Ad­vanced build tips

So, that’s the ba­sics dealt with, but what about some more ad­vanced tips and tricks for the would-be liq­uid-cooler, the OCD-ori­ented ca­ble tweaker, and the avid over­clocker? Never fear, we have you cov­ered.

APC Australia - - The Lab -

TIP 1 Liq­uid plan­ning

A fully cus­tom loop is some­thing most PC builders as­pire to at some stage. Whether you’re keen to try it or not, know­ing how to build one suc­cess­fully is a key piece of knowl­edge to have. As with most builds, it all starts with a good plan, some ac­quired knowl­edge and a touch of re­search. There are two ba­sic prin­ci­ples to re­mem­ber when liq­uid-cooling. Firstly, your pump must al­most al­ways be grav­ity fed by a reser­voir and, sec­ondly, each com­po­nent you wish to cool must have at least 120mm of ra­di­a­tor to sup­port it — more for over­clock­ing. Once you’ve got that pinned down, it’s on to the plan­ning stage. Sim­i­lar to our first plan we did back on page 50, it’s a good idea to use a side-on im­age of your case, sketch out roughly where your CPU and GPU will be, and work from there. By that we mean de­cide where to place your ra­di­a­tors, reser­voir, and pump (or pumps, if you’re go­ing for dual loops), then fig­ure out how to run your tub­ing. Vi­su­alise your build, un­der­stand what di­rec­tion the coolant will flow, then de­cide on your tub­ing runs. For be­gin­ners, we rec­om­mend keep­ing it as sim­ple as you can at first, un­til you get the hang of it. If you in­tend to in­tro­duce a bend to your tub­ing, it’s eas­ier to work one into a long length than a short one, and it’s al­ways ad­vis­able to use an­gled fit­tings wher­ever pos­si­ble, to re­duce the num­ber of bends you’ll have to pro­duce.

TIP 2 Ca­ble man­age­ment

Good ca­ble man­age­ment is all about lay­er­ing. Iden­tify what ca­bles need to run where, then layer them. Most cases have more than enough room in the back to al­low for ca­ble man­age­ment. Zip-tie bunches of them to the back of the moth­er­board tray, or use the Vel­cro straps of­ten in­cluded in to­day’s cases. Tie down your 24-pin and 8-pin CPU power first, then work on PCIe ca­bles, and any­thing else af­ter­ward. Mod­u­lar power sup­plies are a must — min­imis­ing the num­ber of ca­bles you have keeps a build tidy.

TIP 3 Pro light­ing

Good light­ing is hid­den light­ing. The aim is sim­ple: Any­thing that pro­duces light should be hid­den so you can only see the light that is thrown, as op­posed to the light source it­self. Hid­ing strips along the edges of cases, hid­den by the thick black bor­ders of tem­pered glass, or along the bot­tom of a chas­sis away from pry­ing eyes, is a smart way of achiev­ing this. On top of that, two strips are of­ten bet­ter than one. Put one along the bot­tom and an­other along the front side, and you’ll im­me­di­ately light up two sep­a­rate an­gles, pro­duc­ing a more dy­namic light­ing ef­fect. Ad­di­tion­ally, al­ways go for a white light. Sin­gle­colour strips (red, blue, green, and so on) typ­i­cally drown out all def­i­ni­tion and de­sign on com­po­nents. If a moth­er­board has red and black ac­cents and you throw a red LED strip in there, all you’ll see is red ev­ery­where.

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