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Project Mellifera - PC-O11D XL Casemod

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8d9289fa6d52b17358d7b8547aab134c.png

 

Mellifera is for all intents and purposes a continuation of SANDWASP, a 6900K/2080 custom loop I built back in 2020 in an O11D XL case. There were a lost of "firsts" for me in that build, including first time commissioning custom CNC work, first time 3D modelling components for 3D printing, and first time assembling a full water loop. It was a great to design and build and gave me lots of valuable experience, but after a year of daily use for both work (it runs virtualised laboratory environments I use for malware reverse engineering and cybersecurity research) and play, I would definitely make some different decisions if I were to do it all over again.

  1. Distro Plate. Having my own custom CNC distro plate, modelled on the EKWB one but designed to take a D5 pump, was probably the biggest challenge with the previous build. I spent maaaaany hours fine tuning the design in Fusion and worked with no less than 3 different machine shops to chop, change, tweak and refine the model that ended up in the O11D. However, I failed to consider two things; the EKWB side distro is designed to fit both the O11D and the O11D XL, and I didn't think to increase the size of it to better fill the larger XL case; and some of the screw and port placements are not ideal from a material stress perspective, resulting in cracking and spidering from some of the M4 screw holes, G1/4 ports and O-ring channels. Not enough to cause any leaking, but still unsightly. 
     
  2. HardwareThe 6900K I've been running for a couple of years now has put up a pretty good showing at 4.3GHz and 1.285v but its beginning to show its age in both gaming and heavily multithreaded workloads. It's quite common for me to be running 2-3 VMs consecutively and whilst it's chugged away fairly happily, I would gladly take a performance bump in some of those workloads (and definitely in gaming).

Mellifera is my attempt to address/rectify these, whilst still keeping very much within the same themes, colour schemes and intent as SANDWASP. So like with the earlier project, it'll be an opporunity for me to try my hand at a few things I've either not done in a really long time, or never done before, namely:

  • Hard Lines- I'm going to be moving to the EKWB front distro and running 16mm hardline with satin titanium fittings instead of the ZMT soft tubing. The plan is to also satin finish the EK 16mm acrylic myself using soft sanding pads, as 16mm satin tubing is basically unobtanium.
  • Glass Etching- In keeping with the theme (Mellifera is the biological name for the European Honey Bee), I'm intending on etching a roughly 30cm x 20xm honeycomb motif on the tempered glass side panel
  • Aluminium Work- I'm planning on making a cover for the rear fan/distro mounts in aluminium sheet, ideally with a similar black brushed finish to the case, with cutouts for tubing pass-throughs for the drain port and possibly some kind of pattern or design to LED backlight.
  • Case Panel Refinishing- I'm going to remove the front I/O panel and refinish it in satin aluminium via either sanding or bead blasting.
  • Returning to AMD- The 6900K will be getting swapped out for a 5900X on either a Crossair Dark Hero or Aorus X570S board and cooled with a TechN waterblock.

I'm still doing some of the mock-ups and design work so will share later in the process- like the last build I expect this will be a relatively slow burner as I juggle and 18-month-old, a job that sees me managing a pretty heavily overstretched team, building a garden office and a handful of other hobbies. Other than planning, not much has happened except:

 

Distro plate bought- I'll swap in my existing XSPC D5 pump to avoid having to re-sleeve the EKWB one:

PXL-20210821-112452146-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

Picked up a few packs of tubing to play with satin finishes on:

 

PXL-20210821-112727838-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

First go at a satin finish, overall pretty happy. Still a few deeper scratches and swirls, but I'm out of 1000 grit pads and the 2k grit ones end up flatting the finish so much it just looks cloudy and old instead of satin.

PXL-20210821-153654382-PORTRAIT.jpg

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Not much progress on this. Motherboard had arrived, got a decent deal on both an X570S Aorus Pro and a 5900X. The first has turned up but no sign of the processor yet.

 

PXL-20210830-120008879-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

Should work well with the colour scheme.

 

Most of this week has been spent preparing for the groundwork on our office, which involved digging out the old patio at the bank of the garden.

 

PXL-20210830-161505019.jpg

 

Completely filled a 4 yard skip but only have half a dozen slabs left.

 

PXL-20210830-145757871-PORTRAIT.jpg

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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We now have a processor

 

PXL-20210902-102330217-PORTRAIT-1.jpg

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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Big ol' mess on my old desk, but everything working as it should.

 

PXL-20210904-172106234.jpg

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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Water block arrived from Germany. Thanks for the delay, Brexit...

 

PXL-20210906-115602099-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

Very chonky boii indeed, it's going to be very close to the upper M.2 heat sink but should clear it. 

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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First shipment of fittings coming today. I've fitted the CPU block. Blown away by how well it matches both the board and the intended theme.

 

PXL-20210909-113201041-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

The previously posted picture of it in isolation really doesn't do justice to how huge it is. Very nearly monoblock sized. 

 

PXL-20210909-113228736-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

I've popped off the reversible magnet with the logo on it to try and give it a matte/grainless brushed finish. If it doesn't work I'll just use it the other way round. 

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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Had a little time today to look at a few aspects of this build:

 

Storage

I'm ditching all of my SATA drives and moving to 4TB of NVMe this time around. Still waiting for my 2TB SN850 which will act as my main games drive, but my Sabrent Rocket Plus boot drive turned up and I fitted it to the board. Quality of the packaging is almost annoyingly good- I reckon they'd be a bit cheaper if they didn't come in their own shiny brass case.

 

PXL-20210911-115632809-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

PXL-20210911-115905393-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

Fittings

 

I've been playing around with some of the standard fittings that come with my distro plate to see if I can get a finish that will match well with the EK-Torque Satin Titanium and the answer so far is a firm nope. 

 

PXL-20210911-170815344-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

Left to right- standard EK nickel plated fitting subjected to a 180/240 grit buff using a rotary tool; standard nickel plated EK fitting subjected to a 300 grit buff using a rotary tool; standard EK nickel plated fitting. To be brutally honest I'm pretty appalled at the quality of the nickel plating that the non-fancy fittings have, every single blanking plug in my distro plate has nicks, scratches or gouges in the finish and the plating is so thin that even very light buffing with a 300 grit wheel, not enough to actually matte the finish, is still sufficient to lift the plating around the edges of the fitting.

 

With the exception of losing the definition around the edges, I actually think the raw brass one of these three finished (L) looks by far the best, but it doesn't really match the theme of the build, so the next test will be to see if I can find a good quality automotive paint that will match the frosted/satin Titanium look and which I can etch properly into the plating.

 

Difference doesn't look so start here: 

 

PXL-20210911-171246333-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

But when you place one on t'other it becomes really apparent how much grey/bluer the Ti finish is, and how much yellower nickel is.

 

PXL-20210911-171309890-PORTRAIT.jpg

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Less an update on the PC build, more an update on the garden office.

 

PXL-20210915-113221084.jpg

 

PXL-20210916-174738954.jpg

 

PXL-20210921-145639535.jpg

 

PXL-20210923-162838561.jpg

 

PXL-20210924-190559623.jpg

 

That's basically a week of progress. Still need the doors and windows sorting, the last bits of painting, hidden door adjusting and ethernet.

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Things have been pretty slow the last few weeks- we've had delays with doors and windows, so the office isn't yet finished. They were delivered yesterday so that's at least done now, will be fitted on Monday. Not sorted my desktop yet, because of the colour of the flooring I don't think I can go ash like I had originally planned so most likely going to go for a beech one with a coloured stain so as not to have too much wood tone.

 

I've been trying to find a decent paint match for the EK satin titanium fittings, not managed so far. The closest I've got in tone is the Rustoleum metallic titanium but it's much to metallic.

 

PXL-20211010-083658841-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

PXL-20211010-083722335-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

It'll probably do in a pinch but I'd rather get a better match.

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Main progress in recent weeks is building my custom desk. 2000x720x27mm worktop on a Flexispot E6 sit/stand frame. 

 

PXL-20211023-214933026.jpg

 

Its needed a bit of filling in a couple of placed but I've done a first coat of Danish oil and very happy with how it's looking. 

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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  • 3 weeks later...

Last two weeks have been spent sorting the desk setup and general workspace around lots of work related travel.

I can't say as I've enjoyed cable managing this, but pretty happy with the outcome.

 

PXL-20211110-205828948.jpg

 

Got some furniture and storage to get built and set up, and then onto the actual PC build!

Oh, I also built a kegerator because every office needs draft beer.

 

PXL-20211108-185829464.jpg

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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nice! wait is the desk and pc in the office already?

⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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⠀⠀⠀⣴⠿⠏⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⢳⡀⠀⡏⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⢷
⠀⠀⢠⣟⣋⡀⢀⣀⣀⡀⠀⣀⡀⣧⠀⢸⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⡇
⠀⠀⢸⣯⡭⠁⠸⣛⣟⠆⡴⣻⡲⣿⠀⣸⠀⠀OK⠀ ⡇
⠀⠀⣟⣿⡭⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⢱⠀⠀⣿⠀⢹⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⡇
⠀⠀⠙⢿⣯⠄⠀⠀⠀⢀⡀⠀⠀⡿⠀⠀⡇⠀⠀⠀⠀⡼
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠹⣶⠆⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⡴⠃⠀⠀⠘⠤⣄⣠⠞⠀
⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⢸⣷⡦⢤⡤⢤⣞⣁⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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⣼⣿⠍⠉⣿⡭⠉⠙⢺⣇⣼⡏⠀⠀⠀⣄⢸⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
⣿⣿⣧⣀⣿.........⣀⣰⣏⣘⣆⣀⠀⠀

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5 hours ago, adarw said:

nice! wait is the desk and pc in the office already?

The system there is my old water cooled 6900K build on soft tubes, I've not yet started properly putting together the system this thread is documenting as I needed to get moved into the new office first.

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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Started CAD work this evening, currently mocking up a frosted acrylic piece with a honeycomb/hexagon pattern in it to go at the rear of the case (where the side distro/radiator mount is). Very early days, the plan is to have about the middle third filled with hexagons CNC'd at alternating 1mm and 2mm depths into the frosted acrylic with 2mm aluminium front and back covers.

 

Untitled.png

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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Aaaand done 

 

Untitled-1.jpg

 

Untitled.png

 

Very happy indeed with how that's come out.

 

10mm frosted acrylic with 2mm aluminium front and back.

30mm hexagons milled at alternating 5mm, 3mm and 1.5mm depths, 0.3mm inner chamfers and 2.5mm outer walls.

Channels for 100mm LED strips.

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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CNC work on the side honeycomb feature piece is commissioned.

Laser cutting for the top and bottom aluminium has also been commissioned.

 

Close-up of the pattern as I'm still extremely happy with how it came out...

Untitled.png

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Little bit Fisher Price My First Laser Cutter, surface finish leaves a lot to be desired.

 

PXL-20211130-132343820-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

Probably won't use this provider again.

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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CNC frosted acrylic light box turned up.

 

PXL-20211202-154914919-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

PXL-20211202-155025508-PORTRAIT.jpg

 

Happy with that. Need to pick up a couple of 10cm EKWB lighting strips they use for their block which will fit the two channels nicely. 

Trying to find a provider to bead blast the alu pieces currently.

[ P R O J E C T _ M E L L I F E R A ]

[ 5900X | X570S Aorus Pro | 32GB GSkill Trident Z 3600MHz CL16 | EVGA RTX2080 XC ]
[ EK-Quantum Reflection | O11D-XL | HardwareLabs GTS and GTX 360mm | XSPC D5 SATA ]

[ HeatKiller and TechN Blocks | Corsair AX750 | ROG Swift PG279Q | Q-Acoustics 2010i | Sabaj A4 ]

 

P R O J E C T | S A N D W A S P

6900K | RTX2080 | 32GB DDR4-3000 | Custom Loop 

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