The original computer was built in 2014. I used AMD components to take advantage of the APU technology - ASUS AM88X-Pro motherboard with AMD A10 8750K CPU and AMD Performance 1866 16 GB (8x2) memory. The CPU was cooled with the stock AMD cooler. It had a GEForce GT 740 GPU.
In 2015 I got a Corsair Obsidian 750D case and did a custom cooling loop on the CPU. The GT 740 was replaced with an ASUS R9 390 DC2 8GB GDDR5. The PSU bumped up to EVGA G2 850W.
The 2nd and 3rd photos show the progression from simple machine to water-cooled. Now I am giving the computer to my daughter and it is taking on a new look.
Build Gets an Update
Kelly wanted a pink and white theme. I used DYC Plasti-Dip White with a top coat of DYC Pearlizer White on the case inside. The radiator and the 2 5.25 externals got a white coat without the Pearlizer. The pink accents are Krylon Hot Pink with a wash of TintIT Pinkolicious.
I swapped out the black PSU cables for a set of white CableMod cables. If I had the time and lazy didn't set in I guess I could sleeve the case cables (for the front IO panel) in white but for now they are stock.
The black/gold color scheme of the ASUS motherboard didn’t work with the pink theme. I went with the Gigabyte F2A88XD3HP FM2 ATX. It doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of the ASUS but the main specs are the same.
CPU cooling loop
The reservoir was moved to the top of the case and set horizontally for something different. I replaced the tubing and used Alphacool fittings. The Alphacool fittings seem to fit better and go on easier than the previous Monsoon fittings.
When I first added liquid cooling I ran the pump speed from the NZXT Sentry 2 with slider controls. I wanted finer control this time so I added the Aquacomputer poweradjust control.
Notice the tight fittings on the top of the inflow/outflow part. You can't even get the smaller tubing to fit there, can barely get a plug in the outflow. Very poor design.
I used 120mm Thermaltake Riing RGB fans. The 3x 120s in the top are filtered intake. The back 120 is outflow. I put 2x 140mm Thermaltake fans (from another build) on the outside of the radiator as filtered intake in push mode.
The motherboard fan headers are worthless on the RGB fans. The MB can't read the RGB control units so the fans are full speed all the time. I had a NZXT Sentry Fan Controller sitting around so I hooked the fans to it.
The computer took off to Corpus Christi with a few things unfinished. When the new motherboard was swapped out the cable management got messed up due to the different layout of the Gigabyte. I never got to do that final adjustment of combs and routing through the grommets. Yeah, I’m kinda anal on that stuff.
The temperatures I listed are to the best of my memory, when it was running on the ASUS motherboard. My ambient usually runs 27-28C. I never pushed the machine that hard with WoW and Tomb Raider. I don't have official benchmarks on this machine.
The prices listed are what was spent at the time - most parts were bought in 2014; the SSDs in 2015. High prices by today's standards.
I have one computer running this APU for onboard graphics and another with a R9 390 GPU. Both work great, no problems with them. I have not OC'd either machine so no data on that.
AMD memory is overpriced compared to other brands. I was being fanatic about all the AMD pieces working together. In hindsight, memory is memory as long as you stay with the known good brands and I probably would get GSkill if I did it today. (This was bought in 2014.)
This is a good GPU, no problems from day one. I like that it has DP output for the new monitors. It does seem to run on the hot side, going into the 76-79C range under loads.
This is a great case - lots of room, a lot of tie-offs in the back for cables, good airflow, possibilities galore. When you get done with your build you will still have room for more stuff so you have to stay away from the shopping and dreaming.
I knocked off a star because of the difficulty in mounting a reservoir and pump. My selection is non-standard but I think even with the reservoir+pump in one unit it will be hard to find good mounting.
Since I painted the case I found that there are lots of rivets and few screws to break it down. If you want to really play with modding this could be a drawback.
This Blue Ray has been used in 3 computers so far. No problems, Plug-n-Play worked every time. Some people complain that it doesn't play Blue ray straight out of the box. That is a software thing, not the player. You need a 3rd party decoder for Blue ray.