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Mosquito

Watercooled BitFenix Portal - Updated 31 Jul 2018

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Been a while since I've posted a project log, so for those who don't know me, or don't remember, Hi, I'm Mosquito, also known as Chris, and I'm a case modding enthusiast :)

 

A coworker and I were talking about some of the case mods I've done in the past, and as a result wanted to try watercooling his BitFenix Portal case. He thought switching back to the Wraith cooler for the CPU, and doing a custom loop with a 120mm radiator for just the GPU would be all he'd get. I told him I bet I could fit a 240mm radiator in there, so that's what we've decided to go after...

 

It actually took a lot less modding than I thought it might, as we got relatively lucky with the radiator just clearing the GPU block, but we'll get into that more later.

 

First things first, this is the Bit Befnix Portal, for those who are not familiar

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_01.jpg

 

Something that makes things a little weird, is that the chassis slides out of the main shell, so we had to make sure we allowed that to continue working through all this.

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_02.jpg

 

This is what the 'stock' build consisted of. ASRock B350 ITX, Ryzen 1600X, and an RX Vega 56.

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_03.jpg

 

First things first, gotta tear that down.

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_04.jpg

 

With the case empty this is, roughly speaking, what we intend to make happen.

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_06.jpg

 

Removing the back fascia gives a pretty compact little chassis. Though with some indexing pins on the bottom, it doesn't sit on the workbench very well!

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_07.jpg

 

Next up, remove the drive cage. I'm not sure why this wasn't easily removable, as the bottom is mostly held in place by some sliding connections, but never the less there were 6 rivets to drill out

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_08.jpg

 

After some fiddling around, we realized that it was going to be a lot more work to get the radiator mounted on the outside of the case, so we would have to make fans in front work instead.

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_09.jpg

 

Next up, we'll have to get it to fit both fans up front, so stay tuned for that, and please ask questions, post comments, and let me know what you think. Forums are about community, whether we all agree or not :)

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5 minutes ago, kaisounovsky said:

high aiflow obstruction at the front , any plans for a custom curved front grill ? I bet you thought about it Mosquito 😛

lol I did mention it, but he liked the look of it the way it was, so we decided to try it as is first, and see what it's like.  I also wanted to add a window, but that got veto'ed too lol

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2 minutes ago, Mosquito said:

lol I did mention it, but he liked the look of it the way it was, so we decided to try it as is first, and see what it's like.  I also wanted to add a window, but that got veto'ed too lol

😁 it possibly can work this way since  The fans you intend to use seems to be powerful enough,   " Gentle typhoons" right ? 
Good luck 

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38 minutes ago, kaisounovsky said:

😁 it possibly can work this way since  The fans you intend to use seems to be powerful enough,   " Gentle typhoons" right ? 
Good luck 

Close, they're the EK Vader clones of the Gentle Typhoons.  Still pretty good.  I think it will do alright, there's actually more airflow than you'd think, even if not as much as we'd like 😄

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That is one idea we're rolling around currently.  Temp differences are about 20C between inside the case and outside... ouch

 

And just think, had I left the fluorescent lights in the shop my tan may have progressed even faster! 😛

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It looks like half of the front's intake is from inside the case, breathing it's own farts so to speak. From the pics, it pulls air from the rounded areas to the front, right? It might be possible to close off venting on the frame top and bottom to duct fresh air straight to the radiator. I'd try taping some stuff off for a test.

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3 hours ago, Cheapskate said:

It looks like half of the front's intake is from inside the case, breathing it's own farts so to speak. From the pics, it pulls air from the rounded areas to the front, right? It might be possible to close off venting on the frame top and bottom to duct fresh air straight to the radiator. I'd try taping some stuff off for a test.

@Cheapskate  great Idea for airflow tests 😍
but For this case, You forgot the GPU  which is breathing from the top rounded vents 🙂

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8 hours ago, Cheapskate said:

Nope. If they slap a plexi window over it, it can partake of the 120mm x 2  breeze from the front. It'll be on water too.

Sorry , I didn't know they are going to water it, 
they will definitely remove that shitty Radeon Stock fan , how I didn't notice that !! 😩

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Given the not insignificant difference in temps between inside and outside the case, we will likely end up taking a look at additional things to help with airflow.  And the owner of the case swapped out an RX 480 with dual fan cooler (don't remember which one that was), for this Vega 56 reference cooler, as it actually helped temperatures out.  The blower style cooler directed almost all the hot GPU air out the back, instead of just "down and around".  

 

 

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Alright, now that we've proven that we should be able to make the radiator and fans fit in the front of this thing, we had to cut open the front to make room for those fans...

 

(This was his first time using a rotary tool, for the record)

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_10.jpg

 

We trimmed out the cross brace, and made the opening a little wider to line up with the OEM fan opening. Also trimmed the fan opening a little taller towards the top as well.

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_11.jpg

 

We did a test fit with both fans and the radiator, and realized at that point we needed to make the opening a little larger, so out came the rotary tool again

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_12.jpg

 

Now things fit quite nicely. Ports on the top, because we'd have to cut out even more to flip it, and we had planned the loop out to run one of the lines straight between GPU and radiator.  We're starting a new way to do Push-Pull with a single layer of fans on your 240mm radiator 😛

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_14.jpg

 

We also drilled a set of 4 holes in the bottom of the case to install a 2.5" drive (in addition to the M.2 SSD)

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_37.jpg

 

And don't forget to paint your freshly cut edges :)

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_30.jpg

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_31.jpg

 

Weirdly, that's about it for the actual modifications to the case. Next up, we'll be working on the watercooling part of it...

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1 hour ago, Cheapskate said:

One of the rotary tool's biggest problems is that the fan venting is exactly where you hold it. I think this is why so many of them burn up.

Yes indeed  , 
one more reason from my personal experience  I used to have a Dremel 300 ,  working always with the flex shaft extension attached , so the fan vents were always free of any obstruction, & away from dust & cutted steel debris ...
 one day I noticed the tool became week, & its rotation at low to medium speeds is like jerking , got it disassembled & found a burnt cable inside of the Armature coils ( The Rotor ) . can you imagine, just one damaged copper cable & you got a performance decrease about 60 % !! 😲
main cause of this failure, is getting attachement tools stuck into the piece I am working on, ( most frequently  engraving bits , cutting disks, drill bits )  especially the chinese low quality ones ( not dremel genuine)   , if your tool is stuck, turn the dremel off instantly, otherwise the coils will overheat without air ventilation.
best combination I'm using actually is : a new Dremel 3000 for medium to low speed works, like engraving, polishing or little sanding.
& I bought a powerful 500 watts no name die grinder with a small mandrel, , using it for more power demanding tasks like cutting steel or grinding.
 

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After modding the case to fit the watercooling gear we wanted to, it's time to get the parts ready to watercool 🙂

 

First was to remove the stock heatsink and install the waterblock on the Vega 56

Shiny

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_15.jpg

 

We got the waterblock on the CPU and got the radiator installed

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_16.jpg

 

Got the extra 80mm radiator installed, and start running some of the tubing

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_17.jpg

 

We routed the tubing for the GPU from the radiator around the edge.  
This was probably our favorite run of all of them, as it showcases well in the top window

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_18.jpg

 

This is essentially the loop completed.  
We still have to flush and clean out the radiator, but at last we know it fits :)

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_20.jpg

 

 A quick sneak peak at the top window

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_24.jpg

 

We figured we better make sure we can get the PSU and wires in as well, so we put that in before calling the fit good.

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_28.jpg

 

Then we took it all apart, so we could clean everything thuroughly before reassembly.

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_34.jpg

 

 

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Little hiatus due to work, but back at it now... I sign everything I build/make for modding and woodworking.

This one under the motherboard on the tray.
Shhh he doesn't know :) (ok, he does know, but he didn't lol)

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_35.jpg

 

Mike started out with getting the motherboard, and the radiators, pump reservoir installed in place.
The pump/reservoir/radiator assembly is much easier to put together outside the case, before installing.

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_36.jpg

 

After that, reinstalled the hard drive

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_37.jpg

 

Tight spaces, but we got the GPU, and PSU installed, and everything plumbed and wired up

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_38.jpg

 

After leak testing it with distilled water for a while, we drained it and filled it with XSPC white liquid.
I'm not a fan, but it's the look Mike wanted 🙂

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_39.jpg

 

I do have to admit, it does look good. I just usually prefer distilled water + biocide

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_40.jpg

 

Next up we reattached the front button/light cable, and reinstalled the front (side) I/O board.

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_41.jpg

 

Then just slide it back in to the outer shell

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_42.jpg

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_43.jpg

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_44.jpg

Bit_Fenix_Portal_Watercooled_45.jpg

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