Being a fan of Overwatch I wanted to create a Theme PC based off the character D.va in Overwatch. Originally I was thinking of going with Mei, but I thought the PC would be more fun to build if i went with a D.va theme. I ended up migrating a lot of parts from my old small form factor build, and converting it from an Air cooled system to a Water cooled system using hard lines.
Since i was going to sand and repaint the case, i ended up finding an NZXT manta on E-bay that someone was selling second hand. Since this case had a lot of room to work with for an ITX, and I wanted to go with a water cooling layout, it was a great case to start with. I ended up using a sanding sponge to scruff up the surfaces along with disassemble the pieces of the case to prep them for priming. After giving them a good priming layer, i spent another day painting them the various pink, blue, white, silver colors, and then sealing it in a matte clearcoat.
In order to get the D.va logo in the front, i ended up printing one to size on a sheet of laser paper, then placed it on top of a vinyl sticker sheet used to vinyl wrap automobiles. I carefully cut the design by using the stencil, then stuck the stencil onto the front panel of the case to paint the design in.
I wanted to make the case fans have a Jet turbine type look so i ended up buying hobby airplane propeller spinners and using double sided tape to attach the spinner to the Thermaltake 120mm Riing plus fans. I also had to disassemble the fans and repaint them so that the fans would be silver, with the baby blue color.
The longest process was probably sleeving the power cables with Paracording. I just followed a guide online on how to do this.
The reservoir was originally a black color, so i ended up going with a silver automotive vinyl and vinyl wrapping the reservoir to give it the brushed aluminum look without having to go into painting it. After considering it some more, i actually remember D.va has a fan created Gremlin D.va that loves dorito's and Mountain Dew, so I used transparent laser paper to print out the Mountain Dew logo, and place it on the reservoir, then used a lime yellow coolant that had a similar color to mountain dew, lol.
The reservoir is attached to the lower 2.5" hard drive bracket using a custom made bracket. It gets really tight in there, and i was worried that everything might not fit.
I ended up going with the Hardware labs radiators because I've heard that they are very strong performers. Something that I've learned about water cooling is, flush the radiators very well. The first time i added the coolant, i definitely did not flush the radiators well enough and ended up with some gunk in the system, so i had to completely drain and flush the system, and take apart the water blocks to clean them out inside. Some of the gunk that came out of the loop is shown in the picture above.
Afterwards I ended up installing a LCD screen to the side window so that i could use it to display some system stats, along with a music visualizer. Since the LCD screens are polarized, i had to install quite a lot of RGBW lights inside of the case in order to light it up. I used a standard RGBW kit, and had it draw power off the PC power supply using 12V. I ended up taking apart an AOC USB monitor for parts. A future upgrade may be to use a screen with better color reproduction since this current one loses a lot of color detail.
With watercooling, it gave my PC a lot of thermal headroom. Originally I overclocked the MSI 1080 Ti Armor OC and found out it could handle 2036MHZ for the core and 5999MHZ for the memory at 1.093V, but since i'm using a 1080P 144mhz monitor, nothing was pushing the GPU hard enough to make use of the overclock. So i ended up going in the opposite direction, and undervolted the GPU to run at 950mV, at a core speed of 1922mhz, and memory clock of 5531mhz. The i5-6600K is currently overclocked to 4.6ghz at 1.27v. I've overclocked it because I have started playing Destiny 2, and it places a pretty large demand on the CPU and the framerates became CPU limited. I haven't tried reaching stability past 4.6ghz because I'm trying to maintain core voltage below 1.3V.
Originally the loop order went pump, GPU, CPU, Radiator, Radiator, back to the reservoir, but I ended up changing it to Pump, GPU, Radiator, CPU, Radiator, Reservoir, but it was purely for aesthetic purposes because i wanted to change the layout of the tubing.
Video of the PC in action before I installed the LCD side panel on youtube https://youtu.be/J67-V8TEp0A
Update 1/23/2018: I ended up replacing the CPU with an I7-7700k while putting together another PC, and put the I5 into the secondary PC. The I7-7700K had some really high temperatures and fluctuated a lot, especially for a custom water loop. I eventually went for a delid and repaste. It helped immensely with keeping the temperatures under control. Also the I7-7700K seems to reach 5.1ghz with easy. It might be able to do more but i got too lazy to stress test any higher frequencies for now.
For the delid, it was done using a 3d printed delid tool and a vice clamp. Afterwards i cleaned the paste with 70% rubbing alcohol, and scrapped the old gasket material using a wooden toothpick. Liquid electric tape was used to cover up all the metal parts as a safety precaution since i was going to use a liquid metal thermal paste. Thermal Grizzly Conductonaut was used as a replacement thermal interface material, and gasket maker was used to reaffix the lid back onto the CPU die. I decided to go for it and use the thermal grizzly conductonaut on the lid and waterblock.
Update 5/23/2018: I ended up putting the GPU and CPU into a parallel loop because I thought it looked better from an aesthetic point of view.
Also ended up getting Cablemod custom pro cables, and swapping out the power supply for a Seasonic Prime Ultra titanium 850W.
Purchased a Ducky x Varmilo Miya Pro sakura edition keyboard, Tai Hao aquatic keycaps, and a custom Zap Cable USB C in the miami theme with blue end heatshrink so that it would match the PC's color scheme.
Took a few updated photo's of the setup. Overall pretty pleased with the changes.
Video of the LCD side panel in action: https://youtu.be/0nV5Ynld3nE
Thanks for the Feature PCPP!