Taking my TJ07 to the watcooling extreme


Partition Master
Some test assembly

At this point the lower part of the case is pretty well taped out. Here you can see that assembly is completely feasible.


So I figured I'd try to assemble the top portion and find out what still needs to be done up there. It was also an excuse to open up some hardware.


The top radiator assembly went together pretty easily.

And looks pretty nice and clean, IMHO.

More assembly:

Here I've added the HDD rack and the aluminum panel I made. I mounted one of the HDDs in reverse to get an idea of what I'd have to deal with in order to completely hide the cables.

By drilling new holes, I can move that HDD in ~1.375" and still have room for the cables in the front. As of now I'm planning to do this on Saturday.

And here you can see one of the SATA cables plugged in and the general reservoir location. One picture that I'm kicking myself for not taking is before I added the top radiator assembly (which currently prevents the mobo tray from sliding all the way in), the edge of the motherboard (and that SATA cable) is completely hidden by the aluminum sheet. It looked awesome. :( However the main power cable is going to cause some serious problems because it won't bend hard enough. If they make 90 degree adapters for 24pin power cables, I need to find one.

I also need to do some cutting on the motherboard tray for cabling, and the top rear bracket needs to be cut.

Since I switched to a 6mm spacer plate from the 3mm one, I was thinking that this bracket (taped) might clear the radiator - close, but no cigar. Yeah, I'll try to clean up that nylon edge, too.

That's pretty much where I'm at. Everything is going to fit, although the tubes are going to be a royal PITA to install. There's a bunch of small things that need to be done, but the end is in sight.
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Most Impressed

Joined the forum just to say thanks for sharing. This thread has been most informative. You approach to installing a radiator in the top of TJ07 is the best I have seen. Most importantly I am learning alot from you. I look forward to your next update.


Partition Master
All the boring little details

I was able to wrap up a few things this weekend, and if all goes well the last of the components will be here on Wednesday.

First, I got the Silverstone HDD cage and took it apart.




I basically took everything apart and removed the mesh panels to decrease any turbulent noise.

Since I'm trying to hide the wiring, and haven't seen it done before, I'm also going to try and mount the hard drives reversed so that the cables come down the front of the case, and therefore are hidden from view completely.

Here you can see the lower drive mounted stock, and the upper drive is mounted in reverse using 2 of the stock holes. It sticks out too far, so...

I marked out some new holes.

Here they are drilled. Basically I moved the two right-most (in the picture) stock holes forward (left, in the picture) 1.25". The drive will still stick out the back, but not nearly as much.

I also cut a hole for the wiring.

And here we have four hard drives installed and a custom power cable I made to keep things tidy. The SATA cables will be here Wednesday.

It's still not going to be a picnic routing the cables because of where they come out - I'll have to mount the drive cage right above the 3.5" bay (which holds the stock USB/audio panel) so that there's room to take the cables to the lower portion of the case. There's still be a couple cables visible from the optical drive, but I like how the HDDs are looking.

I also managed to finish up the rheobus I'd been hacking up earlier. You'll recall that I chopped up two of the heat sinks and I wanted to make sure that nothing was going to overheat.

I grabbed one of the aluminum mesh panels from the HDD cage...

...and used Arctic Silver Adhesive (it needed to be used, it was 2 years old) to attach the HDD mesh panel to all four heat sinks and the rear mesh panel, so now the whole thing is one big heat sink, which should be significantly more surface area than stock. Here it is installed:

I had initially tried to solder the pieces together but my puny soldering iron was not powerful enough to heat up the metal pieces. I'm sure that the Arctic Silver will do the job.

Also, I taped out my motherboard tray for some drilling and dremelling. This is one operation that I wasted some time on because I didn't think everything through.


Some holes are drilled to mark what I want to remove.

And due to lack of pics we skip straight to the end. I'm satisfied, but the hole cutting could've gone better if I had made sure to drill out all four corners of each hole, rather than just two corners in some cases.

I also cut out the bracket so that the motherboard tray will fit in with the top radiator installed.

The aluminum divider plate also needed some holes cut to route power wires. The taped piece in this picture is another piece of plexi that I had left over that will set on top of the divider plate. You'll see why when the system goes together.

I also did some wiring work on the fans.

The tools I'm using. Note the flux - I've learned that I shouldn't try to solder without flux.

I expose the wire on one fan, and cut the wire to length on the neighboring fan.

Then I solder them into a chain, using one rpm line.

The fans are actually running in the pic above.

I'm not good at soldering - even with flux I tend to leave blobs. This is probably because I do it all without clamps/grips/holders of any kind, but since the wires won't be seen, it's never really mattered. The rest of the fans were attached in the same fashion.

Aside from that, I've been testing the assembly trying to make sure that there aren't any unpleasant surprises when I'm ready to set everything up.

Here's a look at how some of it should look. Note that I performed Ace-A-Rue's heatpipe modification on the IP35 Pro. I'm pretty happy with the lack of cables on the HDDs, and for the most part the motherboard cabling is pretty well hidden. The one small problem I'm having is that the aluminum panel meant to hide the wiring is too close to the motherboard to allow the 24pin power connector to bend 180 degrees without making contact. Thus, the wires on the 24pin connector are bending the aluminum slightly. I'm not very concerned because it's only visible from the top or upon extremely close inspection, and it won't have any impact on function.

Aside from a bit more soldering (making cable extensions), that's where I'm at. All that's left is trying to assemble, which I'll be able to start soon.

Joined the forum just to say thanks for sharing. This thread has been most informative. You approach to installing a radiator in the top of TJ07 is the best I have seen. Most importantly I am learning alot from you. I look forward to your next update.
Thanks for posting; I'm glad you like the build. I'm very happy with how the top radiator mount is going, although cutting up the top of this case is not something I'd trust to a dremel. I didn't pay full price for the case, yet even putting it on the Bridgeport made me nervous. If you can live with a double radiator, a BIP2 or an MCR220 with 20mm thick fans should fit up there with next to no modification.
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Rob Williams

Staff member
This build is going great to far Nate! I am really impressed. It's a lot more elaborate than I originally anticpated, especially the bottom of the case! Looking forward to more updates :D

Rory Buszka

Partition Master
Have you powered this up since you bonded the fan controller heatsinks to the aluminum chassis? Sometimes the back side of the transistors/regulators is energized (unless the manufacturer sprung for insulated components). You may need to buy some mica insulators.


Partition Master
Have you powered this up since you bonded the fan controller heatsinks to the aluminum chassis? Sometimes the back side of the transistors/regulators is energized (unless the manufacturer sprung for insulated components). You may need to buy some mica insulators.
Good call. I had assumed that they were insulated considering the way the unit is set up, but I'll try it out this evening with my test PSU. Can you elaborate on 'mica insulators'? Insulating washers and plastic screws would keep the charge off the case chassis, but that still leaves the entire mesh grill back panel - eeeeew. Maybe some non-conductive thermal pads on the regulators would do the job, as long as I got plastic screws to attach the heat sinks with...

In other news, I'm going to have to cut up the wire-hiding aluminum panel because the 8800GTX is longer than my motherboard by ~1". This will relieve the 24pin power cable issue, but will also make the area immediately behind the HDDs a little more cramped, and as a result I may not use a reservoir (since that's where I'd planned to put it). I'm going to try and do a complete mock-up today with tubes and everything to see how things are going to look.


Partition Master
Sorry, no update yet

Thats a compliment from one of the best mod on the internetz.
Uh, thanks, Stork. Glad you like it? j/k

Anyhoo, I want to apologize for the lack of updates this week - I did a bunch of test fitting yesterday and was pretty happy with everything except the reservoir. The Multioption 150 I have will fit, but is too short and is going to look like ass. Up to this point I've been a minimalist with regard to bling factor, but the reservoir is going to be my one conceit - otherwise I'll be wanting to re-make the loop as soon as it's done.

So I've got a multioption 250 on the way now, and I know exactly how I'm going to mount it, and it's going to look fan-bleeping-tastic. Although it's killing me to wait until Friday (when it's going to arrive), it'll be worth it in the end. At least, it'll be worth it to me. :D

Hang in there.


Tech Monkey
I have 2 of those res's... dont they freakin ROCK!!?!?!

I can't wait to get mine in! I've been leak testing my fittings for the last few days...



Tech Monkey
They are supposed to be pretty nice res's from what I hear. Anymore these days I just use a simple "T" line for my 1/2" loop and a Micer res on the little 3/8" GPU loop. Does the job I need it to do and it's cheap...........;)


Tech Monkey
Yeah... but you know me.... I'm all about the "presentation"...

Ijust really like how clean and flexible those res's are. So many different plumbing options/directions... really like it.

Can you tell I'm excited by them? ;)


Tech Monkey
LOL..........yuppers, that I can, they are one of the best, if not the best out there right now.........;) Retail anyways, seen a few extreme ones built by users before, but the one you all got make for some clean installs, that's for sure.

I opt for the cheapest method most of the time (for a res), I'm dirt poor as they say.


Partition Master
Well, this weekend was less than fun

Ok, sorry for the delay but I kinda had to get the system up and running before I could post an update. The wiring isn't done yet, but the water loop is together and the system is running (apparently) fine now.

I'll start this update with the last things I did before assembly.

Before the multioption 250 arrived, I spent a bit getting the tubing ready for the base.

I used about 3 of these copper 90 degree bends - 2 in the base, 1 in the top. Not the prettiest thing you ever saw, but recall MartinM210's restriction testing with copper 90 degree bends.

Here are all the tubes for the base.

I also had to drill a couple holes in the divider plate - one is for the reservoir to pump 1 line, the other is to hold a panel mount quick-disconnect socket. I'd initially planned to mount the QD in a piece of plexi, but that would've caused lines to collide in the base.

Then there were the notches in the aluminum panel

These are to accomodate the 8800GTX and the 24pin power plug.

Then it was time for the radiators to get cleaned.

Here's a nice shot of some G1/4 threaded 1/2" ID fittings - from left to right: D-Tek, Swiftech, EK, EK Stubby. Initially I'd thought the stubbies might help, but I think they're too short for worm gears and the threaded length is short too. All of these fittings EXCEPT Swiftech's use a groove to 'capture' the O-ring. This is generally helpful, however I would suggest using Swiftech barbs on Swiftech radiators because the female fittings on MCR radiators also have a groove to accept the O-ring - so if both the male and female side have an O-ring groove, there might not be enough pressure on the O-ring to make a tight seal. Also, the diameter of the hex base on the Swiftech fittings is slightly smaller than the other fittings, ensuring that it sits completely into the female fitting on the radiator. I ended up using EK fittings on both lower radiators without problems (yet) but the top radiator was another story (which you'll see).

I filled the rads with boiling distilled water about 5 times to clean them out.

Added fans:

I also cleaned the blocks with boiling distilled water and some vinegar.

The Fuzion had some gunk:

but not any more.

The naked 8800GTX

With ramsinks

Thermal tape sucks, so I spent some time cleaning the ramsinks and used Arctic Silver Ceramique and some superglue instead

I'm using a lapped Q6600

I got this CPU second hand for just a bit over retail - it's already been lapped, and is supposedly a pretty decent overclocker. Annaconda was the original owner and posted a thread showing how he lapped it. Considering all the other crap that needed to be done with this project, I was happy not to have to lap a CPU. Especially since the glass table I usually lap on was recently replaced with a wooden one.

I also had to open up the hole for the cables in the HDD cage.

Up next, the build.
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Partition Master
Starting with the base:

First piece was the double radiator. The divider plate is to help me figure out the routing.

Then I added the lower triple

Here's a close view of the front tubes


There was a lot of cursing going on there.

Here's where pump 2 is going to go

Added some more tubes to pump 1


I then mounted the divider plate (to make sure all holes lined up) so that I could attach this reinforcement bracket for the rads - then I removed the divider plate again.



Then pump 2 went in


Note that I can access both pump speed controls by removing the side panels

Then the divider plate was set on


At this point I started adding the front devices





The cables were cursed several times.

You can see how I intend to hide the cables

Continued in the next post...
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Partition Master
Willer Time

Test fit the motherboard

Mount the top radiator


I'll note here that I tested my 'flame-polishing' skill on a piece of scrap plexi and was less than impressed. I couldn't get the edges looking any better than they looked with a little high grit sanding, and on top of that the flame left a small visible ridge along the top/bottom of the piece. It didn't look bad, but it didn't look any better either - I will be the first to say that this could easily have been my lack of skill or proper tools (I was using one of those small grill lighters with the trigger action). I decided that I didn't want to risk ruining my top plate in an ill-prepared attempt at better edges.

This helps me determine where the reservoir goes

Yeah, it's not perfectly straight but I only had one rev1 holding bracket, and I don't like the rev2 holders. Plus, given how "accurate" the hole for the res outlet line is, I'm sure the extra play is helpful.

Those hoses are going to get changed later

Then it was time to set up the motherboard


There's a QD on either side of the motherboard portion of the loop so that I can easily pull the motherboard out of the case without draining anything. Considering the complexity of the loop, I really like this feature. It has already been IMMENSLY useful, and the QDs work extremely well. Yes, it's a little added flow restriction, but considering how easy it will be to swap hardware, (Yorkfield and G92, anyone?) I think it's very well worth it. Even if the whole motherboard portion of the loop needs to be drained (block replacement/modification, more blocks, etc.) the reservoir has plenty of fluid to compensate, so it's still as simple as plug and play.

When I first tried to hook everything up, I realized that the top QD on top radiator was too hard to access, so I swapped the connections to bring the QD to the front. Then it all came together.

Then it was time to mix the fluid. 1 gallon distilled water = 3.8L. I removed 360mL distilled water, added 240mL Pentosin G11 and 7 drops PT Nuke. Result is ~6.6% concentration of pentosin G11 (all-copper loop, so that should be fine) and plenty of biocide.

Those QD's are also helpful for filling. There's a socket and a plug on each partof the loop, so I have one spare socket and plug that allows me to fill/drain both parts. Economical!

Before I began filling, I opened a beer - I immediately realized my mistake and put it back in the fridge before drinking any, but it was already too late. I had jinxed myself.

Filling went well.

The fill port folds up into the top 2 bays. In the future those bays might be used for lighting switches or an LCD or something. I used about half of the coolant I mixed to fill the loop. I'll save the rest (somewhere dark) for later.

When I started running the pumps the top radiator started leaking at both barb connections. I'll note here that I used EK fittings on all these radiators with some teflon thread sealant. Seeing the top rad leak made me check the lower radiators very, very closely. No other leaks were found.

So I replaced the EK fittings on the top radiator with Swiftech fittings and reinstalled it. No more leaks. Note to self: don't open celebratory beer prematurely ever again.

I didn't take any pictures of the leak rework because I didn't want to throw the camera against a wall. :D Suffice it to say it was a frustrating PITA, but I'm glad that I didn't have to get at the lower radiators - and I got pretty good at using the QDs.

After running the loop for a bit (no leaks! Yet!), I dragged the system to the spare room, hooked up the wiring, and booted for the first time. Everything went good, and XP 64 was installed. Tomorrow I'll get the PSU and fan controller installed in the case and tidy up the wiring. Here's how the system looks now

Yeah, I'm using another rheobus at the moment (for the sake of easy wiring), but I did test the one that's in the case and all the channels function properly (the voltage regulators appear to be isolated) so there shouldn't be any problems there.

I had my beer while Windows installed, and these last 3 posts were done from the new rig. (Edit: Well, most of them. I just did a bunch of editing ;) )

Hope you guys like it! Now, it's time for me to go pass out.
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Partition Master
All right, time to finish this off

So now all that was left was to manage the cables. No problem.

Here's the case:

And the PSU:


Above, the cables on the left are the ones I'm going to use, and the ones on the right will not be used at all. Yeah, a modular PSU would've been nice, but I got this awesome piece of hardware for $179 after rebate, so I knew what I was getting into. Besides, I figure that since this is a mod log, it can't hurt to deal with the worst case scenario - someone else might learn something useful.

So anyway, here's what the fan controller is looking like

I carelessly broke some of the AS Thermal adhesive so I coated the connections with Ceramique.

And here's what I have to deal with on the back side of the motherboard tray

You'll notice that I pulled all the power cables through those two small rectangular holes I cut into the divider plate. It would've been nice if those holes were a tiny bit bigger, but it they worked.

So, all that mess might look intimidating, but you'd be surprised just how easy it is to compact all that stuff. A little folding and clamping and it's like all those cables aren't even th...

Oh my God, they're everywhere! Agh! Don't look! Get the damn side panel on!

Whew - ok, that sucked. The side panel fits on ok, but do yourself a freaking favor and get the modularized version of this PSU if you intend to cram all this stuff into one case, ok? That took a LONG TIME, and it's going to lessen that 'Wow, that was easy!' feeling I was going for in terms of swapping hardware.

I also added some new feet.

That about does it, so let's have some glamour shots (just pretend the pictures are good).











It weighs in at 63lbs

which is actually 4lb lighter than my previous setup.

As far as noise is concerned, I can pretty much make this thing as loud as I want. Right now I have the pumps on the lowest setting and the fans turned down to ~7-8v. The loudest thing by far are the WD Raptor drives - I actually crawled around the case listening to the fans and adjusting the speeds trying to figure out where the noise is coming from, and I finally realized it was the raptors - in my old system the pumps were set to maximum and I never heard the HDDs. Aside from the HDDs I can hear a little bit of air movement, but, wow, I might have to try and replace those raptors - they're really noticeable. Cranking the fans up helps a bit.

So, there you have it, pretty much. One TJ07 case, two MCR320s, one MCR220, two MCP655s, all set up so that I can swap out hardware without draining the loop.

In the future I may try to hide the PCI Express cables a little better, and if I get really ambitious I might try to make a cleaner looking aluminum plate to hide cables, but for now, I think it looks pretty freaking nice.

I'll post my system specs, overclocks, temperatures and benchmarks over the new few days.
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