Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 30
  1. #1
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    18

    [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    Intro
    Iíve be very intrigued by the Alienware Alpha and the ASUS ROG GR8, systems that are marketed as console replacements. However after doing research on them one thing became evident that made me cry.
    The graphics card in them arenít as good as the can be in that size. Donít get me wrong we should all be happy they are trying to make a Console replacement, but they only slightly improve on graphics with the Alienware Alpha listing ďGTX GraphicsĒ or better known as GTX 860M and the ASUS ROG GR8 has a GTX750Ti.


    The Goals
    I have 5 goals that I wish to accomplish with this build
    1) Under 3 Liters in volume
    2) 4K Gaming
    3) Watercooled CPU and GPU
    4) Clean design
    5) Quiet when gaming

    The Specs
    CPU - Intel Core i7-4790
    GPU - Palit GeForce GTX 970 4GB
    Motherboard - Asus Q87T
    RAM - 2x8GB SODIMM DDR3 1600MHz
    Storage - SanDisk X110 128GB (might upgrade it to 256GB)
    WiFi - Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 Plus Bluetooth
    PSU - HD-PLEX 250W DC-DC board and 350W External power brick

    The Hurdles
    In order to get under 3 Liters AND fit a complete watercooling loop in it Iím doing a lot of custom designing for it, here is the shortlist:

    CPU Waterblock
    Full cover GPU Waterblock
    PCIe 4x to 16x Riser PCB
    Custom 2x80mm Radiator
    Reservoir
    Case

    The Progress
    I have already made a lot of progress which you can find right here

    Case
    This design is close to ready, once I have all the internal parts completly laid out I will be ordering the case, I would like to hear your opinions on the aesthetic of this case.
    Version 1


    Version 2


    PCIe Riser PCB
    I made my initial design as seen and ordered it. Almost finished and ready for testing



    Radiator
    A supplier of the company I work at made me this custom radiator. You can see a 120mm Fan and a 280mm radiator as a size comparison


    CPU Waterblock
    I finished the design form my CPU Waterblock


    GPU Waterblock
    No real progress to show yet, Iíve been doing some designing based of web images but until Iíve gotten my own GTX970 I wonít have a final design to show

    Power Supply
    So Iím going with a Thin M-ITX motherboard together with a HD-PLEX 250W DC-DC board and an external 350W Power brick. The way it is going to be setup is like follows:
    Thin M-ITX motherboards generate their own voltage onboard, just like any notebook motherboard. I have a DC Jack on the back I/O that supplier 20V and the motherboard turns it in 12V, 5V, 3.3V, you name it.
    However, Thin M-ITX motherboard are not designed to run with discrete graphics cards, the motherboard only has a physical PCIe 3.0 4x slot and those are limited to only supply 25W instead of the 75W a PCIe 16x slot can deliver, also there are no PCIe 6pin or 8pin connectors present.


    This is where the HD-Plex 250W DC-DC board comes in. It is meant for small systems to have an external brick but still have the 24pin, CPU 8Pin, GPU 8Pin and some sata connectivity. Iíll only be using the GPU 8Pin and the board 12V rail to supply the GPU with power.
    The PCIe raiser disconnects the 12V that normally comes from the PCIe slot itself in order to allow the HD-Plex board to supply all the needed 12V power to the GPU.

    I still have a ways to go but Iím making good progress.

  2. #2
    Joined
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    11,091

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    Sorry for the delay approving your post (required due to links for anyone under 5 posts), but thanks for posting your project. Very interesting.


    Trust me, I do science
    My Hardware, Past and Present

  3. #3
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    18

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    Quote Originally Posted by Activate: AMD View Post
    Sorry for the delay approving your post (required due to links for anyone under 5 posts), but thanks for posting your project. Very interesting.
    It's all good

    Here's a mockup of my design, I won't be showing the waterloop for now, I will be showing this off later on when I have the physical blocks in hand, gotta keep people guessing somewhat

  4. #4
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    18

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    Hey guys,

    Just a quick question I am curious about. What kind of finish would you like to see on the case?
    A. Normal Black Anodized Aluminum
    B. Brushed Black Anodized Aluminum
    C. Black Powder Coating

  5. #5
    Joined
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    11,091

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    looks excellent so far. I personally like the brushed anodized look, but powder coating is cool too if you'd like a more matte look, so those would be my votes (in order). Very very cool project, looking forward to seeing more progress


    Trust me, I do science
    My Hardware, Past and Present

  6. #6
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    18

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    Just a small update as it has been rather quiet now.

    I’ve ordered the waterblocks and reservoir from my supplier, they should be getting milled come Monday, so with a bit of luck I’ll have them in my hands before the end of next week.

    I’m also close to ordering the case itself from another supplier. Because of pricing I will be getting 2 Horizontal cases and 2 Vertical cases.
    1 Horizontal and 1 Vertical case will be sand-blasted and then anodized either black of “space grey”
    The other 2 will be powder coated black, matte and with a structured finish.

    The only thing I need to order now are the O-rings for the blocks and the interconnects.

  7. #7
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    18

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    I kinda made a mistake

    The fitting that goes on the reservoir is not going to fit.

    Now I have to hope I can find someone to lathe a lot of material of the fitting and hope the fitting doesn't mind being Łber skinny


  8. #8
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    7

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    How is the PCIe riser card going to work going from x4 to x16? Does the slot have the required bandwidth to expand up to x16?

  9. #9
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    18

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    No, it's just a physical x16 slot so the card fits without any modifications. it just a x4 to x4 riser.

  10. #10
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    7

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    That's such a cute rad, I sort of want to buy one just so I can put it up on my wall.

  11. #11
    Joined
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    11,091

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    Quote Originally Posted by StanSmith View Post
    How is the PCIe riser card going to work going from x4 to x16? Does the slot have the required bandwidth to expand up to x16?
    Pretty much any pci-e card will work in any slot they can physically fit in. You can even physically modify x1 slots to remove the back of the slot so that any card >x1 pcie will just hang out the back beyond the existing length of the slot and it will still work (provided you don't damage the connections) The cards automatically negotiate the link speed based on the available lanes. Of course, there is the potential for some bottleneck, but 4x PCIE 3.0 is probably not too bad actually.


    Trust me, I do science
    My Hardware, Past and Present

  12. #12
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    18

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    Here's a nice update:

    The blocks have been made and are on their way now!

    The copper is fairly scratched judging from the pictures, but nothing a bit of spit and polish won't fix
    They should arrive early this week and I will be taking some better pictures of them so stay tuned!





    Really looking forward to trying them out!

  13. #13
    Joined
    Mar 2003
    Location
    Central NJ
    Posts
    11,091

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    those blocks look legit. How did you get them fabricated?


    Trust me, I do science
    My Hardware, Past and Present

  14. #14
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    18

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    I have a supplier that did the milling for me. I have the blocks in hand at the moment, but unfortunately I have to say that the quality is a bit meh. Performance shouldn't be affected but there are small visual defects all of the parts. I'm kinda sad now .

  15. #15
    Joined
    Feb 2015
    Posts
    18

    Re: [Build Log] H2O-Micro (sub 3 Liter Custom Watercooled Gaming Rig)

    I've made some good progess and had some setbacks

    First the progress:
    I've received and assembled waterblocks, I had a small problem with the GPU waterblock but you can read that a little later in this post.
    I also assembled and tested the complete system, for 2 days....

    Here is an overview photo of the assembled system, all that is missing is the case and the HD-Plex board.

    Click the image for a larger version

    It seems the GPU has given up on me. I was in the middle of stress testing the system when all of a sudden the screen went black.
    Systems seems to be running okay with the video output on the IGP, but no video output from the GTX970. Windows/BIOS also doesn't see the GPU.

    I'm going to have to disassemble the system and remount the air cooler to test in on a secondary system. If it's dead I will have to RMA it.

    Also a slight problem with the GPU block itself.
    The micro-channel design I made has not been implemented correctly. This is leading to higher then expected temperatures on the GPU Core and imbalanced flow between GPU and VRM.
    My supplier is going to look into it, where they made the translation error and send me a new block free of charge, that's some good service
    To give an indication of what has happened, here are some Computational Simulations I've run.
    The differences do seem very small but it is enough to make the GPU throttle the Boost clock because it is getting to warm.

    CAD Drawing

    Click the image for a larger version

    CFD Difference in Flow, This shows a highlight of all the parts where the Velocity of the Water is 1 meter/s you can see that the velocity in the original design is smaller around the VRM

    Click the image for a larger version

    CFD Copper Temperatures: Here you can see the difference in Temperature of the Copper where it touches the RAM/VRM and GPU the Original Design has slightly darker colours, which means it is cooler. Especially the GPU Core is visibly cooler

    Click the image for a larger version

    CFD Core Temperature: Here I samples the average temperature of the GPU core. You can see the average has gone up by about 2C. Again the colour shows that the temperatures are higher.

    Click the image for a larger version

    I'm expecting the case to be done this week.
    Last edited by QinX; 03-09-2015 at 08:57 AM.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •