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HELIOS - ASSEMBLED 2015-SEP-06 - (CL SMH10 | Black/Copper | EVGA SR-2 Black Edition)

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Table of Contents

01. 2013-APR-27: The SMH10 - Unpacking and Assembly

02. 2013-APR-28: Radiators

03. 2013-APR-29: Making a New Workshop

04. 2013-APR-29: My Old Rig

05. 2013-APR-30: The Raystorm CPU Blocks

06. 2013-JUN-16: PSU & Pump Mount, Making the 24 Pin Cable

07. 2013-JUN-21: Small Cable Progress Update

08. 2013-JUN-21: Cable Lacing Tutorial

09. 2013-JUL-06: What 40~50 Hours of Cabling Will Get You...

10. 2013-JUL-18: Various Smaller Bits

11. 2013-JUL-22: A Copper Face Plate for the Lamptron FC5V2

12. 2013-JUL-25: The Aqua Computer Aqualis Copper Edition

13. 2013-SEP-14: Prototype: The Bitfenix Spectre Pro Copper Edition

14. 2013-SEP-15: Painting the M/B Block Screws

15. 2013-SEP-20: Fan Disassembly: How-To

16. 2013-SEP-22: Quick Status Shot of the Unfinished Rig

17. 2013-SEP-23: The Bitfenix Spectre Pro Copper Edition (cont.)

18. 2013-OCT-01: Colour-Coordinating the Kryographics Titan

19. 2013-OCT-08: Loop Planning

20. 2013-OCT-09: Colour-Coordinating the Raystorms

21. 2013-OCT-13: Deciding on a Backplate, Small M/B Teaser

22. 2013-OCT-13: The EVGA SR-2 Black Edition

23. 2013-OCT-28: Requesting Opinions on Fittings

24. 2013-OCT-29: Colour-Coordinating the RAM Blocks]

25. 2015-SEP-03: Progress! Motherboard Looped Up

26. 2015-SEP-06: Assembled!

Current Status




Introductory Blabla

Yes, yes, the SR-2 is old news by now, I'm well aware of that. However, it was not yet when I

started this build in early summer 2011. My health troubles intervened soon after that (again)

and put a stop to my plans. Since I really did not want to sell the hardware I had already

bought (the SR-2 among it), I decided to stick it out and finish it when my health and funds

allowed for it.

Originally, this was going to be a scratchbuild, but the nice thing about having such a long

delay is that Caselabs have brought out pretty much the perfect case in the meantime. My own

box would have been pretty similar in its layout to the SMH10 and also made from Alu. But

buying all the raw materials and the tools necessary to do it properly would have probably cost

me more than the SMH10, so I just decided to go for that.

The Name

Hysterical Excess Labouring Independently Of Sanity, aka HELIOS.

Because: It's been going on for more than two years. And I am definitely starting to question my

sanity .

Also: I've been naming my PC's after Greek deities since forever. The first PC I built was an

AMD Thunderbird C 1.4 GHz machine back in 2001, which lasted me for a few years, and it was

called Helios (I use the name as the PC's host name within our network, for those wondering

what practical use it has).

It died a fiery death at the hands of a water cooling accident: Using the Eheim 1048 I had been

befallen by the rattling pump wheel. Naturally, I wrapped some tape around the axle which solved

that problem. Unfortunately, the tape became brittle over time and eventually, a piece of tape

broke off and clogged the loop. Killed the flow, cooked the CPU (no overheating protection back

then). I'll see if I can get some pics of the damage to the Cuplex and post them later.

After that, I took that name out of use, until now. It's time for a revival.

Oh, the original HELIOS was name after the A.I. from the original Deus Ex game, but I've always

had an interest in Greek mythology, so it was a nice fit.

The Inspiration

Originally, PrometheusCU. I'm sure many of you are familiar with it, and those who aren't:

Go read it, now! I'll wait a few days.

Sadly, its creator passed on and never finished it (it did go to a friend of his, but no activity

since last summer, at least not in the original thread ). I don't nearly have his set of skills

and/or tools, but that doesn't change the inspiration part.

Also, B NEGATIVE's SR-2 rig.

The Main Hardware

As a side note: The computing power of this rig will mostly go to BOINC (I might use it for

gaming from time to time, we shall see). If F@H ever get their stuff together with regards to

GPU folding on Linux (highly unlikely ), I might switch over to folding again, since I'd been

doing that for about 18 months before switching to BOINC due to the GPU problem (and a few other

niggles I have with the project's behavior towards its donors).

The O/S will most likely be Arch Linux (since I've been using that for about two and a half

years now and am quite comfortable with it), or if I feel experimental Gentoo or even FreeBSD.

Certainly not Windows. I need my xterm and Z shell and UNIX utilities.

If the Aquacomputer's Aquasuite ever gets useable on Linux I might get an Aquaero,

but for now the Lamptron controller will do just fine.


  • M/B: EVGA SR-2
  • CPU: 2 x Xeon x5680 (not ES, normal retail version, got them for half price

    on eBay, brand spanking new)

  • RAM: 24 GB of Corsair Dominator 1866
  • GPU: 1 x Geforce Titan (should do well at computing)
  • SSD: Intel 520 120 GB
  • HDD: TBD
  • PSU: Enermax Platimax 1200 W (don't need that much power, but the

    weaker models aren't fully modular, more reasoning for my decision later on)

  • Case: Caselabs SMH10, reverse ATX layout, obviously in black
Originally, I was going to use a Koolance 1.7 kW liquid cooled PSU, but it turned out to be

incompatible with the SR-2. I'm not kidding, the PSU is fine, as was the M/B last time I

powered it on with a different PSU. Somehow, the initial self-check of the SR-2 is not liked

at all by the Koolance PSU, so I've had to get a different one.

W/C Parts

Well, of course it will be under water! . In fact, all my PC's for the last 12 years have had to

get wet.

  • CPU blocks: XSPC Raystorm Copper Edition
  • GPU block: Aquacomputer Titan block in copper with the acrylic top.
  • RAM blocks: Alphacool Dominator water blocks in copper with plexi tops. Yes, cooling

    your RAM with water is absolutely unnecessary. I just like how it looks.

  • M/B block: MIPS SR-2 block in Acetal/Copper
  • Pumps: 2 x Aquacomputer D5 without Aquabus
  • Pump tops: 2 x Alphacool D5 pump tops in Acetal
  • Reservoir: Aquacomputer Aqualis Pro
  • Radiators: 2 x Hardware Labs SR-1 560 + 1 x Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 Full Copper 480

    (that's the equivalent of ~14.89 120mm single radiators, for those wondering).

  • Fans: For the moment, Bitfenix Spectre Pros in 140 mm and 120 mm, respectively.

    Some people seem to be having bearing troubles, if that happens, I will probably go for

    some Noctuas or something else.

  • Fan and Pump Controller: Lamptron FC5v2
  • Flow Meter and Display: Koolance INS-FM17N with the DCB-FM01 as its display.

    I know flow monitoring isn't really necessary, and the Koolance flow meter doesn't really

    look good. This is mostly about satisfying my curiosity, and there's enough places in the

    SMH10 where I can hide the display and the sensor so that it doesn't uglify the build.

  • Fittings: Alphacool shiny copper
  • Tubing: 16/12 mm copper tubing
So, for those brave few who have not been deterred by my introductory novella, let's get started :) Edited by alpenwasser

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The Caselabs SMH10

I ordered the case flat-packed; shipping to Switzerland was ~150 USD. Jim from Caselabs was very

helpful with advice and making sure that what I was about to order made sense.

The Box

(click image for full res)


Unpacking the Goodies

(click image for full res)


Guarding the Loot

(click image for full res)


Always Use Protection

Which is, in this case, a thick wool blanket.

(click image for full res)


Ready, Set, Go!

(click image for full res)


First Steps

Getting to this stage was the only time where it would have been really useful to have a helping

pair of hands. Everything from here on out was pretty easy.

(click image for full res)


Getting There...

(click image for full res)


Uh Oh! :o

(click image for full res)

The 3.5" HDD cage collided with the tie down points. I wrote to Caselabs and sent them a pic.

They promptly responded saying they were trying to figure out what had gone wrong.

After a few days Kevin wrote back to me saying that my main compartment divider (the big vertical

plate in the main chamber) had accidentally been manufactured to an old spec and that they were

going to send me a new one.

This actually worked out quite well because I'd forgotten a few small parts in my first order for

which I now didn't have to pay shipping .

Mistakes happen, what matters to me is how they are handled and Caselabs' customer service left

nothing to be desired in this case.

(click image for full res)



(click image for full res)


Out of Curiosity

Since I wanted to savor the moment and not slip with my screw driver, it took me a while to get

everything together. I did slip once, and the paint job steadfastly refused to be scratched. :)

(click image for full res)


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As mentioned, I will be using two Hardware Labs SR-1 560's and one Alphacool XT45 480, or the

equivalent of ~14.89 120 mm single rads. Both the SR-1 and the XT45 are excellent at the low

fans speeds I will be using, according to Martin's Liquid Lab (SR-1 review, XT45 review).

I went with the XT45 instead of a third SR-1 in 480 for these reasons:

  • The SR-1 in 480 was not available until some time in June/July where I live
  • The SR-1 is wider than a standard 120 mm rad, which means it might butt up against the vertical

    M/B compartment divider (not sure on that, but it might).

  • The XT45 is thinner than the SR-1 which means it will be easier to fit inside the case (I won't

    be using an extended roof since I think they look kind of funny, and not in a good way ;)).

But since the XT45 is an excellent radiator anyway, this is no tragedy and I'm quite happy with the


Group Shot

Isn't that 480 just cute? :wub:

(click image for full res)



There was mistake in my shipment of the SR-1's. I got the GTX560's instead. Had I kept them, I

would have saved around 50 CHF (~41 EUR, 37 GBP, 53 USD). However, according to Martin's review,

they are only really useful for high power fans, which is not at all what I intend to run.

Nonetheless, they are a stunning piece of workmanship, so I took a few pics before sending them


(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)



After a little while, I got what I had ordered.

(click image for full res)


Longitudinal Shot

The fins on this radiator are just about perfect.

(click image for full res)


Fin Detail

Creating more turbulence (for improved heat exchange) and preventing dust buildup (according

to HW Labs' PR).

(click image for full res)


Alphacool XT45

(click image for full res)


Alphacool XT45: Fin Detail

The fins are not as excessively structured as the SR-1's, but judging from cooling performance,

it's still plenty enough ;)

(click image for full res)


Bottom Radiator Assembly - Components, Revision 1

The 560's will go into the bottom compartment, while the XT45 will be mounted under the roof.

(click image for full res)


Nylon Screws

I had ordered some 30 mm Nylon screws to reduce vibrations. Sadly, they were too short by just

about 1 mm or so. Ah well, it was worth a shot. On another note, I really like that the SR-1

uses M4 threads :)

(click image for full res)


SR-1 - Slightly Recessed Threads

One of the reasons the 30 mm screws were not long enough is that the threads on the SR-1 are

slightly recessed. I could mount about 10 of the 16 screws through the Caselabs radiator bracket,

but no way were they going to work with a gasket (which I need because of the 20 mm hole spacing,

which leaves a gap between the fans).

Btw.: The side shrouds of the SR-1 are made from brass.

(click image for full res)


Longer Bolts

So, with the help of some 40 mm bolts and some Phobya radiator gasket tape, let's try this again.

(click image for full res)


Fan Bolt Cutouts

(click image for full res)


First Side Done

(click image for full res)


Sealing Gaps

As mentioned, the SR-2 has 20 mm spacing.

(click image for full res)


Radiator Assembly - Revision 2

By now the fans have been modded into a copper edition, but that was still a long

way off back then.

(click image for full res)


Small Oversight

Can't have this:

(click image for full res)



(click image for full res)


No Puncturing

The SR-1 has a 15 mm integrated shroud on one side, so there's plenty of room for those screws.

(click image for full res)


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New Workshop

Two weeks ago, I made a new workshop with my dad in our appartment. Since much of

the work for this build will be done in that room, I thought I'd post a few pics

of it here.

The Tools

My dad used to be an engineer in construction, and we still have quite a few rather

awesome tools left over from those days.

The Saws

We ordered a massive plate of wood for the load bearing table part (not the one in this picture,

that was just for support during work).

However, we needed to make a cutout for a chimney that comes from the lower apartment through

ours to the roof (we live on the 2nd floor according to British numeration, and on the 3rd

floor according to the American numeration, and there's one more floor above ours).

Both the circular saw and the jig saw are professional grade tools which were originally bought

for the construction company dad used to run.

(click image for full res)


Circular Saw - Motor Side

Yes, this thing is massive. It will only turn on when you have both hands placed on certain

safety levers, as it would be way too dangerous otherwise. You could easily cut off your leg

with this thing, so you could also use if for cutting up a body I suppose (not that I've tried

that ;)).

(click image for full res)


Circular Saw - Blade

Do not worry about that film of rust. That happens as soon as it is slightly humid. The main

substance of the blade is actually still in very good condition, as is the rest of the tool.

Also, compare my hand for size :D

(click image for full res)


Jig Saw

I've known this jig saw forever. I used to make swords and guns out of wood with this baby

back when I was a kid (~8ish). And no, there were no accidents. Dad showed me how to use it,

and that was that.

(click image for full res)


Jig Saw - The Case

You know how power tools come in those plastic boxes nowadays? Yeah, not so back then :)

(click image for full res)


Makita Bit Driver

It's not the most heavy-duty of tools (we have a proper Bosch rotary hammer for that), but

it's very good quality and a lot more handy than a full blown drill.

(click image for full res)


Load Plate - Overview

An overview shot of the load bearing plate in place.

(click image for full res)


Load Plate - Thickness

I can easily sit on this thing without it bending.

(click image for full res)


Cover Plate - Load Plate - Sandwich

We installed a 4 mm thick cover plate on top of the load plate. Its purpose is to provide a surface

that is easier to clean and can be replaced if it gets damaged too heavily.

(click image for full res)


Protective Angle

The plates' edges are rather sharp. One could either sand them down or do what we have done.

This has the advantage of providing some additional protection for the plates' edges, and it

prevents small parts (screws, for example) from rolling off the table.

(click image for full res)


Support Beams

Remember that support plate on which the two saws are laying in the first pic? Yeah, we reused

the support beams for that table for this one. If anyone is wondering why we didn't just use

the table itself: For one thing it's too small, and secondly the table plate is not made for

heavy duty use.

The support beams themselves are very stable though, so it was a no-brainer to reuse them for

this project. In this picture, they are not yet bolted to the load plate.

(click image for full res)


Support Beams - Bolts

Each of the support beams is bolted to the load plate with four of these. Apologies about the

flash, but there's not really a lot of light beneath the table. ;)

(click image for full res)


Wall Mounts

To prevent the table from moving around when working on it, it is bolted to the back and side walls.

The screws are not fully in yet here because dad forgot to tighten them before I took the picture.

It's all good now though :)

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)



And that's almost as it is now. We've added a second plastic cover angle for the lower front edge,

since then, but other than that, this is it. Those are the remains of a Lian Li PC-343B under the

table btw.

(click image for full res)


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My Old Rig

I have taken my old rig apart by now and thought I'd show a few pics of the old lady.

My old rig had been in a Xigmatek Elysium since December 2011, and previously to that I had been

using a Lian Li PC-343B since about September 2007. The Elysium I picked due to its many 5.25"

bays since I was running two Aquadrives and another 3 HDD's on air, and even though it has quite

few faults, the core chassis is sturdy enough to handle all that weight quite well. Also, it's

quite affordable for what it offers, which was relevant as well.


As one can see, it was not exactly a work of art. Due to budget and time constraints I had to

make a few compromises, but it did its job, and it did it well. It just didn't look very

elegant doing it.

(click image for full res)



(click image for full res)


The Front

The two Aquadrives at the bottom housed 4 x WD RE4 2 TB, 3 x Samsung 1 TB and 1 x Samsung 750 GB,

above that I had 2 x Samsung 500 GB and 1 x WD Velociraptor 150 GB.

(click image for full res)


Cable "Management"

Ahem, as mentioned, not exactly a work of art :D

(click image for full res)


Some Dust

As you can see above, the radiator was at the top of the case, and it pushed air out. It's not

overy dusty where I live, and it looks a lot worse here than it actually was. The dust was really

only at the radiator's fins' edges. But yes, it was time for a cleaning anyway.

(click image for full res)


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The Raystorm

Since XSPC could not deliver Raystorms for a while, I had to wait a few weeks between getting

my first one and the second one. Interestingly, they changed the surface work on the copper

top. The one I got from an earlier production batch had milling marks on top, whereas the newer

one was buffed to some degree.

These two different surfaces won't really go together, so I will be polishing them both to a nice

mirror shine (that was always my intention anyway, but now it has become a necessity).

The Earlier Sample

You can see the mill marks quite clearly here, especially in the full version of the pic (as

always, click for that).

(click image for full res)


The Newer Sample

The difference between the two is quite striking, especially in person. They would definitely not

look right sitting next to each other.

(click image for full res)


Sanding and Polishing - Round One

There are still lots of micro scratches in the surface, although they are only visible if the light

hits them at the right angle. Not good enough yet, but I've never done this before, so I estimate

it will take me a while and a few tries to get this right. But this would be boring without having

the occasional challenge and learning new stuff, so that's ok .

This is the one from the earlier batch, and so far I've spent about five hours working the surface.

(click image for full res)


Custom Copper Decal Plate

I wanted to try out how a it would look replacing the black cover with a copper one. This was

two days of Dremel work and filing by hand, and it's still in a rather crude stage, as one can

easily see from the edges. However, it was enough to allow me to get an impression of how

it would look. I painted the silver alu bracket black with a sharpie and placed the copper

cover on it.

But alas, it was just too much copper, and I doubt I will be going with this for the final build.

It was an interesting Dremel challenge though. Most likely I think I will paint the silver

bracket black. The silver just doesn't quite look right to me.

I didn't want to paint the black covers with copper (I do have copper spray paint, which you

will see later), since for one I was skeptical if it would look right from the get-go and I didn't

want to ruin the original covers, and secondly if it had looked right I would have felt like I

was cheating.

(click image for full res)


Custom Decal on Block

I forgot to take any pictures with the black sharpie on it, but trust me, it was still not right.

Also keep in mind that I will probably have two Alphacool RAM blocks (yes, I bloody know

they are pointless, but I like the looks, probably) in copper next to these.

(click image for full res)


Next I will be planning the cable management (and therefore possibly custom cables), but that

will be a tricky one, so don't expect me to solve that problem within the next week or so ;)

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PSU & Pump Mount, Making the 24 Pin cable

Wow, it seems like ages ago that there was some progress on this. However, my hands have not

been idle. Since ZEUS is finally more or less done (finishing touches, testing and then I'll

post the last part of the log) I finally found some time this week to proceed with HELIOS,

namely with mounting the PSU, the pumps and making the 24 pin wire.

As mentioned before, I will be using mostly 16 AWG Silicone wires, which have a few advantages

over normal PVC wires, as well as one major disadvantage and one minor one. The minor one is

cost; it is actually quite expensive. 10 meters of 16 AWG wire cost ~ 7.75 GBP (~12 USD).


Not much to say here, it's just an absolute stunner.

(click image for full res)


This is how it's mounted to the plate. There's also a cutout to fit the 230 V connector through

and to access the ON/OFF button.

(click image for full res)


The pumps are bolted to the same plate. Makes for a nice and compact unit. :)

(click image for full res)


And inside the case:

(click image for full res)


Making the 24 Pin

Advantages of Silicone wire: It's extremely flexible and can tolerate much higher temperatures

(this one is rated to 200 C). The temperature thing might sound a bit silly for a PC, but it

actually came in very handy during making the wires.

The tools I used:

(click image for full res)


Stripping the wire in preparation for crimping. You can clearly see that there are an insane

amount of strands, which is the other aspect that makes this wire so much more flexible than

PVC coated one (besides the Silicone, obviously). The disadvantage of this is that the wire

itself is substantially thicker than its PVC counterpart, coming in at a bulky 3.1 mm diameter

for a 16 AWG wire. The 16 AWG PVC wires that came with my PSU measure about 2.0 mm in


(click image for full res)


The thickness of the wire requires me to press the crimp terminal onto the wire and then

insert that assembly into the crimper, instead of first fixing the terminal inside the crimper,

inserting the wire into that and then pressing down.

(click image for full res)


Luckily, Silicone is very soft, meaning it compresses nicely under the crimping terminal's wings.

Be careful though: There are (at least) two versions of this terminal floating around: One with

longer wings and one with shorter wings. The short winged version is completely unusable for

this setup. As you can see, this is not a flawless crimp, but the insulation does not come below

the second pair of wings, which I deem good enough for my purposes (otherwise I'd have an insane

amount of wasted crimp terminals ;)). Still, despite all this, the rate of failed crimps does

noticeably rise when using such a thick wire. The most common fault I encounter is that one of the

rear wings breaks of (the ones which are supposed to crimp down on the insulation).

Fortunately the core's large thickness due to the many strands makes most of these still perfectly

usable since the forward pair of wings hold the wire in place quite tightly (much more tightly than

if you had a rear wing failure with a PVC wire), in fact it takes an enormous amount of force to

rip off the crimp terminal (I've tried a few times to test the blemished crimps).

(click image for full res)


The indispensable sleeving tool:

(click image for full res)


And with the paracord sleeve. Note that I haven't melted the ends, which is on purpose. Melted

paracord becomes quite hard, which doesn't work for what I'm doing here.

(click image for full res)


Distance gauge for what comes below.

(click image for full res)


And here we have the trick to the problem of thick wires. Since the wires are much too

thick to fit into the connector with a sleeve on them (they do fit easily without one),

I had to come up with another solution than the usual one of melting the sleeve onto

the crimp terminal.

Since I absolutely wanted to avoid using heat shrink I came up with this solution. If you

have a look above at all the things I used for this, you will notice a roll of 0.25 mm Nylon

thread. I took that thread and wound it around the wire's ends, making sure to have the right

distance from the crimp connector's end to the Nylon thread and that each Nylon piece had

the exact same number of windings (20). This is also why the paracord is not melted before;

keeping it unmelted and soft makes it possible to tighten down the Nylon thread much more


The advantages of this technique are that it looks much better than heat shrink (at least to

me, which is what matters :lol: ), and since you can tighten it down very nicely, it also

holds the paracord sleeve in place much better than an equal length piece of heat shrink.

Also, this nicely avoids those "steps" one often has to have when using heat shrink. The

downside of this approach is that it takes an absolutely ridiculous amount of time to do.

Doing this one wire you see here took me 30 minutes (including taking the pics). Without

taking pictures I usually need around 15~20 minutes for one wire, and up to 45 minutes for a

doubly crimped one (of which there are five in the 24 pin cable, an absolute nightmare).

All in all, the 24 pin cable has taken me around 12 hours of work so far. What I still need

to do is lace it so that all wires run as parallel as possible, but that will only be done

once I have it inside the case and can see where to best place the lacing bridges.

(click image for full res)


This is where the heat resistance of Silicone comes in handy. Taking the extra paracord

off with a heated box cutter nicely terminates the whole thing and secures it to the wire,

while leaving the Silicone undamaged. I've tried this with PVC and the hot blade easily

melts through the insulation if I do things identically to this.

However, one needs to be careful not to accidentally touch the Nylon cord with the heated

blade, or else the Nylon will come undone and has to be redone (happened four times during

the 24 pin assembly).

This is where I was presented with another problem: No matter how perfectly well placed the

sleeve's ends are, there will always be a bit of unwanted colour at the end. Therefore, this

needs to be painted (well, needs is a relative term :lol: ).

Oh, and in case anyone's wondering: They didn't have black wire in 16 AWG in stock and I

really didn't feel like waiting a few weeks for that. Since you can't see through paracord

this isn't hugely important.

(click image for full res)


Also see here:

(click image for full res)


Another wire in its painted state, this time with black sleeving. The black is a bit more

forgiving of errors (sand colour is not at all), however it's also quite a bit trickier to

see what's going on. I apologize for the blurry picture, it's quite a heavy magnification

so I didn't realize this until it was too late.

(click image for full res)


And finally, the 24 pin in its current state.

(click image for full res)


Now it's on to do the remaining cables. :)

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Cable Progress - Small Update

Not too much today, I've been busy making cables, namely the 8 pin EPS and 6 pin AUX for CPU0.

Took about another 6 hours. :D

I've also done a few hours of lacing on the 24 pin and the CPU0 wires.

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


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Cable Lacing Tutorial

This was originally a post with some sketches on the cable lacing technique

because I had not yet had the time to make a video tutorial at that point.

However, it has been superseded by the video tutorial by now:

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Major Power Cables Finished

So, this is what about 40 hours of cabling have gotten me: One 24 pin, two EPS 8 pins,

one PCI-E 8 pin and four PCI-E 6 pins. I'm not completely done with them (I need to

reinforce the 24 pin's lacing a bit), but the main part is done when it comes to power


The GPU Cable

This is what the GPU cable looked like before lacing.

(click image for full res)


CPU1 + PCI-E Aux

These are the cables for the CPU1 power delivery (8 pin EPS + 6 pin PCI-E) and the SR-2's

PCI-E auxiliary 6 pin for the PCI-E slots themselves. Makes for 20 wires in total. First I crimped

their M/B terminals:

(click image for full res)


After that I colour-coded them to know which pair of wires needed to be sleeved with which

paracord colour. Doing that 20 wire cable is pretty much the only thing I did this week. All in

all it was about 15 hours of work (cutting, crimping, sleeving, lacing). The PSU side crimps

were only crimped onto the wires once the whole harness had been laced so that the

wires had the right length (obviously the outer wires in the bends will have to be longer).

(click image for full res)


Main Cables

And these are most of the major power cables. What's missing here is the GPU power delivery

because I'd already tied that to the case when I took this picture. As you can see the cables

are all stuck together because of the way I had to do the PSU side of things. How I organize

the PSU connectors is determined by the PSU's power rail design and connector layout.

The harness is surprisingly stiff (considering Silicone wire is very floppy) and holds its shape

pretty well with all the lacing.

(click image for full res)



And this is how the whole harness looks when it's mounted into the case. The messy bit above

the PSU will still be cleaned up a bit, plus most of it will be hidden.

(click image for full res)


Hiding the Messy Bits

Besides the side door, the reservoir mounting plate will hide those bits of my cabling which I

haven't tidied up to insane levels.

(click image for full res)


20 Wire Run

And a glamour shot of that 20 wire cable. I know I could have routed this cable through a hole

which is situated pretty much perfectly, but since I spend this much time on my cables anyway

I thought I might as well make them a proper feature.

(click image for full res)


That's it for today. I have to admit I look forward to doing something else besides cables

now. There's still some cable work to be done (the pumps, fans and some other small

parts), but the major work is done now. 40 hours of cable work is quite enough for now. :D

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Various Small Bits

I've been asked if I could provide some info on the Platimax for those who are

considering sleeving this PSU as well.

The GPU Cable

The GPU power cables on the Platimax consist of one 12 pin connector on the PSU side

(six 12 V pins and six ground pins) and two 6+2 pin connectors on the GPU side. Since

that's four more connectors on the GPU side than on the PSU side, the additional ground

wires are clamped together on their way back to the PSU.

(click image for full res)


GPU Cable - Ground Wire Clamp

There are two of these clamps per GPU cable, one for each 6+2 pin connector. I haven't

really found a nice way to get around these so what I did is simply remake the entire

cable, as you've seen in my previous post. Since my wires needed to be a lot longer

anyway this wasn't a big deal.

(click image for full res)


The 24 Pin + 8 Pin EPS

The 24 pin cable is bundled with one of the 8 pin EPS cables. There is another 8 pin

EPS which you can run separately, and which also has a 4 pin for the CPU on it, should

you need that instead.

(click image for full res)


And the other end of the above. There are a few double wires, the most annoying pair

being the ones stacked right on top of each other. Not very nice...

(click image for full res)


My Own GPU Cable - PSU Side

Since the Titan has a 6 pin and an 8 pin on its PCB you end up with 14 wires. I took the

additional two ground wires of the PCI-E 8 pin connector and ran them to a different

connector's ground pins on the PSU side.

(click image for full res)


The Raystorms

And now for the pr0n part of today's evening. I've polished the raystorms to a mirror shine.

It's not yet absolutely perfect, but it's not much further... :)

(click image for full res)


As always, thanks for stopping by. :)

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A Copper Face Plate for the Lamptron FC5V2

While I really like the brushed alu look on the FC5V2, it doesn't really fit all that

well into the rough powder coat on the Caselabs case. So instead of having two

black things which are not the same sort of black I thought I'd turn the fan controller

into an element of contrast and make a polished copper face plate for it.

Taking Things Apart

First I took the fan controller apart to see how everything fits together and get

access to its existing face plate so that I could fit the new one to it.

(click image for full res)


Sketching Things Out

The new plate will be made from a 1~1.2 mm (not sure anymore) piece of copper

sheet I had laying around. First: Use the old plate as a stencil and sketch the outlines

of the new plate onto the sheet of copper.

(click image for full res)


Raw Cut

After some Dremel work it looked like this:

(click image for full res)


Current Status

After lots and lots of filing, sanding and polishing (~5 hours), it currently looks like

this. It is not yet completely flawless, but I'll save the rest of the work for when the

build is in its closing stages. Since the surface is very finicky I don't want to spend

lots of time making it absolutely perfect now only to possibly damage it in a mishap

during the build and then have to redo the whole thing.

(click image for full res)


The new plate is simply taped to the stock plate. It's a lot easier (and cleaner) than

having to drill holes for the screws into the new plate.

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


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The Aqua Computer Aqualis Copper Edition

Well, obviously this had to be done, I couldn't just have those naked steel parts

in my build. Pretty though they are, copper they are not... :D

The Central Pipe

For those unfamiliar with the Aqualis: It's basically a borosilicate glass tube (5 mm

thick, rather heavy, extremely good quality) with two Acetal caps on either end.

The difference when it comes to assembling the reservoir between this and a normal

plexi res is that it's not really possible to cut threads into the glass as you can do

with plexi, hence the central pipe. The pipe screws into the bottom and the top

cap and holds the entire assembly together.

Three possibilities came to my mind for copper-ifying this pipe:

  • make a new pipe from copper
  • paint the existing pipe
  • keep the existing pipe and make a mantle pipe from copper around it
The drawbacks of making a new pipe are that the stock pipe is a very sturdy piece

of steel (presumably). Not only would it be extremely difficult to find a copper pipe

thick enough to cut the required threads into it, but I would also need to go buy

another thread cutter. All of this deterred me from that variant.

Painting the pipe would probably have been the easiest approach, but considering

that copper paint doesn't really ever look like real copper (it can come close, but

when put up against an actual piece of copper you can spot the difference quite

easily) I didn't really like this idea all that much.

So it came down to the third variant. The problem with that was that I didn't really

have a copper pipe with the correct ID for fitting right over the steel pipe, and I don't

think I would have ever found one. Easily visible in this picture:

(click image for full res)


Working Around the Diameter Problem

Considering that there is a rather considerable dead angle when it comes to the

visible part of the central pipe I arrived at what you see here. I simply made a length-

wise cut into the copper pipe and sleeved it over the steel pipe. Works like a charm,

the difference is impossible to tell in the final build unless you have x-ray vision. :D

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)



The mantle pipe sleeved onto the stock pipe:

(click image for full res)


... and Polished

Since there were considerable scratches in the copper pipe this took quite a while

longer than the copper face plate for the FC5V2.

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


The Anti-Vortex Plate - Stock

This is the stock plate on top of the sketch for what was to become its replacement.

(click image for full res)


New Plate - Raw Cut

The raw cut for the new plate:

(click image for full res)


New Plate - Bent and Polished

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


Copper Mounting Bracket

Unfortunately I forgot to take pictures of this during manufacturing. Here it is bolted

to the reservoir. You can see that I still need to debur the mounting holes. Also my

apologies about the finger print, didn't catch that until it was too late.

(click image for full res)


Bottom Cap Assembly - Back Side

This is the back side which won't be visible when it's mounted in the case. You can

also see that I've replaced the stock screws with shiny copper screws from Alphacool.

The steel screw can't be seen when it's mounted, so I left it as is since I didn't have a

suitable replacement anyway.

(click image for full res)


Aqualis - Copper Edition

And this is the current status. There are still a few imperfections I need to file/sand

out, but for the most part it's finished.

(click image for full res)


Just a quick note regarding tarnishing. As has been mentioned numerous times, polished copper

tarnishes very easily. Leaving a drop of water on the copper for a minute or so already does

the trick. So I will most likely give these parts a clear coat for protection, if I can find

a suitable product.

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Prototype: Bitfenix Spectre Pro Copper Edition

This is just a prototype. The fan is very annoying to take apart and before I do this

with all the rest of them I need to make sure the process doesn't damage the bearing

or anything like that. So: testing.

But, in the meantime, I thought I'd present you with this:

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


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MIPS SR-2 Block: Painted Screws

Originally, the MIPS block looked like this:

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


While I really like the block, the standard steel screws have always been bugging

me. They did make a Nickel Edition, for which those screws are of course much better

suited, but to me this just never really looked 100% right. I considered going with

black screws, but then I thought I might as well add some contrast in there while

I'm at it and painted the screws in copper today (same paint I'm using for the


I have to say, I really like the result. Also, apologies about how dirty the large block

looks in this picture, the lighting hit it just at the right angle to bring it out perfectly. :lol:

It has lots of fine marks and scratches on it because the Acetal is so soft, so I will

be polishing this a bit before putting it in. But I wanted to show you the current state

of affairs anyway.

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


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Fan Disassembly

I actually wanted to make a video of this, but I didn't have the time to do it properly,

and I'd rather do it not at all than sub-par. It would have been easier to follow along

if somebody else wanted to take their fan apart, but for the time being still pics will

have to do.

Side note: This post is more geared towards those who've never taken a fan apart.

For most other people it will probably be rather boring and trivial.

(click image for full res)


First, take the inner frame out of the outer one. I have found it is easiest to do this

by pressing on the inner frame between the two lugs in each corner instead of the

lugs directly.

(click image for full res)


Next, take off the sticker on the back. I use some petroleum ether to get rid of the

sticky residue (very annoying stuff).

(click image for full res)


Then take out the gasket which covers the bearing's back side. It's not extremely

delicate, but if you're not careful you can damage it nonetheless. Also, you can see

my most important tool for this process: A dental tool. :D

(click image for full res)


And here comes the part which is actually tricky. The rotor is held in place by a small

washer which sits in a groove on the rotor's axis. The washer has a slit in it.

I found the easiest way to get this washer out of that groove to be this:

  • Take two of those dental tools from above.
  • Press down on the washer with one of them and make sure it doesn't rotate

    anymore (remember: this is a bearing made for rotation, so it moves rather

    easily and is well lubricated, i.e. slippery).

  • Press the tip of the second dental tool into the slit of the washer and twist

    one of the ends of the washer upwards (this usually takes me several tries since

    I often slip). The washer is very flexible, so don't worry too much about breaking

    it. Be careful, but not afraid.

  • Once the washer is nicely twisted and one of its ends pointing out of the

    bearing, get the second dental tool under the washer and pop it out.

  • That's it, you can now slide the rotor out on the other side. :)
The washer is the white thing inside the red circle.

(click image for full res)


The red arrow is pointing towards the washer's slit into which you need to get the


(click image for full res)


And here we have the bearing with the rotor removed. The red ring is actually an O-ring

resting on top of another washer. Both of these are actually loose and are only held in

place because the lubricant makes them a bit sticky (you will have noticed this when

taking out the washer in the above step). There is also one of these O-rings on the

rotor axis itself. You can take them out if you want, but I left them in.

(click image for full res)


The disassembled rotor and inner frame:

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


And my disassembled army of fans (you know, the other one :D ):

(click image for full res)


I don't think you necessarily need dental tools to do this, but I had them anyway,

tried them out and found them to work very well for this. If you want to buy some,

you can get them on eBay for a few bucks per set.

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The Bitfenix Spectre Pro Copper Edition

I'll let the pictures do the talking for the most part.

I hung the frames on a thread (still had to rearrange them to cover all the angles).

(click image for full res)


The masking took about two and a half hours for all fans...

(click image for full res)


...because I had the genius idea to paint them both front and back, even though

nobody will ever see the back side again, ever. But the perfectionist inside me

just wouldn't shut up. You can also see that I desoldered the wires. Considering

how close together the contacts are on the PCB that's going to be a bitch to solder

back on. Ah well...

(click image for full res)


First coat of copper paint applied. The paint I'm using is Weicon Copper Spray.

The copper colour comes from actual copper particles (so, it's a metal spray, not

just something that looks like copper). The upside: It's copper! The downside:

It's conductive (most likely, I don't have a multimeter to test this, but I doubt

the epoxy matrix in which the copper particles are embedded serves as a good

enough insulator to make it non-conductive).

I found the paint on eBay, if you google "Weicon copper paint" you should be able

to find more info on it.

(click image for full res)


Aaand we're done. To be perfectly honest, the paint job could be improved upon.

But considering I don't have a spray booth and practically all imperfections are

well hidden when they're mounted I'm still very happy with the results. I'll

definitely change my procedure though if I ever do this again. It's a learning

process. :D

Also, to prevent the paint from tarnishing, I gave all the painted parts a clear

coat for protection.

(click image for full res)


And now, some glory shots:

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


Well, at least the masking did its job. :)

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


I also painted the hex bolts for mounting the fans. They also have a clear coat.

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


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Colour-Coordinating the Kryographics Titan

I really like this block, but it's not black and copper. Can't have that now, can we?

The block comes in a nicely sealed bag:

(click image for full res)


...and without the plastic wrapping. You can see the steel bracket which is used to hold down

the acrylic cover. It really is a very nice concept because you're almost certain not to crack

the acrylic with this method of bolting it down. Plus, it allows for some subtle modding... :D

(click image for full res)


The bracket itself. I just so happened to have exactly as many copper screws left over as I

needed for this mod. I did have to shorten them with the cutting wheel though.

(click image for full res)


The acrylic itself looks like this below the bracket:

(click image for full res)


TADA! lauded.gif

(click image for full res)


Some glory shots...

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


Naturally, I needed to paint these screws as well.

(click image for full res)


I really like the rough powder coat finish on the Caselabs cases, so I tried to approximate

that with a simple spray can. First I gave it a coat of etch primer, then three coats of black.

I let it dry and sanded it (wet) with 5000 grit. Finally, I gave it one last coat of black, but from

rather far away (~50 cm/20", as opposed to the manufacturer-recommended 20~25 cm),

which results in small droplets instead of one contiguous coat. I'm definitely no paint expert,

but I'm pretty happy with the result, it's certainly a lot closer to CL's powder coat than a

flat coat would have been (plus, I'm painting the Raystorms' alu brackets, which have a texture

that also results in a similar finish to this, so it matches rather nicely that as well). :)

(click image for full res)


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Loop Planning

So, I thought I'd allow you folks to have a peak inside my head. I've been doing some

loop planning in the past few days (~20 hours since Friday, to be more exact), and

it's a bit of a head-scratcher, but I'm getting there. The most recent layout I'm at

currently is probably not too far from what I'll eventually go with.

I won't start trying to explain what's actually going on here and why I'm making

the choices I'm making, that would take way too long and will be much easier

explained with some actual work (which will have to wait until my neighbour gets

back from vacation and I get the fittings). If anyone has any specific questions I'll

gladly answer them of course, and I'll happily accept feedback, but this is more

for documenting the build process than anything else.

One thing you might notice is that I'm not much of a CAD guy. Sure, CAD is awesome,

but I have found pen and paper to be much more conducive to my thinking

process. I have several dozen A4 pages of drawings for a scratch build that was, well,

scratched, because the SMH10 came onto the market and made my concept

superfluous. So you are rather unlikely to ever see me go through the planning

stages of a project like @MetallicAcid with tons of CAD iterations (nothing

against that, of course, it's just not how my head works).

One thing I must note is that the tube I'm using is can't be bent, hence all those

angles. However, it does have an upside, which I will present once I actually get

to the building stage of this loop.

These are the iterations I've gone through so far, or at least the major ones.

The most recent one is bottom right.

(click image for full res)


And a close-up of that most recent stage:

(click image for full res)


So long


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Colour-Coordinating the Raystorms

OK, as you have already seen, I have polished the Raystorms (although there are still some

fine scratches which I need to get out at this point). I've never really been a fan of the alu

in the bracket, so I thought I'd paint it black. I must admit that I screwed up the paint job

a bit, so this is just temporary, but it should give you some idea of what I'm going for and

how it might eventually look.

(click image for full res)


Even though I'm very happy with the colour combo on this, I'm still not sure if I actually like

the shape of the bracket, and I am seriously considering making my own. If anyone has any nice

suggestions, feel free to inspire. ;)



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Deciding on a Backplate, Small M/B Teaser

As some of you may know, the Xeon sockets come with a slightly different mounting system than the normal

LGA1366 (at least as far as I can tell, I've never owned a normal 1366 board). Basically, the backplate is an

integral part of the mounting system, something like LGA2011 I think.

The neat thing about this is that the bolts which are used by the Raystorm mounting system have compatible

threads (M3), so if I want I can use the stock Raystorm bolts with the stock Xeon backplate. However, from what

I've been able to tell, most people who have an SR-2 seem to be using the backplates which come with their

coolers, so I thought I'd take a closer look at the backplate which comes with the Raystorm, compare the two

and then make the decision.

This is one of the Raystorm's bolts. It's a rather convenient mounting system I must admit. XSPC did a good

job on that one IMO.

(click image for full res)


Taking the socket apart is as easy as undoing four Torx nuts:

(click image for full res)


The top part separated from the backplate. You can see the threads coming through the PCB to which

the top part of the bracket is attached.

(click image for full res)


The top bracket by itself:

(click image for full res)


And the backplate. I must say I was rather impressed by this, it is a very solid piece of metal. The four threads

are an integral part of the backplate.

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


The Raystorm backplate is made from significantly thinner metal, but has some contours shaped into it to

give it more strength. As those of you who know your mechanics may know, this is a very effective technique

and can significantly increase the strength of a sheet of metal (or anything, really).

(click image for full res)


Still, the difference in thickness between the two plates is pretty noticeable. I have therefore decided to go

with the stock Xeon backplate for now.

(click image for full res)


Also, a small teaser for what's to come (it's not done yet in this pic by any stretch, just FYI ;)):

(click image for full res)


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The EVGA SR-2 Black Edition

Right then. I think most of us will agree that the SR-2 is a rather smexy piece of hardware. However, two


  • 1. The "red" on the PCI and RAM slots is more red-salmon than red. It's not downright ugly, but

    it's not a very nice shade of red IMO.

  • 2. Even if it were, red does not at all fit into my colour scheme.
So, measures had to be taken. But first, a few images of the stock board, just because I can:

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


Also, since we're here anyway: Yeah, I really do have some X5680's in there. :D

(click image for full res)


After consulting with my technical committee...

(click image for full res)


...I first tried out using 3M 1080 car wrap on the PCI-E slots. It didn't actually work too badly, but

it just didn't look right. I'm not sure why TBH, something was just off about it. So, the decision was

taken to paint most of the red bits of the board. In cooperation with some Humbrol Enamel Paint

(and some paint thinner, not pictured, because this stuff is rather gloopy).

Credit goes to Gary Wain (G-Dubs) on the OC3D forum and his NZXSPC build log for the idea.

(click image for full res)


After the first two coats of paint/thinner mixture it looked like this:

(click image for full res)


Now, no matter how well and thoroughly I paint the board, I was never going to be painting the insides

of the PCI-E and the RAM slots. I have actually heard of a guy doing this with spray paint and then just

yanking a board in and out a few times (therefore scraping off the paint again), but I wasn't willing to

risk my board on that. So, I had to devise a different plan, because the red here was still bothering me

quite a bit.

Therefore: 3M to the rescue!

(click image for full res)


The idea was just to cover the top sides of the PCI-E slots. This also allows me to just take off the wrap

again if I ever need to use more slots. thumb.gif

After wrapping the PCI-E slots, I also painted them with the Humbrol mixture to have the same shade of

black everywhere (this pic is still without the Humbrol layer though).

(click image for full res)


Of course, the IO area also got a good dose of paint. You'll notice the paint hasn't properly covered

everything, even after three coats. I don't have any primer for this paint, and I can't/won't use and spray

primer, so it will have to stay this way. Since it's only on the parts which you won't see once the board

is inside the case (can't get the necessary angle of sight), this doesn't bother me that much and I probably

won't further try to fix it.

(click image for full res)


The same applies to the RAM slots: The bits which are still red either can't be covered or will be hidden due

to angle of sight and/or the RAM water blocks. So don't panic. ;)

(click image for full res)


And a few close-up shots of the PCI-E slots:

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)


And the board in its glorious entirety. The PCI-E slots which isn't covered will of course be used

by the Titan.

(click image for full res)


(click image for full res)



You'll notice the odd imperfection here and there (for example, the caps and power/reset are

only painted on their tops). Regarding the caps: I don't want to completely cover them in paint

for thermal reasons, and the reset/power switches will be hidden anyway (behind the top radiator).

Any imperfections which are still visible and actually bothering me once it's all mounted in the

case will be corrected later.

Also, keep in mind that most of the imperfections do not stick out at you IRL at all, but I made

sure to have very good lighting for taking the pictures, otherwise you wouldn't have really be able

to see what's going on with all that black on the board.

Now I just hope the board is still OK. I did test the board on Friday and it ran OK, let's hope that

hasn't changed. sweating.gif

So long,


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Between that Circular Saw scaring the hell out of me and those huge radiators I somehow feel less of a man now! I'll just go hide in the corner.

Hehe, it is indeed a pretty daayumn awesome tool to wield. :D

Size is not everything that matters though, or at least so I've been told. ;)

On another note: That spammer was gone fast, awesome job whoever took

care of that! thumb.gif

Now then, back to loop planning...

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