Jump to content
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
QinX

[Build Log] H2O-Micro (<3 Liter watercooled gaming system)

Recommended Posts

Posted · Original PosterOP

Intro

I’ve be very intrigued by the Alienware Alpha and the ASUS ROG GR8, systems that are marketed as console replacements. However after doing research on them one thing became evident that made me cry.
The graphics card in them aren’t as good as the can be in that size. Don’t get me wrong we should all be happy they are trying to make a Console replacement, but they only slightly improve on graphics with the Alienware Alpha listing “GTX Graphics” or better known as GTX 860M and the ASUS ROG GR8 has a GTX750Ti.

 

 

The Goals

I have 5 goals that I wish to accomplish with this build

1)    Under 3 Liters in volume

2)    4K Gaming

3)    Watercooled CPU and GPU

4)    Clean design

5)    Quiet when gaming

 

The Specs

CPU - Intel Core i7-4790

GPU - Palit GeForce GTX 970 4GB

Motherboard: Asus Q87T

RAM - 2x8GB SODIMM DDR3 1600MHz

Storage - SanDisk X110 128GB (might upgrade it to 256GB)

WiFi - Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 Plus Bluetooth

PSU – HD-PLEX 250W DC-DC board and 350W External power brick

 

The Hurdles

In order to get under 3 Liters AND fit a complete watercooling loop in it I’m doing a lot of custom designing for it, here is the shortlist:

 

CPU Waterblock

Full cover GPU Waterblock

PCIe 4x to 16x Riser PCB

Custom 2x80mm Radiator

Reservoir

Case

 

The Progress

I have already made a lot of progress which you can find right here

 

Case

This design is close to ready, once I have all the internal parts completly laid out I will be ordering the case, I would like to hear your opinions on the aesthetic of this case.

Version 1

medium.png

 

Version 2

medium.jpgmedium.pngmedium.jpg

 

PCIe Riser PCB

I made my initial design as seen and ordered it. Almost finished and ready for testing

 

medium.pngmedium.png

 

Radiator

A supplier of the company I work at made me this custom radiator. You can see a 120mm Fan and a 280mm radiator as a size comparison

medium.pngmedium.pngmedium.png

 

CPU Waterblock

I finished the design form my CPU Waterblock

medium.pngmedium.png

 

GPU Waterblock

No real progress to show yet, I’ve been doing some designing based of web images but until I’ve gotten my own GTX970 I won’t have a final design to show

 

Powersupply

So I’m going with a Thin M-ITX motherboard together with a HD-PLEX 250W DC-DC board and an external 350W Power brick. The way it is going to be setup is like follows:

Thin M-ITX motherboards generate their own voltage onboard, just like any notebook motherboard. I have a DC Jack on the back I/O that supplier 20V and the motherboard turns it in 12V, 5V, 3.3V, you name it.

However, Thin M-ITX motherboard are not designed to run with discrete graphics cards, the motherboard only has a physical PCIe 3.0 4x slot and those are limited to only supply 25W instead of the 75W a PCIe 16x slot can deliver, also there are no PCIe 6pin or 8pin connectors present.

medium.png

 

This is where the HD-Plex 250W DC-DC board comes in. It is meant for small systems to have an external brick but still have the 24pin, CPU 8Pin, GPU 8Pin and some sata connectivity. I’ll only be using the GPU 8Pin and the board 12V rail to supply the GPU with power.

The PCIe raiser disconnects the 12V that normally comes from the PCIe slot itself in order to allow the HD-Plex board to supply all the needed 12V power to the GPU.

 

 I still have a ways to go but I’m making good progress.

Link to post
Share on other sites

:o

this is going to be great! subbed


CPU: Intel Core i5 4460 | GPU: XFX r9 280x DD BLACK OC EDITION | RAM: 8gb Kingston HyperX Fury 1600Mhz | Mobo: Gigabyte h97n-WIFI | PSU: EVGA 600B | Case: Cooler Master Elite 120 | Cooler: Stock intel | SSD: Samsung 840 EVO 120gb | Storage: WD 150 gb

CPU: Intel Core i7 4710MQ | GPU: NVIDIA Geforce GTX 850M | RAM: 8gb Corsair 1600Mhz | Mobo: Metabox WA50SJ Motherboard | Case: Metabox WA50SJ case | Cooler: Stock | SSD: Sandisk 256gb

:wub:  :wub:  :wub: 

Best purchase this year, bcuz forza

Link to post
Share on other sites

please get a K edition CPU and Overclock if you cant get your motherboard probably will most of the motherboeards these days have one button OC

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP

please get a K edition CPU and Overclock if you cant get your motherboard probably will most of the motherboeards these days have one button OC

The motherboard is not meant for overclocking, it doesn't have the VRM capacity for it. besides 4 GHz base and 4,4 GHz Turbo should handle any task you throw at it.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Hate to break it to you man... But that MB won't support a GTX 970. It's PCIe slot only runs at x4 speeds and Nvidia graphics cards need at least x8. It's fine for an amd card (280x possibly) but it wont work for the 970.  -_-

That's only for SLI AFAIK.


\

Link to post
Share on other sites

No. Nvidia literally wont support x4 period. Believe me, I've tried. You can also look online. At least any of the newer cards. I know some of the 200 and 400 series cards worked in x4 though.

Okay I am going to move my GTX 980 into my x4 slot brb


\

Link to post
Share on other sites

Nvidia doesn't support x4, at least with the newer cards. I know some of the 200 and 400 series cards worked in x4 though.

Wow what do you know, it work perfectly fine.


\

Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay I am going to move my GTX 980 into my x4 slot brb

Whoop. Sorry. I'm totally wrong. I looked online and it seems that they do support it... at a pretty serious performance deficit. Idk if the 970 will run triple-a title in 4k at x4 speeds though. @QinX will have to try. I am also worried that the slot will be physical x4 and the gfx card physically won't fit without modding the board (cutting the back of the slot).

Link to post
Share on other sites

Whoop. Sorry. I'm totally wrong. I looked online and it seems that they do support it... at a pretty serious performance deficit. Idk if the 970 will run triple-a title in 4k at x4 speeds though. @QinX will have to try. I am also worried that the slot will be physical x4 and the gfx card physically won't fit without modding the board (cutting the back of the slot).

Gen 3.0 x4 = Gen 2.0 x8 which is perfect for a GTX 970


\

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP

Hate to break it to you man... But that MB won't support a GTX 970. It's PCIe slot only runs at x4 speeds and Nvidia graphics cards need at least x8. It's fine for an amd card (280x possibly) but it wont work for the 970.  -_-

 

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GTX_980_PCI-Express_Scaling/21.html

 

You lose 6% at sub 1080P for PCIe 3.0 4x so not a problem only 1% at 4K res.

I mean you have a 12% loss at 4K when use PCIe 1.1 4x. Like WUT?

 

Also:

Sneakpeek!

full.png

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP

Sexy!! and so Clean!

Also you will need to do some modding to the motherboard :P

Already done that, using a Dremel and a Gas Soldering iron with a Knife tip :P

 

However the final build will have a PCIe 4x to 16x angle riser to fold the GPU over the Motherboard.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Gen 3.0 x4 = Gen 2.0 x8 which is perfect for a GTX 970

 

 

http://www.techpowerup.com/reviews/NVIDIA/GTX_980_PCI-Express_Scaling/21.html

 

You lose 6% at sub 1080P for PCIe 3.0 4x so not a problem only 1% at 4K res.

I mean you have a 12% loss at 4K when use PCIe 1.1 4x. Like WUT?

 

Also:

Sneakpeek!

<snip>

Sounds cool!

Also I found this on the MB website: "*2 Mini-SATA and full-length mini-PCIe share the same slot. When mini-SATA card is inserted, full-length mini-PCIe will not be usable, and vice versa." I don't really know what this means, but it seems like you might want to check it out.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Sounds cool! I looked up the MB and the back of the x4 slot is closed. You will have to cut the back of the slot to fit a card/riser in. Here's a great video that Linus made showcasing how he did it and his failed attempts (he ended up using a Dremel) That preview looks awesome btw. Also, is the "Devils Canyon" cpu compatible with the 87 series motherboard. I thought you needed 97 series? AFAIK

You can update your Bios on 8 series boards. He already cut the PCIe slot :D


\

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP

Sounds cool!

Also I found this on the MB website: "*2 Mini-SATA and full-length mini-PCIe share the same slot. When mini-SATA card is inserted, full-length mini-PCIe will not be usable, and vice versa." I don't really know what this means, but it seems like you might want to check it out.

 As mentioned I already dremeled it. But I will bemaking a riser that is made to fit the slot if it were closed and that has a 16x slot on the riser card itself.

 

Also the Mini-SATA thing means.

The Board has 1 slot that support the Mini-SATA protocol AND the mini-PCIe protocol but because it's only 1 slot you can't have both at the same time. you either put in a mSATA card OR some kind of full-length mini-PCIe card.

 

9 series chipsets just add more features and high speed ports. that's we a 9 series version of this motherboard makes no sense, because it wouldn't use any of the new features.

Link to post
Share on other sites

 As mentioned I already dremeled it. But I will bemaking a riser that is made to fit the slot if it were closed and that has a 16x slot on the riser card itself.

 

Also Mini-SATA thing means.

The Board support has 1 slot that support the Mini-SATA protocol AND the mini-PCIe protocol but because it's only 1 slot you can't have both. you either put in a mSATA card or some kind of full-length mini-PCIe card.

 

9 series chipsets just add more features and high speed ports. that's we a 9 series version of this motherboard makes no sense, because it wouldn't use any of the new features.

Sounds good. I was just worried it would mess with the PCIe slot.  :)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting.

I don't believe it can be pulled off.

Subbing.


n0ah1897, on 05 Mar 2014 - 2:08 PM, said:  "Computers are like girls. It's whats in the inside that matters.  I don't know about you, but I like my girls like I like my cases. Just as beautiful on the inside as the outside."

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP
I've finished up my design for the PCIe Riser. Sent an Inquiry to the manufacturer to see what gold plating the edge fingers is gonna cost me. I hope I did something wrong in their software because when I selected gold plating I suddenly had to pay over €180 per PCB :o

full.png

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP

Small update:

1st I've orded my PCBs, after inquiring with the manufacturer I've gone ahead and orded them with a Nickel/Gold finish. It's a lot cheaper than having a hard gold, but the difference is mainly that hard gold is meany for a lot of insertions, which shouldn't be the case with my build. Now I just pay €3 extra per PCB and don't have to worry about oxidation of copper.

 

2nd I've also gone ahead and orded a new external Powersupply. I've choosen an HP 350W brick that I like the design of. It should have enough power to deal with the GTX970 and everything else

545247-500x500.jpg

 

3rd

I've ordered my custom radiator, it should be build and shipped this week which is amazing!

 

and lastly 4th

I had an ASUS GTX970 mini for my build but over on hardforum they told me the reference GTX970 is just as short and even less tall. So i've asked the webshop that I bought my ASUS GTX970 at if I can swap it which they will.

 

All in a couple things in the works for next month.

Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted · Original PosterOP
Just a small update, I've received my radiator on Monday and I've already put it through its paces to see how it stacks up to my reference radiator a Hardwarelabs GTX M160. As expected for it being smaller the performance is down, but only 20% at the maximum heatload(around 400W) and has the same performance up to about 125W.
 
Just as a size comparison here it is next to a 2x140mm radiator and next to a 120mmx38mm fan. The fans that I'll be using on the radiator are Noiseblocker 80mm slim PWM fans. The height of my case is dictacted by this radiator/fan combination which is 43.6 mm(28.6 mm for radiator and 15mm for the fans)
 
medium.pngmedium.pngmedium.png
 
I've also finished up the final design for my CPU waterblock, it's only 10.5mm high.
 
medium.pngmedium.png
 
The 350W powersupply has also arrived, it's MASSIVE!
 
The PCIe Riser PCB has been shipped to me and should arrive this week.
I'm waiting on the new GTX970 to arrive and the PCIe 16x socket so I can solder it and test the PCB.
 
Lastly I made some adjustments to the case. It has "legs" now and it stand a little higher of off the ground, this will improve airflow for the radiator.
The power button has been moved from the front to the back.
Perhaps the front is too clean now? What do you guys think. Let me know if you want to see the standing case with "legs" I don't think it will look nice but who knows.
 
medium.jpgmedium.png
 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow, that is absolutely stunning. Guessing you're gonna undervolt the CPU to make sure you can get the best temps?


LTT's fastest Valley 970, slowest Valley Basic and Extreme HD scores

 

Desktop || CPU - i5 4690k || Motherboard - ASUS Gryphon Z97 || RAM - 16GB Kingston HyperX 1866MHz || GPU - Gigabyte G1 GTX 970 *Cough* 3.5GB || Case - Fractal Design Define R5 || HDD - Seagate Barracuda 160GB || PSU - Corsair AX760
Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×