At the end of 2018, my PC was in need of replacement. Ever since I was young, I've built my own computers. I even did this for a living for about 3 years. Needless to say, building an aircooled system (or even using an AIO) wasn't really a challange anymore. I decided that I'd try to build my ultimate dream PC and being in the fortunate position that I could afford it, I started planning...
From the beginning, there were a couple of no-brainers for me:
1. The system would have a Nvidia RTX 2080 ti card (which needed to be compatible with the EK block for the RTX 2080 TI)
2. The system would be based on an Intel I7-9900k (as this was the best gaming CPU at the time)
From these choices, several other were made. First of all, the mainboard was going to be a Gigabyte Z390 Aorus Master board. Awesome board with excellent VRM's to ensure stable overclocks (I kinda went with the recommendation from Buildzoid in the Gamernexus video on that one). Be aware!
This board has one downside! The motherboard contains a Realtek onboard audio solution. While others are content with this solution, I found it to be mediocre at best. If this was just the driver or something else, I never bothered to find out. After about two weeks , I added a Creative Soundblaster AE-5 and never looked back.
Next up was the graphics card... The RTX 2080 TI's availability in the Netherlands was abismal and since I was looking for very specific cards (namely the onces that fit the EKWB GPU block), I settled for the Gigabyte GeForce RTX 2080 TI Windforce 11G OC. This card was on the EKWB compatibility list at the time of purchase, but was later removed :(. The block still fits though :).
The case was really something I had to think hard about... After alot of research, I ended up with two cases I liked:
1. The Phanteks Evolve X
2. Thermaltake Core P5 - Tempered Glass Edition
The fact that you can mount the Thermaltake Core P5 to the wall, ultimately won me over.
Now it was time to choose the cooling solution. I was already set on this being my first watercooling build, so that descision was made beforehand :). Getting the actual components required to pull this off, was a different story. By now I understand what the different sizes in fittings, tubing etc mean, but back then I was overwelmed! Not wanting to make a mistake, I decided to stick with the hardware that the EK website configuration picked (with a little guidance from my side). You can see the components used below. I decided to use the Corsair ML120 fans instead of the EK Vardar ones for estatic purposes (EK didn't have RGB / Single color fans yet). You can see the hardware used below.
Assembly of all the components was pretty easy, up untill the point I got to the tubing :). This actually took me a couple of days and numerous tries to get "right". I'm saying "right", because I still not happy with two bends in the system (for references, please look at the final photo):
1. The bends from the reservoir to the pump. (it just look cricket and "unrefined" as this was my first bend ever)
2. The bends from the radiator to the reservoir (which I had entering the reservoir at the top at the beginning, but couldn't get watertight")
Time will tell what I'll change, but there are three things I'm thinking about:
1. Change the Corsair PSU (HX1000i) to one with RGB
2. Replace all tubing with 14/16 mm tubing (this is 10/12 mm) to give it a more rouged look
3. Hopefully replace the CPU block with a monoblock if EK ever creates it
So please be gentle :). This is my first watercooling rig and I know there's room for improvement :D.
Speaking of which... Any comments and/or questions are more then welcome!
What would you do differently? What would you change if you owned this case?
Let me know in the comments below!