Water­works

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That’s it, then. We’re done, wrapped up, fin­ished. Or are we? No. There’s plenty more to do. We ended up tak­ing three days to build this rig. Even with the help of pro-mod­der (and Al­pha­cool’s mar­ket­ing rep) Dave Al­cock, it took nearly twice as long as we ex­pected. And there are still er­ro­neous parts and lit­tle nig­gles to tweak to make this rig re­ally shine.

First on the block are those Al­pha­cool ra­di­a­tors. There are two an­noy­ances here: the bot­tom ra­di­a­tor’s logo is up­side down, and the lo­gos are blue. To get around this, we’re go­ing to get some red vinyl Al­pha­cool la­bels printed up, which we can over­lay on them.

Next on the list is the mem­ory. In the end, HyperX couldn’t get the kit we wanted to us in time. No one’s at fault, as it was down to an er­ro­neous ship­ping de­lay han­dled by a third­party courier. Be­cause of that, we had no choice but to lean on 16GB (2x 8GB) of Cor­sair’s Dom­i­na­tor Plat­inum DDR4 @ 3,200MT/s for this build, fit­ted with a cou­ple of light­bar up­grades. But again, silver and white doesn’t match our build, and that spec isn’t the 32GB we’d hoped for, so a quick pitch to Cor­sair may be in the pipe­line. To cure the silver and white bars on top, CableMod sells a black vari­ant of the light­bar up­grade kit, with a red LED strip in the mid­dle, too, so that should help smarten up the in­te­rior a lit­tle.

There’s a lot we can do with the cable man­age­ment in the back, too, as we were up against the wire here, so that’s go­ing to be ad­dressed al­most im­me­di­ately. We’ve also got to find a plan for our sim­ple six-way XSPC fan con­troller. And the mag­netic LED strip we’ve hid­den in the front cor­ner of the chas­sis needs a stronger form of ad­he­sive, Vel­cro per­haps, as the alu­minium sup­port bar isn’t mag­netic.

Lastly, there are some loop tweaks we could do. There’s not a lot we’d change here; per­haps sand down the ra­di­a­tor end of the GPU tube, to bring the an­gle down a touch, and work on a fancier length of frosted tub­ing to con­nect the CPU and the top ra­di­a­tor to­gether, per­haps con­sist­ing of two 90-de­gree bends, and re­duc­ing our re­liance on fit­tings.

All that aside, and the frus­tra­tion, de­lays, and mas­sive ef­fort in­volved from ev­ery­one on the team, we’re im­mensely proud of this build. It’s cool, quiet, and lovely to look at, even with its flaws. It per­forms like a trouper, and ab­so­lutely kicks butt. There’ll be more of this beauty (hope­fully with all the tweaks) in a later is­sue, in­clud­ing the fi­nal desk build and pe­riph­eral setup, so keep an eye out!

The CPU block is a com­bi­na­tion of the stan­dard ac­etal vari­ant plus a mod­ding kit, which pro­vides us with the red thumb­screw tops and the red Al­pha­cool LED logo in the mid­dle. For aes­thetic rea­sons, this build is run­ning in a neg­a­tive pres­sure con­fig­u­ra­tion, which means more clean­ing for the lucky end user. A bit of sand­pa­per and a nee­dle file could re­duce the height of the an­gle on this length of tub­ing by just enough to straighten it up a touch. Re­plac­ing the tub­ing length should al­low us to get bet­ter ac­cess to that reser­voir top, mean­ing eas­ier fill­ing, and a nicer-look­ing rig.

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