Here's an initial design render:
And a render of the watercooling loop:
I wont post all of the pictures of parts, instead you can check out the full album.
I didn't take many photos while actually modding as I tend to just get stuck in until it's done. It was basically a case of measuring the motherboard tray, cutting a hole in the back of the case with a Dremel and test fitting the motherboard tray. It took 5 or 6 test fits to get it right, as I had to file grooves for the rivets to allow the back of the motherboard tray to sit flush with the back of the case.
I have tapped 4 of the ventilation holes on the back of the case so that I can secure the tray to the case using 4 M3 screws.
Here's the case all gutted out ready for modding:
But first I needed to mod the motherboard tray. I cut out a hole for 2 80mm fans instead of the original single fan mount, as well as cutting a slot for the back panel clasp and a hole for the SATA cable to be hidden below the motherboard tray where the SSD will be mounted. There's also some cable management slots cut into the sides for the front panel cables as well as the 8 pin.
Once the back of the motherboard tray was cut, I used it as a stencil to cut out the back panel of the case.
Here you can see the holes cut into the floor of the case. The 2 large circles towards the front of the case are for the radiator plugs to sit in so that I can use them to drain the loop. I'll also be using 10mm extension fittings to give the radiator a little more support. There's also two holes for mounting the pump and 2 more to mount the L bracket used to hold the radiator down.
I cut out the original harddrive tray to act as a PSU holder. The fan screws will be threaded through the bracket to secure it down, and then the bracket mounted to the case. There's also a hole for the tubing to pass through to the main compartment.
This is how the motherboard will sit inside the case when it's done.
And this is where the watercooling components will sit.
Here you can see the rad is as far forward as possible which will allow room for a set of fans, but unfortunately not enough space for some shrouds as I had originally planned.
The radiator takes up a huge amount of space when the fans are installed. 130mm thickness altogether!
I had to use a 10mm extension, a 45° fitting and a 90° fitting to be able to route tubing from the pump to the radiator
They align almost perfectly.
Once everything was in place and all of the cuts and holes were made to the case, I started to sound proof it. There's two reasons for the sound proofing, firstly to try and absorb some of the noise that echoes around the solid aluminium case, and secondly for aesthetics. I didn't want a fully aluminium interior and there were a lot of holes in the case from the original Apple hardware which I wanted to cover up some how. The back panel has 2 layers of 3mm closed cell foam, the first of which has holes so that the smaller screws line up with the surface, and a second layer to cover up the small screws. The larger standoffs have been left as they will be used to support the motherboard tray and used for cable management.
The PSU in the top is such a tight fit that I had to cut out a gap in the roof sound proofing else it wouldn't fit.
And here's how it looks with the components back in.
Assembling the build starts with the power supply and the mechanism which locks the side panel when closed.
Next comes the motherboard tray, with the SSD attached and cables running underneath.
Next in is the Monsta rad - so big that I had to take the CPU block off to squeeze it in.. The tubing had to be attached to the rear of the rad before installing it which didn't make things any easier.
Then I cleaned up the TIM and remounted the CPU block.
Next was the most annoying part - the pump. It's mounted using silicone fan mounts which have some washers to keep them from slipping out. I had to feed the silicone through the hole in the case floor and pull it through the other side - it sounds a lot easier than it is, as it all has to be done pretty much blind.
Onto the second most annoying part was tubing the pump to the rad. Such a tight space made it a little difficult, but the silicone pump mount enabled me to wiggle the pump around to ease the tubing on.
Next the res was installed onto the pump and the GPUs slotted into place. Tubing had to be attached to the reservoir before installing it to save having to deal with the cramped space.
Then cut and fit the tubing to the GPU blocks.
And then route the tubing to the CPU block. It's quite a tight bend but the 11/16mm tubing handled it quite well.
That was pretty much it.. Time to fill her up and hope for the best.. :eek:
Reservoir filled for the first time - no leaks is always a good thing.. Was not looking forward to turning it on for the first time just incase I'd forgotten to plug a hole or I'd missed an o-ring..
Thankfully everything went ok and I managed to fill the loop with just over 1 litre of fluid.
Now to let it run for a few hours to leak test and bleed the bubbles out of it. And due to how the loop is set up and the 3way parallelness it takes a fair amount of effort to bleed all of the bubbles out.
I then swapped out the original 560Tis with a pair of 680s, and due to the extra length of the cards I had to use a shorter reservoir to fit everything in.
And here are some finished shots:
I ended up cleaning the insides up a little - removed Alphacool logo (and ended up vinyl wrapping the radiator after the paint chipped off), made a cover for the top compartment, and fixed the GPU cables:
The mirrored acrylic:
How the mirrored acrylic works:
Night shot of the case with the window on and lights turned on:
And finally the internals with the window off and lights off:
Thanks for checking out my build, any feedback is greatly appreciated.