Update: Project GPU Freeze

So I’m back with an update on the idea of putting two Antec Kuhler 620’s together for a compact mATX case fit… no way was the going to work without heavy modding.

The main issue was the fact that in order to get the radiators to line up I had alternate their layout but the ends of the radiators where the tanks are on either side were hitting the other radiators hoses that came out on the side.

Long store short, I moved my computer out of the Silverstone FT03-T case and into the Fractal Design Define Mini mATX case, best… choice… ever!

So much more room in this case and it’s actually more quiet due to the sound deadening material Fractal Design puts in the case!

Inside of the case

So the above picture shows pretty much the build as it is now, after fitting the DWOOD bracket and 620 onto my GTX 570 I had issues with getting the radiator mounted where I wanted to in this case.

I wanted it against the backside at the top but because Fractal Design added the vertical slot for the fan controller the radiator wouldn’t fit unless I oriented the radiator with the hoses at the top, this cause the hoses to jam up against the CPU radiator without a fan on it even – which wasn’t going to work.

Enter the awesome SCYTHE slim fans!  I have it setup now with push/pull, but in the above picture I only had the one pulling air through to the outside.  The slim fans were needed as regular 120mm fans actually hit the other radiator in a push/pull configuration.

I realized as well the original slim fan I picked up was the 1600rpm version of the SY1212SL12 – so be careful if you pick one up, both versions start as the same model number but one ends in “M” the other in “H” for the 2000rpm version (I’m assuming for medium and high).  When using the 1600rpm fans in push/pull I reached 65c on BF3 ultra settings, using the 2000rpm fans I haven’t get 50c yet, huge difference!

Regardless with the setup in the new Design Mini case my GPU never reaches 50c under load playing BF3, quite an improvement and worth every penny – oh and I’m using crappy Cooler Master thermal paste I found in a box lmao.

I’ll show another picture soon of the updated case internals but here is a closer look at the CPU/GPU radiators.

GPU/CPU radiators

I’m currently not using any heat sinks on my vram and have purchased this kit here to install in the coming week.

Future plans may include another GTX 570 when they get even cheaper and try SLI, I’m not sure that I’ll be able to fit it in there with the extra fan on the bracket that DWOOD made me but I could probably take that off if I had the heat sinks on.

Here is a better picture to show the bracket installed on my GTX 570:

DWOOD bracket on GTX 570

The bracket with the 92mm fan installed hits the 6pin power connectors because I used rubber screws, not a big deal but something to be noted for sure.

Overall I’m happy with the way everything turned out, quiet, powerful and still relatively small – my computer is still sitting on my desk with plenty of room to spare, something I could never have done with my old HAF-X case.

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9 responses to “Update: Project GPU Freeze

  1. Nice work! I’ve been thinking about doing something similar, and the temperatures yo got look great in my opinion!

    I’m curious to know how the noise level of this setup compares to traditional air-cooling, any difference?

    • Well when I first put everything together I didn’t have a fan controller for my two Scythe Kaze Slim 120mm fans for the push/pull GPU radiator and they were quite loud, I purchased two of these from Amazon:

      Once I installed the fan controller I was set and it’s a low pitched hum that you can barely hear over typing on a normal keyboard. The noise all of the fans I have setup is more quiet than my GTX 570 stock fan at 70% to keep it’s temps below 70c and any low profile cpu cooler I’ve ever found. I don’t regret it in the slightest and would highly recommend anyone else to do this same mod it’s simply amazing – I’m able to OC my gpu a lot now as well.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Hi , I wanted to build a custom PC. I need the PC for gaming, virtualization and programming purposes. I am looking to get a PC which will be future proof for alteast a few years. I also need it have good air flow. I went through a lot of forums on reviews. This is what I came up :

    Processor: Intel Corei5 3550 (LGA1155 socket)
    RAM: 2 x 4 GB Crossair Venegence 1600
    Motherboard: ASRock Z77 Extreme6 Motherboard
    UPS Power Backup: Any
    Hard Disk: Seagate Barracuda 1 TB 7200 rpm, SATA 6Gb/s,64MB Cache
    Power Supply: Antec 650W
    DVD Writer :
    Cooling System: Antec Kuhler H20 620 Cooler or Cooler Master Hyper 212 Evo
    Cabinet: Corsair 400R Mid Tower Cabinet (or any Corsair which has good cooling and has enough expansion slots, and place for two graphics cards, and may be place for installing a h100 liquid cooling system in the future)

    Could you please tellme if the motherboard and Cabinet is good enough. If not, please suggest me a good motherboard which has enough features which will be future proof for approximately the same price as a a extrem4 or extreme6 motherboard. Also, is a corsair 400R mid tower cabinet a good one?

    Thanks in advance!

    • Ok, took a good look at this stuff, definitely a great selection of hardware that will take you far in your quest for pc epicness 😀

      If you’re looking to stuff two vid cards in your system in the near future or soon you’ll want to beef up the PSU – at least 800-850 that would be just fine.

      Cabinet is definite a perfect fit for the system you’ll be putting together and will fit an H100 no problems – the 620 is a great cooler as well which may fit your needs without going to H100, especially since you’re not getting an unlocked processor that can be overclocked.

      ASRock makes great boards for a decent price so you’ve done great with that choice – and they’re up on their drivers and support so can’t complain there either, the Z77 chipset is a smart choice especially since you’re building a whole new pc and not upgrading.

      Can’t go wrong with your memory either, might be slightly cheaper options but Corsair is worth a couple extra bucks.

      As far as a UPS goes I’ve been using the Cyberpower 1500avr for a year now for my server and hard drive array and various other things as I see fit and it’s been nothing short of perfect. Plenty of brown outs and just plain power outages have put this thing to use many times and never had any issues, it always activates instantly.

      For your DVD Writer just get a cheap $20 one off of Amazon or something like this one.

      Let me know what video card you’re thinking of getting and we can talk about that, otherwise great picks!

      • Hey xyez, Will go for 620 cooler. I am looking to OC the processor that much that’s why I thought of going for a 3350 which I can oc for a little extra Ghz. The extreme6 is future proof rite or should I go for any other board (within the same price range)? What 1600 Mhz memory would you recommend me to go for? Yea..bout the DVD writer , like what you said, will go for a cheap one.

        The video card which I am planning is a ATI Radeon HD 7870 or a Nvidia GTX 660 Ti . Planning of getting a dual GPU setup , but not rite now , may be in the future when the prices drop.

        About the cabinet, I now think the 400R is a good option. Also seen a lot about the “NZXT Crafted Series Guardian 921 RB USB 3.0″ and the NZXT Lesa S” . What is your opinion about that? Will these boards fit in with my config? Are the good ?

        Thank a ton for taking your time and helping me out!

      • Hey there!

        If you’re wanting to OC the process then you’re going to have to get a “K” series process; Intel only allows overclocking on their “K” series process like the Core i5 3570k, or the Core i7 3770k. When using the non-k series processors you may still be able to access base clock for some slight gains in processor clock speed but nothing like when using an unlocked multiplier.

        A 3570k is a great option for enthusiasts looking to overclock for performance gains, it’s a quad core Ivy Bridge processor that supports PCIe 3.0 found on the Z77 chipset.

        What temperatures over ambient are you looking to target, if you’re going to a decently high overclock you may want to step above the 620; I’ve used the 620 for a 3570k overclocked and it didn’t handle it as well as I would’ve hoped.

        As far as the extreme6 being future proof, it all depends on what you consider future proof; here’s what I consider future proof (motherboard speaking):

        1) Uses a common socket (LGA 1155 isn’t going anywhere)
        2) Supports newer technologies that aren’t going anywhere soon (USB 3.0, PCIe 3.0)
        3) Plenty of slots for expandability
        4) Lots of RAM support
        5) Good warranty from known good company

        In my opinion the ASRock Z77 Extreme6 has all of the above and more, plenty of ports on the back and on the inside for all kinds of goodies.

        The ram right now that everyone is raving about is the Samsung low profile ram that also can run at real low voltages:

        The best part about the above ram is it’s overclocking potential at stock voltages, leaving more regulation available to overclock your processor.

        May I ask why you’re looking to do two gpu’s vs just one fast one? Most people are only utilizing one display and for that scenario one gpu would be more than enough, especially @ 1080p – perhaps a gpu with 4GB VRAM for texture intense games but SLI is generally used for 3+ monitor setups.

        Hope this helps, let me know if you have more questions!

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