Description

Thank you PCPP for the feature! There are some REALLY nice/interesting builds currently, so I appreciate it. Also thank you to the PCPP community for the love.

Introduction

Hello and thanks for stopping in! This is a build, that in some respects, began about two years ago with a previous project. I’ve always been drawn to small form factor builds, however, this was my first full custom loop in an itx case which, needless to say, presented a few interesting challenges. I learned a great deal while putting this together and in the end am quite proud of the result...my wife even admitted it looked, "okay."

The Loop

This is a full custom hardlined loop, consisting of EK 12/16mm rigid PETG tubing, EK compressions fittings and various EK angled adapters. The radiator is an EK 240 Dual (medium thickness) and the reservoir is an EK-XRES 100 Revo with a D5 Alphacool pump. The CPU block is Bitspower, and the GPU block is EK. I had to use EK’s 120mm uni fan bracket to mount the pump and res to the radiator since space was limited. I considered a horizontal mount to the top of the case but decided against this. The coolant is distilled water with biocide added to prevent algae growth. The loop begins in the reservoir, travels to the GPU, then the CPU, the radiator and finally deposited back into the reservoir having been cooled. Designing the loop took a lot of thought and some creative use of angled fittings. I wanted simple bends but needed a number of 90, 45, 2x45 degree angled fittings to accomplish this in such a small space. Clean, straight, symmetrical lines are a must for me. I’ll talk about overclocking and temperatures at the end!

The Case

Few ITX cases provide the necessary features for water cooling. However, both the Fractal Nano S and Phanteks Enthoo EVOLV ITX provide exceptional support for custom loops. Having previously owned the Nano S, I chose the Phanteks case. What I liked about this case was the increased width which allowed me to go with a custom 1080 PCB and GPU waterblock. Front mounted 240/280mm radiator support with a dust filter was critical. Motherboard cutouts, removable drive cages and a PSU shroud, along with sturdy construction make this case a flat out winner.

CPU

Originally purchased for a build in early 2016, the Intel Core i5-6600k performs wells and overclocks like a champ. Because my GPU does most of the heavy lifting, and I primarily use my system for gaming, I felt like an overclocked i5 was the way to go. If I were purchasing these parts today, I’d probably have taken the Ryzen 5 1600X.

GPU

Back in 2016 I initially paired this CPU with a GTX 960 for some mid tier gaming, however, after the release of Pascal and purchasing a Dell 1440p 144Hz Gsync monitor, I upgraded to the EVGA GTX 1080 FTW. Phenomenal card, looking forward to putting it to work!

Performance, Overclocking and Temps

Initially I was a little skeptical about a sing 240mm rad to support both the CPU and GPU in the custom loop, however, I am totally blown away by the performance of this loop. Currently I have a healthy 4.5 Ghz at 1.352 volts running on my CPU and no overclock (yet) on the GPU. Idle temps for both CPU and GPU are around 32 C. After 10 minutes of 3D Mark Time Spy, CPU maxed out at 55 C and the GPU stayed around 49 C.

Future Considerations and conclusions

I really struggled to find a decent spot to install a drain port and finally gave up. Currently I have to use the same squirt bottle I used to fill the reservoir in order to drain it, which is a slow process to say the least. I’ll be looking at clever ways to add a drain in the future. Additionally, I may redo the short little bend from the radiator to the reservoir, it could be a slightly smaller loop. Anyway, thank you for taking a look at my build. Hopefully this build proved helpful to anyone considering any of these parts. Some very helpful vendors I used were Mainframe Customs, Performance-pcs and Newegg. Looking forward to your feedback and thank you to PCPartpicker for providing this amazing website and community.

Comments

  • 33 months ago
  • 5 points

Inb4 jipster

See? This is what custom loop builds should look like.

+1

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you my man!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

No problem! Your build deserves recognition

  • 33 months ago
  • 4 points

Glad you got the begrudging wife approval!

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

Brilliant little build. Love the cables! +1

Can't help but feel the pipes need to be running red though :)

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! Haha I bought the Mayhems Pastel Red and I don't know why I liked the clear look. But I think you may be right, the original plan was red...I might give it a shot.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

bruh- that one little loop bend- how long did that TAKE?

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Bleh yeah definitely a weird bend, I think I got it on the third try. Still not perfect, it's wide by a hair but I'm not sure how much tighter I can make it without stressing the tubing too much.

  • 33 months ago
  • 3 points

respect

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

That bend is nasty

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

In a good way of coarse

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  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Apple be like, "-1, where is all of the cables and dongles?"

I be like, "+1, great work on all of the cables and dongles!"

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Beautiful loop

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

I like how clean and tidy it is and I would agree it would look great with some red dye added to that coolant. +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Stunning build! +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you :)

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Love the clear fluid, works well with the build. Soo nice

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

All of this is awesome :D

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

nice work +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Dude...this is one good looking itx...

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Fantastic!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Awesome build!!!! +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Very sexy build. Well done!!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Great Build, but for the cost of all the cooling you could have gotten another 1080 to facilitate your gaming purposes, nice work. The cables are nice, did you custom build them? If you did, you could fry everything, they look awesome though. 10/10 looks, 7/10 reliability and performance.

  • 33 months ago
  • 7 points

Pay no attention to young Dante, for he is a friend of mine, and knows not the ways of the custom loop. For the custom loop, is an ancient art and it's ways are not beholden to the faithless. Pouring liters of gushing fluid into a box full of electronic components, all the while pumping volt after volt of electricity through hand made power cables. What could go wrong you ask? Nothing, absolutely nothing...

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Stunning +1. How are your finger tips?

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you! And they hurt...

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Hehe! Took me 11hours to do mine. Slowest part was the 24pins cable. Having to split the cable where it was doubled up. My PSU side had 28 pins and Motherboard side had 24pins.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

I cheated and just did an extension for the 24 pin because I would have had to solder like you. The CPU and VGA cables are full. Honestly it will be a little while before I'm sleeving cables again haha, they look great but damn is it time consuming!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Tell me about it. My missus wanted me to help her do her sleeves recently. Told her I'll get someone else to make them. I'm not doing it again anytime soon.

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Oh and your Lian-Li ITX build, now that's stunning.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Beautiful build! Whole lotta bang in that little box!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Pictures #4 & #5 <3

Great build and grats on the feature! +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you! Can't deny the quality of EK products that's for sure.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

wow love the build! i am leaning towards either a mini itx or micro atx case for my next build. saw that phanteks released an matx version of their TG evolve so i might go with that because all of the builds ive seen with phanteks cases just look so great, yours definitely included !! congrats on the feature

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! That Phanteks micro atx TG case is a thing of beauty. I'd be really tempted to go that route. Phanteks' build quality is really quite nice. Fractal also makes a nice micro atx case in the Define Mini C. Could put together a pretty sweet build in that one as well!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

noice build always like small loops in small cases

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Anyone else at first think this was Salazar's build

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

There is only one world to describe this build:

Amazballs!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Very Nice Build! +1

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Now that is neat! Congratulations on the feature

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

That's some thicc tubing,

Great build anyway ;) +1

Congrats on Featured btw.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, nice and clean little system. Love it. Well done.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

I... wow! I love how the tubing turned out! I'm going to use this as a model for my next build! Great Job!!!!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you my man, I appreciate that a lot! Looking forward to seeing that build someday! I wanted neat runs, with simple enough bends all the while maintaining nice straight lines and symmetry. Definitely took a little thought and a fair amount of 90, 45, and 2x45 degree fittings.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Really inspires me to build a watercooled system when I get a job.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Looks perfect, love the work there on the loop. +1 :)

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

This build is extremely clean. Also that 35 Degree bend or whatever, dam 0-0

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you Square! Definitely wanted something clean, somewhat subtle but with a little style!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

I see what you mean for the drain valve, the only solution I see Is making the tube that runs from your graphics card to your res go lower, making it the lowest point in your loop and putting a drain valve there. Then again, if your fine with the current solution you have and don't wanna do the bend again, I'd get it ! great build By the way, I kinda like the clear coolant.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Always love seeing people do their own cabling...

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

VERY NICE! I LIKE! (Borat voice)

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

They told me to use distilled water, I used Gypsy Tears.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

+1 slippers, the man knows whats up.

Nice work on the build btw ;)

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Gotta build in comfort man!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Silly question but... whats the metal piece beside the power supply that hides all of the wires and such called?

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

It's called a PSU shroud. You see modders making their own a lot, but many cases are starting to include them. Really helps tidy things up, gives you some mounting options for custom cooling also.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you.. Nice build btw love the custom cooling!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

I sexually identify as a gaming PC

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Just beautiful!

I love small builds running custom loops.

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing how you fit that loop in there with 16mm tube too! Super clean.

lol@ your wife saying it looked "okay" my wife just said I'm a loser and that she wishes I would pay as much attention to her as I did my "new girlfriend" aka my new pc.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Keep fluid clear, looks gorgeous like that :O <3

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I agree, I didn't end up using the Mayhem's red pastel that I had ordered...just didn't look right. The distilled water enhances the existing colors, plus I just feel better about running crisp, clean, clear distilled water through my loop.

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

I totally agree :)

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

https://pcpartpicker.com/b/JCyXsY

When I update the GPU I'm thinking about adding a custom loop. How was it building in this case?

  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey limelight55,

I have to say this case was a joy to work with. Because it's a little larger than most ITX cases it is a great case for water cooling. I went with a pump/res combo but because of the removable drive bay, there is a ton of room to mount your pump at the bottom of the case. If you did this you could probably go with a 240 rad on top and the front! Although a single, high quality 240 or 280 rad in front works amazingly well!

I really can't say anything bad about this case, it offers great flexibility in terms of water cooling. I'd say go for it! The only other ITX case I might consider is the Fractal Nano S but ultimately the EVO ITX is the way to go.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Beautiful build! I'm doing something similar with the case. Were the EK rads the only one that would fit up front? Do you know how much room there is? Did you have to use low profile fans up front? And are they set to push or pull? :)

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! Sorry for the late reply, anyway to answer your questions, no, originally I was installed a bitspower 240 slim radiator but saw that I had more room than I thought and opted for a thicker EK rad. The EK rad that I'm using is medium thickness but their thickest (60 mm) actually fits as well. I would imagine you could use just about any brand radiator in either the front or top of this case. Secondly, nope, the fans are not low profile, just about any brand fan should work for you! The two 120 mm are in a push configuration and draw the cool air outside of the case over the radiator. The one thing I will say is the front panel probably restricts air flow more than it should but still gets the job done.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! Yeah, I was thinking of drilling slits in the front and top, but I'll wait until it's assembled and see what the temps are.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

I've had my itx Phanteks for a while now, and every day I consider adding a custom loop. Your detailed description will definitely help the planning process as this will be my first time doing a loop ever, in an itx.. +1

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you buddy, I appreciate the kind words. Sorry for the late reply but good luck with your custom loop, it's definitely a fun and rewarding project!

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

nice build +1 but can you tell me did you get the acetal w/o pump or the ones with a pump?

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Bah sorry for the late reply, but I purchased the acetal res w/o the pump because I already had a good alphacool D5 pump. I bought mine through performance-pcs.com and they sell a version with the pump or without.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

You might be able to add a drain to the water block on the GPU, i'm not entirely sure if that would work though.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Yeah I thought about this and that would probably be the best but unfortunately the 90 degree fitting I have doesn't fit between the graphics card and the PSU shroud. I'd probably have to turn the rad upside down and completely redo my bends to get some kind of drain port...

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Can your CPU clock any higher? I feel like you've still got a few hundred megahertz to get out of that little i5, especially on full custom water loop. Still an awesome build though and everything is super clean, well done!

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you man. Well to answer your question, I might be able to push it up to 4.6 or 4.7 but the temperatures just get a little too high for my liking. I don't think I exactly won the silicon lottery with this particular chip so I'm okay with 4.5. I think if I tossed in a 120 or 140 rad in the back I might feel better about upping to voltage and sticking with 4.6 or possibly even 4.7.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Great build I really want to get this case for a build I wanna do.

  • 31 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I highly recommend this case, really enjoyed working in it. Lot's of features and room for custom parts.

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Very Nice

  • 30 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! Had a lot of fun building it!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

This build is goals.

Can you share your cable lengths? I'm building a custom loop in the Evolv ITX and would like to order my cables now. Don't have the patience to do it myself!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I hate to say it but I don't really have lengths for you. I went with extensions on the 24 pin and CPU cables and I'd probably route the PCIE/GPU cables differently if I were doing it again. If you've got your case already I'd say take some wire or string and try to measure out the distances. Sorry I'm not much help!

Good luck on the build, I really enjoyed working in this case! It was a lot of fun :)

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

No worries at all! Thanks for the response.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing. +1

I know this is old sorry

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you my man! I appreciate it :)

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Now this is what I like to see. Nice, clean, simple layouts that make sense. Love the loop....but that little squiggle from the red into the res just kills me. :)

What I don't get though is if the front can hold 140mm fans, why can't it take a 280mm rad? Is it the space between the front and the PSU cover that kills it?

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey Essex23,

Sorry for the late reply. Thanks a lot for the compliments! It was a lot of fun building this...

Anyway, yeah the case can support a 280mm rad in the front and the top actually. Honestly I'm not 100% sure but I think I remember going with the 240 because the plugs lined up better with the way my loop was laid out. With that said, I probably could have made the 280 work somehow haha.

  • 28 months ago
  • 1 point

Gotcha. Alignment issues makes perfect sense. I am considering doing a pair of 280's in my build, but going to be going with the slim Hardware Labs radiators to conserve space. Still going for simple and elegant lines. :)

  • 27 months ago
  • 1 point

Were you able to keep the front dust filter on? Also, do you think two dual 120 rads will fit in the case? I'm planning on liquid cooling my build in the same case. Just doing research on how it might look.

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Super Clean! Nice job!

  • 26 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you man! I appreciate it :) Great fun building it.

  • 33 months ago
  • 0 points

Amazing build! i love that you used those fat pipes! 1+! looks amazing!!!

  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you! I agree, the larger tubes add so much to these small builds. Just seemed right haha :)

  • 33 months ago
  • 0 points

GTX 1080 to play Dota #overkill! love the build

  • 33 months ago
  • 2 points

On a 1080p monitor no less! Haha :) Thanks!

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  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks man! That's the look I was going for.

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  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you, I appreciate that! You know on those games that support SLI two 1070s is just beastly! I've gotta say I've really enjoyed my 6600k, it's been a great CPU. I really only game on my rig so the i5 is the sweet spot for me. The 7700k is a nice jump up for sure but it just depends on what you're doing with you computer as far as if it makes sense or not. Personally, I'm going to squeeze a few more years out of my 6600k if possible!

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  • 32 months ago
  • 1 point

Man a stable 4.8 GHz on the 6600 is pretty impressive but like you said you gotta be comfortable with your temps. The most I was able to get out of my 6600 was 4.6 but the voltage was just a little too high for me.

I think you've got a good plan! The 7700k with that motherboard is going to be an amazing combo with some serious OC'ing potential. Couple that with two 1070's in SLI and you're going to be set for years!

Let me know how it goes!

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  • 33 months ago
  • 1 point

I'm always down for a little jipster lovin'...