Desert Sapphire

The time has come to introduce another build project, this one being a client build. All of the primary hardware has been purchased and I’m just waiting on water cooling parts to arrive. This one is called Desert Sapphire. It’ll have a mostly blue theme and will be water cooled.

Mainboard: ASRock X99 Extreme4
CPU: Intel i7-5820k
RAM: 16GB EVGA DDR4-2800 SuperSC (4x4GB)
Storage: Samsung 850 EVO M.2 SSD
Graphics: EVGA GTX 980 SC ACX 2.0
OS: Windows 10 Home
Chassis: Corsair 750D

This is going to be a very high-end build, and it’ll be the first truly high-end system the client has ever owned, and he’s very excited about getting this system. Currently he’s running a second-generation Intel i3 with a Zotac GT620, so the difference here is like night and day. There’s also an interesting story behind this build.

The client had actually been out of work for a while but wasn’t really actively looking for work — he’s a younger man in his early 20s still living at home. So I proposed to him that I’d build him a system if he found a job and put up some of the cost. So he’s put up about half the cost of the system, and I’m absorbing the rest. The chassis is actually the 750D from β Ori. that will be available once I move that system into a 19″ rack.

And as I said, the system is going to be water cooled as well. Many of the parts have already been settled and/or ordered, at least on brands.

CPU block: EK Supremacy EVO
GPU block: Aquacomputer kryographics with passive backplate
Radiators: AlphaCool ST30, size to be determined
Pump: Koolance PMP-420 or PMP-500

This system will actually be externally water-cooled. There will be an inlet and outlet to the chassis that will be connected via Koolance quick disconnects, very similar to what I did for Colony West. The question that’s up in the air still is what to use to house the external water cooling setup.

And I’ve had a few ideas, all of which so far involve modifying something from off the shelf. The idea on that mark is I want it to look like a piece of furniture with the tubing and cabling going from the back of the computer to the box. I’ve looked at night stands and small cabinets mostly.

I’m doing this for a couple reasons. First, the client lives in Nevada — i.e. desert, hence the name. This means that there will be what some would consider over-kill radiator capacity. I’m currently planning on 6x120mm. The pump is also a little up in the air as I’m considering going with something more powerful than a D5 to ensure there won’t be any flow problems. On that I’m considering two pumps from Koolance: PMP-420 and PMP-500. I may end up going with a D5 in the end, simply but again flow is the primary concern.

The other reason I’m doing this is simply because I can. The client has voiced no objection to going that direction with the loop and trusts my judgment on this. But at the same time I’m wanting to demonstrate what I talked about in a segment of the β Ori. build log and that AntVenom demonstrated with his setup:

The box will contain the pump, reservoir, and radiators. Coolant will pass from the pump up to the system, through the blocks, then back out to the box where it will pass through the radiators and go back to the reservoir. The quick disconnects will be color coordinated to ensure that the flow goes in the right direction. There will be a small ATX power supply controlling the fans and pump that will be synchronized to the main power supply. More on that when I get there.

And here’s the best part: the cooling system is independent of the chassis. This means that the client could later add a second GTX 980 without affecting the radiator box. It’d affect only the main chassis, and not really all that much. Plus with all of the radiators external to the system, the radiators will have completely open airflow, meaning maximum cooling potential. The chassis could even be changed out later without having to worry about the radiators, and the radiators could be upgraded or additional ones added without worrying about the chassis.

Doing this provides for so much flexibility I’m surprised so few people are doing this. While there are some complications with going this route, they are relatively easy to overcome, provided you actually put some thinking into it.

The only part of owning a water cooled system that the setup would complicate is maintenance, but even then not really by much. It is something I’ll have to keep in mind when building the box, though, as the client will likely be the one maintaining this system unless I agree to go back out there about once a year. Aside from that, all he’d have to do is keep the fans and radiators cleared of dust.

That’s it for this part of the build log. Some of the water cooling parts have been ordered, but with Thanksgiving around the corner, it’ll be interesting to see when they arrive. The Aquacomputer block was also ordered direct from Aquacomputer in Germany, so hopefully it won’t take over a month to receive it. But if that happens, there will still be plenty to work on in the mean time.

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