Mini Me !

Soldato
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Mini me was a fail :(

When I bought the 2080Ti Aorus for cheap it came with a caveat. That caveat was Unreal engine hates it. The VRAM on it runs hot when using UE. It doesn't happen on any other game or engine, but in UE the VRAM can only take about 80c before I start getting orbs. Like spots of colour, not space invaders. Push it to 90c? the game crashes.

Now this wouldn't be an issue at all if it wasn't for the fact that over the past year and three months I have put about a thousand hours into PUBG. It is all we play now. I have two rigs, and I split my time between them. However, every time I was on this rig I had to run the fans at 100% on a hope and a prayer. This was mainly being caused by the fact that the wall the GPU sits against (inner centre) is solid. Meaning all of the heat that comes out of the back of the GPU was soaking right back in and causing issues. I had to under volt, under clock and run the fans at 100%. That said this was all done on a budget, hence the janky PSU and cooler. Which I learned likes to leak a lot around the pump housing which made me very nervous.

So, after a holiday wrecked by Covid (came down second day, had to isolate in a caravan for a week) I had some spare cash. Hence, Mini Me V2.

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Which worked ! sorta kinda. I can now game with the fans on 60%, which is inaudible with my headphones on. However, the VRAM still crashes every now and then. I don't want to run this bloody card at 100% fan speed for the rest of its life, and so I have decided to do something about that. This is where I got to with V2.

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And I was very happy with it. However, I can't fit the front glass as it sits right on the GPU, and there are several other small annoyances. Mostly the GPU in PUBG. Now going back to when I bought the GPU it was blocked.

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And I played PUBG on it several times at 2100mhz (a pipe dream on the air cooler, it's crap) and never had any problems. I would imagine this is because the VRAM was cucumbered under that enormous block. As such I have decided to put it back on water. This decision took me quite a while, because I didn't want to strip out the Alienware. However, not only does it look awfully sorry for itself* but it's also enormous, and once everything goes in you can't lift it without damaging it, given it's all 1mm alu. It's so heavy it always suffers damage. I could strip it all back down and repaint the shell (which is the issue, I will get to that) but I know how much work is involved in that and like I said it's too big and heavy any way.

* When I originally painted it it looked fantastic. However, I didn't realise what a pain in the penis it would be to work in, and due to getting it right I had the hardware in and out several times which trashed the paint. Meaning it looks awful.

OK, so I finally made the executive decision to strip it down. Not get rid, because one day I may be up for the 3 month task of sorting it out, but to at least remove the hundreds upon hundreds of pounds of water cooling gear. However, again there was a caveat. The rig was a Threadripper, and the block I bought on sale here at OCUK only fits Threadripper.

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Which kinda ****** me off, because several other manufacturers made theirs backward compatible with AM4, kinda like this Bykski one.

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I know I am already down for paying out for a compact pump and res, what I do not want to do is spend £90 on a CPU block. So, I took it apart.

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Removing the silver mid plate that also mounts it.

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Then I did some Sunday arvo CAD.

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And mapped out where the new bolt holes would need to go.

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And as you can see, plenty of meat on there. I had two ideas of how to mount this. Firstly I could drill the four holes, screw it back onto the block and then drill through those out through the top. That would look a bit messy though. The water channels are well clear, so it would work (hence how Bykski did it) but I wanted it tider. As such I am going to drill the four holes, put in four M4 counter sunk bolts out through the bottom, then screw the block top back on. Meaning they will be invisible. In order to mount it I need to slightly drill out the AM4 back plate holes, then send the bolts through the back of the board and spring/bolt mount it there. Whilst I am at it I will fill in the unused holes that will be left from TR4 and then paint it satin black. Thankfully the case has an enormous cutout so I can get away with this.

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Another reason I decided to strip down the Alienware was because 90% of it will fit this Antec. The Antec takes two 240 rads, I have two 240 rads... And about £300 in fittings FFS.

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Those Bitspower fans are brand new, DRGB. I got them here on OCUK. I was going to rebuild the Alienware again, but yeah too hooj. I won't be using the pump/cooler/top because it's too big and IMO would look stupid. Like I said, got plans for that. I will be using the rest. I still have about half of the 10m run of black hose I bought too.

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Which is cool.

And.

I am going to paint the case panels. Won't go into too much detail just yet, but I have decided. For the past three years since my last major mod I have been perfecting show paint finishes with acrylic graffiti paints. And, I've gotten really good at it.

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That one is blackberry with red flake. I call it murder purple. This one is Nautilus blue with blue flake.

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It's a crap ton of work, but it kills powder coat stone dead due to the horrid orange peel you get with that which is not really fixable. This is another I did in Jam orange with gold flake.

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So yeah, expect something pretty frikkin wild.
 
Soldato
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I apologise if some of you found that TL;DR. I didn't want to start a new thread because I do this as a hobby and not for any glory or attention. So this one was fine. Any way, it's pretty much the same build it's just changed clothes :D

I have a block. I don't, however, like it. It was a little crudely made (surprising for Barrow tbh, maybe a little rushed?) and shows off far too much of the ugly end PCB. I am trying to make this all Bitspower. So, I did what any sane, rational man would do. Ordered a block directly from Bitspower, in a currency I had no clue about :D

Obviously this needs to be a specialty block. The 2080Ti Aorus Xtreme is far from stock.

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I also pulled off the heat pads on the Barrow. Which in hindsight was really bloody stupid. I have thermal pads, but I don't remember the sizes. Any way, this was on sale on BP for £88.

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It's their premium range. Usually well north of £200. What I did not envisage was the £40 3 day Fedex lmao. Little rush of blood to the head. It cost me £138. That said, it is a specialty block and it is huge and it is their premium range. So, even if I get stung another £50 in fees I still think it was worth doing, given it's the face of the whole rig.

Am currently sizing up res options ETC ETC. However, I think I have an idea. So, stay tuned for that.....
 
Soldato
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Update. Could a moderator please change the title name to "Julie's Pants" please? Let me explain. The title character in PUBG is called Julie. This is her here.

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If you land with a bot and kill it the bot is usually wearing Julie's Pants. Not what you would think, and they have shrunk a bit in that pic, but they look like this.

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Well the joke goes like this. One of my team mate's wife is actually called Julie. So, whenever that player gets a bot he puts them on and says "Hey look guys, I am wearing Julie's pants!". It's never gotten old, and still makes us laugh. I thought that would be fitting... Talking of fitting.....

I have this flow meter.

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It's not as big as it looks. However, I was going to take it apart and remove the blade and shaft and use it as a tiny res come fill port for the loop. Like, straight into the pump. It would have been fine, if a bit of a PITA to fill the loop and then have to keep an eye on due to its low volume. What I would have liked is an actual hex tank, but these were notoriously expensive when you could get them (about £150) and it seems Bitspower gave most of them to modders who used like, five. Which IMO looked kinda daft but ho hum, they were the days before distro panels.

Any way, I was poking on Ebay earlier and figured I would just type in Bitspower and see what happened. Bingo.

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Made a cheeky offer which was accepted. So, now I can use both, with the flow meter performing regular duties.
 
Soldato
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Quick update. I finally got over to the PC today. I pulled the AIO off to make sure the block would seat. The area of concern was here.

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It seems to fit. Just. I may have to grind it back a bit. That's not as horrible as it sounds.. We will see once I drill the holes and do a test fit. Good thing is when it's in it will look like a big old monoblock. Talking of holes.

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I've ordered 8 of those. Really don't want to use odds and sods.

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Stop plugs came today.

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And after much deliberation I chose the colour and FX scheme. It has been ordered also.

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------------------------------------------------------------

Right, last of the shopping has been done.

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These are to couple the res to the pump top and flow meter to the res.

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These will most certainly need to be on the GPU.

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Got a in line filter too.

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Two more fans. Might push pull the rear, we'll see. Spares are always good any way, and they are good value.

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And I bought this EK conversion kit for £1.50. It's literally for nothing more than making sure my holes are dead perfect. So in other words, it's sacrificial.

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The Sunday Funday Conundrum.

These are the bolts that come with EK's pump cooler.

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I'm not a huge fan of how they work. Past the threads in the bottom there are allen holes. You do the bolts up into the cooler and top, which pulls it together to seal. Unfortunately due to the design these allen holes are very shallow, meaning they round when you fit it. Once you are done that you screw rubber dampeners into the threads, then M4 bolts into those through your mounting plate. Unfortunately after just three years the rubber was rotten, and was turning everything it touched black. Even more unfortunate because they rounded when going in I was unable to remove them without using a larger allen. Which stripped the threads, and the rubber parts got stuck.

So they all had to come out with pliers. You can see it here.

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So those were done. Had a dig around in the bolt box and found some pretty long M4 bolts, which thankfully were a thread match. So it went -

Bolt through pump mount. Metal washer, plastic spacer, metal washer, pump, pump top.

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Soldato
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Ahh this looks promising! Welcome to the ITX master race! Any cuts and bruised fingers yet? :p
 
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Finally. Delayed twice, but finally arrived. That said, I paid 0 import duty, so am absolutely stoked.

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I also got freebies ! firstly a lovely message and three face masks.

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A really sexy case badge, and I know exactly where this is going.

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Because I scraped the Antec A logo from the glass the other day. That was scary let me tell you. Then I got this.

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I'm not sure what is is yet lol. It's some sort of fan. Maybe for your fets? IDK.

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And the main event.

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Which didn't disappoint. It's friggin huge and weighs a ton lol.

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I called Ma. Apparently there were two packages delivered this morning. Hoping that is the res and rad cover.
 
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Right, been doing a lot of thinking. When I looked at the sheer amount of wiring this will require, because I remember it only too well from the Alienware, I really wanted to remove the drives completely. However, this came with issues. The B450i ITX board I have only has one NVME slot. I could have spent loads of money on a 2-3TB NVME SSD, but the thought of eggs and baskets (especially after the loss of the Firecuda recently) made me think twice.

I knew this decision would cost me. And it has. However, I bought the board from the same company who I got the Razer monitor from recently for £110 under RRP.

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This wasn't the cheapest solution. However, I then bought two NVME for about the disparity, which is the best solution.

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I didn't want the fastest, or the best, just storage. That means I can use a 1tb SSD in the case I bought to recover the files from the dead Firecuda, which should be more than enough.
Plus I can then eliminate two SATA power cable runs from the PSU and the three SATA DATA cables I was going to have to use also. And I get a better board etc.
 
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OK. So the res and pump did not fit in the side I was hoping they would go in. Seems it's quite a bit smaller, ho hum. It literally fits in one position on the other side. This could change with the different board in there, IDK. Not off to the best of starts then. I did test mount it last night and decided to test out some of the RGB too.

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So it's some progress I guess. The SSDs arrived today. Board hopefully tomorrow and then I can finally mod that block plate because it could again be board specific. So I don't want to make it fit this one, then come to find it doesn't fit the new board.
 
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A busy day. And a pain in the bum day. I decided to wire up the DRGB hub and test all of the RGB. I am glad I did.

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All looks fine, right? it's not. The RGB strip on the GPU is knackered. The stills camera can not pick it up.

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At that point I thought I would have to split the GPU block. Not cool on a new one. However.....

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The final thing annoying me was the fact that only the flow meter is not DRGB. I bought an early one, and it's 12v 4 pin. Now the new board would have solved this, as it has a 4 pin 12v, but I really didn't want it "odd". Especially when it does a light dance etc. So, I did a bit of research as Bitspower want £35 for a new back plate (clear, machined) and DRGB ring. Joke tbh, I only paid about that for the whole thing on sale here. So, I decided to buy this.

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For £3. It is smaller, but has I think the same amount of LEDs. Problem is the back of the flow meter has been machined to take their specific ring. And, I could not find one in those dimensions. As such I did this.

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Which goes between the back CNC part and the meter. The meter is solid at the back, so no sealing worries. What it does is this.

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Which allows me to put a variety in there, including the one I bought. I don't have my hole saw here so I carved it by eye with a Dremel and a carbide tip.

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Bear in mind the case paint finish will be very similar to that. If I really hate it I can just paint it whatever colour. Silver, black etc. Will see how it looks when I get the RGB into it.
 
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Board came. Job one, drill the plate. Then see if it will fit.

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It will. Clearance the bolt heads.

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Don't worry, that's the LED channel not the water way.

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Right, today's work is finished. I wasn't happy with the plate holes. I said I was going to fill and paint them, but couldn't be assed. So I cut them off.

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Instead of the flat nuts I used some stand offs. Even with them the block can go down to the socket, without a CPU in there. Note the board has changed as I am using the Strix now (well, testing it mainly, it was used).

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These mods have given it a much cleaner look.

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And freed up the flat M3 nuts to be used at the back. I need to cut down the bolts BTW.

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As for the Strix?

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So that Bitspower fan did come in handy because it kept whining about there being no CPU fan.

The paint arrived today. Like the main paint.
 
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OK so it is prep time. No need to go into crazy detail. I use 320 alu oxide (because it holds onto the paper well and doesn't turn into slurry) and I sand wet. Always. Few reasons. I use a cleaning liquid. This makes it smell nice, has detergent which lubricates it, and keeps the mess down. Problem with dry sanding is you need to wet it at some point any way to see how it is. And to clean it down.

Panels were removed.

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And then sanded well. The original finish was like a satin, but had a texture. I wanted that gone. Just remember, you don't need to go ham here. You are just wasting your time. Get it smooth, get it keyed. You don't need to sand down to metal unless you have damage or rust, and in this case there are none of either.

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The evidence is on the board. You can see what I am using there. It's skin friendly, so the nice part is you can not only wipe the panels down with it to transport them, but you can also use it to clean the slurry from your hands. You are aiming for a nice flat finish.

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Parts are still wet. I just know it's right, as I do it by touch.

Just remember, sometimes logos are quite deep. Like, almost etched. You want to keep going until you can't see any of it any more. Not paint, anodising and so on. If you leave it? you will see it through every layer of paint you put down. Thankfully this seemed to be a thin screen printing of paint, so came off very quickly without me having to keep going down.
 
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The next stage is getting everything clean. Now you can pretty much waste good alcohol here or paint prep (which is basically acetone) but at this stage we don't know exactly what we are dealing with.

What I mean is if the paint on here is acrylic then if I hit it with acetone thinners it will eat it. Meaning I will have to then chemically strip the whole lot. Powder doesn't like acetone either. Again, it will melt. Basically you need to think of these paints on their chemical makeup. Acrylic paint is literally that. Plastic. Those plastic particles are in a solvent. In this case acetone. So, it doesn't take much to think about it. Add acetone you basically liquidise the acrylic again and it turns to slop.

As such at this stage I recommend dish soap and warm water. Give it a good scrubbing with a sponge. Dish soap carries an excellent degreaser, so you will get it nice and clean. Rinse with cold water only. Why? because cold water cannot carry limescale. See? all this BS I have had to figure out over years and years. Now I will wipe it with isoprop before I start painting, but yeah no point wasting loads of that now.

Right now I would like to keep the insides of the panels their stock white. Not because I CBA sanding, but because I want them white. As such I have about four hours of masking to do. Just taking a break now.

Cleaned panels.

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Got a few different tapes here.

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Most notably that 3M fine line tape. That stuff is about a tenner a roll. I had to use it here as the edges were very fine at points, but you will see me using that much more once the base coat has gone down. Right now I am trying to just cover the white.

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One more to do.

There are some scratches on the white. It's a known problem with the Striker. They pack it incredibly well, but don't tape down the panels so they tend to fall off in the box. This isn't a huge issue, as I have some white and will fade in some touch ups once the base coat is down.
 
Soldato
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Red base coat is down.

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Lots of drips. All of them on the middle one. This doesn't matter, as I will be wet sanding it. I just wanted enough on there. Weather is terrible atm so yeah, I don't want to have to paint it red again.

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Will let that harden by the radiator for 24 hours, then tomorrow I can get to wet sanding.

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