When I built my current PC last fall, it was the first full-on gaming rig I’d ever built, and I was never 100% happy with the result (who is?). Some of it was just to save money—I would have liked a 360 radiator instead of the 240mm H100i Elite Capellix; and while I know it really wouldn’t make a performance difference, four sticks of the Vengeance DDR5 would just look nicer.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a great rig. Like the RAM, a bigger radiator would basically just be to fill up the front panel better, because I have to work it hard to get the i7-12700K over 70°C. It’s at 20°C on the hottest core as I write this, with the iCue dashboard, two Chrome windows and 18 tabs, XNView, Steam, and GOG Galaxy all running.
The GPU is a little warm, but I keep the fans low when I’m not gaming or working on images. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus / FullCleared
I also didn’t bother to add an exhaust fan, because my Fractal Torrent came with three 140mm PWM intake fans in the basement (I have a Seasonic Focus Plus Platinum installed in the top PSU bay), so between those and the cooler in the front (yes, I know the case is made for aircooling), there was a lot of air moving out the full open back.
But it bothered me, like a missing tooth. I was also bothered by my waterblock orientation, which didn’t leave enough slack for the power or fan header cable, so they couldn’t be cable managed properly either across my Gigabyte Z690 AERO G motherboard, or in back of the case. I decided I could afford a matching iCUE SP120 RGB fan for the exhaust, and all I needed to do to rotate the waterblock would be to clean the processor and reapply the same Arctic thermal paste I used in the install.
Fractal did an amazing job with this case and included everything, although they could have labeled screws better. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus / FullCleared
So I bought the fan, and left it sitting on my shelf, because I didn’t feel like the hassle of unplugging the 14 assorted cables from the back. Until I read about the possibility of GPU sag in 20- and 30-series NVIDIA cards breaking the VRAM. Because while everything else was cosmetic, there’s no way I could replace the EVGA 3080.
Fortunately, Fractal includes a GPU support bracket with the Torrent, so I had everything I needed for a rig update.
I bought an iFixit Pro Tech Toolkit when it was released. It does most things, but I use a magnetizeable Klein electrician’s screwdriver for bigger Philips screws. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus / FullCleared
Installing the bracket was simple, if a little fiddly. It’s a big case, so it was a long reach to try to get the thumbscrews threaded in from the back.
This is a good bracket with a lot of adjustability and a rubber foot. I’m on the fence about it coming in black as opposed to matching the case. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus / FullCleared
Next up was the case fan. Fortunately, I’d installed the Corsair RGB fan hub that came with the cooler, and the fan had nice long cables. So it was an easy run and I didn’t have to use any front panel connectors.
Don’t underestimate how big a difference high-quality tools will make. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus / FullCleared
This is not my best work, but I had to compromise on the fan hub location, and its adhesive isn’t great. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus / FullCleared
I certainly wasn’t eager to pull off the waterblock, and soon remembered why I don’t like Corsair’s two-piece LGA 1700 bracket. It’s hard to keep it centered on the waterblock, and it all walks around on the standoffs. At least all the wiggling I needed to do to get it lined up with the rest of the components meant the thermal paste got spread around well.
I still don’t think I’m done. I’m kicking myself for not putting a 140mm fan in the back, where there’s room; and I could also change out the bottom fans to matching 140s, although I’m out of RGB headers on my fan node and that would mean a lot of rewiring. I would really like to get a 360mm up front and DDR5 6000 sticks. Corsair also makes a waterblock LCD display upgrade, which I just think is cool. I don’t love where the hoses for the cooler are now; one of the reasons I had it oriented the way I did before was because they were nice and taut across the top, and now they kind of…droop across the RAM. I suppose that’s what custom loops are for.
It’s different, but is it better? I’ve never been able to get RGB to work on the motherboard, and Gigabyte’s apps are terrible. I’m sure this won’t be the last change I make. Photo credit: David Traver Adolphus / FullCleared