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hokiealumnus 02-22-2012 12:28 PM

Project Log: Rhapsody in Red
Rhapsody in Red

Overclockers has received news we have a case coming to review. A case that we hope to turn into an epic build in the course of its review. I'm trying for a relatively quick turnaround on the review, so this log will probably be short and to the point when it gets here. Until then, here's what we'll be working with.

The case: Lian Li PC-Z70

Its interior is as expansive as its exterior is monolithic.

Also along for the ride and (and for evaluation) are going to be quite a few accessories from Bitfenix. They are sending:

Alchemy multisleeved cables...

Alchemy LED Strips (quantity/type TBD)...

...and Spectre Pro LED fans for all the spots in the case.

As the title implies, it's also going to be red. Lots and lots of red. The motherboard and GPUs are all red & black. The benching SSD is even red.

The system going in the case is befitting such a monster. (Links are to our reviews.)

CPU: Intel i7 3960X
MB: ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws Z DDR3-2133 Quad Channel Memory
GPUs: AMD HD6990 + AMD HD6970
SSDs: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240G (main OS), Patriot Inferno 100GB (benching OS)
HDDs: Samsung 1TB, Seagate 750GB
Fan Controller: Lamptron FC9
PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W (**HUGE thanks to Bobnova for loaning that for this build!)

I'm debating whether to air or water cool the CPU (GPUs will both retain their stock cooler, befitting the red theme). Water would, of course, be cooler (heh) but it will require purchasing a dual 140mm radiator. I've found an inexpensive one at FrozenCPU and hope to go with that. I already have pump, res, block & tubing.

The case obviously does not have a side panel window. I'm seeing if Lian Li possesses something like that, otherwise I'll be taking on my first side panel window mod.

The project is being named after a song my band in college wrote & performed regularly. It's by far NOT our best song and always felt to me to be repetitive and annoying but the title fits this build to a T - Rhapsody in Red.

That's it for now. The components save PSU are already here and in use, but the case, accessories and PSU are on their way. I hope you enjoy this log somewhat close to how much I expect to enjoy building it. :up:

hokiealumnus 02-24-2012 10:09 AM

I'm happy to report the case has shipped and should be here early next week. Accessories are being shipped next week. Still working on a radiator, but unless I get word from Lian Li that 55mm won't fit (30mm rad + 25mm fans), I'm definitely going to water cool it with a 2x140mm rad.

hokiealumnus 02-26-2012 09:15 PM

Small project update from items received Friday (but no time to photo and post until today). First up, the 10W DDC arrived.

I already had the XSPC pump top that will be used on it. Top installed and (used) pump verified operational.

Also joining us early is the Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W on loan from Bobnova for this project. Thanks again brother!

Not sure if I'll use the fan controller (hopefully it's optional). This case is SO huge, I'm worried about it being able to make the journey from the PSU alllll the way up to the controller. We shall see.

Anyway, this beast is fully modular with plenty of connectivity.

Did I mention it's a beast? Single 12V rail weighing in at an astounding 105A.

Hopefully the case will arrive tomorrow or Tuesday with the Bitfenix parts coming later in the week!

Hondacity 02-26-2012 11:52 PM

I never thought those pumps were made in hungary. nice pics

hokiealumnus 02-27-2012 12:27 AM

I thought that was interesting too.

Thanks for the compliment. All we have is a point-and-shoot, but it's a good one - Canon S95. The photos were with no flash and an overhead-fixture-in-a-fan with a 100W equivalent CFL. I'll do better than that when it comes time for review photos. :)

hokiealumnus 03-01-2012 10:54 PM

The case is here! Well, it was here yesterday but after taking 214 photos I didn't feel like paring it down, cropping, etc. Now there are only 63 photos. Of course, I will spare you here and just show a select few, but expect plenty of pictures in the review!

Anyway...this thing is huge. By huge I mean you have to compare it to large household objects for comparison. You know; like a chair.

No suspense though, let's see it in person. Feast your eyes on the giganticness (not a word, but probably worth inventing for this case).

Here is where the radiator will reside. There is just a smidge under 40cm to work with, so a low profile radiator is mandatory.

Didn't take long to hit our first snag though. The PSU bracket (which is thankfully optional) is very incompatible with this PSU. it went in without one using the handy-dandy Lian Li strap down method.

So now we have gotten as far as I can go for now. Bitfenix shippment will be here...who knows when.

The other pending item is a Koolance 2 x 140mm rad I ordered tonight from FrozenCPU; it should be here sometime next week and then this puppy will start to come together.

Until then, thanks for reading! I'm always subscribed if you have questions.

Halo_003 03-03-2012 01:48 PM

Looks good, that PSU doesn't need the controller you are correct. :)

hokiealumnus 03-06-2012 10:13 PM

Thanks for the verification Halo!

Another piece of the puzzle has arrived - the radiator. I went with a Koolance because it was the right depth and seemed to look in photos as though its construction was a bit better than the Magicool model. Thus, slim 140x2 radiator is here!

Definitely disappointed with the screws. You get enough to mount the fans and that's it. Wouldn't it make sense people might want to mount the rad to something and then put fans on it??

Meh, I'm sure I can find something. It appears to be verified 30FPI.

There is also a smart innovation I wish more manufacturers did - they have little metal tabs to protect the radiator in case you put the screws in too far. Very smart.

One more photo for the heck of it and we're done for the day.

Bitfenix said the orders were being processed by the distributor on Friday. Hope they come this week and we can see this thing start to come together!

hokiealumnus 03-11-2012 02:01 PM

Well, actually getting some stuff done now!

First, I've some sad news - Bitfenix appears to be unable to complete the whole order until mid-April. Thus, the build will complete without most of the red part so I can finish the review on this case. On the plus side, we can all see what a difference such modifications make in a final build!

So I've begun moving on. The first thing to be installed was the radiator. Regrettably, one of the Koolance-supplied screws didn't thread properly. Instead, when I applied a little pressure to get it past the first threads, the head broke off. It took almost nothing to get it to do so. I'm not sure what these are made of, but it certainly isn't very stout, so I'm down one screw.

Plenty of room above the motherboard. Not enough for a thicker radiator though. If you want to internally water cool this case, you'll need a 30mm-thick radiator as expected.

I'm using a Maximus IV Extreme-z as stand-in for the Rampage IV Extreme to install the water loop. CPU placement is almost exactly the same between the two.

The boards are the same form factor as well, which actually shows our first hiccup...the ATX cable's grommet is too far under the board to run it through, so we'll have to go through that slit farther away. Certainly not a big deal when the Bitfenix stuff gets here, but it won't be pretty with factory wires.

You'll also get an idea of just how big this thing is. Remember, this board is larger than a standard ATX motherboard by a fair bit.

Turning the case around, we see hiccup #2. Just like all Lian Li cases, if you have a board like this with the CPU positioned a little to the side, the large rear hole for mounting brackets isn't quite large enough. (Most boards would not be affected by this.)

Now let's put a 6990 in there. AFAIK it is the longest video card on the market.

How many cases do YOU know of that dwarf a 6990?!?

Now we'll put the first tubing run in and be done for this update. I went a little long and sweeping. It can always be trimmed down, but you can't make it longer.

That's it for now! Stay tuned for further updates. :)

hokiealumnus 03-14-2012 11:57 AM

Well, the non-decked-out build is done! Last night I went crazy and got it done all at once, so there are no interim pictures. The system is a little different than what it will ultimately be once finished with a video card change (single card instead of tri-fire temporarily).

CPU: Intel i7 3960X
MB: ASUS Rampage IV Extreme
RAM: G.Skill Ripjaws Z DDR3-2133 Quad Channel Memory
GPUs: [s]AMD HD6990 + AMD HD6970[/s] AMD HD7970
SSDs: OCZ Vertex 3 Max IOPS 240G (main OS), Patriot Inferno 100GB (benching OS)
HDDs: Samsung 1TB, Seagate 750GB
Fan Controller: Lamptron FC9
PSU: Cooler Master Silent Pro Hybrid 1300W

I did not take any photos of the rear "wire management" because after setting up the water loop, there was time to manage the front, but not the back. Trust me when I say it's just plain ugly back there!

As a side note, some may find the pump mount interesting, as it can easily be removed and moved around. My preferred mount is 3M Command Picture Hanging Strips (in black). They hold very well and don't fall apart like velcro. It also provides several advantages. You mount two thin strips, one on each side of the pump. That elevates the pump a little bit and allows it to breathe to prevent overheating. It can also be easily removed to get the pump out of the way temporarily, or even to put the case on its side without risking leaking out of the pump top cap. There is the added bonus that it helps isolate the pump from the case to prevent vibration. It's actually quite handy stuff :)

Anyway, on with the pictures!

This is the best I could do in ~3 hours, hope you like it. Comments/questions/suggestions are welcome!

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