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x86: Blue Water

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  • x86: Blue Water



    Kudos to Daz, the judges, and the sponsors for once again giving us a sandbox to play in, and for promoting our addiction. Errr, hobby. Last year I modded a case from 2007, but for this year's competition I thought I'd go back a few more decades! My project will be a custom water cooled i7-8086k in an original IBM PC case. Since IBM is known as "Big Blue" and the build will be under water, and the PC used the first x86 CPU, I'm calling it "x86: Blue Water".

    I am semi-retired, but somehow never seem to have enough time for everything that I want to do (I blame my wife for retiring and being home all the time)! I still tinker with some software ideas and of course I love modding, and have been building systems for fun for a long time. I am a big fan of MacGyver. By that I mean that I'll be improvising, recycling, working by hand without fancy software and high end automated tools, and making the best of what I have on a limited budget. So I'll be competing in the old school category vs unlimited open LOL. Good luck everyone, and have fun!

    Some Background

    In 1981 the first IBM PC was introduced. It utilized an 8086 processor with an 8 bit external data bus (this variant was called the 8088). And of course the 8086 was the origin of the x86 instruction set architecture.

    In the mid 80's I bought a IBM PC clone with an 8088-2 (8 Mhz FTW! 20 meg HDD woot!), after having had a TI-99/4 and a Commodore 64. Those were the only complete computers that I ever bought (after that it was strictly incremental upgrades or custom builds for me!).

    In the mid 90's, I rescued a 1981 IBM PC (model 5150) that my brother's office was throwing out. I sat on it for quite a while, but then I started to get the urge to do a modern custom build in it. Since I really didn't want to sacrifice a working piece of history, I resisted. To make sure I wouldn't succumb to temptation, I sold it off a few years ago. But the itch remained!

    In 2018, Intel released the i7-8086k to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the 8086 processor. Off and on since then I had been looking for a damaged/non-functional IBM PC that I wouldn't feel guilty about modding! Earlier this year, I found one on ebay. It is a 5160 model, the PC XT, released in 1983, with the same beige box appearance as the original.


    I'll edit the parts list as I go. So far I have a handful of parts and some idea of what I want to do. I haven't begun yet, will have to acquire a few more things and flesh out my design. Hopefully I won't run out of time like last year! *****EDIT**** D'oh!


    i7-8086k CPU
    Asus Strix Z370-G micro ATX mobo
    Crucial Ballistix 2x8GB DDR4-3000 C15 RAM
    Crucial P1 1TB NVMe M.2 SSD
    Corsair AX860i power supply
    EVGA GTX 1080Ti


    XSPC Dual Bay Reservoir
    Liang D5 Strong pump
    EK Supremacy EVO CPU block
    Heatkiller IV GPU block
    EK Cryofuel concentrate - Navy Blue
    Swiftech MCR140-QP rad
    XSPC EX240 rad


    IBM 5160 (non functional) case
    Fractal Design Define Mini C case (to be sacrificed for parts!)
    Assorted sheet metal, some aluminum flat bar
    Acrylic door knobs for feet!
    Last edited by Grinder; 11-25-2019, 03:58 AM.

  • #2
    Here is the old PC I'll be using. Again, it is beat up and non functional, so I won't be ruining a perfectly good antique. Pics are from the ebay ad.




    • #3
      Woot! Good to see you back for another year !!! Love the old PC!


      • #4
        Thanks Kaidis, great to see you return as well!

        Here is the interior of the old beast:


        As I stripped it down, I was amused to see that the manufacturer of the intel 8088 CPU in this particular case (apparently they used several) was AMD



        • #5
          Cool stuff. Bring on the modding Grinder!
          Blue Dragon CM690 II an i7 - 960 x58 build
          OverKill HTPC - Red Team Build an AMD FX6100 with dual HD 5870's in crossfire.
          Canadian Amateur Modding Competition


          • #6
            Some modding will definitely be required! And even if it wasn't, you know that there would be some anyway

            Here she is stripped down


            A minor difference between the PC and PC XT case is that the XT adopted the same expansion slot spacing that we use today (although the mobo mounting isn't exactly ATX!). I ordered some slot covers from Daz a while back, and whaddaya know -


            The drive bay is actually the same size as the optical bays that we use today! Errr, used to until recently

            Here is the bay reservoir/D5 test fitting.



            • #7
              Excited as heck to see this one!


              • #8
                Oh wow, this is going to be fantastic.
                I find it halarious that this had a AMD CPU in haha


                • #9
                  Thanks guys, I will try my best to make it exciting!

                  I picked up a cheap AX860i on ebay that was a slightly beat up system pull and had no cables. Luckily I have some from an RM1000 that I had to RMA a while back. I also bought a collection of miscellaneous parts earlier this year from a local guy who was cleaning house prior to moving away (thanks for the awesome deal Scott!). One of the things was a box of Cablemods remnants. There should be enough material there for me to make a set of cables.




                  • #10
                    Now comes the part where no plan of battle survives contact with the enemy

                    I had planned on using a Z370-E Gaming ATX mobo based on the total width of the case, however at the bottom where the mobo will mount it isn't as wide. I could mount it higher but there isn't much height available in the case, and it would alter the alignment with the expansion slots. I might have to buy an mATX board (anyone have a nice used one?).

                    You can see in the pic where I plan to mount the PSU. I will use the space in the left front for the thick 240mm rad (I'll have to remove the left bay), and probably mount the 140mm UNDER the PSU with it's own fresh air intake, blowing into and exhausting from the rear of the PSU.


                    In the back, I'll need to create a place for the mobo i/o panel and the PSU plug/exhaust.

                    Last edited by Grinder; 10-02-2019, 02:09 PM.


                    • #11
                      I have a couple of ideas that might help squeeze everything in.

                      1. I may be able to bend the lip at the edge of the base of the case (and also the edge of the cover where it will slide under it) down enough that I can put the motherboard all the way to the edge of the upper part, not just the base, without having it sit too high.

                      2. The PSU would probably fit. But the issue is where to put the inlet/outlet of the 140mm rad that will sit under it. If I turn it sideways so that they are adjacent to the edge of the mobo, there won't be enough room. I can't put them at the back as the PSU needs to be flush to the back of the case, and if I put them forward they will interfere with the PSU connectors. Since I plan to elevate the case with large feet to accommodate a fan under there, that should leave enough room that I can flip the rad and run the lines UNDER the case briefly.


                      • #12
                        Pics may help you see what I have in mind. In these two you can see where bending might help...



                        Like this, but flipped upside down...



                        • #13
                          I used some boxes to support the parts, I think this layout will work once I get the mobo to lay a bit lower and extend closer to the edge of the case. There won't be room for the GPU in the standard location, but I should be able to address that with a riser. Not much room for drives either, but this mobo supports two m.2 nvme drives...



                          • #14
                            Wow its tight. 2 x M.2 drives is perfect for storage so thatsone less thing to think about
                            What GPU are you going to put in there? Given the thickness of that radiator, you are going to need some high CFM fans..however you might be able to get away with just the one radiator if you dontmind the fans running a bit louder?
                            The Rad under the PSU...I would be concerned about the PSU not getting enough cooling because fo that placement? Again it depends on the GPU, if its a 2070 or under, you will be fine as the PSU will never really go out of idle.

                            Your easiest fitment option, would infactbe a mATX motherboard, as then you 120mm rad will be able to find a better home as well as a bit of space between everything.
                            Also be aware of the length of the GPU, given that with a riser (Please make sure you get the Thermaltake ones, that are 30cm or greater. The 20cm one is junk as are all the ripoffs) the GPU will be on its side you could rotate it 90* and get alot more length that way.

                            Very cool build though and eager to see what plans you have in getting everything in there.


                            • #15
                              Great stuff, I love builds like this! Go Grinder go!