Custom modular AIO tailor-made for the Dan A4

nightshift

SFF Lingo Aficionado
Original poster
Jul 23, 2020
131
69
Hello there.
So with a week off, I decided to give this project another go. It was a stressful experience. Instead of just being content with default components, I mod my gpu and now do this while being constantly terrified in the process of messing things up. I'm a laid-back kinda guy in general, but since I never did any kind of pc building aside from tinkering with this computer (that I see as some very expensive fragile thing), I'm still not exactly confident after I take off the panels. I was procrastinating largely due to this. Thankfully, it turned out alright. Not perfect, but fine. And it works. WARNING: pictures taken with my trusty potato-phone (og Nokia 5310) and I also shrunk the resolution.



Had to sacrifice the bottom fan. If you have an Intel motherboard, the mounting would allow you to keep it as you could turn straight from the pump/block, but with AM4 here I had to find a method to circle around the much lower placed mounting screws (and the low profile RAM of course). Btw, new RAM sticks, not exactly OC-able but getting 3600 Mhz CL16 straight from the XMP / DOCP within 34mm height sounds really nice for those who plan on routing tubes above the memory. Upper tube could've been a little shorter allowing a closer turn, but I wanted those fittings to be parallel to the side if the clearance allows it (it did, but just barely). Tubes are quite rigid with 12,7/7.6 but are more resistant to heat and stuff.
I decided to mark these tubes with a pen near the compression fittings. I want to monitor them daily. If they loosen with time (so if I notice the mark to be slightly further from the fitting later), I'll abort the whole thing.




Psu mounting. I know the default way to do this is is with an inverted psu. I suppose I can still do that for more temp gains and it would be relatively easy task as well. It's just that I'm a bit afraid that with time, dust will accumulate between the fins and it will get blown into my psu. Is this something I should not be worried?
I'm using XMPC TX120 radiator that is merely 20mm thick with a slim 120mm noctua fan inhaling air from the outside. The rad is wider than the window kit, so it cannot be mounted directly onto it (also there's the fragile power button contraption), so only the fan can be outside. But thanks to the slimness of both, the whole thing is just 35mm and I still have 7mm between the radiator and the back of the psu. This made me think of 3 options:

  1. With this setup the noctua fan inhales the fresh air into the 7mm space, which can leave upwards. The air that gets inhaled below the psu can leave under the case thanks to the slim 92mm fan on exhaust. Because of this I'm hoping that the air won't get trapped that much, so I can get away with not inverting the psu.
  2. But with that 7mm space, I can't help but wonder if it could be better to have the bottom fan on intake and all the air then would be blown out with the 120mm fan now set on exhaust. Can that bottom fan and the 7mm clearance be enough to make this work and would this be better over how it is currently?
  3. I guess I could invert the psu. Maintain the all-black looks with the slim noctua fan. Could also switch to the 20mm thick fan with worse looks but supposedly better CFM - the GS120 from Deepcool, which would eliminate the 7mm distance to 2mm, but with an inverted psu (if doing so would be okay), that would not be a problem. What do you think?



Things are okay though. Idle temperature is around 42-43'c. Bear in mind that I'm using Carbonaut, which is inferior to thermal paste. Chose this to have an easier time in case I'll have to disassemble again for screwing up somewhere. 10 min of Cinebench never topped 77'c and the system is of course more silent under load, possibly due to the bigger cpu fan. Wish we would have just an extra 3mm on this side, then I would be able to use the legendary NF-A12x25 with this slim rad for maximum gainz. If I would've routed the cpu power cable before installing the whole cooler mounted mobo together with the rad+fan mounted window kit, I could've got it on the gpu side (then leading it back underneath the mobo) for a cleaner look. Panels can close without a problem but possibly because of the rad, there are less space for the stock 24-pin cables. Those push the side panel a bit, but nothing serious and I can close the case on both sides without any issues.
With this custom aio, it feels nice that the case is now filled - there's no unused area on either side. But damn, it is heavy!
Wrapping it up:

  • How are the temps? - Better. L9a idled at 49'c (which was still okay to be honest). It doesn't go too high during stress tests either with my 3300x which is supposed to be a hotter cpu out of the "65w tdp" crowd.
  • How's the noise? - L9a with both case fans was silent on idle too. This one's more quiet under load however. So there are some improvements here as well.
  • So is it worth to do this if you have an ITX gpu? - No. It is not and I don't recommend this to anyone. It was a hard and frustrating process and I still can't believe that I did not mess up somewhere, especially when bleeding the air out (which was the only fun part aside from elbowing down the bottle with the coolant pre-mix once). It's good, possibly could even be better with different fan or psu orientations (IF ANYONE HAVE KNOWLEDGE ON THAT, PLEASE SHARE), yet it costs too much with that pump/block, radiator, tubes, coolant and all the fittings involved. You get a much better price to performance value and an easier time with an L9a + fan duct and both case fans. That will be enough to tame any cpu with 65w tdp, and the option to install a full-size gpu. That is the best possible incarnation of a Dan A4 build in my opinion and the one I'll be returning to once I ever end up upgrading this little 2060, but with prices and availability being as it is right now, that might not happen in the near future.
If you have any question, ask away. Should you be able to provide some insight on the above mentioned doubt of mine regarding the psu and fan orientations, I would appreciate it very much.
Thanks for reading and good night everyone:)
 
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