Description

Background After always wanting to build my own PC, I finally found myself in a position to do it and do it right (both financially and my living situation). I wanted a PC that could run (most) games at 4K, handle a VR headset with no problems and do some basic video and photography editing. I decided to spare no expense and went with SLIed 1080s and a hardline custom loop. So without further ado, I’m proud to show off my first ever PC build, which I have christened Lindsay’s Bane.

Specs Lindsay’s Bane has an Intel Core i7-6700K processor overclocked to 4.9 GHz (I will probably upgrade to Kaby Lake later in the year when I do my first flush of the watercooling system, but given the minimal performance boost between Skylake and Kaby I may leave it as is). It is running on an Asus Maximus IX Formula motherboard with 32 GB of G.Skill TridentZ 3733 Mhz of memory. I had originally purchased a Maximus VIII Formula board (prior to the release of the Z270 chipset), but that board ended up being faulty so I sent it back and purchased the IX. Lindsay’s Bane is currently running two SSDs, the OS and other system critical programs are running on a Samsung 960 EVO 500 GB M.2 drive (with an Alphacool passive M.2 cooler), while all other programs and files are stored on a Samsung 850 EVO 1 TB drive.

I found choosing between GPUs to be the hardest part. I wanted something I could watercool and was really stuck between the EVGA Hydrocopper and the MSI Seahawk. Ultimately, a few price incentives and my aesthetic preferences (black with RGB lighting) pushed me to buy two EVGA Geforce GTX 1080s and I haven’t regretted that decision. I haven’t overclocked the GPUs yet, but that will likely be my next project.

Watercooling Loop The watercooling loop was a lot more complicated and expensive than I had initially anticipated. The first problem I ran into was fitting enough radiator space into the build, while still having access to the ports on the radiators. I accomplished this using several angled and rotary fittings to get into those tight to reach spaces.

My next problem was loop path. There’s a lot of competing advice on the internet about optimal loop path. Many folks say that you should hit your CPU first thing out of the pump so that it is receiving the coolest water, while many other folks say that path doesn’t make much of a difference (except having the reservoir before the pump to insure a constant flow to the pump). Ultimately, I decided on the following loop path:

Reservoir→Pump→240mm Radiator→420mm Radiator→MOSFET→CPU→2 GTX 1080s in parallel→120mm Radiator→Reservoir

I’m not sure if this is the ideal path, but it was most convenient and seems to be working well.

Finally, fitting the pump into the case wasn’t as straightforward as I had hoped. The EK-XTOP Revo D5 is a large pump and it takes up a massive footprint. I ended up modding the pump mount to decrease the height of the pump and then installed it under the PSU shroud. In order to fit the pump under the PSU shroud with the tubes coming from it I had to cut a piece off the PSU shroud using a dremel tool.

Filling the loop proved to be a little more difficult than I had initially anticipated as well. Word of advice to future first time watercoolers, don’t fill a reservoir from the top of the reservoir. It’s very advantageous to leave the top of the res open during filling to let out extra air. Needless to say, I made this mistake but quickly changed the way I had run the tubing so it is now filling from the bottom of the reservoir. For those wondering, the loop is filled with Mayhems Pastel Blue.

Lighting I went a little crazy with the LED lighting because I could. The Phanteks Enthoo Luxe includes exterior RGB lighting that can be controlled by the Asus’s AuraSync technology. Lindsay’s Bane also features an RGB lighting strip, an Alphacool RGB ring around the reservoir, six Thermaltake Riing RGB 140mm fans and the internal RGB lighting included with the motherboard, GPUs and EVGA HD SLI bridge. I can literally change the color of every light in this build!

Final Thoughts From initial conception to finished build probably took me about five months. In my defense, I moved from Sydney to New York during that time as well. I took about a month and a half to research current PC tech and get a solid picture of the products I wanted in my build. From there I took about a month to buy all the parts. I started my build at the beginning of December and finally had it running in mid-January. There were also a few RMAs along the way that held up the build. Specifically, the final touches of the build were held back by two faulty fan controllers for the Riing fans. I finally received them at the start of February and the build was completed in that first week of February.

I’m very proud of the final product and hope you all enjoy!

Edit: One additional final thought. I had originally planned to purchase an EATX board and put it inside a massive case like a 900D or CaseLabs. But, after much thought, I settled on a smaller case with similar specs. My reasoning here was that anyone can build a great PC in a massive case, but you get something really special when you constrain your resources somehow. I had to reduce my radiator space in the Luxe vs a larger case, but overall I think the smaller case was the right decision (it's still massive anyways).

Edit #2: So after posting pictures last night and the PC running fine for over two weeks, I started having problems with my overclock. Specifically, I would change the settings in BIOS but the PC wouldn't respond, so I had the CPU ratio set to 49 but CPUID was saying that it was running at 4000Mhz. After fiddling with it for several hours, running Memtest86, I finally got a BSOD for nonpaged area. Turns out that the ASUS AI Suite has been causing some major problems. I had previously disabled AI Suite because it was messing up my fan profiles but hadn't uninstalled it. Once uninstalled the problem was gone. Hope that this info might help some people in the future--don't use AI Suite or even put it on your PC!

Comments

  • 27 months ago
  • 13 points

First PC Build

Goes hardline custom water loop....

  • 27 months ago
  • 4 points

Lots of research ahead of time and a lot of struggles along the way! Would do a few things differently regarding process if I could go back in time, but I'm extremely pleased with the final product.

  • 27 months ago
  • 6 points

jesus christ

  • 27 months ago
  • 4 points

Such a good looking blue build.

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 27 months ago
  • 4 points

When a man does a custom loop for his first build, you know he's committed to PCMR.

Also, I wanted to add that your PC looks great on and off. That coolant is looking fly!

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha...Was fully committed to joining the community for sure.

I'm glad you liked the coolant. I bought blue dye and initially with the plan of dying it the collar of the CableMod cables, but when I saw the coolant I was sold. Considering getting lighter blue cables at some point in the future.

  • 27 months ago
  • 3 points

5GHz club!

Nice build, +1

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

Can get there pretty easily I think. Really seems like I have a great piece of silicone as well. I haven't pushed the voltage past 1.37. Will need to play with it a bit more.

  • 27 months ago
  • 3 points

Nice =D

I need to try a closed loop or something to knock down heat and voltage even lower...

Hmmm....

$_$

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

Sounds like you hit the silicone lottery :)

  • 27 months ago
  • 3 points

Awesome build, love how it seems to be the only thing in your home.

  • 27 months ago
  • 3 points

Haha. It actually was the only thing in my home at the time!

I was in the process of moving across the world so all my possessions were on a ship.

  • 27 months ago
  • 3 points

THIS BUILD DESERVES A FEATURE

  • It has lots of photos
  • It has a great colour theam
  • It Looks BOSS
  • And It will crush games like a paper cup

What more could one ask for?!

Well... Other then this: CLICK

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! A feature would be awesome!

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

I expect you have a room CASTLE dedicated to this build in the future!

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

AWESOME!!!!! Your motherboard costs almost as much as my whole build lol.

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Considered a lot of different options. Originally considered going with an EATX board inside a bigger case, then considered going with something cheaper. Ultimately decided I had the money, so just went for the Formula.

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

That looks amazing, the water cooling and cable managment looks unreal. Must have been a pain to plan out. I have one question though, clearly that is a maximus IX formula mobo, but im the box lineup thats the box for the maximus VIII formula, whats up there?

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

I explained this in my description. I started with the VIII but I ended up purchasing a dead board. In the meantime the Z270s were released so I decided to send the VIII back and go with the IX.

I had already purchased the 6700K during Black Friday so I stuck with the Skylake CPU but will likely upgrade within a year.

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

Very sorry to have skipped over that, i read the overview and saw the pictures before coming here to ask that question.

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

No worries. It wasn't really teased out in the description.

Also, with regards to cable management, that probably took the longest out of everything and it's still messier than I would have preferred. That being said, I think it will pay if in the long run as add and swap out parts.

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

so clean. so blue. mm. yum.

this will be featured +1

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

Not enough pictures

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

Sorry. I'll add more for my next build!

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

ahhahahahahaha

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

powder coat it white for an a-mei-zing build <3

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for the overwatch reference

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

Mmmm Eye Candy! Now This is how you jump into PC's. Very nicely done. Your part list goes on for Days. Pictures 64-82 seem drawn out, I like how your showing piece by piece work but looks like there are double pics. So correct me if I'm wrong, your loop consists (generally) of 3 radiators and 4 cooling blocks being pushed by 1 D5 pump? Is that an issue at all? While 2 of the radiators are GTS's being some of the most restrictive radiators out there?

I am impressed sir, Well Played.

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Fair criticism regarding the pictures. Admittedly a bit of a data dump and I may go back through and clean some of them up.

But great questions regarding the flow and D5's ability to push water through the rads plus 4 components. This was definitely a concern for me when I was choosing parts and I considered going with some less restrictive rads to accommodate the single pump. However, everyone I had talked to and all the information on the net I read suggested that a D5 could handle the load. So far I am not having any problems with flow and the temperature are running great, typically idling below 30 degrees Celsius. Obviously, only time will tell if the D5 can handle it, but I'm pretty confident with how it is running at the moment.

The reason for choosing the GTSs over some less restrictive rads is I really wanted the extra cooling power these things push out. As I stated in my edit at the bottom of my description, I had originally considered building in 900D and really wanted some great cooling power. The GTSs were my compromise.

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

Great to know, I just got myself a D5 and GTS 360 too recently. Regret not getting that 420mm but more of a want. I gotta agree these do cool really well even with really low RPM fans so its super quite! The GTX's are just too thick :/ I'll keep it in mind, D5 = Juggernaut

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Great news! Let us know how it goes. The quality of the GTS rads are great and there was very little residue when I flushed them.

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

I love the blue on this build and what a hell of a Beast with Parts

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Haha. Thanks! I used PCpartpicker to track my spending so the list is probably longer than strictly necessary.

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

awesome rig, you did an amazing job

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

That bend between the CPU block and the Motherboard block...so satisfying.

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

That's my favorite bend too! The bend between the CPU and the GPU on the otherhand...let's just say I wasted a lot of tubing getting that one right and I'm still not 100% happy with it.

Thanks!

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

+1 for a ******* beautiful build

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Appreciate it!

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

This is an beautiful build and deserves a feature 100%, I love the colour accents. +1 :)

How is that 4k monitor. Does it have a nice display and good colours?

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks so much!

The monitor is great for the price. I wanted to purchase something that will act as a second monitor once the next gen 4K 144hz monitors are released this year and this monitor will do perfect. But right now it looks great as my only monitor. It runs games at 70 FPS will minimal screen tearing.

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the info, I just wanted to know because I am going to build a PC soon and I wanted to find a good inexpensive 4k screen and needed to know if this one is good or not :)

  • 27 months ago
  • 2 points

What a fantastic build.

I'm looking at that case as well.

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Great case! Really love the space and cable management. Couldn't recommend more.

Wish it had USB 3.1 options, but we're still a generation away from that.

  • 26 months ago
  • 2 points

This is a beautiful build. I found it because I was looking at the water-reservoir from my recent build and you have the same model. Your build is above mine though, you have dual 1080s and a beautiful HardTube setup. I settled for standard tubing and a single 1080, but my boot SSD is water-cooled as well.

Either way just wanted to say awesome setup. I didn't see if you had a drain-valve though. Mine is at the bottom of the reservoir facing the rear of the case, I was curious where you put yours.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

There's a quick disconnect drain under the front radiator. You can't see it, but it's sitting under the USB extension.

  • 25 months ago
  • 2 points

One ambitious and very tidy build. Inspirational in many ways. Thanks for the heads up on the ASUS AI Suite.

  • 20 months ago
  • 2 points

WOW.. just WOW!!

It looks amazing.

I am going to upgrade my case soon and am wondering what the radiator support for the front is. I want to watercool a year or 2 down the line.

  • 17 months ago
  • 2 points

The PC is beautiful, but what desk is that? Everything looks so good, easy +1!

  • 14 months ago
  • 2 points

I know this is a year old thread but I wanted to thank you. I have been building PCs for a long time but have undertaken my first water cooling project...in an Enthoo luxe case. Although I am doing things differently, I have referred to your build countless times in my decisions for components. Thank you for great pictures and detailed information.. Your rig looks amazing and I hope my first WC attempt comes out half as good.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome! Love your build btw! Looks great!

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you

  • 14 months ago
  • 2 points

Absolutely beautiful build. And the fact that this is your first build just shows how dedicated you were to make this beast look beautiful, and you sure as hell didn't fail.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm here thinking how I could improve my rig, your cable management is absolutely godly imho. I'm far more impressed by that than the loop xD

As someone who made a god-tier PC in a Phanteks Enthoo Luxe TG case (which still lacks a bit in the cooling department), I'm doing heavy research on implementing an EKWB-based PETG double loop for my 16-core 1950X Threadripper 1080 Ti build. Mine has one of the two provided HDD cages installed and all three 5.25" drive bays are occupied. Would I be able to fit a 280mm THICK 60mm deep rad on push/pull config if I take out the HDD cage and go full SSD?

My rig PCPP post (outdated pics, part list up to date): https://pcpartpicker.com/b/vF4qqs

Most recent pic of it: https://i.imgur.com/DPqpMRA.jpg

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the compliments! The cable management definitely took some time.

As far as your question goes, you can fit a deep (60mm) rad in the front in push/pull, but I don't think you'll be able to fit a 280mm rad. You need to go 240mm in the front unfortunatley, or else you'll need to modify the case.

  • 12 months ago
  • 2 points

Aight, here I come EKWB XE 240 rad!

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

Good luck!

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

1+! this looks amazing! wow!

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Glad you like it.

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

You took first build to a whole new level. Great Build. :)

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I really wanted a "project" and not just a PC. I've learned a ton and it was a great experience. I think I have a ton of info I can now share with the community and have a great foundation to build on!

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Always an exploit to build a cooling system of water and you very succeeded +1

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

For the RGB fans, I'll mix up the color scheme a bit tonight and take a few pics. Should have done that originally. I prefer the mono-color scheme, but it will be cool to show people what the lighting is capable of.

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

As promised, different color schemes have been posted.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

I have wanted to do a custom loop but this site has been giving me issues when adding the parts

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

I had the most luck adding parts from Amazon and it also matters which browser you use.

[comment deleted]
  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Not a chance. I opted for more radiator space over conserving the HDD bays. The Luxe TG has a ton of options for SSDs though. As an alternative, the Luxe TG has 3 5.25 bays which could all be adapted to hold HDDs. If you really wanted to run a similar setup (i.e., same amount of rad space plus pump configuration), you could take out the Blu-ray drive and put in some 3.25 HDDs in the 5.25 bays!

[comment deleted]
  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

There are tons of bay converters available (see newegg). You can even use locking bays with keys if you have security concerns. Definitely worth considering given that most people don't need an optical drive anymore.

[comment deleted]
  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

There are endless options available (see the link) which offer open and closed solutions.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Glad you like it!

Right now I'm running a cheap(er) 4K monitor, but as soon as acer or asus release their 4K 144hz monitors we'll really see what this thing is capable of!

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Not really right now. My GF does some editing for work and we're both planning some content channels in the near future. This would obviously provide the launch pad for that. But honestly, this build was mostly for fun.

[comment deleted by staff]
  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!