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Old 14-10-15, 08:48 PM
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Dablgrew Dablgrew is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: SWEDEN
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The Red Pill Build

Greetings ladies and gentlemen,

Been a silent visitor here for a long time but now looking to change that by sharing my ongoing project to upgrade my gaming battle station going triple screen and assembling my first water cooled rig. Any respectable build should have a name so I to call my new PC "The Red Pill" inspired by one of my all time favorite movies and the selected color scheme.

I have been putting PCs together for myself and family members since my university days (seems like yesterday, but it is not) but never done any modding or water cooling before.

Having had the good fortune being gainfully employed for a few years I thought it was time I treat myself a bit and build a new rig for the next generation of games without focusing on Min-Maxing for cost - performance as I have done on past builds.

So lets see how deep this rabbit hole goes starting with the parts to be assembled.

The Red Pill - Hardware
Fractal Design Define S (Window) case
Intel Skylake i7 6700K processor
Asus ROG Maximus VIII Hero motherboard
16GB Corsair Vengance LPX 2666Mhz (Red) RAM memory
EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ 2.0+ graphics card
Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD drive
EVGA SuperNOVA 850W G2 power supply
CableMod E-Series Red/Black custom cables
Cablemod E-Series cable combs

The Red Pill - Water cooling
EK-Supremacy EVO (CSQ) CPU block
EK-FC Titan X (Copper Plexi) GPU block
EK-FC Titan X Backplate (Black)
EK-RES X3 150 Reservoir
EK-D5 Vario Motor Pump
EK-XTOP Revo D5 - Plexi Pump Top
Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 360mm radiator
Alphacool NexXxoS ST30 280mm radiator
PrimoChill PrimoFlex Advanced LRT BloodShed Red 10/16mm (3/8”-5/8”) tubing
EK-ACF Red 10/16mm fittings
EK-CSQ G1/4 (Black) plugs
EK-AF Angled 45° G1/4 (Black) adapters
EK-AF Angled 90° G1/4 (Black) adapters
EK-AF Extender 8mm M-F G1/4 (Black) adapter
EK-Coolant EVO Clear coolant
Fractal Design Venturi HP-12 PWM 120mm fans
Fractal Design Venturi HP-14 PWM 140mm fans

The Red Pill – Lighting and Visuals
EK- 3mm Twin Ultra Red LEDs (CPU & GPU blocks)
Fractal Design R4 3mm red L power LED harvested from my current rig (modding ?)
EK-G1/4 Plexi Plug for reservoir
XSPC - 5mm Single Red LED
Black PCI covers from my R4 case to replace the white ones on the Define S case to keep the color scheme Red & Black.

The Red Pill – Displays, Audio and Desktop Hardware
EIZO FlexScan EV2450 monitors
DELL MSA 14 Single Monitor Arm Stands
Steel Series 6Gv2 Mechanical Keyboard
Steel Series Sensei Mouse
Cooler Master Storm Skorpion Mouse Bungee
Sennheiser PC 363D Headset
Scandyna Micropod SE Active speakers

Edit 151017: After getting hands on with the parts realizing how big the pump turned out to be I revised the loop plan to this.

Speaking of parts is the ”before” picture of the parts pile, and so far so good more pictures and updates soon.

Having started my build I came across a few issues requiring some adjustments.
  1. The plastic IO port and audio component cover on the motherboard had to be removed to fit the top radiator and fans. No big deal I heat sinks look better without the cover and airflow for them should also be better now.
  2. The pump is much larger than I had guessed so my first loop plan did not work. I have revised it and ordered a few more fittings to do execute on my revised plan shown above.

Having found that the pump was larger than I had expected I thought I would share some dimensions for it here. While researching my build I did not actually find any dimensions listed for the pump combo I am using. Actually it is quite strange that EK would not list it on their webpage or documentation.

Dimensions for EK-D5 Vario and EK-XTOP Revo D5 (Plexi) Pump-Top combo.
  • Top diameter: 78mm
  • Top+Pump Height: 69mm
  • Pump+Holder Width: 89mm

Besides working on the loop routing I installed the 0.3mm thick jet plate in the CPU block to follow EK's recommendation for LGA -1151.

So now I will wait for my extra fittings to come in before pushing on with the project hopefully by next weekend.

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Old 17-10-15, 08:42 PM
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SuB SuB is offline
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Hey Dabl, glad to see you've come and popped this up
Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Pro | i7-8700k | 32GB Corsair Vengeance 3000Mhz DDR4 | nVidia RTX 2080Ti | Creative Audigy Rx | 1Tb Samsung 970 EVO+ M.2 | 1TB Samsung 860 QVO | 2TB Seagate Barracuda | Corsair RM850 | Fractal Define S | Noctua NH-U14S | Roccat Kone Optical - Navy Storm | QPad MK85 Pro w/ Cherry Red MX | DELL U2413 + 2 x U2412M | AKG K702's | AKG K7XX S/N#000016 | Beyerdynamic DT770 Pro 250Ohm | TM Hotas Warthog Stick and Throttle | Saitek Combat Pro Pedals | TrackIR 5 | TrackClip Pro

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Old 17-10-15, 08:54 PM
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Old 21-11-15, 10:02 AM
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Dablgrew Dablgrew is offline
Join Date: Dec 2012
Location: SWEDEN
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The Red Pill Build Completed

So as often happens “things happened” and my build got a bit delayed, and then updating this thread got delayed as well, sigh. But finally I am very happy to share with you all that The Red Pill build has been completed. Here is its build story.

It all began with the Hero VIII mother board with its clean design and hopefully more peformance than this nerd will need.

A close up of the 16GB Corsair Vengance LPX 2666Mhz RAM before it merged into the motherboard.

And so the exciting but somewhat nervous process of actually putting parts into the case begins. Time to find out how my theory crafting will hold up in real life. Motherboard with RAM in place along with the black PCI slot covers from my old Rig.

First real fitting of the two radiators revealed a conflict between the Alphacool NexXxoS ST30 280mm radiator and the plastic port cover on the motherboard. The plastic cover lost and was removed and put away. The bare shiny ports detract a little from the look but I feel the uncovered heat sinks look better as well as now having free airflow around them.
Measured out where to place the reservoir and placed the very handy white sticker guide for the holes to be drilled later.

Close up of the clearance between the bare ports and the top radiator fan, snug but clear without the motherboard cover.

I did flush out my radiator using manual method of adding hot laboratory grade deionized (18.2MΩ) water and shaking it all around repeated three times. The picture show what I collected from the inside the Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 360mm radiator. Really not much, mostly flecks of paint and some dust. Seems like Alphacool has improved their production since I had read several posts about them being considered “dirty” (not in a good way). I got about the same from the other radiator.

The i7 6700K brain of the Red Pill eager to be installed prepped with the handy CPU installer that came with the board. Bent pins are bad, mkay!

CPU in place nice and easy, thank you Asus.

Time to start cooling things down, so here is a picture of the EK-Supremacy EVO (CSQ) CPU block kit

Up close and personal with the block, protective plastic on the emblem on. I went with the CSQ look wanting the frosted surface to diffuse the LED lights going in.

The finish on the block contact surface look alright to me reflecting the tube of Gelid GC-Extreme TIM very well.

CPU block rubber gasket, back plate and standoffs in place, on of my final views of the dark side of the motherboard.

TIM X marks the spot, motherboard and CPU eager to meet the CPU block up close and personal. In hindsight I spent way to much time reading and watching videos debating the “right” way to apply TIM. I pre-heated the TIM tube before to aid application, did not try cold so not sure if it did any good .

Just kidding, CPU block carefully placed and tightened down crosswise. Celebrated this key step completed by removing the protective plastic from the EK logo. I put in the fitting barbs before mounting the block for easy handling.

Not much fun will be had if I do not provide some power so here are pictures of the EVGA SuperNOVA 850W G2 power supply. First with its “clothes” on, funny how a simple fabric bag incites feelings of quality for no good reason really .

Here she...I mean it is undressed and ready to installation (fan will be facing down) so my last look at the fan grill pattern and EVGA emblem (both decent looking).

EVGA provides a “Detection tool” with their SuperNOVA G2 PSUs to enable safe and simple pin bridging allow me to run the pump of the PSU without any power to the motherboard later (no need for any paper clip tricks)

To fit the EK-XTOP Revo D5 Plexi Pump I did some level 1 “modding” to the case put ventilating it which was easier then I expected guided by the guide sticker EK provided shown previously.

Pump in place with is “colorful” (blue and yellow) cabling routed out the back via the fitting slits in the case by removing the connectors briefly. As I mentioned in my first post I was somewhat surprised by the size of the pump which I realized I had never seen any specifications for during my pre-build research.

Hardware going back into the case

I decided against trying to sleeve my own cables this time not trusting my patients to last so I went with some pre-made custom cables from cablemod. Again the fabric bag packaging provided an enhanced completely subjective customer experience.

Content of cablemod goody bag. Plastic bags much less satisfying but provide good protection.

Close up to appreciate the quality sleeving work of the PSU cable.

Probably the most expensive pieces of plastic I have ever bought. If these cable combs do work as advertised the “peace of mind” they will bring to my somewhat obsessive nature will be well worth it.

First “rough” install of cabling installed

Rear view of cabling before any attempts at cable management where made (sensitive viewers advised to skip this picture).

Rear view with all cables and the Samsung 850 EVO 500GB SSD drive installed. Cable management could definitely be improved further but for now this is how I left it (out of sight out of mind .

Onto the part of the build that was an equal mix of excitement and trepidation for me. Time to put some water cooling on my EVGA GTX 980 Ti SC+ 2.0+ graphics card. I had been running it for about a month in my old rig confirming it was in perfect working order before its “surgery”. Here is the last picture of it in original condition. One big reason for me going with EVGA is their official policy to allow me to put on water cooling without automatically voiding the warranty (much appreciated.

Air cooler came off without any issues. It seems EVGA did not skimp out on the TIM on this one.

All cleaned up and ready for phase two. The smell of isopropanol did help my nerves some .

Thermal padding in place, forgot to take a picture with the TIM applied but I used a slightly larger “X marks the spot” application as with the CPU block to hopefully ensure good coverage of the whole GPU.

Here is the EK-FC Titan X (Copper Plexi) GPU block being ready a very close encounter with my graphics card. Since so far 980 Ti blocks have only been made for cards with custom boards I will have to live with the labeling on the block and back plate are incorrect...grrr

Top view

Lovely backside

Graphics card fully assembled with GPU block and backplate. At this point I did put the card back in my old rig and started it up to see if I had messed up the most expensive piece of computer hardware I have bought to date….the laws of probability ruled in my favor and the card was still alive and kicking.

So now I put in all the parts and started connecting up the tubing to make my cooling loop ready for leak testing. I had read many struggling with fitting tubing onto different compression fitting but by dipping the end of the tubing into some boiling hot deionized water I managed without to much bad language being used. I completely forgot to take step by step pictures of the tubing work getting absorbed in trimming my tubing to nice lengths and shapes.

I found that cutting the tube was not as easy as I expected, especially when trying to make short cuts (avoid if possible). Here are the trimmings produced during the tube fitting adventure.

So here is the first somewhat obscured picture of my loop ready for leak testing which I ran for about 14 hours and was very happy to find that I had no leaks (rig has now been running daily for a few weeks and is still dry). Finally I found a good use for the “fancy” napkins that I picked up so long ago I cannot recall why.

So if you have managed to look at all the pictures and perhaps even read most of my ramblings so far, thank you (reading is hard). Here are a few shots of the finished article including some attempts at the kind of hardware close up shots that in part inspired me to go for a water cooling build so many months ago. Here is my pride and joy “The Red Pill”

Here are a few shots of the complete “Battle Station” set up where I spend more time than I will admit in public, navigating the internet and playing games like EVE online, Fall Out 4 and Heroes of the Storm to name a few.

So everything is working smoothly and so far I have had no major issue with hardware or getting used to Windows 10. I have not yet attempted any overclocking but have done some stability and temperature using stock settings and will soon add the results to this thread.
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Old 21-11-15, 11:13 AM
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TPC TPC is offline
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Old 21-11-15, 12:18 PM
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Thelosouvlakia Thelosouvlakia is offline
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It's gorgeous!


Theory is when you have the "know how" but nothing works.
Practice is when everything works but no one knows why.
In our lab, theory and practice are combined: Nothing works and no one knows why
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define s, skylake, water cooling

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