Hello everyone! I am back with the completed version of my PC—Silent Specter. I am seriously in awe of the art of PC water-cooling. The aesthetics, silence, and chilly temps are just amazing, and totally worth it. I can finally say that my PC is complete after 2 years! I finished the build in early April, but I’m just posting it now.
As I mentioned in the Phase 1 submission, (Here, https://pcpartpicker.com/b/QjRJ7P, so you can see the difference) the goal of this build was to finally enter the world of water-cooling after I had become addicted to looking at water cooled builds everywhere. My Founder’s Edition GTX 1080 Ti ran extremely hot and needed to have a loud fan curve to keep temps under the thermal limit, so I really wanted to get an EKWB GPU block on it and drop temps close to half. So I would say my main goal was for silence and cooler temps, and aesthetics came next. But that doesn’t mean the PC has a rat’s nest of cables and terrible tubing runs; I still took my time with the build to make it look as clean as possible.
Temps: I know that some people will say that water-cooling is not going to dramatically make a difference in performance of the PC and instead argue that it is just for the looks, but I would have to disagree. When gaming, my GPU went from 72C down to 45C. And with those temps, I decided I could overclock the card and not risk ending its life with a blower-style cooler like I had before. So now it runs at 2050 MHz at 45C. Completely ridiculous.
Before I installed the custom loop, I delidded the 8700K because I was running in the 90s during stress testing, and it was completely worth it. The Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut dropped the temps by around 15C during normal tasks like gaming and the reasonable Unigine Heaven benchmark, and I saw around a 20C drop in Cinebench, but that benchmark is much more demanding and not realistic. I didn’t re-seal the IHS, so it’s just resting on top of the die and held secure by the motherboard bracket, so that could contribute even more to the crazy decrease in temps. The pictures at the end are only the delidding differences, not when I had the water-cooling installed.
Unfortunately, the EKWB Supremacy EVO waterblock didn’t drop temps as much as the GPU. Before, the Corsair H115i kept the 8700K at around 58C, and now it runs 3 degrees cooler at 55C. Still amazing for 5.0 GHz, 1.3V, but it wasn’t a huge improvement.
I decided to switch the case from my Phanteks Pro M TG to the Fractal Design Define S because I wanted a completely open, water-cooling-friendly case. This is probably an unnecessary opinion, but the several Pro M water-cooled builds I saw online looked too cramped and wouldn’t be able to fit all the water-cooling components comfortably. So yes, I know that the Define S is an older case, and it doesn’t have the staple tempered-glass side panel, but I really wanted a case that is “the water-cooling case”.
Going with this case, I decided that, although it is most certainly overkill for just a CPU and a GPU, I would get 2 360mm Hardware Labs radiators because the case certainly can hold it. It may not look like a beautiful, giant, hardline build, but it still packs a punch in cooling ability. The Corsair ML120 fans are amazing, and I’m running them at a constant 50%, which produces just a low hum of noise. I have the fans connected to a 3-way splitter onto one header on the motherboard, so two headers total, and it made cable management very clean. These cables—with the pump’s PWM and molex cables—are the only thing that powers the cooling, which made for super simple cable work.
EKWB makes some high-quality blocks, and I love the look of the GPU terminal with the GeForce branding. It’s awesome to see through the block because of the plexi version I chose, so if any gunk gets caught up I will not have to take apart the entire loop. The pump is easily able to handle the restricting, long radiators, and it’s very quiet at around 60% speed. I was surprised at how heavy the EKWB fittings were, and they were much bigger than I imagined. I had to dip the tubes in hot water to get them over the fitting, but they work perfectly, and I have no signs of leaks.
I’m currently running distilled water + Primochill Liquid Utopia as coolant right now, and I might change it later. I didn’t want to get a crazy opaque/Vue fluid that would destroy the expensive waterblocks, so instead I went with just plain old water and algae/corrosion protection. I might go with blue EK Cryofuel in the future.
As I mentioned in the last post, the Ensourced cables for the GPU were a little messed up, so I cut off the wire wraps and now they are free to move around. I don’t like how it turned out, so I will buy another one to have perfect cables all around.
I really like the drain port I made, as it allows for super easy draining with no setup at all: I just take off the plug, turn the valve, and let it hang out of the case to drain. It’s a little awkward as it just freely sits at the bottom of the case, but I appreciate function over form.
Thanks for reading about my PC! It means a lot to me if you got this far. Please ask any questions you have, as I will definitely answer them!