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Building a custom watercooled system in 2017?

I had already installed an Aqua Computer Kryos NEXT block on my Intel Xeon along with a Watercool Heatkiller top on my D5 pump and had one of their Tube 100 reservoirs on order. The EKWB X3 reservoir you can see in that video worked perfectly well (although the location wasn’t great) however I am currently besotted by the look and feel of the Aqua Computer and Watercool parts.

January 2017 Build


November and December 2016 build


It is worth making the point that all the cooling hardware in that first video was paid for by me and the choice of components was entirely my own, with the exception of the Mayhems coolant. They sent a box, I chose the colour.

During December I installed the Tube 100 in the roof of the case and changed the coolant from Mayhems Pastel Blue to Mayhems Aurora Red and while the system looked better I knew the layout wasn’t right.

Some time around Christmas I suffered USB problems that may have been a conflict between the Corsair software that manages my mouse and keyboard and the NZXT Cam software that runs my lighting, fans and system monitor – or it may have been a bad connection. After a few hours of digging around I decided the easiest thing was to carry out my planned upgrade to X99, hence the ASRock X99 Taichi motherboard, quad core Xeon Broadwell-E and G.Skill DDR4 memory. The system has behaved perfectly ever since (fingers crossed).

I had found it tricky to install the reservoir and pump neatly so replaced the 60mm thick EKWB radiator at the front with an Alphacool ST30 240mm radiator in the roof. The logo is missing from the Alphacool and the painted finish isn’t great as I first painted it white for my Monster Christmas Build and then painted it black again to go inside my PC.

While I like the look of a black and red PC it has been done to death so I changed the coolant for Mayhems Pastel Pink and viola, you can see the result.

Since I made the video I have added some cable extensions to Seasonic Prime Titanium to tidy up the appearance, as you can see in the photos.

In the video I say the fans are 140mm but the two above the radiator are actually 120mm. You may notice the lower front fan is not rotating in the video. It works perfectly well but rarely seems to be required by the GRID+ fan controller.

System and component list:

CPU and GPU run at stock clocks.
Idle temps are 35-38 for the CPU, 38-40 for the GTX 980.
In Adobe Premiere the CPU hits 50 degrees.
When I am gaming the GPU touches 60.
The system is effectively silent. The loudest noises are speaker hum and my keyboard.
Of course it isn’t actually silent but let’s not quibble.

Phanteks Evolv ATX Glass case
ASRock X99 Taichi motherboard

3.5GHz Intel Xeon E5-1620 v4 quad core Broadwell-E
Aqua Computer Kryos CPU block copper/nickel

32GB quad channel G.Skill TridentZ DDR4-3200MHz
EVGA GTX 980 SC graphics card
EKWB GPU block plexi/copper and back plate

Alphacool 240mm ST30 radiator
Watercool Heatkiller Tube 100 reservoir
D5 pump with Watercool Heatkiller pump top

Fittings are 10/16mm EK-ACF
Alphacool drain valve

Coolant is Mayhems Pastel Pink
Fans are EK-Vardar 3x 140mm, 2x 120mm

3x1TB SSDs for Windows, software and video work.
6TB HDD bulk storage

Seasonic Prime Titanium 750W power supply

NZXT HUE+ lighting kit
NZXT GRID+ V2 fan controller

Windows 10 Pro


So now that I have shared mine, you may be asking how to build your own? Fear not because we have a Custom Watercooled ‘Build it yourself' video guide in two Parts over HERE and HERE. Be sure to share your builds with us on our Facebook page – we want to see what you come up with in 2017!

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