Description

This build is a little old, but still my main rig. This rig originally came into life on an ASROCK Z77 Extreme4 board, with 32gigs of Corsair 1600 ram and duel GTX570's. When my son was born, my wife thought it would be a good idea to have a project that I could work on with my infant son by my side. She suggested I start working on a "watercooled" system I'd been talking about for a while. Little did she know that this project would wind up being a much bigger project and is still a focus for my son and I today.

The system itself is pretty straight forward. I went with twin Tri-X 290's over the 290x's due to a higher overclock capability at a much lower cost (and I did get a great pair of cards), downgraded memory size to 16gigs but upped the speed to DDR3-2400. After many, many hours of working with the ASROCK board I decided that it wasn't capable of achieving the overclocking numbers I wanted to hit (5.0ghz+) and moved to the ASUS Sabertooth Z77 board. I'm glad I did, and I was lucky to get the board brand new from someone who bought the wrong socket version.

With all the parts now in the case, I went about designing my water cool system. This wasn't my first, second, or third build with water cooling but I decided to do something a bit different. I have always loved Swift Tech CPU blocks so I stayed with them and decided to go with a local favorite, Koolance, on the GPU water blocks (while adding a couple of custom back plates by HEATKILLER). In the past I've always used standard tubing, but I really loved the look of acrylic tubing in some of the higher end rigs I'd been looking at and decided to give it a try. It's not as easy as it looks. If you've never worked with heat, acrylic, or working with very hot objects this is a HUGE challenge. I went through 5 4ft long acrylic pieces to get what you all see in the pictures. I also decided on going with a duel rad setup as I was cooling two video cards that are hot at normal clocks, and a pretty beefy i7. I also knew I was going to need the leg room to cool both 290's overclocked AND the i7 overclocked. To power the whole thing I went with a Koolance 450s Pump and a 12v/24v switch pump controller.

With a lot of cable management, and piping management I completed the setup and went on to achieve a 24h stable 5ghz oc on the 3770k and a decent 15% - 18% all around OC on the video cards running the pump 24v @ 5gal/min. Through all this I realized I made a few minor mistakes (using to small a 2x120mm rad and keeping both rads in line instead of distributing: CPU, rad, GPU's, RAD, resevoir, CPU), and came to the decision I really want to redo the acrylic tubing.

Over time I added a few cosmetic tweaks to the Corsair 600t case. I use the two 200mm fans that came with the case in a push/pull set up with the Phobya 200mm Rad, and I cut out the top of the case to "bury" the 3x120 rad. And to finish it all up I put in a couple red cathodes and did a custom Imperial Logo on the Case Acrylic.

I loved this build and doubt I will ever get rid or fully dismantle it, and my wife was so enamored with the build she went on to build her own computer (first time builder!).

EDIT: I would like to add that my wife has been nothing but supportive for all my computer builds. She finds it a fascinating hobby and one she is happy to be apart of. This specific build was urged on by my wife as a way to keep a part of my old self as I began the journey as a new father (a life changing experience). It served as both stress relief and a way to incorporate my interests at home with my baby boy and it grew from there. What my wife didn't expect (and hence the title) was the amount of time my son and I (well mainly me with my son on my lap, or on my back, or sleeping among scattered computer parts) would invest over the following year and a half. Anyone who is a new mother/father understands the need to have something to focus on, even if it's only for a few minutes a day, to help with the transition into parent hood. My wife fully understood this and understood who I am and because of this my system was built I have some amazing wonderful memories of the first year of my sons life and many more to come. My wife and family are totally bitchen!

Comments

  • 46 months ago
  • 8 points

It seems nice for the time period it was built in. I would say it is still relevant for gaming today.

  • 46 months ago
  • 7 points

Happily running 1440 at max settings in every game I play. I only track fps on a few games but I'm always well above the 60fps threshold.

  • 46 months ago
  • 3 points

I know you probably don't play this game, but what about Space Engineers ? This game doesn't require much on minimum settings, but on high, it could probably make a 750 wanna kill itself.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Sounds good.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

That's incredible! My friend had a 3770k but his old mobo brought down the whole system except for the GPU and PSU.

Anyways...Beautiful build! +1 Happy Gaming :)

  • 46 months ago
  • 4 points

Its definately relevant. this is still overkill for most 3A games on the market right now. the 2 290s will probably be relevant for atleast another 1-2 years

  • 46 months ago
  • 3 points

Probably a lot longer than that. I think the twins, specially with DX12, have the potential to last a good 5 - 6 years @ 1440. DX12 changes the game with multi-gpu support, and the potential to extend the life of today's GPUs is there.

http://wccftech.com/directx-12-nvidia-amd-crosssli-explicit-multi-gpu/

Very good read.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 5 points

Nice looking machine. +1

BTW the wife always wins.

  • 46 months ago
  • 4 points

Hands down every single time. But after this build I finally got her into PC building and her first rig was pretty amazing, specially at the price point she wanted to pay. Now she is well into the planning stages of her next build.

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

That is awesome. Way to go.

  • 46 months ago
  • 4 points

If you were to measure the length of this computer, would it be metric, or imperial?

eh? eh? :P

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

hehe

ok that made both my wife and I chuckle thank you!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

:P

  • 46 months ago
  • 3 points

How exactly did you get the Empire symbol on there? I like the look of the tubing. I was using a single EVGA 570 up until a few weeks ago, and it ran everything 'decently'. I'm sure 2 of them do a pretty good job still.

  • 46 months ago
  • 3 points

I printed out the imperial logo and laminated it. Then cut out the areas I wanted painted on the acrylic, glued it down, spayed 6 coats of a flat black and two coatings of a white primer seal. The paint isn't perfect, a little bit of the paint leaked under the stencil and has been impossible to remove. Far more noticeable in person than in the photos. It was fun and I learned a lot. Hehe my wife wants me to do the rebel logo on her mini-itx case.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Rebel scum! ;)

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

Excellent build! +1

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Love the dirty radiator :P

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Hehe yeah. I considered cleaning it but.... Meh. That radiator is covered by the cases original top cover. Only time it's powered down is for routine maintenance on the cooling system and a move. The system is accessed by multiple systems 24/7, so down time is a big issue. Those rads build up dust quick.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Dayummm !!!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

How is the top radiator connect to the front radiator? Besides that +1 for smexy build :P

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm running a tube behind the motherboard plate. Quick connect latched for easy cleaning. And thank you! Appreciate it!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Why 2 290s instead of a 295x2

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Your wide still wins huh? ;)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

always :)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

OLDIES but GOODIES!!!!

+1

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, I love the parts

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

and i was like, damn its nearly 3 days, hmm this build looks nice, maybe the next featured build. nah too dusty well . Im wrong still love how PCs that have aged still perform great. +1 very very nice build

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

This is a really nice looking build!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

custom pc as family heirloom. Very nice work

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

a 200mm radiator... shrouded no less... niiiiice.

and those dust bunnies up top is exactly why I run tops in exhaust usually.... it may be warmer, but so much less frequent cleanings needed.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I really wanted a push system on that top radiator, but I wanted a clean, safe top as I knew my son was eventually going to be climbing on my desk. I didn't want any moving parts within reach of little fingers, and boy does he loooove playing arpund the case when we are in the computer room.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Dank wife, **** Nvidia.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Very sexy build. That QC Passed sticker on the res really sticks out, though.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

hehe yeah, but I really like that sticker. Its fitting.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Its fitting.

The sticker on the res is fitting.

Had to make that joke. :)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Gotta say that window is killer. Cooling system is legit. Love the build.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I need to stop getting this excited every time I see something that involves Star Wars.

+1

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice Machine. How do the 290's stack up at 4k? (wondering about doing a build with similar parts)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I've only used them at 1440 and they work fantastic. I haven't had the luxury of 4K. But they should handle ok. I doubt max settings @ 30fps, but then again even at low settings 4K is going to look good. If I'm lucky enough to afford a a 4K I'll add it to my specs with real life application use statistics.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! My plan was to run them at high settings so I think they would do a fine job. I forgot to add that I loved the window! How did you do that? And I was only wondering but have you tried a free sync 1440p monitor? Especially with that graphics horsepower you could have an even smoother experience.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I created a stencil from a print that I laminated. I trimmed out the parts I wanted as the image on the acrylic, glued it onto the back side of the acrylic with white clue, laid down 6 coats of matte black acrylic paint, and sealed it with 4 coats of a white primer to prevent light from seeping through. The white primer actually turned out to be a great idea because it reflects the color of the cathodes back into the case very nicely.

as for the monitor... I thought about it, but the cost at the time for a free sync 1440p monitor vs the one I got was significant. I got my current monitor for next to nothing. I had it in the back of my mind if stuttering/screen tear started to become an issue I would go frees sync, but to be honest I haven't noticed any screen issues at all. Smooth as butter, bright, vibrant and beautiful. Decided that if I ever add another monitor it would be a 29" or 32" 4k.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool. I have a SPEC-03 from Corsair that I wanted to add a graphic to (similar to your graphic). Also I understand about the monitor. I would do the same. Just wondering.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

OOOooo a fellow Z77 user. Nice job man +1

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

I started crying when i saw this im jealous

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

$565 for just an outdated Ivy Bridge Core i7.... ( ͡° ͟ʖ ͡°)

(2x) R9 290 ( ͡° ͟ʖ ͡°) Not a huge fan of AMD but who cares ¯_ツ_/¯

+1 because I can ( ͠° ͜ʖ °)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

hehe yeah, that's a ridiculous price based on todays new market value. I paid $299 new back in late 2012.

I picked up those 290's together for $300. And they aren't stock 290's, they were Sapphires Tri-X models with custom PCB. High OC, with even higher OC potential with proper cooling. They were in such high demand by both miners and gamers that most retailers had a hard time keeping them stocked 6 months after release. My two came from a local miner with only 25h of use. THAT'S a hell of a deal, and they have been beasts for 2+ solid years.

Can't beat that deal. One of the rare 290's (non X) to come out that was on par with the 780Ti and outperformed stock 290X's. And I was able to obtain 2 cheaper than a brand new one... which I could'nt find anyways.

love the character faces in the post!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Very, very nice write up that included a great story. Everything is awesome....the build, the pics, and your family :)

You did a good job!!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

The force is strong in this one.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

why the tri-x

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

At the time they were the best card for the money. The sapphire tri-x 290 was out performing stock (and mildly oced) 290x cards and In a lot of instances it was even staying on par or surpassing the 780ti. It has been one of sapphires most successful cards, and probably one of the best cards ever made. I also got the twins at a rediculously cheap price.

Here's a great article about the card when it was released: http://www.anandtech.com/show/7601/sapphire-radeon-r9-290-review-our-first-custom-cooled-290/3

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

ok becuase i saw them like for 450 on anazon, it may be the most popular, butt the vapor x has the best cooling excluding the msi lighting( i love the r9 290s, fav gpu)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Ohhhh the vapor-x, they were some of the hardest 290s to get a hold of at the time. They had a short life, and were replaced by the tri-x. And even then the tri-x were incredably difficult to obtain. really wish I could have scored a couple of closely binned vapor-x 290s. But ultimately I'm happy with the twins I did get.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point
  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Hehehe wow. I paid $99.99 for it 3 years ago.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

You are welcome for the 100th upvote!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build and great wife, man.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! And yes, yes she is.

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

That cooling is sick!! 10/10

  • 44 months ago
  • 1 point

Hehe thank you! It doesn't look like that anymore. Completely gutted it for maintenance .

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

How did I miss this dope build? +1 Looks cleaner with the hard tubing though.

  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you. This build is actually pretty old. Since posting I did a complete tear down to do my yearly maintenance and wound up completely redoing the entire water cooling loop. I wasn't quit happy with the look and layout (it looks pretty messy). Then I decided to get crazy and wound up smoken the cpu (but I got some damn nice scores out of it). Now the PC doesn't exit. Almost all of it has been sold.

  • 46 months ago
  • 0 points

Unless you can install a vajayjay and some boobs on that thing, not sure it can compete with a wife, or any female for that matter lol

but hey, I could be wrong..

also, nice build ;)

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

ohhhh I see you were able to get one of those very rare Vapor-X 290x's I really really really wanted a pair of those when I was doing this build. To damn expensive, and never in stock. Nice system!

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah, still running strong, kills anything I throw at it, thanks!

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

lol...

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Downvoted.

  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

/s please

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  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

oh wow!!!! Didn't wake up to expect anything but a few +1's on an old rig. I'm glad it stands out for people and I hope it encourages ideas in other builders as past rigs did for me!!!!

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

The case is a corsair 600t graphite model. Other than some cutting done to the very top of the case and the paint job it's pretty much stock. Still one of my all time favorite designed cases.

I went with cold cathode because I wanted a better distribution of light within the case. The tubes light evenly vs intermittent with led. The pictures don't do the actual red justice. In person it's more of a deep red instead of the orange red in the.

the price listed is what it would cost new today. I didn't pay anything close to this two years ago. Both 290's came from a dogeminer who decided to go with 290x cards. He had only been using these twins for 25h and sold them both to me for $300. At the time these ran for $550 a piece!

Thanks for taking a look at my system. I'm loving the feedback!!

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

The two cathodes flood the entire inside of the case, and are so brigght that in a dark room you can see light peak out of every whole in the case. It's a pretty cool sight.

Leds are great and work with many systems. I just didn't want strands in my case. I wanted something small and intense to school to the case cover.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 1 point

Will look bitchen when done. Post some pics would love to see the process and final product!

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  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Trying to do this with an infant strapped to ones back was the biggest challenge. Son LOOOOVEd the ride though. Was a fun build, lots of fond memories.

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  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

You had no points !!! YOU'RE JIPSTER ! PCPP IS IN CHAOS

  • 46 months ago
  • 2 points

lmaoooooooooo :)

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  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Aren't you a clever one!

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  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

I'd sure hope so as some of those parts are 3 years old. Good for you!

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  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow clever AND a master of the English language. Reverting to threats in a very colorful way. Brilliant. Just brilliant!!!

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  • 43 months ago
  • 1 point

There was no need to ponder, I was eagerly waiting for your reply!! i just couldn't wait to see what clever response you had. But THANK YOU!!! when I finally land and get home, I'll sleep waaaaay better!

a link just for you!!

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  • 42 months ago
  • 1 point

Nope I purchased 3 AOC 4K free sync monitors in January or February. I never got to use two of them! I've been very impressed with the one I am using, it's a TN MONITOR, but I love it to death.

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