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 Post subject: Re: Building Process of the Water Cooler Green Reactor 3D Te
PostPosted: 08 Jul 2010, 15:30 
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Time to place the fittings on the video card too, it gets two 45 degree compression fittings on the upper side as the two holes on the lower side of the water block are being closed since not being needed.


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The CPU water block also gets is share of fittings - one straight compression fitting at the entrance of the block and one angled 45 degree fitting at the exit that will connect the output of the CPU block to the input of the GPU water block in the loop.


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 Post subject: Re: Building Process of the Water Cooler Green Reactor 3D Te
PostPosted: 08 Jul 2010, 15:33 
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It is time to install the power supply inside the case. My choice for power supply was the CoolerMaster SilentPro M1000 - a 1000W modular power supply that is supposedly quite silent. It provided enough power and connectors for just about everything I needed it to power, as well as some significant reserve for a second video card and some overclocking of course. Not to mention that this is currently one of the best priced good 1KW modular power supplies, probably not the best performing one, but the best in terms of price/performance ratio in its category.


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Here I've had to resort to the use of permanent black marker in order to color some of the red paper-like shims, because I needed them black in order to hold the power supply tight and the screws not to damage the paint of the case should I decide to remove the power supply and reattach it again. And later I've had to resort to the black permanent marker a lot and you'll see why that was needed.


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The CoolerMaster SilentPro M1000 has turned out to be a really good power supply and almost the perfect choice, but then again it has turned out that the "silent fan" it is using is really silent in terms of airflow, but the fan creates a weird and not so loud sound when rotating at lower rpm. And that strange noise can be really annoying and practically the loudest thing in a silent water cooled computer and that can make you crazy. So I've decided to replace the fan with a more silent one that hasn't got the same problem with probably the bearing being used that makes the weird noise at lower rpm. But it has turned out that the fan inside the power supply is not a standard 140mm one, but instead a 135mm one (industrial format maybe?) and such fan is not very easy to find. Fortunately Revoltec has a 140mm model with holes for 135mm attachment, but I'll have to wait a few more days for that to arrive. So actually this issue with the strange noise from the fan at low rpm is the only drawback of the M1000 PSU. And if you think that this may be because of defective fan, it is not, I've tired with another M1000 power supply and it was making the same weird sounding noise as mine.


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 Post subject: Re: Building Process of the Water Cooler Green Reactor 3D Te
PostPosted: 08 Jul 2010, 15:36 
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Now it is time to cut the tubing and connect it to the fittings placed on the different components from the water cooling. The tubing I've decided upon was from Nalgene as I've already mentioned and more specifically the 19/13mm version in order to have as unrestricted as possible flow for the cooling liquid.


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Connecting the water pump with the tubing, notice that below the top 90 degree fitting I've placed a thermal sensor, so that I would know what is the temperature of the cooling liquid when it enters the pump. This is important since it is not good to have too hot water and getting it above 60 degrees may as well damage the pump and even possibly other hardware in the system and nobody is willing to have issues of this kind just because he did not plan a failsafe solution.


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Here is how the finished water cooling flow with the tubing in place looks like. The pump is placed at the lower part of the case and everything else is at the top part fo the case. The flow goes like this: water pump -> processor water block -> video card water block -> cooling radiator -> reservoir -> water pump. It is a single loop as I've planned that it will be more than enough to cool the processor and the video card and still have some room for good overclocking of both, but I may have to further extend the cooling or add a second loop in order to cover the cooling for a second video card for example.


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 Post subject: Re: Building Process of the Water Cooler Green Reactor 3D Te
PostPosted: 08 Jul 2010, 15:38 
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For a cooling liquid I've decided to try the Fluid XP+ Nano-Fluid Alien Green UV Fluid that is not water based at all and instead is based on non-ionic ingredients which allows it to remain non-conductive permanently. According to the manufacturer this cooling liquid offers improved thermal conductivity and heat transfer compared to water, yet is with the same low viscosity as water as well as is non-toxic and non-corrosive. Additionally the technology of nano particles has another advantage in this coolant - the particles are so small that there is no abrasion when flowing through the system. I've tried to filter the cooling liquid to see and there were absolutely no remains of any kind on the filter, the only drawback of using this liquid is that it is quite a bit more expensive compared to other water-based solutions. And of course the green color is to add to the aesthetics of the PC that I've decided to name the Green Reactor... ;)


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Time to fill in the cooling liquid in the water cooling loop, of course through the reservoir that is currently detached for easier manipulation... that is precisely why this type of a reservoir was chosen and why placed in such a way in that place inside the case. The tubing is made in a way that it allows you to easily detach and move the reservoir comfortably outside of the case, so maintaining the water cooling will be an easy task.


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After filling in the system with the cooling liquid the water pump needs to get some power in order to remove the air inside the loop - from the water blocks, reservoir and the radiator along with the air bubbles from the tubing. The pump needs to be running for a few hours to effectively remove all the air, but at this stage of the project only the pump gets power and the rest of the PC is not connected to the power supply. The getting the air out of the loop part is also a part of the leak testing, not that such is normally expected, but just in case that you forgot to do something right or missed screwing well enough some of the fittings or the tubing it is better to see the problem now than later. While the pump is working the work can continue on other parts of the system as there is still a lot of work to be done.


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 Post subject: Re: Building Process of the Water Cooler Green Reactor 3D Te
PostPosted: 08 Jul 2010, 15:41 
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Time to insert the HDDs in the system, inside the hotswap cage. I'm using two 640GB Western Digital Black hard drives that will be running in RAID 0 setup in order to provide optimum speed. Unfortunately it has turned out to be quite a challenge to actually find two HDDs that have a maximum transfer speed of up to 145 MB/s as all of the new 640GB WD Black drives should be capable of. After going through about ten drives just these two were from the fast ones, the others were offering speeds of up to 105, 125, 133 etc. MB/s and that was not acceptable. It seems that WD is having some trouble and getting a few of their fastest drives can be a real challenge at the moment and requires a bit of luck too...


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I've used an LG optical drive, DVD writer in order to install the OS and setup the system. This optical drive was a temporary one until the Blu-ray reader unit arrived. And the reason for going to a Blu-ray reader drive is because of the Blu-ray 3D movies that finally started appearing and since this is a 3D test PC it should be capable of playing them. I do not need a Blu-ray writes as I have no need to write any big amount of data on BD discs, so no need to pay more for a writer.


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For the RAM modules I've decided to go for a 4GB G.SKILL PC3-17600 (2200MHz / 7-10-10-28 @ 1,65V) Dual Channel Kit in order to have good performance and enough headroom for overclocking. The kit comes with a fan that attaches on top of the ram modules, but I don't need is since it is a bit noisy when running at its default speed and the airflow inside the case is more than good enough to keep the memory cool even without additional cooling fan over it.


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 Post subject: Re: Building Process of the Water Cooler Green Reactor 3D Te
PostPosted: 08 Jul 2010, 15:44 
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Next in line is the Alphacool Heatmaster - a fan/pump controller that also offers sensor monitoring. A great device that helps you monitor and control a custom built water cooling system. It has a handy control software that maybe is a bit advanced for some users, but offers good flexibility in achieving a good combination of silent operation and optimum performance throughout the whole system. Unfortunately it now seems that this product has been discontinued, but it might be getting an even better improved version.


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The Heatmaster gets its place at the back of the case hidden behind the tray for the other two hard drives - the place I'm using to house the water pump in. It is good to hide the controller somewhere as it will have a lot of cables connected to it - fans, the pump, temperature sensors etc. and you don’t want all that right in front of your eyes, but instead hidden somewhere like it is not there at all. The controller gets its power through a standard 4-pin Molex, but also requires a USB connection for the control software to interface with the unit (it uses COM port emulation).


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Because of the requirement to have an external USB connector available for the Heatmaster and since I did not want to have a USB cable going out from the case in order to be plugged inside an external USB port on the motherboard what I did was to modify a backplate with USB connectors in order to get two internal USB ports at the back of the case. One of these ports will be used for the Heatmaster connection and the other one is free for something that might further need an USB inside the case.


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The Heatmaster comes with three temperature sensors and the device can track even more, but I only used one of them, placing it in the center of the case near the main power connector plugged in the motherboard. The idea was to be able to have a good idea about the temperature of the air inside the case when I need it. The other temperature sensor I've attached for now was the one at the entrance of the pump that I'm using to monitor the temperature of the water that is entering the water pump. Besides these the Heatmaster also seems to have an integrated thermal sensor that monitors the temperature of its PCB, probably not to get it overheated if managing too much things as it can handle up to 24 watts per channel for a multiple fans/pumps attached to it.


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 Post subject: Re: Building Process of the Water Cooler Green Reactor 3D Te
PostPosted: 08 Jul 2010, 15:48 
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I've already mentioned that I'll be using the black permanent market a lot and here is another example for what I've used it. To color in black the power cables that attach to the motherboard as although they are mostly sleeved in black at their end there are still annoying colors like the yellow on the additional 12V power for the motherboard.


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These colors can be easily covered, although it still takes some time to do things right, but then you see the end result it looks much better and right as it should be. You can also go for alternative solutions like sleeving with black all these cables, but that is much harder to do and takes much more time, not to mention that you might not have the same good result at the end. And depending on the color composition of your choice you can use different color permanent markers, like green for example that might've also looked good, or maybe red or blue... it is up to you.


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The main power cable for the motherboard is much more colorful compared to the additional 12V power, here you have a lot of different colors, but you can as well make them all black and get a great looking result. And because of the much more cables here this connector is harder to paint, not to mention sleeve should you decide to do so.


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But how the things look at the end justifies completely the time and effort needed to paint the power cables on the power supply. The only issue here is that you might have trouble should you need to use the warranty of the power supply because of the painted cables. But since the CoolerMaster M1000 power supply also has other issues with the fan not being as silent as it should be I will have to open it anyway and replace the default fan, so the warranty will be gone anyway and the painting was not a problem at all for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Building Process of the Water Cooler Green Reactor 3D Te
PostPosted: 08 Jul 2010, 15:49 
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More colorful cables that do not match the style of the project, so they also had to be covered in black. These are the USB, Firewire, front audio etc. cables.


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Now at the bottom of the motherboard the cables also look better and are not distracting anymore from the overall look of the PC - black and green...


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 Post subject: Re: Building Process of the Water Cooler Green Reactor 3D Te
PostPosted: 08 Jul 2010, 15:51 
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Here is a quick look at how the system looks at a stage that most of the things are ready. You can notice the Noiseblocker fan attached at the lower right end of the case. It is there to provide a good airflow for the water pump and the Heatmaster that is also on the back side of the fan, so that the optimum operating temperatures and a longer reliability for both devices can be ensured. Notice how all the cables around the motherboard are kind of merging nicely with the motherboard and the black background of the case.


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And here is the back of the case with all the cables actually hidden there, not so nice looking, but when the case is closed nobody will even notice any of these cables. And thanks to the effective cable management capabilities of the case the front part of the case with all the components looks like there are almost no cables at all.


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 Post subject: Re: Building Process of the Water Cooler Green Reactor 3D Te
PostPosted: 08 Jul 2010, 15:53 
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The logo of Corsair at the front of the case can easily be removes with the help of some stronger paint remover that is if it does not fit well with the idea of your projects. You can as well leave it there, but the white color was not needed in my case...


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So the Corsair logo had to go away. I have some plans for additional visual elements on the outside of the case, but these are not ready yet, so meanwhile it will stay in clean and elegant black color.


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The logos inside the case on the plastic cannot be removed, but then again they are not visible through the transparent acrylic window when the case is closed, so there is not problem with that. The white logo on the side of the CoolerMaster power supply however is something that I'm not so happy about and I will probably do something about it when I disassemble the power supply to replace its original cooling fan in a few days.


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