S4MAX: Brickless S4M w/ 3090 FE and R9 5950x - 800W, 5l, water cooled

Vaderator

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Aug 7, 2017
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-PLEASE @Vaderator , teach us your ways.. do you have a build thread for this "Petricor-inspired build" please make a build thread, as I (and others) would LOVE to see a list of parts and what else we would need to make a build like this more feasible or possible for ourselves, please! Also what an amazing build, bravo! I look forward to seeing updates on it!
Hey - I'll think about putting together a build log... I was a little self-conscious about hijacking Petricor's thread too much anyway. I'll try to summarize the high points here - all in all, this build is not easy at all - so go in expecting lots of issues.
First, some parts recommendations:
http
Motherboard: Asus ROG B550i Link
Why? it has a temp sensor header which you definitely want to control the fan speed as it can sound like a jet engine and modern CPUs are expected to spike very quickly. A water temp sensor gives a much smoother fan ramp up. Also, the layout is super clean and it has 2 free M.2 slots.

Radiator: Corsair XG5 Link
Why? It is made by Hardware Labs who has arguably the best performance slim radiators, and it has slightly slimmer dimensions than the alphacool nexxxos v2 (L x W x H: 177 x 144 x 30 mm) vs XG5 (170mm x 140mm x 30mm). Every mm counts.

Power Supply: Supermicro 800w (Petricor Mod)
I just couldn't get Gury's 600w power supply to not temp out while gaming - even with mounting a waterblock to it. I and now petricor have had the same issue with the 800w psu, but it can be managed in that psu. Gury's is difficult to disassemble and requires airflow to cool and the heatsinks are difficult to reach, whereas the supermicro has a heatsink that can be leveraged to transfer thermals to the surface of the PSU, which I ended up watercool with the Corsair NVME block. I think the PSU is probably the biggest problem for a layperson to address in this build. One note is you don't need to tacho spoof the 800w supermicro - it will run with the noctua 40x10 pwm signal. I would probably recommend just going bricked and using a corsair 750w sfx as an external psu with JHack's M2426 and doing a 12V style build.
Here's a shot of the Supermicro's heatsink - I just added thermal paste between the heatsink and enclosure and replaced a section of the psu enclosure with copper Link - not sold anymore but perfect fit for max conductivity.

yes, the external paste is ugly, but it has solved the problem for good.

One other recommendation:
Use no-drip quick disconnects to allow for adding an external radiator. I know, this is SFF and we are going for smallest in the s4M. But, if this is your main pc, you can achieve silence and extreme cooling performance with just an 240mm external rad (I augmented with an external ddlt reservoir and pump to help move the water through the additional radiator(s). With the quick disconnects, draining the loop is easy and you can still bypass the external rad for portability by just connecting the two ends together. I'll post a picture to show what I mean.

Oh, and when you inevitably strip all of the threads in your S4M's threaded holes, this kit did the trick: Thread Repair Kit. Just clip off any excess in the springs you don't need.


Here's the quick disconnects (I used cheap alphacool ones, but koolance is supposedly the best)
 
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petricor

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May 12, 2018
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Hey - I'll think about putting together a build log... I was a little self-conscious about hijacking Petricor's thread too much anyway. I'll try to summarize the high points here - all in all, this build is not easy at all - so go in expecting lots of issues.
First, some parts recommendations:
http
Motherboard: Asus ROG B550i Link
Why? it has a temp sensor header which you definitely want to control the fan speed as it can sound like a jet engine and modern CPUs are expected to spike very quickly. A water temp sensor gives a much smoother fan ramp up. Also, the layout is super clean and it has 2 free M.2 slots.

Radiator: Corsair XG5 Link
Why? It is made by Hardware Labs who has arguably the best performance slim radiators, and it has slightly slimmer dimensions than the alphacool nexxxos v2 (L x W x H: 177 x 144 x 30 mm) vs XG5 (170mm x 140mm x 30mm). Every mm counts.

Power Supply: Supermicro 800w (Petricor Mod)
I just couldn't get Gury's 600w power supply to not temp out while gaming - even with mounting a waterblock to it. I and now petricor have had the same issue with the 800w psu, but it can be managed in that psu. Gury's is difficult to disassemble and requires airflow to cool and the heatsinks are difficult to reach, whereas the supermicro has a heatsink that can be leveraged to transfer thermals to the surface of the PSU, which I ended up watercool with the Corsair NVME block. I think the PSU is probably the biggest problem for a layperson to address in this build. One note is you don't need to tacho spoof the 800w supermicro - it will run with the noctua 40x10 pwm signal. I would probably recommend just going bricked and using a corsair 750w sfx as an external psu with JHack's M2426 and doing a 12V style build.
Here's a shot of the Supermicro's heatsink - I just added thermal paste between the heatsink and enclosure and replaced a section of the psu enclosure with copper Link - not sold anymore but perfect fit for max conductivity.

yes, the external paste is ugly, but it has solved the problem for good.

One other recommendation:
Use no-drip quick disconnects to allow for adding an external radiator. I know, this is SFF and we are going for smallest in the s4M. But, if this is your main pc, you can achieve silence and extreme cooling performance with just an 240mm external rad (I augmented with an external ddlt reservoir and pump to help move the water through the additional radiator(s). With the quick disconnects, draining the loop is easy and you can still bypass the external rad for portability by just connecting the two ends together. I'll post a picture to show what I mean.

Oh, and when you inevitably strip all of the threads in your S4M's threaded holes, this kit did the trick: Thread Repair Kit. Just clip off any excess in the springs you don't need.


Here's the quick disconnects (I used cheap alphacool ones, but koolance is supposedly the best)
Nice choice of components- and after running the build for a while I clearly get your point about the board having a temperature sensor port! How far can you strip down the active cooler without compromising its functionality?
 

petricor

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May 12, 2018
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The noctua 4010 is also rather anemic, a sunon maglev or even noiseblocker should give a decent improvement. Whether that would be enough, I don't know but something to consider!
I have checked out the noiseblocker- it‘s pulling even less volume compared to the Noctua… and the Sunons get me back to where I have been before re noise. But I have something else figured out - and it seems to work!
 

harveyy_sh

Chassis Packer
Nov 14, 2020
14
7
Hey - I'll think about putting together a build log... I was a little self-conscious about hijacking Petricor's thread too much anyway. I'll try to summarize the high points here - all in all, this build is not easy at all - so go in expecting lots of issues.
First, some parts recommendations:
http
Motherboard: Asus ROG B550i Link
Why? it has a temp sensor header which you definitely want to control the fan speed as it can sound like a jet engine and modern CPUs are expected to spike very quickly. A water temp sensor gives a much smoother fan ramp up. Also, the layout is super clean and it has 2 free M.2 slots.

Radiator: Corsair XG5 Link
Why? It is made by Hardware Labs who has arguably the best performance slim radiators, and it has slightly slimmer dimensions than the alphacool nexxxos v2 (L x W x H: 177 x 144 x 30 mm) vs XG5 (170mm x 140mm x 30mm). Every mm counts.

Power Supply: Supermicro 800w (Petricor Mod)
I just couldn't get Gury's 600w power supply to not temp out while gaming - even with mounting a waterblock to it. I and now petricor have had the same issue with the 800w psu, but it can be managed in that psu. Gury's is difficult to disassemble and requires airflow to cool and the heatsinks are difficult to reach, whereas the supermicro has a heatsink that can be leveraged to transfer thermals to the surface of the PSU, which I ended up watercool with the Corsair NVME block. I think the PSU is probably the biggest problem for a layperson to address in this build. One note is you don't need to tacho spoof the 800w supermicro - it will run with the noctua 40x10 pwm signal. I would probably recommend just going bricked and using a corsair 750w sfx as an external psu with JHack's M2426 and doing a 12V style build.
Here's a shot of the Supermicro's heatsink - I just added thermal paste between the heatsink and enclosure and replaced a section of the psu enclosure with copper Link - not sold anymore but perfect fit for max conductivity.

yes, the external paste is ugly, but it has solved the problem for good.

One other recommendation:
Use no-drip quick disconnects to allow for adding an external radiator. I know, this is SFF and we are going for smallest in the s4M. But, if this is your main pc, you can achieve silence and extreme cooling performance with just an 240mm external rad (I augmented with an external ddlt reservoir and pump to help move the water through the additional radiator(s). With the quick disconnects, draining the loop is easy and you can still bypass the external rad for portability by just connecting the two ends together. I'll post a picture to show what I mean.

Oh, and when you inevitably strip all of the threads in your S4M's threaded holes, this kit did the trick: Thread Repair Kit. Just clip off any excess in the springs you don't need.


Here's the quick disconnects (I used cheap alphacool ones, but koolance is supposedly the best)
Did you have any problem using a MR30 as a ac in? as @petricor didnt have the best experience with it.
 
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petricor

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May 12, 2018
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Time to hit the punch list.

First and comparably low hanging fruit is tackling GPU RAM temperatures -

and whilst taking things apart, replacing the insufficient Displayport extension with the one you see at the right edge of the photo: The PCB contains an active signal rectifier which promises to deliver full DP1.4 bandwidth. We shall see!

As I want to avoid taking the water loop apart at all cost (getting it drained, filled and reasonably air free is a PITA in a reservoir-less build - for that alone quick disconnects are worth a consideration), I disasseble the 3090 in situ...

...revealing my previous layout of layered 0.5mm pads. As you see from the traces on the backplate, they made reasonably good contact, but I hope to improve things a bit by using 1.5 mm Gelid pads.

Setting them aside for later use...


...I place the Gelid pads using this template here, promising to cover all remotely relevant components, and assuming that the pads coming with the Corsair block are not the problem's cause - and as you can see above, indeed I appear to have forgotten to peel off the protective film on one of the layers when stacking the 0.5mm pads in my previous iteration.


That was pretty straightforward...
Now, replacing the DP extension without taking the water loop apart is a bit more challenging as the cables are placed under the tubes.


Propping it up with some good old lego parts...

...I somehow manage to get it out without causing a flood...

...and replace it with the revised extension...

...that not only comes with a pretty prominent PCB (well, given how spatially constrained this build is, any part looks big), but also with significantly improved blackness.

Unfortunately though, said PCB buys me a clash with my tubing,


...but flipping the DP connector around (shifting the PCB to the bottom side of it) solves that...


...and gets me to a pretty tidy package that should be able to plug in my Reverb G2 without taking the case apart.


Two of three boxes ticked - remaining issue is getting the PSU's temps under control, with virtually no space for additional fans, and little appetite for getting back to the high pitch of high performance 40mm fans. @Vaderator 's water cooling approach is pretty impressive (didn't someone recently ask jokingly whether anyone water cooled a PSU yet? Well, I guess it has been done), but looking at my components and the temperature equilibrium I have found, I'd like to avoid any additional heat in the loop, so I'll try to keep sticking to air.

The idea is to use bleed air from my main fan to assist in venting the PSU: It's an approach similar to how planes before the 787 would bleed air from the jet engines to drive the cabin ventilation system, avoiding the requirement for additional fans and heating. This approach has been dropped in recent engine designs to increase fuel efficiency, but as the Noctua Industrial's performance is clearly not what bottlenecks my build, I'm not too worried by taking a few percentages off its drag.

But before I cut my main fan apart, I take the 40x10mm Delta screamer I have been using in the first iteration of cooling the PSU...


...and mod it for a proof-of-concept:

Cutting away about this much of the frame and ducting it...


...should lead to a zone with negative pressure at the fan's periphery, allowing me to suck some hot air out of my PSU, and to eject it to the top together with the exhaust heat from the radiator.

This prototype should be pretty representative of what I'm trying to achieve...


...and after hooking it up to a PSU I'm ready to test my plan:


Aaaand:

BINGO!

With that established, I can start to scale things up for my build:

Whilst fan and PSU are in perfect position to connect their air flow, a first thing to fix is reversing the air flow in the PSU as directed in the wrong way: I want to maintain the Noctua A4x10 to assist the main fan, not to work against it.

That means detaching the PSU from the frame...


...and taking it apart:


Rather annoyingly, the fan is screwed in from the inside, so in order to flip it around...

...I need to dismantle the entire PSU.

Reversing the fan is comparably simple, and after re-assembling the PSU, I should get something that works with the intended peripheral flow of the main fan:



The mod to the 140mm fan will be slightly more substantial:

The line sketched onto the frame indicates the tangent point of the PSU's airflow vector and the fan's duct - that's where negative pressure should be highest and where I'd want to start my duct.

A little dremeling later, I get to this "window" in the frame...


...and build up a duct using PCB sheets to direct the airflow as required.

The u-shaped slot is to pass through the AC power feed, as it will need to connect through the ducted zone.

Before re-installing the PSU,


...I replace the original 0.25mm thermal pads I have been using to connect PSU and front heat sink, as they have no trace of ever having made contact: Looks like I have been cutting them too thin. That's a great use for the 0.5mm pads I have been removing from the GPU earlier on, and two layers of them should make sure that there is good heat transfer going ahead.

Also, note the insulation tape around the PSU's AC end - I use it to air tighten the case and leave as little a gap as possible between ducting and PSU.

With that done...

...the PSU can go back onto the frame, and all that's missing is a little PVC flap to form the duct's top face:


Sealing it onto the fan using double-sided tape and some insulation tape to stick it to the PSU, it should make for a sufficiently tight containment.

Stress testing the setup using the games that made it shut down previously...

...I get to sufficiently reduced temperatures at the PSU's hot end, so it seems to work out.

As a final tweak,

...I apply my remaining pack of Gelid pads to the underside of the case's top cover to make for better heat dissipation from the GPUs back side.


Job done! Left, my 8700k/ 1080 air cooled S4M, right the current gen build.

The layout also works vertically, as the "left" short side of the build has no airflow requirements and can be used as a bottom face without compromising cooling:


Overall, the "bleed air" approach to cooling the PSU slightly increased the temps in my loop, as the PSU is now blowing hot air against the radiator, rather than away from it. Adjusting my radiator fan curve slightly dealt with it, and some further tweaks to it were required to get the PSU airflow to a level where it would not trigger any thermal shutdowns - below you see the before-and-after curves, and with the latter, I'm now looking at a stable system at any load I could come up with.

And: The Displayport extension now officially does VR!

I'll eventually want to replace my CPU with one that works as advertised without tweaking it, but as I have working settings now, the pressure is off somewhat... so for now I call this build “done”.

Thanks for all the feedback and advice received- this site is a really inspiring place for anyone trying to develop something off the beaten track!
 
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Vaderator

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Aug 7, 2017
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The idea is to use bleed air from my main fan to assist in venting the PSU: It's an approach similar to how planes before the 787 would bleed air from the jet engines to drive the cabin ventilation system


I must say, that is so freaking clever. I never would have thought of it in a million years. I’m a little tempted to copy it (yet again!) because the fittings between gpu and nvme are pushed a little too tightly against my ram when the case is closed.
 

Vaderator

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Aug 7, 2017
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Did you have any problem using a MR30 as a ac in? as @petricor didnt have the best experience with it.
Actually I addressed this with a trick I picked up from examining Gury’s work on my 600w power supply. I used heat shrink on the middle ground pin of the MR30 after the solder joint was done - that way the arcing path had a layer of insulation between the middle and each of the two other pins. The heat shrink does need to be as thin as possible because it is a tight connector that must fit over it.
 

ignsvn

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Apr 4, 2016
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The idea is to use bleed air from my main fan to assist in venting the PSU: It's an approach similar to how planes before the 787 would bleed air from the jet engines to drive the cabin ventilation system, avoiding the requirement for additional fans and heating. This approach has been dropped in recent engine designs to increase fuel efficiency, but as the Noctua Industrial's performance is clearly not what bottlenecks my build, I'm not too worried by taking a few percentages off its drag.

Ladies & gentlemen & everyone else, allow me to summarize this paragraph for you:

@petricor successfully miniaturized 787's jet-exhaust-to-cabin-ventilation-system into something not bigger than my shoe box.

This method is now used when an effective cooling system is required within a small space (alongside a complex combustion engine).

Although well documented, it is still a challenging feat to implement properly. Most are top-secret government projects, and as such, hidden from the commoners' eyes.

So far, there's only one publicly-known implementation of this jet-assisted-ventilation system:

 

morj

Airflow Optimizer
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Feb 11, 2020
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couldn't get Gury's 600w power supply to not temp out while gaming - even with mounting a waterblock to it. I and now petricor have had the same issue with the 800w psu, but it can be managed in that psu. Gury's is difficult to disassemble and requires airflow to cool and the heatsinks are difficult to reach, whereas the supermicro has a heatsink that can be leveraged to transfer thermals to the surface of the PSU, which I ended up watercool with the Corsair NVME block. I think the PSU is probably the biggest problem for a layperson to address in this build. One note is you don't need to tacho spoof the 800w supermicro - it will run with the noctua 40x10 pwm signal. I would probably recommend just going bricked and using a corsair 750w sfx as an external psu with JHack's M2426 and doing a 12V style build.
Here's a shot of the Supermicro's heatsink - I just added thermal paste between the heatsink and enclosure and replaced a section of the psu enclosure with copper Link - not sold anymore but perfect fit for max conductivity.

yes, the external paste is ugly, but it has solved the problem for good.
Just for the record: I use a 4020 Noctua fan to cool a similarly modded Supermicro PSU in a 3080 build, and I never had any problems running it for 7 months already.
 
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Elaman

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Sep 13, 2020
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First of all this is a blast to read, as always, and an inspiration. Whenever I am afraid that I might be getting into too much trouble, I just come here for a reality check.
I didn't follow what happened in the end with the CPU. Is it possible to use all cores? Does it make sense to test it in a different board/build?
 

petricor

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First of all this is a blast to read, as always, and an inspiration. Whenever I am afraid that I might be getting into too much trouble, I just come here for a reality check.
I didn't follow what happened in the end with the CPU. Is it possible to use all cores? Does it make sense to test it in a different board/build?
Thanks!
Re the CPU: After a ton of SOC voltage and some ram timing tweaks I got it to play nicely. From what I read, the issue seems to be relating to some (large) batches not liking AMD's own PBO or high frequency XMP profiles - and AMD is actually RMAing those, and apparently has a more reliable revision of the 5000 series out now. I guess I'll have to bite the bullet at some point soon and send it in for a swap.
 

petricor

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May 12, 2018
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Just for the record: I use a 4020 Noctua fan to cool a similarly modded Supermicro PSU in a 3080 build, and I never had any problems running it for 7 months already.
Yeah, that's another option - it's what I have used at earlier stage with the 600W PSU. Whilst, on paper, only slightly more performant than the 4010, that may already be enough to make a difference!
 

harveyy_sh

Chassis Packer
Nov 14, 2020
14
7
Actually I addressed this with a trick I picked up from examining Gury’s work on my 600w power supply. I used heat shrink on the middle ground pin of the MR30 after the solder joint was done - that way the arcing path had a layer of insulation between the middle and each of the two other pins. The heat shrink does need to be as thin as possible because it is a tight connector that must fit over it.
That what I was thinking of doing as well. Thank you for confirming this!!
 

jakejm79

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Mar 22, 2021
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Now, replacing the DP extension without taking the water loop apart is a bit more challenging as the cables are placed under the tubes.

...and replace it with the revised extension...

...that not only comes with a pretty prominent PCB (well, given how spatially constrained this build is, any part looks big), but also with significantly improved blackness.

...but flipping the DP connector around (shifting the PCB to the bottom side of it) solves that...

...and gets me to a pretty tidy package that should be able to plug in my Reverb G2 without taking the case apart.

And: The Displayport extension now officially does VR!

Do you have a source for the new DP extension? I also have a G2 and would like to reroute my bottom face DP ports to the back of my case.
Thanks.
 

SFFMunkee

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Jul 7, 2021
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Do you have a source for the new DP extension? I also have a G2 and would like to reroute my bottom face DP ports to the back of my case.
Thanks.
Make sure you look for the P8Q (i.e. SKUs P5A-P8Q, P6A-P8Q and P7A-P8Q) as these are the only ones that include the DP signal redriver IC.
Manufacturer link: http://www.adt.link/product/DPP14.html

Seems to be available at your regular online retailers (I haven't validated sellers, sites, etc. and have no affiliation so do your own due-diligence here):
 

Artewig

What's an ITX?
New User
Sep 20, 2020
1
0
i wish!

i'm sort of an obsessive when it comes to tracking down hardware. so when you said they were out of stock everywhere, i just had to do some deep digging. i could only find three, globally. i'm planning on comparing the xpx 1u and the annihilator to see if the 3mm difference is worth it for my build. if you need another annihilator, just let me know.
This is a long shot, but you wouldn't still happen to have that annihilator would you? The xpx 1u is too tall for the build I'm working on and I haven't been able to find another annihilator anywhere.
 

Piewalker

Trash Compacter
Jul 3, 2018
46
74
Bravo. Courageous. Clever. Fearless. Inventive. Inspiring. Creative modding mastercraft. The whole thing. Bravo.

Who can argue against this being the gold standard of SFF modding? No one. And we have a record of it. You wield your future artifacts. :)

Some day, amid the ruins of an ancient land, a museum will be unearthed, a temple consecrated to the evolution of humanity's mighty tool: the personal computer. And in the heart of that sacred place's great Northern hall dedicated to "Miniaturization and Modification Adventures and Misadventures," seemingly guarded under a canopy of ivy engulfing the partially-collapsed rotunda and glowing in golden bars of light breaking through the marble - we'll rediscover this meticulous exhibit of record. Perfectly preserved.

And once again we'll revel in your success and wonder how the hell you made this work.

Might as well get some use out of it until then.

Superbly well done. And a story very well documented and well told.