A PC case interior can quickly get cluttered and messy once you start adding water-cooling gear and multiple graphics cards, but Custom PC reader Peter Morey has shown that you can still make an intricate PC build look really clean with this stunning water-cooled PC build. It’s based on a Thermaltake The Tower 900 case and features two water-cooling loops.
Custom PC has been celebrating the best PC builds since 2003, and our Facebook group has over 375,000 members. We’ve seen many custom gaming PCs, from case mods to scratch builds. Here we talk to Pete about how he made this hardline water-cooled PC build.
Custom PC: Let’s start with the initial inspiration. What made you want to build your machine?
Pete: I’ve loved PCs since I was a teenager, but it really took root around four years ago, which is when I finally built my first PC using all new parts. I’ve had the bug ever since!
Custom PC: What design features did you want to incorporate into your build, and how did you go about implementing them?
Pete: The biggest design feature has to be the cooling loop. I wanted something that was stylish but not too ‘in your face’ and remained functional. That’s why I went with smaller-diameter tubing and tried to keep it clean and not too complicated. I believe I’ve achieved this.
Custom PC: What timescale was involved, and what challenges did you find in putting it together?
Pete: I started this project around 18 months ago. The main challenge was the fact that I just kept adding more, so the build kept changing. I went through three cases until I settled on this one, a Thermaltake The Tower 900. I kept needing more space as my cooling loop grew.
Custom PC: Take us through the materials you used for the cooling. What was involved in planning, measuring, cutting, and bending it all to shape?
Pete: I decided to go with EK Water Blocks for the blocks, fittings, pumps and radiators, using a 360mm SE radiator in push config for the CPU, and a 360mm XE radiator in push-pull config for the GPUs. I also tried hardline PETG tubing, as I love the look. I had soft tubing in the first two cases but wanted to step it up for this version. I did the cuts and bends by eye, used a heat gun and shockingly didn’t make any mistakes!
Custom PC: Take us through the lighting. What effect were you looking for and how did you achieve it?
Pete: I went with Corsair for the lighting, which includes two ML 140mm RGB fans and some of Corsair’s RGB lighting strips connected to a Corsair Commander Pro. The GPU blocks and reservoirs also have RGB, which is controlled by the motherboard.
Custom PC: Is there anything hidden in there that we can’t see?
Pete: In the back of the case I’ve managed to hide two radiators, 11 120mm fans, Corsair Commander Pro and lighting nodes, flow indicators and drain taps. There are also four 2TB hard disks in RAID for storage. I think my biggest brainwave was to paint the SSDs and various parts of the case white. It was very gloomy inside before and I think it breaks it up nicely.
Custom PC: What was the trickiest part of the build?
Pete: The hardest part for me was figuring out the water-cooling loops. It took a while to decide on the order and routing. Overall, this case was amazing to build in, making it very easy for the most part due to the sheer size of it! Although wiring in the fan controller was a pain, as there wasn’t much room in the lower part once I’d put all the rest in. I should have fitted it first, but ah well.
Custom PC: What else are you working on? Is the build finished?
Pete: It’s not done yet! I’ve got a new fan controller from NZXT to install along with a new monoblock for the CPU to help keep the VRMs cool. I’m also working on putting in a Raspberry Pi and a small screen where the front two hard disk bays are, to monitor temperatures. Not sure how yet but I’m working on it.
Custom PC: Are you completely happy with the end result, or do you wish you’d done some of it differently in retrospect?
Pete: I’m very happy with where I am on this build, but as I’ve said, there’s more to come in the future!
Tower 900 water-cooled PC specs
- CPU: AMD Ryzen 7 2700X running at 4.2GHz on all cores
- GPU: 2 x Gigabyte Aorus GeForce GTX 1080 Ti 11G Xtreme Edition
- Case: Thermaltake The Tower 900
- Storage: Samsung 970 Evo 500GB SSD, 2 x Crucial MX500 SSD, 4x WD 2TB hard drives in RAID config
- Memory: 2 x 8GB Corsair Vengeance 3200MHz
- Motherboard: Asus ROG Crosshair VII Hero
- PSU: Corsair HX1000
- Cooling: EKWB CPU waterblock, 2 x EKWB GPU waterblock, 2 x EKWB EK-XRES pump res combo, EKWB 360SE radiator, EKWB 360XE radiator, 9 x EKWB Vadar fans, EKWB fittings and PTG tubing
The PC builder
- Name: Peter Morey
- Age: 36
- Occupation: Service Engineer
- Location: Wiltshire, UK
- Main uses for PC: Gaming
- Likes: Music, mountain biking, action movies, and anything techy really
- Dislikes: Sprouts, romantic comedies, and cricket
We’re really impressed by the tidiness of this build, and the two reservoirs at the front provide some great-looking symmetry. We also always take our hats off to anyone who cuts and bends their own tubing for hardline water-cooling systems. This is a stunning build by Pete. If you’re new to the world of water-cooling and want to have go yourself, then make sure you also read our full guide on how to water-cool your PC.
What do you think of this hardline water-cooled PC build? Join the conversation to discuss this PC build with our 375,000+ strong member Custom PC Facebook group, where you can also submit your own PC build or gaming setup for consideration. If you want to see more outstanding custom PCs and gaming setups, check out our massive guide to the best PC builds.