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Therapy Build - 1st custom loop

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Hi guys,


After just receiving a very real health scare this week that has me about to embark on an intense period of Radio and Chemo therapy, I've decided that a great distraction would be to meticulously plan and implement my first custom cooling build. That will give me something to think about as I sit getting zapped every day !


I've put Corsair AIOs into my last couple of builds and have been very happy with them, but I'm now looking to step it up and go custom. Not because of any problem with the AIOs, just because I want a challenge and I'm going to need a distraction.


So far I''ve selected the case which I picked up today - Obsidian 500D RGB SE. The rest is just ideas at the moment. CPU will be Ryzen, probably 3900X. After building Intel machines for the last 10-15 years its now time to go back to team Red. I'm thinking of doing 2, maybe 3 separate loops. One for CPU with red coolant, one for GPU with Green coolant (GPU will be NVIDIA of some description) and the third for - not sure. Might look for a mobo where I can liquid cool the chipset or VRMs or something. The case has room for a 360mm rad at front and a 280mm at the top and if I go 3 loops I can put a 120mm at the back. RAM will be Corsair Vengeance RGB - of course! Cables will come from Cablemod once I decide on my colour scheme.


Although, and isn't this always the way - having picked up the case, I'm now wondering whether a white one might look better - decisions decisions.


Will start putting some diagrams and part lists together and post progress photos as I go.


Wish me luck !!



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OK, So Ive been walking around the new case for a couple of days and it very quickly became apparent that I won’t have room for a multi-loop setup, at least not looking the way I want. So now I’m back to just single loop, but that’s OK, that will keep me plenty busy !!


Now I’m planning fans.


I’ve just realized (thanks to Zotty’s excellent ecosystem bible) that I need to think about which side of each fan I want to be able to see the lights on. My current build uses MLs which are only 4 LEDs, but visible on both sides. The 500D case came with LLs which I see are only visible on intake side. For my 3 front fans and 2 top fans I want them visible from both outside of the case and through the side window.I’m planning a radiator in both positions which means I probably need push/pull to get RGB colors visible both inside and out. For the front I really want the LLs as intake which should be fine, but on the inside of the radiator I’m guessing the LLs won’t work, so I’m thinking maybe that means MLS. I could reverse that on the top rad with LLs on the inside and MLs on the outside. I’m worried that setup will give me inconsistent RGB patterns though and maybe I’m better off with MLs everywhere.


Ive also just spotted what look like new fans - iCue SP120 RGB Pro Performance. Might do some testing next before settling on what seems to work best.


Decisions Decisions !!

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OK, So we are now off and running.


At this early stage I still haven't decided on a couple of key decisions so initially there will be some testing going on.


Here's what the plan looks like at this stage: (will be interesting to see how it changes as the build progresses).


This will be my first custom cooling loop so I plan to take it slow and steady.


Case: Corsair Obsidian 500D RGB SE.

I've decided I really want to paint this case white. As stunning as it looks in black, I am hoping that white will show off the colours a bit better. I have started stripping down the case and removing everything that is attached with screws and tape. This will leave me with the riveted bits. I've never played with rivets before, but luckily have a couple of other unused old cases that I was going to throw out - these will become my test beds for messing about with rivets and also testing out the painting process. I'm hoping that the contrast of the smoked dark glass doors on a white case should be a good look. I may leave some case bits in black for contrast, not sure yet. (Luckily my better half is a graphic designer and a guru when it comes to light and colour so I'm gonna rope her in for advice on the look aspects along the way - she doesn't know this yet !!)


Cooling: CPU will be a Ryzen 9 3900X on an X570 motherboard - haven't settled on the exact mobo yet, but that decision can wait a bit while I work on the cooling and painting bit.

- CPU cooler block will be the Corsair Hydro-X XC7

- Radiators: Corsair XR5 360mm at the front. Corsair XR5 280mm on the top.

- Pump / Res: Corsair XD5 RGB

- Graphics: RTX 2080 Super (unsure which model yet) and the Corsair Hydro-X XG7 RGB 20-Series.


I am planning to mount the GPU in the extra vertical slots so you get a good view of the coolant and the RGBness through the window. I figure there's no point getting a sexy RGB cooling block if you can't see it properly! This obviously means a riser cable - I am watching the thread on here about the issues with the Intel chipset - Mine is the X570 so I should be OK, but I am still watching that thread to see how that all pans out. I have work to do before I need to worry about that bit though so no rush there.


I still haven't decided on soft tubing or hard yet, this is the biggest decision I have in front of me so I plan to have a good look at both.


I have placed 2 orders with local suppliers for test packs. The soft tubing order arrived today. Hard tubing one is waiting on one last part to be picked in the warehouse before shipping.


For the soft tubing I have gone outside the Corsair ecosystem as there doesn't seem to be Corsair soft tubing or fittings available at the moment (at least at my usual suppliers here in Australia). I opted for EK gear for the soft tubing instead - I know that is good. I also ordered samples of soft compression fittings, one in Black and one in Black Nickel. Once my other order arrives which also has the 2 rads and the pump/res then I can start playing with the fittings and see which ones look best. I'm also planning to use the soft tubing that just arrived to start planning the routing in the case.





In the fittings shot, the Black is on the right, Black Nickel on the left



Next steps:

- Purchase rivet gun and rivets and start testing on old cases.

- Test painting old case parts. Have purchased a sample white and a primer, need to test to see if its the right white. Unsure whether I want matt or gloss at this stage. Testing should help flush that out.

- Complete disassembly of Corsair case - carefully taking progress photos and notes so I can reassemble later on and not be left with the dreaded "left over parts" scenario, or worse, have a case that wobbles !

Edited by Salsiccia
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I think I mentioned earlier I am still undecided as to whether to go with soft tubing or hard tubing for this build. My thinking is that for a first time custom loop, the soft tubing will be easier and more forgiving, but the hard tubing has the potential to give a nicer look.


So to help me make this decision I have ordered a test kit of each just to play around with. The soft tubing kit arrived last week and is pictured above. Hard tubing kit arrived this morning.




Still waiting on the radiators. There's a delay with the Corsair XR5 360 rad.


Once the rads arrive then I can plan actual case layout. Until then I have tubing to play with. The soft tubing was super easy to put fittings into. The hard tubing will be tougher, but I think I can pull it off !! Practice makes perfect.

Edited by Salsiccia
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My choice was to start with soft tubing, given I could think through runs and whatnot without being fully invested in my ability to bend tube.


Now that it's done, I have the option to go back and migrate to hard tube for the cost of replacing my compression fittings, essentially. And I've bought myself a ton of experience with the rest of the system while I can learn to bend at my own pace without any real stress - I can get the perfect 2 and 3 bend tubes and simply trim them down to length once the fittings are replaced and finalized.


Or at least that's my thinking. May or may not work for you, and obviously not everyone can afford the luxury of "wasting" some fitting investment like I am doing.


I'm in a similar holding pattern awaiting the two XR7 480s I have ordered, but I've been able to get up and running on the single XR5 420 and had a lot of fun doing so. The amount of stress for me on my first-time loop was broken down some by knowing I had some built in error handling with soft-tube, and a somewhat easier time retrofitting in the new rads when they arrive versus the full commitment of starting with hard and an incomplete parts list.

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Hey Zone, I like your thinking, that was my first plan too. I figured I could always go back and replace the soft tube and fittings with hard tubing down the track.


I am not in any rush for this though, I have a perfectly fine build I am using now which certainly doesn't need to be upgraded, this exercise for me is all about learning so now I'm thinking of practicing bending and cutting while I complete the painting exercise. Stripping the case right back and painting each bit white and the reassembling is going to take some time and I plan on practicing bending while I wait for the paint to dry. If I don't like the bending progress or really want to push on then I can do the soft tubing as my fallback plan.


Your method makes perfect sense too, but I know me - once I have this complete, I am unlikely to want to go back and change it. Your way will almost certainly get your build done before mine - lol !!!

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OK, So the most exciting care package arrived this morning.




360 rad was the problem child. My usual retailer was out of stock and so was their supplier and there was no ETA from the supplier when I chased it after waiting for a week. Less than 5 minutes later I found one at a different store with loads in stock so removed it from the first order and lo and behold both packages arrived next morning !


So the plan is: 360 rad at the front, 280 rad at top. Pump res behind front rad. Separate LN Pro I bought for the LED strips and also as a spare LN Pro controller, although I doubt I'll need it, but you never know - it could help troubleshooting. Fans are a work in progress - I am still trying to come up with a setup that supports what I want.


Started playing with the Corsair hard tubing that arrived yesterday. Discovered that it is Acrylic which I found hard to manipulate. Gonna get some PETG next and play with that and see which I prefer.


I've also contacted some local workshops who do powder coating to see if they can powder coat my chassis white for me without me having to disassemble it, but not having much luck. I've done some test painting on a spare case I had and it turned out pretty well so if I have to paint then that should work - especially after I sunk decent coin into a power rivet gun - it would be a shame not to use that !!



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Consulted with the Minister for Home Affairs and Colours/Design last night, presented her with the range of fittings I had chosen and she selected EK's "Black Nickel" as being the best looking.


So that's one decision made. Fortunately they have that colour in both their soft tubing and Hard tubing fittings so that's one thing less for me to worry about.


Today's exercise is all about trial and error with the fans:


Do I have room for push/pull on both front and top? Is the burning question.


I don't particularly need the extra volume of air movement that will give me, but given that I want the LL120's on the front (because they are soooo pretty!!!) and the RGB lighting on the LL series only being visible on intake, that gives me no RGB lighting visible on the inside since there's a radiator in the way. So I am contemplating putting ML's on the inside of the front rad for some interior bling.


Need to play with real estate first though as I have a feeling it may get crowded with push/pull on both front and top.


If push/pull does look too crowded I can look at RGB strips for the inside lighting instead.

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Over the last 24 hours I have managed to assemble a working prototype install of fans to test how much real estate I have to work with inside the case if I go with push pull fans on both front (360) and top (280) rads - which is what I wanted to do from the start.


Here's what it looks like. (Ignore the mobo, its an old one and is just there as a prop to highlight space)




And from the other side, also ignore the inside fans at the front, they are just props as well and are not wired up to the RGB loop - seeing as they aren't RGB fans !!!!)




So what I have learned from this exercise is that it does seem that I have room to install the Pump/Res behind the front rad inside fans.


The room at the top of the case is very very tight though and so I'm wondering if going push/pull on front and top is really worth it. I'm not going to be pushing this beyond its limits so push/pull is definitely overkill from a cooling point of view.


My original thinking behind push/pull was wanting RGB on the inside of the case as well as the outside, but now I'm starting to think that maybe creative use of RGB LED strips on the inside might not be a better way to get that effect.


Make a decision Sal and go with it - lol !!!!

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Nice to follow your build, looking forward seeing how it develops. I just did my first build in the 500D RGB SE and noticed as well, that there is not a ton of space once you start putting in reservoir, tubing etc. But it looks sooo nice :biggrin:
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Nice to follow your build, looking forward seeing how it develops. I just did my first build in the 500D RGB SE and noticed as well, that there is not a ton of space once you start putting in reservoir, tubing etc. But it looks sooo nice :biggrin:


Thanks - you are spot on. Once you start adding stuff in there isn't a lot of room so I've already had to rethink a couple of bits, but I'm still hopeful it will end well.

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For those interested in the dismantling and painting process, here's a little insight into my approach:


- The next piece I am attacking is the motherboard mounting tray / side of the case

- A dozen or so rivets drilled out in all and the tray pops right out.

- Then roughed up the surface with a stiff wire brush so the paint has something to adhere to

- Initial coat using a base primer - this is what the photo below is of. Took a few very light coats over the space of a few hours. Piece is hanging up in my shed so is well aired and also protected from the elements - to a degree.

- The paint I am using is a spray I bought from a local chain auto store. Grey primer and Matt White top coat.



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As an aside, I've just put this diagram together of the case layout that I would like to have. Its to scale (in an amateur kind of way). I'm hoping its close enough to give me a feel for what may be possible.


Ideally I really want this design to be 2 cooling loops. For no sensible / practical reason, its just what *I want* to do.

- 1 loop for the CPU (Red coolant: Red = AMD)

- 1 loop for the GPU (Green coolant: Green = NVIDIA)




I'd love to be able to fit a Blue loop in as well, but there's absolutely no way I have real estate for that. I'm actually not sure I can even do this. It looks OK on my diagram, but I have a feeling reality will get in my way when I actually try it. But that's OK, I would much rather try and realise that it isn't possible than just give up without giving it a go.


I'm back in hospital for the next couple of days so no updates for another 3 or 4 days possibly. Next steps will just be painting the motherboard tray white.

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