Description

I wanted to build a new gaming desktop that was small enough to take with me to LAN parties, but without making sacrifices to performance or noise. This build runs dead silent and just a bit above ambient, all while playing games on ultra (or better!) at >100 FPS.

CPU has been delided and Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut (liquid metal) applied. I also used Conductonaut for the CPU and GPU heatsinks. The various parts that needed thermal pads used Thermal Grizzly Minus Pads.

Tubing is PETG, with the exception of some soft tubing to connect the two reservoirs. This was my first time with hard tubing and it was a learning experience. I actually bought twice as much tubing than is listed in the build, but I have listed the amount of tubing I actually used (including pieces I messed up). I had originally planned on water cooling the memory but was unable to do so due to space constraints.

I have the Corsair Fan Controller Commander Pro monitoring the temperature of the water, as well as the air in the following locations: in front of the front res for intake, above the top res for exhaust, and behind the motherboard (to make sure there's not a build up of heat back there).

For RGB I'm primarily using Corsair Link, though the memory must be controlled via the G.Skill app and the motherboard LEDs via Asus Aura.

Planned upgrades:

  • The Phanteks case has RGB leds around around the power button and on the front of the case. These are standalone and can't be controlled by Corsair Link or Asus Aura. I plan on making a custom PCB to replace the one under the power button, so that these leds can be controlled via Corsair Link.
  • Better exhaust venting, a lot of people complain about the top of the case trapping heat. I'm going to take some measurements with the top on and off to determine if there's a major difference. If there is, I'll mill additional vents in the top.
  • More RGB! I'm waiting for a 144 leds per meter strip of RGB leds to arrive and will then work to tie that into the Corsair Link system.
  • Paint job! I'd like to paint the case in the Destiny Vanguard color scheme.

Mistakes I made that may save people time and money if doing a similar build:

  • I forgot to plug in the various cables that go to the motherboard (power, usb, etc), and had to use tweezers/tools to plug them. This was super annoying, I strongly recommend plugging everything in before starting on the water loop.
  • Overheating the PETG tubing. Take it slow, use the low setting if you have a Harbor Freight air gun. Melted PETG looks awful.
  • When installing the GPU waterblock, there are no screws you need to worry about on the topside. Just unscrew everything on the back and IO shield. But before you do any of that, unplug the fans and LEDs. I mostly just wasted time unscrewing and removing pieces that didn't need to be removed.
  • Get a 9mm allen wrench (L-key) for working with the EK fittings. It makes installing and removing them a lot easier.
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Comments

  • 26 months ago
  • 2 points

I like the overall ability to change the entire theme of the build just with the rgb coling of the fans; that is something you don't get to see very much! I also like the RSI mat that you had your graphics card laying on! I hope it's fun and smooth rendering and playing that game with the new rig you have! +1

  • 26 months ago
  • 2 points

Amazing build, don't see many SFF PCs with custom loops

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

After making one, I absolutely understand why. It took a lot of planning and testing to find a configuration that worked. I'm very happy with the result though!

Next year I may try to design my own case, with a similar amount of water cooling. My rough estimate is that I can decrease the volume of the case by half.

  • 26 months ago
  • 2 points

This build is already so well done, the hint of further mods and upgrades is even better. Excited to see where your modding takes you! +1

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I plan on entering it into the case mod contest at QuakeCon, so before then I'm going to cram in as many upgrades/mods as possible.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

oh sweet, when's that? I'm also planning a huge case mod, similar to the famous AzTtec case, but instead with wood and Warhammer themed. The issue has been finding all the right parts at the right price, and finding a woodworker to work with

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

They haven't announced the dates for this year just yet. I think it'll be in July or August.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

oof texas, that's kinda far to transport a PC for me lol, even IF my case mod is done by then.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Just down the road from me, and the new build is a lot smaller than my old obsidian 800d :)

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Curious as to what your idle/load temps are for your CPU are after the delid and in this case?

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

I haven't done any controlled testing just yet, but my random checks show idle temps are about 10C above ambient usually.

Under gaming load, the GPU has been hovering around 36C above. I used Precision X to set the power target to 117% and temp target to 90C, but have not done any overclocking for the CPU yet.

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

How did the Asus Aura Sync and the Corsair Lighting Node Pro play together? I have the z370-e and am debating on the 3 pack of ml120s for the front of my Corsair Crystal 460x. I would like a fairly simple way to control all the lights together, is this doable with those 2?

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm not using Aura Sync at all, I just left the mobo on it's default rainbow setting. I'm looking into some 3rd party software options to control everything from one interface, but for now everything but the memory and mobo are controlled with Corsair Link.

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

Does your res. combo have sag or is that just the image? and do you think the 100mm would fix this? Im thinking about upgrading my: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/jkWD4D

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

It does sag a small bit, I think mainly because the metal sheet it's mounted to is a bit on the thin side.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Fantastic SFF build mate! Question for you - does Corsair Link enable control of the EK D5 RGB as well or is that only done through Asus Aura?

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Corsair Link does not work with it, but I'm working on a PCB to replace the one under the power button (that controls the RGB LED for the power button and front panel) that will tie in with the EK stuff and CL.