Description

First time custom loop build. Did AMD way back in the day (Thunderbird / Athlon) and thought I'd try it out again for my new gaming machine. Most the parts are chosen their looks.

There were not a lot of X399 motherboards to choose from at the time. The Gigabyte DESIGNARE EX fit my look. While searching for cases I fell in love with the Lian Li PC-O11 Dynamic layout. The all glass front and side mounted radiator was a different and intriguing setup.

The top 2 fans are exhaust and the radiator are intake (pull only). The attached temp graphs show the difference in top fan orientation. The red line shows exhaust while green line shows intake. The exhaust seemed to work much better. It might be possible to swap the fan orientation of the radiator but I haven't tried that yet.

What I like:

  • It looks pretty cool. I like the way everything lights up and reflects off off the white surfaces.
  • Everything fits together well. The radiator is a tight fit but works.
  • Single 360 radiator seems to be enough cooling. CPU stays under 66c and GPU under 52c during CPU and GPU stress test after 15 minutes load with fans at 100%. The idle temps with fans all low are about 34c for both CPU and GPU.

What I don't:

  • Something other than X399 / Threadripper? The performance feels worse than my old 7700K. Boot is slower and the system doesn't feel as snappy despite high benchmarks. Possible I need some tweaking and tuning.
  • Corsair premium cables are super stiff and hard to work with. There are extra cables in some pins and makes it awkward to fit the combs.
  • Any overclock seems to perform much worse than leaving it stock. Overclocking seems to disable any boost clocks and locks the base clock in place.
  • I should have added a way to drain the coolant. The initial coolant flush was a pain. But it was manageable. By sucking as much as I could out of the reservoir, closing it all back up, laying case on its side, then disconnecting the GPU to reservoir hose after the coolant drained out. This allowed me to attach another hose to the disconnected fitting and drain both into a large bowl.

Other thoughts:

  • Expensive! My most costly desktop build to date.
  • Controlling RGB is awkward. I need 3 applications to set everything up (RGB Fusion, Thermaltake TT, and Corsair iCUE). I wish this was more open so there could be better 3rd party applications existing.
  • The Thermaltake TT software spins the fans up and down based on CPU usage. There doesn't seem to be any hysteresis in the fan software. This makes the fans spin up and down often with every little CPU spike. I'm looking at swapping the fans out and use a Auqacomputer Auqaero for fan control instead.

Benchmarks:

Update January 2019:

I've swapped out the Thermaltake Riing Plus fans and controller for some EK Vardar 120 RGB, a Aquacomputer Aquaero 6 LT controller, and a Aquacomputer farbwerk RGB controller. This setup is a bit pricier. But I like the look of the EK fans a lot better and the Aquaero controller for controlling it all is amazing. The software is much better than Thermaltake.

The Aquaero has 4 fans headers. I've got a 3-way PWM splitter for the 3 fans on the radiator going to channel 1, the pump going to channel 2, then channels 3 and 4 are the two top exhaust fans. The fan curves are based on the exhaust temperature probe which is over and exhaust fan held in place by the filter. The radiator fans have a temperature probe zip-tied to the top radiator fan.

I've also changed out the PSU cables for some custom Ensourced. The Ensourced are much better than the Corsair premium cable set. Much more flexible and keep a nice bend better than the Corsair ones.

The later added pictures near the end show off the new fans and cables.

Part Reviews

Motherboard

I purchased this board for two reasons:

  1. It fit the look of my white case. All the other X399 boards at the time were all black or more darker colors.
  2. It had a compatible EK monoblock available.

Though, the board seems to work great as well. No complaints. I've done Gigabyte components in the past and never had an issue.

There are some complaints of RAM compatibility issues on the Gigabyte forums. It also looks like it may be due for a BIOS update. Like any component choice in this price range: Do your homework.

Memory

Seems to perform as expected and looks great. Once you get the color set in the iCUE app you don't need to keep the app open in the background (there appears to be a Corsair service running that handles this). I'm only overclocking with the XMP profile.

Video Card

This was the first component I purchased. I was able to get my hands on the second batch pre-order pretty early and based the build around it once the EK water block was available.

Didn't care about the aesthetics as I knew I was going to be water cooling it. Card runs very cool (never gets over 60c during stress tests in my custom loop). I'm now running the GALAX BIOS to boost the power limit to 127% (380W). I've got it stable at +800mhz memory and +140mhz core with 127% power limit.

So, why one star off? I've got an audible coil whine from the card. This just seems like an unacceptable fault on such a premium product. I understand that coil whine is one of those random things that doesn't affect performance. But it is there and it is annoying and I can hear it when everything else is silent.

Case

Overall amazing case with a unique cooling layout that seems to favor water cooled setups. I can't say much which hasn't already been said about the case. But I'll list my general pros and cons:

What I like:

  • Glass panels really give a great view of the insides. Definitely a case for those who want to show off their components.
  • RGB lights really pop off the white interior. Everything will glow the same colors as your fans / other lighting components.
  • Plenty of room for custom loops. I've only got a single radiator but I've seen people doing 2 and 3 radiator setups in this case.
  • Thermals seem decent despite the interesting cooling layout.
  • Side chamber is roomy and you can hide a lot of mess back there.

What I didn't really like:

  • The side radiator mount really should have more room. You won't be able to squeeze many 360 sized radiators in there because of clearance issues. I was able to barely get my EK CoolStream SE 360 to fit.
  • The side radiator mount also only seems to allow the ports to be at the top. There isn't any cutaway at the bottom for the ports.
  • I would have liked to see the top cable management hole moved back a bit and maybe fitting two up there.
  • No rubber gromets on some of the cable management holes (if they even are cable management?). The cable management to side chamber could have used more thought overall.
  • Some velcro strap tie downs in the side chamber would go a long way for helping tidy up cables back there.

Power Supply

Purchased for the color (to match my white case build) and because it came with the Corsair premium cable kit instead of the regular flat cables. However, there are two things in hindsight I'd like to point out:

  1. You can't really see the PSU in my case so the color actually doesn't matter that much.
  2. The premium cables are super stiff and cable combs very difficult to work with.

The reason for one star off is because of the "premium" cables and cable combs. Some things I wish I knew about the cables beforehand that I didn't research enough:

  1. These cables have a capacitor added inline to help with voltage ripple. This makes the cables bulkier than most in the middle of the cable. Not necessarily a bad thing since it will normally be hidden in the cable management area of the case. But something to note.
  2. Some of the pins have two wires going to them. Perhaps this is because of the inline capacitor? Either way, it makes using the cable combs extra difficult. Lining up all the wires is already difficult. Lining up two in the same channel of the comb is even harder.
  3. The cables are really stiff! I couldn't get them to really look smooth at all. Any bend you make with them just seems to deform them more and more.

I eventually got rid of the cables in lieu of some Ensourced custom PSU cables. The PSU is fine otherwise and seems to do its job. I don't notice the fan at all (it doesn't even seem to come on during idle).

Comments

  • 13 months ago
  • 3 points

Very nice and clean build!!! You have my +1... :)

Boot times will be slower on this type of systems... Did you update bios to latest version?

https://forum-en.msi.com/index.php?topic=307933.0

  • 13 months ago
  • 3 points

Thanks for that link. I did a little bit of searching around and I'll read up on that forum post. But it sounds like maybe the DESIGNARE BIOS is a little bit behind in the AGESA version and hopefully the next release will update AGESA to latest and help with some performance and boot times. We'll see. It isn't really that bad, just slower than my old system which was unexpected (kind of expect your new $3200 computer to boot faster than your old one, ya know?)

  • 13 months ago
  • 3 points

Yep you do expect it to be better in every way.. :) But I wouldn't worry about boot times..

  • 13 months ago
  • 3 points

+100 for the pic of you. Lol

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

Are you planning to get an acrylic reservoir/pump for the O11 Dynamic? Bitspower is supposedly making one.

https://www.techpowerup.com/249253/lian-li-partners-with-bitspower-on-custom-reservoir-pump-for-pc-o11-dynamic-case

And sluggishness with an OC can be resolved if you do a PBO overclock rather than a fixed overclock.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Wow, that is pretty cool! I had not seen that. But I already have the radiator there and I don't really want to put the radiator up top or below. But maybe in a year or so as an upgrade? :)

  • 13 months ago
  • 3 points

Yeah, a flat panel reservoir would really compliment the look. Multiple companies are starting to get on this trend.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

Wow, super clean and beautiful!!! I love the GPU mirror backplate. Why GPU on bottom pci-e slot? +1 and more!

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I got this question multiple times already and honestly, I don't really know. I guess I figured it would look a little better not blocking view of the motherboard. Though, it means you can't see any of the acrylic cover of the block. It also kind of covers up the USB, front panel, and fan headers plugged in under there.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

If you move your GPU up you will have more power.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Depends on the motherboard. This is a pretty high-end board and X399 has tons of PCIE lanes, so the bottom one might be a x16 slot. You should check the manual on this, OP. You might be cutting into your performance with the 2080 Ti. Probably not by much, but such a powerful card can probably use that bandwidth.

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Hmm, I'm not sure what you mean. Care to explain? The 1st and 4th slot are both x16 PCIe and should perform the same.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

oh ok then you should be fine:)

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Usually, people put there GPU in the top slot for better performance and power most of the time.

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

Sick!

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

Very good build man, top notch!

  • 13 months ago
  • 2 points

I don't think you'll be able to overclock that thing fully without some serious power and cooling

  • 12 months ago
  • 2 points

I have pretty much the same parts different CPU and Motherboard, just hoping my 2080 TI doesn't give me any problems not sure if I should test the card first before putting the water block on it or just go ahead and build the hole thing.

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool! Which board and CPU are you going with?

  • 12 months ago
  • 1 point

I pre-order the 9900k but Amazon never had it on stock they told I had to wait never gave me a date so I just canceled my order and got an 8700K couldn't find a good z370 board so got a z390 board Gigabyte z390 Aorus Master.

  • 11 months ago
  • 2 points

Amazing. That's what I would build if I had a better income :) Great build!

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

I'm the guy you helped about the PNY 2070 block, I'm actually planning on use that Lian Like case as well for my build. The setup you have is pretty close to what I'm planning even that same loop. I plan on having either orange or blue liquid but anyways awesome build

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Cool! I wish there was a function to follow people so I could be notified about it. But I'll try to catch it (i'm trying to catch all the PC-O11D builds because I love comparing).

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Here is my build I finally finished: https://pcpartpicker.com/b/DmpG3C

  • 10 months ago
  • 2 points

Threadripper target market isn't gamers, it's content creators. Your 7700K is snappier, especially in gaming and rightly so. Intel 14nm carries faster cores altogether, especially in gaming. For streaming the Threadripper would trump it. Most popular games are being optimized for 6 cores and some are even being optimized for 8 cores. Eventually if devs progress, more cores should = more frames as a basic rule of thumb. Nice build!

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

with these photos and that OP Af build I smell a feature coming in 3 days

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

could have gotten corsair rgb fans and sync them up with icue.

nice build though (mirror gpu backplate looks especially nice)

  • 13 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks! I actually got the Thermaltake because the cabling was easier (single cable to the controller). But I agree with you. I am actually thinking the Corsair LL fans would have looked better and been easier to just control with the motherboard headers or a Auqaero.

  • 12 months ago
  • 2 points

Funny. I don't hate rgb outright, so I prefer the more understated look of the Ring style fans and would prefer the performance over looks. I think the rest of the build is flashy enough without being over the top.

  • 11 months ago
  • 1 point

The reflection pic killed me dude. Very powerful and pretty build too +2 if i could

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

I know this may sound dumb but move your GPU up to the first slot because your motherboard supports crossfire by not your card this may help with some issues I’m not sure though other than that +1. Oh and that mirror backplate on the first pic makes it look like nothing’s there so it took me a second to find that card love the build

  • 9 months ago
  • 2 points

Yea, I love that the backplate mirrors the insides :)

There is another comment about the GPU slot as well. What problems were you thinking about? Both slots are 16x PCIe so the performance should be same.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Sense the slot is a 16x it should be fine I guess honestly didn’t know, I only thought that cause the card doesn’t have crossfire support so I thought it wasn’t getting 100% of what you could get. Other than that if it works fine then have fun with it!:)

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

GREAT BUILD!!! i recently build my own tr4 system. my cpu is the 2950x and my gpu is the asus 2080 ti strix. my mobo is the x399 designare and I also have 2x8 gb gskill trident z rgb ram at 3000 mhz cl15. The 2 ram stick are installed in the outer left and right ram slots in the mobo because the 2nd ram slot (close to the cpu) doesnt read the ram stick. This ram config is not recommended by the mobo manual but in bios says dual channel 3000 mhz with xmp.But i have some problems with my computers performance. When playing call of duty black ops 4 blackout for example in 25460x1440p everything maxed out, v sync off i get about 58-110 fps (80 average) and my gpu usage is also low at about 45-70 percent. This happens in other games too. In pubg i get 90-135 fps (110 average with drops to 70 when looking at a city from a high position) with everything on ultra and vsync off. My gpu usage gets to 90 percent but gpu clocks are at 1850 mhz most of the time. In forza horizon 4 in 2k everything maxed out i get 65-105 fps (80-85 average) and gpu usage is 60-70%Things get worse in call of duty black ops 3 when i get 85-120 fps in zombies or multiplayer while other 2080ti systems get 200 fps or more. In fortnite i get 100- 140 fps with framedrops to 65-75 in places with many buildings. Its like my cpu is a bottlenech for my gpu. I ran a Userbenchmark and these are the results: https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/15211915 Could you please tell me if your cpu bottleneck your gpus aswell and also what kind of performance you get in those games with your beast of a pc??? Because it looks like mine isnt as beastly as i would like to :( Thanks in advance and sorry for the huge comment.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

It looks like your GPU and RAM are way underperforming. Here is a comparison UserBenchmark of my system: https://www.userbenchmark.com/UserRun/12550959

I would say, in general, this CPU is not a good for gaming. It does underperform in games like COD:BO4. But I easily hit my 144 FPS frame limiter in games like Battlefield V.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

Could my gpu be bottlenecked by the dual channel ram? In unigine valley and in unigine superposition my score is fine I think (8795 points in superposition 1080p extreme) Also could you please check how many fps your system hits in black ops4 blackout in 2560x1440 everything maxed out (no v sync)???

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't have that installed. But is your memory even in dual channel? I think each side needs 2 x sticks populated for the Threadripper per it's dual-die design. You may only be running single channel on each bank.

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

i smell a feature!

  • 9 months ago
  • 1 point

;)

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

nice.

are you planning to switch to hard tubing? love to see that.

  • 7 months ago
  • 1 point

I don't think I will re-do the tubing in this chassis. I'm waiting for a newer dual-chamber chassis to come out where I can separate the radiator completely (the closest I can find to what I want is the Parvum L1.0). Then I might move to hard tubing or just build a new machine.

There are definitely a lot of good hard tubing builds in this chassis around and they do look amazing! I just didn't think it was a good idea to try hard tubing for first time custom loop.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

How well are your EK Vardar fans holding up? I've seen a lot of people talking about how they break down after a very short amount of time

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

They seem fine but I don't run my computer 24/7. I turn it off when I am not using it so my total fan time is likely a lot less than most.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

How noisy are the fans compared to the thermaltake fans for example

  • 3 months ago
  • 2 points

Hard to say as I never really paid much attention to the differences. I'd say they are the same for a given RPM. However, they were louder because I had no control over the RPM fluctuations due to their software. The major change in noise is that I can keep them at a constant low speed and ramp up on a curve based on exhaust temperatures from the Aquaero instead of CPU usage.

The Thermaltake TT fans have a custom connector and only work with their controller and software.

  • 3 months ago
  • 1 point

Okay thanks