The Teardown

posted May 16, 2012, 11:42 PM by Andrew Stock   [ updated May 16, 2012, 11:42 PM ]
As promised, here's a bunch of pictures of my efforts to de-watercool my system in preparation for cleaning up and modding the case. I had a great time doing this... destroying can be just as fun as creating! :P

I also played around with my camera settings quite a bit... I thought it would be fun / funny to take a bunch of those 'dramatic angle shots' that people always take of their sick mods, except it would be ironic because my current rig is gross and pretty much garbage at this point. 

Without further adieu, I present to you: Watercooling a rig. In reverse. :P

A few dramatic parting shots of the old rig:

My Etasis850 has been great to me and all... but man. It was a gigantic squid, and half the reason my case looked like such a mess. The cables weren't even sleeved originally, I had to sleeve every one of them myself! THAT was a learning experience in patience.

The other reason for my ugly cables... Lian Li has great case style... but dear god their case cabling is awful. These will have to go, and I'll need to find some kind of replacement for the front ports while I'm at it:

Eww. I just cleaned this like... 6 months ago. Just goes to show you what having two dogs and a cat will do.

Without all those cables, the system is actually looking fairly respectable (albeit rather dusty):

Not the most elegant tubing path, probably could have cut out about half of the tubing I used by optimizing a bit more. That will be fixed in v3:

Time to empty out the lines! The one saving grace of my excessive use of tubing... I can invert the case and move the reservoir way below the rest of my blocks, making it a heck of a lot easier to empty the lines. Into the trusty Home Depot bucket! :P

(As a side note... the water smelled TERRIBLE. Not sure what the deal was, but there didn't appear to be any algae or anything... just a thin white film, which I assume is the tubing breaking down after 5 years of use.)

Now that everything was drained... time to take apart my radiator core. This is a unit that I didn't bother to break into during the entire life of my system... so I was naturally a little scared of what was lurking inside. Peeling off one corner of some of the electrical tape I used to make the radbox air tight took this delightful creature out with it 

And what is this... a bale of straw? A toupee?

NOPE, just the surface of my radiator. You cannot even see LIGHT through parts of it! 

(Trust me, I'll be taking apart my rig at least once a year now and going over it with a toothbrush. Horrifying!)

Here's a few shots of my Radguard and fan setup. Probably the only respectable portion of this rig:

Ok... well... sort of respectable. Those are pretty rough cuts:

OK NEVER MIND. That's awful. Was I 12 when I did this? Sheesh. :P

Oh, and what's this??

PLASTIC barbs? Sheesh. How embarrassing.  At least I used teflon tape, like a good plumber. 

Time to pull apart all the lines!

Of all the 'dramatic' shots I took, I think I like these the best:

A little digging around in the garage produced all the stock coolers for my hardware... they could use a good lapping... but I'm not that worried about it. Not trying to win any benchmark records here. :P

Next, time to un-mod the video card!

Not a bad distribution of paste. Little heavy at the top, but not toooo bad:

But what's this? Must have had a poor seal here, or something... looks like the paste is dried up or burned or something:

That would explain why I could overclock my GPU's processor well above the average others were hitting, but couldn't keep my memory OC stable to save my life.

All cleaned up, time to put the stock cooler back on, with some good 'ol AS5. Didn't feel the need to go with any kind of super expensive thermal paste, as this will just be the stock cooler, and will only be temporarily in use:

So uh... the screws that were holding the EK block on definitely do not fit in the stock cooler... D'OH. 

I KNOW I kept a baggie of screws around somehwere... after a half hour of scouring the garage, SUCCESS! A funky looking bag of screws with little springs around em... 

Dramatic shots of stock card, just for yucks:

Brings back memories. I remember the first day I opened the retail box with this beast in it. It was easily TWICE the size of any other graphics card I had ever seen. I want to say this was the first card that required two sockets worth of space? 

On to the rest of the blocks!

Eww... bit too zealous with the paste on the CPU. The middle looks good, and it all got squished out the sides... so at least I know I had good pressure on the block! :P

The NB cooler looks about normal:

But what happened to the SB? Ewwww. Looks like somebody smeared spinach and artichoke dip on the block. I vaguely recall having some difficulty mounting this block, so it must have slid around a bit during mounting, exposing a bunch of it to air:

All better! Nice and clean. Family photos!

I SEE you!  Not a bad finish for a 6 year old dusty block.

Putting the old blocks on was a snap. Literally. Just push them against the board till they snapped in. 

Dramatic macro shot of a super un-interesting fan/block!

Finally... time to put all this stock hardware into a temporary home so that I have a computer to game/work on while I delve into mod mania. This process was boring, so I didn't document it, but here's the shoddy end result:

Theres 'the squid', with its entrails hanging out of the tiny case, because there's no room for them.

It actually doesn't even fit in the case... there are a bunch of giant capacitors on the motherboard that keep it from slotting in without cleaving them off. *Sigh*, guess I'll just leave it sticking out an inch...

Hmm... not enough hard drive bays for all 6 of my drives either. Guess I'll just stack the SSD's in a 5 1/4" bay. They won't mind.

You want cable management? I'll give you cable management. Painters tape! 

Welp, that's all for this episode! Hope you had a lot of laughs, I certainly did. But this is where the ghetto ends, and things get serious. Time to start hacking up my case! ^_^