Description

In the world of music, a passage marked Pianissimo is to be played “very softly.” But even the quietest music can have the most powerful effect.

This computer captures the essence of Pianissimo quite beautifully. It has a fully custom water cooling loop to chill the 8-core CPU and 2-way SLI GPUs. With a push-pull 280mm radiator, a 420mm radiator, and 10 Corsair magnetic levitation fans, the system stays virtually silent under light load. The dual pump allows the workload of pushing water through all of the tubing to be split in two, eliminating the motor noise. Finally the system has been thoroughly bled to remove air bubbles, ensuring all rattling is eliminated and cooling performance is maximum.

Also the black and white cables remind me of piano keys. Is that a stretch?

My intention is to use Pianissimo for full stack web development, Adobe Photoshop/Illustrator/Premiere, and 4K gaming. To make up for the lower stock speeds on the 7820X, I overclocked my CPU to 4.6 GHz with a VCORE of 1.18 V. Didn’t want to push farther than that to keep thermals cooler.

The 1080 Ti was doing just fine with air cooling…until I added another one. The moment the temps rose to 85 degrees during benchmarking, I realized that I’d need to finally add custom water cooling. This was my first stab at it. Having said that, I played it safe and went with soft tubing; I think the end result looks tidy enough that I don’t regret that decision.

I originally thought adding color to the fluid would detract from the black and white look I previously went for. But it actually adds a nice accent, and goes with the blue in the HX1000i logo. My previous build used Noctua industrial fans, but I found them to be too noisy at low speeds in PWM mode; they emit an obnoxious ticking noise. The Corsair ML120/ML140 fans on the other hand have extremely low bearing/motor noise, plus a cool LED effect.

The greatest challenge in this build was modding the 750D case by removing the optical drive bays. I simply didn’t have the right tools. But I managed to remove the 7 rivets with a low power drill and used pliers to tear both sides of the enclosure off the front panel. Unfortunately this left some very jagged edges, but they’re mostly hidden. I’ll probably get around to filing them down one of these days. On the up side, I had plenty of room for a full 420mm rad along the top, and working space for installing the reservoir.

I also dealt with a trickling sound created by the water entering the reservoir. My initial loop had a piece of tubing running from the top of the 280mm rad to the top of the reservoir, which turned out to be a mistake because most of the air gathers in the reservoir. That small gap of air is enough to create noise as the water enters the chamber. I ended up draining the system and rerouting that tube to the bottom of the reservoir, to avoid creating turbulence. Nice and quiet now.

It’s also worth mentioning that the loop leaked a total of six times. My major takeaway is to use the provided fittings or stops when possible; I particularly overlooked thread height, which isn’t always compatible when using different branded fittings. The reservoir had the most leaks, possibly due to the plastic material of the base.

Anyway, 64 GB of RAM is totally overkill. But this is an extreme build; I figured why not fill up the remaining DIMM slots? The second 1080 Ti is actually useful, because the games that can benefit from it get a nice extra boost, and then ones that don’t…well, I can simply disable SLI if need be.

Overall, very happy with my first liquid cooled build. It’s as quiet and powerful as I hoped it’d be, and the process of planning and constructing the loop was a blast. I’ll have to give rigid tubing a try next time I upgrade.

If you have any suggestions, criticisms, questions, or general comments, particularly regarding the water cooling, let me know. I’m still getting comfortable with having a half gallon of water swirling around my computer.

Benchmarks

  • CPU-Z
  • UserBenchmark
  • Cinebench: 1978 CPU, 161.99 OpenGL
  • Valley: 84.9 FPS, 3551 score (4K ultra, 8xAA)
  • Heaven: 76.7 FPS, 1932 score (4K ultra, 8xAA, extreme tessellation)
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Comments

  • 29 months ago
  • 5 points

I think you may need more fans. Perhaps spending 300 bucks on fans weren't enough I really think that 47 degrees for the GPU under load is really hot. Maybe spending 2000 on fans could get it to be a more reasonable temp like 45 degrees. 7/10 not enough fans-IGN

This is just a joke btw and this build really tickles my pc **** files. +1

This will also be featured just gonna tell you now.

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

lel, I can imagine stacking a bunch of extra fans in there just to fill up the empty space

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

But they cant be any kind of fan they have to be RGB fans, obviously.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Indeed, with RGB cables and fan controller too.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

They also need to be tempered glass RGB fans.

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

but also it's good to see some soft line tube builds finally start making a comeback!

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Nice build. One thing i can suggest is maybe having a blue accent in the cables?

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Thanks, yea I'm definitely thinking about a custom CableMod order...

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I'd say you got a good chance for a feature.

Cable management check

Solid color scheme check

Water cooled check

Good photos check

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

just a stupid question: why did you spend ~300 on fans

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Needed many quiet fans with good static pressure. These are working out well so far.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

ok whatever floats your boat! (pun on the water!)

i smell a feature coming

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing build!!! +1

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Beautiful!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Damn.

Now that there is a beast!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Yee, thanks!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

WOW! thats quite a pc. you could run gtaV at like 300000000000000 fps! (not litrally) sorry for bad spelling i have built a pc on xidax $10,000+

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Hehe true, I'm happy as long as I get 60 fps

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

inb4 feature. Amazing build.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Amazing. +1

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Dude, 64GB of RAM and 2 1080 Tis is optimum for unRAID Server Pro and making 2 Gamers, 1 CPU out of this machine. All you need to add is a low bandwidth GT 710 in a x1 or x4 slot to run unRAID.

Is the pump pictured above the bottom fans held in purely by the pressure the tubing alone places on the pump?

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Heh, well there's a story behind that pump. After two frustrating Amazon orders, both of which were missing the mounting brackets, I got EK to directly send me the mounts for free. Problem is, the loop was already built out by the time I received them. I didn't account for the fact that the mounting mechanism would add about a centimeter of height, so I ended up abandoning an attempt to install them; the bends would be a little too tight and I didn't want to drain the system a third time.

So yes, the pump is just hanging out loosely in there. Need to remember to fix that next time I do maintenance.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

If I were you, I'd 3D print the mount custom and screw it into the bottom fan with holes closest to the pump mounting area. See if you can get a local hackspace group to do that as a little project with you. It'd be a fun thing to make that will be unique to your build.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Sounds like a pretty good idea. Securing the pump would help with the vibration when the it runs at high speeds. Do you think that plastic would be stable enough? Guess it depends on the orientation it's printed (layers), but would also need to be pretty thin. That bend at the inlet of the pump is pretty tough to work with.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

In the worst case scenario, you could adjust the height by re-cutting the tube going to the pump and using fittings. But the mount thickness would have to be at least 15-20mm total.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I might just redo the tubing between pump and reservoir then. Been eyeing Primochill Vue coolant for release, so I'll probably do it when I get my hands on that and drain the loop; kill two birds with one stone.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

looks amazing

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thank you

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I agree with some of the other comments: White/blue cables would add a great touch...other than that it's already perfect.
I got a question tho:
There are 2 models of fans that qualify as replacement for the Corsair LED fans in my R2D2 build, which actually are neither bright, nor silent, nor powerful.
As far as specs go the Enermax Cluster Advanced are quieter yet more powerful (plus cheaper) than the ML120. But since reading your review i ask myself if the magnetic levitation could actually make all the difference in real life practical use...?!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Huh, you're right about the specs on paper. Motor/bearing noise is one of those things manufacturers usually don't mention. I was going nuts researching whether all PWM fans make a ticking sound, and that's when I came across the ML pro series. Realistically, they don't have 0 mechanical noise, but are quieter than Noctua industrial fans, sitting about 2 feet away. I can't claim much else; I'd need to test the Enermax you mentioned. But there also comes a point where it's impossible to overcome the humming sound as you push air through a rad, so depends on the use case.

Nice builds btw, thought I recognized your name from the home page haha

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Leaves me still undecided. Do you think you'd be able to test the Enermax any time soon? Or maybe i'll just order me 1 of each myself...

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I would definitely test them yourself, because you might have an even lower tolerance for noise than I do. Aesthetics-wise, I must say the ML pros look pretty sleek though. Too many tradeoff decisions to make!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

True. But the Enermax are white, so for the R2 build they are pretty much perfect optic-wise. I'll think i'll take a test drive with those hot rods. Thank you for help!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice job!! +1!!! :-)
Feature? ;-)

Photo #7: my OCD wants me to turn that CR2032 battery to have the text horizontal.... XD

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Haha, now I notice it too, I need to fix it - we can blame MSI for installing it that way

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I know, right?! The evil is in the details! ;-)

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Absolutely beautiful.

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Build is beautiful. Crisp, clean, and jaw-dropping to be sure. I love the color scheme and how clean the build itself looks. As a Networking Engineer, the cable management gets me going for sure. Definite +1 here, gorgeous.

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

Thank you, I appreciate it. Network engineers must have some serious cable management to do, haha

  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

I'll tell you that I've never been able to look at my cables quite the same lol.

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

Have you had problems with your ram?

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

I have had lots of problems using quad channel memory

  • 25 months ago
  • 1 point

None yet, but I'm curious what problems you've had.

  • 23 months ago
  • 1 point

i am speech/type less....

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  • 29 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks for checking it out!

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  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

That would be really cool...but there are so many other awesome builds lately on PCPP

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

I sense a certain stench in the air...

  • 29 months ago
  • 4 points

Somewhat musty smell...

  • 29 months ago
  • 2 points

I smell a smelly smell that smells..... smelly..

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  • 29 months ago
  • 0 points

Comments like this are not appropriate for this site.