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cpachris 03-31-2014 09:13 PM

The Powerful Pretty Pink Processor (aka, "The PPPP")
Project Name: The Powerful Pretty Pink Processor (The PPPP)

Project Name Reasoning:
I’m a creature of habit. My last buildlog, The Big Budget Boomer Box, was lots of fun to do, and rang up a ton of views. So….why not play off that name so that it’s got some immediate name recognition? Right? But same as last time, I’m way to lazy to type out The Powerful Pretty Pink Processor very often….so henceforth, it shall be referred to as….[drumroll].....The PPPP. Powerful? Yes….it will have some first rate components in there. Pretty? Yep. This build is for my [much] better half. And my wife cares more about how it looks….than what type of components are in there. Pink? Yes. Because she wants it that way. Actually….pink and black was her request. Pink and black together could look very sexy if done right. Plus, …. P > B. That’s just science.

This machine will be used primarily for placing online Scentsy orders, and browsing Pinterest. I’m not kidding. Ok...maybe a little. But not much. But just because it’s primary purpose doesn’t require a lot of horsepower, doesn’t mean that I’m not going to make sure it would be capable of handling any chore thrown at it. The term “overkill” gets way overused these days. But it definitely describes what I’m going to do here. She doesn’t need a lot of powerful components to follow her Facebook friends. But she’s going to get it anyway. Overkill. And you have any proof that she won’t be able to tweet faster with a pair of 780 Ti’s and a 5.0 Ghz processor? I didn’t think so. Again….science.

Case Assembly Teaser:

There is nothing worse than a dead and unfinished build thread. We’ve all felt the abandonment and depression this causes at some point in our forum lives. So first and foremost, I promise to finish. I made that promise with The BBBB and I’ll make it again here with The PPPP. The BBBB took about a year and a half to finish….but that build was something special. I’m planning on this build being more like a 3 to 4 month project, because I’ve got plans for another build this summer. I also promise frequent updates, with lots of pictures. Just like The BBBB, The PPPP will be very picture heavy. Lets be honest with each other....I’m already starting to bore you with all of this typing....right? Pictures are what makes us love the build threads, and I promise lots of them. I did a few videos in my last build log, and will probably expand on that concept for this build. So click “subscribe” now. Go on. Do it before you forget. This opening post will be edited as the build progresses with an Index and links to any significant progress updates. I’ll also update the Hardware Status parts list shown below, as I order and acquire the parts, and/or change my mind on what to get.

Build Log Index:

Hardware Status:
This section will be treated a little differently than in my last build log. I’m partnering with several sponsors for this build, and I don’t want to limit myself or them with the direction this build takes. My goal is to make it pretty, pink and powerful. Their goal is to showcase some of their nice components. Let’s just see where it goes, shall we? Instead of listing everything that I think I’ll get in advance, I’ll just show the components off with pictures as they come in. Plus...since this build will be about three orders of magnitude quicker than The BBBB was...I think it’s unnecessary to list off stuff in advance that might change anyway.
  • Case - CaseLabs Mercury S8
  • Memory - Corsair Dominator Platinum 16GB 2133 Mhz C9
  • PSU - Corsair AX1500i
  • Fans - 18x Corsair SP120 and 4x Corsair AF120
  • Storage - 2x Corsair GTX 240GB SSD - RAID0
  • More Fun Stuff to Be Announced Soon!

My sincerest thanks to these wonderful companies for sponsoring all of the PPPP hardware....

What You Can Expect Along the Way:
While I’m not ready to give away all the components yet, I’m more than willing to share some of the things you can expect to see on The PPPP’s journey to completion:
  • Custom Length Wiring
  • Lots of Pink
  • Sleeving
  • Hard Tubing
  • Dramatic Lighting
  • Cable Sewing
  • Custom Powder Coating
  • Perhaps Some Dyeing?
  • Lots of Pink
  • Lots of Black
  • Lots of Nickel
  • Lots of Pink (did I mention that?)

So subscribe now and let me entertain you with lots of computer hardware shots this spring. And some pink.

cpachris 04-01-2014 03:21 PM

Selecting a case is usually the first decision I make when starting a new build. In fact, itís usually a case that inspires me to want to do a build in the first place. For this build, I didnít start with an idea about what case I wanted to useÖ.but rather I had some specific criteria that needed to be met by the case, that Iíll describe below. Not incredibly exciting stuff, but it may help someone think through the right issues when selecting their own next case, and it will give you a good idea about why I ended up selecting the case I did. :

Size: As Iíve previously mentioned, this build is for the wife-y, and it will be sitting on top of a built-in desk in her office area. Here is a picture of where it will ultimately reside.

That red arrow points to the space to the left of the TV, where the computer will sit on top of the desk area.

Because of some cabinetry that hangs on the wall above the desk top, the maximum height for the case would be just about 21.5 inches. But that height would put it right up next to the cabinetry, so Iím shooting for a case that is 19 inches or shorter for height, so that Iíll have some room between the top of the case and the cabinet. I have plenty of room width wise, and have no requirements there. Iím shooting at keeping it less than 20 inches wide so that it doesnít take up too much desk-top space. Depth wise, I have about 22 inches to play with, although I donít want the case running right up next to the edge of the desk. So...Iím shooting for a depth of less than 20 inches.

So to summarize, less than 19 inches tall, less than 20 inches wide, and less than 20 inches deep, are the dimensions Iím looking for in this caseÖ.based on the location where it will be kept.

With size as the only criteria to consider, I had a lot of cases that fit the bill.

Radiator Capacity Available: Iím a water cooler. Not only do I love how much quieter and effective water cooling is when compared to just air cooling, ...I also love how it looks, and even the maintenance involved. For just makes it a fun project when you're messing with pumps and tubing and fittings and waterblocks. In my last build, I ended up with more than 120.24 worth of rad space. Thatís a lot. Clearly not necessary. But it was fun. It also allowed me to keep my fans spinning at about 600 rpmÖ.while maintaining very low deltas. For this build, I wonít be cooling as many components, and plan to have much more normal radiator capacity. Right now, it looks like the loop will be cooling the CPU, 2x GPUís, and the motherboard. I think that 120.6 worth of radiator capacity will be more than adequate for what Iím trying to do with this build.

So to summarize, the case for this build needs to be able to hold 2x 360 rads, or 3x 240 rads. I think either combination would serve my needs. Or even 2x 240ís and 2x 120ísÖ.if that fit the space in the case easier.

The number of cases that fit both the size criteria and the radiator capacity criteriaÖ.was a much smaller number.

Motherboard Form Factor Supported: In my household, we typically have anywhere from 3 to 6 computers up and running at one time...and maybe more in various stages of tear down or completion. For me, it helps if I can swap components around between builds and cases, as Iím tweaking one or working on another. That includes motherboards. So I have a general rule that all my cases need to support at least a standard ATX size motherboard, if not something larger. Never smaller.

With size, radiator capacity, and form factor criteria all being considered at once...itís a surprisingly small number of cases that would actually fit all of these criteria.

Case Aesthetics: Iíve mentioned already that this build is for the wife-y. One of her requirements is that it be pretty. For me, one of the ways to make a case pretty, is to have lots of case windows so that you can see inside the case, and then make sure that you have all the inside touches that make a build look sexy. Custom length wires, sleeving, lighting, etc. So ideally, this case will have as many large windows as possible, because I plan to put a lot of killer touches inside that need to be shown off.

Case Material: This is not as important to me as the other criteria, but I still have my favorite material. Iíve built in steel cases, aluminum cases, and plastic cases. Each has their own pros/cons I guess. But my favorite material so far has been my last case that was all aluminum. Aluminum ends up being so easy to work with if you need to mod the case a little, and cut out something here, or drill a new hole there. And itís so much lighter than steel, while not feeling as cheap as some plastic paneling cases. So I would prefer aluminum, even though this is not a hard requirement.

NowÖ.many of you have probably already zeroed in on what case I might have picked...because there are simply not many cases that fit all these criteria. So...without any further pontification by me, let me present to you the case that was my first choice for this build. The CaseLabs Mercury S8!

For me...and this particular buildÖ.this really was the best choice in cases I think I could make. Right size, right radiator capacity, right motherboard form factor supportÖ..lots of window optons...all aluminum. This case fits this project. Iíve never built in a horizontal motherboard layout before, so that should make this build extra fun for me. Iím also thrilled and humbled to report that when I approached CaseLabs with my proposed project, they agreed to partner with me for this build and are officially my first sponsor for the project! That's probably worthy of a banner, right? :clap::clap::clap::clap:

I didnít post too many pictures of the case yet because these are readily available on the CaseLabs website. My personal Mercury S8 is already in process of being built right now, so Iíll flood with you with some high quality pictures after itís received, which should be soon. Maybe even a video or two of the assembly. Mine will be a special color though (multiple hints given already), and Iíll talk about the process of selecting that color in my next update.

More updates soon!

Yellowbeard 04-01-2014 04:38 PM

Subscribed, can't wait to see this one!

cpachris 04-02-2014 02:14 AM

Going to walk through how I (we) selected the color of the case. First off, as you'll recall, my marching orders from the wife-y were to make it "pink and black". Now...I could take the easy way out, and make a predominantly black case with pink accents. I've seen a few of these, and I've always liked them. I've got a soft spot for pink. But....I (we), decided that we really want to make this thing pop, and go for pink as the predominant color. So......the outside of the case is going to be pink, and the inside of the case will be black. A two-tone from CaseLabs....of which I've seen several sharp ones lately.

Since the inside of the case will be black, I think I'll also try and make the motherboard and components and fittings black also....and then really glam things up with pink accents and pink coolant. Perhaps even UV reactive coolant and accents so that I can have two lighting modes. One white LED mode...that shows off the (hopefully) beautiful wiring and components. And then one UV mode....that makes the pink stuff inside the case really pop. That will be especially effective if the motherboard, components and fittings are black(ish). But I'm getting ahead of myself. First...we need to pick a pink. And since the case will be powder coated, and potentially some of the other faceplates and components, I need to pick a pink powder as step one.

For those of you who have done some custom powder coating already, you probably know that the color samples you see online on your computer monitor....don't always look much at all like what the powder is actually going to look like. You really need to see something first hand that has actually been coated in that color if you want a good feel for what it will look like on your case/components. There are lots of quality companies that make powder. My personal favorite has become Prismatic Powders. Not only do they manufacture great powder, but their color selection is immense, and they offer free samples. Just go visit their website, and you can request up to 5 free samples online at one time. And you can filter for powders based on their color family and/or their finish. I probably had 15+ samples of crimson when I selected the color for the BBBB.

Jennifer and I ordered 9 samples that covered a pretty large spectrum of the pinks offered by Prismatic (there are more than 50!). The picture below has the actual color samples they sent us. They come on these little thin aluminum (I think) strips. On one side there is a sticker identifying what color it is. I kind of arranged them in order from lightest to darkest (left to right):

Looks like I forgot to flip that first one over and show the name. But the one on the far left is called "Sassy". I don't know how many of you out there actually calibrate your monitors, but I thought I'd show off the Pepto Bismal bottle and include it in some pictures. If you want to see how close your monitor is to showing true colors...just hold up a bottle of Pepto to your monitor and see how close the color is to the picture. Kind of a ghetto way to calibrate your monitor. :D But everyone knows what Pepto looks it should give you an idea of the true color of the pinks.

I placed the bottle of Pepto over by the samples it's color is closest to. Pepto is much lighter pink than the ones in the middle of the samples, but not as "hot pink" as the one on the far left. Here are some closer shots of each color. You can get a better feel for the finish of each with these shots that are closer up. I'll include the Pepto bottle in each so you can contrast the color with a known substance. Even if your monitor is'll know whether the pink sample if lighter or darker than Pepto...and that may help you wrap your brain around the true color. From left to right......

#1 - Sassy - This one is a hot hot pink that feels like it will glow in the day time. I did not like it. I'm glad Jenn didn't either.

#2 - Sassy Vein - This one was interesting. It's the same hot pink from above in #1, but with a grey color blown on top of it. It makes the color much nicer and richer. Jenn didn't really care for the texture though. I thought the texture was interesting.

#3 - Matte Pink - If you get a close up of this can probably make out the metallic finish. It's ok. But Jenn seemed to like the solid colors better than the metallic or textured finishes.

#4 - Cherry Blossom Pink - This is a much darker pink. You can probably tell by comparing it to the Pepto Bismal...but this pink is much darker and richer. I like it.

#5 - Rosette Pink - Same as above. A darker richer pink. Very small differences between #4 and #5.

#6 - Spiced Berry - These next 4 are in the 'Pink' family for Prismatic, but they really are getting closer to raspberry than pink. Online they look much pinker than the samples showed them to be. Also, all 4 of these next ones are two-coat finishes. My BBBB crimson color was one of these two coat processes and Jim said it was one of the most challenging powder jobs he had done on a case. Tough to get consistency all over. #6, #7, and #8 are very similar in color and finish.

#7 - Cran-Raspberry - See #6.

#8 - Booty's Berry - See #7. My favorite name. :)

#9 - Racing Raspberry - Love this color. Very similar to my BBBB, but more raspberry than crimson. With a touch of pink. The finish is striking.'s really more raspberry than pink.

I really did let Jennifer pick the pink. I was trying hard to steer her away from the hot pink on the left...but other than that...I would have been OK with anything. This may sound funny, but in the end, she pulled out one of her favorite shirts that just happens to be black with pink football lettering. She said....I want it to look like this. Well....there was a real good match in our the pink on one of her favorite shirts. So....the winner is.....

So here is what Jennifer ultimately chose.....

That's Rosette Pink in the middle. I would describe it best as a dark and rich pink. Definitely not a hot pink, which I wouldn't have liked at all. But I like this pink. I can work with this. Nice job Jenn.

So....we've picked the pink powder we are using. The CaseLabs Mercury S8 case is actually already in production now, and the powder has been ordered. Not sure how long it will take Jim and company to work a custom color into the waiting line....but probably not too long. I'll have some pictures of the case in all it's pink glory soon.

Until then...I've already started receiving some more components, so I'll be taking some hardware shots and introducing more sponsors over the next week or so. Also, now that I have the pink color of the case picked, I can start seeing what else out there matches it. You know....sleeving, coolant, paint, knick-knacks. Just need to start comparing some options with our Rosette Pink. More pictures of that this week also.

More soon!

cpachris 04-02-2014 01:12 PM

Today I was playing with some samples of pink UV sleeving I had ordered from modDIY. Since this build is going to contain some pink accents inside, and I know the shade/color of pink I'll be using for the case, I'm kind of on the hunt for pink modding gear that is a good match for my case color. I ordered some 1 foot samples of most of the sizes of UV pink sleeving that they sell at modDIY.

Below is an example of what it looks like, next to my color swatch samples that I displayed earlier:

It might be tough to see but the pink UV sleeving is almost a perfect match for the "Sassy" color of pink on the far left. It doesn't really match the darker richer Rosette Pink that we selected for the case.....but is a GREAT match for the Sassy color. Here are a few more pics of the sleeving with the Sassy color swatch.....

It doesn't go horrible with my Rosette pink. But doesn't go great either. I'll take some pictures of it in the case once my case arrives. I think the biggest drawback though is that it really isn't very high quality sleeving. If you are accustomed to using MDPC-X, this sleeving feels cheap. Even the smaller diameter sizes are flat instead of round, and look like the braid is much looser than it should be. I definitely wouldn't consider it for my main sleeving material.....but....maybe it would suffice for some small pink accents in certain places. Maybe the SATA cords. Not sure. I think I'll keep looking. To be honest, I think the sleeving is going to be primarily black. I don't want to overdue the pink accents inside the case. I want the pink coolant to be the star of the show inside the case. Don't want to distract from that with some cheap pink sleeving.

I will take some pictures of it under black light next time I pull my lighting out, so those that are considering it can see how it looks when it reacts with UV lighting. Plus...if anyone is planning on building a case and powder coating it "Sassy", then they really should be considering using this sleeve. :rolleyes:

I have another sample to play with also. More soon...

cpachris 04-03-2014 08:14 AM

In addition to the UV Pink sleeving I showed in my last post, modDIY also has some black and pink cable sleeving:

I got a sample of it also, and it might be a better possbility for a match with the pink shade I'm going with. Here it is against all the original color samples.....

And some close-ups....

The pink is actually a really good match with the Rosette Pink powder that I'm using for the case.

It's still not the highest quality sleeve...but an interesting pattern and match of color. Maybe I'll find a spot to use some as accents only. Like the UV Pink before is flat sleeve and I'm not sure it's going to look good mixed with the nice round look of higher quality sleeving. Perhaps I could use some just for the sata sleeving.

More later....

cpachris 04-03-2014 12:09 PM

Hot Zippee! Just got notification that my CaseLabs Mercury S8 has shipped! I should have it Monday barring any weather conditions....

cpachris 04-04-2014 11:43 PM

UPS man left a BIG box on my front porch today. That's a 60mm lens on top of the box, just to give you some perspective on how big it is.

Since you can probably make out the logo on the side of the box.....I guess this is a good time to welcome my newest sponsor for The PPPP build log....Corsair!

I was absolutely thrilled when Corsair agreed to partner with me on this build, and they are throwing some cool stuff at it. Lets open the box and see what's in here....

The new AX1500i! I'm not even sure you can buy one of these yet. I'm pretty stoked....

I always love how Corsair packages up their AX line of PSU's.....

Very good looking....and an absolute beast of a PSU....

Fully modular of course. It is huge!

Comes in at about 8.75 inches long...

Which is about an inch longer than my AX1200i....which was pretty darn big itself.

Tons of connectors....

Even more connectors than the 1200i has (1200i on top....1500i on bottom)

...and Corsair PSU's are just so good lookin'. This is the 5th one I've owned. Love Corsair PSU's.

The PCIe connectors seem to go on, and on, and on, and on.....

Wait....what's that? What's that thing in the background?

Coming into's pink.....

Oh! It's time to introduce everyone to my little photography pal for this build log. That's right, I'm Pleased to Present my Photography Pal for the Powerful Pretty Pink Processor Pictures....the Pink Panther.

He asked if he could help show-off all the cabling that comes with the AX1500i....

...but it comes with soooooooo many cables, that things quickly got out of hand.

These two shots are just for fun...

Sticker stats....

The fun part now will be deciding what to make this thing look like. All of the viewers from my last build log (the BBBB) will remember what I did with my last set of Corsair AX850's.....

With these...I took them apart and powder coated the PSU case in the same colors as the main computer case. I replaced the fan, copper coated the fan grill and screws, and made some custom vinyl stickers.

Not sure yet what I'm going to do this time. With pink and black build colors, the black already suits the build fairly well. Need to add a touch of pink though. Not sure if it will be through custom stickers....or something even more ambitious I've been playing with in my head. Need to noodle a little more first, and see how it look in the case. WHICH WILL BE HERE MONDAY.

You may have noticed in the first picture that this was not the only box I received. Oh yeah. There's more. Stay tuned.....

cpachris 04-06-2014 01:09 AM

This new AX1500i is so powerful, I think you're going to find it powering up lots of things you never even imagined.....

The phrase "Powered by Corsair" will never be the same again....

cpachris 04-06-2014 10:23 PM

Unpackaged some more love from my friends over at Corsair! Thanks guys!

This will be my first time using Corsair fans. I'm excited about trying them. They definitely are good looking....

They also look as though they will be extremely mod friendly. Of course you have the plastic accent ring that pops on and off, ....and Corsair even provides three colors to play with. But these are also going to be very easy to paint since they come off so quickly.

And each corner has this grey rubber insert. Naturally it provides some vibration dampening, ...but they are also easily removable if you want to paint the frames. Another thing I didn't know about the that they pop on/off without any type of little clip that you need to keep track of. Much like the Noiseblocker Mulitframe fans I used in my last build...these blades come on and off easy...again making modding very easy. Can't wait!

He really wanted to be in the pictures and help.....

I asked him if he wanted to help gather all the extra accent rings for me. He was doing well....

....until everything fell apart again. He can't help but get into messes!

I felt bad for him, so I let him have a little bit of fun for awhile....

We both knew that Corsair fans were supposed to keep your computer chilly....but it was HIS idea to see how they fared keeping food in the freezer chilly also....

Mmmmmmm...think I'll finish off the Caramel Cookie Dough ice cream before the wife-y gets home.

I've got even more love from Corsair to show off, so stay tuned!

cpachris 04-08-2014 03:04 PM

Oh yeah. Made in the USA baby. And it's safe to say that this S8 is unlike any you have seen before. :o

Pictures tonight!

cpachris 04-08-2014 06:40 PM

Not your everyday CaseLabs S8......

cpachris 04-08-2014 09:12 PM

How to assemble a CaseLabs Mercury S8 in less than 15 seconds.....

cpachris 04-09-2014 12:31 PM

As promised...some better pictures of the case. It only took about 90 minutes to put it together, and that included the time necessary to take all the shots for the animated gif in earlier post. This little (when compared to my TH10) case is absolutely awesome. If you want to use a full size ATX motherboard, this case really hits the sweet spot for size. It's amazing how strong it is while being so light. The benefits of an all aluminum case I guess. I could stand on top of this thing and it would support me just fine. I'll take more pictures later of some of the unique features of the case, but for are some shots of it in all its pink glory.....

Mine is a two-tone with black on the inside and pink on the outside. I'll keep the inside mainly black and add pink accents with the coolant and some small pink painted parts....

I'll probably put a 240 rad here in the front....along with a fan controller up top and maybe a panel for some switches for lighting.....

Pink Panther wanted to get in on the picture action here. Such a poser....

It has windows on four sides....left, right, front and top. I'll really be able to show off components in this with all the windows.

Left side of the case.....

The only difference in this picture is I added the side mount radiator accessory. I'll probably have a 240 rad here also. I think I'm going to pass on a 360 here so that I'm not cramped at all behind the switchplate. I want to keep that space available.....

Right side of the case....

Back of the case....

One of the reasons I fell in love with this case initially was the option of the window on top. Just love love love the thought of having a view of the components from up here also. I'll probably do a 240 rad here on top also on the right side. It will hold a 360, but again, I want to keep the space free and available behind where I'll put the fan controller. Don't want to feel cramped.

CaseLabs already had a slew of amazing cases to choose from before they released the S8. But I really think they hit a sweet spot with this one. Beautiful design. I'm pumped about a horizontal motherboard layout, because I haven't done that before. As I start building in it, I'll take some more pictures of some of the unique features.

More later!

cpachris 04-11-2014 10:16 AM

Got some more Corsair goodies to show off. Thanks Corsair!

What's the only thing sweeter than a brand new Corsair Neutron GTX SATA3 240 GB SSD?

Two of them.

These are the flagship line of SSD offerings from Corsair. You can link here to read all the detail specs. I'll do some benchies after installation. I'm planning on running them in a RAID0 array. Nothing critical will get stored on this computer. The BBBB has some shared storage on it's RAID5 array. The PPPP is just about finding FaceBook friends as fast as you can. :) I think it's universally agreed that RAID0 is a must-have for Pinterest machines also. That's just science.

This is the first 7mm SSD I've played with. It is striking how slim it is if you are used to the more traditional thickness.

Time to void that warranty.....

It comes apart very easily for mod options.

The whole PCB can come out of the case with just a few screws. Takes maybe 30 seconds to go from fully a warranty-less PCB laying in front of you. But don't you feel good anyway??!! :)

Mod options here are many. The SSD case is a nice aluminum, so I could have that powder coated to match either the pink or the black in the case. Exact match. I also love the window mod that L3p did on some SSD's a build-log or two ago. Although I don't think those were the 7mm SSD' it might be tougher to pull off. I'd have to get some real thin plexi so as not to bother any components in there.

But if I do a window mod, I could even put an LED inside the SSD case to light it up from the inside. That would look sweet. There is plenty of room on the top end of the case. The PCB doesn't even extend to the last inch or so of the SSD case.

Another option would be to shuck the aluminum cases that they came in, and put both SSD's together into one little acrylic casing. You could join the PCB's for both SSD's together with standoffs, and they would still make a very slim package.

Whatever I end up doing...I think I want to really show these SSD's off. I need to find a prominent spot in the case where these can really be seen....and then do something special with them.

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