Electronics + Water = ?
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Posted: 04/05/2008 8:05 PM
When I first heard about liquid cooling for your PC I knew that it would be a major part of my new computer. I admit I was apprehensive about putting water so close to expensive electronics but the sheer nerdiness of it all took over and I had to have it. However water cooling is only for the flashiest gaming rigs around, so a new computer, built by myself with hand picked components was a must.
To start I knew basically what I wanted:
- Liquid cooling
- Quad core CPU
- 8800GTX's in SLI
But to get it all together required a lot of research and time, convenient as I would not have the available funds for a while...But rather then bore you with the details here is the final list.
The components I chose for my rig:
The Heart (PSU - Power Supply Unit) - Enermax Galaxy 1k Watt
It seems odd to say, but this is my favourite part of my new PC. It is built like a rock quite frankly and weighs similarly. If my computer was hit by a bomb, this would be the like the black box (incidently it is glossy black, a reason for selection). It was one of the most stable PSU's out at the time and with modular cables excellent for upgrading and adding extra molex plugs, essential for water cooling and case cooling. But perhaps most importantly it met the power demands for SLI compatibility.
The Nervous System (Motherboard) - EVGA 680i SLI A1 Revision
After a lot, and I mean a lot of umm'ing and ahh'ing about which motherboard to choose the Evga just seemed to be the best choice. I originally had my heart set on the Asus Striker Extreme but after reading some none too flattering reviews I switched to EVGA. This mobo seemed the most friendly for overclocking, something I was going to dabble in once I had the PC to do it. Again it also ticked to boxes of my requirements, SLI compatibility and Intel Socket 775 for my quad core CPU, which brings me too...
The Brain (CPU - Central Processing Unit) - Intel QX6700
Why spend so much on this particular part I hear you say? Well first I got it a lot cheaper then retail because I bought OEM stock. Second, the CPU was going to be part of the bottleneck of my new PC because of the processing rate of the GPU's, so I got the best I could afford to alleviate this problem. Also I would never go back to single core, running multiple programs is something you learn to love.
The Short Term Memory (RAM - Random Access Memory) - 4 Gb of Crucial Ballistix
I got this for a really good price from a company that went belly up shortly afterwards, sadly I lost money on another order from the same company, but all part of the internet shopping learning experience. This RAM was good bang for your buck value and had a bit of head room for overclocking to boot. I opted for 4 gigabytes (2x2Gb kits, made up of 2x1Gb pieces - confused?) and only because I planned to load Windows Vista and heard it was RAM hungry.
The Long Term Memory (HDD - Hard Disc Drive) - Seagate 500GB 7200.11 Drive
Here more then anywhere price was a serious factor. This particular drive represented the best in buffer size (32mb) and in GB per $. The Sata interface was also a major selling point as I never wanted to see the ribbon cable of IDE again. I happened to buy this bundled with my OEM copy of Vista Ultimate, again OEM saved me a stack of cash. Together with the feeble 120gb drive of my old PC it would be more then enough storage.
The Eyes (GPU - Graphic Proccessing Unit) - EVGA 8800GTX x2
This was an expensive part, buying 2 was really expensive but in all honesty worth every cent. This was a gaming rig from the get-go so if I didn't spend some serious mulah here where was it going to to go? And for what you spend you do get back, while others complained about Crysis melting their PC's and horrendously low frame rates, I enjoyed a baby-butt smooth experience. Assasins Creed is beautiful in SLI-Technicolor truly a sight to behold. And load times? - what load times? You must mean that frustrating period of time where you attempt to look at the screen art only to have it swiftly taken from you?
The Circulatory System (Liquid Cooling) - Radiical Ultra Triple
Taking the plunge as it were, getting my beak wet, getting up to my ankles, seriously I have a whole bag of these...
It may seem daunting to the outsider but I stand here to assure you it is easy to set up as long as you get the right pieces. Radiical being an Australian supplier was a big selling point, I also knew they stocked high quality components so when I did the math on their kits it was a no-brainer. And the Temperatures dont lie, with an ambient of around 20 Celsius the very hot running CPU sits at 29-30 Celsius.
And Last but not least;
The Body (Case) - Silverstone TJ10
Now I don't know whether you know, but the 8800 GTX isnt the most petite of GPU's infact it could be mistaken as a small car. Of course when you have 2 to fit into a case then you start having a real problem with Liquid cooling on top of that the problem of space really becomes an issue. So I decieded to fight fire with fire, if Nvidia were going to release GPU's that would soon have their own gravitational pull I would put them inside a case of such immense size even they would be dwarfed. Enter the Silverstone TJ10 (in black, of course) when I signed for the package the delivery man gave me a strange look, as if to say I didn't know they made computers this large, I said it was lucky it wasn't a CM Stacker. It fit everything and then some in the large cavernous interior with room to spare and I love the brushed alluminium look.
Which brings me to assembly and switching on. All of the parts fitted together smoothly no imcompatibilities, in fact the most difficult part was getting Windows Vista installed (...Surprise Surprise...) but I dragged it on kicking and screaming, and once up it looked all sparkly shiny, just how I imagined it. 3DMark06 was next and I got a reasonable score in the high 12k region. But for me the real test was gaming, and I must say it excels. What ever I throw at it, this computer chews it up and that is the most gratifying aspect. I set out to get a computer with the best gaming performance I could afford and I feel I got it.
I don't think I could slap on an out of ten rating for my PC because I don't see it as one thing, each component has its advantages/disadvantages and story. So instead I will say this, Building this computer was fun! - I reccomend building a computer to anyone, it is a excellenct learning experience both from a hands-on and theory aspect. If you do the research you will end up with a computer which is exactly to your specifications! - You can't beat custom built.
And here she is:
Under the Hood Note the fine cable management.
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