View Full Version : [Project]: Bird of Prey - Water Cooling , Case Modding and more

04-21-2013, 08:07 AM
Hello to you all!

Proudly presenting project “Bird of Prey”. It has taken me a long while to think it all through, carefully plan en go toward the actual build. I finally have completed the planning, the designing and I have obtained all the parts that I selected.

A big thanks to Aquatuning for supporting me!

From today on I will share all that lies ahead in this build.


What is it about you will probably wonder by now, uhmm, I am not sure where to start.

A few months ago I bought me a nice set of components, threw it in a case and started benching with. I joined the ROG OC supreme team, I like it a lot. Link to hwbot;

But being able to obtain competitive scores takes a bit more than just a case full of good stuff –but nonetheless- the system performed nicely. Considering that it runs on stock air coolers.

So I wanted to upgrade it and put it under water… Easier said than done. The bucks, the time and the plan it took me a while but I am there now. I wanted to create a system that was not only able to do nicely in the Enthusiast league, but also was pleasing for the eye.
I came up whit this idea:

Give it a truly unique look
Collect a nice water cool set to get higher overclock possibilities

For the look I was inspired by 2 things, the first: a visit to “la sagrada familia”, a huge cathedral in Barcelona, Spain. Which is actually still in the process of being built. Before you run of … this has no connection to religion, simply something that I really loved: the stained glass windows. The effect of the sunlight on these windows is really beautiful, The colors are so bright, it almost looks like it comes to life.

The second thing that inspired me is this: Whenever I am outside and see a bird of prey flying through the skies, I really admire the animal. It flies patiently … until it spots a meal. It drops down and with unbelievable accuracy it just grabs his prey, like its nothing.

So I thought it would be cool if bird of prey would meet stained glass. After a lot of tweaking and fine tuning a made a design for a custom glass window to fit my case. And that is where the bird and the stained glass come together !!

I made a very colorful stained glass edge and an image of the bird of prey also in a stained glass version. Adding led RGB lights to the mix will surely give the case the same vibrant color as the stained glass I mentioned before.

Take a look at the print I made:
So how to get that ? That was not easy at all… but more about this later on.

All the components together are going to turn this build into a rather high-end system.
Up until now I have been running the following component’s in a Cooler Master Storm Stryker Case:
Current system
Motherboard : Asus ROG Maximus 5 Extreme
CPU : Intel Core i7 3770K (with a cheap Scythe Katana 4 cooler)
RAM : Corsair Dominator Platinum 2x4Gb, 2133MHz, cl 9
First GPU : Asus GTX 660 direct cu.
About 6 weeks ago I swapped the gtx660 for a HD7970 (the poor ******* needed money, haha but now I have that card).
Current GPU : Sapphire HD7970 GHz edition (after bios flash), 3Gb DDR5
PSU : Xilence 1000Watt modular
Drives: : SSD for booting and a HDD for data combined with a msata-SSD.

It currently looks like this:


Nothing special at all, but serious potential!

So I went looking for some good stuff, there is almost too much to choose from (and unfortunately not enough money), but I succeeded . I got the following additional hardware:
New Water Cooling Set:
08. CPU block: Alphacool CPU block NexXxoS XP³
09. GPU block: Alphacool NexXxoS ATXP ATI 7970/50 series - polished stainless steel – black
10. Radiator1: Alphacool NexXxoS Monsta 240
11. Radiator2:Black Ice GT Xtreme 120
12. Pump: Laing DDC-pump 12V DDC-1T
13. Pump-box: Alphacool Laing DDC-SilentBox
14. Pump top: Alphacool Laing DDC Plexi cover
15. Reservoir: Phobya Balancer 150 black nickel
16. Fans: Noctua NF-F12 PWM ( 120x120x25mm )
17. Inline temp sensor: Phobya G¼
18. Fittings black nickel:
* 13/10mm (10x1,5mm) compression fitting 45° rot outer thread 1/4
* 13/10mm (10x1,5mm) compression fitting outer thread ¼
* 13/10mm stop
19. Tubing: Alphacool tubing AlphaTube HF 13/10 (3/8"ID)

Al this is available at the aquatuning shop.

Case Mod Products:
20. Phobya Sleeve kit UV-Blue
21. Revoltec rgb Led kit
22. Chill-r Custom unique glass window with designed Print

I have thought about this over and over and I think it is do-able.
I made a drawing to get a grip on the cool loop, the airflow etc.
Check it out:
Water Cooling / airflow setup

So what do you think? Will it fit? Is this the best way to fit it all in and get the best results?
Here are a bunch of pictures off all the stuff I got in.


So I started ripping the whole thing apart….
Now the fun part begins … if al goes to plan, and believe Mr Murphy never ever misses my house on his route…

continued in the next post..

Arne Saknussemm
04-21-2013, 08:33 AM
Henk! looks great man! and what a good idea and a real nice personal touch. Good luck with the build.

You forgot an option from the poll "Case?....what case?"


04-21-2013, 08:39 AM
Henk! looks great man! and what a good idea and a real nice personal touch. Good luck with the build.

You forgot an option from the poll "Case?....what case?"


Hahaha Arne, thats really a good one hahha!!!

04-21-2013, 09:19 AM
The 02 components:

So a closer look at the Water Cooling Components:
like the block for the graphic card.

GPU block: The Alphacool HD 7970 full cover block:


I have picked the one with the black Metallic finish.

By the way, I forgot to mention this earlier, but I will review most components in detail when in use.

The CPU block that I am going to be using is also a product from alphacool. The nexXxos XP3 light acetal edition - Intel or AMD


Pump: The engine of the water cooling system is a Laing DDC-1T 12v pump

The pump does not have a threaded fitting, so I ordered the alphacool flexi top for Laing pumps
An this is something that might be interesting; its called the silence box.... It fits a Laing Pump (you need a third party top).
Well I am going to put it to the test, Its a metal box with a thick foam layer. Manufacturer Alphacool.


I am going to use 2 radiators (they are totally different, but I wanted to compare and test them), the first one is a real Monster:

The Alphacool Monsta 240, this is a full copper block with a whopping thickness of 80 mm!!

Continued in next post ..

04-21-2013, 09:57 AM

Black Ice GT Xtreme 120, this radiator is 54 mm thick and has a High fin density. It fits 1 x 120 mm FAN


The Reservoir I am using is a Phobya Balancer 150, I picked the black nickel version. It’s a heavy product and gives a high quality feel.


Fittings and tube

I always use the 10/13mm compression fittings, in several versions: 45 degree rotatable, straight an T-shaped. The other end is a G ¼ thread. The tube is Alphatube HF 13/10mm (3/8 inch), I have opted for the clear version.


Test setup and do leak test
Now its time to check if the setup I have planned actually does fit. An combine it with a leak test..
If I am using a new set off hardware, that I have not previously used, I always want to do some leak testing. I use a very special motherboard for that:

The "card-board"

The "card-board" trick
I know it seems wierd, but trust me that actally works very good. Just grab a box that has roughly the size of you motherboard and place it in the case. You can simply put a screw throught the board and suspend the CPU on the cardboard. Do the same for the GPU (cover it with plastic and duc tape it on the bottom of the box) you can now completely install your setup, or try different positions. No hardware can be damaged. If you are now to water cooling this a great way to get familiar with it prior to installing it on your hardware.


Looks wierd huh ???

04-21-2013, 10:07 AM
Looks great! Keep us posted ;)

04-21-2013, 10:21 AM
Thank you, I will keep posting the progress !

04-21-2013, 10:39 AM
real nice hanker!!!

04-21-2013, 11:11 AM
1st to complete the poll :D

04-21-2013, 01:28 PM
looks like a fun build looks good!!!

04-22-2013, 03:06 PM
Modding and Mounting - part 1

Hello everybody,

Today I did some modding and fitted the Alphacool Monsta 240 radiator in the bottom of the Case.

Case Mod 1

The Cool Master Storm Stryker has a dual drive –rack, positioned in the front at the bottom and one level above that.

Since I want to install the Monsta 240 radiator on the bottom, 1 of the cages must be removed. But since it also removes the mounting frame for the bottom front fan, I had a closer look at the cage itself.

Here you can see that the total height of the Monsta 240 (80 mm !) with the fans (25 mm) underneath it, cause the problem with the bottom drive cage.


It is made out of several parts, on the left and on the right you can remove the plastic black “sliders”. The other parts are riveted together. So I decided to take my Dremel tool (a must have for any Mod.) and drilled out the rivets from the bottom part.


You now can use the bottom part, screw the plastic ”sliders” on the side and screw the 120mm fan on the front. Now the fan with sliding mounting bracket can easily be placed in the case. If you want to re-use the normal cage, just screw the top and bottom pieces together and everything is the way it was.

Dust Filter

Another strange thing came up:

The CM Storm Stryker case has 3 removable dust filters. If you use the bottom inlet for the placement of the radiator, you have to screw the rad with fans down to the case.....

Check this out


So a filter that is removable... but not really!

So what do you guys think?

More in the next post!

04-22-2013, 04:05 PM
they dident think it tru on that "filter" shroud.

04-22-2013, 05:45 PM
Cool, I'm subscribed! :cool:

I think, I already asked you about the orientation of the cooler in your original setup... it seems to me that sucking off the hot air from the back of the graphics card is the worse possible setup... - but I guess, now it won't matter anymore...

04-22-2013, 05:56 PM
Hi Zka17, I hope that I get it up and running asap so I have a still enough time to get into the battle for the competition!

04-23-2013, 08:46 AM
Modding and Mounting – Part 2

Radiator 1

I have planned to place the Alphacool Monsta 240 and 2 x Noctua NF-F12 pwm horizontally on the case floor. There is room to place it, ventilation holes and even a dust filter (as previously mentioned…. no longer removable).

I have put the fans on the bottom and the radiator on top of it. The air flow is: cool air from the outside in, through the radiators. The hot air is then pushed to the back and upwards, assisted by the 2 x 120 mm fans vertically placed in de front of the case.


The air is than expelled at the top of the case. On the top there is a 200 mm fan placed, this is the stock case fan. But there is also the option to take out the 200 mm fan and put 2 x 140 mm fans on the top. I am not sure about which is the best solution.

Anybody any idea’s / experience with that particular situation?

to be continued ...

04-24-2013, 02:26 PM
Modding and Mounting Part 3

Bottom Filter Problem: solved

The fact that the bottom filter could not be taken out easily was still bothering me. So I gave it some thought. I went to a local shop and looked for screws with the flattest head that I could find, but still wide enough to keep it from popping through the mounting hole (which is actually a bit too big to my taste). Luckily I found one that fitted !


So I tightened the screws (not too much or you will rip through the metal off the case) and now the dust filter can be easily removed! Always a good thing as they collect lots of dust.

Mounting the pump

As mentioned before, I have chosen a Laing DDC-1T pump, which will be placed in the Alphacool Silentbox. This box is padded with foam to decrease the noise level of the pump and should avoid any vibration problems.
I wanted to enhance the effect and decided to pad the bottom and side of the bay (that will hold the pump) with foam also.
I bought a piece of foam, cut out a piece for the bottom and 2 for the side. With a little glue I fixated them in de pump bay.


Now the bay with the pump in it is also a “silent bay” J
As you can see in the last picture, I decided to place 2 shrouds on the bottom rad, to protect the fins from damage.

Drive Cage Mod 2

Now I basically didn’t have any room left in the drive bays. I took the part of the drive cage that I previously disassembled and removed the side parts.

The remainder has the same width as an optical drive so it first nicely in the top 5½ inch drive bay. To safely place a HDD in this it needed 4 holes in the bottom so I could screw down the HDD. I took a piece of paper and traced the mounting holes.

With the paper I copied the holes on to the cage and drilled a few holes. I fastened the screws and there it was a drive bay that slide in and out for easy of use!

This what it looks like in the case


First Blood

As usual (for me that is) … something broke…


I hope this is al that is going to get broken for this time... ;)

Now on to the mounting of the waterblock on motherboard and on the GPU. After That installing the motherboard, the CPU and the second radiator... Continued in the next post

04-30-2013, 02:33 AM
Modding and Mounting Part 4

Now it’s time to get some serious work done, the CPU water block and the second radiator are next.

CPU Water block

Finally I got it done the water block for the GPU is installed. First I cleaned the cpu from all residual thermal paste. I use a piece off paper towel and keep taking a new piece until its it no longer picking up any thermal paste.

Then I put some thermal paste on and spread it as evenly as possible with a piece of credit card.

To be able to place the water block you have to place the mounting screws. This can best be done when the motherboard is on a flat surface. From the backside you take a screw place a washer on it and push it through the motherboard, place a second washer and a bolt to keep it in place.

After that I placed the water block. To hold the block down on the CPU, I used the spring and the end bolt. In a cross pattern I tightened them, but not too much to prevent the motherboard from bending.

This water block has a specific flow direction so I had to take this into account when planning the loop!


Radiator 2

At first I planned to fit this radiator with 1 Noctua Fan, however I thought about it and decided to put 2 fans on it; in push-pull configuration. Reason: this rad has a super high FPI number; 20 fins per inch so the fins are very dense. Since this radiator comes directly after the GPU I thought it might be good to add the second Fan in this case. Also I changed the air orientation, now it takes cooler ambient air in passes it through the radiator, absorbing the GPU heat and exit the case at top off the case with the aid of the top FAN.
I also placed the reservoir at a different place than I previously planned.
So the setup and the airflow in the case would look like this now:


Look at the fin density


This radiator is a bit different than all other radiators I have used before. For example it uses m4 bolts to hold the fans and or fix it to the case, but there was only one set was in the packaging. So I went to the hardware store and bought me a new supply of M3 and M4 bolts (M4x30mm) bolts.



The Noctua fan




And yes, I know the tube is running around in circles, but it prevents any stray liquid drops from doing any harm.

To be continued!

oh guys -for those who haven't done already- please fill in the poll, thanks a bunch!

05-03-2013, 02:16 PM
Modding and Mounting Part 5 –sneek preview

Placing the custom printed case window

I have been occupied so little progress is made, but here is a sneak preview at the custom case window I designed and produced.

This is wat the case looks like with the factory equipped acrylic window:


Take out the acrylic and place the glass version


This is the way it is going to look:


The glass is not fixed to the case yet, but I will show that later.


I love the way the LED is affecting the stained-glass!


So do you like it so far?

To be continued