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Axolotl: Liquid cooled gaming computer
by xolot1
Permalink:   (71 comments)
Description

For more pictures and some extra thoughts on the water cooling components go to: http://imgur.com/a/Z0qR3

This build was created for gaming. The name Axolotl (pronounced "a-show-low-ht") comes from the Aztec language "Nahuatl" (pronounced "na-what"); Axolotl means Water Monster and I encourage you to do an online image search of the word "axolotl".

This build is my first build ever (thx pcpartpicker.com!) and it was put together throughout the year 2013. I first had a hyper 212 Evo and a Saphire 7970 (that I had purchased when it went on sale). I returned the 7970 because of a coil whine and after patiently waiting for the release of the r9 290 I finally was able to get my hands on one (before the crazy prize jump).

I modded the Corsair 500r Case. I painted the PCI Slot covers white, and I removed the honeycomb side window and replaced it with plexi glass). I was surprised and happy that this case was able to accommodate all of the water cooling components I used, and it has great cable management. I recommend this case to any first time builder as you have the flexibility in removing the hard drive cages and the aforementioned.

CPU: The chip has a 4.4 ghz 24/7 OC and is stable.

Temperature Results: Using the Noctua Fan's Low-Noise Adapters (1200 RPM), and with an ambient temperature of 27 degrees Celsius, the temperatures after 1 hour of being idle was 30 degrees Celsius for the CPU (@ 4.4ghz) and 31 degrees Celsius for the r9 290. Under load (Prime 95 for 1 hour), the CPU temperature was 54 degrees Celsius. The GPU under load (using MSI GPU Burner/Kombustor) would average between 55 and 57 degrees Celsius but never went over 57 degrees Celsius. While playing high-res games (maxed out), the CPU and GPU stay at around 54-55 degrees Celsius.

Part List
Details
Date BuiltJan. 1, 2014
Intel Core i5-3570K 3.4GHz Quad-Core Processor
CPU Clock Rate4.4GHz
CPU Temperature While Idle30.0° C
CPU Temperature Under Load54.0° C
Gigabyte Radeon R9 290 4GB Video Card
GPU Core Clock Rate1.0GHz
GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate5.35Ghz
GPU Temperature While Idle31.0° C
GPU Temperature Under Load56.0° C
Comments
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Sorted by:
 
 
SpicyPickle [1 Build] 14 points 10 months ago

+1 for R2-D2! :)

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 8 points 10 months ago

I'll swap him for Darth vader when the LEDs go red.

 
 
SpicyPickle [1 Build] 2 points 10 months ago

Haha, nice!

 
 
ImElkay [1 Build] 7 points 10 months ago

I see milk cooling keeps things relatively cool. +1

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 7 months ago

Haha, I'm considering uv-reactive liquid as a replacement in the near future, for some glowing goodness...

 
 
TheRealCheekyGit 3 points 10 months ago

Really mean and clean build. Love the name also. +1

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Thanks! I was shooting for that :)

 
 
skemble [18 Builds] 2 points 10 months ago

It's so shiny... and powerful... and clean...

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Thank you!

 
 
eggplant1337 [1 Build] 2 points 10 months ago

Fantastic build, and a great price! Love the loop, especially the pump!

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Thanks, I've come to realize that the pump is overkill for the small loop i have. I don't know how to lower the rpm of it though. :(

 
 
peanutbutter 2 points 10 months ago

I love it, it looks clean and sterile. Perfect.

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Thanks, I posted new pics -with update- for your viewing pleasure :D

 
 
vlad007 [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Great work

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Thanks!

 
 
Akut [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

it's unfortunate that I can only give +1. I'd give +100! Absolutely beautiful!

The only way to remedy crappy thermals... Add water :D

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Yep got that right! The 290 is what determines the overall temps of the water right now. But the rad and pump are up for the challenge!

 
 
Akut [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

OC that thing. Your loop can take it. Easily.

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

U know of any good guides on OC'ing?

 
 
RustyBaker [5 Builds] 1 point 10 months ago

Well done! +1

 
 
BigBAWZ [3 Builds] 1 point 10 months ago

Damn...I want to do a custom loop so bad! Why does it have to be so damn expensive!?

 
 
Mirrorworld [3 Builds] 1 point 10 months ago

I think he got it a while ago, probably before the 4th gen came out.

 
 
Akut [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Yep. he did mention something about brackets not lining up, and had to get the one specific for his chipset.

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Duelix 1 point 10 months ago

The only place for a 290 to be is underwater. Nice build! +1

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

I agree! It's a shame amd made such a high end card with such low quality cooling

 
 
Hakumisoso [2 Builds] 1 point 10 months ago

You can turn that external 500gb into internal in case you want to. Inside is a usb to sata converter and a regular hard drive.

I did this to one of mine.

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Really? I've never heard about this. Thx for the tip!

 
 
cooperred [2 Builds] 1 point 10 months ago

Nice build! Do you only have 1 rad cooling down your CPU and GPU?

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Yes, one 240mm black ice gts radiator that is complimented by two noctua fans. before i finished this build I wondered whether it would be enough, but it is doing great and i have no need to add another...at least not yet

 
 
cooperred [2 Builds] 1 point 10 months ago

That's pretty impressive, especially with that heater 290

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 3 points 10 months ago

I was impressed myself after running the stress tests...I felt like theodan, the king of Rohan at the beginning of the battle at helms deep, "is this it [Sarumon]? Is this all you have come with...?" Lotr reference..

 
 
hotmoosettu [2 Builds] 2 points 10 months ago

Hopefully a miniature orc doesn't come running at your radiator with a bomb next! Awesome build though! +1

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

No. orcs. allowed. Lol thx!

 
 
ReDnAx1991 [6 Builds] 1 point 10 months ago

Love it +1!

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Thanks!

 
 
Heisen6erG 1 point 10 months ago

Like for Monroe ;)

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

: D

 
 
PacificNic [2 Builds] 1 point 10 months ago

Wish you had another radiator, things would be icy cold. Still an awesome build/loop though! Congrats!

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Yeah I'm sure another rad would drop the temperatures some more, the thing is, I'm satisfied with the way it all looks and performs so I won't be adding another one in the mean time...unless I get a raise at work! Haha!

 
 
canders [7 Builds] 1 point 10 months ago

Nice build. Loved the extra pictures too.

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Thanks for browsing through them! I wanted to give ppl a chance to get a little bit of the experience that i had while going through the build process.

 
 
tpk2893 [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

beautiful build!

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Thanks!

 
 
18hockey [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

dat loop tho

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

you like?

 
 
18hockey [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

haha yeah, I was making a reference to this.

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Haha! I'll be "friend 1" and say, "that's true"

 
 
timmyd [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

wow! that does look good with the plexiglass widow. I was thinking of getting an extra side panel from Corsair and doing the same thing, the panel is only $20. Your rig is pretty awesome!

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Really? I've searched on amazon for side panels but failed to find one so I just modded the window. where will you get yours from? (I don't think you're allowed to put hyperlinks on here but you can say the provider). Also, thanks for the compliment!

 
 
T0Gbrowntown 1 point 10 months ago

Big ups for Monroe and what are u using in the loop? It looks like milk

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Mayhems coolant - pastel ice white. The bottle is sold with 250mL and it makes 1L of coolant when you add deionized water. I only used half a Liter to fill this loop, the other half I have stored in a dark cold place in the house to confuse for milk...

 
 
FlightlessFalcon 1 point 10 months ago

What pump did you use? Also this build looks great!

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 10 months ago

Hey, thanks. I used a the Swiftech MCP35x (DDC pump). If you click on the imgur link it will show you how two items came together : )

 
 
cooperred [2 Builds] 1 point 8 months ago

I liked the older version where the wheel was on the floor. Could you put more pictures up of like the whole system, with the panel removed? So far, everything's been like close up shots

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Hey, I borrowed a digital camera to take most of these pictures (hence the close up shots). I'll try to get a hold of a camera so that I can upload more pics. Stay tuned!

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 7 months ago

Couldn't get a hold of a high res camera, but new pics have been uploaded upon your request, Sire.

 
 
sepnotic [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Very nice and cool setup my friend. Love your water cooling work, I may borrow some of your design if you don't mind.

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 8 months ago

Thank you, and no I don't mind. Your build looks perfect as it is...but then again, mine was too and yet I couldn't help myself and go the water cooling route so hey, go for it!

 
 
snuffels1999 1 point 7 months ago

How are you liking that monitor? The 8MS refresh time giving you any trouble in games?

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 2 points 7 months ago

I've played Far Cry 3 and Tomb Raider and haven't been bothered by the refresh. It's only when watching movies that I noticed a light bleed on the right vertical panel of the screen that is really noticeable in dark scenes. The display of the monitor is crisp clear though..

 
 
ASpeer0876 [1 Build] 1 point 6 months ago

This is awesome! I love the cooling system. What is that liquid? Is it a special blend or plain ol' H2O?

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 6 months ago

It is a British company called Mayhem's, this color is called "pastel ice white" but there are also different dyes you can putchase separately to get a custom color.

 
 
jimski53 [2 Builds] 1 point 1 month ago

nice work! what fps are you getting at 1440 with that single card i just ordered the same monitor from dreamseller any info on the performance of the 290 would be great thanks

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 29 days ago

I think it does around 55-65 fps for Far Cry 3 and Tomb Raider. The games look amazeballz though. As for the monitor, it's a really nice monitor but wouldn't recommend for video/picture editing. Mine has small light bleed on the bottom right of the screen when the background is using the color black. I'm still super happy with my purchase though I knew what I was getting myself into (in order to save a few hundred dollars).

 
 
Bat_Man1_2_3 1 point 29 days ago

How does water cooling work? I've been curious for awhile

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 29 days ago

I sent you a personal message : )

 
 
CapnJudge 1 point 26 days ago

I've been thinking of doing water cooling, but I've been afraid to do it for the longest time. Was it hard to put together? +1 btw epic build

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 25 days ago

Hey thanks! it takes hours and hours of research. You have to take into consideration all your options and choose the components that you wont regret in the long run. If I could change anything about this build is having a higher-end motherboard instead of the basic one that is on it.

As for the build process of this WC setup: I had already tested the components to make sure they were working properly before I put them under water. Once I began the WC process, it was exciting seeing a vision come to life. It was a day's worth of building (not a problem if you're patient). The only thing that gave me trouble was that one of the radiator's exit hole (where one of the compression fittings goes) was closed off by the case so I had to bring out some cutting tools my father had lying around in order to cut a small opening for the fitting. In addition, the fittings are a pain on the fingers. I'm pretty sure other WC builders use some tools to tighten them properly (and without scratching the compression fitting's pretty chrome) but being a noob at this I struggled with tightening the components.

 
 
CapnJudge 1 point 23 days ago

Well it doesn't look it for sure, my build i have on here is my first build ever, and I am toying with the idea of WC, I just need to look further into it, specially with the upgrades I have in mind. Thanks for the reply by the way!

 
 
Mr_Le0 [1 Build] 1 point 21 days ago

looks great! nice one!

 
 
xolot1 [Submitter] [1 Build] 1 point 21 days ago

thx!

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