Quiet Liquid Cooled Gaming PC Build Guide

Do-It-Yourself Systems | Silent PC Build Guides
Viewing page 5 of 11 pages. Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Next

THE CASE

We hunted for a suitable large case that could house the 403 x 131 x 39 mm Coolstream PE 360 Triple radiator. This was tougher than it first seemed.

  1. The only location that is practical is the top panel unless you can find a case with ~40cm height front intake, which would probably make it at least 60cm tall, and hot air would blow out from the front. On any watercooling radiator, using the fans to exhaust makes most sense; no point blowing the heat back into the case!
  2. It's not enough for the top vent to be long and wide enough to fit the radiator; there must be enough height so that the 39mm thickness of the radiator and the 25mm thick fans don't intrude into the motherboard or CPU cooling space.

Our short list was based on brand, discernable case details, and sample availability. All are medium or larger ATX tower cases. We did want to avoid the really huge cases like the Coolermaster Cosmos II — basically anything so big that it could be a casket for a Rottweiler.

  • Fractal Design Define R5 - 56 liters
  • NZXT S530 - 62 liters
  • Phanteks Enthoo Luxe - 72 liters
  • Corsair Obsidian 750D - 71 liters
  • Corsair Graphite 760T - 80 liters

A sample of the Fractal Define R5 was on hand, and a quick look at the space between the top edge of the motherboard and the top panel mounting place told us the 74mm depth of our radiator + fans would be a very tight squeeze. A 2-fan radiator would fit better, but a 3-fan radiator would make working around the CPU area very tight. It was set aside.

A NZXT Source S530 case sample came in time for this article. It is a fairly plain, straightforward case with lots of venting, but like the Define R5, there is not enough space above the top edge of the motherboard for comfortable installation of the radiator and fans. Like the R5, a-2 fan radiator would work well on top, but it's just too tight for a 3-fan radaitor.

Both Corsair Obsidian 750D and Graphite 760T look like they would have been very suitable cases for the system being planned, with plenty of room for the radiator and its fans. Neither of the Corsairs were actually requested early enough for samples to come in time for this article, unfortunately.

Not nearly as big as the Phanteks Enthoo Prime which we reviewed in late 2013, the Luxe looked like worthy contender. A sample did arrive in time, and the Phanteks Enthoo Luxe case proved not only suitable for a 3-fan radiator on top, but also extremely nicely built with some excellent features. All in all, it is a very nice case. The Enthoo Luxe became the case of choice for our first watercooled gaming rig.

PHANTEKS ENTHOO LUXE


The Enthoo Luxe is a 70 liter windowed case with extensive support for liquid cooling. The white painted finish is attractive.


It's obvious from the back panel that the exhaust fan position is adjustable, and there's a lot of room above the top of the motherboard.


The power button is on top, with reset switch and other I/O on a hidden front panel with flip up cover.


The top grill pops up with a firm down push on the back end. As usual, the grill has multiple layers: A large hex-pattern frame, a plastic mesh for dust, and metal fine-hole grill on top. We'll have to see how much this impacts airflow. The only way I'd use the top vent in this case is for exhaust, and the anti-dust mesh makes no sense on an exhaust vent.


The distance from the top grill to the to the radiator/fan mounting flange is over 3cm, yet there is still 6cm of space below the flange to the top of the motherboard. This means the radiator is best mounted under the flange and fans on top, to leave maximum space inside the case. The top fan is 140x25mm, like the fan on the back panel.


Some of the exterior is made of plastic; all of the interior is fairly heavy steel. Despite the large size of the side panels, the feel relatively stiff, and when it's all assembled, the case feels quite sturdy and rigid. A large metal peice covers up the power supply and its cables, presumably for cosmetic effect. There are many rubber grommet holes of various sizes for running cables, and a huge opening in the middle of the motherbaord tray for access to the backplate of any CPU/heatsink. Interestingly, all the case parts are screwed together; no rivets are used.


The backside of the motherboard tray is inset some 2.5cm from the right side panel, so there's a lot of room for cable management. Note clever use of velcro straps and multiple cable tie points. There is also an expansion board which converts any motherboard fan header to 6 headers. A SATA power connector is used to power the LED lights that run along the top and front of the case. Up to six 3.5" HDDs mounted on trays are accessed from this side on two separate cages that slide out easily yet are securely nicely with two thumbscrews each. The whole drive cage is quite sturdy and feels resistant to vibration.


View with drive cages removed. A large 200 x 25mm intake fan lurks in front. The bottom dust filter for PSU intake slides out from the back, and one for the fan positions nearer the front is accessed from the front. A single long dust filter accessed from the front would be more convenient.

View with PSU cover and HDD trays removed.


The front panels pulls off with a sharp tug starting from the bottom. The big fan is more impeded than we like, by the metal frame in front of it, and the dust filter and other extras in the fascia. There are screw holes to mount two 140mm fans or 120mm fans; unfortunately, this is what necessitates the extra bit of sheet metal across the center of the fan vent. Unplug the cables to the front panel lights and the panel can be removed.


This photo shows the inside of the front panel with the dust filter removed. There's still a checkered frame, a metal grill and a big baffle that add impedance to the front intake.


Previous 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 Next

Silent PC Build Guides - Article Index
Help support this site, buy from one of our affiliate retailers!
Search: