This was my first water loop build and it turned out to be challenging and fun with the Shift X case. The system is used for gaming on my LG 65 inch OLED in the living room, so it had to look nice or the wife would not have liked it :)
I went with the current generation CPU and GPU, the 9th gen Intel was not needed and the RTX 2080 TI is just too high priced for the gains.
Fitting the 120mm SE and the 280mm SE radiators was a mission. I moved the PSU cover down 1 inch, which eliminated the thumb screws. This posed an issue with the new screw location, placing one screw directly below the USB panel on the side of the case. Using a 1/4 inch drill bit I made a cutout in the USB cover for the screw to remain flush with the case. Moving the cover down provided enough space to mount the 120mm radiator while still giving me enough space to work with the cables in the power supply. However, now it's not that simple to remove the PSU cover, but then again how often if ever will I be doing that.
The 120mm radiator required a hole to be cut in the case that matches the circumference of the fan for proper airflow. I used a 4 1/2 inch hole saw to make the cut, then smoothed the edged with a dremel tool to avoid cutting myself and painted the area black to match the case. The space between the 280mm and 120mm radiators was tight with the Phanteks GPU cooler in place. Therefore I used the Noctua 140mm fans on the 280mm and the Deepcool GS120 on the 120mm radiator. The GS120 is a 20mm thick fan as opposed to the standard 25mm, giving just enough space for the VGA cables to not interfere with the fan. The fan is an ugly blue, so I had to paint it a flat black to match the rest of the fans in the case. (No balance or noise issues thankfully). The GS120 is pushing out for exhaust and the airflow seems to work well with the three Noctua 140mm fans for intake.
For additional exhaust I used two Cryorig XT140 case fans. One hole existed on the right, but the left side did not. I have no intention of using the drive mounts on the case so I again used the 4 1/2 whole saw to cut out a space to mount the 140mm slim fan. For aesthetics I used a sheet of black acrylic to cover all the holes on both the left and right fans. Mounting the fans on the acrylic left a small amount of space for the graphics ribbon cable to pass safely without running; millimeters, but it fits. The acrylic and placement for the 120mm radiator was inspired by the Nebula build by Mark over at declassified system on YouTube.
The water loop flow travels out the pump/res to the GPU, from the GPU to the 120mm radiator, from the 120mm to the CPU, from the CPU to the 280mm radiator and from the 280mm back to the pump/res. In the photos I started off with a EKWB 100 res/pump combo. After all the parts were installed I opted to purchase a replacement 150 res tube to better fill the space. Therefore, some images will have have a stubby looking res and the others will have the final 150 res.
As I have read from others, the cable management cover in the middle of the case just does not hide enough. I opted to enhance the cover with a cheap piece of aluminum. The aluminum was cut to side with a table saw. I then used my jewelers polish and wheel to refine it down and give it a decent shine. How the money I spent on custom sleeved cables was a waste since you can't see them anyway :)
I have yet to overclock and test the temps, that is next on my list of things to do. As for now, I'm contemplating more lighting to brighten up the reservoir; I should have gone with the RGB res.pump combo.
Let me know your thoughts. And again, thank you Mark for that amazing YouTube video and for many builds on pcpartpicker in helping me defeat this water cooling challenge.