What's up builds.gg community, thanks for stopping by to take a look at my first water-cooled build. This is mostly a build log and my thought process, so if you’re into that then read away!
This is my third personal rig update, & first custom water cooled rig. I built my first PC in 2016 and second in 2020. Going into this build, 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 had no desire to push to Intel 12 Gen, as prices for DDR5 are still expensive. The goal of this upgrade was mostly for aesthetics with performance in mind.
What inspired me to switch to water cooling was Gear Seeker's 4000D build. Since I already owned a 4000D, I felt like this upgrade was calling to me 😂.
I loved how large components such as the monoblock and a vertically mounted GPU engulfed the chassis. Taking this into account, I begun my research.
The whole build took approx 3 months to complete. Life, planning, and a variety of errors 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.. but after installation, it works and cools like a charm.
I initially had an EKWB Strix block (1st gen) but cracked the acrylic at the terminal due to over tightening 2 screws. I opted to not replace it with another EK block but went gung ho and purchased the Optimus waterblock 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 6 weeks for it to arrive. I have no regrets and am not disappointed in the slightest. The Optimus block didn’t come with any RGB lighting options so I pulled the NZXT under glow strip from my second build and stuck it in between the GPU mount and block to illuminate it.
Deciding between a distro plate or tubular reservoir took awhile as I tried to weigh the pros and cons with one another for placement and aesthetics. After a very long thought process I decided to go for the distro plate by PPCS because I had not seen a build done in the 4000D with this distro! The downside to this 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 on how many times I stopped to fill, tilt and repeat. I think it took me 1.5 hours just to fill the system!
Going into my first water cooling build, I didn't realize how big a D5 pump was going to be in my case. I choose that pump because I read that they are more reliable and quiet than DDCs. I initially had an EK pump mount to mount the pump against the 360 rad but the vertically mounted GPU would not allow the space for it. Thanks to the distro plate, it allowed me to hide the pump and the tube runs behind the GPU for a stealthy look! Had the D5 not fit behind the GPU, my last resort would have been either drilling holes in front of the distro plate and placing the pump in the basement to create a pass through or purchase a DDC and try to fit that behind the GPU. I'm glad that I didn’t have to resort to either option!
1) I returned a regular 240 rad and got a 240 xflow so that I could stealthily route the 240 to distro rad port behind the 240 and have a minimal run connecting the two rads 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 as well.
Micro 90s had to be utilized to make the rad/distro runs happen as space was very restricted.
Very content this worked out!
For vertical mounting I used the EZDIY-FAB vertical GPU mount with a LINKUP PCI-E Gen 4 riser cable. The versatility of this bracket allowed me to centralize the GPU, giving it that showcase look. *chefs kiss*
Turned off the RGB on the Antec Katana RAM for a gunmetal grey appearance.
Inspiration for optimal fan configuration came from here @2:58.
The next time I have to drain the system for maintenance I might swap some visible black fittings such as the CPU to distro plate and replace them with black nickel or satin titanium fittings to fit the aesthetic more.
Coolant used: XSPC Blood Red w/ a few drops of XSPC UV Black.
Broke the pins off my front USB A port trying fitting my disto plate in, smh lol. I wonder if the front IO’s are replaceable.. Oh well, at least I have plenty of back IO ports!
Might add a flow rate meter from Bykski next to the GPU block in the future.
Temps ~ (in C, CPU/GPU):
10 mins multi core Cinebench: 48/30
Fire Strike Ultra: 63/46
Fan speed: 900-1100 rpm
Water temp: ~28-32
This was a challenging, frustrating, yet rewarding experience and am absolutely proud and in love with the end result.