Boy...this was an interesting experience.
I've had my Lian Li PC-A70B housing my builds since 2008. From an i7 920, 3770k, now to a 6850k. Crossfired Sapphire Toxic 4890s, Vapor-X 5870's, a GeForce 580, SLI'd 680Ti's, 780's, 980ti's...and finally to SLI'd 1080ti's. It was quite an era with that case, and it still looks great today. BUT, after much deliberation, I decided it just wasn't practical for what I wanted to do. Too many hard drive bays that I don't need, only one good radiator mounting solution, and NO cable management to speak of. With both my CPU, and GPU setups under AIO's, it was just too cluttered.
SO, it was time for a new case. I originally looked for something that would accept my 1080ti Hybrids' 120mm radiators...but then decided to go all in, and just do a single loop for everything. I'd always wanted a full custom loop, and I figured if I was going to swap out everything into a new case, might as well go the distance. After the A70B, I became a pretty hard Lian Li fanboy, so decided to look there first. I liked the Corsair 570x, but ultimately decided on the Alpha 550x due to the layout, and the fact that it hides everything so well. I also preferred the Lian Li's flush glass to the Corsair's design. For the loop, I started by going with EKWB's configurator, and then customized everything from there. And here comes the fun part...
After about 5 separate orders from Performance PC's, I had (pretty much) all of my parts. I had to make a few more runs to MicroCenter (thankfully, we have one here in DFW) to get the last little bits and the back plates for the GPU's, but they had everything in stock. So awesome.
Queue the A-Team theme song
Everything went in pretty smoothly, until I attempted to install the GPU's with the reservoir/pump in place. Crap. Too long. No chance it would fit with the reservoir mounted using the included mounting points in the case. So...i had to drill into the case. Fortunately, the Alpha 550x has a neat cable hider that basically screams "MOUNT A RESERVOIR TO ME". So i did, which gave me JUST enough room to fit both cards, fittings, and reservoir.
I was almost out of the woods when I overtightened the top bolts on the SLI terminal and cracked the Acrylic water block on the top GPU. FORTUNATELY, MicroCenter came to the rescue again, and had a perfect condition open box for about $40 cheaper than a new unit. So, while I wait for EKWB to send me a new top, I'm still able to get this guy up and running.
For being my first loop, I gave a huge sigh of relief when I noticed no leaks, but these ACF fittings are SUPER tight, so I actually wasn't too worried. All in all, it came out about what I expected. I went with flex tubing for my first loop, but installed a ball valve to make things much easier if I decide to drain it and re-do with hard tubing.
As far as temps go, things are roughly on par with what all the AIO's were producing, but at MUCH less noise due to less fans, which is exactly what I wanted. I'm pretty sure I over did the TIM on the CPU and bottom GPU, but I'll re-do that if needed. As of now I'm fairly satisfied with the temps.
As far as the case is concerned, I'm mostly satisfied with it. I wish the build quality was on par with the A70B, but it just isn't. Lots of plastic. One of the locating tabs for the front facia broke off the first time I removed it. The top panel corner cracked when removed as well. Fortunately, with everything together you can't see any of this...but still...I never broke a thing on the A70B, and that front panel came off MANY times. I'd love to see another all aluminum offering from Lian Li, but with tempered glass and better cable management.
Well, that's it. Definitely a great learning experience putting this together. I've also got a lot more confidence for the next time I put together a loop. I still need to toss some sort of lighting inside the main area of the case to show it off, but want to make sure it matches the front fans, which actually have a ton of color options...but don't really flow that well.
Feel free to ask any questions or tell me what I did wrong. Hope you all enjoyed this bit of rambling!
Oh, and the main use for this rig is triple screen racing (hopefully VR racing in the future), and RPG's/FPS's. It's also my main rig, so I do some light photo editing and video encoding.