Rig Spotlight: The GeForce Garage Red Harbinger Cross Desk
PC building, modding and overclocking are of great interest to PC gamers, though many are unsure where to begin, or are simply weary of damaging their precious components. With no central resource on the net to instruct and inform, we launched GeForce Garage a year ago to teach building, modding and overclocking techniques in a way that was understandable to all and easy to follow at home.
To help, we drafted in the United States’ best modders, who’ve had their work featured worldwide. Together, we took a custom-made Cross Desk, a desk you build a PC in, loaded it with the best components available, and upgraded every single element, making a stunning, truly unique system. And because each step was documented on GeForce Garage, you can create equally-amazing modifications at home for your own system.
Now, the Cross Desk is finally complete, so let’s take a look at the final result and recap the creation of a one-of-a-kind powerhouse.
While the chassis is based off of Red Harbinger’s Cross Desk, our case is tweaked quite a bit from the stock variety. For one, this is a standing desk, so the entire enclosure is higher than normal. In addition, every piece has been powder-coated to be NVIDIA-themed, so the entire desk is adorned in striking green and metallic pewter. The glass on top of the case is specially etched, and there’s even a one-of-a-kind rear apron.
As seen in our very first Cross Desk Series video, Lee Harrington modified the chassis to include a 120mm exhaust fan in the back. It took some steady hands and a few heavy duty tools, but the final result was a well-ventilated area for our power supplies to rest.
Sleeved Data and Power Cables
The Cross Desk demanded extra attention in all areas, and its data and power cables were no exception. Mike “Lutro0” Landenberger removed all of the normal housings for each cable, and replaced them with black, green, and grey PET (polyethylene terephthalate), to match the colour-coding of the rest of the PC. The finished cables are a wonderful fit for the GeForce theme, and it goes to show how even the tiniest parts in a system can be modded to perfection.
Liquid Cooling Loop
Rather than settling for traditional flexible tubing or rigid acrylic tubing, we decided to add rolled copper tubing, powder-coated black to fit the Cross Desk’s colour scheme. Red Harbinger’s Richard “Darth Beavis” Surroz tackled the pipe-bending and installation duties in our third Cross Desk Series video. In addition to looking noticeably more awesome than flexible or rigid acrylic tubes, the copper material is less likely to result in pesky drips.
Once the loop was completely secured, we brought in Brian “Boddaker” Carter from bods-mods.com to fill and leak test the system. After confirming that the loop was leak-proofed and topped off, we dropped in some green dye to further enhance the NVIDIA GeForce motif.
LED Lighting and Light Boxes
Like a nitrous-charged street racer, we lit up the Cross Desk with green and other custom-colored LEDs to accentuate its beauty and speed. But why stop there? We also tossed some lighting under the GPU water blocks and on top of the case. BS Mods’ Bob Stewart and Rod Rosenberg handled the elbow-grease, as shown in the fourth Cross Desk Series video.
To really give the Cross Desk some added character (the devil’s in the details, after all), we enlisted MAINframe Custom’s Thomas “White Light Laser” Harrel to install customised SLI bridge covers and GeForce GTX LEDs. But we weren’t done yet. We also had put in some hidden light boxes—one to illuminate the components list kept under the glass, and one to reveal the placard with signatures from all the people who worked on the project.
Hand-made Vinyl Decals for Components
Factory-applied stickers for all the hardware? That simply wouldn’t do the Cross Desk justice. No, we needed something more—something to further bolster the over-the-top modded nature of the machine. In our fifth Cross Desk Series video, James Walter stripped away the rig’s vanilla decals and replaced them with custom vinyl ones, each designed around NVIDIA’s branding. Like the custom cable sleeves, this small but noteworthy mod adds significant depth to the overall system.
GPUs: GeForce GTX TITAN Blacks in Quad-SLI
When we began this epic project the GeForce GTX TITAN Black was the very best GPU available, and today it's still a powerhouse in the latest games. To take the Cross Desk to the next level, we decided to equip our one-of-a-kind desk with eight of them, each with EKWB water blocks? That’s right, both PCs inside the Cross Desk have Quad-SLI configurations using TITAN blacks, and each PCB is custom-cooled for maximum overclocking. With help from the highly skilled Travis “V2” Jank of NEXGEN OC, we managed to push each of the GPUs’ boost clocks to 1180 MHz, earning a score of 22,095 in 3DMark.
Monitors: Acer G-SYNC XB280HK
The Cross Desk wouldn’t be much good without a monitor connected to it. But a single panel just wouldn’t look right when placed on top of such an imposing rig. Because of that, a multiple monitor setup was a must. And not just any monitor setup, mind you, but one that includes four 28-inch 4K G-SYNC Acer XB280HKs. To be clear, that’s a total resolution of 11520x2160.
We choose to configure the monitors in a 1x3 landscape array, with the top monitor acting as an accessory device for eSports and extra in-game info. Installing the Acer panels (and the monitor mount) was a concerted team effort, led by Matt Chandronait and Dwight Lackmann. After getting the hardware and cabling squared away, we then enabled NVIDIA SURROUND, and jumped into some rather glorious gaming sessions.
Motherboards: ASUS Rampage IV Black Edition
The Rampage IV Black Edition is an absolute beast of a motherboard, and it’s loaded to the brim with extras—a shoe-in for our Cross Desk. It supports Quad-SLI, it can take up eight sticks of 2800 MHz+ DDR3 RAM, and it houses the mighty Intel x79 chipset. The Black Edition also incorporates an oversized heat sink that reaches all the way to the I/O shield, which keeps the board cooled and plenty stable. Additionally, ASUS’s UEFI makes overclocking noticeably easier, and the Black Edition’s Extreme Engine DIGI+ III VRM results in dependable pumped up CPU and RAM speeds.
CPUs: Intel Core i7 4960X
The two PCs inside the Cross Desk are tailored for rocket-fast performance. The LGA 2011 Core i7-4960X CPUs were integral in achieving that goal. These Ivy Bridge parts come with 15 MB of L3 cache, six total cores, and very respectable 3.6 GHz clocks. But even those speeds weren’t gonna cut it; the Cross Desk demands gaming superiority! With our custom cooling loop keeping the 4960Xs frosty, and with the years of experience added by Travis Jank, we were able to achieve a ridiculously high overclock of 4.7 GHz on each of them.
16 GB of RAM? That’s child’s play. 32 GB of RAM? Now you’re talking. And not just any memory would have sufficed here. Corsair’s Dominator Platinum comes in plenty of different DDR3 speeds, and the oversized heat sinks on top of the sticks do wonders for removing any added heat from overclocking. The tops of the modules even have some sweet LED lighting to make them pop out. This RAM kit looks naturally at home inside the Cross Desk’s vast interior.
Storage: Corsair Neutron Series GTX SSDs
Mechanical hard drives are officially old-school. SSDs are the new kings of storage, and Corsair’s 240 GB Neutrons were great choices for holding all of our games and software. These lightning-quick drives have max sequential reads of up to 550 MB/s, and max sequential writes of up to 470 MB/s. They’ll also last for ages, as they’re rated for two million hours of usage. Their LAMD SSD controllers and S.M.A.R.T/TRIM support are the icing on the cake.
With so much performance contained inside the Cross Desk, we needed some tremendous power supplies to keep all the components running smooth. SilverStone’s ST1500’s proved more than capable in that department. Each PSU commands 1,500 watts of continuous juice, 40° C operating temperatures, and eight +12V rails with peaks of 120A, and a much sought-after 80 PLUS Silver certification. That all translates into a ton of reliability and power—exactly what the Cross Desk requires.
Red Harbinger Cross Desk: A custom PC to be reckoned with
It took a lot of hard work, intricate mods, and attention to detail, but the completed Cross Desk is one heck of a formidably powerful and gorgeous-looking rig. With four overclocked GeForce GTX TITAN Blacks on each side of the case and four Acer panels operating at 4K resolutions, playing games on this system is like jumping on a ride at Universal Studios. Quite simply, there’s nothing else like it around.
Be sure to watch all eight how-to videos that led to the Cross Desk’s creation and tune back into GeForce Garage very soon for more cool videos with an upcoming series based off of the Antec Nine Hundred chassis, which is completely transformed by our pro modders.