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.
- 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.