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New PC - upgrade, part 3


EricBall

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What was I thinking?  I just hope the end result justifies the money, time & effort I'm spending.

 

Last week the first order of parts arrived with the radiators and fittings.  As suggested on /r/Watercooling, I bought a cheap (C$20) fountain pump and used it to run distilled water through the radiators and a coffee filter.  The idea is to flush any particles or other manufacturing residue out so it doesn't clog the water blocks and pump.  I don't know where other people are buying their radiators as I only flushed out one bit of grit.

 

Monday the second order of parts arrived with the rest of the parts.  The first thing I did was make a backup of the computer.  Shouldn't be required, but I've learned long ago not to taunt Murphy.  If I didn't make a backup I'd probably regret not taking the time.  So I didn't get started on the actual build until mid-evening.  Shouldn't be too hard right?  Mount everything in the computer, cut tubing to length and set it all up for an overnight leak test....

 

Instead I only got the CPU waterblock and the pump+reservoir mounted.  For the CPU waterblock I first had to remove the stock cooler and clean off the old thermal paste - and the easiest way to accomplish that was to remove the motherboard from the case.  Not a big problem, just some extra steps & time.  But when I tried to mount the pump I kept encountering challenges.  First I needed to remove the front fan in order to attach the mounting bracket.  But when I went to re-attach the fan I discovered the fan frame spider hit the screws for the mounting bracket - no matter where I tried to place the bracket.  Fortunately, the 140mm (instead of 120mm) bracket didn't have the same problem.

 

Tuesday I discovered the 240mm radiator didn't fit into the bottom of the case as it was just barely wider than the space between the flanges.  However it did fit (barely) into the bottom opening of the case - so maybe I could just put in some spacers.  Then I realized the flanges fit perfectly into the curved edges - but then I couldn't put the bottom on.  Turns out the radiator was bumping into a spare hard drive carrier - out that came and I could get the bottom on with the rad attached.  But it's a little tight down there - not much room for any excess power cable management.  And there's no space to put in the drain valve; heck, just getting the tubing to the radiator ports is going to be tricky.

 

But then the real challenge started - tubing.  OMG!  I'm glad I went with soft tubing as there's no way I would have been able to bend hard tubing for all of the connections.  Even with soft tubing it's a lot of fit, trim, re-fit to get the right lengths.  Ans I don't know whether it's just the type of tubing & fittings I've bought, but I feel like I'm going to get blisters from the knurled fittings.  I'm also glad I bought five 90 fittings as I had to use four of them to make S-bends for the bottom radiator ports.  (And while not ideal, I can use those to drain the system as they are easier to undo than the compression fittings.)

 

But after two more nights of work, on Wednesday I was ready to do the leak test.  Which failed in multiple places before the system was even fully filled.  I'm glad I used distilled water rather than coolant as it made quite the mess.  So the next step is to undo and redo all of the compression fittings and make sure all of the plugs are tight.  But that's for another night - after I get some gloves and maybe a miniature pipe wrench.

 

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