wanted needed a high-quality computer for looking at memes and cat pictures online.
This build started out as a few upgrades to my previous build, but it slowly turned into a completely new build and kind of got out of control. Because I didn't buy all of the products at once, the entire process took about 2.5 months.
I also changed my mind a few times along the way, which delayed completion of the final build. (I originally bought a fan-cooled RTX 2070, for example, but ended up going with the cheapest RTX 2080ti I could find—so I could, you know, fully experience every frame of any viral cat videos I might watch.)
About a month ago, I finally gave in, bought a new case (a white Corsair 680x), and replaced pretty much all of the remaining components from my prior build—including the motherboard, my monitors, and my chair.
This was my first experience with custom water cooling. My brother helped my plan and bend the loop, and we went through several iterations before it got to a point we liked. Overall, hard-tube water cooling was less challenging than I thought it would be, but more expensive than I planned.
One thing I didn't anticipate was needing to make modifications to the fans so the fittings would, uh, fit. For some reason, the two Primochill radiators I bought have the inlet and outlet ports placed very close to the fans. So I couldn't fit both the fans and the fittings without shaving some excess plastic off the fans—which I did using a rotary tool. When I bought the white fan grills from jmmods.com, I ended up having to shave them down a bit too so I had room for the fittings.
This build was also my first time making extensive modifications to the case. I felt like six fans was enough—three 120mm intake fans in front, two 140mm output fans on top, and one 140mm output fan on the back. But the case was designed to have two additional fans on the bottom.
I decided against adding two seemingly unnecessary fans on the bottom, but that left a big black gap in the bottom of the case. That didn't work well with the mostly-white aesthetic of the rest of the build.
I eventually decided to add a sort of custom lightbox-thingy on the bottom using LED strips, two sheets of acrylic, and a series of right-angle connectors. Cutting the acrylic and fitting it into the case was a total pain, but I got it figured out with some more help from my brother.
To even out the lighting in the rest of the case, I surrounded the case fans with LED strips. All LEDs in the case are RGB, so I can change the color of any element if I ever decide to go with a different theme. For right now though, I'm sticking with white (except for a few custom elements to accent the build with an animated rainbow pattern).
This build was a real learning experience in several respects, and I made quite a few mistakes along the way. I forgot, for example, to re-insert an O-ring into one of the fittings and a leak occurred. In cleaning up that leak, I sprayed contact cleaner on the motherboard, which ended up being slightly corrosive on some of the plastics (oops!). The cost of fixing that error was relatively minor, but was frustrating nonetheless.
The cable management was also a pretty big pain, but the case helped me quite a bit with organization. There were plenty of places to which I could zip-tie cables or fasten loose parts. The SSD and HDD racks in the back of the case were also pretty convenient, although they may have been better-suited for the opposite side for cable-management purposes.
Overall, I’m happy with how it turned out. I’ve learned A LOT and I expect my next build process to be a lot smoother. The memes and cat pictures have never looked better.