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Old 03-07-12, 03:03 AM
michalius michalius is offline
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[Build Log] Arrival - White Shinobi XL - Full Loop

Project: Arrival

Why Arrival?

Iíve been building computers for a long time. As a kid and young adult, it was more about stuffing silicon in an metal box until it worked to allow me to play games. I would go to big LANs, see the fancy builds and stare in awe, but put them out of reach in my head. ďSurely these computers are more than you can spend on them, and requires deep intimate knowledge of circuits, electrical engineering, and circuityĒ, I would say. ďHaving water cool your parts seems way too complex, no way you could learn to do that.Ē

Over the last few years, I have taken more steps to become a hobbyist. Starting with simple things like high end air coolers and matching the colors of my parts, to doing small itx builds on funky cases, and eventually getting a watercooling kit to try my hand at it.

This progression probably sounds familiar to a lot of you, itís a very natural path to the insanity and marvel that is custom building. Along the way Iíve acquired the tools and knowledge to finally build that rig Iíve always pictured in my head. I truly feel like this build marks my Arrival as a computer hobbyist.

Thanks go out to the countless modders putting precious time into build logs, to people like Martin for his exhaustive testing, people like TTL for making it all approachable, and to the wealth of information that is created by awesome communities. We take it for granted, but Itís seriously amazing how a group of people so diverse can come together and share knowledge of this pursuit of aesthetics and power in the digital age.

Parts List

CPU - Intel 3820



As this computer is focused primarily on gaming, something like the 3930K is just not really necessary. With the overclocking potential of the 3820, itís an easy pick especially when it means getting the X79 platform along with it.

Memory - Corsair Vengeance Low Profile DDR3 1600



Itís white. The low voltage is a neat bonus, plus its Corsair memory. Canít get much more reliable.

Motherboard - Gigabyte G1.Assassin 2 X79



This motherboard is a fantastic piece of kit. As again, this PC is focused on gaming, Gigabyte took the X79 platform and added great features that are appreciated by someone focused on games rather than benching or multimedia. Onboard Killer NIC, Creative XF-I sound, and a healthy OCíing ability gives me all sorts of goodies without having to add additional devices. I could yammer on all day about it, but really it was Sin's review that made me finally pick it.

Oh yeah, and it looks fantastic.

Video Card - EVGA GTX 690



Two 680s on a single PCB? Yes please.

SSD - 2xCrucial M4 128GB



Fast, realiable, and they donít break the bank. Crucial has really hit their stride with SSDís, itís an amazing piece of hardware.

PSU - Corsair AX850



Seasonic quality, Corsair customer support, and single braided cables. This is a no brainer to me.

Case - BitFenix Shinobi XL White



Though some look at the Shinobi XL and think ďplainĒ, it strikes me as elegant. Itís has that certain something that Lian Li has often been able to capture. Though Iím not generally a fan of cases with plastic exteriors, the BitFenix SofTouch finish gives it a feel and look that oozes quality, and adds durability. You usually donít get those together. The ability to house tons of watercooling gear out of the box certainly adds huge points in its favor.

You get all of that for ~$150. Is such a thing even possible? BiFenix is clearly run by Aliens.

Fans - Bitfenix Spectre Pro 120mm



Near silent fans with tons of static pressure, and they look fantastic. Again, no brainer.

Radiator - Alphacool ST30 360mm and Monsta 240mm




Alphacool has some seriously powerful products with their copper series of radiators. The 30mm radiator outperforms thicker radiators like the RX series at low RPMs, which totally throws out the accepted norm of how radiators work. One used to have to make the choice between thin radiators with high FPI (needing higher RPM fans) or thick radiators with low FPI. This is the best of both worlds.

The Monsta essentially performs a size up in terms of cooling capacity. Though overly silly naming conventions for computer parts generally comes off as silly, this thing truly is a Monsta.

CPU Block - XSPC Raystorm



Simply gorgeous with the performance to match.

VGA Block - XSPC Razor 690



This is a bit of an unknown element in my build. I havenít yet read a single review of one and decided to take a gamble. But just look at it.

Reservoir - XSPC Black Nylon Dual Bay



No acrylic threads for me after a couple of recent headaches. Wonderfully compact with a great pump mount that keeps vibrations down. The build quality on this is quite impressive. XSPC has a winner with this one.

Pump - Alphacool VPP655



Lots of power to keep my fluid running, and itís variable. I can barely hear it at full speed even.

Tubing - Primochill Clear 7/16ĒID x 5/8ĒOD



Itís what I started my first loop with, and itís never disappointed. Canít go wrong here. I've heard of some clouding issues, but it's not something I've personally experienced.

Fittings - Bitspower 1/2Ē Barbs and various rotary adapters



The Gold Standard of fittings.

Coolant - Distilled water w/ Mayhemís Pastel Green Concentrate and UV Yellow Dye



So pretty, so very pretty. This is the icing on my cake and what really brings the whole thing together.

TIM - Phobya HeGrease



Skinneeís TIM roundup moved me to start using this. The fact that I can get stellar performance with a less-than-perfect mount is what won me over.

Concept

White, green, quiet, and clean.

White and green has been a favorite color combination of mine for as long as I can remember, and the bits and pieces have finally come together that allows me to carry the theme through the whole build.

Iíve chosen the 690 over SLI 680s as they allow more of the motherboard to come through, reduce clutter by needing fewer cables, and looks slick. Plus, itís a freaking 690. This kind of ethic is what has carried most of my part decisions. By limiting the color palette to shades and a striking green, itíll make the green pop even more while retaining a sleek look.

A taste of things to come:


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  #2  
Old 03-07-12, 03:03 AM
michalius michalius is offline
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Table of Contents

Planning the Mods
  • Cutting the 5.25Ē bay floor to fit the Monsta radiator. With a 25mm fan and an 80mm radiator, Iíll need 125mm of clearance as the end tank will stick through the bottom.
  • Removing the plastic tabs along the front mesh to allow a bit more airflow.
  • Cutting sheet metal for a 5.25Ē bay side cover in white 3M Di-Noc.
  • Adding 3M Di-Noc to the face of the SSDs.
  • Clipping the front panel microphone and audio cables. Who really uses these?
  • Doing something about that black XSPC bay cover. Paint it white or more Di-Noc?
  • The BitFenix logo, to paint it green or go with acrylic to have a lit logo?
  • Getting rid of the clutter and gold on the AX850.
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  #3  
Old 03-07-12, 03:06 AM
michalius michalius is offline
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Case arrived yesterday, some glory shots before I get her naked.









Also, as I was stripping her down, low and behold the audio connectors.



A bit blurry, but literally the only front panel connector that is snap-out removable is the audio cable. Thank you BitFenix. :thumb:

BitFenix has really done an amazing job with this case. I could go looking for things to do, but cutting everywhere on the case to add further radiator support, outrageous logos, or drastically modifying the chassis seems to be counter to everything I love about it. They’ve really captured that certain something that has always drawn me to Lian Li cases with the simple yet refined design that just oozes quality.

The Softouch treatment is something that needs to be felt in person to appreciate. My wife commented that it felt like supple leather. Coming from someone who worked on a cattle ranch and loves tack as much as I love computers, that's quite the compliment.

A pleasant surprise for me was to see that the top mesh is actually white. If you google image search the Shinobi XL White, the pictures show the top mesh as black. I was planning on painting it, but now I don't have to.
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Old 03-07-12, 08:01 AM
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sharps_87 sharps_87 is offline
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Love the way you've set this out, very clear and concise, easy to follow. Looking forward to seeing the finished article as the colour scheme sounds awesome.

Will you be getting hold of the green replacement mesh strips and badge that BitFenix do for the Shinobi XL?

I know your US based so unsure who'd stock them over there but ttl did a vid on them a while back and I have the blue ones in my black shinobi and they look awesome.
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Old 03-07-12, 08:05 AM
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sharps_87 sharps_87 is offline
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Ah here you go found them over there -

Green badge - http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=67168

Green mesh - http://us.ncix.com/products/?sku=71189

That's assuming your not modding your own, sorry if you mentioned that you were and I missed it.
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  #6  
Old 03-07-12, 08:57 AM
FOX91 FOX91 is offline
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I thought the Shinobi XL comes with a smoked side window with those hideous fan spots...guess not I definitely like the clear window more.

About the Bitfenix logo: if you plan on removing all of the black accents on the outside of the case, a painted green logo or an acrylic logo with green LEDs would look pretty cool. But if you decide to keep the grills black, I would leave the logo black as well to bring more attention to the green on the inside.
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Old 03-07-12, 08:18 PM
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G-Dubs G-Dubs is offline
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looks promising, keep the pictures coming
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Old 03-07-12, 08:55 PM
michalius michalius is offline
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The case is totally stripped, let the fun begin!







Daphne says, "Stop fussing about with the lights and camera, I was supposed to go running 30 minutes ago."



TTL mentioned in the original XL review that the front panel restricts the front fans quite a bit. Here's a closeup of the bottom of the front panel which has some giant plastic tabs.



Why these even exist is beyond me. Structural support seems unimportant when you have the entire panel connected to the chassis with plastic rivets. Off they go.
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Old 03-07-12, 09:11 PM
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CPMFW CPMFW is offline
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looking good so far... waiting for progress
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Old 03-07-12, 09:47 PM
michalius michalius is offline
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BitFenix Logo and XSPC Bay Res cover prep.



Going to try out a few different things with the res cover. Fortunately I have a second in case everything goes wrong.

Lines are drawn to make room for the Monsta! Not tired of that name yet, feels good still.

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