Gigabyte 3D Mercury Case - Get Into Liquid - 3D Mercury - It is What is Inside That Cools!

Article Index
Gigabyte 3D Mercury Case - Get Into Liquid
3D Mercury - It is What is Inside That Cools!
Cooling System Closeup and Full Specs
Installation - Getting Started With The Merc
Installation - Waterblock, Hardware and More!
3D Merc. - Add Water, Test Setup and Info.
3D Mercury - Q6600 Overclocking and Conclusion

Closer Look - Inside:

When I opened up this case, I noticed a few things right away.  First, the door is secured with three thumbscrews and has a lockable latch to prevent people from snooping.  This door swings out and detaches easily, but requires a little patience to get back in place properly.  The Thermaltake Armor has a much "cleaner" swinging door and installs easier than the 3D Mercury Pro.  This isn't a big deal, but the door hinge could use a little refinement.

The next thing I noticed was that the front drives - both 5.25" and 3.5" drives all install tool-less.  Some implementations of tool-less drive installation are flimsy but the route Gigabyte took was all about quality.  Optical drives (and 3.5" drives such as floppy, zip, etc) slide in and then are clipped into place with a rail on one side of the drive rack; you don't even have to take off the other side panel!  Hard Drive installation is also very simple.  You need to put a couple of rails on your drive and then slide it into place.

 Internal Drive Bays
Internal Drive Bays
 Rear 12cm Fans
Rear 12cm Fans
 Accessory Caddy
HDD Rack & Accessory Caddy

 

The rear 12cm fans have the now standard blue LED effects and look very nice while exhausting the hot air from the case.  They spin quite slow and are virtually inaudible.  Mounted in the front HDD rack is a little box that actually houses many of the accessories for the case.  This box can be easily removed if you need the space, but for this review we won't need all 5 drive bays so we'll leave it in.  I think that many users would likely leave this inside the case as it is a great place to store a small screwdriver, extra drive rails and more.  Everything is right there when you need it.

It's been a while since I've been involved with water-cooling and I'm really looking forward to getting my gear wet once again.  One of the features that I like most about this setup is the expansion lines that Gigabyte has put in place.  At the top and bottom of the case is a manifold that has two blank spots for additional water lines to be ran.  You can use these for an extra radiator, and a graphics card block, or for a pair of graphics cards blocks to cool down a toasty SLI or Crossfire setup.

 
 Parrallel Expansion - Bottom
  ParallelExpansion - Bottom
 Parrallel Expansion - Top
Parallel Expansion - Top

 

As you can see in the pictures above, each connection is capped with a rubber cap, clamped and shut off with a quarter turn valve.  What I love about this setup is that it can be easily scaled for additional hardware or water blocks and can also be used to drain the system without spilling coolant all over your components.

 

Gigabyte has been doing their homework by using a parallel system instead of a series.  Many people that watercool their computers have their blocks in a series where the water goes from one component to the other and then finally back to the radiator to cool.  Each time the water passes through a block, it heats up and by the time it comes to the last block it may have gained quite a few degrees and provide less than optimal cooling to the final component.  It a parallel system, the water exits the radiator, and then is split off into different hoses so that each route only cools one component before heading back to the radiator.  This provides the best cooling performance - although it is not often used.  Gigabyte uses the parallel system much to their credit.

 

Included Accessories:

Gigabyte has included everything you will need to get up and running and chilling your gear.  They have included a couple of 600ml bottles of their own GBT Coolant.  This is to be added full-strength to the system and used in place of plain old water.  They also include a MOSFET fan, that clips onto the waterblock and while many people see this as a moot addition, I see quite a bit of value when running a hot Quad Core system and doing some overclocking.  In this situation the voltage regulators get raging hot and the fan does cool these components.  That being said, every fan in a system adds some measure of noise and with a total of 5 - 120mm fans, plus the MOSFET fan, it can't be totally silent.

 Coolant
Coolant
 MOSFET Fan
MOSFET Fan
   
 Included Accessories
Included Accessories
 Mesh Window
Mesh Window

 

Other than a screwdriver to change the side panel, Gigabyte has included everything you need to get the 3D Mercury up and running in short order.  In the bags pictured above are the drive rails, mounting hardware for LGA775 and AMD 939/AM2 processors, clips for cable management, thermal paste and a pair of Molex to SATA power adapters.  That's a decent bundle for a case.

On the next page we'll dive into the cooling system and see what chills the beast.