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Thread: The B00Mbox, my watercooled cube project, Warning! Lots of p




  1. #1
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    If I might indulge, I'd like to start this thread as a sort of worklog for a project I am currently working on which may be of interest to the forum.
    LAN gaming has finally struck in my neck of the woods, and after hauling my mid-tower there a few times, I started looking for a more portable system to build. I thought the Small Form Factor cubes looked cool, and would have just enough room for a dedicated gaming system, as long as it had an AGP slot....and didn't break the bank. I did a few more searches and found a few other SFF machines that had been watercooled. I thought to myself,"Yeah, you're JUST crazy enough to do that".
    I was a good boy, and Santa blessed me with a deal on a slightly aging technologywise, but brand new Chyang Fun S868A barebones system. I love the looks, but as I found out during the building process... this is a hot running little machine. Great excuse to try watercooling! I studied this pic for quite some time and decided I could do it:
    <img src="http://www.statgfx.com/statgfx/folding/?&username=Wordbiker&border=0,255,0&tr ans=yes&template=fah_original&.jpg" alt="www.Statgfx.com" />
    Revenge is just a respawn away....Pagosa LAN Parties

  2. #2
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    I started looking around at watercooling parts, asking n00bish questions in the forums, and estimating where and how I would place all the bits and pieces. For hardware, I looked hard at what was the minimum I needed for a decent gaming machine, and decided on:

    * Pentium 4 "B" 2.66GHz (Yeah, I wish it was a "C", but the mobo is limited to a 533MHz FSB)
    * 512MB Geil PC3200 (It was on sale)
    * 120GB Seagate HD, 7200RPM, 8MB cache
    * Lite-On CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drive
    * ATI Radeon 9800 pro (Stolen from my main rig)
    * XP Pro
    * Conspicuously absent floppy drive

    I quickly got it all running and confirmed that it indeed gets hot...the 9800 Pro, which I was surprised ran on the relatively wimpy 150W PSU at all, crashed from heat when I was benchmarking with 3DMark 2001 with the case sides on!
    After selecting the Hardware Labs Black Ice Micro 2 as the largest radiator I could theoretically fit inside the case, some measurements and drawings confirmed it....it would fit by scant millimeters! That front I/O panel would have to go, but would I really miss having an antiquated Gameport on the front of the case? NO! Hack! Nibble! Dremel!
    <img src="http://www.statgfx.com/statgfx/folding/?&username=Wordbiker&border=0,255,0&tr ans=yes&template=fah_original&.jpg" alt="www.Statgfx.com" />
    Revenge is just a respawn away....Pagosa LAN Parties

  3. #3
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    After opening the box for the radiator, I got a lapful of black flakes. I guess they painted this guy on a Friday, as the paint hadn't bonded well and was flaking off....good thing I'd planned to paint it anyway. ;)
    A test fit with a slight mod of the HD cage showed theory and application coming together:
    <img src="http://www.statgfx.com/statgfx/folding/?&username=Wordbiker&border=0,255,0&tr ans=yes&template=fah_original&.jpg" alt="www.Statgfx.com" />
    Revenge is just a respawn away....Pagosa LAN Parties

  4. #4
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    And the radiator waiting to be placed in its new home...after several coats of white fluorescent primer, some kelly green, jade metalflake, several coats of UV reactive green clearcoat, and a couple coats of clear enamel:
    <img src="http://www.statgfx.com/statgfx/folding/?&username=Wordbiker&border=0,255,0&tr ans=yes&template=fah_original&.jpg" alt="www.Statgfx.com" />
    Revenge is just a respawn away....Pagosa LAN Parties

  5. #5
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    As for the rest of the parts, I found a few GPU waterblocks that would perhaps fit within the case, considering that the AGP slot is outermost on the motherboard, but wasn't happy with the performance ratings given, or lack thereof, or the line configuration. Also, most only had fittings for 1/4" ID waterlines, and I wanted a bit more cooling if I was to bother with going through all this work. After more forum and PM discussions, I decided that the case was just going to have to be MADE to fit it all in. I ordered the following:

    * Swiftech MCW-5000-P socket 478 waterblock, for ease of installation in such a small space as well as the 45 degree line configuration and lack of barbs. Quick-connects to 3/8" diameter tubing.
    * Swiftech MCW-50 GPU waterblock, also for the lack of barbs for tighter bends, and it mounts on the stock 9800 pro holes.
    * Hydor L20 pump, for its small size and high performance and reliability ratings. Added bonus: I will run it directly from the 120V line inside the PSU, activated by a relay switch as to not rob the puny PSU of any precious 12V resources.
    * A ton of acrylic plastic sheeting. Includes green acrylic mirror, UV reactive green and orange, 3" ID acrylic tube, 1/2" ID acrylic tube, various sizes and thicknesses of clear, 1/4" acrylic rod. All for mods to be revealed as I complete them. :D
    * Various colored electroluminescent wires, green and UV LED kits, an EL chaser kit, and an Antec HD cooler to be disassembled for parts as it doesn't really work that well as a HD cooler, front USB ports to go with a USB 2.0 PCI card (Yeah, it only had 1.1, and that filled the only PCI slot).
    * 3/8" ID Tygon tubing and a "T" fitting and barbed cap for filling the system, plastic tubing clamps.
    * Swiftech coolant.
    * A ton of UV reactive cable sheathing, molex connectors and shrinktube, not that it has that much wiring.
    * 3 UV reactive green 80mm fans, rated at just under 40CFM, for the rad and to replace the wimpy 60mm fan in the PSU.
    * Whatever else I'm forgetting

    More pictures as the work progresses.: peace2: :cheers:
    <img src="http://www.statgfx.com/statgfx/folding/?&username=Wordbiker&border=0,255,0&tr ans=yes&template=fah_original&.jpg" alt="www.Statgfx.com" />
    Revenge is just a respawn away....Pagosa LAN Parties

  6. #6
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    Hmm, no reservior???
    I wonder how that will affect the cooling? its a small unit, so the hit may be bigger than on a bigger system, but only time will tell.
    Nice to see im not the only one working on WC system. although seeing amd_man's pic helped me get back to that project ;)

    PS
    Will you have enough clearance between the card and side for GPU block and 45deg hose?
    kinda tight fit, but good luck.
    More pics will be great. even if its something thats not exactly working.

  7. #7
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    I don't think not having a res will make that much of a difference really, they mainly help to bleed and refill the system.

    The one thing that i can see that may not work in Wordbiker's favour is the (from what i see) lack of possible airflow. from the pic of the test placement, there isn't enough space for any 8cm fans inside that section of the case

    Other than that, looks good Wordbiker :thumb:

  8. #8
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    Hey, thanks for the replies!
    Yes, the issues you fellows mentioned are there. There isn't enough room to put fans on the inside of that rad, and it does mount directly to the inside front of the case...that's why the fans are going on the front. Sounds ugly, but I'm doing some heavy mods to the fans to both solve the space issue and to create a "look" that goes with my theme. You won't even recognize them as fans by the time I finish. I've been working on that most recently, though it's a bit slow going as I'm working with acrylic plastics for the very first time...well, I mean other than for a simple window.
    I am also hoping that the lack of a reservoir doesn't effect the cooling too much, but that remains to be seen as I had a major holdup in shipping on my watercooling parts. They should arrive today, and I can get started on testing that system. I also have a plan to mod that HD cage using the heatsink from the Antec HD cooler. It will open up the inside of the case for more airflow and perhaps even remove some heat from the HD. It will also create a bracket to mount my pump on.
    As for the GPU waterblock, yeah, I have a scant 3/4" from the edge of the PC board slot to the inside of the case side. The Swiftech MCW-50 block is 1.25" high...slight problem. That is why I decided on "powerbulges", a term a guy named Johnny English used at Pimprig.com. Check out his work, it's top notch. With the UV plastic, I will be cutting shapes to go along with my theme and applying them to the outside of the case, creating a small amount of interior space. It's tough to explain but I think it's going to look and work well. I'm waiting to win a bid on a scrollsaw before I get into that project. Also, that GPU cooler has hose fittings that exit the side of the block, so the tubing enters and exits parallel to the video card, not like the 45 degree fittings on the CPU block. It's also a squeaky fit, but what isn't on this tiny case? Because of this, the tubing will have to make some pretty sharp turns and the danger of kinking hoses is very real. I'd seen springs used, and although it was said that they don't impede waterflow, I just didn't like the looks of it. In problem areas I plan to use the 1/2" ID acrylic tube bent with heat and a mandrel so it doesn't collapse as an exterior support sleeve for the Tygon tubing.
    A lot of what I have now is just parts and raw materials. I've been waiting for the last of the parts to take certain measurements before I commit to cutting anything else up. This case has challenged my carpentry skills quite a bit. The precise layout has been both a real pain...and a lot of fun. So far it looks as though I've shoehorned in the best performing watercooling system I possibly can, with not much room to spare. If it becomes necessary, I do have some room to put in a custom reservoir...I'll just get out the shoehorn again, but I'd prefer to keep the w/c system as simple as possible.
    <img src="http://www.statgfx.com/statgfx/folding/?&username=Wordbiker&border=0,255,0&tr ans=yes&template=fah_original&.jpg" alt="www.Statgfx.com" />
    Revenge is just a respawn away....Pagosa LAN Parties

  9. #9
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    Because of this, the tubing will have to make some pretty sharp turns and the danger of kinking hoses is very real. I'd seen springs used, and although it was said that they don't impede waterflow, I just didn't like the looks of it. In problem areas I plan to use the 1/2" ID acrylic tube bent with heat and a mandrel so it doesn't collapse as an exterior support sleeve for the Tygon tubing
    Maybe just using a 90deg elbow with barbs on both ends? might be easier to do. I dont know how well I would trust a plastic that has been heated and streched. :rolleyes2
    But definetly a good try. Post more pics of the system

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kane2g
    Maybe just using a 90deg elbow with barbs on both ends? might be easier to do. I dont know how well I would trust a plastic that has been heated and streched. :rolleyes2
    But definetly a good try. Post more pics of the system
    Rest assured Kane2g, I won't be using the plastic tubing to contain the coolant. It will merely be a shell that the Tygon tubing will pass through to prevent it from kinking or collapsing. I got the idea after seeing that others had used tubing clamps for the same purpose...placed at the apex of a bend, it keeps the tubing in a round shape instead of flattening out. The thing I like about this idea is that unlike a spring, the plastic will hold the tubing rigidly in place, and I can direct it more accurately around the video card, etc. and it will stay there. A 90 degree barbed elbow might indeed be easier, but elbows restrict flow, and won't allow me to get the exact angle I need, and aren't nearly as elegant as I hope my idea will turn out. It still remains to be seen how well I can heat bend the plastic, so going with fittings may end up what I go with. I know I need at least one 90 degree elbow at the pump, and I do have a barbed "T" fitting and a threaded plug for filling/bleeding the coolant.
    Here is a hint of what I'm doing with the front pair of fans:
    <img src="http://www.statgfx.com/statgfx/folding/?&username=Wordbiker&border=0,255,0&tr ans=yes&template=fah_original&.jpg" alt="www.Statgfx.com" />
    Revenge is just a respawn away....Pagosa LAN Parties

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