Water-cooling Build Log: Project Red-Chalk


Welcome to the ongoing build-log for my system, the Red-Chalk. It details from when I first started water-cooling and covers pretty much all the goings on with my rig since then. All my long winded thoughts, idea's and explanations are here, so a light read this is not :lol:.
Big thanks to Moto, Scopey, Rubix , Big-Cyco and amuffin for helping me out when I first inquired about water-cooling, and many others who I have learnt from since.

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The XSPC Raystorm 750 RS360 water-cooling kit.
PrimoChill PrimoFlex Pro LRT tubing red, 7/16ID 5/8OD. 2m of it.
And a Killcoil.

Well, I took the plunge and got all that water-cooling stuff yesterday, and now it is assembled, leak tested and probably not fully air bled yet if the pump noise means anything :lol:.
As promised, here is my build log and hopefully all the pictures you could want.

This is before I started pulling everything apart, my dual fan Hyper 212 Evo doesn't even know what happening yet.

Stripped out all the unnecessary stuff, the HAF-X is starting to look empty.

My 3570K tries to hide itself under a layer of thermal paste (which is fairly well applied, I wasnt expecting that good an application considering it was the first time I had done it. Little bit of spillage though)

Remove the Thermal paste with some White Spirits cleaning fluid, and its revealed.

Took the opportunity to clean my PSU. Full modularity is so useful.

Time to get down to business. First the radiator had its stock XSPC push fans screwed to it and then was mounted in the case.
Protip: When water-cooling in a HAF-X with a triple rad, you will need the top 5.25" bay clear if you want to fit a radiator+fan in there, even for slim radiators. I was lucky my fan controller doesn't take up the whole bay, but if you had in optical there and every other bay was full, you'd be in trouble.

Mounting the pull fans, two Coolermaster Silent red LED fans and one mystery red LED fan I found in an old PC one day.

The Raystorm CPU block did go on with some trouble. The LGA1155 backplate was somewhat difficult to place on the back of the mobo, and that caused havoc when you try to screw in the block and the plate has moved. Got it in eventually though.

One uneventful (and undocumented unfortunately) pump/res mounting later, I got down to putting in tubing.
ProTip: Measure everything! Once that tube is around the barb, it aint coming off without a fight. Stuffed up the connection between the radiator and pump/res, spent the next 20min pulling the tubing off each end. Makes me wonder why we even need clamps.



Filled the loop and now leak testing.

My dog wasnt all that impressed.

After about 2hrs of shaking it and turning the PSU on and off in an attempt to bleed air out, I gave up and called it a day.
The next morning I declared it officially leak tested! Plugged all the cables back in properly, wired everything up and threw in all the components.
Time for some glamour shots!

With the side panel back on.

Thats about it for the pictures. If you want to see all of them (there are actually more), go here.

Temperature wise there has been a big improvement. On the 212 EVO I was idling at around 25c, now as I have been typing this it has been ~15c (11c coolest core, 21c hottest), which also happens to be ambient temp right now. So a 10c improvement at idle, with possibly more if room temperature would allow it.
Load temps I have not fully tested yet, but an hour of Prime95 before got my CPU to 61c, and 5min of it now gets to 45c. So a 16c drop in load temps (will test more thoroughly soon). I am pretty happy with that, I will definetly overclock my CPU more aggressively now to take advantage of this extra cooling.

Any feedback would be appreciated, and any guidance if a noisy pump is to be expected when its new would be great!
Nice ;)

From that photo though I can see a huge air bubble within your res. Try to adding slightly more water with a straw.

BTW for the fans, those are actually one of the worst rad fans out there. I was using the blue version, and I saw this:


So I'm guessing I want that res just barely not overflowing? It seemed that the pump intake and (exhaust is the wrong word here) were underneath the water line, and I thought that leaving a bit would be good as it allows air in the rest of the loop to bleed out. Will fill it to the brim.

The fans I have aren't the SickleFlow variant, it is this one as far as I can tell.
Think they are also advertised as Rifle fans, no idea what that supposed to mean though.

Found the product page for the CM fans.
Those are the sickle flows.

Filling it all up should get rid of any air, which should result to a slightly quieter pump. Is the pump vibrating? I have the same setup, just with an Alphacool VPP655T, I had to slide a little piece of paper under mine to stop it from vibrating. Now my rig is really quiet..:O
Yup, brim that res, air helps noise travel so a full res helps keep pump noise down
Nope muffin, the V2 of the 750l is pretty much silent, you've heard mine :)
Nice looking build Chalk, pat yourself on the back there and welcome to W/c :)


Did some digging to find out what the fans are. The site I got them from advertises them as "Rifle Red" and doesn't actually give anymore info than that. Cant find a proper product page for them.
Doesn't help that it has the same image as both the Sickleflow and Silent fans. So it could be a Sickleflow, A Silent or maybe a discontinued Rifle fan.

I cant physically feel it vibrating, and it sounds more like its whirring to me. I'l try filling the res as much as it will go and try packing it to reduce vibrations.


I've got my rig pretty silent over the weekend. ;)

Those fans don't output anywhere what is advertised, unfortunate.....


Damn, fan prices in Australia are ridiculous. To get a decent amount of Corsair SP 120mm fans would cost more than the radiator it would go on.

Iv topped up the res as far as I can get it (still a bubble in there, nowhere near the size of what was before) and the pump noise is virtually unchanged. The XSPC manual has a FAQ sheet in it that says it may be noisy for the first 24hrs until all air is bled from the pump, don't know whether to believe that though.
Any more idea's to quieten this thing?


Did a bit of maintenance to the loop, refilled the water and trimmed down a tube that was slightly kinked due to it being too long. What I have learnt is that its an utter b**** to drain my loop, requires taking off the CPU block (which then needed to be repasted and remounted) and tugging all the tubing off it. Result was somewhat messy and time consuming.
So I'm going to be putting in a drain valve to make this process a lot easier when I am upgrading or maintaining the loop later on.
Anyone see an issue with using this drain valve
With these barbs and clamps?
Only issue I can see is that the barb is ID 1/2" while my tubing is ID 7/16", but from what I have gathered it will still work and may actually be better due to the tighter fit.

The valve will be placed in between the pump/res and the CPU block, as that's the lowest point in the loop currently.

Also pump is still pretty loud, Iv done what I can to pad it (used off cuts of tubing almost as a washer for the mounting screws and slid some under it between it and the optical drive) but noise is still a noticeable issue. The res is as full as I can get it, as due to the design of the fill port it will never truly be full. Any more tips or should I contact XSPC and see if I can get it replaced?


Nov 4, 2012
Oh not sure in that pump I use the D5 xspc bay combo but if it is still loud after 2 months sounds like a faulty pump. Have you try removing it from the bay to see if the sound was there there?


Small update.
Got a bunch of water-cooling stuff in the mail right now to add in a T-Line to the loop. Decided to go that way instead of a dedicated drain valve, as this way I can also fill the loop easily and removes the necessity of the reservoir. So in the future when I get a GPU block and a dedicated pump I wont have to put a reservoir somewhere in the case. I have an idea on this that I would like to get feedback on a bit later as well.
Heres the WC components that are in the mail (also got another 8GB of RAM and a sound card).
Bitspower T-Block.
3x Bitspower 1/2" Barb.
4x Koolance Clamps.
Bitspower Sealing Plug.
Still have plenty of leftover tubing so I dont need that.
Plan is to put it between the CPU and the pump/res, as that's roughly the lowest point in the loop right now. Also makes filling it easy as all have to do is put the case on its side and suddenly its the highest.

My idea.
The adding in of the T-Line is largely to facilitate future upgrades, I'm pretty much committed to eventually having a full water loop with GPU blocks, dedicated pumps, external rads and all that.
However the problem is that a T-Line in a loop that large is going to become less useful. I could stick one at the bottom of the case (around where a future pump would be) which would be good for draining and adequate for filling (takes ages since the T-Line is tiny compared to a res). While a T-Line at the top nearer to the radiator would be useless for draining and perfect for filling, as the water will trickle down the whole loop and fill up giving heaps of water for the pump to push around the loop.
So my idea is to have the best of both worlds and having two T-Lines in my future loop, one at the bottom for draining and the other at the top for filling. Any issues you guys can see with this plan?

Will have new pics when I get the stuff.

Nice setup!

And also nice to see another bitten by the water cooling bug, and the fact you're already making improvement steps is bug bitten evidence! :)

Tip 1: I did notice you had mounted your Raystorm and installed the fittings after the fact, it's best to install the fittings before mounting to make sure you have them tight enough.

It's easier to get the feel for the tightness holding the block in your hand, than the block already hard mounted, now I'm sure that's not written in stone, just something I myself learned the hard way and so did ArthurH.

It's just a prelude to a caution, because if those fittings are not tight enough, (but not too tight), moving the block after the fact can cause the fittings to back off just enough to leak, past the seating Oring.

Tip 2: I see you had to remove the CPU block already to drain and refill, anytime you do that cut off the end of the tubing that was seated on the barb and always reconnect with a fresh tubing end, so the seal won't be compromised.

Nice work and good pictures!



Look what arrived up in the mail today! Some water-cooling stuff, an ASUS Xonar DGX soundcard and 8GB of G.Skill Ripjaws 1600Mhz RAM.

Ever practical, I tore open the sound card box first to have a look at it. Wasn't as big as I thought it would be, but I guess that doesn't change anything.

A closer look at whats really important. Three Bitspower 1/2" barb fittings, one Bitspower T connector, one Bitspower Sealing plug and four Koolance 5/8 OD clamps.

Everyone has seen RAM before so not gonna show it.
Here is the T-Block with all the barbs screwed in.

Threw the sound card and RAM in first, very much liking the look of the full RAM bank and the layers of PCB from the sound and graphics card. I think I'v hit the point where anything I do to my machine makes it sexier in my eyes :lol:.

With a new RAM kit came another G.Skill sticker. No sticker with the sound card, I had to pry that off my old PC (which ironically doesnt have a single ASUS component in it). Might be somewhat juvenile, but more components need to come with stickers :D.

Now to what everyone is here for, the T-line. Holding the T-Block in place to get an idea of how long a line I can have.
Mistake Number 1 has been made.

Anyway, I had to drain my loop. Foolishly I didn't include Thermal Paste in my order, so taking off the CPU block like last time wasn't an option. Instead I used the newly created "Case fallen on face and water drain off table" technique :D .

Was a bit nerve wracking when it first went over the edge of the table. The case is fairly top heavy because of the radiator and reservoir, with only the PSU and 5 HDD's in the bottom to balance it out.

The case didnt fall over thankfully and drained most of the way. There was a small bit left in the res and some repositioning got out what was trapped in the radiator.
With the loop drained, I moved onto the T-Line itself. I decided to use the clear tubing that came with the kit here instead of the red because I would need to see the level of the water inside when I was filling. Also possibly setting up some kind of colour coding system for later use, with only red or coloured tubing being used in the main flow.
Top Tip: These particular Koolance clamps are ridiculously hard to open up. I had to use a pair of pliers to get them open and to hold it. Even then they barely fit on the barb!
Top Tip 2: Tubing that you have left in the corner unused for half a year is pretty rigid, make it a bit harder by trying to cram it onto a barb 1/16" bigger than the hole. Hot water is required to soften the tube.


The T-Line held against the tubing to show dimensions. In hindsight I should have made the line longer, but it wasn't prohibitively short so I didnt change it.

So begins Mistake Number 2.
I decided to swap around the tubes going in and out of the res, as that way the T-Line would be on the higher of the two connections and allow filling to be easier. Also it would have the water travelling through the radiator, through the CPU block and back to the res.
Mistake Number 2.5, as now the water goes into the block through the "out" port and leaves through the "in".

Didnt document cutting the tube and installing the T-Line, was too busy fighting with those Koolance clamps. Heres the finished product. Mistake 2.5 is visible.

Temporary filling docking station.

oh god, oh god, oh god!

Nah its all good. Power was disconnected and was well and truly dry before it was re-connected.

Bonus points if anyone can figure out what is wrong with this picture.

For those who know their XSPC Res/Pump combos, they will know that the T-Line is on the pump exhaust.
Mistake Number 1 and 2 collide.
Filling the reservoir was impossible. The water would trickle in to a certain level and then it started creeping back up the line. I couldn't fill the reservoir beyond approximately halfway due to the design of the pump. The pump intakes water from the res on the right hand side of it (relative to the pic above). So once the intake was covered the water stopped going into the res and backed up the tube. Tilting the case yielded some success, but not much. Lying the case down on its back panel didn't work as there must be some kind of U-bend in the pump, as it still wouldn't fill even with the intake not being covered.
Filling the res as far as it would go and power cycling didn't work, after all the T-Line was on the exhaust end so I couldn't add water while it was going for obvious reasons. When I attempted a traditional T-line power cycle (kinda) it didn't work since the water was so low the pump would quickly start sucking air. Attempting to fill from there worked somewhat, but it got to a point where the water was flowing smoothly and the res was only about 2/3 full.

After about an undetermined amount of time I gave up and filled the res through the dedicated port, defeated for today. Though I have a plan to fix this and make it work, but I must wait another day for my patience to build back up (and to grab some more distilled water, I was forced to put a bit of old water back in on this refill).
The plan is to drain it using the "Case fallen on face and water drain off table" technique and swap the res tubes back around (solving Mistake 2.5 in the process). That will put the T-Line on the intake for the res/pump, will put it in the real lowest point of the loop and near the back of the case. To fill from there I will have to put the case on its side (window panel down) and pour water into the T-Line through one of the cable management grommets. Where it should fill up the res (since the intake will be the highest port) and I should just be able to power cycle from there.

If Neptune the God of Water allows, this will all go off without a hitch.
Thanks for reading this far, I know I am fairly long winded and surely all this must be fairly obvious to experienced water-coolers such as yourselves. Forgive a newb for making such an obvious (in hindsight anyway) mistake, it will be fixed soon!


Neptune has been kind and this went off without any too difficult hitches!

Got myself some more Distilled water. Don't worry, they just misspelled "distilled" on the bottle :D.

I ended up not needing to use the "case fallen of face water drain off table" technique, as the misplaced T-Line was somewhat decent at draining the loop. Just had to tilt the case in various directions to get most of the water out.
Yea, again in hindsight I should have made the line longer.

Swapped the tubes around, The T-Line is now in the right place. Here it is poking out the back. Due to a mix of factors this didn't entirely work, so a different configuration was needed.

I did fill the res most of the way in a different case orientation, but didn't take pics unfortunately. The way it was allowed easy filling but painstakingly slow air bleeding (since I cant use the res fill port to get rid of air).

Much better. Looks so weird upside-down.
This works much better, there's only a few micro-bubbles in the res so I am quite happy with how this turned out.

Finished product.

As you may have noticed, one of the RAM slots is empty since I last showed it above. One of my sticks died, it was an old stick that was already in the system as well. Very strange.
Ah well, gotta take em back to the PCCaseGear to get replaced, quite annoying that.

Anyway, the T-Line is much better placed and I can fill the res a lot easier now. Also didn't mention this before, but I added a lot of padding around the pump/res. The padding plus a completely full res has quietened the pump so much, its still noticeable but nowhere near as loud as before.


well some have made a rolling joke out of this build and yes I did laugh hard when I saw the tube poking out the back of mobo tray, sorry [:lutfij:7] I'll just make a point - case choice and the layout of the loop will always dictate how easy or terribly agonizing the build/rebuild process will be. I had to carry the AMS builds Tt Spedo all the way over my head and shook it around - I lost patience and then laughed at myself for doing such a thing :lol:

now, the way that it is, all I need to do to drain my rad is open a port at the base of my rad where the res is and for filling/purging remove top lid from vertical res. Just took me some thinking time to figure out what to do and a lil bit of frustration. Rad holds approximately 1 liter of distilled in my loop.

So with the way you could have it is have the rad mounted on the back with the ports facing the back of the case up top - all the air exits the ports and end up at the res. For a Fill port, you could have drilled a hole up top above the drive bays and ra a tubing to the res' dedicated fill port. For a drain line, you could have it at the base of case...or on a longer tube than what is now.

SO, for filling open port at the top. For draining open port at the bottom and tilt case along the x axis to tip the case backwards.

I won't clutter your thread with my pics, you can head down to the AMS build log in my sig :)

* hopefully you'll be a wonderful addition to our growing list of people who learn from their mistakes (though in limited supply)to stop others from making them :)

Nice build mate, however your red looks pink in my eyes, what camera you using? any option for tweaking with White balance and exposure compensation? Hold case against the light and not towards it. * a camera isn't as smart as our eyes :p



Really, where?
I wanna see what people think is wrong/right/awesome about my loop :D

I got the HAF-X back when I had no interest in water-cooling beyond a H100 (which is way too expensive in Aus). I largely got it because I liked the aesthetic and knew that it would be pretty future proof case to get. I should have realistically a mid-tower for my build, but I'm glad I didnt now.

Yeah, I know that for optimal draining and filling it would require two T-Lines or similar on the loop , but there isnt much point until I have more "vertical-nes" with the loop. So far pretty much all the water is in a horizontal line, so there's no obvious place to put a fill or a drain valve.
I could externally mount the rad, but I'd like to keep it all internal until I need to put stuff outside the case.

So far haven't modded the case or anything due to a lack of tools and knowledge. Though if cash allows (to get a dremel and such and more water-cooling gear) I'm not averse to doing it. Can already see a surface on the HAF-X's front that would be good for integrating a fill-port into.

Using the camera on my Tablet, haven't messed around with any of the setting except for the flash and some pre-set modes. It does look redder IRL than the images would make it seem, particularly when the LED lighting is on.
Suppose I should know how to set up a shot since I'm studying Media, too much theory and not enough practical!


Retro-active comment from future self :p:
Way to stick to your guns on the external mount thing!