So my son asked for a new computer for Christmas and was expecting to get some mid-tier version of iBuyPower or whatnot, but I decided to give him a Christmas/computer he will always remember. Previous to this build I had only built one other PC about a year prior but I enjoyed it and wanted to challenge my self with hard tubing custom water cooling and case modding. I was in for some long hours of stressful work.
Coming up with a parts list that would stay relevant for a few years to come with minor upgrades here and there. I researched for a couple of weeks prior to Black Friday/Cyber Monday and waited to buy on those days. For the most part, it was a waste of time as it may have saved me $25.00 total, but shortened my timeline to accomplish the build by 2 weeks. You would have thought a month to work on the build would be plenty but working more than full time and December already being a crazy busy time of year, not to mention being new to case painting and custom water cooling I learned a month of maybe an hours worth of work a day is cutting it close.
Spray painting the case and creating stencils out of vinyl printer sheets. Quick tip read the paint cans or suffer my fate of a lot of sanding. Let the paint cure for 3 days to a week before adding a clear coat or better yet skip the clear coat altogether. But since I screwed up the paint job went horribly wrong and I had to drill out rivets and disassemble the case sand out mistakes as best I could and repaint. From 2 feet away almost none mistakes are noticeable and the case looks amazing.
Rip apart perfectly good, new, and expensive computer hardware to put water blocks in place. This is pretty nerve-racking but you learn that computer components are not as fragile as you might expect.
Throw it all in the case, screw it down wire it up. Then unwire and unscrew some of it multiple times to shift things around millimeters because you are focusing on the big parts and forgetting little things case and fan cables that connect to the bottom of the mobo but with radiator and fans in you can't put the connect them.
Planning out water cooling loops and then getting back online to order more fittings because you can now see your pre-visualization of the loop is not how things work in the real world. Bending the tubes, connecting, and air pressure testing. Do your research on tube bending and it is actually not as hard as you might expect. However, it is time-consuming and I went with the rule (well my new rule) measure twice and cut long then put in and see how much more needs to be cut off.
Add decorative touches, software, setup lighting, and over-clocking.
Watch your son jaw hit the floor Christmas morning and then never see him again because he won't get off the computer. Well, at least it isn't on his phone constantly anymore :/