy.  This setup should let me do that.  The package arrived while I was away:

More packaging:

Taking it out of the bag – it’s the 635 module with the 4 line LCD:

They’d pre fitted the SCAB module which enables the temp sensors to be hooked up:

Not quite sure what was with the stray spray paint:

Decided to mount it on the top of the test bench:

However the right side couldn’t be screwed down so I added some support so I could at least push the buttons if needed:

The test bench came with extra extrusion pieces so you can add on extra devices, I decided to use my RD30 pump for the cpu block test:

I’d also ordered a King Instruments flow meter (similar to the one Martin uses):

It’s more accurate and less restrictive than the impeller types.  However it’s large – here it is zip tied to the case next to the 400mm EK res:

And now the final setup waiting for the 2nd R4E/3930K to arrive:


Time for an update:

I used the nice quick release thumb screws to remove the EX 560 radiator from the TX10.  I used two extra pieces from the tech station to build a support beam for it:

Then used some of the accessories to grip it either side so it was stable, but yet also quick to remove:

Then the 2nd R4E board came in:

And a 2nd cpu:

Installed the motherboard – I learned I should loosen the standoffs from the tray a little as they holes have enough movement that the standoffs may be mispositioned.  After screwing everything in I want back and tightened it.  Then added the cpu:

Then some ram:

Then removed the ram in order to fit the DT 5Noz using the Sniper thumbnuts:

Then put the ram back in:

Added a gpu (9800 gt is enough for the cpu test) and that’s it for now!


Box was huge, almost as wide as a 560 rad!  The dac/amp is large too, much bigger than it seemed from photos:

Deep too:

Time to get the test bench up and running:

The flow meter needed some barbs, I got these 1/2″ brass barbs from home depot:

I forgot that with no o-ring, you need teflon tape, that would bite me later.  Clamped it down:

Matching one for the bottom input port:

Hooked up the Iwaki RD30 pump fed directly from the 400mm reservoir:

I had the return come in the bottom and used the longest internal tube to direct the flow to the top of the res in order to help bleeding.  Then connected the CPU:

Hooked up the rad, and ran out of clear tube, had to use some of the leftover pink:

Time to fill it up:

2.55GPM while bleeding with the Iwaki at 19V, at 29V it was pushing a smidge over 3.5GPM:

Ready to start overclocking:


I did get a little bit of time to work on the main build:

I decided to simplify my linux disk system.  I had bene using a raid card, 4 ssds and 4 HDDs and now that large SSD prices were coming down it seemed like a good time to consolidate.

So I picked up a 512gb SSD to replace my 300 gigs worth made up of 4 drives:

As well as a 3TB drive to replace my 3x1TB drives

With linux drive if you’re atuomatically mounting the drives then the order they get plugged in can matter.  Going down to only 2 + an occasional backup makes life a lot easier when changing out motherboards.

I normally buy WD drives, but as they hadn’t released a 7200rpm 3TB sata drive I went with Seagate

So I took out the side mount HDD system:

And started taking out drives:

The 512gb is actually smaller – 7mm tall while the older 128gb is 9mm:

Spare drives:

Nearly done:

And done – the right drives will be for the gaming rig – 128gb boot, 2x128gb raid 0 for games, 32gb SLC for swap.  The left drives are 512gb for boot/home of linux workstation, 128 temporary ssd that was left hooked up to transfer files, 3TB backup drive and 1TB old file storage.

Now to sell the old stuff:

August 4th

Coming soon:

Painting in progress:

Finished up the gtx 560 – here are some pics.  Getting ready to start:

Chopping some heatshrink:

2 fans done – ignore the yellow wire – I’m not actually hooking up the tach wire to the 12V, I just reused the yellow wire for the 12V line:

One thing I learned is that you don’t have to join the wires all in the same place, in fact it’s easier and less bulky if you join the 12V wires at one point, the 0V wires at another point and do the sleeving join at another point.  This way you don’t get one big lump.  So don’t do it like this is what I’m saying:

One side done – you can see the difference between the lumpy connection on the 3rd and 4th fan from the left, and the cleaner one on the 2nd/3rd:

Now we have to move those fans on to the other (push) side of the radiator.  So we have to add the 140mm adapters to the other side of the fan, and remove the adapters from the original side:

All done with that side, now let’s go do the same thing again for the pull side:

Attaching the fans for the pull side:

Nearly done – but the last piece of sleeve pulled out of the heatshrink:

Replaced that section and all done:

Installed – as you might be able to see, the section above with the low speed yates/HDDs  still needs to be done:

As you can see there’s still a ton to do in the bottom compartment:

This side that’s open right now will house the ex560 that’s currently being used for testing waterblocks, and the gtx 360 that I’m going to go wire up and sleeve right now 🙂

I have some ideas for lighting too that I’m going to test out also 🙂

Did a quick edit on the photos from yesterday:

Also a quick and dirty video:

More to come later of it going in…


Some of the pics from the last week’s adventures:

Fitted the sniper to the 990x and installed some of the samsung superOC ram.  Corsair promised to sponsor me some ram, but it never showed up and after 3 months of my emails being ignored I’ve officially given up on them :rolleyes:

I want to make a custom waterblock for the RAM anyway, but that’s still a gleam in my eye right now :thumb: Time to get to leak testing on the motherboard loop:

After leak testing got done, I swapped the painted fan for one that worked and installed the motherboard tray into the *empty* chamber.

I need to swap out the circuit board from the broken GT fan for a good one and then swap back in the painted one.  Now it’s time to start hooking everything back up:

Plugged in the PSU cables, but the PSU is not yet there:

The sleeving is the stuff that came with the evga psu, that will be replaced with mdpc-x later:

Finally with a PSU:

Those extra 6 pin headers are annoying but the nice thing is that most of the PSU cables can be flipped so you can hide some of the extra unwarted parts by plugging them in the other way round 🙂

Tidying up a bit:

There’s still so much to be done, and so much of this is still temporary e.g. fittings/sleeve/loop layout etc etc.  But for now I’m just glad to be finally getting this rig up and working after 8 months!

Another update – big one too!

So this is where we were last time – gaming rig trying to get up and working in a temporary state.  Main loop not yet connected:

To finish the main loop we needed to connect the EK400 reservoir with the custom 1″ NPT tap to the Iwaki RD-30 pump.  First we need to build a T section for the drain port:

These are standard schedule 40 pieces of PVC that I’m gluing together.  I took a T junction and two 1/2″ NPT reducers as well as a piece of 1″ grey electrical conduit for making the 90 degree turn:

This is all based on amuseme’s idea except that I’m using 1″ pipe instead of 0.75″ and I connect to the pump slightly differently.  So now we have to connect to the pump:

So we take a 5/8″ brass barb from your local hardware store and tape it up with teflon tape:

1/2″ tube can be warmed up and stretched over the barb.  The idea is that the barb lines up right next to the 5/8″ input to the Iwaki giving less restriction to the input feed of the RD30 unlike regular 1/2″ tube would.  I also added a 2nd barb for the drain tube.  This reservoir coupled with the 1″ pipe means there is a lot of water that needs draining easily:

Both barbs in:

Now let’s hook up the pump:

Add some worm clamps so that nothing flies free when you turn the pump up to 29V:

Now let’s add the drain tube, the tube color is temporary for now:

Add the drain port:

Add a worm clamp and we’re done for now:

Now it’s time to put it in the case.  As the reservoir was temporarily mounted we need to fix it first.  There’s a convenient metal plate in the case that you can unscrew and drill holes in:

Now let’s reinstall that in the case:

And done:

The reservoir is fed by two drain ports.  When feeding a larger amount of water it’s useful to have one for water coming in and another for air coming out:

Now here’s the Iwaki Plus feed tube situated in the base.  The cardboard box will be replaced with anti-vibration gel soon enough:

Here you see the gap between the Iwaki feeding tube and the tapped base of the EK reservoir:

I cut a piece of schedule 40 tube to size to glue in here:

Later I will paint all of the tubes so it doesn’t look so bad :p  The cardboard box doesn’t quite raise the Iwaki high enough so we’ll need to swap that out:

But here it is fully connected:

And here’s the whole side of the gaming case in it’s temporary state:

Now we can add the 360 radiator back in quickly (30 seconds) due to the Koolance quick disconnect fittings and the CaseLabs side mount design:

I can’t fit a 480 in because of the placement of the radiator and the feed tube.  I may move it later, but for now this works.  So it’s time to fill up with water:

Oct 15th

Well time for a bit of an update!  A big thanks to Corsair for sponsoring the build 🙂

My original dominators (same part number) came in a much more boring box than this one:

And if you’re wondering just how small those overclockable low profile sammy dimms are:

Oct 19th

Morpheus from OCN stopped by and gave me some fan splitters which come in very useful for the quick disconnect of the radiators.  Each radiator has two 3 pin headers that come from each side.  This little PCB is then attached to the backplate of the pedestal:

One for each side of the case.  The distance between the two is conveniently sized to feed from a single molex

I also got done painting the 24V Power supply for the Iwaki pump. I don’t think I showed a pic of it before, but it looked like a very beat up version of this:

Except that the mesh part was painted black on mine and had been worn off over time.

So I thought I’d paint the whole thing red and then mod a PSU support from the bottom heat chamber so that it can be mounted next to a fan from the HDD rack.  I also need to hook up a relay so that it only turns on when the computer is on.  Here are the pieces after painting and clear coating:

With the PSU back in and the heatsinks retimmed:

All sealed up:



That’s it for now.  Now that I have my windows PC up and running I can finally get sketch-up back and running and start playing with ideas for custom blocks and reservoirs!


Well it’s been a while – I was busy working on my new website, the CaseLabs Merlin Preview, Spotswood Tech Station Review, the EK X3 Reservoir Preview, figuring out my new Nikon D5100 as well as finishing off the CPU Water Block roundup.  I need a break but I’m almost done with all of that!  Anyway – to celebrate not being fired yet I thought I’d work (finally) on the waterfall reservoir.  This was originally inspired by Cyberdruid, however as he’s retired I figured I’d have to make my own, and I suppose that’s more fun anyway.  I knew I would need a few attempts at this to get it right so I figured I’d make the prototypes out of MDF as it’s cheap and easy to work with.  So I went to the hardware and picked up a small board of MDF:

Dragged out my lonely tablesaw from the shed and got to work.  I cut some 3x 3″ strips of the 4ft side of the board:

I then measured the height of the 18 bays in the case and made the cut on one strip:

Then I test fitted in the case which meant undressing the drive bays!

Alright let’s take that cover off:

Well that was fast, ok, drive bays next:

Resting the wood on the bottom of the drive bay gives me this much clearance which is about perfect:

So I cut the other side to the same size.  Then measured and cut the top piece:

It’s ok for both these pieces to be flush because they’ll be some kind of joinery action going down.  For now I’m thinking a finger joint.  Maintaining strength while being able to knock it out on the table saw.  I then cut a matching piece for the base so that all the frame pieces were cut:

I then started cutting the pieces that would form the waterfall itself:

Seven down:

Tablesaws make this quick.  All done, sitting on the uncut acrylic sheet that will make up the front and back:

That’s it for now!


It was raining a good bit this week so I didn’t work on that, instead I put some painted parts back together:

I got done with spray painting the fans finally and reassembled the rotors into the housing:

The paint was standard automotive stuff and came out quite nicely the red is metallic:

So it was time to sleeve:

I started with the push fans and mounted them on the pull side of the radiator so that the spacing would be correct. Most of the time sleeving these is really spent soldering wire extensions on:

Slow progress:

Done with the first set of 3:

Mounted the push fans on the push side:

Now it’s time to work on the pull fans:

Ran out of red wire so I used yellow:

Done with the pull side:

Now it’s time to join both sets of three into one. This is the 360 that will be replaced with the painted one:

All put together on the push side:

And the pull side – which will need some custom stickers to pretty it up:

I also sleeved a matching fan to go on the motherboard tray:

And there it is running:

Jan 19th, 2013

Hey everyone – it’s been a while. Moving house soon so all I’ve really done is assemble some parts and do some sleeving. Here’s the 24 pin extension. Eventually the PSU will get full sleeeve, but extensions can be trained better, so let’s do those first.

Getting ready – cut the wire last night:

Getting my crimp on…

Males done:


Females done so now we our crimping is double-ended:

Heatshrinkless FTW:


Should have cut the outer run longer than the inner wire otherwise this happens:

I’ll either redo or just train the extension to have a hidden double kink that should take it out.

Making progress:

My fingers are definitely burned now:

And done:

Daylight pics:

Here’s some more after finishing up a 6 pin and 8 pin extension:







Jan 24th 2013

Today I finally put the right memory in the gaming rig:

This case now has 14 sticks Dominator GTs running… still needs the memory block and the right fittings though!

Here’s another one where I was playing with the camera, didn’t quite work because the flashlight got in the way, thought I’d share anyway:


I can get the ram to run – 2000-9-10-9-27-1N @1.52VDRAM and 1.467VQPI seems to be about the limit of my IMC when all six sticks are in there. Meanwhile I played around with the lighting:


Feb 1st 2013

Guess who’ll be getting the first white end caps for the EK reservoirs biggrin.gif

Welcome to my newest sponsors. EK thumb.gif


Looks pretty sick!

So speaking of the white theme. I asked Jim @ CaseLabs for a favor. Monsoon have been powder coating fittings and for the workstation I wanted a light theme vs the dark theme for the gaming rig (i.e. duality of the thief’s life). The workstation GPU is an 8800GT that really doesn’t even need watercooling. It does 2D display work and never gets taxed. The watercooling is really just for show. Given that, I decided to try powdercoating the block. Yes it will hurt temperatures, but they won’t be high anyway. I got it back today:


This is the standard CaseLabs Matte White. I need to run it for a month or so to see whether it’s water resistant enough.


Here’s a test with some Mayhem’s grape red pastel that I had lying around. This is not the final setup, but I just wanted to try it. Obviously I’ll have to fix the patchyness of where the dye reaches though:


So far though – I like biggrin.gif

March 8th

More photos from EK and welcome also to my newest sponsors – Alphacool 🙂

The RP452x2 I have will actually be removed and replaced with the 400mm reservoirs that EK already sent me earlier in the year:

That RP452x2 will be part of the roundup though lol.  EK sent me lots of coolant:

I was trying to take a cooler shot – but it kinda looks like I’m bragging about my car so :shrug:

DDC top – this replaced the XSPC acrylic one that I have so that all my pumps/reservoirs are consistently EK:

Unboxing –

I do love EK’s packaging, the best out there to be honest and it makes you feel like you bought a quality product:

Individual baggies:

Sealed with a logo:

There’s been a lot of hate on those circles, but EK are changing their designs now thanks to the thinkcell voting:

I have to admit I’m a sucker for the details though:

Not much detail on the inside:

You can see the slight angle upwards to the port:

White D5 top – this replaces my old style EK Black D5 top:

Taking it’s shirt off:

White on white is hard to see:

So let’s see it on a metallic grey background:

I think this one unlike the DDC has a few too many circles

Do you spot the white theme:

These will be on the workstation side representing the public “light” image of the thief, vs the gaming side representing the hidden “dark” side of the thief.  There is some variation in the white acetal color but it’s pretty minor.  Hopefully it won’t be noticeable:

Lovely detail on the inside though it’s hard to see:

Now for that white reservoir that I posted an unedited version of this pic:

Well let’s do it properly now:

Comes bubble wrapped and with an optional filter

All the accessories – sadly the mounting clips are still black:

The base has 5 ports on all versions.  The difference between the basic and advanced is instead the top.  On the basic it only has one port.  That’s ok for me.  I like to use the top as a fill port only and have the return in the base:

The anti cyclone works, however bleeding is slightly faster if you use a long tube instead to prevent the bubbles getting back in the outlet:

Dual D5 top – this replaces the bitspower one that I have, but never got to put in build.  This will actually replace the Koolance RP452x2 that I’m using right now.  Anything pump/top/reservoir will be reviewed in the upcoming roundup lol:

Underside of the top:

Top of the top, only a few circles:

With the clamp plate that holds the D5 on added:

Lutro0’s sponsorship package arrived so that I can finish my sleeving.  Got a fancy wire stripper:

It was a bit dusty in the box but who cares about that:

Lutro0’s crimper.  Supposedly the same as MDPC’s but with a bit of milling to make it usable with AWG16.  I need to get my MDPC one out to compare:

Comes with two example crimps just like Nils sends:

Flush edge cutters for cutting sleeve *not* wire:

though you can use them for wire, you’ll want a 2nd pair for that so they stay sharp:

Molex pin extractor:

Crimps and connectors:

Lots of wire!

Also picked up this fan as a test to see how quiet it can go.  I’m thinking of changing out all the fans now and running uber silent now that my long term plan is to use the front bays for 4×360 rads

Goes down to ~400rpm and Martin recommended it as being very quiet:

Also got this as a tester because to be honest LED fans are cooler than white ones:

PWM but only goes to 600rpm and is allegedly a bit buzzy

Has a switch for the LEDs

Also figured I should try PWM control of the existing gentle typhoons and yates in case it’s the same volume and I can make my life easier, so I got one of these.  Also recommended by Martin:

I got the smallest one that fits in a 3.5 bay but there is a 6 channel one that takes up one 5 1/4″ bay:

If I end up using it I will be hiding it because it is pretty ugly:

Welcome to Alphacool also who are sponsoring the build.  They sent me some rads as well as other stuff for review:

The monsta’st monsta:

Hard to photo because it’s so big:

It’s big.  Next to an XSPC RX360 with push pull fans:

Comes with copper accessories which sadly don’t match my build:

Also the sexy full copper UT60 in white:

Get ready:

Cause it’s hot:

And it makes me want to take off all my clothes:

Also the full copper 45mm thick 560 known as the XT45:

Still bubble wrapped – I spot a pattern:

A 45mm rad doesn’t normally look thin, but 560’s are so big that it does:

Next to the monsta:

Also a thin 360mm, thin is useful for the side mount next to the PSUs where I don’t have much room:

This puppy is 30mm thick:

Looks skinny next to a 60mm UT60 which itself is skinny compared to the monsta…

Been a while, so here’s kind of a dump of what I’ve been up to.


So the 9500GT in mini thief died last night, thinking about swapping out my 8800GT from the project thief workstation into that rig and getting a low end kepler for the workstation can drive three screens. The workstation uses linux and I’m thinking to switch my U3011 for 3 1080p lightboost monitors in portrait. When I’ve run multiple screens across multiple GPUs in linux before with Xinerama then X gets a bit laggy, so this would help with that as twinview on a single card works great, and I’ve read that twinview can have three screens with Kepler. The cheapest kepler with a block would be a 650 ti boost, but the block is a CSQ while the rest of the workstation uses non-csq blocks. Any thoughts? I’m reluctant to try AMD for a workstation GPU because even with nouveau drivers my tools become way more laggy than the official nvidia drivers.

I’m also debating paint and fittings for the 990x/R3E motherboard/RAM loop on the gaming rig. The idea is that the workstation half would be “white” (e.g. white blocks, dt sniper white, EK white D5 top, EK white reservoir, nickel/plexi memory block and copper/plexi gpu painted white and maybe even the motherboard nickel plexi block painted white too). The gaming rig would be the “dark side” acetal cpu and gpu blocks (although I just sold the GPUs). However the motherboard is nickel/plexi and the ram block is copper/plexi (not shown here):

Originally I thought to paint these black, but then you won’t even see the dye in that loop. So I was thinking maybe a black chrome finish instead just for the memory block? I could paint the motherboard block stainless steel cover plate in the middle of that block black to fit the theme. Should I then use black chrome fittings or just straight black? Also that 120 radiator is getting swapped for a black one and that fan is getting swapped for a black/red fan. Also those QDCs will be hidden away.

So to summarize I want your thoughts on these questions:

Stick with light/dark theme?


Paint the metal parts of the workstation plexi blocks white?

Use 2x8800GTs and suck up any lag if present or switch to a 650 Ti Boost with a CSQ block?

Stick with the plan for white fittings?

Use a silver painted radiator with a silver/red fan?

Gaming Rig

Paint the RAM block black or black chrome to hide dat copper?

Paint the Motherboard block fully or only the cover plate and if so black or black chrome?

Use black fittings or black chrome?

End of questions – did this any of this make sense?

Current hardware plan (very subject to change) is to eventually add two titans or titan LEs and if I upgrade the workstation to the 4930K then the gaming rig will get the 3930K from the workstation and an X79 Dark board :thumb:

Also random shot from the mini-thief build – one thing i love about the M5Gene board is that glowing LED strip they put into the board – super cool:

I’d love to see them do something similar on a real R4E BE board not that promotional 3 board run crap they did 

I upgraded the bios to avoid throttling and increased the power limit of the card so that I could try and seperate the results from the error as much as possible. I’m running Naennon’s 145% Max Power bios. My max clocks were around 1150-1175 @1.212V (not the best card), so I downclocked to 1123MHz and tried a few benchmarks/stress tests to see what power levels I could get. Furmark was giving me a nice solid 120% level so I decided to go with that. I’m logging card temps with precision-x and the water/ambient temps with WinTest. I took some baseline measurements on air, with the fan at max (85%) the card was running about 50C over ambient which is not bad at all even if the fan is super noisy. First block on the testing rig is EK:

I also had time to unbox the hydrocopper card. The packaging is much less fancy than the Titan:

The only block to include the metal bracket to go around the gpu processor.


2 Pairs of compressions and 2 stop fittings:

The matt block contrasts with the shine of the EVGA sticker:

I feel like the sticker takes away from the classyness. I would have preferred it to be cut out of the plastic just like the swiftech logo is:

Maybe even make it consistent with the style of the top and maybe even light up some text there too:

The base is nickel plated:

And it’s kind of nice that they preattach the thermal pads for you:


Had the hydrocopper on the testing bench. Results can be found on the interwebz.

Also spent the whole of saturday running flow/restriction curves on 17 waterblocks 

I’d planned to disassemble the TX10 today because I’d found that if you rely on your rig that you’re currently building for your day job and need a high percentage of uptime on that same rig, then it becomes very hard to get anything done. So I’d planning to run a bench setup for a while until I finish Thief. However on saturday just before I was about to process the restriction curves, my D5 on the motherboard loop started making horrible noises. I shut down the rig, but my gaming rig still wasn’t functioning as the PSU died last week and the warranty replacement wasn’t here yet. So it was time to strip them both out and make a frankenstein rig out of working parts. Hopefully parts that I wouldn’t use in the final thief build. So here’s the dissasembling which was very quick due to the TX10 design (quick release side mounts and motherboard trays FTW) as well as many QDCs. Photos aren’t that great because I wasn’t spending time to setup the tripod. I needed my workstation running for monday morning. I used the “bench mount” kit for the CL tray and used an old fan cut into a shroud to mount the radiator to the back of the tray. To support the weight of the rad on the far end I also have a piece of wood lulz

Yuck dust!


Draining the windows rig – this will become the linux workstation temporarily, I was rolling with the old 460 after selling my 580s and before the titan/780 transition:


Nearly naked:

I painted this RX360 for the build before I decided to change to a light/dark theme and before I got sponsored by alphacool:

Still rocking the sniper:

And of course EK still sponsor many other parts:

Now if only ROG would sponsor me too 

I love nickel plexi

Luckily Corsair does sponsor me too, I love GTs, who wants anything else:

And I still choose GTs over platinums because I love those red tops. And they’re waterblock compatible. You know if I ever get around to that….

Decided to run the monsoon lightports. I might switch to the carbon fiber ones though in the final build:

And it’s about time to use some of that dye:

Ready to fill up:

XSPC don’t sponsor so this one’s a freebie 

Get that dye in there!

Masterkleer tubing hooked up, I was out of primochill clear so I was going to use this up, already turning a bit yellow after 6months of sitting in a dark box :/ :

Forgot to tighten that middle compression, luckily it didn’t leak:


fill her up:

Leak testing:

No leaks:




Done with the overnight leak testing and setting up:

Added an LED to the pump top:

Light ports are weak during the day, hopefully I’ll get some dark shots later on:

I rotated the tray onto a spare desk and sat the PSU and HDD cage on the desk too. I put the PSU on some bubble wrap because it was having some weird resonance with the desk:

I kinda wish I had a 2nd spotswood tech bench to be honest, but this’ll have to do, the “tech bench” feet that CL have for it work well and I can afford the desk space for the rest of it.

So the extension wasn’t supposed to have this much bend so the inner wires are pushing through the outer 

Stripping down the old R4E, the nickel is stained because I ran pure distilled without a corrosion inhibitant…

I do prefer this to csq though

beautiful condition one mount only 

One mint always under water combo

Say farewell to these:

Got a new lens 🙂


Mo’ Dust:

Replacement NEX1500 PSU came in to replace the dead one:

I wish I had two of these beauties:

Oh wait I do, well temporarily:

Also got a GPU in for the workstation, now I can do three monitors with one card. Can you guess:

This one gives it away a bit:

The nice thing is that the 650 ti boost with the blower cooler like this still is compatible with a 600 block.

So as part of the “getting stuff done” theme, I’d moved thief downstairs to the garage and setup the temporary test bench. The garage was still a mess as I was waiting for new benches and shelving units to come in so I could actually do something.

I also forgot to bring home my liquid tape from work to add in the bazillion new thermal probes I got so titan testing was on hold:

However I could continue some of the sleeving work:

I’d previously done one 24 pin, an 8 pin and a 6 pin. Since then Lutro0 had sent me some shiny tools and I’d started working on another 24 pin extension. I wasn’t happy with the length of the inner run though as it wasn’t giving me enough curvature, so I removed those wires leaving me only the outer layer:

I used lutro0’s 16 AWG wire, which is pretty easy for a relative nub like me. By the end I was wishing for something stiffer though, but combined with the MDPC-X sleeve the resultant extension is pretty stiff. It still needs a good amount of training, so I seperated the two layers with some thin plywood:

and clamped it in position:

The look is just about perfect, and hopefully it’ll hold after a bit of time sitting like that:

I’d also seen some staining on my nickel blocks which looked similar to EK’s testing of distilled only with no anti-corrosion additive:

The acrylic isn’t stained of course, but it’s good to check:

Giving the block a good scrub with detergent did nothing.

EK used a metal polish to clean their blocks up and couldn’t get it out of every recess, but I’m lazier than that and wanted better results so I did some research. Most people say don’t use ketchup because you’ll eat through the plating. So I thought I would try it on the underside to see how long it takes:

After one hour:

The dark marks were not there before, the underside was actually clean. Not sure if the dark marks are staining or where the acid etched through the nickel faster. I’m going to continue the experiment to see how long it takes…

So that’s it for now, hopefully future updates will be more frequent!


Alright time for a massive update – I hadn’t been updating this thread in a while, but here’s all my updates from the last 6 months because I am done!

A box

That shipped remarkably quickly, it got here last night, and I didn’t notice, so it sat there all night long:

Christmas morning. 8 Rads:

Stack those rads, rads love to be stacked:

Now lets add the other ones I already had cause they wanna be stacked too:

MORA wants in, but it needs to be stripped:

Nice and nekkid and clean:

This is what’s going in thief:

This is the rest of the hoard excluding 2 560s, 3 360s and a 120 lulz:

Playing around:

That’s it for now…

I did buy some more fans and did some other background work 😉 This is now my total stash of gentle typhoons (excluding a couple in my benching setup):

9 for the Mora 140×9 (Push only)
16 for the 2 560s
24 for the 4 360s

The two 120 rads will get non GTs because I want something cooler looking for the chamber.

So thief will get 49 of these, I have 60 because I wanted 8 for the 2x240s for the S3 and then a few spare in case of deaths. Of course maybe I’ll change my mind and run P/P on the mora or add in another 360 just because a total of 60 fans in the build is pretty lulztastic.

Bought some wood for it, got a 1″ piece and had the guys resaw it in two and finish it down to about the right size. With finish and a bit of UV aging it will get a good bit darker too. The colors should be beautiful…

Well only one terabyte of ssd would have been too little:

No more loneliness, two of everything!

So for a while there I was going to run the impact and a 290 on one side as a gaming rig. Just for trollsies. Would have been pretty funny to have 4x360s for one 290 and and 2x560s for one 4770K. Also that huge motherboard chamber with mitx would have been a bit of a giggle. But I got a bit more real and bought some other stuff. The Impact is currently running on the testbench testing blocks. 4770K block testing is done and it’s now onto the 290 block round up version 2. In the mean while I did stuff on thief – some of you might remember me posting something about wood and then buying a panel that was then cut down the middle:

So it was time to mock up some designs on card:

This one I liked, but I wasn’t sure which parts to do in wood and which parts to do cut out and then how to join the floating bits. So I tried something more minimalist:

Then mocked them up with PS:


nightingale + dragon:

I was worried that this was too detailed and that the dragons were cheesey. I also considered adding the skyrim dragon logo on to the minimalist version:

I also considered writing project thief in dragon letters:

In the end I settled on the original minimal design:

First job was sanding the surface smooth as it had already been planed flat:

And then cutting to size:

The idea was to recess behind the front panel, as I dont’ have a router I needed to make sure I could do it with my table saw by making multiple cuts. Here’s one:

and many:

side profile:

The test fit perfectly:

Next up the whole panel:

and the second panel:

I then cut out the card to use as a stencil:

And started marking out:

Drilled holes to start the jigsaw cuts:

More holes:

And the first jigsaw cut:

Cleaned it up with some chisel work:

Oh and the recessed cuts needed cleaning up too:

Did some more cuts and decided to bevel the edges:

After two had gone well I was ready to start the rest, I thickened up the marking to the edge of the cut – originally the line to cut was done in pencil with an additional sharpie line close by to let me know approx where I should be, but it was hard to see the pencil with the dust:


More progress:

Test fit:

After some finishing sanding and clean up:

I also started to recess the sections that connected the “floating” parts of the symbols:

Time for dat second panel:

Oh that was fast:

Normally I like to use natural shellac finishes for this kind of wood, but given the heat variation I wanted something that might seal the wood a little better so I decided to try a clear polyurethane:

Sadly the wood is so oily that the poly doesn’t really dry, and I had to scrub the wood down with rags and mineral spirits to clean the oil off and let the finish dry. It was a real PITA and I wouldn’t do it again lol. They came out well though:

So now that that was done it was time to get the hardware sorted. Monsoon sent a care package of stop plugs to replace the ugly alphacool copper ones:

Not sure if I showed this before or not, but if so then tough cookies:

I’d also been busy prepping and sleeving fans for the rads:

Product placement:

The problem with the alphacool rads (or the rad mounts) is that the stop fittings stick up and hit the rad mount. You need to use some kind of spacer. This is the phobya 7mm version:


It was also time to upgrade/replace hardware – that 3930K died so I RMA’d and while I waited bought a 4930K:

I then sold the RMA part and shortly after decided to buy a 4820K:

Of course I needed a board to run the 4820K in, having bad experiences with Asus’s RMA program and tech support snarky snarks I decided to give the new evga board a try as it was alleged to be a bazillion times better than their older x79 boards:

Dat sexy:

Now I know some of you are like me and were like “but you can’t get blocks” well natemandoo solved that as we’ll see later. My original plan was to use a 120 rad mounted to the tray to do a motherboard/ram only loop:

I knew this was silly, but it was only when I was looking at my pumps and knew that although I had 5 D5’s for this build that I’d still need 2 more that I realized, maybe I should just not do that lol. There was a time where I wanted to have everything at max performance, but at some point if you really want the best temps you may as well just go sub ambient. So let’s pretend that 120 will go away. Meanwhile I added RAM:

Added the CPU:

Closed the top:

Later found out these were the RAM slots, but in the meantime auditioned some CPU blocks to see what looked best. The Sniper was a bit too small to cover the metal of the socket:

The MIPS is a great block but didn’t really suit the theme:

The 5Noz covered more than the sniper, but not enough:

The DD M6 provided a nice contrast with it’s nickel, but this helped cement that I actually wanted something large and black:

Which led to the surprise winner:

I setup a temporary loop in order to have something while I debugged the GPUs on air:

So speaking of GPUs – oh yes I bought some of those:

A couple of 290s, then a couple of 7970s:

Then a couple more 290s:

Then a pair of 7990s:

Yes things were getting out of control:

It was clearly time to make sure they worked – starting with a 290:

Then adding more:

And more:

Dat evga:

Not to be left out the R4E also got to play:

So now that stuff was verified, it was time to order the remaining parts and start prepping things for the final build. The Mora was moving to AP15s:

Which needed some sleeving:

Before mounting:

Dat TX10 could eat the world:

I also ordered and received the missing parts I needed for the TX10 – replacement wheels, new clear windows and the 4×360 rad mounts to go behind the grills:

CL also sent the S8 and SMA8 for review:

So that’s the end of the update for today – where are we at now and what’s the plan?

So there’s a bunch of parts coming in:
– Care package from Monsoon
– Package from PPCS
– A bunch of EK parts

The final build will be
– R4E + 4930K + 2×7990 + AX1200 + 1TB 840 EVO + 8*4GB 2133 Dominator CL9
– X79 Dark + 4820K + 4xR9-290 + NEX1500 + 1TB 840 EVO + 4*4GB 2133 Dominator CL9

All GPUs, CPUs and Motherboards will be watercooled, the 8 way dominators will be water cooled also.

The 4x290s will be cooled by 4x UT60 360 rads
The 2x7990s will be cooled by Mora 9×140
The 4930K will be cooled by a Monsta 560
The 4820K will be cooled by a XT45 560

All radiator fans will be AP15s/AP16s. There was a plan for a while to mount 3 Aquaeros in the pedestal to control the fans, but as this will be mining there’s not much point right now. We’ll see if I ever want to rebuild down the road and add them lol.

The only remaining thing I need now is the mandrel kit from Monsoon which is OOS everywhere. So I’m finally ready to build. There’s a ton of extensions to be made and a ton of building and bending to be done, but the good news is that after 2 years things are finally moving and the end is in sight :thumb:

Another care package from the lovely[B] Monsoon[/B] team via PPCs 😀

Oh yeah you know what we’re up to:

Dat chrome:

The monsoon hardline fittings actually have you glue a sleeve to the tube. The lock ring then presses this collar up to an o-ring for an ultra secure seal :thumb:

More boxes:

All the new toys:

It’s not all hardline:

Hardlining only the main chamber, the rest gets tube because the case is just too big. Dem blocks:

More blocks:

Backplates (I already had another two):

Res tubes:

More QDCs because I have to have spent more on QDCs than CPUs or else this build would be normal.

Dem accessories:

Dem fittings again:

Let’s open things up:

Wait for it

Oh yeahhhhhhh

Well one of the 290 blocks was gently used, can you tell?

Now we have all this stuff then it might be time to do something then:

Pumps – check!

Reservoirs – damnit forgot to order a replacement top… Ok so let’s fit a block instead on a 7990 as this is the only card not being used right now:

Taking off dat backplate:

Dirty and naked:

Dual GPUs should always be single slot:

Much better:

Derick keeps telling me I can’t run 7x7990s on one board, but one day I will achieve that dream!

Fresh from a bath:

Block ready to go:


Sadly EK don’t give you replacement pads for the stock backplate VRAM. Luckily I got some spares to replace those.

Oh it’s going to be sexy when that dye hits.

Time to put the 2nd 7990 under water:

I’d already taken the shroud off this one to cool it with some AP15s instead (quieter and cooler than the stock fans). So this will look a little different when getting naked. First the backplate:

Then the gpu coolers:

No wonder the cores get so hot when this is all they have:

And suddenly done:

Took em to work and set them up in a temp loop:

Massive air bubbles because the temp pump is a xspc 750 that’s super weak. Bleeding was easy because I prefilled the rad so there was already a ton of coolant in the system.

I won’t actually use BP sli fittings in the final build because I get nervous about them coming loose. Instead the cards will be spaced in slots 1 and 3 and then hardlined. Oh yes and dat temp x58 clown board.

Dat monsta 560 – the nice thing about QDCs and the CL side mounts is that I can just take it from here and place it right into the case and be done in about 30 seconds.

The mess of air mining – 3x290s on the board and an undervotled 7970 on a riser cable. The GPU bracket has a hook cutout for the screw that rests nicely on the top of the motherboard tray:

Dat precarious balancing and dat dark:

Let’s start with the 4th 290 that isn’t even running:

Take dat air cooler off:

Clean it up and nearly forget thermal pads on the other vrm area:

Test fit:

Looking good:

One thing I love about the EK backplates are that the screws are countersunk and that only a few are used so that it looks minimal and clean:

Ok time to unplug the other 290s and block them up:

But first let’s put the first 290 in:

Normally I’d start with slot one but I have one 290x that will go in slot one. Speaking of which there it is:

Add another 290:

And done:

Hmmm but maybe not quite done:

Something is missing and it’s not just the power:

Nope got the backplates on:

Ah yes that’s what we need:

Take off dem bridges, I like to mount the bridge with the cards in the slots as it gives the cards something to stabilize them while you mount the new bridge. The downside is that the o-rings can fall out when you turn the bridge over to put it on top of the cards:

Moving over the o-rings:


Looks sexy but only really two of the ports are usable with standard fittings, the alternative ports are recessed so that stop fittings are hidden, but the stop fittings are narrow so that means a normal fittings can’t fit in the hole. Which means you pretty much have to use the bottom side port and the top port. This is fine for most builds, but I wanted to come out to the bottom of the chamber and pass through the floor.

I ended up with a very temporary hilarious setup:

SO that’s how the GPUs will stay for a bit while I finish up some reviews and make extensions. Then the next part after that will be hardlining the R4E and the res’s, and then it’ll be time to slot it all back together!

So a picture update for once:

As some may know I have a temp workstation while some of the hardware mines and some of the hardware gets built in the case. It was time to pull the R4E board from the temp workstation so I swapped it out with a Gene board instead.

Now for RMAs – Corsair’s RMA on the AX1200 went swimmingly and I have a shiny new one already. Asus on the other hand took a long time and then decided that the board was unrepairable and was phsyically damaged so I have to pay $175 + ship for a “new” one that is probably refurbed. I’m pretty annoyed with Asus, I’ve never had a succesful RMA with them. I love their boards and I really do think they are the best motherboards out there but their CS is horrible and always leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. They seem to be incompetent and go out of their way to find ways to blame you and then try and charge unreasonable amounts for what they do. After owning two asus boards and 6 ROG boards, I’ll be trying to avoid them in future. Luckily EK support many motherboard manufacturers with blocks now so I have more choice than ever before. I had bought a new impact from MC for $180 so that I could continue testing while the other board was RMAing. I guess I knew deep down that Asus’ motherboard warranty is basically non existent:

So I swapped over the parts for the review/benching rig:

Quickly done:

Then quickly back to testing:

So now I could move on to “actual” thief work. I had bought a cheap 4820K from MC which gave me $50 off the impact, but was also useful so that I could test stuff and keep my 4930K on the temp workstation for now:

It was time to open that sucker up:

and start assembling the r4e based hardware:

No idea on clocks yet, I haven’t even got around to ocing my other 4820k on the x79 dark board. Now it was time to polish the csq to better match the 7990 blocks. Time to dig out my old supremacy:

The supremacy takes forever to polish well because of the deep machined channels:

Because of that I focussed on the vertical rather than the horizontal:

The nickel also needed a clean:

a minute with some brasso and it was shiny again:

Then reassembled and installed:

Remember to always thoroughly check for leaks after diassembling blocks! I’m going to use the monsoon fittings which use glued end caps to acrylic hardline in order use the o-ring shown here. The end caps are then compressed using the lockring against the o-ring to provide a very secure seal! As long as the glue joint is good and lasts then this is the most secure way to hardline possible!

Next up was the motherboard block:

Some of you may remember I had the original non csq blocks, but they suffered from nickel flake so I RMA’d (succesfully unlike Asus) and received these in return as the old design is end of life now. Still at least the motherboard/cpu/memory blocks will match now! Frozen csq can look nice when done right, but often it can look too busy. Polishing really helps to break that busyness up:




Again not perfect but good enough. If you really want to perfect it you’re going to want to also take machining marks out of the nickel, but you’ll probably burn through the nickel, so I would buy the copper version and then custom plate with chrome if you really are OCD and care. But that’s also pricey!

Time to take off the OEM heatsinks:

I love that Asus use a gloop of TIM on the southbridge, then cover it with thick aluminum foil, then more tim:

It reminds me of my R3E a bit where some worker had left the wax paper on the TIM so the south bridge woudl constantly overheat. Dat quality control….

Anyway block fitted:

The astute might notice the EK badges are upside down because this one is going reverse atx.

Next up VRM block:

Then add the RAM – these are the older Corsair Dominator GTs – the last and possibly the best. Platinums look sexy for air cooling but these were so much more compatible with water cooling and air cooling is for wusses…

Symmetrical product placement:

GTs do look ugly without their red hats:

Time for new shiny hats:

Polished up:



Polished enough to get reflections of the circles from the other side of the plexi:

Time to figure out the tube routing:

So I did try and make a custom bend curve for tighter 180’s:

As you can see it worked – though I found that 180s are just harder to get perfect than 2 separate 90s. The hard part is getting the sizing right. I was stupid and measured center to centre as you should for the monsoon kit, while my custom one needed to be measured inside to inside. So in the end it was a waste of tube. So I figured out a new strategy that used less tight bends and started with the easiest section with the widest apart bends. Set up the mandrels ready to bend:

The kit really makes this easy when the mandrels fit the bends you want to do. Two quick bends later and this looked ready:

Looking good so far:


The mitre box wasn’t giving me particularly good cuts as the hacksaw blade was so small in both thickness and height that it was easily able to go at an angle. As the seal mates to the end of the tube then the cut needs to be perpendicular, chances are that the glue joint and end caps will hide this but I didn’t want to chance it. Overall this was disappointing so I got out my big hacksaw with a much bigger blade and it was much more consistent. So after that I redid that section again:

Here I’ve also used q-tips to mark the other sections I would be attempting to make. The second attempt though had me getting cocky with the heat gun and so I ended up blistering the tube around the bend area:

I also experimented with some silicon oven mitts I had but they left dimples on the tube also:

Third attempt however was looking promising:

And so when it checked out I decided to practice the glue on this piece before doing any more:

This was glued up and you can see how transparent the end result should be – bubbles are definitely bad! Always remember to tape up your lockrings before glueing the end caps on though. Finished:

Woohoo – all of that for one bent piece of tube! One thing I realized though was that section of tube was not quite horizontal. While the Monsoon measuring devices make measuring easy you want to check that any horizontal sections are actually horizontal as even with perfect 90 degree bends you can end up being off. First I took the spirit level:

And then shored up the south end of the board with paper until the memory block was horizontal:

Good enough! Now let’s check that section of tube we already did:

Yikes! Not really good enough – however after doing three of the same I decided to move on and possibly replace this one later!

Moving on to the next section I discovered that it was already too short a link to use the mandrels in the way I already had. I could set them up so as to do each bend individually without firmly fixing the other bend. This felt against the whole point of the mandrel kit which was to get perfect repeatable bends. The real problem was that the extra material around the mandrels which ensured good straight lines after the bend also stopped the next mandrel from getting close. My solution was to chop the 180 degree mandrel in half – I now had a 90 degree mandrel with zero straight edge meaning I could now do much tighter u bends than the two individual mandrels would allow.

You can see my cutting was a bit jagged because I was cutting from the far side with a jigsaw which are notorious for not cutting straight. Still it was good enough for my purposes:

That was the setup for the 2nd bend, and this was the one for the third bend with the tube post bend:

Now the last shot of the day with those two extra pieces in place double checking alignment. I’m a little nervous that the final piece may rub against the other tube coming out of the cpu block, It looks but I may add in a third bend on that section just to kink it over. That’s it for now!

So I never covered the measuring sticks that you get with the full monsoon kit:

Initially when I saw them I was like really… they seem kinda lame. Then I used them and honestly for a simple idea they work very well. Here you can see a pretty complex 3/4 bend setup that you can measure easily. The harder part is then bending it. With compound bends like this you’re never going to be able to setup quite as you’d like with the mandrels. I did the 45 degree bend first, of course you have to start with an end, I’m not sure if this was smart or not. The 2nd bend was the trickiest, because it was a 90 degree bend in one dimension but had to be 45 degrees in another. My first attempt to lay the mandrels out was incorrect:

Luckily I realized this before bending. In the end I had to bend by pushing into a corner rather than around the mandrel itself:

It took a couple of reheats to get this better. Sadly I didn’t take a shot of the setup for the last bend, but basically I had to prop strips of thin MDF under a mandrel that supported the 45 degree bent leg until it was parallel to the floor, then I could do the last 90 degree bend such that they were parallel. This again needed some rebending but I got there in the end without kinks though there was a bit of a twist which you can see in some of the photos. So now that the bends were done it was time to prep to glue. Managed to remember to put the lock rings on before glueing so that was good:

Here they are after glueing and fitting:

Then the next project was to get the 7990s upgraded. They had been mining at work on an x58 board. Returns are so low now that even with free power it’s almost not worth the effort, so it seemed like a good time to pull them and take that rig home for stripping:

Drained the loop – I had used the EKoolant which left quite a bit of residue sadly, This doesn’t totally surprise me as I used it in another rig and the red has totally gone. Pretty disappointing as I have another 8 litres to use lol:

I should take them apart and clean them properly but today is not that day:

The dye even stained the clear primochill lrt advanced a surprising amount:

So it was now time to change the backplate:

Elmy had upgraded to dual 295×2’s like a boss and sold me his custom chrome plated backplates for the 7990s so it was time to swap out the originals:

This is nice because I can keep warranty intact while getting a cleaner and much sexier look. The shot here doesn’t show just how mirrored they are – you’ll see that in a bit. I ordered replacement screws as the EK ones are black and I wanted to match the backplate better than that. I ordered two different types from mcmaster with the same head type and thread but different finish:

The left one matches the mirrored finish better even though the color isn’t perfect:

Sadly I forgot that two of the screws are longer so as to attach to a nut on the far side of the PCB – I’ll have to order some longer matching ones:

Time to replace the thermal pads:

All done:

Still not showing the mirror well. So here’s one of the test fit:

And with the rest of the tube back in:

You can see I’m missing the IO plate for the R4E. I couldn’t find it, most likely at work as thats where I have the boxes. I’ll have to take everything out to fix that later.

Ok time for number 2:

oh yeah

reverse atx yo!

Derick did point out though that reverse atx won’t show the backplates as well, originally I wanted to go that way to really show the 7990 blocks themselves. Really I just need to swap to two S8 cases lulz.

Dem reflections:

Dat spaghetti:

Time to finish the hard tubing runs:


Bottom fittings are for soft tube to run to QDCs panel mounted to the walls of the motherboard chamber.

As always a big thanks to sponsors – shown today: CaseLabs, Corsair, EK, Monsoon!

While I waited to get wood, hehe, I thought I should finish the front mounted 360s as my 4 UT60s had been sitting in their boxes untouched for about 18 months. For a while I had been waiting to order screws, and so I finally did and they came in and so I could actually screw the wood front panels to the flex bay rad mounts. However you have to attach the rads first, so it was off to the land of sleeving. First I sorted through my mix of ap15’s and ap16’s to see what I had. I had 20 new AP16’s, so I started off using those:

Then got out the rads:

Used the monsoon red stop fittings that lovely Monsoon provided to dress them up a bit:

Time to get to work:

One side done:

Test fit:

Don’t worry we don’t only run one set of fans, that would be too normal. Normally you’d mount the fans then the flexbay mount then the rad, but I wanted a bit more space so that the fans were a bit more subtley hidden behind the grill, it would also provide less restriction that way from the grill:

One rad done with the exception of screws:

Checking that I could fit the two flexbay mounts into the 18 bays:

I then started drilling the front panels and countersinking the holes for the new screws so that the panels could be secured. Previously they were held up by the outer clip on panel. Hardly ideal:

Mounting two 360s leaves no maneovering room to get them in or out. Ideally you’d take the front frame panel off to get them in easily, but I refused to do that. Instead I put the case on it’s back, attached the flexbay mount with temporary screws, and attempted to screw rad and fans in while balancing them with the other hand.

One side done:

The rad clearance:

To get this to work you have to use the flexbay mount the correct way round and preferably have your rads rotated so the end tank caps don’t clash:

Not sure how I want to hook up the tube on these rads yet, so I’m procrastinating that decision. Probably 2 in parallel in series with another 2 in parallel.

Hidden fans:

I had thought at some point to put red led’s behind the grill to give a light glow. Any thoughts?

Once again thanks to sponsors – showcased today: Alphacool, Caselabs and Monsoon!

Oh one last thing – managed to break another PSU – AX850 this time the 8 pin connector stopped working (rest of the PSU still works which threw me off the scent for a long time). Looks like it had a bit of an “incident”. The plug has fused into the socket so you can’t pull it out. I did think I could smell something funny while I was working on thief and this PSU was testing GPU blocks in there at the same time:

Not sure this one will be covered by RMA as it was a refurb and possibly out of warranty 🙁

After finishing the rad sleeving, I went on to the back panelling. I had bought some thin MDF from home depot the other day:

Got out the big scary saw:

Ripped it to shape:

Now time to carve out the section for the motherboard:

All marked up:

Time for the jigsaw:

and done:

Test fit:

Bit too tight on the south side:


Now I’ve got to work out what to do with sata connectors:

I can’t connect a cable as it is. I only really need one cable, and I swap drives around quite often, so I had planned to use an external esata dock. However the one I have seems way slower than a regular sata port.

I could however use something like this:

Mount two in the pedestal, one for each rig. It would look ugly, but the front mount usb3 would be a nice touch, and I have a USB card reader for the camera too, so I’m tempted to go that way. If I did that I’d need to carve a channel for the sata cable to get to the motherboard port as I wouldn’t then use esata and instead use the internal intel 6gig ports to connect.

Well yes, getting wood normally does make a difference! I ordered two different veneers – one was two leaves of birdseye maple, which is a famous type of burl. A burl is kinda like a tumor on a tree that distorts the grain and makes it more fabulous and more desirable. It’s a pain to work with though, but veneer makes life a little easier.

I also got a big sheet of ebony for the dark side. The ebony is kinda cheating – for those that don’t know ebony comes in real thin sections so if you’re veneering you have to join lots of sections together which is a nightmare. I wanted an easy life seeing as this was the first time I did any veneer work since I left high school. So this ebony is man made from ebony offcuts. Yeah not ideal, but it should still look good. The other bonus is that it’s about 1/4 to 1/6 the price, and the rest of the huge sheet can be used to back the boards. You want to apply veneer to both sides of the board so that the glue drying doesn’t cause the board to warp.

For the ebony I wanted the stripes running vertically, which means I will still have to do one join, I might be able to get away with leaving the end bare though as that section of board may not be seen behind the radiator:

I pencilled in how I wanted to use the maple – whacked the contrast out to try and show you – but it’s hard to see;

Before we can use it though we need to flatten it a bit more. Burls are usually warped in a bubbly fashion and require a bit of pre work before use.

Essentially you get your wood nice and wet by rubbing it down with a damp cloth, then get a bigger piece of wood and put it on top:

Once the two woods are touching, then you can muscle up and add some iron:

Now my wood has been squished and is nice and flat:

For the backing sheet you normally want the grain to run the same direction as the front sheet. However with a burl the grain is every direction so it doesn’t really matter. Therefore I chose an easy life:

I had ordered a veneer saw as I’d heard they were useful, really though I had better luck on thin veneers like these with a sharp knife:

You want to leave a bit of overhang that you can trim off later.

At this point I also cut the extra cutout for the sata cables. I did not take a photo as I was too distracted by my sideways wood. As the sideways wood was done getting ready for action, it was time to cut the burl to size. This is more tricky as it’s less flat and had a join. Even after flattening it was not exactly flat:

I lined up both pieces and taped them down:

Marked out the piece I wanted and got to cutting:

Two identical pieces with very similar patterns:

They will be put back to back so as to create a reflection effect:

Test fit:

The join in the middle wasn’t perfectly straight so I had to trim it down. To do this I again lined up the pieces back to back and put the questionable edge just peeking out from two pieces of MDF held down with dumbells:

It was then ready to be planed with a block plane which is more tolerant of wild grain:

The edges then lined up better:

One other thing I had bought was real veneer tape. When I was a lad we just used masking tape, but veneer tape is easier to use and as it dries will pull the two pieces of wood together. Then to remove just get it wet for a bit and it will come off. It was not time to prep for glueing both veneers to the board:

I stacked up three 3/4″ plywood pieces and topped off with a 3/8″ MDF board to give a nice perfect surface to squish the veneer with. I then layered clingfilm/wrap on it so that the glue wouldn’t stick my panel to the MDF. Above the panel would get the same treatment, MDF followed by plywood and then the weights to give the clamping force. Tools ready:


Water and paper towel to dampen the non glued side, roller to spread glue, glue and more clingwrap for the top side. Then do the dirty deed and leave for 24 hours with a bunch of iron on top:

And now my watch begins…

I hope you’re all ready to see more of my wood! I couldn’t show pics as I did the glue up because I was worried about it drying, so here are the pics taking it out:

The veneer gets protected with clingwrap so you don’t glue it to the boards that squish it.

The veneer started to tear as I lifted it to put it on the board, so I added some veneer tape to make sure the tear went back together.

The good side worked out as well as could be hoped for. There was a bit of a gap along the mirror line but a bit of filler should make that less noticable:

First step was to trim the excess veneer – again a sharp blade can cut right through until you’re very close to the substrate. Then you want to use a block plane most likely to finish it off.

Trimming end grain is much harder:

Soon you’re done and then the veneer tape can be removed by getting it damp with a wet cloth and letting it sit for a minute:

Test fit:

Looking good! Now for the dark – it had been at work mining on the 290s. I brought it home and removed the 290s to drain them and flip the bridge:

Drafted out the cuts on the substrate:

Sanity check with the R4E panel

The dark must be a little less wide than the R4E:

I was a bit more aggressive on fit around the motherboard this time as the other side had a slight gap:

Sanity check again with the R4E panel and the X79 dark:

Board would hit the VRM heatsink which we are not going to use – seemed like a good time to swap it out:

Board removed:

Suddenly a wild nateman_doo block:

Dem VRMs:


Then I taped up the serial numbers and bar codes on the memory:

Then taped over the evga text on the south bridge that would be upside down:

Test fit with the r4e panel:

Test fit with the real panel:

I then realized that I had forgotten to take into account the blank plates to cover the pci slots:

The bottom side fit perfectly though – on the CPU 8 pin cables I’ll have to remove the clips though:

After trimming a bit more off:

Cutting the veneer – this time I want the grain to go vertically. I’m hoping to be lazy and not cover the end of the panel that will be hidden by radiators so as to not do a veneer joint:

The other question that had been on my mind was whether to use the bridge I had bought or not. I didn’t like that one of the outputs had to be on the lower end of the block – I wanted both outputs to be at the top and run straight vertically up:

I could instead use crystal links to link the regular terminals and run all in parallel:

Obviously I would use the right size tube, and I’d change the fittings to black low profile ones. The downside is needing to buy about $70 more fittings, the advantage would be being able to see coolant, the disadvantage would be losing the robustness and support that the bridges bring

I’m leaning towards keeping the bridge. The next thing is to figure out where to bring the CPU connections out to in the lower chamber. The PSU mounts in the lower chamber and so blocks off a lot of space meaning the chamber pass throughs (panel mount QDCs) will need to be offset and the tubing route will be ugly 🙁

So this is the approximate plan:

I only just realized that my two EK 400mm reservoirs are different lengths 🙁 Kinda mad about that. They were supposed to be the same version. Not sure how that happened.

I don’t think the glue was completely dry when I removed the veneer tape so the gap between veneers widened a bit:

Let’s hope it looks ok after filling. The best kind of filler is home made with dust from the same wood that you’ve sanded. That way any finish will make it blend. However making your own filler is a right pain as you have to sand enough to collect the dust, then mix it into a putty with glue, then squeeze it into the gaps and its hard to get a ratio that has enough dust in it but is still sticky. I chose to be quick about it and used store bought stuff that should match well enough:


We won’t really know til it’s sanded and finished. First up was sanding the back – this way I’d get used to the veneer thickness and if I burned through the veneer it wouldn’t matter:

That rip is almost impossible to find now:

Last stage – cleaning the dust off before applying polyurethane:

That’s it for now. The second panel is gluing up, and hopefully I’ll get time this weekend to finish the R4E panel!

Did more work on the R4E panel – last time I was finishing the back side. Here it is after it dried with the first coat:

You can see it definitely needs a 2nd coat, not that it matters because it’s the hidden side of the board, but still, I don’t like patchy. Before that though it was time to see if my plan for individual holes for the sleeving would work with the wood. First I had to mark out where the existing cable routing holes were on to the wood panel. You can see that there are 2 per side of the motherboard. I could make more by pulling the panel to the right of the motherboard.

So I decided to do a 5mm spacing on the wires – large enough to avoid them blurring together and hopefully large enough to suffer large burnout on the veneer on either side:

On a test piece of MDF I marked out the holes and did the start of the holes by hand. The front side worked well

The back of course had more tear out:

Because it worked well I decided to go ahead with the real board. The drill was running out of batteries so a couple of them wobbled off course:

Hopefully it won’t be noticeable.

The tearout on the back side wasn’t bad:

This was the worst for burn out:

Overall though it was fine:

And ready for that 2nd coat of varnish. That’s it for today:

More sanding and finishing:

Testing the combs:

When I did this I realized that trying to use the existing holes in the panel was a mistake because it’s almost impossible to get the panel in and out then. I should have sucked it up and made the holes where the sleeving would look best i.e. pure horizontal or vertical runs. I was also super annoyed by the joining of two of the holes for the pwr/reset switch connectors. Hopefully it won’t be noticable after I’m done.

Time to pull the other panel:

Test fitting:

So many holes to be made – I think this panel had over 110 or something stupid. All were started by hand.

Test fitting again:

After the first coat of finish – it’ll need three before it’s done:

At this point I decided the grey on the sleeve was too light. I also figured it would be hard to connect short extensions, and really I need to run the extensions all the way down to the lower chamber. So I think I’m going to swap the light grey in the pattern out for black sleeve, the dark grey will remain however. I’m going to need a ton of wire to build these extensions!

Sleeve update:

This side is done now, though I might need more combs to keep it under control:

Lutro0’s store has had so many orders they need to close for a week to catch up on shipping. Sadly I’ve also run out of wire too, so that’s a bummer. Hopefully the store reopens with combs and wire available soon 😀

I’m not planning on sleeving the Corsair supplies – I worked out how much wire it would be to sleeve all four and it was pretty pricey and a ton of work. I’m also thinking of going back to running two PSUs. Initially I planned to us my NEX1500 on the gaming rig and an AX1200 on the workstation. Then I ended up with 2 more AX850s so thought it would be cool to utilize all four PSU mounts and run 2xAX850 on the workstation (nice because the fan turns off when using little power) and the 2xAX1200 on the gaming side. However I want to bring tube into the lower chamber where the 3/4th PSUs would be so I’d have to make the tube routing less pretty and buy more fittings to jog around where the PSUs would be. So for now I’m thinking just keep it simple. Seeing as the NEX has hugely long cables and is 1 to 1, I may end up creating custom length wires for that.

For the dark side – I did 3/4 of the GPU extensions before I ran out of 16AWG. I do have 100ft of 18AWG which I could continue with, but 18 doesn’t hold the shape as well, and it’s more resistive, something that matters when you’re really pulling a load of current. When mining with 4x290s on the NEX1500, the power wires to the GPUs would get warm.

That’s it for now. Next up will be more sleeve, res mounting and finishing tubing in the motherboard chambers. I’ve calculated the remaining fittings I need, so I need to get them ordered and EK have agreed to send more goodies to finish up in style 😀

Making progress – also last EK package finally shipped!

Finally got the front panels back on – this time with all the radiators in and with longer screws so they are held in place better.

The thing that is bugging me on the “light” side is that the panel is warped because of the disceprencies in the front/back veneers I used. So you might be able to notice the wood warping away at the back of the case. I may have to do something about that.

Dark side extensions were finished and tested, just waiting on new reservoirs

While I wait for the final few parts I just need to finish changing out the white 3 pin headers to black ones which annoyingly seems to mean soldering fatter wires and then recrimping, because my black fan headers don’t like the crimps from my white ones for some reason. Then hook up of the fan controllers and I’m really really close.

More sponsored parts finally arrived from EK – so much product placement today:

Even my rug is CSQ

Got some replacement x3 style reservoirs as my two X2 res’s were different heights:

I already had one white D5 top, but now I had two more:


Also since I put the 7990s in EK released the clear terminals – so of course I had to swap those:

Also took the time to correct the orientation of the EK badges (again). I really want to get some ER badges made instead, but I imagine that would be $$$

Also dug out the io plate and installed that finally too!

Mmmmm all the plexi:

My pump collection (D5’s only):

The black topped varios are for the dark side (2 for gpu loop, 1 for cpu loop), while the white ones are for the light side. Time to also update the dark side:

Yes you filthy animals had told that air cooled south bridges were for canadians. Or something. So of course I had to comply with your demands:

natemandoo in the house. Time to strip her down:


dat port clearance:

I do wish it was bigger like the original:

I didn’t have a black supremacy, so of course EK couldn’t let me use a filthy Bitspower block:

Goofy style:

Got me some ram blocks too:

Because 1.5V ram needs cooling:

Blocks fitted and badges rotated:

Tempted to plastidip the thumbscrews – I really think EK should sell black versions of these derickwm

Sleeved the pumps, though I got incredibly pissed off at the black three pin fan headers I had (I think from lutro0), the crimps just won’t easily go in. In the end I gave up and decided to buy new ones and reused the original beige ones:


Time to put the motherboard back in the case and hook up the tube:

Found some problems – the tube is not straight from the GPUs and is driving me nuts, and the tube from the ram blocks to the top chamber would kink because I didn’t have enough space. More on that later. Time to make more hardlines:

Ready for install:

Can you believe just how much product placement we have today? I should be getting a cut of evo sales right now: Oh and let’s not forget the other sponsors e.g. Corsair:

And monsoon

And evga sorta:

And EK again jeez:

Dem bends:

This is the so called infinite loop – no pump required it just keeps both VRM and CPU cool. No radiator required either. Just don’t turn it on:

4 fingers – 2 in the cpu, 2 in the south bridge

Lovely jubbley:

dat clearance again:

The NMD block was a bit of a pain to install, no instructions, no opinion on whether to use TIM or thermal pads, and the base of the block got very close to some caps on the board. In addition there were no standoffs, instead, two washers were used. This is a nightmare, because even one washer wouldn’t stay still as you put the block on the board, let alone two. It took a lot of wrangling to install. If a manufacturer had released a block like that I would have torn them a new one.


Block is not quite level, user error I suppose, but I was too nervous to tighten it down on the sata side of the board because it looked like it would touch something.

All four in:

I will have to wait to reinstall the 4 way ek bridge, because I’m missing one 90 degree fitting that I have to install first.

4 way or no way:

Put back in the case along with the new reservoirs and the bulkhead QDCs:

Pumps are hardlined to the bulkhead fittings. I didn’t want to mount them at all so as to minimize vibrations. Hardline of course will still transmit some vibration, soft tube would be better but always looks ugly.

Dat chamber – big thanks to alphacool for the rads too!


Also put the mora with the gt’s plus adpaters back in – really need to get some ER stickers made for the fans:

Light side – the third pump uses soft tube to hang rather than hardline – this will be fixed as soon as I get two more fittings!

Here you can also see how I rerouted the tube from the motherboard to the top chamber so it wouldn’t kink. It does mean that there is an unused hole in the top of the chamber. I may have to plug it with a bulkhead and a stop fitting.

That’s it for now! Today’s thief update brought to you by the letters E and K, CaseLabs, Corsair, Alphacool, Monsoon etc etc


It was time to do something about the bottom pedestal. So I went and got some more wood.

Ended up with this chunk which was much larger than I needed – it had pretty grain though and I’ll use it eventually:

The back of it has some sap wood which give a nice contrast, but you can never trust sapwood.

It’s super heavy though, I mean 2-3x as dense as most hardwoods, and a ton more than pine.

First up let’s choose which face to use:

The last one is the prettiest if we can avoid the sapwood. Time to prep an edge:

Sapwood is really quite thin, might be able to remove it by shaving a quarter inch of thickness off while maintaining the grain. After a bunch of work with the table saw:

I had to offset the piece in order to center the grain and so I had to build cantilever style support into the end that would no longer get screwed. Test fitting:

Required considerable fine tuning to get it just right to balance the height of the dress panel:

Then fedex came and more parts were here:

Including temperature probes with lcd screens. Aquaeros are for wimps. Time to fit them:

Jigsawed then tidying up with chisel


Sleeved (I should have ordered more black molexes):

Much fancy:

Many smooth:

Also much fittings – more on these in next update:

Alright here we go – last update I had got some more fittings and tube. The fittings were mainly so I could run straighter tube lines, or stop tube lines from hitting each other. 4 Loops gets messy real fast with tube routing.

The top and bottom of the front mounted rads for example needed to be joined up, and a curved loop while it would have been less restrictive got majorly in the way of the fill port lines

Sadly PPCS’s updated their website and I ended up getting black nickel rather than nickel for the 90 degree rotaries. but it’s hard to tell. I also reused some of my BP rotary snakes that I had previously used on the motherboard before I hardlined it.

The extra ports on the alphacool rads came in handy, because I couldn’t actually screw in the monsoon rotaries into the “main” ports without removing the fans.

I also needed to get rid of some of the nickel fittings on the dark side:

The QDC here went to a black QD4, and those stop fittings turned black too. Sadly I didn’t take a picture yet of the after, but it’s looking much cleaner. Then the last thing was to mount the fan controllers to the base of the case and wire them up:

Dem ascendacy’s. I should mod an “n” in there. One for each rig.

Notice that they are rotated – this is so the tube routes easily from the nearby radiators without kinking or extra fittings:

Once mounted I had to flip the case to apply the panel which was *much* fun. Here it is in the bottom of the case finally:

At this point I was short 2 ft of tube. So I had to order more:

Ignore the koolance stuff that’s just review samples, not for this build. Meanwhile I tested all the loops for leaking with distilled and used some old tube for the 2 ft that I was missing. After fixing the leaks I was ready for dye. But before that I had to wire up the ascendacys which meant custom cables:

These wires were fat enough I had to use two layers of sleeve to hide them too:

I needed two 1 to 2 splitters, two 1 to 4 splitters and a 1 to 3 splitter, some of them being extremely long. I color coded each one with different sleeve so it’s easy to tell which is which as this rig gets very confusing. These were a real PITA to make, I think daisy chaining might be easier for future.

Power to the ascendacy’s is through a 6 pin:

Bottom chamber wiring getting messy:

Gonna need excessive zip ties to tame that. However before that I needed to fill the loop with coolant because for bleeding I was going to use an external psu to power pumps so that I don’t have to unplug the ones that are in there. Dark side you saw already in progress of bleeding:

And dat light side which looks super sexy in color. But I’m still teasing y’all. I’ve let it bleed overnight, though I suspect there is a ton of air still in the loops, but it’s not exactly a case you can pick up and shake. Hopefully tonight I’ll tidy the wiring and do a final photo shoot, this time, in color, and maybe make a gif of the loop filling on the plexi side.

That’s all I have before the final photos come in.


Project Thief is COMPLETE. Cue Drums….. Cue trumpet fanfare….

Project thief is based around the enormous, nay monstrous, CaseLabs TX10-D case, and if that wasn’t enough, there’s a pedestal to make it even bigger.

The build features two full size gaming computers in one case along with custom wood panelling and powder coating. The name thief comes from the this build stealing an awful lot of my disposable income. The Thief symbology is integrated through the use of Skyrim Thief’s guild symbols as well as two different themes representing the duality of the thief’s life. The “light” side of the case represents the Thief’s role by day as an ordinary hard working member of society and features my workstation. The “dark” side of the case represent’s the Thief’s role by night and features my gaming rig. The ability to fit so many radiators and fans means that the fans can be turned down to be almost silent while still being able to perform at the top of their game.

The idea was really to build a no hold’s barred setup with the best of the best that was not only hardcore but easy to maintain. One computer would be my linux based workstation that I use for my day to day work. The other would be my windows based entertainment/gaming battlestation.

Light side:
– Rampage IV Extreme + 4930K + 32GB Corsair Dominator GT 2133 + 2x 7990s + 1TB SSD
– Fully watercooled with 2 loops: cpu, memory, motherboard, gpus

Dark side:
– EVGA X79 Dark + 4820K + 16GB Corsair Dominator GT 2133 + 4xR9-290s + 1TB SSD
– Fully watercooled with 2 loops: cpu, memory, motherboard, gpus

The thief thrives by moonlight:

Suddenly a wild thief:

The size of a fridge:

The top hides a Mora 1260 radiator:

A door opens to reveal the “light” side:

Custom wood panels out of super hard “Cocobolo” wood:

The other side’ door opens to reveal the “dark” side:

The TX10 features panels that can be removed in seconds to get access to the hardware underneath:

Behind the wood panels are four Alphacool UT60 radiators each with 6 fans:

The TX10-D can fit two HPTX sized motherboards, we only used EATX however. It can also mount server rack mount gear – at the top of the rear you can see 4x1u covers. 4 power supplies are supported by default, though more can be added. We found a 1500W and a 1200W PSU to be sufficient 😉

The “Light” side features the Rampage IV Extreme with a 4930K CPU clocked at 4.75GHz and kept very cool by a polished CSQ EK Supremacy block. The motherboard VRM and south bridge is fully water cooled also by EK water blocks in Nickel/Plexi CSQ polished by hand to a glass like finish. The RAM is Corsair Dominator GT 2133 CL9 – 8x4GB of DDR3 again fully watercooled by EK Monarch Blocks:

The tubing is Monsoon hardline acrylic tube coupled with Monsoon’s Premium hardling fittings. These fittings grip the tube so securely they can hold up a 30lb dumbbell:

The motherboard chamber also features two EK X3 reservoirs in 400mm size. Large reservoirs make loop filling easier and putting them in an easily viewable window makes leaks obvious. The motherboard is easily removable as it sits on a removable tray. However the cooling is also quick to remove as each feed uses a Koolance Quick Disconnect. The motherboard can be removed for maintenance or changeing parts within a minute.

The dual 7990’s also feature custom chrome plated backplates:

As well as MDPC-X sleeving and Lutro0 Custom’s cable combs:

EK’s clear terminals were used to keep the consistent style:

EK’s Ekoolant in blood red was used to make the most of the plexi blocks:

Tubes were bent using Monsoon’s pro bending kit which gave me professional results even though this was my first hardlined build:

I like to think that these chromed backplates are what caused EK to start making backplates in other colors than black 😉

The rear fan is a bitfenix sceptre in white with red leds. The motherboard chamber is also lit with RGB LED strips at top and bottom that are remote controlled:

The dark side of course is reverse atx:

The EVGA X79 dark motherboard is well matched to the EVGA SuperNova NEX1500 power supply and the EK X3 400mm reservoirs flow directly down in to the D5 pumps with EK tops:

R9-290s in quad crossfire providing the gaming power:

You may ask why not nvidia – generally quad scaling seems to be a bit superior with AMD even if Nvidia has the edge on single card performance. Lightboost of course still works with AMD, and now that I’m done with the build I can focus on getting some Swift monitors 🙂

LED strips reflect off the custom ebony veneered panelling:

Close up of the EK X3 anticyclone acrylic:

Monsoon fittings and hardline tube was again used to give an ultra clear look feeding into the EK Supremacy EVO block that cools the 4820K:

As this was a gaming computer primarily I went with a 4820K to acheive slightly better clock speeds, as that seems to influence high fps more than cores do though that is starting to change for some games. I love bridges to connect GPUs – they not only give a clean look and make hooking up the blocks easy but they also give a rigidity to the cards that can help reduce sag:

Some people have problems fitting them because it requires you to be comfortable sealing a block with an o-ring – but honestly if you are water cooling then you should be comfortable with taking a block apart and resealing it anyway. I also love the clean look of a backplate – and the EK 290 backplate also includes thermal pads that help to keep the hot R9-290 VRMs and core a little cooler:

The X79 Dark was one of the very few boards that EK did not make a motherboard block for. Luckily Natemandoo stepped up to make blocks for the board instead. Hopefully we will see some EK blocks for the EVGA x99 boards now that EK also supply the classified waterblocks:

A motherboard full of GPUs is a joy to see:

Powered up with RGB leds set to red:

You can see an error code on the motherboard simply because there is no boot drive or monitor connected. I need to have some friends over to help me carry this 100-200lb behemoth upstairs.

All the radiator fans are Gentle Typhoons. Some are 1850RPM while some are the 2150RPM units shown here:

Gentle typhoons can’t be beaten for noise/airflow performance through a radiator, and running in push and pull means great performance while being able to dial them down to silent levels.

The bottom radiators even use 120mm Gentle Typhoons even though they are 560 sized. The use of a 120mm->140mm fan adapter makes this possible. You can also see the 4 screws (2 at either end) that hold the radiator side mount in. This side mount makes it very easy to remove radiators for cleaning out dust:

Even the Mora 1260 radiator (140×9) does the same thing:

The red ringed fittings are fill ports – one for each loop making filling a breeze.

The amount of display outputs just gets silly:

The monsoon hardlining is great for “mounting” pumps too. As it can carry significant load the pump itself can simply hang rather than being mounted:

This also has the benefit that vibration isn’t transmitted through the mount. It even works with the EK Dual D5 top:

While the EK Ascendacy fan controller controls the fans and can measure temperatures I wanted to be able to have a quick glance to check out my coolant and air temperatures and so I built in these Phoby temperature sensors into a wood panel on the pedestal:

The temps here are a little off as the computers are powered on, and the pumps were not running so they’re not indicative of real performance yet 😉

Lastly the LED strips that are pretty well hidden in each chamber at the top and bottom:

Here are some vids that show the LEDs cycling through colors:

So that’s it from me and thief and it’s nearly time for us to say goodbye, throw a party and move this fridge sized beast upstairs! Again a big thank you to sponsors for their generosity in making this long project happen!

Links to this build on other forums: evga, anandXS, [H], ocn, bit-tech, TPU, ROG, overclockers

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