So, a few years back I bought myself a beast of a PC with the latest high end components and a pair of founders 1080s (released that week), 6800k Asus ROG Rampage V Extreme 3.1, Samsung 950 Pro M.2, 32GB 3000MHz RAM, Corsair 780T and so on. I also paid for the most expensive liquid cooling option that the shop provided.
First system flush came and went and I had the fluid changed from red to green but I was never quite happy with my idle temps being around 40C and I was also more that a little disappointed at the tiny little reservoir and flex hose that SCAN (On of the top UK computer component and system suppliers) used on such an expensive PC (over £4k).
After building a new PC last September for my HTC Vive in the sitting room downstairs I had an itch to upgrade the water cooled monster upstairs. After deciding on making the switch to rigid tubing I started watching some youtube videos (Jaystwocents mainly) and ordered a new radiator, larger reservoir, fans and all the other bits and pieces I would require. Costs started to mount up pretty quick especially when I had to order tools and a whole new set of fittings.
After planning the loop (this changed a few times and included custom modifications to the case due to the EKWB 360mm SE rad being 2mm too long for the front of the 780T), I then started bending the tubing myself, flushing and cleaning all of the old parts and then rebuilt the new rigid tubing loop. Testing it produced 0 leaks which I was mighty proud of as it was was my main concern. So I got it up and running, took a couple of nice photos to show off on Facebook and sat smugly knowing I had done what I had set out to do. My temps dropped down to 20-25C idle and it looked great (at least it did to me). Turned it on the next day and the pump wouldn't start.
Gutted, I cleaned out the loop took the pump to bits and cleaned it off. It felt a little stiff but I cleaned it all out and then created a very simple loop of flex hosing from the pump back into its own reservoir. After a minute or two it came back to life and the fluid was flowing. Turned it off and on and it started again eventually. Pump was pretty much dead...
After a discussion with my wife I got permission to spend some more money as I would probably have made some changes later this year anyway as I had been wanting a new case and a few other changes.
Bought the Enthoo 719 (luxe 2) Phanteks case and ordered a new pump but I wanted a Distroplate as I think they look pretty sweet. Couldn't find any specific for my case but Phanteks have a D140 that fits where a 140mm rear fan would sit so I decided to go for that and get a flat reservoir along with it. So more money spent, more tubing ordered as the new case meant a new layout, which meant, new bends and then a load more fittings as the distroplate added another 6 ports to the loop I also decided to steal the Mobo and CPU from the newer PC I had built in September as they were 9th Gen and I could upgrade this more easily in the future as this would be the most likely PC that I would want to upgrade..
Finally all the parts arrived, sat down and tried to plan my loop, only 1 place a 280mm radiator will fit in the 719 (the front) and the thickness of the EKWB 280mm CE meant that I was blocking off the ideal place to mount my flat reservoir and the pump was too deep for the reservoir to sit flush against the back with the pump behind so I looked at other places I could mount it. I could have had my 360mm Rad on the bottom with the pum/res mounted on that but I wanted the res to be a feature to see from the side and not from above so I got out the drill and made my own mounting point. Managed to get that mounted nicely and then planned the rest of the loop.
Some awkward alignments made for some interesting bends but overall I am very happy with the loop. Filling the loop was another challenge due to how I had mounted the reservoir but now that it's complete I can't be anything other than pleased with it. New case has slightly less airflow when closed up and the new loop has a few more bends with a d5 pump rather than the old ddc pump so flow is a little lower but it's still only 2C higher at idle than before.
Project is now complete but the itch has not gone and I'm already thinking of what I can do to it next or what I could build/upgrade next. I'm not sure if I'll end up bankrupt or divorced first and it's entirely possible that one of these will be the cause of the other ;) but that can be a story for another day.