Description

Water Cooled Gaming PC with 2 240mm radiators and a D5 pump/res combo cooling both the CPU and GPU.

Build is completed, just waiting on a Phanteks Fan Hub to have greater control over the 5 fans, since the CPU motherboard header does not have support for controlling 3-pin fans.

Water Cooling parts list: Alphacool D5 Vario pump, Alphacool ST30 240mm radiators x2, Koolance COV-RP450 pump top with integrated 80mm reservoir, XSPC Raystorm CPU block, Alphacool GPX 970 M01 GPU full cover block

Part Reviews

Case

Fantastic case with great aesthetics and extremely flexible utility. The only reason I took a star off is because the power LED shipped not working, and, more importantly, the advertised 240mm radiator compatibility in the front is mediocre at best. For most using one radiator on the top, this won't be an issue and will be a fantastic case, but some creativity is needed to fit the front radiator.

In my build, since I chose to use a pump/reservoir combo, I needed the utility mid-plate in order to fit, however with the radiator mounted behind the front fans, the mid-plate would not fit. I had to move the radiator to the outside (still filtered and covered) and mount the fans in pull in order to use the utility plate. With slight modification this could be avoided but was probably the most brain-taxing portion of the build.

Even though it is a mini-ITX case, the interior is cavernous compared to some of the other cases in this market (specifically the EVGA Hadron Air, which I had previously used), but the trade-off is flexibility without modification.

Also of note: prior to water cooling, I had used a Noctua NH-D14 for CPU cooling and it fit quite comfortably.

Comments

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Whats the price? And how much did the loop cost?

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry, I had it taken out. $1700-ish for the hardware, and about $600 total for the loop, though I overshot that budget a bit, probably could be brought down to $500.

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

$600 for all the parts including the GPU thing?

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Including fittings, tubing, everything. . .mostly a guestimation as I can't remember the exact prices on everything

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome! I like how most of the space is used yet it's clean. Not like everything was just crammed in.

  • 54 months ago
  • 3 points

Looks can be deceiving haha. It is one nice thing about the case though, everything has a place, had to do some mental gymnastics to get it all in, but once it was together I was very pleased.

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Almost looks like an engine! So pretty, nice job :D

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice work on your lovely watercooling!

  • 54 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks! =D

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

God I've loved that case since I first laid eyes on it. Decided to go mATX though but always enjoy seeing buulds with the evolv itx. +1

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Funny thing is that this case is slightly bigger volume-wise than my TJ08-e mATX I had before.

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks really lean and clean, liking the colour scheme :)

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I was going for the white/black with blue accents, the Alphacool rads matched up well with that.

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Holy crap, those parts, that budget....custom water cooling is usually for when you have the best of the best and still have a lot of money to spend...

  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Correct! Water cooling (especially a custom loop) is generally reserved for that, and I had tossed around the idea of getting an AIO cooler and something like the NZXT G10 to cool the card, but I wanted something that would work for future upgrades. I'm looking to do a rebuild probably next year or so, and the only part I may need to change is the VGA block if I choose to do that (as skylake is 99% probable to use the same block mounts).

I had even considered buying a new 970 or 980 card in the hopes that the air cooling solution would be better, but seeing as this case does not have the best airflow for custom board graphics cards, I ended up taking the plunge and leaving myself room for upgrades.

So, the reality is that this is not an exercise in proper budget management (but really what ITX system is?), but rather making the best of the parts I have.

[comment deleted]
  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Funnily enough, I've been planning an extremely similar build in this case. I was wondering how wide the cutout was in the mid-plate, but apparently it's just wide enough to fit a 120 mm fan. My question now is, do you reckon a DCP style pump/res combo would fit on top of the mid-plate? Optionally I could use the same style you've used, but if the DCP fits height- and widthwise, I would prefer the look of that.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Not entirely sure if it would fit, depending on the combo and whether it was dropped sideways or not. Another option would be to mount the pump underneath in the basement, while the pump mounts would not line up perfectly with the intended bracket mounts, it would not be too difficult to set up a system like that, and just use the utility bracket to hold the reservoir.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

That case is so organized it looks like a job application for custom pc builder.

  • 53 months ago
  • 2 points

Haha thanks, just don't take a look at the wire management BEHIND the panel =P

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Ironically, the full length psu cables allowed me to go around the long way, keeping said cables mostly out of airflow path. The built in case cables awkward length though, and I need a custom short pcie cable for gpu. I had to also arrange cables so radiator could be removed without tools or disassembly to clean intake filter. Plus I am lazy.

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

WAIT! the mini itx is available in WHITE? i doubt..did u paint it man? lovely freagggin build! Please let me know if its available in white..

  • 53 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Sadly I had to paint it. It's possible to take every part off on the exterior though. I ended up just using a plain white spray paint for everything instead of trying to use a different one for the plastic.

  • 52 months ago
  • 1 point

did you have to remove the drive cage/ have any issues to get the 240mm radiator into the front? if so was it tight to fit your HDD in?

  • 51 months ago
  • 1 point

Sorry for the delay, but yes, I took the drive cage out. The HDD is mounted in the upper back-plate where the SSD caddy goes (it's a 2.5" HDD) and my SSD is lying at the bottom near the power supply.

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

My HDD is a 2.5" that is on the drive rack behind the wall, so no issues with that. The only issue with the 240 up front is that I would have had to trim away some of the mid shelf to fit it into a push configuration (which I originally wanted to do, so the rad is on the outside with the fans in pull. Hope that helps, sorry for the late reply

  • 48 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi Schnairph, really nice build. This is a bit late on, but if you're there I was just wondering about your pump choice. I'm building a similar loop and I'm tied between the D5 and the DDC 3.2. I've read a lot of conflicting information, I was just wondering how you're finding the D5? Specifically, how quiet is it? (Hopefully completely inaudible?), and do you have any idea what the flow rate is like? I'll likely buy the same radiators so does the D5 easily have enough pressure to push water through this loop? Lastly, just wondering if you think the 280mm version of the alphacool ST30 will fit in the top with the 240mm in the front? Wondering if I can make use of that tiny bit of space :D (I would use slim fans in the top of the case rather than fans below the rad).

Thanks!

  • 41 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey Jimmer, sorry about the latelate reply. D5 on the lowest setting is inaudible. I thought about a 280 but trying to find slim 140s was a pain so I stuck with 120s all around. You would have to jimmy-rig something if you used 120s

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Jimmer, sorry for the late reply. I love the D5, have had no issues with it. I keep it on the lowest setting and it is about the same amount of noise as my fans, so still very quiet (pretty much inaudible, I can hear my A/C more than my computer and it's outside). Haven't measured the flow rate from my end, but I could probably stand to turn it up a little, but at this rate it's a pain in the rear to get stuff in and out so probably won't be fiddling with it until I upgrade my graphics card.

280mm rad should be fine, but finding slim 140mm fans might be tricky. Not sure how doable that would be with a 240 in the front though, either way would be a very tight fit.

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Is that Blue LED or White LED? Because that's the color I'm gonna go for, but I'm not sure if that's full white?

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

The LEDs are white, got them for fairly cheap on amazon. Color looks a little blue through the plexi

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for the answer! Also, since you own the case, do you think you can fit a 140mm radiator at the back of the case with a 240mm at the top?

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Sadly no, there's not enough room. Unless you were to mount the fan on the outside and find a <25mm radiator.

  • 40 months ago
  • 1 point

Funny how that works, you start by saying no and in the process of explaining why come up with a solution. Not a very good one, but a solution regardless =P

[comment deleted]
  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Is that one fan or two?

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

For the Riotoro I used just one fan on the 240mm radiator up front due to constraints with the D5 and a possible upgrade to a reference graphics card. I ended up putting a second one on the bottom and using that for the remainder of the case's life.

  • 54 months ago
  • -3 points

Those parts don't require liquid cooling lol. You could've bought a Titan x with the budget you spent for aesthetics.

  • 54 months ago
  • 3 points

On air the 970 was throttling constantly, might have been different with another card, but it's one of the drawbacks of ITX systems. Since I'm doing folding when idle, the GPU was pegged at 80C for hours on end, so water cooling was a way to mitigate that problem.

If I were remotely interested in 4K, I would have bumped up to mATX and run 970s in SLI and still have been able to buy a 4K monitor for the price of a Titan X. . .and out-performed it, too.

For aesthetics, I spent $15 on LED strips, $8 on spray paint, and about $50 on sleeving which I opted not to use.

  • 54 months ago
  • 0 points

Idk, my GTX 970 never reach anywhere close to 80C whenever I play games on max settings. Maybe you just got the shorter end of the stick going with Zotac.

As for outperforming Titan X, it really depend on what game you're playing. You're not going to top a Titan when you run out of VRAM at 4k.

  • 54 months ago
  • 2 points

In an ATX or mATX sized case, or with a different card (e.g. ASUS STRIX 970) I probably would have gotten much different results.

From what I've researched, most 4k games don't use more than 6 GB of VRAM, and with DX12 around the corner, might make the Titan X an expensive option. Then again, with stacked ram like HBM and the next generation of graphics cards being tuned for 4k, my guess is going to 4k now in the early adoption phase is not the best idea. My 2c though.

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  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Yeah it took a LOT of pre-planning and a few missteps, but got everything shoe-horned in there =D

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  • 54 months ago
  • 1 point

Hah, nah, like the Greek goddess

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