Project Zima Deep Blue

Good evening all,

It is with GREAT pleasure i can introduce you to a project i have been working on for a while…

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The worlds first Water Cooled IceWhale ZimaBoard!!!

Ok so really. It’s something i have been working on for too long (i had the initial idea not long after i got my first ZimaBoard.) I will preface this as no it is not needed and yes the stock passive cooler is plenty to keep the hardware cool.

BUT…

We are makers, we are hackers and we are creators of great things, so i thought what could be even better…

Why the name?
In Homage to the founders of IceWhale, I wanted to continue the attitude of returning to the beginning and being a visionary artist creating something new.

I started off with just making a simple 80mm fan bracket and powered a Noctua NF-A8 FLX fan using the USB socket and a little 5v - 12v buck converter…


I had planned on adjusting the wiring to take advantage of the Molex PicoBlade connector on the board but this idea was pretty short lived… as although it helped with cooling a surprising ammount, i just popped it away in my maker drawer as something useful to have in the summer months… They don’t last long here in the UK

Next i thought… well this is my daily driven board… its small and mighty. I’m constantly amazed with what it can do… Lets do something that pushes the boundries…

Watercooling!

So i started looking about and obviously as no one had done it before came up a bit short with ideas… But given how special the ZimaBoard is, i knew it had to be something special…

Enter plan 1…
Get small (ish) waterblock, 3d print a bracket and mount it to the bare ZB PCB…
I found a block small enough and simple enough that it might just work…


This would be mounted with a clip and clamp bracket to cool the CPU

But then i thought… ACTUALLY… I could use a REAL waterblock and get much better performance… So onto plan 2…

This was an oldskool (10 years ish) watercooler from a great company called ZALMAN.
Simple, propper and sealed block… Obviously after opening it i had to give it a really good clean as 10 years of use hadn’t been kind to it…

Again a clip and clamp to hold the block on:




All this time i had been forgetting…
What about the memory,. What about the storage, What about the VRMs?

So then came plan 3

I know someone that has a CNC machine so let’s make a fully custom waterblock from aluminium covering all the key components and do this!

I designed the cooler to hit all the key components from VRMs, CPU, Ram and Storage, Heck even the network chip gets touched.

On the back of this there is a simple high flow water guide, gasket and lid to attatch the ports to.

I have tested a few versions and getting closer and closer to finished!



So i bet you are thinking WOW that’s cool… but what about the radiator etc?

This is where we are now… I have got the Zalman Reserator 1 V2 (6.5kg of aluminium Radiator, Pump and Resevoir with a 2.5l capacity… Yes it’s reducilous but that suits this project perfectly!

New hoses have been fitted and pressure tested. I’m finalising the design of the waterblock and then will be getting it milled and fitted.

And yes… i will be making one for the ZimaBlade too…

Thanks for taking the time to read this and look forward to sharing updates as i go :slight_smile:

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