This is the fourth episode of my water cooling build which shows the installation of all parts in the new PC-Case. It's pretty tricky to install all the stuff in such a small room. If you didn't read the other parts of this buildlog, I highly recommend doing so.
If you read the previous episodes of this buildlog you may remember that everything will be placed within the NZXT. H440 case. It is beautifully minimalistic designed and passes on some features like optical drive bays.
This design approach makes it somewhat difficult to place all the parts in it. The most important factor to me is the right airflow within the case. I want to achieve at least two things:
These two requirements lead me to the following plan:
Some trade-offs have to be taken to accomplish the requirements. First of all mounting the radiator in the front renders all the drive bays in the front unusable. This means except for the radiator there can nothing else be installed in the front. That being said, I had a bad time figuring out where to install everything:
I am happy that I have a modular PSU. Without that I don't even know where to put all these cables if you use the bottom HDD-slot. The following components want some power:
Easy going with a SuperFlower PSU:
First thing to install is the hardware (Mainboard, GPU, PSU, HDD), the radiator and case fans.
One thing I always find important when installing fans is to make sure that the cables are always facing into the right direction so you can easily route them through the case. Other than that the installation is pretty straight forward.
I configured the radiator fans in PULL-configuration. This way, I gain two nice side-effects for future maintainance. The first is the removal of dust. If the fans pull air through the rad, the dust will stick to the open side of the rad where it can be easily removed. Push configurations require you to remove the fans from the radiator. When using the radiator as intake this means you need to uninstall everything from the case to uninstall the fans from the radiator to clean the radiator. The second advantage is cleaning or replacement of the fans. I can easily take them off seperately to clean or replace them. If one fan fails and no replacement is available the system also could run temporarily with that one fan removed.
Before continuing with the installation, it's best practice to connect all the tubing. This will be much harder if you do wiring or final details before.
Cutting the tubing is pretty easy too. Just install the tubing on one end to the source fitting. Then hold it to the target fitting ensuring that the tubing wont bend too much. In the above picture I connected the tubing between CPU and GPU to the CPU first. Then I took it with my hand at the needed length to reach the graphics card and cut it with a pair of scissors. If you wonder about the big loop I did there: the tubing was bending when I tried to force it into a smaller radius.
Before installing the pump and proceeding with the leak testing, I had to ensure that all cables are in position to be connected to the hardware later on. I started doing some basic cable management and installed all cables I could without powering mainboard, CPU or GPU ...
As you can see the cable management still is a mess in the new case. But fortunately this time the mess will be hidden behind the mainboard!
One other thing I had to install before installing the pump is the IO- and USB-cables. They are hidden behind the pump in the final layout and thus need to be installed first to prevent annoyance.
One of the above things comes in really handy if you don't want to struggle with the installation of all that small IO-connectors. Especially when your board almost touches the bottom of the case, this thing makes the installation a no-brainer.
After completing the setup, the loop can be filled and leak-tested.
Prior to filling and testing it's recommended to put paper towels under all fittings. In case something leaks or a tube pops off the towel will catch a lot of fluid. This way you don't need to dry your hardware to continue. Afterwards filling can be done via the reservoir. Unfortunately I had no other funnel which fits the 1/4 opening of the reservoir, so I had to improvise with an ugly but functional DIY fillport setup.
The fluid I use here is DP-Ultra from Aquacomputer. Not that I think it's something special. But my main intent is long life and low maintainance cost. Using fancy dye will gunk up the system if you do not change fluid every six months. So this premixed uncolored fluid makes it very easy. It contains some anti-microbiotic stuff and prevents galvanic corrosion which happens when different metals are used within the loop. I am pretty sure there are much cheaper fluids which provide the same protection but in this case I do not want to experiment with stuff I am not familiar with.
To fill the loop you have to fill up the reservoir to the top and then power up the pump to make room for fresh liquid. Remember to stop the pump before the reservoir runs dry. I always recommend using two things for this:
Here are some tips to fill and leak-test your water loop:
Now we have the loop filled and ready to connect the power.
I used some cable straps to fix the tubing to the case and make the routing look a little better. Please note that you have to take that into account when you cut the tubing. It's no good idea to change the routing once the tubing is fixed to a certain length. You might squeeze the tubing or even put tension on one of the fittings. This could lead to a leakage which may pop up weeks after assembly.
Now that everything is working and the PC may boot up for the first time, we can close the case, take some nice pictures and compare the newly gained performance with the old air-cooled setup.