In the world of music, a passage marked Pianissimo is to be played “very softly.” But even the quietest music can have the most powerful effect.
This computer captures the essence of Pianissimo quite beautifully. It has a fully custom water cooling loop to chill the 8-core CPU and 2-way SLI GPUs. With a push-pull 280mm radiator, a 420mm radiator, and 10 Corsair magnetic levitation fans, the system stays virtually silent under light load. The dual pump allows the workload of pushing water through all of the tubing to be split in two, eliminating the motor noise. Finally the system has been thoroughly bled to remove air bubbles, ensuring all rattling is eliminated and cooling performance is maximum.
Also the black and white cables remind me of piano keys. Is that a stretch?
My intention is to use Pianissimo for full stack web development, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator/Premiere, and 4K gaming. To make up for the lower stock speeds on the 7820X, I overclocked my CPU to 4.6 GHz with a VCORE of 1.18 V. Didn’t want to push farther than that to keep thermals cooler.
The 1080 Ti was doing just fine with air cooling…until I added another one. The moment the temps rose to 85 degrees during benchmarking, I realized that I’d need to finally add custom water cooling. This was my first stab at it. Having said that, I played it safe and went with soft tubing; I think the end result looks tidy enough that I don’t regret that decision.
I originally thought adding color to the fluid would detract from the black and white look I previously went for. But it actually adds a nice accent, and goes with the blue in the HX1000i logo. My previous build used Noctua industrial fans, but I found them to be too noisy at low speeds in PWM mode; they emit an obnoxious ticking noise. The Corsair ML120/ML140 fans on the other hand have extremely low bearing/motor noise, plus a cool LED effect.
The greatest challenge in this build was modding the 750D case by removing the optical drive bays. I simply didn’t have the right tools. But I managed to remove the 7 rivets with a low power drill and used pliers to tear both sides of the enclosure off the front panel. Unfortunately this left some very jagged edges, but they’re mostly hidden. I’ll probably get around to filing them down one of these days. On the up side, I had plenty of room for a full 420mm rad along the top, and working space for installing the reservoir.
I also dealt with a trickling sound created by the water entering the reservoir. My initial loop had a piece of tubing running from the top of the 280mm rad to the top of the reservoir, which turned out to be a mistake because most of the air gathers in the reservoir. That small gap of air is enough to create noise as the water enters the chamber. I ended up draining the system and rerouting that tube to the bottom of the reservoir, to avoid creating turbulence. Nice and quiet now.
It’s also worth mentioning that the loop leaked a total of six times. My major takeaway is to use the provided fittings or stops when possible; I particularly overlooked thread height, which isn’t always compatible when using different branded fittings. The reservoir had the most leaks, possibly due to the plastic material of the base.
Anyway, 64 GB of RAM is totally overkill. But this is an extreme build; I figured why not fill up the remaining DIMM slots? The second 1080 Ti is actually useful, because the games that can benefit from it get a nice extra boost, and then ones that don’t…well, I can simply disable SLI if need be.
Overall, very happy with my first liquid cooled build. It’s as quiet and powerful as I hoped it’d be, and the process of planning and constructing the loop was a blast. I’ll have to give rigid tubing a try next time I upgrade.
If you have any suggestions, criticisms, questions, or general comments, particularly regarding the water cooling, let me know. I’m still getting comfortable with having a half gallon of water swirling around my computer.