[WORKLOG] COMPLETE - Outboard Cooling - Down(size) You Go!

Discussion in 'Extreme and Water Cooling' started by juzz86, Jun 8, 2019.

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Tubing Style?

Poll closed Jun 18, 2019.
  1. EK ZMT (matte black)

    100.0%
  2. PrimoChill LRT (clear)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. PrimoChill LRT (gloss black)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  4. PrimoChill LRT (gloss white)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  5. PrimoChill LRT (gloss red)

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    After a lot of too-ing and fro-ing, and some long lead times on bits and pieces, I've kicked off the ITX downsize project I've been wanting to undertake for about twelve months.

    The current rig has served very faithfully for a while now but it's big, hard to access and too heavy for me to get in and out easily if I need to. Time to downsize. The goal was to maintain GPU power, CPU power and RAM capacity as current, and maybe update storage to total NVME along the way.

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I'm balancing this with GPU upgrade and NAS replacement projects, so budget was tight and on trickle-feed. Lead times were huge, but I only have some small electrics enclosures not here yet - final parts for cooling loop proper arrived Friday.

    Sourced Components:
    ASUS Strix Z270i Motherboard
    Thermaltake Suppressor F1 ITX Case
    Samsung 950 Pro 512GB SSD
    PrimoChill Advanced LRT Tubing 3/8", 5/8" (black, clear)
    Thermaltake QDC Fittings (two pairs, chrome)
    Lian Li Strimer ARGB MB / GPU Cables
    XSPC Photon 170 Glass Reservoir

    Retained Components:
    Intel i7 7700K CPU
    G.Skill 32GB DDR4 3200 (2 x 16GB)
    Gigabyte 980Ti with EKWB Block
    Samsung 960 EVO 250GB SSD
    Koolance 380i CPU Block
    EVGA SuperNova 1000 P2 PSU (with CableMod kit - black)
    Swiftech D5S (Strong) Pump (and AlphaCool D5 Top)
    HardwareLabs SR1 420mm Radiator
    Monsoon Compression Fittings (chrome)

    The EVGA DG-87 is an excellent case and I've enjoyed it immensely to build in and admire. It has room for eight 140mm fans at full capacity, and has a six-channel controller onboard. I cut off the stock thermoprobe (meant for air temps) and wired in a G1/4" plug to allow the onboard temp display to monitor coolant temperature. The AORUS Z270X Gaming 8 board will also be retired - apart from lacklustre overclocking the board has been excellent and is still probably the sexiest motherboard I've every bought. I'll also do away with the EK ZMT tubing this time - I love it, but I think I've decided on clear tube with chrome fittings for inside the new box. I've had the Monsoons sitting aside for years and always hung onto them - obviously for a reason.

    The NZXT gear is also going the way of the dodo here, and I'm not overly fussed. While the centralised control has been good, the Aer fans are over-rated and CAM's D3D overlay compatibility was very sparse. Otherwise a serviceable arrangement - they were first-to-market with a proper all-in RGB control system, and I was impatient. CAM offers good info and control besides the game overlay - it does phone home a lot, though.

    Tracking down an ITX Z270 board was tricky - well not tricky, but expensive. Thank goodness for timely eBay coupons. Of course the week after I bought it two popped up here, but ah well.

    First job was to gut the F1 and make it ready for an external loop. You just need an in and out port - in the past I've also run 12V to the external gear from the PSU, but as I'm running more electrics than I need outside the box I'd like the loop to run independently of the PC, so I'm powering externally this time. While I was going, I plumbed in a Type C 3.1 port to the rear to make use of the Z270i's onboard header.

    [​IMG]

    Here's a fitting pair. Thermaltake QDC straight into Monsoon compression. The case steel was just the right thickness to plump out the o-rings and make this a very tight fit. I was hoping to avoid bulkheads and did - win. I'd not seen the TT QDCs before finding them in FS - they're very good and restriction seems low on the test loop.

    [​IMG]

    Holes next. I wanted a super-subtle offset for the pair to allow for better finger tightening, so the fittings are slightly vertically unaligned. USB 3.1 port under the lower fitting.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Passthrough ports in. Snug as a bug, USB port needs paint touching up around the edges, but I don't really mind at the back. I did wipe the texta off :p.

    Next was to blow the crap out of the case from drilling and Dremeling, and make a decision on new storage. Lots of parts were ordered in between - board, LEDs, PSUs, switches, RGBs, enclosures - pretty much everything I was missing. I also dummied up the desk loop, but am winging it as I go in reality.

    The desk is a compact corner unit with thin sheet metal undersupport and a veneer top - easy pickings. I'll mount the 420 horizontally on the RHS undersupport and cut/screen a rear exhaust vent. Fans (Phanteks F140SPs) on the front to blow air front to back. Thermoprobe in the exhaust stream for giggles - the temp display I got is a duallie, so I may as well fill the second channel. Fans will be connected to a cheap Temperature Controller PCB. I've used these in the past - configure the DIP switches to give you either a %20-100 or %40-100 duty cycle range and a 35, 40, 50 or 60C ramp temp, connect a thermoprobe (50K Ohm resistance for this one, not the usual 10K Ohm for PC WC stuff), fans and power, and away you go. Works well for very simple single-temp control. In my case the reservoir will house two thermoprobes - one for the fan controller, and the first channel from the dual front-panel display. The front panel display uses 10k OHM thermoprobes - not an issue, a normal G1/4" plug will work here, but I'll have to shoehorn a 50K in there too. I did pick up a 50K plug, but converting it out to BSP will be messy and more of a pain than drilling and sealing a stop plug - so that's where I'm heading.

    Also under the desk will be the pump and reservoir, and a 12V 10A brick to handle the external stuff. The pump is a Strong, so it wants the better part of 3A, and the temp controller and fans will use about 4A total. That leaves me a good 3A for LEDs, displays and lit switches. There's a 30A PSU on standby, but I'm avoiding having a sparky wire it up if possible, and the 30A one needs a direct 240V feed - no thanks.

    Electronics will go in a pair of cheap plastic enclosures - this'll be the DC inlet jack, lit switch for loop on/off, LEDs for feed and reservoir, temp controller PCB, front panel temp display and a separate feed for the pump with its own lit switch.
     
    Last edited: Jun 15, 2019
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  2. OP
    OP
    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    So, next up is the board. I'd forgotten how tiny ITX is - far out. Fitment was easy, but I did decide to update storage as I went - currently the 960 EVO handles Windows, two 850 EVOs in RAID handle games, and a 3TB spinner handles bulk storage. The bulk has since shifted to NAS, so that requirement disappears, and I found a nice deal on a 512GB 950 Pro in FS, which will handle games nicely.

    [​IMG]

    In she goes. Z270i has two M.2s, both of which can handle NVME. Handy. Games to 2, Windows to 1 then!

    With the board in, the rear's fleshed out a bit better:

    [​IMG]

    There's a Type C on the cluster but it's 3.0 only - the header will give true 3.1 for an external SSD I use regularly:

    [​IMG]

    No fans at the back - the case comes stock with a big slow 200mm spinner, and that'll be plenty seeing as most of the heat will be disposed of externally.

    With the board in, I had to split the single RGB header out to make room for a pair of 12V strips - no fancy 5V ARGB here, just give me green, blue or aqua and I'm happy. I used a cheap header cable for this:

    [​IMG]

    Note most 12V RGB headers are good for 2A - that's about 5m of LEDs in my experience. This box will house two 30cm strips. I want everything synced as best as possible, so onboard control will marry with the Z270i's lights too.

    FP audio, case fan, USB 3.0, FP headers in next. Case is pretty open as the 2.5/3.5 sleds aren't required, and I was particularly happy with the FP audio routing off the board:

    [​IMG]

    Won't even see it. Tidy.

    Got a bit more done - rest of the cables connected up and ready to roll:

    [​IMG]

    RAM and primary SSD in. The Z270i has a cool little double-duty heatsink on the front, bottom layer handles the southbridge and you sandwich your SSD above it, then attach a (thermal) padded plate to cool that as well:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
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  3. OP
    OP
    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    Ripped the big rig down today and began the transplant. Christiaan Barnard I am certainly not, but it went pretty smoothly.

    Broke and drained the loop and pulled the GPU first:

    [​IMG]

    Block wasn't as shitty as I'd envisioned - a bit of dust and fluff over the jet plates, very minor algal growth in one corer. Given the age of my LU and the fact the coolant had only been topped off once in two years, consider me happy. Here's the block:

    [​IMG]

    A quick reverse flush under the tap sorted that completely. The water I drained didn't smell organic at all, and was very clear. Top job!

    Flip her over for a quick Isopropanol bath and polish, then good as new. The speckling you see is the dust in combination with the salty air at home - after an extended sit it tarnishes a bit. Toothpaste is the winner there, but the camera makes it look far more evident than it is, so I left it alone:

    [​IMG]

    Time to whack her in then:

    [​IMG]

    This case (and its more pious sister, the Core V1) has a bit of a party trick - it holds a GPU bigger than the case frame itself. Out of all the ITX options, finding one for a 280mm GPU was the tough bit. You can see the power edge of the GPU blows out past the front frame:

    [​IMG]

    But there's ample room there for it before it starts hitting the front cover. Note the 30mm deep front fan here too. That fan gets about 5mm between it and the front panel, so no cause for concern at the lower speeds where I want it.

    Block off the ports on the outboard side then (note the tidy route for the GPU PSU cables to track down to the PSU):

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Add the compressions on the inboard side:

    [​IMG]

    And that's the big girl home and hosed!

    Next up then is the Brains Trust. Ratzz handiwork on the die here, read all about this very CPU in this excellent thread. Kev originally tested on the same board for his results from memory, so I am optimistic about pushing it a bit further than the Gaming 8 would let me.

    [​IMG]

    Mounts in for the Koolance 380i block. This block was the very first component of a custom loop I ever bought, and has been with my primary rig since I started. To say we're attached is an understatement. The mounting system is very old-school and toolie, but it's tough and provides excellent compression over the IHS - I've never unmounted and found lopsided paste coverage, ever:

    [​IMG]

    And on she goes, bit of ShinEtsu X23 between, with fittings. Isn't she pretty? I still think Koolance make a pretty block:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  4. OP
    OP
    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    So, a slight dilemma appears. Here's the desk:

    [​IMG]

    Considering I did my usual amount of homework re measurements before buying anything, I'd overestimated the real-estate for separate pump and reservoir under the desk. Thankfully, I'd been SysPrepping both the Photon and a PrimoChill Compression Combo just in case:

    [​IMG]

    Given the gamut of res ports on the lid of the Compression, I think I'll go that way - it will be easier to find room for, mount, dampen and tap the temp probes into. Shame, as the Photon is a magic bit of gear, but I'll find a home for it in another box.

    So, here's where I need some input. The plan was PrimoChill LRT clear for the innards, and whatever underneath the desk. But then I test-fitted some EK ZMT and enjoy the look of that also - so I'm throwing it open to the floor. What's the tidiest colour option here:

    EK ZMT:

    [​IMG]

    PrimoChill Clear:

    [​IMG]

    PrimoChill Black:

    [​IMG]

    PrimoChill White:

    [​IMG]

    Or (shudder) PrimoChill Red. Don't vote for the red you clowns:

    [​IMG]

    I've set a quick poll up upstairs - let me know what you think!
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2019
  5. OP
    OP
    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    Got her plumbed in today, ZMT the right way to go boys, top job:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Then a bit of leak testing. Thank goodness I bothered to do this today, the QDCs leaked pretty happily from where they were attached to the compressions through the case steel. A second o-ring on both sorted that pretty quickly:

    [​IMG]

    I took the reservoir to work yesterday to devise a plan for allowing the pair of thermoprobes I'm using, access. I attempted drilling ahole through a stop plug on the press, but way too soft - ended up stripping threads, knurling and seat.

    Dug through our fittings selection with help from one of the tradesmen at work, and we found a little plastic bung from a S/S fitting that fit the hole perfectly. A slit and some epoxy later, and I had a nice snug house for the probe leads:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    With the loop all but done, I needed to make a start on the desk. A tradesman I am not, but it will be good practice, and thankfully it will also be mostly out of sight, so a bit more forgiving than at other times!

    I removed the undersupport panel from the desk on the side I'm going to mount the radiator, and traced and sized up the hole I needed for the radiator:

    [​IMG]

    Cut done:

    [​IMG]

    Came up well. A little lower than I'd marked, but I can live with that. Rad in, then:

    [​IMG]

    And here we are, holes drilled for fittings, and in place:

    [​IMG]

    Fans on. I ended up siding with the Cougar Vortex, a solid fan and a bit of bling to boot:

    [​IMG]

    And here's a test run on the (temporarily-rigged) fan controller:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 25, 2019
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  6. OP
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    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    So then, onto the electrics. This is the fiddly bit, but I'm marginally better with a soldering iron and wires than a grinder, so this part should go okay.

    I started with the fan controller, as I was interested in making sure it worked:

    [​IMG]

    Now this is a pure PWM controller, and the Cougar fans are DC-only. These will do while I land on a solid PWM choice, but the control range on DC is so small that they may as well not be controlled.

    So, connected, boxed up and epoxied in place:

    [​IMG]

    I also got the front panel sorted. Dual-channel temp display, LED-lit on/off latching switch, red standby LED to indicate power to the switch:

    [​IMG]

    Here's where the fan/temp controller box lives. This box's feed also feeds 12V to the pump:

    [​IMG]

    From here I tested the radiator and res setup for leaks and ensured correct operation. No leaks, all good. Time to re-mount under the desk:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 10:25 PM
  7. OP
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    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    So, the final bits were the desk passthroughs and fill port. Three holes, a poly tank bulkhead fitting (shortened up a little), matching end plug and two square Stainless Steel shower fittings surrounds rounded out the bits needed. Here's the fill port. I wanted to avoid having to stretch tubing over the 3/4" thread of the poly fitting, so I had a short length of thin tubing which I attached a barb to (at the res end) and then ran up the inside of the fill port. The cap sits over the tube - so you attach a funnel to the internal tube and fill that way. Works well:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Before I did the passthroughs, I fitted up the QDCs on the back of the rig. I'd intended to continue the Monsoon theme here, but if I did that the tubing arched out past the edge of the desk surface - big no-no. So I went with Enzo rotary angles:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    They complement nicely. Bore the holes, mount the plates, run the tubes:

    [​IMG]

    Tidy. Then all I had to do was route the 12V infeed (in the above picture, with the barrel union bottom-center) to the front control panel, route two temp headers that way as well, tidy up the wiring underneath out of sight:

    [​IMG]

    And Robert's your father's brother. Fired up first go (thanks to dutiful testing throughout - very out-of-character).

    And here we are inside:

    [​IMG]

    The clamps disappeared after the epoxy set - no issues. Blue shows coolant temp, red shows radiator exhaust. Red LED remains lit when power is available (I wanted a standby LED for diagnostics). White switch lights on power-up.

    Temps are a smidge under where they were in the DG-87 - no change expected. Less noise, more desk space, pretty much exactly what I was after.

    The 10A power brick I bought to run the thing went kaput after a week. It was cheap and shitty, no great loss. I subbed in a nice 4.2A FSP unit I had spare, and it's driving fine.
     
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2019 at 10:38 PM
  8. mctrix

    mctrix Member

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    what will you house the external loop in?
     
  9. OP
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    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    Yeah probably a bit hard to visualise mate, sorry. The idea is to build the loop into the desk itself, mostly behind the undercarriage out of sight:

    [​IMG]

    So:

    - Radiator and fans on the front pushing through the desk. Res/pump behind, fill port tapped into desk surface.

    - Electrics/PSU underneath/behind, with a small corner-mounted panel for temp display, switches and LEDs.

    - Cooling ports tapped through desk surface into back of PC ('Tt' in picture).

    - A little LED strip under there on a switch for maintenance.

    I want the desk surface back for a 3D printer and laptop (Conan server) :thumbup:
     
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  10. im late

    im late Member

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    Very nice. Did I read somewhere once you had an external superNOVA rad somewhere?
     
  11. OP
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    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    Sure did mate - I had a 1080, but rigged in a 1260 floor stand. Had room for wiring, pump, res all together.

    Old thread's here. Pics are nixed, did away with Imgur. Hold on I'll find a couple.

    Here it is hehe:

    [​IMG]

    Hooked up to this at the time:

    [​IMG]

    I was actually going to use the 1080 here, bought a whole mess of fans for it too, but decided against it as temps on the 420 are fine and it'll be less of a thing to hide :thumbup:
     
  12. OP
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    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    Got another delay on the last few bits and pieces. Shouldn't be long, I'm hoping to clean up and transplant these days off :thumbup:
     
  13. Tazor

    Tazor Member

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    Good man, coming over to ITX where all the smart and talented people are ;)

    Looking forward to watching your build progress man!
     
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  14. OP
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    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    Cheers mate, it's coming together I think - have put Kingdom Come: Deliverance on hold until completed :p, so hopefully transplant tomorrow arvo barring any major interruptions. At least that way I can get the blocks and stuff flushing over the weekend - I haven't touched this one since I put it together so I reckon there'll be a bit of cruft in it.

    I'm looking forward to seeing yours post-paint-job! :thumbup:
     
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  15. Bold Eagle

    Bold Eagle Member

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    subbed...........
     
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  16. OP
    OP
    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    Added a few updates above lads. The only problem with reserving posts - no new notifications!
     
  17. kEv_

    kEv_ Member

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    imma vote for red, because clown:tongue:




    not really, zmt ftw:thumbup:
     
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  18. Ratzz

    Ratzz Member

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    Get yourself a couple of decent 8GB high end ram sticks mate, 16GB doesn't overclock as well. Those boards are among the best memory overclockers around. I was running Trident-Z c17-3733 at c12-4000. Great little boards, great choice for an awesome chip :thumbup:

    I'll be watching this thread with interest :D
     
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  19. OP
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    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    I only ever got 32GB for ARK mate, now that that's over the toughest thing I play is Conan or Kingdom Come, both of which peg me at about 11GB - I don't really need the 32GB anymore. So I'll put the feelers out and see what I can come up with - just gotta find the right bod who's got stonking fast sticks and wants more capacity!

    Cheers cob :thumbup:
     
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  20. OP
    OP
    juzz86

    juzz86 Member

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    As a joke Kev, I went and cut enough red to mock up the loop - and honestly, if I just set the lights to red in there, it'd look alright. Still, the 'radiator' look of ZMT gets me every time. I was going clear to assist the RGB a bit rather than soak it all up like black, but now I dunno. Votes away!
     
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