View Full Version : Airtight Motherboard/Custom 6800 WB

08-22-2004, 09:10 PM
After Building an A/C waterchiller (http://www.xtremesystems.org/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=40592) I wanted to then install it in a case. But what is the biggest problem with running ultra cool liquid cooling? Condensation. All that insulation and worries about condensation forming on the components is such a hassle.

After reading about Dabit at Ice Cold Computing building a box to hold his motherboard for exactly that reason, I decided to take it a whole lot farther and mod a case to hold the motherboard and cards inside an airtight box. Add a little dessicant to remove any existing moisture in the air, and there should be no condensation to worry about. :banana:

So my first task was to find a suitable case. The Antec P160 Aluminum case with the removable MB tray looked like just the ticket.

I brought the case home, removed the MB tray, and started cutting pieces of .065 aluminum sheet to form my box.

Here is the box assembled. I used Polyurethane glue with aluminum rivets to hold it all together.

08-22-2004, 09:15 PM
The bottom of the box is the MB tray from the case. I had to cut little pieces of aluminum sheet to glue over the existing holes in the tray.

Polyurethane glue, aluminum pop rivets, and liberal doses of silicone will hopefully insure a good seal.

I ran 1/16" x 1/2" angle all around the inside to perimeter to give me a place to seal the top with insulation. After drilling 1/8" holes in the angle, I used a #6 SS machine screw to thread the holes.

The top is Acrylic - 1/4" thick.

08-22-2004, 09:22 PM
I decided to incorporate the agp/pci backplate from the case into the airtight box.

That way it would be easier to assemble it all on the bench.

Also, I couldn't think of a better way.:rolleyes:

08-22-2004, 09:26 PM
Here is a shot of the access holes and plate with the barbed hose fittings. I used acrylic to prevent thermal creep from the brass fittings to the aluminum.

I drilled 5/8" holes and screwed a male and female 1/2" o.d. barbed fitting together from each side, and sealed it with silicone.

08-22-2004, 09:31 PM
The hardest conceptual part of the whole thing was how to seal the cables.

Once again, an idea from Dabit provided the spark I needed.

I cut a rectangular hole, and installed angle on both sides of the hole. Both pieces of angle will get closed cell insulation, and after sliding the cables through, the one angle will pivot to squeeze the foam tight onto the cables where a bolt will then hold it in place.

08-22-2004, 09:38 PM
Here is a picture of the case after installing the pump and a couple other things.

08-22-2004, 09:41 PM
Here is a shot of the front of the case with the DVD-RW/CD, Floppy and the 120mm front fan.

08-22-2004, 09:43 PM
The power supply - Antec True Power 550.

08-22-2004, 09:46 PM
Shot of all the cables hidden behind the bays.

08-22-2004, 09:48 PM
I wanted to mount the pump and fittings so that the side panel could be removed without disconnecting the chiller. So I fabricated a small bracket from a piece of flat aluminum and mounted it to the base of the case right by the pump, allowing a straight shot for the inlet tubing to the pump.

08-22-2004, 09:53 PM
If you look at some of the previous pics, you can see that I formed the box to allow the back exhaust fan to still be in place.

I hate noise, so instead of mounting the fan directly, I drilled 4 1/8" holes in it and used #6 x 1" rubber anchors glued into the fan. That way there is no direct metal to metal contact from the fan to the case.

08-22-2004, 09:57 PM
The fan installed

08-22-2004, 09:59 PM
Here is a pic of the Airtight box in place in the case.

It just slides in and locks in place in 10 seconds.

08-22-2004, 10:02 PM
The back of the case with the airtight box in place.

08-22-2004, 10:04 PM
The outside of the case with the side panel in place. I wire brushed the bracket I made to try and match the side panel as closely as possible where the bracket is visible.

08-22-2004, 10:08 PM
The MB I am going to use is the P4C800-E Deluxe that has been volt and droop modded.

08-22-2004, 10:11 PM
The video card is a BFG 6800GT OC that I am going to mod to use my own waterblock. Here is the card after removing the stock heatsink and fans.

I looked everywhere for a good aftermarket waterblock but the only one I found I was not too confident in running at sub zero temps so I decided to mod the stock one into a waterblock.

08-22-2004, 10:17 PM
After dissasembling the stock HS from the 6800, I noticed the base was a perfect piece of copper to use for my WB.

I formed a square box from some scrap .043 copper sheet, and bent some 1/2" soft copper tubing to run directly on top of the chip and all the ram chips. Then I flattened the tubing to maximize the contact area and soldered it all into place. The best part is it will still use the stock attachment hardware.:D

08-22-2004, 10:18 PM
Here is the block from the bottom after lapping it with 1500 grit wet/dry sandpaper.

I was going to wait to post all of this when I was finished, but it looks like it will be at least another week before I get my Swiftech mcw6002-p cpu waterblock. I will post updates as they come.


08-22-2004, 10:30 PM
OMFG! that is a piece of art !

i love the whole project :D the airtight container is a nice idea ...xtreme anti-condensation.

And that block is awsome ...wish i cud simply make blocks out of "scrap" pieces of copper. Keep us updated :toast:

08-23-2004, 04:17 PM
so i guess you'll make air tight box and reroute air into a dehumifier right?

08-23-2004, 04:50 PM
Nope, no dehumidifier.

I will simply add a small amount of dessicant inside the case to remove any existing moisture that is in the air.

Then, hopefully, with no new air coming in there will be no moisture.

08-23-2004, 05:39 PM
Very creative 6800 waterblock. Also I love the idea of chilled water without insulating.
My water is not that cold, 10-15C, but I still had condensation. So I made my case relatively airtight and cool the inside by running the chilled water through a heatercore/fan. So the air inside recirculates through the cold heatercore. It worked.
I got the idea from SurlyJoe at AOA who did this with very cold water. It worked for him too. He didn't make his case airtight, but just kept it cool enough to avoid the temperature difference that would create condensation.
Your method is probably better, as long as the nb and memory don't heat up too much in there.

08-23-2004, 06:16 PM
The northbridge will be liquid cooled also. The ram would be the only issue and I am hoping that all the exposed cold piping will keep the air temp inside the case cool.

08-23-2004, 06:31 PM
Yeah, that just may work.
Please keep us posted with pics and results. This project is awesome.

08-27-2004, 10:54 PM
Ok, I worked some more on the Case and waterblocks today.

The only wb I had here for the northbridge was a DTEK ZChip with no provisions for mounting to my MB.

After some brainstorming (read - drink a beer and stare endlessly at the parts) I came up with a method involving the spring clips from the original Asus HS and some creative grinding of slots on the new screws. I used some small washers and 1/4" copper pipe as spacers to get the right height to give tension on the springs and this is what it looked like:

08-27-2004, 10:56 PM
A close up of it installed on the MB:

08-27-2004, 10:58 PM
And a big picture of the big picture::banana4:

08-28-2004, 12:39 PM
wot happened to tubing? :p: this will make it heavier. u shud still use some weak insulation.

08-28-2004, 02:39 PM
Other components on the board still get very hot, including all the mosfets and other random chips on the PCB...its a good idea to have fresh air coming in blowing over them to keep things cool, and an exhaust to let the air back out....

Things can't cool down well with stagnant air...I hope you have planned for this? That's just assuming that Evercool fan will be used to cool the rad.

Otherwise looks like some good work.

08-28-2004, 03:12 PM

Couldn't very well have an airtight box with fresh air coming in and out could I?

There is no radiator - this is being hooked up to my waterchiller.

The copper pipes and tubing will be carrying very cold water (-20 to 0) or so, and should have a large cooling effect on the air inside the box since they will not be insulated.


I haven't installed the tubing yet, and there will be no insulation on the pipes inside the box for the reason listed above.

08-28-2004, 06:27 PM
If you have any problems with heat in there you could just get a little rad that fits an 80mm fan, put your cold water though it, and let it recirculate the air inside. It'll stay nice and chilly.

08-28-2004, 06:32 PM
Yeah that would be a cool idea...

I just don't think that "cold piping" is going to do much for a hot and toasty motherboard in my opinion.

08-28-2004, 06:37 PM
This has been tried before -

Ice Cold Computing (http://www.icecoldcomputing.com/)

Look under old projects menu

08-29-2004, 01:13 AM
i think u'll be fine... some mini-sinks on the mobo will sort it out.

09-06-2004, 07:56 PM
OK - time to update the progress, and it is looking very promising.

I purchased a P4 3.2c and an Abit AI7 to use as testing fodder.

After hooking up the watercooling system, I hooked the pump up to my meanwell ps and ran it to test for any leaks using just plain distilled water. After fixing the single leak that occurred at the base of one of my 1/2" brass barbs on the Z-Chip NB block (The threads on the barb were too long, so I had to cut them down shorter to get the barb to seat) I fired it up again and voila - no leaks. So I changed it over to 50/50 water and denatured alcohol, with a small amount of blue food coloring to see it.

Then I installed the WD 74 gig Raptor, I gig (2x512 OCZ EL Gold), the DVD/RW and the floppy and wired everything up.

Another hour and I had WinXP installed, along with the video drivers and mbm5 and Sandra.

09-06-2004, 08:07 PM
Then I put it all together, added some dessicant pellets from those 'Dri-Z-Air' things from Home Depot ($6.95) and installed the cover.

09-06-2004, 08:10 PM
Time for the real testing. Fire up the chiller, let it run for 10 mins, and lets go.

After ten minutes of the computer running, you can clearly see all the ice and condensation on the pipes outside of the airtight case. But NONE inside at all. I am feeling great about this now.

09-06-2004, 08:16 PM
After running SuperPi for 20 mins with the 3.2 northwood running at a 20% OC (240 fsb) and my BFG 6800GT running at 400/1100 my temps were as follows:

Water in loop: -10 to -12 celsius
Cpu: mbm only seems to go down to 0 so it just stayed at 0
Inside the airtight case: 30 to 34 celsius.
Ambient: 20 to 22 celsius

Computer was rock solid stable. boots and shuts down like lightning.

Now I can move the whole thing up to my computer room so I can connect to the internet and do a lot more extensive testing.

Updates to come.

09-15-2004, 05:04 PM
So how exacly did you seal off your mouse/vid/usb connections?

09-25-2004, 09:36 PM
So how's it working out? Any pics of it all set up in your computer room?

09-26-2004, 09:24 AM
I sealed off the motherboard connections by applying rubatex (2 layers) on top of all the connections then cutting out very tight fitting holes for any connectors I wanted. I also used some dielectric silicone around and on the connectors just to make sure.

The whole chiller thing worked great.

Final results:

Pulls the res (3 liters) down to -27c or so in 20 mins on a cool day. I have a P4 3.2c running at 16x250 (4ghz) and the BFG6800GT at 420/1110 and the liquid temps stay right around -20c or so under full load.

I am very happy with the results, but time to move on.

I have already tried a couple other projects:

1. Cut a case down to make an external watercooling setup

Watercooler pic 1 (http://www.nthtechnologies.com/xtreme/WC01.jpg)
Watercooler Pic 2 (http://www.nthtechnologies.com/xtreme/WC02.jpg)
Watercooler Pic 3 (http://www.nthtechnologies.com/xtreme/WC03.jpg)

2. Air conditioned a case

Ac unit and Case (http://www.nthtechnologies.com/xtreme/ACandCase.jpg)
How it worked (http://www.nthtechnologies.com/xtreme/ACStats.htm)

The building was all the fun, now I have it all up for sale because it is time to start something else - namely, building our new house.

10-11-2004, 06:15 PM