Live wire!

Today, I want to talk about cables.
In particular I want to talk about the modular power cables that came with my Corsair RM1000i power supply.
When doing a build like this, attention to detail can mean the difference between just looking okay and really looking great.
One of the things that adds a lot to this, in my opinion, is having not only tidy cable management, but also nice looking cables.
Due to me not doing my research on cables well enough, I’ve ended up having to return a complete set of Corsair individually sleeved
white cables to the store. They will simply not work with my power supply. Well, that’s no the end of the world, right? Of course
the power supply came with okay cables by default, right?
Well, not right. The RMi series, as it turns out, have special cables fitted with smoothing capacitors, which is what give them such
phenomenal ripple supression. But that’s just a bonus, right?
Naw, still not right. In theory it would be fine, but when Corsair chooses to put those capacitors very near the end of the cable,
or perhaps I should say “motherboard end” of the cables, and cover them with very thick inflexible shrink wrap, then it becomes a problem.
With a case like mine, where you are intended to hide all the cables behind the motherboard tray, that very inflexible end of that
thick 24-pin power cable, ends up being a bit of a nightmare. I’m not even certain I’ll be able to fit the back panel on without
putting a lot of pressure on the 24-pin cable.
I don’t really want to risk taking the cable apart either, as that would leave me without a spare.
“But,” I said to myself, “this shouldn’t be much of a problem. Corsair is an enthusiasts company, they must get queries about this sort
of thing all the time?”
I opened a ticket asking if it would be possible to purchase a spare set of cables, that way I’d have one set to mod, and one set to
do my testing with, and if the modding failed, well, then I could run the standard set for the time being.
But Corsair, although quick at replying, was at a loss. “Extra set of cables? Have you lost the ones you had? Is it under warranty?”
Trying to explain that I wasn’t after being given a new set via the warranty, but actually “purchasing a redundant set”, seemed pretty
futile.
Well, Cablemod.com to the rescue!
As it turns out, Cablemod does a set of white individually sleeved cables, specifically for the RMi series, and it is cheaper than
Corsairs sleeved cables (the ones that don’t fit this PSU anyway).
So, as a happy end to this story, I’ll be getting my Cablemod set of sleeved cables, and can avoid using the terrible stock cables.
I’d almost given up on this after a few days of work (been making wiring diagrams and considering making cables myself), but in the end,
it looks as though I’ll get my system looking clean after all.

This shows how sharp of a bend is needed to actually make this cable fit in a relatively standard modern case. Looks messy :/
This shows how sharp of a bend is needed to actually make this cable fit in a relatively standard modern case.
Looks messy :/
Wow, that big piece of shrink wrap poking out behind the motherboard tray. Not cool. This is bound to cause problems.
Wow, that big piece of shrink wrap poking out behind the motherboard tray. Not cool. This is bound to cause problems.
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Live wire!

Trial Fitting

Today I received my motherboard, power supply and white sleeved cables for the power supply. This meant I had the opportunity to try out how things will fit into the case. Seeing as I’ve been slightly unsure about how to mount the reservoir, this is something I’ve been eager to do, because it will make it so much easier to visualize the final layout.

Trial Fitting

It’s starting to look kind of like a PC in there. The CPU waterblock isn’t actually mounted on there, just hanging from the mounting bracket. I won’t get my CPU until tomorrow at the earliest. Starting to feel the impatience creep up on me, but the trial fitting today helps 😉

Trial Fitting

Loop-the-loop

One of the hardest parts of this build so far, has been to figure out the tubing for the system. It’s been nagging at me, because I just didn’t feel like I could come up with the perfect way of doing it, and it all seemed to involve one tube that would be just a bit too long for comfort. But today, after watching some more youtube videos on watercooling for inspiration, I finally had an epiphany. The new layout involves a slightly different flow order than I’d first planned, but I think it will be much easier to get looking nice, as well as giving me more room to work with for mounting the reservoir.

The flow order I’ve settled for will go as follows: Reservoir -> Pump -> GPU -> Top Radiator -> CPU -> Front Radiator -> Reservoir.

I’ll also be putting a drain port going from the bottom of the reservoir to make the job of changing the coolant a lot less painful. I still have to find a clever way of mounting the reservoir that will look nice, but I have some ideas about that. I can’t wait to get the rest of my parts so I can start looking into doing some of the tube bending.

Loop-the-loop

Tearing apart a £500 graphics card

Right. I’ve never mounted a waterblock before. And especially have I never mounted a waterblock onto a graphics card with HBM memory that is supposedly about as fragile as an egg. Rumors has it that if you look to hard at the HBM memory of the R9 Fury cards, it’ll break. So naturally I was a bit worried about messing this one up.

I got out all the necessary tools and equipment, and got to it.

Sapphire Tri-X R9 Fury

Removing all the screws holding the original cooler and backplate in place was the easy part. I had anticipated some complications, and even with all the screws gone, the heatsink was stuck on as though it was glued. Which it practically was.

Sapphire Tri-X R9 Fury Heatsink off

There was an awful lot of sticky thermal compound holding the heatsink in place. But with the help of a suitable item, I managed to gently pry the card lose from the heatsink. I cleaned the old thermal compound off of the heatsink before packing it away in the original box the card came in.

Sapphire Tri-X R9 Fury Naked

The card itself is pretty small once the heatsink comes off. The chip with its four memory stacks around it looks quite impressive as these things go.

Sapphire Tri-X R9 Fury Mirror

Can’t really fault AMD on their mirror finish. After applying thermal pads to the VRMs and fresh EK thermal paste to the GPU and HBM, it was a piece of cake putting the waterblock on… And the end results? Well, see for yourself.

Sapphire Tri-X R9 Fury Waterblock Front Sapphire Tri-X R9 Fury Waterblock Back

The card looks really nice with the new waterblock installed. And since EK also supply a new PCI bracket, this card becomes a true single-slot solution, something which is quite impressive for a high-end graphics card these days.

There is one question I cannot answer yet though: Does it work?

Well, time will tell. I can’t really test that until I get the whole loop done.
Stay tuned. 🙂

Tearing apart a £500 graphics card

Equipment galore

Right, here will be a little gallery of the different bits and bobs that will make up my watercooling setup. It’s going to be an interesting learning experience to set this whole thing up. Hopefully I won’t break anything expensive along the way 😉

This pump has got a nice plexiglass top which will show the liquid being pumped through the system.
This pump has got a nice plexiglass top which will show the liquid being pumped through the system.
This is the front mounted EK-CoolStream CE280 dual 140mm radiator. This will be cooled by the stock Fractal Design fans that came with my Define R5 case.
This is the front mounted EK-CoolStream CE280 dual 140mm radiator. This will be cooled by the stock Fractal Design fans that came with my Define R5 case.
This EK-CoolStream PE360 triple 120mm radiator will be mounted in the roof of the case and will be cooled by a trio of Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition fans.
This EK-CoolStream PE360 triple 120mm radiator will be mounted in the roof of the case and will be cooled by a trio of Corsair SP120 Quiet Edition fans.
This is the EK Supremacy EVO waterblock which will keep my CPU nice and cool.
This is the EK Supremacy EVO waterblock which will keep my CPU nice and cool.
Full cover waterblock for my Radeon R9 Fury, including backplate. Unfortunately EK doesn't do a white version of the backplate, so I had to settle for black.
Full cover waterblock for my Radeon R9 Fury, including backplate. Unfortunately EK doesn’t do a white version of the backplate, so I had to settle for black.
This is a 250mm tall reservoir, which can hold 440ml of liquid. This is about as big of a reservoir as my case can comfortably fit.
This is a 250mm tall reservoir, which can hold 440ml of liquid. This is about as big of a reservoir as my case can comfortably fit.
Equipment galore