My work log tech station build
figured, I'd go ahead and create a simple work log section, but before I
do I should warn you. I really don't have the patience to get
into the details such as sleeving of wires or simply letting my system
be down for more than several days at a time. More importantly,
water cooling is not something I do out of interest to "Show".
While I sincerely appreciate a beautiful system build that I see
every day, I want something I can constantly tinker with and change.
I want something that easy to test on, easy to take apart,
something that is function, that performs well. So I decided on putting my efforts towards function as my first
priority, something easy to work on and continually change parts on.
The Case - Danger Den Torture Rack
why after several years of using a closed case, I decided a tech
station was perfect for my needs. I looked around at several
different options, and landed on the a Danger Den torture rack.
What appealed to me most was the potential to mount several
radiator to the sides so I would have to make my own radiator mounts.
In addition it includes a motherboard tray that is full
accessible from the bottom for changing out block backplate and
Soo, with the help of some fellow supporters, particularly Andy from XS, I went ahead and placed my order through Danger Den.
expected the case to take a couple of weeks to be built, since it's
generally more of a custom order they make it sort of thing, but to my
surprise the case was at my door withing only a few days.
And so it begins10-13-08...this box was inside a much larger box and very well protected.
The Danger Den Torture Rack
opening the box, I'm presented with this. Pretty fancy, you even
get a pair of cotton gloves to protect the acrylic from finger prints.
first thing I noticed is I was wrong about how these things are cut.
The burn marks on the paper and smooth side finishing is
obviously due to some sort of CNC guided laser cutting machine.
This is good news because laser cutting the acrylic provides a
stress free edge that is much better for crack prevention than
machining the shape, plus it's very accurate. Anyhow, laser cut
it is...I don't even want to know how much one of those fine machines
I emptied out the accessory package, all the like bolts and nuts are
all labeled and packaged individually. The printing on my labels
was off a bit, but I figured it out soon enough, the part number 14
above was correct, but they are obviously not I-0 Shield screws...must
have been a slip on the printer label feed. All of the screws and
hardware is really high in quality.
while I usually don't like reading instructions, this is one set that
doesn't really require much reading. A very simple and concise
diagram, in this case I need 9 each of the #13 screws to screw down the
here is a view of the screw nut system. Each of the T or corner
type connections utilize this sort of nut/screw system where you slide
a little nut in the slot and tighten the screw down. This ensures
a nice metal nut threading and a good mass of material receiving the
nut load, it's a very strong connection and more so than a simple
threaded screw hole.
is after step two, where you simply insert the nuts in the motherboard
tray piece, match it up with the back and insert and tighten the
screws. Most of the rest of the case pieces go together exactly
like this, very simple and works well.
about 30 minutes or so later, the empty case construction was done
(standoffs and reset button, etc not yet installed). I like the
fact that the motherboard tray is designed with large access holes and
standoffs. So the motherboard does get mounted securely like any
other normal case, but it has a lot of ventilation and access so you can
change out block backplates and things. I selected the "UV Green"
motherboard tray option to fit with the green them I was after, but you
can pick any color.
is a better view top down looking the empty case just begging for
testing gear. It also comes with a variety of screws for
mounting the hard drives, 3.5" drives, and 5.25" drives. Using
only the supply drive holes, you can mount 2ea 5.25 drives, 2 ea 3.5"
drives, and 4ea hard drives. I ended up only using two of the
5.25" drives, one for my DVD/CD burner and the other for my
crystalfontz. Then I used one 3.5" drive for my internal multi
card reader, and finally three hard drives. Two are raptor drives
for my system and software sections and one larger storage drive for
pictures and files. But this is assuming you only want to use the
predrill hole locations, later you'll see there is quite a bit of space
between the hard drives, you could easily squeeze in two more if needed
by either drilling your own mounting holes or making a hard drive cage
to hold them. Overall I'm really happy with the options here.
The most difficult part was figure out how I wanted to mount and
The Pumps - Laing DDC 3.2 + XSPC Reservoir Top + XSPC Standard Top
for the pump, I decided this round I would choose two DDC 3.2's.
The particular blocks and components I had in mind in separated
loops were all of the high restriction category, so I felt it was
worthwhile to let my D5's sit aside and run the slightly higher
performing DDC's. Pumping power is one of those "MORE IS NOT
BETTER", rather it's a careful balance of choosing the "RIGHT AMOUNT".
Some folks will get overly into building a high dollar system for
show and simply go overboard on the amount of pumping power. The
overboard part is related to heat dump, and with todays very efficient
and high surface area blocks, thermal gains in flow rate are quickly
diminishing. Pump heat dump is however a negative aspect that
will quickly overcome the gains you get from higher flow rates.
So it's a balancing act, the benefits of higher flow rate block
efficiency vs the negative effects of pump heat dump and that point is
generally much sooner than you would think and going to depend on a lot
of variables. Generally I would suggest shooting to select a pump
that provides you somewhere between 1.0 and 2.0 GPM for most normal
systems. I also selected the DDC pump because I like it's small
compact size and with the newer blue impeller models (DDC 3.1 and DDC
3.2), they appear to be very reliable and quiet pumps as well.
The Radiators - The Feser Company 480ER and Hardware Labs 480GTX
I knew right from the start even before picking this case that I wanted to run dual 480 radiators.
In my own testing I found both of these radiators to be exceptional
performer. The TFC happens to be more optimized for low/medium
speed fans, and the HWlabs radiator more optimized for the medium/high
speed fans, but overall the both perform very good across all ranges
and outperformed all the triple rads by a fair amount. In
addition, I liked the idea of some symmetry in my radiators on both
sides and these happen to be the same 15mm fan spacing that will fit
the torture rack perfectly.
The Fans - Yate Loon D12SL12 "Curved Blade"
experimented around with a few fans and have always been a big fan of
the cheap Yate Loon slow speed (D12SL12) and medium speed
(D12SM12) fans. They fit my preferences for noise/performance and
are very inexpensive and I have a lot of them. In addition I've
been impressed with their performance as noted in the fan testing done
by Vapor from Xtreme Systems here
On a radiator the "Curved Blade" yate loon D12SL12 was slightly
leading the pack of fans for the most CFM per decibel. The
particular "Curved Blade" part is however an important note, it has
been shown to do slightly better than the more common straight blade
type. Petra's Tech shop carries these noted curved blade type here
These are however the cheaper sleeve bearing types, so it's not
recommended to have them in horizontal installation locations as they
will wear out faster than if install on edge. I believe this is
due to a combination of extra bearing pressure as well as lubrication
working it's way out when the fan is sitting in horizontal or flat
Misc. Build Photos
The red meter on
the left is the original flow meter I have been using in all of my
testing. I've been so happy with it that when I ran across a
couple more on ebay for a really good price I couldn't pass it up.
While I wouldn't suggest having a flow meter is necessary, it's
help for testing and these are so low in restriction, I figured...why
This is the
workhorse data logger. Not much to it, I don't even usually use
the LCD part, just the one wire sensor and logging capabilities.
It is the Crystalfontz CFA-633, capable of running and logging up
to 32 temperature sensors and 4 fans with PWM control.
This is my current
block configuration. EK supreme on the CPU and Danger Den MCP
chip set blocks on the NB and SB. D-Tek Fuzion GFX on the video
card. Tubing is all TFC, I figured I'd try some of the 3/8" ID x
1/2" OD tubing while I was at it, but I kind of like the looks of the
larger tubing myself, so I'll probably switch out the smaller stuff in
Another perspective with the twin "KINGS" in action, still bleeding the loops out.
After "ALOT" of
trying different things, I finally came up with this configuration for
my dual quad radiator setup. This one is the TFC 480ER, and I
used two TFC shrouds to pull the radiator away a little and provide
clearance for the third fan exhaust. I didn't have any more
shrouds other than four, or I'd use one more at the very top too.
Pump is just sitting freely for the time being, going to work on
some bracket/shelfs for both the pumps and the flow meters to attach
appropriately. I chose this configuration so I can easily change
out pump and it's all easy to access and work on.
configuration, twin 480 radiators and twin King flow meters were sort
of part of my twin theme. That's about as far as aesthetics goes,
it's meant to be a tech station and easy to work on and change out
parts. I'm pretty happy with it.
To be continued....