Description

Edit

Yes. Fine. I will put windows in. Check back in a few weeks.
Seriously though, thank you all for commenting.

/Edit

First build in ~5 years, and first ever water-cooled build, so of course I went with a hard-lined custom loop mini-ITX because trying one new thing at a time is for chumps.

The pictures don't really do it justice, but I am not much of a photographer. Sorry.

Numbers in parentheses (#1) indicate related image number.

Overview:

  • Fractal Design Core 500 Case
  • GTX 1070
  • i7-6700k
  • Water blocks on CPU and GPU
  • 2 x 120mm radiators, hard tubing
  • Some purple s**t

Planning

I've been a laptop convert for a long time, but I wanted a proper work and gaming station again as my life has become a bit more stationary. I knew I was only going to want/need a single video card, and my inner engineer disliked how much empty space I was seeing in < $2000 ATX builds.

Case

So I started looking at mini-ITX cases pretty directly. Planning a build around the case felt kind of backwards to me as it's always been the last consideration in my previous ATX builds, but it's the way of things once component dimensions become make-or-break factors.

I liked the understated industrial look of Fractal Design, Silverstone, and the Ncase M1. Looked at Node 304 builds for a long while, very nearly bought the Ncase but didn't want to wait for it, then came across this, which became the inspiration for much of my build. That guy did a nicer job overall, but I managed to fit both fans inside the case, so... Ha.

Video Card / Water Block

The other difficult decision to make was on a video card and water block. I really didn't want to pony up for a Founder's Edition 1070/80, but at first the only non-reference water block I could find was the EK TF6 which is (IMO) kinda ugly. Eventually I figured out the MSI Aero uses a reference layout without the Founder's Edition prices, and went for the Phanteks water block (#2) because it looks fockin sweet.

MoBo

Waffled on MoBo options for quite a while, ended up getting the one I did mostly based on price and availability. I kind of wish I'd got one with an RGB header, but oh well.

PSU

The PSU had to have depth < 170mm since I was using a full-size video card and the SeaSonic G 550W fit the bill perfectly. Actually, it's only 160mm, and if it had been any larger I would have had some serious issues getting cables to fit.

Build

No catastrophes, POSTed on the first try, pretty smooth relative to my past builds. I did hit a few snags getting everything to fit.

Snag 1: Fan Controller

I got a fan controller for funsies to put in the Core 500's removeable 5.25" bay. Unfortunately, the fan controller's plastic bracket (#5) got in the way of the top fan/radiator. I thought about abandoning the fan controller and the 5.25" bay since I only had 2 quiet fans anyway, but decided to just chop off most of the plastic bracket instead (#6) . The remaining screw holes in front were more than enough to hold it securely.

Snag 2: 5.25" Bay Bracket

When it came time to place the coolant reservoir, I ran into problems with the 5.25" bay once again. The extra millimeter of width the bay's metal added to the top railing meant the difference between a too-tight fit and an impossible fit (#8). So again I solved my problems with a Dremel and cut a bit off the bay's bracket (#9). Keeping the bay meant a bit less space for airflow to the top fan, but the space between it and the PSU also provided a convenient area to hide cables.

Tubing and Coolant Fill

Most of the rest was just figuring out how to do the coolant tubing. I had originally planned to follow that other guy's pipe layout pretty much exactly, but ended up with something quite different. I went with PETG tubing rather than acrylic for ease of bending, and I'm glad I did. Even so I ended up wasting a lot more tubing than I used on mistakes and weird little wiggly pieces (#11).

I had a bunch of fitments left over at the end so I made a cool little spigot that swivels out at the bottom should I ever need to drain the loop (#19).

I thought a had a leak near the reservoir for a bit, but it turned out I just spilled a few drops when I was tilting the system around trying to free up the bubbles (#15).

Bleeding the cooling system was kind of frustrating, but mostly because I was impatient. I eventually gave up on getting all the little bubbles out and they worked themselves out after a couple days.

Results

Runs like a champ! I haven't actually overclocked it yet (good thing I got that 6700k, eh?!), and I'm not sure my two small radiators will actually be able to handle much of an OC, but I'll update this once I find out.

The pump gets very noisy over 3000RPM. I'm not sure if it's due to cavitation, a bubble, or the fact that I accidentally ran it dry for 10-15 secs when doing a POST test, but I just set the speed at a static 2500RPM since I doubt the flow rate is my cooling system's bottleneck anyway.

TL;DR:

I built a computer.

Comments

  • 33 months ago
  • 45 points

dank banana m8

  • 33 months ago
  • 8 points

Can't tell whether it's for scale or Harambe.

  • 33 months ago
  • 6 points

Its for both...

Computersoutforharambe

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

you have made my day good sir

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  • 33 months ago
  • 5 points

i just realized i have top comment on a featured build. Win!

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

no longer

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  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

DANG IT!!! no snappy comeback...

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

it got a remarkable amount of points

  • 33 months ago
  • 4 points
  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

thank you i appreciated that

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

amen

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points
  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Yes, please.

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

I'm dead

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

thank you

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  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

sorry no regrets

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  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point
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  • 33 months ago
  • 11 points

hard tubing in windowless case, kinda a sleeper I don't think anyone would expect to see that on opening the panel lol

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

I would faint if that happened to me lolz

  • 33 months ago
  • 8 points

Does Hardline tubing on a all the components, has no windows in case. LOL

  • 33 months ago
  • 13 points

Haha! Yeah. I did the water cooling and hard lines as much for the project/challenge as the aesthetics, but it turned out prettier than I expected and I get kinda sad sometimes that I can't look at it without taking the cover off.

Maybe next time I'm feeling fiddly I'll try making some windows and throw in some blacklight LED's since the coolant dye is UV reactive.

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

you sir earned my +1 with that comment

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

You should try for a super window!!! That wraps around the case, something like THIS?

That would be epic!

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

wow that would be pretty awesome wow :)

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Why don't you buy a sheet of clear (or "smoked") acrylic online and make your own custom window? The hard part is getting the measurements right so that you can cut the case and acrylic using a dremel. All it takes is some guts - and you have that so what is stopping you?

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

Nothing at all! This is probably exactly what I'm going to do.

  • 33 months ago
  • 7 points

The curvature of the build is excellent, and you can never go wrong with a yellow theme.

Also, thanks for including the PC so I could get a good size reference of the banana, definitely one of the nicest pieces of fruit I've ever seen! +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 5 points

Thank you. High potassium content was really a priority for me in this build which is part of why I went the direction I did.

The label's on the other side so you can't see it, but it's also USDA Certified Organic just for that added flair.

  • 17 months ago
  • 2 points

lmao one of the best comments imo :)

  • 33 months ago
  • 6 points

can this please get featured? This is like too good to be true +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

It got featured :)

  • 33 months ago
  • 4 points

Mom said it's what counts on the inside right? Home run in that case, literally.

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

Very nice use of space! +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

Thats a dense pc.

banana pc

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

Great job. Looks terrific

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

EXCELENT CHOICE OF FITTINGS +1 LIKE THE COLOR COOLANT

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

Damn that's impressive! The work and beautiful end product definitely deserves a feature

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

There is absolutely 1 completely major screw up you did on this build! There's no got dang windows to see all of that beauty inside. WTH man ... Let that caged bird free! LOL Great build!

  • 33 months ago
  • 4 points

Hey, yeah, you're right! Getting inspired to make some windows. Maybe next weekend...

Thanks!

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

Great build. I swear I am a chicken when it comes to water loops. I love the way they look, but don't want to do the maintenance. But I love looking at them. I appreciate the good work you've done. Now get to making that side window. Tempered glass preferably !!

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

No, I do not want a banana

  • Winston
  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

One word: wet

+1

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Moist ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Hello OP, what cooling dye did you use? The color is sick. +1 of course for compact hardline.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Hi, thanks! I used the XSPC ECX Ultra Concentrate Coolant Purple UV, I'll add it to the parts list. I'm pretty happy with the color as well, I need to find a black light so I can take some pictures of the UV reactivity.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

I own a Core 500. It is not an easy case to work in and you put a hard lined custom loop in it. Wow! Must get featured!

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

dense pc pushea dense pixels m9

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

1+ for banana for scale.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Very compact water cooling nice jog bud :-)

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Congrats for feature spotlight. I love the purple tubing and I can only imagine the hard work you put into this due to the size of your case. A great build and you have my one.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh my gosh +1 for the name alone

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Love the banana! And nice tubing, I guess...

j/k

great build!

(But no, I'll never go liquid... never... love my Little aircooler to death...)

:-)

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Don't see many purple loop builds around here. +1 for the colour choice :)

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow, talk about a tight fit! Very custom, and intimidating I bet. You did your research! Great build, congrats on the feature! Well deserved. Not a whole lot of purple themed. You pulled it of though! +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

This looks great! Purple has been slowly becoming more popular...

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Your choice of scale pleases me. Also build is pretty sweet! I have big hands so Id end up throwing that across the room after a while after the 3rd pool of blood got into whatever random socket.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

I love purple!!! put some neon lime green in, too!!!

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

ba-na-na, ba-na-na-na

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Might be the most impressive i have seen to date. Nicely done

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

looks like a tight squeeze .......

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

that's what she said

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

I love the purple and the phanteks waterblock!

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

congrats on the feature +1 for the insane build and also the purple

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Lit AF. 10/10 would keep panels off.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Banana. Scale comparison or you love bananas.

  • 33 months ago
  • 4 points

Yes.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Very tight plumbing! Great build man!

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

I cook my bananas with CPU exhaust too!

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Great tube work man. Good looking stuff.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

This is fantastic!!! loved the write up and the modifications you had to make just to fit everything in, ended up looking really nice. +1

Overview:

  • Some purple s**t

Would still be awesome if you could incorporate something like THIS?

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Yeah!! It got featured!

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

dude this is sick! needs a window though... build like an acrylic wrap around top piece to replace the metal one, mount the rad and res to it so you can remove that metal bit on top and all the LEDs. sick build though

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

"trying one new thing at a time is for chumps." +1 just for this comment alone!!!

Some SERIOUS cramming of parts here. Great Job!

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

banana. 'nuff said.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Beautiful mini build.

Thumbs up.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

DankRig

+1

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Dang I was soooo close to getting that case, but theres no good cheap Mini Itx Z170 motherboards :'( anyway nice build and banana

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build in a teeny weeny itty space.

How do those black chrome fittings look against solid black? I actually looked at picking some of those XSPC fittings up but I couldn't quite wrap my head around how nice black chrome would look against the dark black tones of backplates, motherboards, etc.

Great job.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

You know, I'm still undecided. I think they were a better option than traditional chrome in my build, because there's a a lot of fittings in a small space and regular chrome would have distracted from the purple bits too much I think. That said, black fittings probably would have been a better option. I think the black chrome would work best if the whole theme were metallic.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Hmmm, that's good to know. Thank you for the feedback!

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

This is awesome. Too bad you can't see all that great tubing from the outside

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Soo much power in such a small package ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡° )

+1

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Those bends are impressive!!

How did you get the PCPartPicker site to show the "other" items with the pictures, prices, and everything?? o_O

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Just click "Add Custom Part" at the bottom of your System Build and then paste in the URL to the product page. I used Amazon for most all of them.

:-)

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

insane...... too pretty to put the cover back on.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

yes!! to bad it didn't have a clear panel at least for one side.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Haha banana for scale

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

just a little tip about those annoying bubbles in your loop. I built my first loop as well about a year ago and instead of having to tip your computer around to get rid of them, just add two or three drops of regular dish soap to the loop and it will take care of them. :)

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Very nice +1 for you sir

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

They said water cooling was tough, so he did it in a tiny case. They said tiny cases are hard to build in, so he used non flexible tubing. They no longer say things to this man.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

amazing!

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Any reason you didn't use 140 fans and rads? or even 240/280 up top? I'm going to build something similar to yours but maybe on a ASRock Fatal1ty Z170 mobo in the same case. And is there a second rad in the back? I can't quite see it and there's only 1 in the parts list.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

I immediately started playing Chowder in my head, the episode where he makes poisonous purple nurples and Mung Daal tries to buy all of them! Easy +1 for bringing back my childhood lol!

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Lord have mercy! Is that hard line cooling in an ITX? And purple?

Soooooooo nice...

+1

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

How quiet is this system when idle? When under load? What are the max temps when stress testing cpu and gpu at same time? Also, are both your fans on intake?

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Dat water cooling tho!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Freeza has a boner Freezy-Pop

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

hey did you ever drop a window on that build man? would love to see some updated pics if you did :) reguardless tho this is frikkin awesome man +1 all the way.

  • 14 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a question how much did the water cooling system add on cost? Also does the water cooling system really help with performance and such a small size??

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  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

I hope so! Thanks for the vote of confidence.

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