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Fractal Define R4 front 360 radiator mod

by rost123

Description

Intro:

With the release of Coffee lake I felt like it was time for an upgrade. My old i5 4690k is still a great performer in games, however it lacks behind in certain engineering programs that I am required to use for my University course. I am also planning to upgrade my GPU upon arrival of the next NVidia lineup.

CPU: i7 8700k

So far it has been great. The two extra cores and higher clock speeds show their might in my CPU intensive applications.

CPU Cooler: Antec Mercury 360

Mainly bought it because it was the cheapest 360 radiator I could find from a decent manufacturer. Haven't really seen too many reviews of it on the web other than the one on Nikktech. From their graphs it, it performs similarly to the Corsair H115i in balanced mode (fan set to silent RPM?), however corsair has a 3.5 degree Celsius lower temp at full blast. Considering it is a silence optimised CPU cooler the results seem acceptable. If you were to replace the fans on the Antec you would probably be able to achieve similar temps as the corsair. I think this specific model is not available outside of Europe due to the Asetek patent restrictions...? Also worth noting that the cooler on the pump doesn't change to red until the temperature of the water and not the CPU reaches above a certain temperature (around 60+ degrees) I did notice that the copper cpu block had uniform machining marks (grooves) from milling with a large diameter tool (possibly lathed smoothed?). I couldnt even notice this on my old corsair h60. Regardless of that it performed great to the point that the thermal paste seemed like the limiting factor.

Motherboard: Gigabyte Z370 AORUS Gaming 7

So far it has been great. I bought it primarily because i wanted to be able to push my CPU overclock to the limits (at a later date). This board is considered to have one of the best VRMs which would surely provide enough headroom for my OC.

I'll be honest I am not an RGB guy since I would rather put all of my money into raw performance, hence the non windowed Fractal R4. Unintentionally my setup just happened to match up mostly Blue, (ignore the graphics card and red fan in the bottom). The blue glow of the CPU cooler, fans, RAM heat sinks and RGB on the motherboard set to blue. I wouldn't have even bothered with the RGB setup on it, but it was pretty straight forward using RGB Fusion and it only took a minute. The motherboard itself has a nice elite look with a black PCB, grey insignia and brushed aluminium heat sinks. The RGB is a cherry on top. You could even 3D print your own accent LED overlay to sign your build...

I was really surprised when i first heard the sound quality out of the motherboard, it definite combines superbly with my Sennheiser HD598s. It's audio is on par with some of the sound cards I've tried before.

The three m.2 ports will hopefully enable upgrades to faster SSDs in the future. The armoured PCIE x16 slots is a nice addition to people who have to move their rig about.

Case: Modified Fractal Design Define R4

The plan was to modify it to support a triple radiator. I also wanted to somewhat maintain the original look of it and not compromise its structural integrity too much. I found that modifying the front of the case would be the easiest. My parts arrived sooner than expected and I couldn't wait to use them so i just decided to build it all in a rush. I didn't have any scrap metal so i had to re-cycle something from the original case. I noticed that the original HDD trays had rubber grommets which would act as a nice way to isolate vibrations for the fans/rad to the case. So i decided to just cut the trays up, use the HDD grommet mounting holes to hold the radiator. After removing the HDD & optical drive cages from the case it was just a case of: using a jigsaw to cut them up to size, fastening them to the radiator mounting holes using M3 screws (8mm length???), dry fitting onto the case, drilling through (4mm bit) and riveting on.

A set of mounting holes were stripped on the radiator so i didn't include a mounting bracket for it on the case. The process was ghetto, but the front panel hides it... The one downside is that I cant use the original dust filter. I am planning on using & buying a replacement corsair dust filter for one of the cases that has a large intake filter. Going to ghetto rig some magnets to hold it on. But this comes at a later date...

Mounted the CPU cooler upside down mostly because i didn't like how the tubes sat when it was upright (didn't want to twist or kink them). Cable Management could have been better, I just didn't have any Fan extensions...

So yeah, pardon my mess of a description and build, but I'm in a little rush ATM.

Pics coming soon

Thanks.

Part Reviews

CPU

A pure beast. Two extra cores with the same powerful single core performance. Not exactly happy with the current supply issues driving the prices higher, but you can't blame it on the chip itself.

Motherboard

A great all round board. Features one of the best VRM configurations available among Z370 boards, providing more headroom for overclocking. Three m.2 slots for the fast thrill seekers, and excellent top tier quality on-board audio for the musicians. It has a simple yet effective way to monitor and interact with the bios via its apps from windows. A straight forward way to individually setup fan curves to hybrid headers against a selected temperature sensor on the motherboard. The RGB elements are straight forward to setup via RGB fusion. It has 2x DLED and 2xRGBW headers for those with the RGB fever. A stylish yet not overly intrusive colour scheme on the PCB and heat sinks, letting you dictate your own style through a wide range of component colour choices. High performance Killer Networks E2500 Ethernet controller makes managing your connection easier.

Memory

Great low profile memory that is priced competitively.

Storage

Bought on sale and performs great on day to day tasks.

Storage

Just another HDD, hasn't failed once.

Video Card

Three year old + card still holding its own on many games. Haven't had any issues with it. No coil whine either.

Case

Great silent case, however I feel like it should have had 360mm radiator support from the start considering its size... -1 star because the original case fan bearings started failing and making noise.

Power Supply

Back when i bought it, it was the best budget PSU on the market and soo far its held strong.

Comments Sorted by:

Mason54 20 Builds 2 points 6 months ago

i had to zip tie an h100i V2 to the top of a phantom once... Dont feel bad, janky happens

OccamAsylum 13 Builds 1 point 6 months ago

No room in the budget for a case? xD

Outlaw_123 1 point 5 months ago

Are you sure you need that budget of a card? I would personally go with a 1050ti

rost123 submitter 2 Builds 1 point 5 months ago

I should have probably explained it a little better... Most of these parts are from my previous build. I only upgraded the cpu and water cooler ( and hence the mobo and ram).

Outlaw_123 1 point 5 months ago

Oh wait nvm I didn't see, you said you were gonna upgrade in early 2018, when the new nvidia line up will come out.