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"Tora Tora" - My First build

by Drummond54


Part List View full price breakdown


Date Published

March 10, 2016

Date Built

March 11, 2016

CPU Clock Rate


CPU Temperature While Idle

24.0° C

CPU Temperature Under Load

44.0° C

GPU Core Clock Rate


GPU Effective Memory Clock Rate


GPU Temperature While Idle

30.0° C

GPU Temperature Under Load

77.0° C


This is my first build. Prime use will be gaming, but was more about the challenge of the build.

A good amount of pre-planning was completed including 1:1 scale drawings and cardboard fabricated components.

This helped to establish how everything was going to fit and particularly decide on the type & layout of the custom water cooling components - there is not a lot of space available in the Evolv case!

Apart from the custom cooling loop, a few other mods were also planned. Firstly, cutting holes for and mounting two Prolimatec Ultra Sleek 120mm x 15mm fans in the roof of the case, to provide additional exhaust. Secondly, some cutting and drilling required to mount the Delrin Reservoir. Finally, designed a custom stainless steel backplate for the GPU. Which I had laser cut by a local company.

Particular thanks to www.kustompcs.co.uk , who supplied the bulk of components and parts. Great service and advice, even got a generous discount! (despite the low margins on components these days)

The build is now just about complete, just waiting on some additional parts to mount the custom backplate and a blue Aerocool DS 140mm fan (initially had a red one), which I hope will provide better balance to the overall colour theme.

Externally, the case has a Black and Red theme, matching the stock Phanteks theme. The roof fan grills and mounting bolts were spray painted with Red Plastidip. Front panel has a red Kanji graphic, which matches the cut-out in the custom GPU backplate.

Internally, theme is Red & White with Blue accents, mainly provided by the use of XSPC UV Blue coolant in the loop, the Aerocool fan mentioned above and a black & blue CableMod basic cable kit.

No major issues with the build. Had a little trouble cutting the Roof Fan holes. Essential to use a template! First was cut with a 114mm hole saw, which fried my Combidrill, second was cut by drilling a circle of holes then joining up the holes with a jig saw. Initially had an Alphacool 240m rad installed, but this took too much space and have swapped in an EK Coolstream SE 240m, which gives almost an centimetre extra clearance.

On the system side all seems to be working well. Have over-clocked CPU to 4.5 Ghz , seems stable and temperatures are much better than I was expecting in this small case. Similarly GPU has been over-clocked by about 10%, again seems stable and temps are good. GPU is a bit noisy, particularly under load. Think the first build enhancement will be to add GPU water cooling!

Had some compatibility issues with the Phobya Pump and the Maximus VIII Impact motherboard.
The pump has two connectors one molex for power and a 4 pin fan connector for RPM control, this turned out only to have 2 leads and was not compatible with the CPU Fan Header on the motherboard. Spoke to ASUS who explained the CPU fan header was not tested with pumps and would certainly need a full 3 or 4 pin fan connector to work. Unlike, some ASUS Mobs the Maximus VIII does not have support in the EUFI/BIOS to select a pump. Found a work around by connecting the Radiator fans to the CPU Fan header and the Pump to one of the fan headers on Fan extension card that is included with the Motherboard. This worked fine and provides good RPM control for the pump based on CPU temperature. Apart from this the Impact is an awesome ITX motherboard.

3/12/16 Some updates Changed title of build to "Tora Tora" as in the William Blake poem - Tiger Tiger burning bright etc. Interestingly Blake greatly appreciated the explosion of scientific knowledge during his era! . Added some additional photos, with replacement Aerocool DS 140 fan in blue.

3/ 20/2016 Updates At last got all the parts to fit the Custom Stainless Steel GPU backplate. A few new photos added of this in place. The Kanji logo cut out in the centre of the plate is backed with a piece of Red stage lighting filter gel, which is meant to be back lit with a 3mm UV LED. Unfortunately LED was faulty, replacement is on the way. Toying with whether to change gel to blue or keep the red. The backplate was primarily meant to be aesthetic. However, I have sandwiched some Pulse Modding 3.2W/mkv 3mm thick Thermal Conductive Pad between the plate and the PCB and pleasingly GPU temps have dropped by a couple of degrees at both idle and under load.

04/042106 Updates & Future Plans Have added an OCZ Trion 100 480GB SSD in second rear drive caddy. Already have a 4GB NAS for general storage, so this extra SSD is just used for game installs and short term storage.

Am in the process of making some changes to case lighting. Will be adding a Darkside UV LED strip, which will be mounted in the top of the case behind the radiator. Have test fitted this already and the UV effect on the XSPC UV coolant is awesome. The lighting for the GPU backplate logo was not as effective as I had hoped. So have also managed to track down some UV lighting filter gel, so will be replacing the current red gel with a combination of UV and Blue gel which will hopefully make the the logo glow.

Have also planned out how to add the GPU water cooling. Will be using an EK Thermosphere Nickel GPU water block, combined with an EK Coolstream SE 120mm Rad, and EK Varder F3-120 fan. Will retain the blue Aerocool fan to provide push/pull set up for the Rad. Thanks to EK Tech support, who have been very helpful in coming up with a plan to retain the white case of the GTX970 Turbo. Will be modding the case to fit around the waterblock. So will be able to not only keep the aesthetic of the case, but also retain a degree of air cooling from the GPU fans with manual control via ASUS GPU Tweak.

Will post some more pictures when all is complete.

Part Reviews


Awesome motherboard. Pity no M.2 support. Easy to use EUFI/BIOS and utilities. Fan Extension card is included providing 5 fan headers.


Look cool and stay very cool

Video Card

Very good card, fans a little noisy under load.

Case Fan

Very quiet, but only 3 pin so limited PWM control

Case Fan

Always been a big fan of Noctua fans, but performance is as good and very quiet

Comments Sorted by:

rwoody81 1 Build 4 points 10 months ago

Love the extra mods! Always a +1 when I see someone throw some custom mods into their build. It makes them stand out over the people that just threw a bunch of off-the-shelf parts together.

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 1 point 10 months ago

Thank you, nice to know its was all worthwile

ThugginMcMuffin 3 Builds 1 point 10 months ago

That...is quite a large title. still +1 for an awesome build my man.

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 1 point 10 months ago

Thank you

Level99PcFanboy 1 point 10 months ago

Incredible job on your first build! Looks sexy as hell.

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 1 point 10 months ago

Thank you

RhettRO55 1 point 10 months ago

This is your first build??? I_don't_believe_you.gif Either way this is a VERY VERY well researched, planned & implemented build. +1 Side Note - Where did you get the custom fan grills? I have a project coming up and something like that would come in VERY handy.

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 2 points 10 months ago

Thanks very much for the comments Rhett. Honestly, this really is my first build! Got the grills from KustomPCs at £3.00 each, they are black, but a little Plastidip makes the difference. See link below


KrumpetPirate 2 Builds 1 point 10 months ago

Very nice build, look into a 144Hz 1080p monitor to pair with that 970 overclock. 1440p is doable depending on what games you play (quality of graphics/frame rate concerns at this resolution with the 3.5 GB of available VRAM on the 970). Overall, great build!

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 1 point 10 months ago

Thanks for the comments. 144hz monitor already on the wish list!

johngerges582 1 point 10 months ago

Excellent part choices, and an amazing build. I am very impressed, +1

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 2 points 10 months ago

Thank you

BillyBroken 1 point 10 months ago

Please update with some photos of that custom backplate, when you get it installed! Looks sweet "Courage" if I'm not mistaken?

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 1 point 10 months ago

Hi Billy Thanks for you comments. Kanji character is for "Tiger" or "Tora", but quite similar to the symbol for Courage. Represents the year I bought my very first PC - not letting on when! Should have the backplate installed in the next few days, just waiting for some thermal pads to arrive. Will make sure I post some photos. Thanks also to you and to ThugginMcMuffin who thought my build title a bit long,so am changing the title to "Tora Tora" as in the William Blake poem - Tiger Tiger burning bright etc. Interestingly Blake greatly appreciated the explosion of scientific knowledge during his era!

GentlemanShark 1 Build 1 point 10 months ago

Nice background! Image link please?

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 1 point 10 months ago

Will post a copy of the background image in the photos section, could not find a way to post in a comment. Picture is of 'Pinuccia ' a magnificent 8 metre classic yacht. She was built in 1939 to race for Italy at an international competition, rumour has it Mussolini commissioned her build. Now based in Cornwall , England.

TMatzelle60 1 point 10 months ago

How is the 970 Turbo, Is it loud ?

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 1 point 10 months ago

Its a very good card, but does get noisy under heavy load

gill2k 2 Builds 1 point 9 months ago

That looks awesome! I also have the exact same video card. That customized backplate looks sick! I came across your build since I'm also planning to downsize to Mini-ITX. Glad to know our video card would fit in this case.

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago

Thanks for your comments. Best of luck with your build.

SeBreeze9000 1 point 9 months ago

So delicious, fuuuck. +1

Drummond54 submitter 1 Build 1 point 9 months ago