XPS 8930 Tower Special Edition
I previously posted a thread covering the procedure that I used to add three 120mm fans to this XPS 8930. I will add a link to that thread in case anyone is interested.
The addition of the 120mm fans resolved the heat issue I was having, which was primarily due to the OEM 92mm top exhaust fan. This water cooling project was undertaken as a fun and interesting hobby, where I could learn more about computers, and specifically, desktop water cooling.
One challenge presented by the XPS 8930 small form case with a full length graphic card is getting the water coolant from the CPU in the upper section of the case to the GPU in the lower section of the case.
I considered cutting out the meshed portion in the back of the case and fabricating a plate into which would be installed two bulkhead fittings to access the CPU from outside. Unfortunately, that section is only about 16mm wide, and I would need at least 24mm for the bulkhead fittings. Also, they would be right up against the swing-out PSU.
I went to the local hardware store and purchased some short pieces of 5/8" OD tubing and 1/2" OD tubing to see what might be able to fit under the graphics card at the front corner of the case (if anything). It turned out that the 5/8" OD tubing was too big to fit under the graphics card, but the 1/2" OD tubing, laid side by side against the back of the case, would just fit under the graphics card with no pinching or binding.
Remove the graphics card from the mobo.
Remove the blower fan/heatsink.
Installation instructions for the CPU water block that I chose indicated that, if your CPU socket type was in the 115X series, the mobo would need to be removed to install a backing plate for the water block, as no back plate is currently present on this socket series.
Confirming that my CPU socket type is 1151.
Upon removing the mobo, I found that there was, in fact, a backing plate already present. I sent this photo to my contact at modmymods and he advised me that this backing plate would be sufficiently strong to support the CPU water block.
For information purposes, this is the backing plate that came with the CPU water block. Note that there are no threaded holes for mounting the CPU clamp bracket.
Since the mounting mechanism provided with the CPU water block would not work for this XPS 8930 mobo, I cut the push bolts and retrieved the mounting screws from the OEM heat sink.
The CPU water block I chose is an Aquacomputer Cuplex Kryos NEXT, nickel plated copper edition designed for the 115X CPU socket type.
Re-install the mobo after finding an adequate back plate already present.
Apply thermal paste to the CPU and install the CPU water block with the four screws salvaged from the OEM heatsink. The CPU water block is "directional", in that, the lower connection must be the water inlet, and water will exit from the upper connection.
For both water blocks I chose to use the Alphacool Eiszapfen G1/4" Dual Rotary 45° Adapter Fitting. This provides two rotatable 45° angles to allow maximum adjustability for the tubing to flex with minimum stress in this small form case.
The GPU water block I chose is an Aquacomputer Kryographics Pascal for GTX 1080; Acrylic Glass Edition, also nickel plated copper.
Remove the screws from the graphics card and carefully separate the graphics card from the cooling fan shroud. When the graphics card initially breaks loose from the cooling fan shroud, you will need to reach in and unplug the fan power connector (red circles). If you have any lighting associated with your graphics card, that will also need to be unplugged (red square).
You will need to follow the specific instructions for your particular GPU water block choice when mounting to the graphics card. GPU water blocks will use a combination of thermal paste and thermal pads for cooling the GPU, RAM modules, and voltage regulators on the graphics card. In order to insure proper surface contact with these graphics card components, the proper thermal material must be used, according to your specific GPU water block design.
There is a beautiful, clear acrylic glass "window" in this Aquacomputer GPU water block. Unfortunately, it will be facing down and not visible in the XPS 8930 small form case.
I chose to use all compression fittings for this project. Barb fittings would be another (less expensive) option. With the 1/2" OD tubing limitation discussed up thread, I chose 1/2" OD, 3/8" ID clear tubing. Cut two pieces of tubing with extra length, to be trimmed to fit later. Connect the tubing using the compression fittings to the 45° angle fittings coming from the CPU water block.
Alphacool Eiszapfen 3/8" ID x 1/2" OD G1/4 Compression Fitting
Masterkleer 3/8”-1/2” (13/10mm) “BPA Free” PVC Tubing; 10ft – Ultra Clear
The best, stress-free routing for my tubing is shown in this photo. After connecting to the CPU water block fittings, move the tubing around carefully, trying to find the best angles and fitting adjustments to avoid any kinking or binding in the tubing.
The tubing sections will need to be laid side-by-side and flat against the back of the case at the point where they will run under the graphics card (red circle). The tubing sections are stacked, one on top of the other in this photo. Take your time at this point and get a good feel for how the tubing will bend and how much they can bend without kinking or collapsing.
With the two tubing sections laid side-by-side and flat against the case, carefully install the graphics card, making certain that it is fully inserted in the slot. Verify that the tubing sections are not being 'squeezed' by the graphics card by feeling with your fingers and moving the tubing back and forth, very slightly, just enough to confirm freedom.
Continue to work with the tubing and get a feel for its bending capacity and how to make the tubing "most comfortable", with minimum stress and no kinking/collapsing. It is going to get crowded in this small form case.
Add fittings to the GPU water block. These are the same dual rotary 45° adapter fittings and compression fittings that I used on the CPU water block (and for the same reason). There are many other options for fittings and water loop design. Note that in the bottom left corner of this photo, I have also installed the PCI slot passthrough fitting and compression fittings. This makes a clean division between the inside and the outside of the case.
While the CPU water block is "directional" (as described up thread) the GPU water block is "non-directional", so the exit tube from the CPU water block can be connected to either GPU water block fitting, making for many possible configurations. The inlet tube from the CPU water block (lower) must be connected to the inlet side in the PCI slot passthrough fitting. In this particular design, that is the side closest to the mobo (your design may vary). With this small form case, and the rather large fittings in the GPU water block, you can see in this photo that it would be a very sharp turn from either GPU water block fitting to the outlet fitting in the PCI slot passthrough (furthest from the mobo), which would cause the tubing to kink. As such, I chose to run the GPU water block exit tubing towards the front of the case, so I could make a more gradual bend in the tubing before connecting to the PCI slot passthrough. I also added a graphics card support.
Here is the same photo with some red arrows to indicate the direction of flow.
In this photo you and see the full PCI slot passthrough.
A few power modifications needed to be made. The radiator fans and pumps are powered by a 4-Pin Molex connection, so I had to add that modular cable to my PSU. Previously, my front intake fans were powered from an SATA to 4-Pin fan splitter. Since the CPU blower fan has been removed from the system, I am now going to power the front fans from the CPU fan header to avoid the "fan failure" startup error I have read about in several HanoverB threads.
Connect a fan splitter to the CPU fan header and to the two front intake fans. Later you will see that blue fan splitter routed through the optical device tab.
Route the 4-Pin Molex connector from the PSU to the lower portion of the case and zip tie to the graphics card power cable. Clean up all cables and make certain there is no pulling or binding as the PSU swing-out is opened and closed.
In this photo you can see the tubing routed from the PCI slot passthrough back to the external radiator.
From the other angle you can see the connection to the external radiator. For this project I chose the Alphacool Eiswand 360 Solo. This consists of a 360mm x 120mm x 45mm full copper radiator, 10FPI; six 120mm fans, three per side, in a push - pull configuration, at 1,100 rpm. The top of the tower contains a fluid reservoir, and the base of the tower contains dual DC-LT ultra low noise 2,600 rpm ceramic pumps.
Coming directly out of the PCI slot passthrough are two quick disconnect fittings. This enables the computer case and the Eiswand (Ice Wall) tower to be seperated for easier maintenance, repairs, and transporting. I used two 45° angle fittings in the back of the Eiswand tower to create that "looping curve" in the tubing so that the quick disconnect fittings can be separated by pulling straight back, without kinking the tubing (your configuration may differ).
The Eiswand tower comes with an external power supply/12 volt adapter to 4-Pin molex connector. This allows you to add water to the reservoir and pump the water through the system to check for any leaks, without powering up any part of the computer.
The Eiswand tower has blue LED lighting in the base when power is connected. Initially, I was considering disconnecting this lighting feature. However, after using the system for a few days now, I find that the Eiswand fans and pumps are so quiet that I can not detect them at all over the noise generated by the three Noctua fans (which are very quiet). So seeing the blue LED light is the only way I know that the Eiswand is actually running.
Running water through the cooling system; checking for leaks. No power to any PC Components. The water I chose is:
Aquacomputer Double Protect Ultra - Blue
I ran the water through the cooling loop with the external power supply for about 30 minutes, stopping periodically to squeeze the tubing in various places to get rid of air in the system, checking for leaks.
Fortunately, no leaks anywhere. I credit this mostly to the premium quality fittings, water blocks, and components I chose to use for this project.
In this photo you can see the blue fan splitter from the CPU fan header routed through the optical device tab. I did this to prevent the wiring from folding down into the CPU water block fittings and tubing. When the PSU swing-out mechanism is closed, there is about 3/8" clearance between the CPU water block fittings and the PSU compartment.
I tried to get of photo of the acrylic glass window in the GPU water block.
All peripherals connected and running off of PC power. Currently, the 4-Pin Molex connector is running through an empty PCI slot to power the Eiswand tower. I have ordered a Molex PCI slot passthrough to clean-up the back of the case.
All hooked-up and running cool. I am leaving the side cover off of the PC so I can see some portion of the project. I have ordered a few more fittings to construct a draining method for changing the water. I will be using the quick disconnects at the back of the PCI slot passthrough for that purpose.
Great that this can actually be done without actually moving it to a new case.
Thanks for taking the time to do this post as it is a lot of work to take the pictures and document this step by step.
Well done!! I also put a link to this on the long XPS 8930 thread.
That 20K limit has gotten me a few times as well.
Following up on the end of the original post where I mentioned the 4-Pin Molex PCI slot passthrough and the various fittings to fabricate a drain method. (click to embiggen)
This is an indication of the number of fittings necessary for this type of project.
These will attach to the quick disconnect fittings at the back of the PCI slot passthrough to drain water from both the Eiswand tower and the XPS 8930.