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Apeiro Build: 900D with Infinity Mirror and Custom Reservoir - NavyChief

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When I first saw the posting for the Gigabyte 30th Anniversary Liquid Cooling Mod Challenge I didn't know if I would have the requisite skills to compete effectively. After careful consideration and hours of thinking through many possible themes, I have decided to throw my hat into the arena and give this a shot.


After looking throughout the Gigabyte site for theme inspiration, I saw the 30th anniversary logo and an idea was born.


My project will be called "ÁPEIRO", which is Greek for 'Infinity'. The sponsors of this contest manufacture hardware that allows anyone to build an infinite array of PC designs. The designs are limited only by the imagination of the builder. So what better way to express this concept than one with a theme of 'Infinity'. I used Google Translate to look at all the possible translations for this word and the Greek version sounded simple and yet elegant.


The case I will be using for this build will be the Corsair Obsidian 900D Super Tower. I did a previous mod build with this case and absolutely loved the versatility and craftsmanship provided. Unlike the previous mod, this one will be quite different. The interior will be gutted with the drive and 5.25" bays removed. I will fabricate a custom backplate with an integrated liquid reservoir and a custom midplate with RGB lighting. The video cards will be mounted vertically.


The whole front panel assembly will be removed and replaced with a custom infinity mirror assembly to match the theme. The top panel assembly and lower side panels will also be replaced with custom vent covers with the 30th Anniversary logo.


The color scheme is looking to be Blue and Black. All wiring will be sleeved to match the theme colors.


Many of the concepts in this build will be a first for me and I look forward to the challenges that they will present.


Here is a parts list of all the components in this build:


Main Components:

  • Case: Corsair Obsidian 900D Super Tower
  • CPU: Intel Core i7-5820K Haswell-E 6-Core 3.3 GHz LGA 2011-v3
  • Motherboard: Gigabyte GA-X99P-SLI X99
  • Memory: 64GB Corsair Vengeance Blue LED DDR4 3000MHz (8 x 8GB)
  • GPU: Gigabyte GV-N960XTREME-4GD GeForce GTX 960
  • SSD1: Samsung 950 Pro M.2 2280 512GB PCI-Express 3.0
  • SSD2: HyperX Savage 2.5" 480GB SATA III
  • SSD3: HyperX Savage 2.5" 480GB SATA III
  • PSU: Corsair RM1000i Modular


Watercooling Components:

  • CPU Block: EKWB EK-Supremacy EVO X99
  • Motherboard Block: EKWB EK-FB Kit GA X99 LE
  • Pump: EKWB EK-XTOP Revo D5 PWM
  • Radiators: 2 x EKWB EK Coolstream 480 PE Quad 120mm
  • Reservoir: Custom Fabricated
  • Tubing: EKWB EK-ZMT 3/8" ID x 5/8" OD
  • Tubing: Mayhems Ultra Clear 3/8" ID x 5/8" OD
  • Fittings: Assorted Bitspower G1/4 Compression, 3/8" ID x 5/8" OD


Miscellaneous Components:

  • Fan - Radiator: 12 x Corsair ML120 Pro Blue LED 120mm PWM Magnetic Levitation Fans
  • Fan - Front: 2 x Corsair ML120 Pro Blue LED 120mm PWM Magnetic Levitation Fans
  • Fan - Rear: Corsair ML140 Pro Blue LED 140mm PWM Magnetic Levitation Fans
  • PWM Splitter: Swiftech 8-Way PWM Splitter
  • PWM Splitter: Silverstone 8-Way PWM Fan Hub
  • Sleeving: Blue and Black Paracord



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On Monday I received my build kit from Gigabyte.


The build kit consists of the following hardware:

  • Gigabyte X99P-SLI motherboard
  • Gigabyte GeForce GTX 960 video card
  • EKWB EK-FB Kit GA X99 LE motherboard water block
  • EKWB EK-Thermosphere universal GPU water block
  • EKWB EK-Supremacy EVO X99 CPU water block

Here are shots of the hardware still in their packaging.






I will be receiving more hardware from Corsair soon.

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Received some exciting new items from Corsair this Friday.


Several weeks ago I participated in a live modding event, 24hrs of LE Mods at QuakeCon 2016, and had the pleasure of using some of the new Corsair Magnetic Levitation fans. These were some of the quietest fans I have ever had a chance to use! Virtually silent and with a high static pressure/air flow. The light distribution was even and emanates from the center hub, so you don't get that pinwheel effect when lit. These fans come in three colors (white, blue and red).


Here are 16 of the Corsair ML120 PRO LED Blue 120mm Premium Magnetic Levitation Fans.





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Received the case and some fans from Corsair yesterday.


Here is the stock Corsair Obsidian 900D fresh from the factory.






Here are two of the new Corsair ML140 PRO LED Blue 140mm Premium Magnetic Levitation Fans.



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One phase of building a new case is the tear-down aspect. It feels so good to disassemble a case by removing the components into their respective pieces. It is amazing to see how far it will go with just a screwdriver and a drill.


After about 30 minutes, most of the exterior and interior pieces of the Corsair 900D have been stripped out.







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When I was notified that I will be getting one of the Gigabyte build kits, a Mr. Jonathan Lin from Gigabyte stated in his email that he challenged me to remove the PCH heatsink from the VRM heatpipe so as to keep the Gigabyte branding that comes on the PCH heatsink.


Although it sounded challenging, the process was rather easy.


Here is the stock motherboard fresh out of the packaging. You can see the large PCH heatsink in the lower left and the VRM heatsink to the right of the CPU socket.




Only about 5 minutes later you can see that the heatsink pipe has been removed from the PCH with no damage at all.




Here is a closeup of the underside of the PCH heatsink. When flipped over, there is actually another removable fixture that is holding the pipe in place. Simply unscrewing that fixture allows the pipe to be easily removed without damaging it at all.




Here is the bottom of the PCH heatsink fully put back together.




Here is a shot of the heatsink pipe opening in the bottom of the PCH heatsink.




Now a shot showing the PCH back in place on the motherboard. Don't worry, the fingerprints will be removed before placing into the case.



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Received the CPU and M.2 memory from Newegg yesterday. Finally able to complete the installation of the motherboard waterblocks and M.2 memory.


I selected the Samsung 950 Pro 512GB M.2 memory unit for the speed and capabilities since this will be used as the boot drive.




These compact M.2 units are amazing. So small and yet so powerful!




The unit fits perfectly into the M.2 slot located between PCIE-2 and PCIE-4 slots, and does not interfere with the PCIE-5 slot.




The CPU selected is the Intel i7-5820K processor. This LGA2011v3 unit has a stock speed of 3.3 Ghz with a 15MB cache.




The processor is locked and loaded on the motherboard.




Last up is to apply the EKWB Waterblocks to the VRM modules and CPU. These are truly some beautiful blocks!



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Spent the day working on the motherboard tray cover.


In order to create a template that would cover the entire motherboard tray, I had to first get rid of an angled piece left over from the hard drive cage mounts.




No problem. A dremel and some time outside got rid of that annoying piece in short order.




The cover is matte black acrylic and covers the entire back area except where the motherboard mounts. The blue painters tape is where the custom reservoir will be cut in. Once more components are mounted, I can figure out the best size for this item.



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Got the two radiators for this build (EK-CoolStream PE 480 Quad). One will be mounted in the top of the case and the other on the bottom.








Now for some of the acrylic work...


Created a cardboard template for the midplate so that the cutting process would be easier and more accurate.






Since this midplate will be lit from within by RGB lights it will be composed of several layers.


Here is the topmost piece.




Now the clear piece to help diffuse the light more evenly.




Here is the bottom assembly with the RGB lights ready to go.




The clear pieces fits perfectly inside the frame.




Now for the custom reservoir... this is my first attempt at anything of this nature so I hope I got it right.


Here are the top (clear), bottom (white) and side (frosted) pieces.




I found a G1/4" tap on Amazon and it helped to create the inlet and outlet ports.




Time for assembly. The square helped to ensure the corners were even.




Purchased some Weld-On #4 to ensure that this has no leaks and is held firmly.




Found these little clamps at Microcenter and am finding them very handy.




Here is a shot of the bottom and side pieces assembled.





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The motherboard tray has been marked and drilled with pilot holes for where the reservoir will be mounted.




Finally found a use for my Dremel Moto-Saw.




Took about 10 minutes to get the cuts completed.




Since I wanted to retain the original motherboard tray to lend more strength, I had to make a few adjustments for where the reservoir will be placed. A traditional Dremel made quick work of it.



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One of the highlights of this build is the front panel infinity mirror. Took a while to plan this out but I think it came out pretty good.


Created a frame (8.5"W x 22.75"L x 5/16"D) for the RGB lights and purchased a mirror acrylic piece for the rear piece.




Here is the frame and mirror piece assembled and ready for the LED strip.




Used a blue LED strip since the theme of this build consists mainly of blue.




The LED strip length was perfect for the frame.




Now for a quick test to ensure everything is working so far.




Ordered a clear acrylic piece from TAP Plastics for the top piece.




My local Home Depot had the mirrored window film.




The whole assembly is completed and ready for mounting on the frame.



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After examining the GPU provided by Gigabyte as part of the bonus kit (GTX 960), I found that there are no adequate full-cover water blocks for this card. The one provided in the kit was a generic version that only covered the mid section.


Here is a shot of the EK Thermosphere block. Beautiful block but just too small.




The Gigabyte card has a beautiful fan assembly and I don't want to lose the aesthetics and not have their logo visible. The card also has RGB lights behind both fans and on the top logo.




And the backplate actually looks very nice.



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Took the front panel assembly and sliced it in two. The infinity mirror has been attached and in the process of curing before assembly back onto the case.




The reservoir has been sealed and after some initial water tests there are no leaks.




The case frames have been painted a candy blue color. The rear frame has been placed back onto the case. The front panel is waiting for the infinity mirror assembly.




Above the front set of fans there is a noticeable space where the 5.25" bay assemblies were removed. Decided that would be an ideal location for the SSDs. Fabricated the piece and it is ready for mounting.




I went with a pair of HyperX Savage 480GB SSD units. Newegg had a sale on them and two would fit the case perfectly.




The retail units even included a small metallic screwdriver.




Although they are beautiful units, the red color does not fit in with my blue theme at all.




Created some SSD covers to tie them more in with the theme yet still show their manufacturer's name.




Here are the two units mounted and ready.



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This crunch time is really hitting me hard!


Got more done this afternoon in between some meetings.


The frame is now fully assembled and the hardware is starting to piece slowly back together.


Here is a shot of the side vent covers with the Gigabyte 30th Anniversary logo.




This is the top vent cover with that same logo.




Here is a close-up of that logo.




Got the side 480 radiator and 4 Corsair Magnetic Levitation Blue LED fans mounted in a pull configuration. You can also see the mounted Corsair RM1000i power supply.




The top 480 radiator has 8 Corsair ML Blue LED fans in a push/pull configuration.




There is a custom acrylic piece on the top of the case to prevent the foam vent insulation from getting near the fans.




Finally I was able to install the custom RGB lighted midplate. Fits like a glove and the light output is amazing! Here is a quick test to ensure it lights adequately.




Now with minimal external lights you can see it fully.



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Got the reservoir mounted to the motherboard tray this afternoon.






The top frame was also fitted into place and is ready.




Doing some preliminary fitting for mounting the GPU in the vertical position.



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Received some memory from Corsair recently! Two packs of their new 32GB (4x8GB) Vengeance LED units. That will give this build 64GB of 3000 MHz memory!




Here is a shot of all 8 sticks ready for installation.




Mounted and ready for power!! Can't wait to see those sticks lit up with the blue LEDs.




This is one item that every modder should have in their toolbox. Really helps with making holes for tubing.




With that, I was able to create a hole for the pass-through fitting.




Went with the EK-XTOP Revo D5 PWM pump for this build. Beautiful item, but something must be done with those non-sleeved wires.




Only about 10 minutes and those wires are definitely looking better!




This afternoon I was able to start tinkering around with fittings and water flow possibilities. I really hate when fittings are placed so close to each other. The EK monoblocks are a dream to work with, but not available for this motherboard.




Created the Gigabyte 30th Anniversary logo with my Cameo Silhouette unit and placed it onto the reservoir window.



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Two last build photos...


In order to mount a GPU vertically you must have a PCI-e extender cable. I ordered one from Lian Li that is 380mm long and extremely well designed.




The fabric covering the cabling is smooth and flat black.



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Finally all complete!!!!


Took around 250 photos and narrowed it down to the ones below.


The project was definitely challenging in that I have never had to create a concept before and then sticking to it was brutal. There are some aspects that I would have liked to change but the rules stated that design kit winners could not deviate from their concept drawing.


The infinity mirror came out perfectly! When off, it is a normal mirror; when on, then the blue infinity aspect shows nicely. I used the case sticker that came with the GPU since parts of it were mirrored. The custom side and top fan grills add the Gigabyte 30th Anniversary logo to the case exterior. The custom reservoir was brutal since there is only about an inch of clearance behind the motherboard tray. It fit and holds a tremendous amount of liquid. The RGB midplate was fun to create and allows me to change the color at will!


Mounting the GPU in the vertical position makes it appear to float over the midplate!


I pretty much stuck within the contest parameters and utilized all the sponsors hardware/services (Corsair, EKWB, HyperX, Gigabyte and PCPartPicker). To maximize the points, the theme is the Gigabyte 30th Anniversary and uses blue throughout.


I just wish that my photo skills were more in tune with my modding capabilities!


Well, here some the photos that I thought showed off the important aspects of the build...





















































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