So this build has a long story behind it.
This is my second PC build, and the first gaming-focused build I have ever done.
It started off in a Phanteks Enthroo Pro M Special Edition case, over a year and a half ago. At that point it rocked a Corsair RM650x with cables I sleeved personally (first blue and white, then quickly changed to a more colour ( <- canadian spelling ) neutral scheme), and a Corsair h100i AIO, with parts that I painted to match the colour scheme I had going. Motherboard, CPU, GPU, RAM, and all my drives were the same back then. I call this computer Harlequin, Version 1.
I had gotten the water cooling bug a couple months after completing this build, and so I set to task designing and picking parts for a water cooling loop to go inside the system. It would require a lot of work, especially considering the case mods I was planning.
Water cooling parts list:
- EKWB Supremacy Evo CPU Block in Acrylic and bare copper
- Alphacool NexXxos GPU Block
- Alphacool VPP755 pump w/ Eisdeck Acrylic pump top ( this pump ended up dying shortly after and it has since been replaced by a swiftech
Strong D5 Pump
- Phobya Balancer 200ml Reservoir in Chrome
- Radiators: Top - Hardware Labs Nemesis GTS 280mm
Front - Hardware Labs Nemesis GTX 280mm <-- REALLY interesting flow design, check it out
- Monsoon 1/2" Free Center Hardline Compression fittings in Chrome
- XSPC angled fittings and adapters
- 1/2" OD Acrylic hardline tubing
In addition to the watercooling parts I added a WD Blue 500gb ssd, a corsair commander pro (had 7 fans + a pumpto power) and 2 corsair AF140 fans ( for push pull on the front radiator ).
At the time of completing the water cooling loop I had also made an acrylic front panel for a cleaner front end, and an acrylic floor which A. didnt have any holes (unlike the stock case), B. was lit along the front edge with an RGB led strip connected to my motherboard, and C. had my pump mounted to it. I had also painted the GPU Block and Backplate to match the build a bit better, and had to modify the case to fit the top radiator with enough clearance for 140mm fans and my obscenely tall RAM heat spreaders.
This thing was a beast. I had my CPU overclocked to 4.6ghz on all cores, and my GPU up to 2250mhz. In overwatch at 1080p 144fps at max settings the cpu barely topped at 42 degrees C and the GPU never went over 50 degrees C. Witcher 3, Doom and Hitman all ran on max detail, max render scale at 1080p (60fps or 144fps depending on the game) without the computer breaking a sweat. This is Harlequin Version 2. What could go wrong?
Well I alluded to it earlier. The wicked strong Alphacool VPP755 pump died only after about 4 months of use. So I drained the loop, removed my GPU as it was mounted to a water block, stuck a basic air cooler on my CPU for the time being, and ordered a new pump. Once it arrived, I put it all back together, and all was good!! Until...
I noticed some drops of purple liquid on my gpu one evening playing overwatch. It had happened, every watercooler's nightmare. A fitting on my CPU block sprung a leak. Luckily I turned it off fast enough and no damage was done to the components. I found a crack in one of the fitting collars (these are a bit different from regular compression fittings) and since I had no extras on hand, I needed to completely drain and remove the water cooling parts again. I orderd more collars in case I wanted to put everything back in again, but in the end I decided against it. For a while I borrowing a gtx 1060 from my brother ( who also builds gaming PCs ) so I could still play some game.
At this point I was at a crossroad. On one hand I had many watercooling parts sitting in my cupboard, not in use, along with my GTX 1070ti still mounted to the water block. On the other hand I had a really jankey (shoutout to Linus), empty looking case. I still had an air cooler on it as my h100i was in my brothers possession at this point. And so, I decided I had had enough of not having my GPU and having an ugly system.
I had enough. I went to my local memory express store and asked for an inexpensive case that could support a 240mm radiator in the front, and ended up with the NZXT H500 ($100CAD at the time) in white. So far it has been a brilliant little case. I threw my h100i back in and put the stock cooler back on my GPU. Voila! A pretty, functional build that I can look at in between Overwatch and Apex matches and say "I like that." This is what I call Harlequin Version 3.
I am currently looking into building a simple CPU only loop in this little case, just cause I love the building process. Will I end up doing it? I dunno, but I still have those watercooling parts in my cupboard so I will use them eventually.. for something. Perhaps not this build though. Only time will tell.
Thank you for reading all the way through