Half-assed, because I hate taking build log photos and writing posts about them. But the good folks at Sidewinder Computers are off for vacation this week, so I won't get new tubing until next Monday. Bummer, but it means I've got a mostly-finished box, just waiting to be shown off. So, here it is.
Background recap: I blew a hose on my last build while I was out of town. As a result, virtually all of my coolant wound up sitting on my motherboard. (This was build on a Danger Den Torture Rack, so the board was oriented horizontally.) I doubt the initial explosion was to blame, but rather the corrosion that followed because I wasn't around to clean it up. Regardless, my motherboard died, though everything else was fine.
Seeing the opportunity, I set about trying to 1) source a new LGA1156 board to replace my ASUS M3F (harder than you might think) and 2) sell off my old case and rads so that I could rebuild into a Danger Den Q20, which I've been lusting over since they were launched a year ago.
As luck would have it, a good friend of mine had traded someone else for an "Abyss" Q20, ATX configuration with dual 5.25" bays. Exactly what I was looking for. He owed me $100 on an old video card trade, so we swapped debts and I walked away with a case to match my new motherboard, a particularly crotchety Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R, a gift from the same friend. Another guy I know offered to trade me a Black Ice SR1-360 for my old Torture Rack, and I'm off to the races!
Here are a couple of quick snaps of it. Nothing special, details after: Flash artefact off the rear plexi panel. Hopefully it'll get a wicked paint job someday... Black acrylic case with an aluminium faceplate on the res. It looks much better in person, as does the opaque grille. Neither are nearly so bright.
So like I said, the two big changes are the case (Danger Den Q20 in place of the old Torture Rack) and motherboard (Gigabyte GA-P55-UD3R in place of the old ASUS Maximus III Formula). CPU is still the solid 4.3GHz i5-760, 2x2GB OCZ Reaper memory, Sapphire HD6850, M-Audio Audiophile 2496 and a Seasonic X-560 PSU.
Cooling got a pretty big shake up, as well. My old system ran a pair of Laing DDC3.2 pumps with XSPC vertical-intake tops in series; CPU, GPU and full cover motherboard blocks, and two Black Ice GTX240 radiators. I used two pumps for the sake of redundancy; if one went down, there was still a second to keep coolant flowing. But DDCs with aftermarket tops are killer performers, and two in series produce head pressures and flow rates that approach Iwaki territory. And that's probably what caused the blowout. The irony of it all. Bonus: one pump died as the result of running dry.
The new loop is a little simpler, and probably much cleaner looking. A wild morass of tubes looked pretty slick in the Torture Rack, with it's sort of industrial look from the start, but not so much in a full tower case, and having a DDC pump on the bottom of the case made for some ugly routing problems. Solution: XSPC BayRes One. Apparently, someone finally hit on a great idea, and now several companies produce bay reservoirs with integrated pump housings. This particular one mates to a single DDC, but there are other options out there which take two DDCs, or one or two D5s. I happened to have one DDC, so this was a no brainer. Other single-DDC options out there, but none as affordable. So there's that.
Anyway, now cooling now exists of the BayRes One with a single DDC3.2 attached to it, feeding an EK Supreme-HF block, which will then go to the GPU block, into the rad, and back into the reservoir. As a bonus, the res fills from the top, and this case has a removable top panel. Ease of filling; not sure what I'm going to do when it comes time to bleed, though...
So, yeah. Just wanted to brag a bit. I'll be using 7/16" Masterkleer tubing, and hopefully soon replacing the opaque and retardedly bright blue front and rear grilles with more subdued, translucent panels in cobalt blue to match the top and bottom.