What's up builds.gg community, thanks for stopping by to take a look at my first water-cooled build. This is primarily a build log and my thought process, so if you’re into that, read away!
This is my third personal rig update & first custom water-cooled rig. I built my first PC in 2016 and my second in 2020. I swapped out my I9 9900K/z390 for a 5950x/x570 and kept everything else, including my favorite compact mid-tower, the Corsair 4000D. I have no desire to push to Intel 13th Gen/AM5, as prices for DDR5/motherboards are still high. The goal of this upgrade was a combination of aesthetics and performance.
What inspired me to switch to water cooling was Gear Seeker's 4000D build.
I love how large components, such as the monoblock and a vertically mounted GPU, engulf the chassis. Taking this into account, I began my research.
The build took approximately three months to complete. Life, planning, and a variety of errors are attributed to this.
Thought process on picking water cooling parts
I love the aesthetic of the Bitspower Asus Crosshair VIII Hero Monoblock vs. EKWB's. Though I was skeptical that I couldn't find any builds with this monoblock for reassurance, it works and cools like a charm after installation. Used offsets and 45-degree fittings to connect the runs to the distro plate.
I initially had an EKWB Strix block (1st gen) but cracked the acrylic at the terminal due to over-tightening two screws. I opted not to replace it with another EK block and got the Optimus water block because of its aesthetic, build quality, and performance. Although the company is known to have poor CS and delayed shipping times, I took a risk, bought it, and waited only six weeks for it to arrive. I have no regrets and am not disappointed in the slightest. I stuck an NZXT underglow strip from my previous build and stuck it in between the GPU mount and water block to block to illuminate it.
Distro Plate & Pump
It serves its purpose, however, my main gripe about this distro plate is that the fill port is in the middle of the plate and only takes a small amount of liquid at a time. I lost track of how often I stopped to fill, tilt, and repeat. The other drawback is that this specific plate does not have a pump. Another plate by Bykski has a DDC attached, but I read that D5s are more reliable and quiet than DDCs. Initially, I had an EK pump mount to mount the pump against the 360 rad, but the vertically mounted GPU would not allow space. However, it worked out in my favor because the plate allowed me to hide the pump behind the GPU.
HWL Nemesis 360 GTS & XSPC Crossflow 240
1) Initially had a slim 240 rad but returned it and got a 240 crossflow to stealthily route the 240 crossflow to the distro rad port behind the 240 and have a minimum run connecting the two radiators at the top right.
2) I had to make a long U-turn loop to connect the 360 rad to the right-most distro rad port at the top right. This run is hidden behind the 240 cross-flow as well.
3) Micro 90s had to be utilized to make the rad/distro runs happen as space was restricted.
4) These slim radiators were the best performing in my research (at the time). Maybe I’ll try the new EK Quantum S360 in the future.
I used the EZDIY-FAB vertical GPU mount with a LINKUP PCI-E Gen 4 riser cable for vertical mounting. The versatility of this bracket allowed me to centralize the GPU, giving it that showcase look.
Inspiration for optimal fan configuration came from here @2:58.
Coolant used: XSPC Blood Red w/ a few drops of XSPC UV Black.
Temps ~ (in C, CPU/GPU):
10 mins multi-core Cinebench: 48/30
Fire Strike Ultra: 63/46
Fan speed: 900-1600 rpm
Water temp: ~28-32
The coolant is still holding up well. Swapped Lian Li AL fans to SL Infinity Fans.
Swap to Trident Z Royal Elite 3600mhz 32GB C14 Kit.
Carbon-sleeved soft tubing from monoblock to distro plate.
Swap some fittings for EKWB black nickel.
Add flow meter.
Swap my 1TB Gen 3 NVME for Gen 4 and add a 4TB NVME to the other available slot.
Dremel a PSU cutout and swap the current PSU for an Asus Thor 1000w Platinum II