Thanks for all the awesome comments and votes! It's really cool to be a featured build!
My first custom, water-cooling loop is running but far from done. I haven't even messed with AIOs before this.
This build was hatched from some ideas and spare parts I had lying around. It finalized into a themed build centered around the best you can buy (from AMD) around the 2010 time frame. I was attempting to go for the ultimate 2010 AMD setup. There are some exceptions such as the SSD, the case, the OS, and the halo fans.
I did have to purchase the 1100T and an additional HD 6970. I kicked around doing a 3-way or 4-way Crossfire setup but I tossed that out after looking over benchmarks and reviews that were lackluster. Plus, even though for fun and learning I can only spend so much. I wanted to go for a 3-way SLI setup with GTX 580s but the 3GB versions are still going for $75+!
Eventually a cosmetic theme of World of Warcraft's Wrath of the Lich King was chosen. Since my skills and equipment are limited I have to settle on this as the build for now. I have plans to add a half-portrait of Arthas to the front of the case (assuming I continue to use this case), stenciled GPU backplates, properly sleeved PSU cables, motherboard cover, etc. Possible everything might get moved into a modded Antec 900 case or a custom built wall mount I started making. So many ideas!!!
The pictures will show my build almost from start to finish including my "learnings" from doing stuff the first time. I really enjoyed trying PETG tubing for my first water-cooling attempt. Most comments recommend going for soft tube builds the first time. However, I'm good at ignoring sound advice and bucking trends for no good reason. Just look at my Rainbow Brite build.
I was confident I wouldn't ruin too much tubing and actually my first bend is the "backwards 7" from the radiator into the pump inlet (which was a bad idea BTW). I did make some mistakes obviously but I learned from them. The bend from the CPU outlet to the front radiator took me 3 tries and I'm still not convinced it's right. I was stumped on the piece between the 6970s for the longest time. I tried and tried to make a straight shot but the cards are not matching (one is a Sapphire Dual-X late model and the other is an OEM AMD). The run was too short and the bends were just enough that I couldn't get the fittings to bite. It finally dawned on me that for 1. straight runs are boring and 2. more tubing would make it easier. I tried a couple of different iterations but settled on the switchback connector.
Close inspection of the photos will show the RAM looks a little "fuzzy". That's because I Plasti-Dip'ed the heat spreaders. It was an experimental try and though not horrible is tough to make look good. The next time I'll just paint the heat spreaders. You also might notice in that area the 24 pin connector looks awful and not at all like the GPU power cables. I originally had some sleeved extensions but the Fractal case is too small in the back to house all the cable of my "semi-modular" power supply and extensions. I farted with that for a while before I decided to 'dip it too. I tried some liquid electrical tape but that failed. You can possibly pick out the remnants of it on the connector below the 'dip still.
Oh and non of the water-cooling stuff is name brand. It's all eBay or Alliexpress. I wanted to dip my toes in cheaply and since this isn't a serious build I wasn't overly concerned about "issues". Actually I've been pleasantly surprised. Granted the fans aren't as quiet as Noctua nor the pump as powerful as a D5 but so far it's adequate.
The Phenom X6 is not overclocked yet and idles at 30°C. However, a good run in Prime 95 only got the CPU to 39°C. Cinebench only went to 35°C. I have an infrared thermometer and the loop temperatures are averaging 34°C but they're not consistent. The fan exhaust on the top radiator was 34°F. However, the metal and tubing is not the right emissivity but I'm using these temperatures for comparison. I think I need to let the loop soak at full load for a while to get actual temperatures as I think the heat capacity of the loop isn't being challenged with the short amount of testing I've done.
Thanks for taking a look! I hope you were at least amused :) All criticism is accepted though I might just ignore it :P
Overclocking Notes: FSB @ 213 MHz, multiplier @ 19x, VCore max @ 1.505V That's roughly a 22% gain in clock speed on the CPU. I would really have to tweak the voltages and frequencies to get any more out of it. As it is I am nearly at the limit of my cooling solution since I believe the maximum temperature from AMD is 70°C.
Benchmarks: Note: I ran into some issues and have to work on these some more.
Prime 95 for 30 minutes: @3300 MHz: 39°C @4047 MHz: 64°C
Cinebench: @3300 MHz: 563cb @ 35°C @4047 MHz: 582cb @ 56°C
Furmark: 3386, 57 fps @ 54°C
3DMark Fire Strike: 5390 (6117 GPU, 6976 Physics, 2415 Combined)
Awaiting other GPU benchmarks. I uh overloaded the house circuit I was using and the PSU shutdown to keep from under-powering the computer. Those 6970s are sucking some power!
Pictures taken with a Pixel 1 or Nikon D7500 by a poor photographer.
Overall the Fractal Focus G is a great case with good liquid and air cooling support with plenty of options for various use cases.
Pros: + Ample water cooling support, two places to mount of up to 280mm radiators + More than enough fan positions if you decide to go air cooling (up to 6) + 2.5" drive mount is in a nice spot tucked in behind the motherboard tray + The bottom 5.25" drive bay can be used with a 240mm radiator + Finish is even and the matte looks nice * I especially like the white and black look + 2 fans were included + Filters on all expected fan intakes + Captive thumb screws on both side panels + Thumb screws for mounting optical drives + Front panel connectors are simple and clean with only white LEDs (at least on the white case)
Cons: - Only 1 2.5" drive mount - Only 2 3.5" drive slots, don't expect to fit a huge RAID in this case - Window is in the panel and not full view - No PSU cover - Bottom fan mount requires removal of the 3.5" drive cages - 5.25" bays do appear removable without power tools - Cable management is tight - Need 2 SATA power cables to reach 2.5" bay and the 5.25" bays * Might be able to reach the 3.5" with one or the other, not sure - Rear panel is not strong enough * The panel bows out considerably due to cables hiding back there. Despite my every effort to make them fit I couldn't fit all my extensions back there. * The panel does not have any catches along the top and bottom edges. The only thing holding the panel on is the front lip and the two screws in the back. I believe some sort of catch need to be added to help hold the panel flat. - Along the above lines, I feel the large metal panel is a little flimsy
Idle thoughts: This case would've worked perfect for me. Except my PSU is semi-modular and with extensions there is not enough room behind the motherboard tray to fit all the cables. If I were to make a cable tunnel out of acrylic that went in the open space I might be able to make it work. As it is I had to pass on the 24 pin extension. The PCIe extensions barely fit and I had to route them the long way around to make it work. In hindsight a new PSU with full-modular, ribbon cables would be the best bet.
Overall these are decent fans with nothing to make them stand out in a crowd of other bargain fans. Aigo does have a decent formula of copying competitor styles for half the price (or better). Aigo, along with AsiaHorse are always releasing new styles and improved fans.
Pros: 1. The halo is large and bright 2. Cheap 3. The Ice Blue is a unique blue that is not the typical deep blue of most other fans and is a pleasing glow.
Cons: 1. Not PWM fans 2. Halo is only on the intake side
Neutral: 1. The combo 3 pin and molex connectors are nice, but one is going to get in the way. I depinned and removed the molex on 2 fans so they were only 3 pin connected to the motherboard fan header. 2. Airflow is meh at 100%, maybe 40-50 cfm? 3. Slightly noisy, it will be too loud for Noctua or big name brand users i.e. Corsair, etc. 4. Probably terrible static pressure, not sure
Final thoughts: I can't speak to the longevity of the fans or there performance. They are meant to be cheap fans with a copycat Thermaltake Riing effect. I would not recommend these fans for anyone expecting performance. I would recommend these fans for someone that is looking for a specific appearance at a decent price.