How To Build a Water Cooled Mini-ITX SFF PC w/ Ivy Bridge & KeplerFri, May 11, 2012 - 12:00 AM
The CoolIT Eco II 140 & The Dremel
This main highlight of this build is that we wanted to water cool our Intel Core i7-3770K Ivy Bridge processor. These new 22nm processors run a little hotter than the older 32nm Sandy Bridge processors, so we wanted something that could keep our processor nice and cool. Since Cubitek Mini Ice uses 140mm fans, we searched for a 140mm cooling solution. We wanted to go with a sealed kit as we wanted this system to be maintenance free.
We had a tough time finding a solution, but ran across the CoolIT Eco II 140, which is perfect for our build. CoolIT is no stranger to us here at Legit Reviews and we have been using their products since 2007 when we tried out The Eliminator. The bad news is that the CoolIT Eco II 140 is only available to system builders and not for retail purchase. CoolIT makes the Eco II series in 80mm, 92mm, 120mm, 140mm, 180mm and 240mm sizes, but the only size available for purchase is the 120mm version. We could have used an adapter and gone with a smaller 120mm cooler, but we were dead set on using this cooler. After reaching out to our friends at Maingear we were able to acquire one. Maingear uses the EPIC 140 on their F131 gaming rig, so it should be overkill for our SFF build!
The CoolIT Eco II 140 measures in at 140mm x 174mm x 27mm (HxWxD) and features both 120mm and 140mm mounting holes.
We originally wanted to setup a push/pull fan configuration, but the two 25mm thick fans on the 27mm thick radiator was too tight of a fit as it was sitting flush with the power supply. We also quickly found out that the power supply was going to cause some serious issues with the water lines, as you can see in the image above.
After rotating the water cooler 90 degrees we were able to run the lines over the power supply, but the lines were not long enough to go around the power supply and mount to the motherboard.
Rotating the water cooler 180 degrees runs the tubing right into the motherboard, so the only direction we had left was to run the tubes down the hard drive cages. It’s a good thing we went with a slimline optical drive as there is no way this would have worked with a desktop model! We were able to screw the CoolIT Eco II 140 water cooler to the case, but the lines were under a ton of pressure as they were hitting the drive cage.
The only solution that we could think of was to use a Dremel tool and cut out the chassis for the lines to properly fit. We used the ATI themed Dremel tool with some sanding bands to cut some nice circular holes in the aluminum frame.
The end result didn’t look bad and the water lines now run down the hard drive cage without any pressure on them. We’ve heard of people snapping off these hard plastic lines over the years, so this was a major concern of ours and we are glad that we were able to find a solution that isn’t too tough!
It also looks like the lines will easily bend and allow the waterblock to align properly with where the Intel LGA1155 socket will be. The big question we had at this point is if the SATA power and data cable could still fit on the optical drive. We also weren’t sure if the water lines would run over the top of the Corsair Vengeance memory kit with the tall heat spreaders.