Project: Rebirth Key Features: Lian Li case modifications 3-way SLI Water cooling Two (2) loops CPU and GPU water cooling Rebuild and rebirth of an older system Foundation Concepts for Rebuild: Keep costs down to a minimum and utilise resources to maximum Utilise hardware available from hardware stash Be open to the idea of fabricating parts as necessary using grandfather's workshop (metal lathe, wood lathe, band saw, drill press etc) Be flexible and ready to adapt design as the project takes shape Be open to outside input and consider all options and ideas Reason for Rebuild: In March 2010 I moved house and put my PC into storage. The system was then based on an NVIDIA 790i Ultra SLI motherboard, Intel Core 2 Extreme QX9650 and 2x NVIDIA GTX280 in SLI, however the motherboard was starting to flake (typical for an aging 790i chipset motherboard). A month or two before going into storage the second PCI-E 16x slot began to develop an intermittent fault (wouldn't initialise SLI and/or wouldn't show the second GTX280). The PC was taken out of storage in August only to go back into storage again by July 2010. In December 2010 I once again took my PC out of storage and this time rebuilt it using X58 parts I had lying around. At this point in time I was going to do a full system rebuild back into the case, but due to outside time restraints I built the system up as a desk based barebones system. I made this move as I had to get the system up and running but hadn't the time to put some proper work into it. This is how it has looked since and to this date: Click to view full size! Click to view full size! HARDWARE Link to updated hardware. Current System Hardware: CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Motherboard: Intel DX58SO "Smackdown" Memory Kit #1: Corsair Dominator 1866MHz 9-9-9-24 1.65v Triple Channel (3x2GB) GPU #1: XFX GTX280 GPU #2: ASUS GTX280 Sound: X-Fi Elite Pro PSU: Corsair TX-750 Storage: System: Intel X-25M 80GB SSD Storage: Seagate Barracuda 1TB Final System Hardware: CPU: Intel Core i7 920 Motherboard: Asrock X58 Extreme 3 Memory Kit #1: Corsair Dominator 1866MHz 9-9-9-24 1.65v Triple Channel (3x2GB) Memory Kit #2: Corsair Dominator 1600MHz 8-8-8-24 1.65v Triple Channel (3x2GB) GPU #1: XFX GTX280 GPU #2: ASUS GTX280 GPU #3: Galaxy GTX280 Sound: X-Fi Elite Pro PSU: Corsair TX-750 or PCP&C Silencer 750 - yet to decide which I want to use; the Silencer is from the system's QX9650/790i days Storage: System: Corsair Force Series GT 120GB Storage #1: Intel X-25M 80GB SSD* Storage #2: Intel X-25M 80GB SSD* Storage #3: Seagate Barracuda 1TB Storage #4: Western Digital 300GB VelociRaptor * = May or may not put these drives into a RAID 0 - not sure. I would prefer a more powerful processor but unfortunately this is all I had left and after a bit of an OC, it should be alright. The ASRock X58 Extreme 3 was the last one in the country and was EOL when I bought it, but I got it for the USB3.0 and SATA3 features as well as a more OC friendly BIOS. The USB3.0 and SATA3 aren't native features to X58 but I'm not overly concerned about getting every percent of efficiency from these sub-systems. They're just nice to have. The memory is a "because I can" option. The 1600MHz sticks are actually faster than the 1866MHz sticks when OC'ing, so the only issues I see from running 6x DIMMs is if the memory controller wants to play nice or not - we'll see. I scored the third GTX280 from a mate of mine after a GPU swap. We were chatting about hardware we always wanted to have and he mentioned CF HD4870s. For me, this rang a bell as I knew another mate who was looking to offload CF HD4870s for penny and a dollar and so I ended up swapping them for my other mate's GTX280. The PSU choice could go either way. Both of the units feature a single +12v rail (my personal preference) with 60A able to be drawn. I loved the PCP&C Silencer when I was using it, but I've no reason to ditch the Corsair TX-750 either - both are great units. COOLING Link to updated cooling. LOOP-1: CPU Block: EK Supreme HF EN (Already own) Pump: DDC 12v (Already own - taken from LGA775 Swiftech Apogee Drive - needs a top) Pump top: TBC - suggestions most welcome! Radiator: Radiical 240 (Already own) Fill/Drain: Fill Port (Already own) LOOP-2: GPU Blocks: Danger Den Maze 5 (x2), Swiftech MCW60 (Already owned - from my WC parts bin) GPU Bridge: TBC Pump: Laing D5 Variable Speed [Swiftech MCP655] (Already own) Pump top: I don't feel it's necessary, but if one appears at the right price, I'll consider it. Radiator: Black Ice GT Stealth 360 (Already own) Fill/Drain: Fill Port (Need to buy) Fittings TBC - likely a mish-mash, but all will be high flow barbs (my preference; I've never really liked compression fittings) CASE Link to updated case. And the case that all of this hardware is supposed to try and fit into is the… Lian Li PC-7S! http://www.lian-li.com/v2/en/product/product06.php?pr_index=152&cl_index=1&sc_index=38&ss_index=96 Click to view full size! Click to view full size! Yes; I probably am insane but where there's a will, there's a way. I've got a CM Cosmos S and some Thermaltake full-tower that are both in storage (one houses a dual Xeon, the other a dual Opteron build), but neither case appeals to me for my daily desktop and I'd like to reduce the system's footprint as much as possible. And Lian Li case quality is second to none. The Lian Li PC-7S previously housed a QX9650/790i/SLI GTX280 system, however it was air-cooled and only had an SSD and HDD, not the extended storage of the water-cooled rebuild. Potential Case Additions: Lian Li EX-34NB 4x3.5" HDD Extension Case - http://www.pccasegear.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=25_30_395&products_id=11161 Attempt to upgrade front USB2.0 to USB3.0 connections (no straight swap product for this case model unfortunately). Maybe cut a window in the side panel… We'll have to wait and see. At this stage the design direction is function over form. OTHER CONSIDERATIONS Colour Scheme: I'm sure this will evolve as the project progresses. At this stage it's fairly open slather, though there appears to be a few different colour-ways presenting themselves within the hardware selection, e.g. black/blue, black/red, blue/black/white etc. As it is, I'm feeling more fond of a blue/black/white colour-way. Depending on how into the build and obsessive I get, I may consider making up a whole new set of labels/stickers for the hardware, incorporating a single colour scheme. Only Use 2.5" Storage Drives The only 3.5" drive being used is the 1TB 'cuda - all the others are 2.5" form factor. With this in mind, I'm considering moving to a large capacity 5400rpm 2.5" hard drive. "But what about the WD VelociRaptor!?" I hear you exclaim. Well, they never really needed the massive heatsink; it was more of a glorified caddy. Yes, they do run quite warm, but it won't die without the heatsink and the contact points with the heatsink are laughable anyway. Also, the potential cooling setup for only using 2.5" drives should resolve any concerns. If I use only 2.5" drives, I'm considering making my own mounting system to mount all the drives in the space of 2x 5.25" optical drive bays. If this is done, I can also modify the fascia of the 5.25" bays to provide additional cooling/airflow either by creating air holes or mounting fans. My main concern with this move is the $/GB value is poor when comparing 2.5" to 3.5" hard drives. But with space at such a premium in this build, the reduced footprint of the 2.5" form factor could be enough to win. Also, mounting options in general are much more flexible. This is one of those things that will be an on-going consideration throughout the build. Note: If you're still reading, congratulations! You've made it through the introduction. From here I'll be wanting to break down and outline the jobs to be done throughout this build, a purchase list, keep track of expenses and I want the photos to do as much talking as possible!