Building a workstation with water cooling.

Fasttrak

Staff member
Moderator
#1
I had posted this in another thread, that I was moving forward with a pretty big build with a fairly insane parts list. Insane in the fact how rapidly a thousand dollars disappears when you are buying top notch gear and then adding water cooling items to the build.

Due to going with Caselabs S8 as my foundation, I am forced to wait for that to be built and shipped and spending the time waiting ordering gear. Having zero experience with water cooling I am doing a crash course in water cooling through Youtube.com :-P Thankfully, there are a few builds with the Caselabs S8 and I think I can do a cleaner and more compact job then what I have seen so far.

I will start this log with a basic outline of the parts I have currently, some were bought when I decided to move ahead with this build last month. Fedex, UPS and USPS are gonna be busy for the next week or two.

Items from current system moving over to new system.
LG Blueray Player- USED
Asus Rampage IV Extreme X79- USED
Intel 3960X LGA2011- USED
Corsair Dominator DDR3 2400 16 GB

Items that have arrived or are arriving currently-

NextDesk Terra Pro Medium Bamboo Finish
Silver Gloss Frame
Standard 63" Width Desktop
Three Grommets

CaseLabs Mercury S8 Case with Top Window Cover, Front Window Cover, Window Doors, and Solid Bay Covers, Black

ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING GeForce 11GB OC Edition 2 EACH
N82E16817151185 Seasonic Flagship PRIME TITANIUM 1000 SSR-1000TD 1000W 80+ Titanium Full Modular ATX12V & EPS12V 135mm FDB Fan Super Quiet Power Supply 1 EACH
N82E16832588529 Windows 10 Pro - Full Version (32 & 64-bit) / USB Flash Drive

Corsair Air Series SP120 PWM High Performance Edition - Twin Pack 7 EACH (Yup 14 fans :-P)
9SIAC8W4Z05668 EKWB EK-Supremacy EVO CPU Water Block (Gold) 1
9SIAC8W4Z05816 EKWB EK-FC1080 GTX Strix GPU Water Block (Nickel) 2 EACH
9SIAC8W5EA1005 EKWB EK-Supremacy EVO Backplate AM4 LGA-115X 1
9SIAC8W5EA1197 EKWB EK-Supremacy EVO Mounting Plate AMD 1
EK-FC1080 GTX Strix Black Anodized Aluminum Backplate for EK-FC1080 GTX Series Water Blocks EK-FC1080-GTX-STRIX-BP 2 EACH
Alphacool NexXxos XT45 Industry HPC Series 360mm AC-14252 3 EACH
EK-RAM Monarch Module - Nickel (2pcs) EK-RAM-MON-MODULE-NK 2 EACH
EK-D5 PWM G2 Motor (12V DC PWM Pump Motor) EK-D5-PWM-G2 1
Bitspower Premium D5 MOD Top G1/4" (Abrasive Silver / POM Version) BP-PD5MTPP-ASL 1
Bitspower Dual/Single D5 TOP Reservoir Adaptor (Clear Acrylic) BP-DSRAAC-CL 1
Mayhems X1 Coolant - 1 Liter - UV Blue MX1UVB1L 2 EACH
Mayhems XT-1 UV Blue Coolant Concentrate - 250ml MXT1UVB250ML 1
LCD Temperature Display (White) V3 + G1/4" Plug Sensor XSPC-LCD-PLUG-WH-V3 2 EACH
Thermaltake Pacific Fill Bottle A247153 1
Bitspower Flow Sensor - Clear/Black/Black Sparkle BP-FS-CLBKBS 1
Bitspower G1/4" Silver Shining Enhance Multi-Link For Acrylic Tube OD 12MM BP-EML 18 EACH
Bitspower Premium G1/4" Silver Shining Stop Fitting BP-PRE-06 8 EACH
Bitspower BP-MVV-SLSL Mini-Valve - Shining Silver With Silver Shining Handle BP-MVV-SLSL 1
Bitspower Non Chamfer PETG 12mm OD Tube Length 500mm BP-NCPLT12-L500 6 EACH
Phobya 4Pin PWM to 4x 4Pin Fan Splitter PCB PH-1011223 5 EACH
Silverstone CPF03 One-to-One PWM 30cm Extension Connector Cable CPF03 6 EACH
CableMod ModFlex 4-pin Fan Cable Extension 60cm - Black CM-CAB-PFAN-60KK-R 4 EACH
CableMod ModFlex 4-pin Fan Cable Extension 90cm - Black CM-CAB-PFAN-90KK-R 2 EACH
Bitspower Silver Shining Enhance 90-Degree Dual Multi-Link Adapter BP-E90DML 8 EACH
EK-RAM Monarch X4 - Water Block for Corsair Dominator Ram - Nickel EK-RAM-MON-X4-NP 2 EACH
Bitspower Silver Shining Enhance Rotary 90-Degree Multi-Link Adapter BP-E90RML 8
Bitspower Water Tank Z-Multi 200 V2 - Clear Body & POM Version BP-WTZM200PV2-CLBK 1
Bitspower Premium D5 Pump Mounting Bracket - Matte Black BP-D5BT-MBK 1

Holy shit!!

I knew I had ordered some items but until now had not actually looked over the entire list and the couple boxes stuffed with parts seems fairly small for the amount of money I have spent, LOL.

The Caselabs S8 is a seriously kick ass frame to mount and hold all this gear, sadly, it is more of an workstation layout than an enthusiasts showcase style case. I went with the one that had the best airflow, most logical layout for the motherboard with easy access, for this the board will sit like it would in a test bench which is great for supported graphics cards and such but not necessarily the best layout for taking pictures of, I can live with that as there will be little or no RGB, not on the fans, the motherboard predates RGB and I am removing the 1080ti cooler assemblies with built in RGB. Classic simple looks and a kick ass water loop with some UV blue should be good enough.

The fans, 14 of them, are all the High Performance SP120 Corsair and no RGB included. I was going to add in an Aquacomputer but figured more complexity with little added safety or functionality. All of these fans will run off the motherboard headers, 8 headers in all, and I will use software based fan control to tame these 2350 RPM fans. Nine of the fans are for running the three 3X120 radiators and the other five fans are for the front of the case to produce positive pressure and airflow over the motherboard. This setup should produce some stellar cooling performance and the parts selection should have a reasonably fast pc.

I figure we have a couple folks still hanging around these parts that would love to do a custom water cooled build and those folks could learn from my experiences of being inexperienced at water cooling. When I started this the items I thought would kill me were the Next Desk Terra Pro, the Caselabs S8 and the two Asus Strix 1080ti. Going over purchase receipts I realize those little tiny hard line connectors have nearly added up to the cost of a GTX 1080 and I still will need more once I get into the actual build. The Bitspower pump assembly and GPU, RAM and CPU coolers are over the cost of another GTX 1080.

I already had a few folks question why I am not buying into the new X299 or X399 setups that AMD and Intel are releasing currently. It is pretty simple in that I want to fry older hardware with this first build than brand spanking new parts. The other is that I do not see value from either company with these current offerings for my needs. I have a feeling my setup will benchmark up near the best of them outside heavily threaded benches like Ashes Of The Singularity or Cinebench. For most things the 3960X is a pretty good CPU and mine has always been an easy one to OC, on air it runs at 4.2GHZ in a hot environment. On water that soldered CPU should be able to get up near 4.5 GHZ or so.

 

FuZion

The 47 Ronin
#3
I also use an EK Water cooling kit for my computer, it works great! From here on out I can just pick little things to upgrade as I add things (2nd gpu sli)

I like the case as well, I used to run the same type of case, slightly different. I bet you can mod that thing to look really good to, give it a good paint job with a custom FasTTraK Logo or something know what im saying?
 

Fasttrak

Staff member
Moderator
#5
Yeah, not gonna be a modding event per se, no paint, primer or cutting tools besides what is required to cut some 12mm hard line tubes. For that, I am pretty sure my PVC pipe cutter will work quite nifty.

Pretty funny, Jorge! I actually got my nickname one afternoon after having installed one of the first FPS online shooters, Duke Nukem, and it was the first game that actually asked for an online nickname. At that time Nor Cal was being inundated with commercials extolling the virtues of the soon to be, FasTrak Rapid Transit system. A commercial gets played and bingo, a nickname is born.
 

Fasttrak

Staff member
Moderator
#7
Monitoring and Checking in :)

Since this is my current working system that is going to be upgraded, that isn't going to happen until everything is here at my house. I want everything fully assembled up to the point of doing the motherboard transfer and piping. Even at that I am praying I have everything needed to get it done once I get started, would seriously hate to wait a week on parts. Those two 1080's are sure giving me the stink eye every night I get home, keep whispering to me to get my ass in gear :-P

I won't lie, I nearly did a pre-order on the new release, had the Amazon cart stocked with all the goodies, 7900X, Asus Prime Deluxe, G. Skill 4133mhz 32 gig memory kit and the coupe de grace, 2 X Samsung 960 Pro 1tb NVME drives. 96% of the reason I want that setup is to not lose PCIE lanes, I am using the ones I have and those disgustingly fast 960 Pro, 2K meg transfers, sign me the fuck up!!!

I spent the last couple of days getting the system kind of ready, cleaning out old platter drives I have been using for off-line storage going back before SATA was out. At this point I absolutely despise a platter based drive, I will never use one again for anything to the point I replaced my Seagate USB portable backup drive with a Samsung T3 (portable USB 3.1 SSD). I didn't have that much raw data I needed to save or hold on to just transferring the data became so stinking painfully slow. I think I am going to grab a Crucial MX300 2TB as my Steam folder on it's solitary 512GB 840 Pro is full, the other 512 is equally.. full. I needs me 4 X Samsung 2TB 960 Pro's and a motherboard to use them on... Maybe someday.


Hunter, I almost forgot that I had screwed around with over clocking again, just to see how the 3960X has settled in. On air I was able to get the CPU up to a crazy 125mhz bus, my crappy ram at 1666 (it turns out to be crappy 1333mhz and not the 2400mhz I recalled, I cheaped out) and the CPU core clock up to 4.66. These were not stress tested, just seeing how the system could handle some mhz on air prior to popping on the water blocks. The system blue screened about two seconds after grabbing this screenshot, :-P

 
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Hunter

The 47 Ronin
#8
From max air overclock, Water will gain you 0.2ghz to 0.3ghz on the average but it will looks much more cooler and much more quieter.
 

Fasttrak

Staff member
Moderator
#9
From max air overclock, Water will gain you 0.2ghz to 0.3ghz on the average but it will looks much more cooler and much more quieter.
Interesting that I might get this thing to nearly 5GHZ on water, if stable that would make me pretty damned happy.

Doing a ton of reading through forums on NVME and the Rampage IV Extreme and I found a BIOS that offered X99 ACH update for me and I know have bootable PCIE options!!!! w00000t!!!!

So, NVME boot drive is sounding pretty tasty.
 

Fasttrak

Staff member
Moderator
#10
I figured there had to be some means of finding out if that BIOS update really worked so that required ordering a Samsung 960 Pro 1TB in NVME and a daughter card for one of the three open X8 slots. And since I was going to have a nice new boot drive in NVME flavor I needed something bigger to hold C:\user\steam\common and all the other media files so I grabbed a deal on a 2TB Crucial MX300 SSD, nearly half the price of the Samsung 950 Pro and just a bit slower.

If my case shows up this is going to be one crazy 4th of July weekend.


Update with some pre-water benchmarks.



Not too shabby for a six year old system. You have to love those Crystal Mark scores, moving them digits pretty well, NVME better burn some skin with their blistering speeds. These Samsung 940 Pro are no slouches, the Crucial should be a few steps quicker than this Samsung. The 960 should be a whole new level of fun, so glad I didn't upgrade to X299, I am thinking I seriously missed a bullet to the head with this launch.


So far I have run every benchmark on Anandtech's CPU roundup that I could, some of the tests use custom files I can not replicate. I will update this thread later with how my OC 3960X did against the current crop of CPU. So far it seems my CPU falls right between the 6800 and 6900 on most of the less heavily threaded benches.
 
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