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Water cooled G4 Cube


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#21
MiniHack

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any news? :)


Yes, will do an update tomorrow if I get a chance!

This is a fun build and is one where a solution to one problem then has a knock on effect on how and where to do other things. The cooler now is mounted nicely in the cube and next job is to get the mobo mounted.....then I can sort the pipework and see what room is left. I definitely have room for mounting a 7mm thick SSD above where the airport antennas fix on one side, and I am also thinking about where to put the fan controller board, USB extension and if possible DVD drive.

Getting rid of the heat sink and handle mechanism really clears up a good amount of space to play with.

#22
MiniHack

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Here is a link to a youTube video just oploaded.



Today I worked out the length and connectors for the cooling in the case and hooked that all up.

The radiator and push pull fans are shown here fixed by the drive braket and the centre bracket. Here the system is inverted and filled and running. At first there was a lot of air in the loop and the pump very noisy, air is easy to get out of this loop though and a few top ups later the pump is running very quiet.

Fans here are hooked up to the corsair block and running full speed. Even so, they are not too noisy. The inner fan is soft mounted and the outer is hard mounted to the case parts. I might see if I can change the outer mount to a soft one too as this fan produces noticeably more noise.

#23
MiniHack

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Had some time today to progress a little further.

I'll post some pic.s tomorrow hopefully, but the internals are now almost mapped out.

I had been wondering how best to secure the mobo in the cube core - as the corner struts unhelpfully make it awkward to fix a tray. Today though I bit the bullet and made a support that joins the aluminium handle support rails to each other (to give it some extra strength and resist against twisting now that the heatsink has gone) and also fixed some threaded inserts into that support to take standoffs that will attach to the top of the mobo. In this way, instead of the usual support from underneath it is suspended from above. This extra support piece and the mobo fixing means I can build everything up without having the top or bottom of the cube in place.

Also wired my push pull fans into a single fan plug and then mounted the fan controller board to be at the bottom rear of the cube to make fan speed adjustments an easy step.

Last thing today was to re-wire the Corsair H80 block so it will draw it's power from the CPU fan header. I know the pump only uses 4W and as I am not using it to actually feed power to the radiator fans this convenient method saves a lot of messy wiring. Just plug the short lead in and it's done.

Wiring is one thing I am trying to be really neat with on this one and my aim is not to have to attach a flying molex trail from the pico PSU. SO my solutions to this are:
1. The two fans will take their power from the fan controller and that will take 12v directly from where the mains adaptor comes in;
2. The Corsair block powered from a fan header.
3. (And I think this should work) for my 500GB SSD the power draw is max of 2W. As the SATA data plug is right next to a USB 2.0 header I am intending to use just the power from a dual USB header into a SATA power connector for a minimal routing of 5v and GND power to my SATA drive. I have never seen anyone do this, but I presume that as I have seen external USB devices use a power only connection from a USB port that there is no reason why I shouldn't be able to do that internally.

By doing these three things I can reduce the connectors going to the pico psu down to just the CPU power plug.

#24
MiniHack

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Latest pic.s

This pic shows the core of the cube without the bottom plate. Here you can see the three plates I made up that hold the core parts together.

Posted Image

First plate at the top of the shot is the metal plate that holds the outside fan and is bolted to the original drive carrier.

The second plate is a 5mm black perspex plate that fixes to one side of the original handle guide / Heatsink retaining pieces

and the third plate fixes to the other side of the same pieces.

Here is a closer shot of the first piece:

Posted Image

and the second piece:

Posted Image

And in the shot below you can see that the third piece is also used to suspend the motherboard via standoffs:

Posted Image

In this one you can see looking from the front plate down into the cube that the central area I have tried to keep as clear of clutter as I can - the water pipes have to go here and this is also the area that the fans will draw their air from.

Posted Image

Here are two side views showing how the SSD will fit.

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Here you can also see the SATA power to USB power cable I made up to keep the wiring tidy. The 7mm SATA drive sits nicely to the side of the radiator and fan combination and there would be room for another SSD on the other side too (not planning on one for this build though!).


#25
Baudouin

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Great job in this tiny Cube space. Congratz.

#26
MiniHack

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Sorry not been updated for a while. 
 
Here are a few shots from just now.
 
ijib.jpg
 
This one shows the latest version of the back which I have laser cut in house from matt black acrylic. I am bonding the acrylic to the original base, which I have given a quick spray of satin black to see if I like the colour.
 
The extra holes in the back panel are for a power inlet and outlet at 12v, the adjustment knob of the small fan controller and for an extra USB port. 
 
The 12v outlet is intended for my small "retina" display that I am making up, and the USB port can of course be used for a number of things, but internally it is connected to two of the 5v sources on a USB header so that it can provide higher power - such as for DVD recorder and also to give more possibility to use an original set of Cube speakers.
 
z5p3.jpg
 
sazc.jpg
 
I'm using JB weld to bond the parts together and when it is set I'll add more to smooth the join and then sand back, mask off the acrylic panel and spray the sides again. I have a compressible adhesive strip coming which if it looks okay I'll use to replace the original type of spongy trim strips the Cube had. I am hoping that that strip will provide a nice seal between the Cube base and the inner can (and also conceal any messiness where the panels join!).
 
So the current plan is for the Cube inner to be satin black....


#27
Mr.D.

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Hard to believe you can get all of that crammed into the cube! I'm looking forward to seeing what it looks like with the compressible adhesive strip - should clean up nicely!



#28
Baudouin

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This no more a "Great job in this tiny Cube space" This is an incredible work. It's like Gulliver work inside Lilliput world.  :thumbsup_anim:



#29
MiniHack

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@Mr D and Baudouin.

 

Thank you guys for the very nice comments. I just hope that when it is all fired up it works the way I want it to.....in my head I am already planning the next one.

 

Still got to get back to my G5 build too.  That one is waiting on me being certain of a few vital measurements before I get some big panels cut for the sides. I literally cannot afford to get my size wrong on any of the hole placements. 3mm polished ali panels are not cheap. I just wish Apple would publish detailed CAD files for their cases as it'd make things a lot simpler... :D Every time I measure the million holes in the case something seems to have moved. Maybe next month...



#30
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I know you shouldn't take photos at night, with a flash, a bad camera etc. (so apologies) but thought I'd do a micro update.
 
7epc.jpg 
 
This one is showing the back part after bonding and with the compression seal applied.
 
Also I made a small retaining piece from thin ABS sheet that holds my 500GB SSD in place against the side of the rad bracket (i.e. what used to be the drive holder before I butchered it - drive sits where the airport card would have sat). This thin ABS sheet is enough to hold the 2.5" drive in place and also to act as a trim piece to tidy cables out of sight.
 
29ou.jpg
 
ew27.jpg
 
Next post won't be for a few days. I am now though getting seriously close to being able to add the last bits and pieces and do a switch on.


#31
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Okay.....I lied.
 
Had to spend a little time today and so I cut a new top sheet for the Cube from 0.25mm plasticard.
 
mxhf.jpg
 
Essentially this is the same as the original top sheet, but where there would have been a space for the plastic grill insert I have instead filled the space with a honeycomb pattern to give a false top grill.
 
I could only find this plasticard in white, but as it is a material used a lot by modellers I gather it should be easy to spray paint.


#32
Baudouin

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Nice job. That looks so great !



#33
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So, I have taken a few steps back to move a few more forward.
 
I've actually been using the Cube in the form you saw above for a couple of weeks or so and quite happy with it, but still knowing I need to finish it off.
 
In the meantime though I was thinking that perhaps there was a little more room in there to do something with. And that maybe I should look at the graphics side to match that a little more evenly to the power of the CPU.
 
Inspired by Fleisch on TMx86 who put a Sapphire 7750 low profile into his Cube I thought that it would be nice to do the same thing in my build, but in keeping with the cooling scheme to watercool it. Watercooling is perhaps OTT for this card (as it is rated normally at 50w) but I considered that it would be worth trying to include it in the loop and see how that affects temp.s
 
As a contingency I can still if needed switch to a small external res (or even include small pump/res. combo on the Cube back and use a conventional CPU block) but as the load temp.s I have been getting with the CPU have been so good I am interested to try this out first.
 
Anyway, here is the virgin card:
 
67sv.jpg
 
and here it is being transformed:
 
zsq8.jpg
 
I couldn't find a universal block that was low enough and had side outputs and was specifically for the 7750 so I took a gamble and modified an XSPC universal RASA block. I basically ditched the mount bracket and removed the screws holding the heat transfer plate to the block and then used studding and nuts to secure the plate back together again. This studding is on a 43mm x 43mm square matrix which fits through the GPU holes.
 
xwo8.jpg
 
9nfs.jpg
 
hoia.jpg
 
The original rubber blocks from the aluminium air cooled  heatsink are re-used to provide a cushioned contact for the GPU die and nuts are used on the reverse of the card to attach it. I am hopeful that the rubber blocks will let me get a good pressure on the GPU die without me over crushing it (!).
 
vhta.jpg
 
To mount this card I made a new support piece that provides a route for a rigid PCI-e x 16 extender to come up through it and also to take a supplementary DC-DC converter board (photos to follow) and fix this all to the side supports of the Cube. 
 
The DC-DC converter board takes an unregulated supply of between 6 and 34v and provides a regulated 12v output of up to 120W. Before deciding to go ahead with this extra step I tried rigging the supplementary supply to a 24v input and using the output to supply the dedicated CPU molex connector while having the rest of the board/components supplied by the regular picopsu and tested it out under various operating conditions and all seemed to function well - so the Cube now has a potential 280W of power......not that I plan on using all of that. However, I am keen to try this as an experiment to see how well it might work. Plan is to get a high power (240W) external 12v supply and use that for everything in the Cube, but I do have to also look at getting the cabling solutions right from such a supply brick as potentially 20A needs to be factored in as an input current so a 4 pin connection system (e.g. like the original Cube used) is called for. In theory I think that by using a single high power 12v brick the Cube power regulators will not have to work hard and so heat from the PSU will not be a factor. ANyway, back to the case mod.s:
 
6p7t.jpg
 
I lowered the motherboard another 7mm over where it was before - to give more space - and here is a trial fit using an old 775 ITX board:
 
kbuu.jpg
 
Finally here is a first trial fit in the Cube base with single 120mm Noctua fan on the Alphacool radiator.
 
fyk3.jpg
 
Obviously next things to do are now a bit more complicated....new panel, more water fittings, making a circuit to ensure that the DC-DC board and picopsu can start at the same time from the on switch. So lots more things to figure out. Still, I am pretty sure one way or another it is all going to fit in there. :)


#34
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Nice tight mini build!

 

I'm just wondering how much that cpu pump block moves water?   :D



#35
MiniHack

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Nice tight mini build!

 

I'm just wondering how much that cpu pump block moves water?   :D

 

Well, the answer to that is pretty slowly, but then again it is a small loop and the tube is only 6mm diameter internal. To be honest I was sceptical it would work but I have been getting really good temperatures just cooling the CPU (doing GB stress tests with it running turbo to 4.3GHz gave CPU temp.s of less than 60C and idle was less than 30c even in this british heatwave). But yeah, the flow rate is not exactly huge.

 

I do like to play with things though to see what will happen so the next phase will really show whether the H80 pump/block and the small loop can handle it. If not then there's always a plan "B".



#36
nickjf20

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Excellent as always!



#37
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Mod finally finished off and now posted last pictures and video into the "Mac Mod" competition - http://www.insanelym...-cube-case-mod/

 

Give me a vote if you like it enough please!



#38
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So I guess I lied, these mods are never really complete are they?

 

I added an extra hard drive. So there are now 2 500GB drives (one on each side of the case) ann a 64GB mSATA (with Win 7 on it).

 

Also I have been playing with the outer case.

 

At the moment it is looking like this.

 

qj1p.jpg

 

5ss6.jpg

 

nq65.jpg

 

5hf8.jpg

 

But I'm currently now modding a case that I can use with the Cube standing up (in the conventional way). This case though has a new top - which is more open than the original top and of course has a hole at the back to exhaust the air from the radiator.

 

gvlj.jpg

 

0pwt.jpg

 

6k4e.jpg

 

0nq7.jpg

 

I think I'm going to go with a black and white scheme so the main case will be white, with a black mesh at the top and the grill being black at the back.

 

Doing lots of rubbing down now getting ready to do the paint work.







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