SO, this machine is three years in the making. The last few pictures are what I started with three years ago, and how it has changed (though that is likely obvious enough). Also, as a note, I do have a NZXT HUE+ LED controller, but the first one I received did not work (cries, cries), so I am waiting for a new one to arrive via RMA. That is why the controller does not appear in any of the pictures (except the one showing all of the boxes), and I will upload new ones with the LEDs attached and on as soon as they arrive!
The upgrades from the original: 16GB of memory --> 32GB r9 290x (x1) --> r9 290x (x2) Cooler Master HAF Stacker 935 --> Corsair Carbide Air 540 Stock PSU Cables --> Custom Sleeved Cables (done myself, though similar ones can be bought from a number of online retailers) Corsair AF120s (x5) --> EK Vardar F2s (x5) + Corsair AF140 LED (white) ASUS OC Tool / Monitor --> N/A and the biggest change of all... Air Cooling --> Liquid Cooling
Reasons for water cooling? 1.) Temperatures, of course! My CPU ran fine (around 60C @ 100% load), but it was very load doing so), and my SINGLE 290x was way too hot, so I knew that adding a second one was out of the question until I had better cooling! 2.) Silence! As said, CPU temps were fine, but the noise was unbearable. Even at idle, it was loud, and DO NOT even get me started on the 290x. 50+ dB under load for a single card? forget about it, I had a jet engine under my desk!
Parts Rationale: the title is fairly self explanatory I think. 1.) i7-4930K: I needed a great performing 6 core back in January of 2013, and this was a far better value than the Extreme Edition. CPUs is this price range have not gotten so much better to warranty an upgrade (and the added cost of a new mobo for LGA-2011-3 and DDR4 memory would have buried me) 2.) 32GB memory: I chose this simply for editing purposes, and just because memory was so cheap at the time of purchase (Also, I know that Windows 7 Home Premium only allows me to use 16GB of memory, but I will upgrading to Windows 10 shortly, as I use Windows 7 simply because that is what I started off with when I built the original computer.) 3.) 290x (x2): I wanted these cards for gaming performance, and great overall compute performance vs the GTX 970 (that, and I already had 1 290x, plus the 3.5GB deal with the 970) 4.) 850 EVO 250GB SSD: fast boot drive, top notch performer for the money. 5.) Seagate Barracuda 2TB HDD: mass storage, acceptable performance for non essential programs. 6.) 1000G2: I needed at least 1000w of power, ad this power supply (from my own and reviewer's testing) can safely draw up to 1200w if needed. 7.) Watercooling Parts: Okay, I know they should not be all lumped into one, but the reasons are the same. They look great and perform as well as they look. Simple as that.
Build Log: I am not really sure what to put here. I suppose this is where I put any troubles I had, as a warning to those trying to build any medium-large liquid cooled rig. The build was pretty straight forward, even with it being my first time building a liquid cooled computer and also my first time handling rigid tubing, but some problems I encountered were:
1.) Bending or heating up the tubing too quickly! By bending it too quickly, I ruined quite a few bends (bending prematurely causes the tubing to start to kink which, while not harming performance, does definitely look bad.). The other bane of my bending existence was letting the tubing get too hot before I bent it, which caused everything from micro cracks to bubbles forming in the tubing, both of which severely damage the integrity of the tubing.
2.)I want to start with a statement: this was 100% my fault that I did not notice this mistake earlier, and it caused me to have to redo a lot of tubing. I did not pay attention to which end of my pump was the out pump and which was in, so I ended up running the tubing for output into in, and vice versa. This (obviously) caused big problems with my loop (aka it would not complete a full loop), and so it had to be done again. Again, that was just first time builder me not paying attention, but even so.. PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR OUTPUTS
So, what were the results? Temps and noise down? Of course, the noise for my system is a very small fraction of what it was now, and temperatures are certainly lower than they were before, but how drastic of a change are we talking? (these numbers were taken with very sensitive dB meters, with a constant ambient noise of 25 dB. values are not deltas, or changes in, noise, but the total noise that includes the 25 dB ambient)
BEFORE BUILDING THE LOOP 1a.) Idle System Noise (in dB): 35.44 dB 1b.) 100% Load System Noise (in dB): 67.28 dB 2a.) Idle Temperatures CPU- 35C GPU 1- 37C 2b.) 100% Load Temperatures CPU- 60C GPU 1- 95C
AFTER BUILDING THE LOOP 3a.) Idle System Noise (in dB): 26.35 <--- The fans do not come on at idle. the only moving parts at this point are the pump and PSU fan 3b.) 100% Load System Noise (in dB): 29.01 dB <-- fans max out around 55%, all 6 fans active. 4a.) Idle Temperatures (high idle temps caused by the fans not turning on until the GPUs reach 50C) CPU- 38C GPU 1- 44C GPU 2- 43C 4b.) 100% Load Temperatures (again, higher than usual temps are caused by the fans never going above 55%. the goal here is SILENCE, not the lowest temperature ever) CPU- 55C GPU 1- 71C GPU 2- 68C
Phun Phact: The name of this project (EXI-MTP) derives from the fact that I finished this build while simultaneously writing my existentialism mid-term paper. Plus, it sounds neat. So, there you have it.
So, overall I would say it turned out well. 3DMark11 scores put the performance above 4k spec (99th percentile), and it is very quiet, even under a 100% load. I think it looks great on top of this, and that this machine, 3 years in the making, is finally complete.
Thanks for checking out my build, if you have any comments please post them below! I am happy to answer any questions!