Description

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.

Comments

  • 22 months ago
  • 3 points

So, when’s the sound card gonna be part of the loop?

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

I guess when EKWB start making blocks!

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Monitors... +1

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Honestly, I can't love these monitors enough. Having to go back to 60Hz on my work monitors drives me crazy.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

b-e-a-utiful build my friend!

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Setup pics please!!!

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

I added one horribly grainy shot. I'll get some better ones with more light, and once i get some LED's in the main area of the case to light up the loop. Also need to cable manage a few things under the desk.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Oh God I'm so jealous...

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Fantastic build and love the colour...And what a setup you have..

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey I really like the build. There's almost no similarity between yours and mind, but I connected with your BLACKBOX a little bit; I have a Corsair H110vi and a 1080ti SC2 Hybrid, so I have tubes and fans galore. Can you talk to me about what truly made you switch from using a AOI setup to going with a a full custom loop? I'm sure at some point in the future I'll want to go with a full custom loop as well, but I have a 1080ti Hybrid, so I'd have to do something about that.

  • 22 months ago
  • 2 points

Honestly, the main reason was the noise, and the aesthetic. I had a push-pull setup on 3 different AIO radiators, along with the other fans in the case and it was just too loud. I could have just removed some fans, but needed some for mounting points for the radiators. Also, I wasn't a fan of all the AIO tubes going everywhere. It just looked cluttered to me, and I really just wanted a clean and simple black and white setup that was also water cooled.

Don't get me wrong, the AIO's worked great for keeping down temps. I just wanted to combine everything into one solid loop rather than 3 separate ones. This current setup should also pull less power not having to run 3 separate (albeit smaller) pumps.

Finally, the A70B had NO cable management options. There were two TINY holes to run all your cables through, and NO space behind the motherboard. It was a pain to do anything in that thing. That case really does work better with server style setups with lots of drives, no GPU, and less cables.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Ah, okay, thanks. I have a FD Define R5 White/Window, it has lots of room for cable management in the back, I removed the HDD cages, and I got a custom PSU cover for the front, so I have loads of space. I like the case due to the space and the simple, minimalist design, so when I eventually do a case mod I have a blank , flat canvas, and when I eventually liquid-cool I'll have the room I need. Currently planning a ridiculously complex case mod ahha

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Super clean!

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Thanks!

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Did the motherboard need a BIOS update before putting the new CPU in? The Part Picker freaks out when you put a 6800-6950 processor on an LGA 2011-3 mobo.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Mine did not. It picked it up right away.

  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

I have a 6850k on an Msi X99a Gaming Pro Carbon and it didnt require a bios update either. Thankfully..

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Nice build. Just wondering what temperatures you're getting on load?

  • 21 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey Can you put up a picture of the back of it I wanna see your cable management

  • 17 months ago
  • 1 point

How's the case? Building in the 330 soon, and I believe they're the same frame.

  • 16 months ago
  • 1 point

Hey Mate.

Awesome build! I was just wondering, I just got the case myself and I was wondering how did you manage with the front light bar to keep it the same light as the fans? Because Corsair has their own RGB control and I was wondering did you just plug the RGB light bar into the mother board?

Cheers,

[comment deleted]
  • 22 months ago
  • 1 point

Yep, soft tubing. It's 10mm/16mm so it's unbelievably stiff, but still bends enough for what I needed.

I'm guessing the slot is more aesthetic than anything which is why they didn't make it a grommet. But it works. There's a few strange design choices on this case (cheap I/O front flap, proprietary fan connectors, cheap molex rear fan), but overall I like it.

Oh, and yes, the top is a solid piece of glass with vents on the sides. Not great for airflow, but looks really nice.