Question New Build Finally!

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In2Photos

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Mar 21, 2007
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The time has come, I'm finally upgrading! My current system was first built in 2009 as a photo editing PC. A few years ago I started gaming on it so I could play with my kids. It has served me well but I've had some trouble in a few games and I don't meet the minimum requirements of newer games coming out. I've been wanting to build for a couple of years now but put it off for other projects and/or the ridiculous high prices during COVID. So here we go!

Current system
i7-920 OC to 3.6GHz
MSI X58 Pro
24GB GSkill DDR3 RAM
Zotac GTX 1060 6GB
Samsung 500GB SSD
Couple of WD HDD

I'm still debating between a white or black build. And I plan to go AMD with the 7800X3D when it becomes available. The 7700X on the lists is just a placeholder for now.

Black - https://pcpartpicker.com/list/hDQWsL
White - https://pcpartpicker.com/list/g4TkZw

Builds are mostly the same, just the mobo is different. I prefer the specs of the MSI B650 Carbon in the black build, but choices are limited when it comes to white motherboards. The other big choice left is the GPU. My current monitors are 3-24" 1080p 144Hz. I likely will be upgrading to either 3-27" 1440p or 4k at some point or maybe 2 UW monitors. I use the same monitors and peripherals for my personal PC and work laptop via a USB switch and different inputs on the monitors. I should have bought myself a 6800XT at Christmas when I got one for my daughter ($530), but I didn't. So now I'm left trying to decide what to do. I have a 6800 from MSI as a placeholder on the lists as well. I may go that route or I may use my daughter's GTX1660 that she had in her previous build until prices come down or AMD releases more new cards (N32). Another option is to buy a cheaper 6700XT for now and upgrade again in the near future. NVidia will not be getting my money this time unless they drop prices significantly in 4000 series cards which is very unlikely. Plus their limited VRAM concerns me moving forward.

If you have any thoughts to share feel free. I've been putting these lists together since the AM5 release but if I've missed something that might fit the build better let me know. I am starting to acquire some parts if I see a "deal" on them. Just purchased the 3 NVME drives yesterday as it looked like the Samsung 980 Pros were near their lowest price that I've seen. I plan to acquire as much as I can and purchase the CPU when it launches as the last item.
 
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In2Photos

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Mar 21, 2007
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Got started on the build! Was able to work on it the majority of the day Sunday. Let's start with the case mod!

I've seen pictures of the O11 Dynamic EVO with the "fish tank" mod and I knew I wanted to do it. There are a couple of videos on YouTube showing how it's done so I didn't make a video myself, but here are some pics of the process. I realize now that I never took a picture of the case after just the mod so I guess I'll just have to post it once the build is complete.

Case before modding
PXL_20230122_140935215.MP~2.jpg

The brace that needs to be removed
PXL_20230122_141649800.MP~2.jpg

These rivets have to be drilled out to remove an L shaped brace used to reinforce this corner.
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And here are the brackets that come out.
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Notice how the top support on each side of the brace doesn't line up.

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The stuff I saw online said to cut straight across on both sides and then vertically between the two cuts. Like this.
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Instead I opted to cut the support on the side of the case straight and then cut the front in a line that met up with the side. Like this.
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At first I started with a hacksaw so that I could control my cut better and not damage any of the case around it. After a few minutes I realized that this was not the best approach as the brace isn't completely flat so there are a lot of wasted strokes. You're only cutting a small part of the brace with each stroke. So I pulled out the Dremel and the last cut off disc that I had left and started cutting slowly so the disc wouldn't grab. This worked great! I was able to make all 4 cuts in just a few minutes. Finished up by using some files to clean up the edges. All that's left is to apply some touch up paint to the exposed edges.
 
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In2Photos

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Now that the brace is gone you have to remove the paint from the glass panel. Here is the back of the front panel. You can see that there are several layers to the panels. The glass, then the paint layer, then some grey protective layer over the paint, then either foam or a mounting strip held down with adhesive. Several of the tutorials online show people removing everything from the glass, then repainting 3 sides and then reinstalling the mounting strips. I decided to take a different approach.

PXL_20230122_153100436.MP.jpg

I used a straight edge and scored the metal mounting strip with a razorblade.
PXL_20230122_153123324.MP.jpg

I continued to score the metal strip, using enough pressure to try and cut the metal without getting too deep or breaking the glass. I put a putty knife on top of the glass so that my razorblade stroke finished on the putty knife and not the glass. After making several cuts I then used the same putty knife to dislodge the mounting strip from the glass. You can then bend the metal piece back and forth along the cut line until metal fatigue breaks the piece off.

PXL_20230122_154545557.MP.jpg

Next I used the straight edge again to score a line through the grey protective layer and paint.

PXL_20230122_161831734.MP.jpg

Here you can see the line (from both sides) and also the cut of the mounting strip from the previous step.

PXL_20230122_160621547.MP.jpg

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Next I used a window scraper to remove the material starting in the middle of the strip, working my way towards the cut line. The key here is to frequently change out your razor blade. The grey layer dulls the razorblade extremely fast! When it becomes even slightly difficult to remove the material, change your blade. When you get close to your line remove only small bits of material at a time. Sneak up on your cut. This will provide the cleanest line. I have a small gouge in the paint when my razorblade "skipped". It might not bother most people, but I have slight OCD so I'm going to see if I can add a little touch up paint to the panel when I'm done if it bothers me.
PXL_20230122_160630568.MP.jpg

And here is the finished panel from the front and back. I haven't removed the rest of the peels and the glass needs to be cleaned from removing the material.

PXL_20230123_140653900.MP.jpg
PXL_20230123_140619587.MP.jpg
 

In2Photos

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Mar 21, 2007
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GPU just arrived. I've been painting my AIO and I think it's looking pretty good, hoping to do some wet sanding and get that installed later today. Once that gets installed I can fire this thing up and start getting Windows and other software installed! Going to test the GPU and the rest of the system before I take the GPU apart and paint it. o_O
 

In2Photos

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Mar 21, 2007
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That's going to be so much fun! Congratulations! Yay!

Thanks!
Damn...that's sharp! A bit more RGB than I care for...but it's still tasteful.

What CPU cooler is that?
Thanks! It's the Deep Cool LT720. They are only available in black right now so I took it apart and painted it. I have some pics that I'll post later in case anyone is interested in how I did it.
 

In2Photos

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Mar 21, 2007
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The AIO I wanted for this build doesn't yet come in white. So decided to paint the black one. TechSource (Ed) on YouTube actually did this same unit recently, but he left the cooler completely assembled when he painted it. I decided to take it apart. His method was certainly easier, but taking it apart allowed me to make one change that he couldn't do. I'll explain when I get to that point.

The cooler of choice was the Deep Cool LT720. The pump has an infinity mirror that I liked and thought would pair well with the Lian Li infinity fans. Here is a picture of the AIO from Deep Cool's website. Notice the teal color of the Deep Cool logo.

01.jpg

Here is the pump cover disassembled.
PXL_20230122_171338522.MP.jpg

Next I taped up all of the stuff on the radiator that I didn't want painted.
PXL_20230122_213215283.MP.jpg
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Then I wiped everything down really well and started painting.
PXL_20230123_194319708.MP.jpg

I saw someone in a review on amazon mention that the Deep Cool logo doesn't change color with the rest of the RGB on the cooler. When I took the pump cover apart I saw why. The logo is backlit by a small piece of teal plastic and a white LED, no RGB for that part. I spent some time deciding if I wanted to keep the teal color or change it. I decided to change it and make it white. the plastic piece was held in with a little adhesive so it popped right out. I used a piece of paper and taped it in place for the affect.

PXL_20230124_024808413.MP.jpg
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And here's the result. There are a couple of little blemishes in the paint, but only visible up close. The tolerances on the inner portion of the pump cover are very tight and the light overspray made it more difficult to put back together. I think that caused the blemishes as I had to force it back together. Still happy with the result. I'll get a picture of just the pump when the lights are on at some point. The scratches on the mirror portion are on the plastic peel, not the mirror itself.
PXL_20230124_031807111.MP.jpg
 
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In2Photos

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Since everything appears to be working I finished up with cable management and moved the PC to my office to continue testing before I load all of my software and games. Here's what it looks like behind the back panel.

With the drive cover off.
PXL_20230126_134032269.MP~2.jpg

And on
PXL_20230126_135835068.MP~2.jpg

I'm really happy with how the build turned out, especially the cables. Most are hidden so well it almost looks wireless. 😂
 

In2Photos

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I spent some time stress testing the GPU and am comfortable that everything is working well. So time to take it apart and paint it.

Before disassembly.
PXL_20230128_142225809.MP.jpg
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The fans and shroud are attached with several screws that are removed through the fan blades. And the backplate is held on with screws from the back. So the cooler never gets detached from the card.

PXL_20230128_143227951.MP.jpg
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Next step is to start taping up all the parts you don't want painted.

PXL_20230128_161245402.MP.jpg
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In2Photos

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Had a small setback with the GPU painting. The clear I used didn't adhere well so I've had a sand the affected areas which was rather difficult on the fan and fan shroud. It was looking so good too. 😔
 

In2Photos

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It's all put back together. In my opinion MSI should have been making a white version of these all along!

Front
PXL_20230129_214105961.MP.jpg
Backplate
PXL_20230129_214041842.MP.jpg
GPU bracket
PXL_20230129_214831066.MP.jpg

Before and after
PXL_20230124_043947692.MP.jpgPXL_20230129_222534234.MP.jpg

Close up
PXL_20230129_222541276.MP.jpg

Another view
PXL_20230129_222549730.MP.jpg

And with the glass panels back on.
PXL_20230129_230444303.MP~2.jpg
 
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BoomerD

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That looks hella nice. Plastic is notoriously difficult to paint. Different compounds, different form release agents...all can interfere with the ability of paint to stick to the surface.
 
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In2Photos

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That looks hella nice. Plastic is notoriously difficult to paint. Different compounds, different form release agents...all can interfere with the ability of paint to stick to the surface.
Yeah. The paint seemed to adhere fine until I sprayed the first coat of clear. In hindsight, the GPU looked good enough without the clear, I just wanted some extra protection of the paint. Thankfully any blemishes are tough to see unless you get up close to the GPU.

Here's another shot with all of the lights set to white. Still have lots of playing around to do.

PXL_20230129_232013334.MP~2.jpg
 
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BoomerD

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Yeah. The paint seemed to adhere fine until I sprayed the first coat of clear. In hindsight, the GPU looked good enough without the clear, I just wanted some extra protection of the paint. Thankfully any blemishes are tough to see unless you get up close to the GPU.

Here's another shot with all of the lights set to white. Still have lots of playing around to do.

View attachment 75580

damn...that looks almost...sterile.
 

In2Photos

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Well, I ended up making a change to the PC already. During my testing I found that the fan on my PSU (FSP Hydro G Pro 850W) was quite noticeable compared to everything else on the system. I'm not sure why too. According to the documentation on the PSU when the ECO switch is set to on the fan shouldn't turn on until the power is at 30% of the units rating, which in my case was 255W. Yet I could hear the fan turn on even when the system was at idle on the desktop. I hooked up a Kill-A-Watt to check total system power and I was well below that at idle (160-170W). And during testing it would turn on and off and you could hear a change in the sound. It wasn't that the fan was extremely loud per se, but there was such an audible difference when it was running that it would catch my attention. So I bought a Corsair RM850x. I hooked it up and started the testing again. Can't hear the fan at all, not even running Cinebench R23 and Heaven at the same time which pulled 470W max with my tuned settings for the CPU and GPU. I'll torture test it again at max OC settings just to make sure everything is fine.

The one thing I liked on the FSP unit was that the cables attached closer to the fan side of the PSU and the cables were flat so it made cable management a little easier, but I still managed to get everything tied up nicely.

PXL_20230214_150622411.MP.jpg