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Carbon Overclock - Complete

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frozensnail    0

Project Carbon Overclock ATCs 840


The theme of the project is based around the World’s first Carbon water block of its type that I know of?. During my visit to Taiwan in June of last year with Paul for Computex, I was roaming around some of the smaller Far East manufacturers show stands & I stumbled across a stand displaying carbon heat sinks for graphic cards & chipsets. After some introductions I got chatting to the owner & he noted “water cooling specialists†embroidered on the CoolerCases shirt that I was wearing. From that point we had quiet an in-depth chat on the subject & he started to show me some of the projects he was working on using carbon graphite. Various experimental water blocks interested me & I managed to twist the guys arm to let me take away one CPU carbon water block for testing purposes.



Once back in the UK I tested the Carbon water block on a low end Intel core 2 setup & the results of the testing were very encouraging.




I’m now in a position to really test the thermal properties of the Carbon block using a higher end Intel core 2 quad processer in conjunction with the right motherboard, memory etc to achieve a good overclock?, hence the name of the project “Carbon Overclockâ€

I’ve managed to secure some of the hardware for this project e.g. ‘motherboard, CPU & graphics cards’ from Andrew at Overclock & thank him for making this possible.

Other sponsors include Coolermaster who sent the new ATCs case & Real Power Pro 1250W PSU, XSPC for hose, radiators & reservoir’s, Powercolor for the discounted HD4870’s via Overclock & OCZ also stepped in & supplied me with a 2GB OCZ Flex II XLC DDR3 kit to which I’m again very thankful for.





Components & parts for project,

Coolermaster ATCS 840 chassis

Lots of Carbon fiber, acrylic & aluminium sheet

Asus Maximus Extreme Intel X38 (Socket 775) PCI-Express DDR3 Motherboard

Intel Core 2 Quad Pro Q6600 "Energy Efficient SLACR 95W Edition" 2.40GHz (1066FSB)

2GB OCZ Flex II XLC DDR3 PC3-16000 (2000MHz) (8-8-8-28) Dual Channel kit

2x Powercolor ATI Radeon HD 4870 512MB GDDR5 TV-Out/Dual DVI/HDMI

2x 74GB Western Digital Raptors (1x for XP Pro, 1x for Vista Ultimate)

1x Seagate Barracuda 7200.11 500GB SATA-II (Storage)

1x Coolermaster Real Power Pro 1250W PSU

1x Sony NEC Optiarc AD-7200A 20x DVD±RW IDE Dual Layer Rewriter

Water cooling – “tri loop systemâ€

1x Carbon graphite CPU block with custom Carbon fibre mounting bracket

2x Laing DDC- 1 3.2 Ultra 18watt Pumps

1x Laing D5 Vario or XSPC dual pump bay res

2x XSPC Razor 4870 Full Cover VGA Water-Blocks

EK N/B, S/B & Mofset blocks

3x XSPC RX120mm Radiators

1x XSPC RS340mm Radiators

Solid black XSPC ½ Hose

Various XSPC reservoirs

Starting off I’ve spent a fair amount of time planning the layout of the cooling systems & where the main components will be fitted in the chassis. I’m going to have a go at using a triple cooling loop for this project, first loop purely for the CPU using 1x 360mm radiator, second loop for the two HD4870 graphics cards using 2x RX120mm radiators & finally the third loop cooling the chipsets, mofsets & memory using 1x RX120mm radiator. Phew that was a mouth full to real off!.

The chassis has 2x 230mm fans mounted in the top & 1x 230mm fan mounted behind the lower part of the front panel for hard drive cooling. These 230mm fans are huge just take a look at one next to a 120mm fan!.


I have thought of partly removing the hard drive cage, keeping the front fan in place & using it to force air into the chassis. Then exhaust some of the air via 2x 120mm radiators fitted each side of the chassis where the HD cage would have been & 1x 120mm radiator on the base of the chassis in the same kind of way that beast computers have adopted with their Para-flow design as pictured below.


The knock on effect of mounting the 2x 120mm radiators in the hard drive area is that there is now only enough space for two hard drives, but I’m sure to find other places around the vast chassis to fit a few storage drives?. Rivets drilled out & the hard drive cage is removed & then cut to the required height, I’ve placed the radiators into the void left & now have to make up a one piece bracket to hold both the radiators & make sure I can retain both to the floor or base of the chassis. The cereal boxes soon come out & after a little while measuring & cutting I’ve come up with a bracket or retaining plate. It will be laser cut from 2mm aluminium to help keep the structure fairly ridged; the longest part is converting the cardboard template to CAD ready for cutting.







Moving swiftly on, I’ve started to disassemble the case ready for either anodizing or powder coating using as 3mm drill bit to drill out the rivets, & I can tell you there are loads of rivets holding this chassis together. Once fully stripped I’m left with a pile of steel & floppy aluminium panels, it’s then soon loaded into the boot of the car for the short journey to the powder coaters. The reason for using powder coat rather than anodizing is purely a time scale decision, the anodizing turnaround time was three weeks due to current work load, yet the powder coating turnaround was two – three days!.





Now I’ve got a little time to start preparing the motherboard, the Asus Maximums Extreme Intel X38 has a D-Tek fusion block on the N/B & heat pipe arrangement, which I believe is not a bad cooling solution, but for me it’s coming off in favour of E/K Blocks in Acetal.







Also I’ve managed to do some the hosing for the chipset / mofset loop, using XSPC solid black hose & PrimoChill purple anti-kink coils & clips.





After dropping off the chassis at the powder coaters on a Wednesday, I was happy to receive a call on Friday morning stating the case was finished & ready for collection. Wow what a turn around, two days & just before the weekend, guess what I’m going to be doing over the weekend?. The chassis has been coated in glorious gloss black, not having ever built a PC Mod in black I thought it about time. Very soon I’ve removed the bubble wrap to reveal the now black chassis, the finish is absolutely faultless & I can’t wait to reassemble it. Lots of rivets later & referring to the photographs I took before & during disassembly the chassis is soon back up on its feet.









Next job is fitting the motherboard to the removable tray & making sure it all slides into place within the chassis. All fitted like a well made suit & I’ve started to fit the reservoirs for the tri-loop system. I’m only using one DVD drive in the PC as yet I cannot afford to buy a blue ray player + more to the point have no media to play in it, so it seems rather pointless for the moment. The mighty Coolermaster Real Power Pro 1250w PSU was next in line along with the 2x Powercolor HD4870 graphics cards, slowly the vast expanse of the ATCs 840 is getting filled.








Going back to the Carbon graphite water block I need to design & make a suitable socket 775 water block retaining bracket & what could be more fitting than making one from carbon fiber sheet. I’ve chosen some real high quality carbon fibre sheet for doing this, a 350mm x 150mm 2.2mm thick sheet cost £32.00 delivered, sure it’s a little more material than is hopefully required but you have to allow for things going tits up from time to time so if necessary I reckon I’d get 3-4 attempts out of what I’ve purchased. Not ever having the pleasure to work with this material before I’ve ended up reading up on the tools & techniques for cutting & shaping the stuff. So here goes, first I’ve measured the hole spacing for socket 775 mounting & drawn in free hand a bracket that I think will do the job. Secondly cutting a template from cardboard & transferring this to the carbon fibre sheet.



Thirdly there are a few different options in cutting the bracket shape out of the carbon fibre sheet, good old junior hacksaw or drilling a series of holes around the whole design, I’ve opted for a bit of both & soon have the bracket cut from the sheet. One word of warning though, this stuff is nasty for fine particles so face mask & goggles are in order from my point of view. I was lucky that the belt sander took most of the unwanted material away, and then all I had to do was neaten the job with a half moon file. Finishing the edges of the sheet carbon with a file & wet n dry paper was a chore but it would have been just as time consuming for me to draw the design up in CAD & have it cut by CNC + I can say I cut it & not a machine which is always nice if you have the time to do so.






Finally I’ve just used some metal polish to brighten up the whole bracket, works very well on the carbon fibre to take that dullness away. Assembled with some chrome socket head Allen screws & washers I’m more than happy with the result & I’ve still got most of the sheet left which is a bonus so gotta find something else to make out of it?.









For the graphics cards cooling loop I decided to use a Laing DDC – 1 coupled with a OC Labs UV Black reservoir, couple of reasons, first running out of space in the chassis & secondly don’t want it to resemble spaghetti junction, with three loops it’s going to be hard to keep things neat, tidy & clean looking for sure!. I’m mounting the pump between the PSU & RX120 radiator, to avoid or reduce vibration to a minimum I’ve knocked up an alloy bracket to raise the pump off the bottom of the chassis. Hopefully rubber mounting the pump on every fixing point should achieve this?. A few holes, folds & 10 minutes later I’ve finished the bracket or pump stand. Soon it’s pained black & drying in the house above a radiator, I’d like to get it fitted before the nights out with any luck?












The two Powercolor HD4870’s are hooked up to two RS120 radiators mounted at the front end of the chassis either side, & are part of the forced air system I’ve had a go at. I’ve made a cardboard template again, then converted this one to CAD & had it cut from 2mm Aluminium. It’s going to be folded into a box shape & I hope all the measurements are correct as if for any reason they are not the radiators will not be flush with the side panel?. The radiators have been screwed in place just to check that where I’m going to fold the bracket corresponds with the drawing. Remembering when I designed & measured this bracket at well after 3am one night last week, it’s turned out absolutely perfect.









Re-fitted the radiators & checked it fits in the chassis ok, again disassembled & painted the bracket black. Retained in place by 4x 4mm socket head Allen screws with a couple of strips of sticky back neoprene to dampen any vibration between case & radiators.






The weekend saw me finish all three cooling loops & testing the hardware, windows 7 installed no problem & even got around to running some benchmarks. Then unfortunately the mobo decided it would go tits up & no longer post !!!, After several hours of diagnostic / troubleshooting the mobo was removed early last night, awaiting a replacement today if the carrier manages to get here? Really could have done without this kind of hassle lol: neutral:

Started messing about laying the laser cut polished stainless steel wording & exhaust fan guards in place late last night, need to think of a way to retain the pieces ??, didn’t wanna use screws so may have to get the glue out unless anyone has any ideas?.

Also marked out the window I'm gonna cut later today if I get a chance of course.

Comments welcome regarding design of panel etc?








After running the system up for several hours & completing some benchmarks with reasonable scores, all at stock settings I might add, I rebooted & the rig but it had decided that enough was enough & failed to restart!. Spending the rest of the day trying to work out what was wrong I finally diagnosed the problem as being the motherboard. This was a setback I could have really done without (time not on my side & all that)ïŒ.

On receipt of another new mobo I set about a major refit of the system, all booted up with no problem & it has been running ok for 4 days now. The temps are very acceptable at stock settings, CPU under full load don’t get above 27 – 30c (19 – 23c idle). The graphics cards at full load 41c (idle approx 34c). Chipsets are a steady 22c ish, again at full load.

Turning my attention to the exterior of the case I measured & marked out a 120mm hole on each side panel for the 120mm fans that exhaust’s the warm air from the forced air system, “graphics card cooling loopâ€. Also marked out a window for the side of the case, I cut this using a 4†hand grinder fitted with a cutting disc against a straight edge, my reasons for this were due to the side panel being so very thin I thought using the jigsaw that it might possibly catch the material & leave me with a right mess of a panel.

Several hours later with a selection of files & wet & dry sand paper the window cut was finished & fitted against the case to check alignment. To my amazement the 120mm hole lined up with the fan & there is less than 1mm of differenceïŠ






Moving on to the window its self I’ve cut out three pieces of clear plexi & covered one in dark smoke (black) privacy film, the second in mirror (silver) & the third I’ve left clear. After laying each against the window I reckon I’m gonna go for the mirror finish to match the “Carbon Overclock†polished stainless steel lettering & fan covers. I’m sure to go through this process again once I have the panels painted.

This modded ATCs 840 was going to be painted gloss black right from the start & if I’m able to get in the paint shop at the weekend & use the oven, I should have some results to show by the middle of next week with any luck?



Good & bad news on the paintwork side of things!, managed to use local paint shop’s booth to paint the panels in & results were really good. After a closer inspection next morning the panels could have done with a couple more coats of lacquer to get that “like glass†look, so I set about lacquering all the external parts of the case again.

Having to do this work inside of a warehouse it was really difficult to stop crap falling into the freshly applied lacquer & I ended up with a high gloss finish but with all sorts of debris that was in the atmosphere.

With this in mind I decided to flat back the panels one more time & try to get the best finish possible, with the help of Paul the Prune (m8 at work) we ended up lacquering the panels in the wash room, a tilled clean area wow did that ever get foggy in there hehe!.

The results were loads better than before & there must be 1-2mm of lacquer on the panels at least, unfortunately there are a few bits of crap in the final lacquer coat but a flat back with 2000 paper, T-Cut & the power polisher soon sort the job out with any luck?.








Moving to the front of the case I ended up deciding to use 2x Coolermaster Aquagate Max units, one for the CPU cooling loop & the other for the chipsets, mofsets & memory. I also fitted a 4†tft screen in the top of the front panel & this is currently displaying a short promo movie of some mates who are crazy bastards on two & four wheels “Katch Bullet Productionsâ€.

Had to make some brackets to mount the screen & a face plate which was all painted in gloss black with the other panels. The quality of the displayed picture is top notch, clear & crisp not bad for under £60.







Thanks for looking & CeBIT just around the corner now so I really gotta get some work done tonight?

With delivery of both my own ATCs mod & that of Paul's to Coolermaster in Venlo Holland by the end of business Friday, Thursday night after work saw a frantic effort to complete the paintwork, I managed to pick up some expensive polish & set about polishing both side panels using the power polisher. Black has really got to be the worse colour to show any kind of imperfection in the preparation or application of the painting process, but we finally got there 2 hours later & the end result for me looks outstanding considering I ended up spay painting the panels in what effectively is a farm shed!!.

Next job is to stick in place the stainless steel laser cut fan covers for each side panel & the mirror window. I’ve got the “Carbon Overclock†lettering to again stick under the window but due to the style of lettering I chose there are burrs on the underside across the whole piece of stainless that will require cleaning off before it will sit flat against the panel, this stuff is hard to remove & takes a long time, just what I need to be spending hours doing at this late stage of the build. A quick trip back to work & I soon knocked the laser cutting burrs off from the lettering on the linisher, using double sided fabric tape I’ve stuck the laser cut bits on the case & stuck the window in place, by 2am all was done & a couple of photo’s before I packed the ATCs mod up into the box ready to get up at 5am to catch the ferry!. The inside changed from Purple coils & fluid to Green & please note the memory hosing is work in progress & I’m awaiting some chrome fittings to pass the hoses through the panel work in a uniform & neat way, but postie has not yet delivered those fittings so please forgive the untidiness of the memory hoses. Three loops & things are rather busy inside the chassis but I hope I managed to make it as neat as possible?

Thanks again for looking, CeBIT only days away now, just wish I had more time to do more mods etc etc!!.











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chatnoir    0

really good this alive,and the blood is green :shock: in my city carbon fiber and water cooling is really but really expensive, someday I'll have one inside my cpu, good job saludos.

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PaPang    0

Ha! Beat you Chatnoir, there is no carbon fiber and water cooling in my town even if I prepaid and begged for it! Really cool upgrades and professionally done. Kudos!

Cheers and Saludos

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nicky_82uk    0
really good this alive,and the blood is green :shock: in my city carbon fiber and water cooling is really but really expensive, someday I'll have one inside my cpu, good job saludos.

i know how you feel i paid $300 usd just to change from pom to copper but aleast i will never need to change also looks cheap and nasty the pom on this mod of mine i've still got todo nickel and letter but maybe next time because cant afford todo anymore right now

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