Builder’s Showcase – Adrian Waters

A few years ago I started a little series in which I showcase a PC builder/modder that has an impressive portfolio of builds and projects. Essentially, for these builders to catch my attention and get featured, they have to have at least a handful or so of unique builds, in which the majority of them are small-form-factor (SFF). After a long hiatus, the series is back and we are going to hit the ground running with a builder that  caught my eye rather quickly on Instagram because of the level of quality and creativity in his work.

Adrian Waters is an Australian PC enthusiast that mostly builds PCs for friends and family, but enjoys putting in a bit of extra work to make these PCs stand out as unique and memorable. Whether it’s just a few adjustments to add a color theme, or a fully custom build, all of his work leaves a lasting impression. Below is an interview with him, as well as details and pictures of some of his most impressive work. Enjoy!

Adrian Waters

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from, how old are you, what do you do for a living, etc.

“I’m an Australian Army veteran, living near Sydney. I currently work in the financial services industry in the banking sector. I was an infantry officer and discharged when my children came along so my wife could return to work and focus on her career. I completed a Masters degree in Finance in my spare time and transitioned to my new career when the kids were old enough.”

How and when did you become a PC enthusiast? How did you turn into a PC modder? (Give us a short description of your PC history)

“Well, I have always enjoyed PC games, even when I was a kid. My uncle was a PC gamer and we would go over to his house and play what are now classics (Wing Commander II, Diablo). The actual modding of PCs is a pretty new interest. It happened when I moved house after discharging from military service. My PC didn’t make the journey in one piece so I thought I should have a go at making my own. My computer before that had been a prebuilt from Scorptec (Australian PC enthusiast company) and so I thought I would just go to Youtube and watch a few videos (a skill that got me through my Masters). I discovered the community and the creativity of PC modders and I was hooked.”

What is your favorite build that you’ve worked on and why?

“Rust is my favourite. My first real build after the death of my prebuilt was Organ Harvest, a custom water loop build that was nice to look at but pretty unoriginal. Rust was the first build where I went out on a limb and did something different. Yuel Beast wasn’t sending their cases internationally at the time so I had their case sent to my best friend in North Carolina and he sent it to me. Somewhere along the way it got pretty scuffed up (US postal service) so I received a product that needed to be repainted. I thought at the time the lines of the case looked a lot like architectural motifs of contemporary international modern residential buildings. It thought it would pair really well with a Corten Steel look. I was really happy the with the way it turned out and it’s still my daily driver. Also, all my other builds have been for other people so it’s special because it’s mine.”

Most if not all of your modded builds are SFF, why is it that you favor SFF builds?

“I like the challenge of the smaller builds now (price, thermal, performance, noise tradeoffs and balancing). Working in a mid-tower is pretty boring unless it’s at the extreme high end (See my build The Bendz). My builds don’t really need to be SFF. If you go to r/mffpc or my Instagram page, you can see a lot of my builds are ITX but above the 20 litre threshold. I think this is because true SFF pc cases tend to be really expensive or really ugly and since I am just building PC’s as a hobby for friends who want a reasonably priced daily driver I tend to land on nice looking itx cases above the SFF volume.”

If you could give advice to anyone considering getting into modding PC’s what would you say to them?

“Go for it, start with your own pc until you get confidence, and start with things that won’t void warranty.”

If you could give advice to anyone considering making the change to SFF PC’s what would you say to help them decide?

“Start with an matx build and work your way down SFF.”


Is there any other builder/modder that you admire? Who and why?

“@akmodtw. I don’t know anything about them except what they post on their instagram page. What I really like about his builds is that he pushes the boundaries of what is possible without leaning on easy crutches like RGB. He takes the time to make something really unique that doesn’t look just look like a recombination of existing parts. His work has a tasteful, classic, and timeless quality that I’m sure we can look back on in 10 years and not cringe in horror.”

Can you tell us a little about any current or future projects coming up? 

“I’m not really a professional. I just build a pc when one of my friends or family asks for one. The general deal is that they will pay for all the parts and then I’ll pay for all the aesthetic upgrades (paracord, paint etc). So I don’t really have a pipeline. I do  have a spare Yuel Beast Motif Monument under my desk waiting for a special occasion. I have some ideas I want to try with it that I think will be great.”

Rust (Yuel Beast Motif Monument)

“Rust is my current daily driver. The case was stripped of paint and then sprayed with a vinegar, hydrogen peroxide and salt solution to rust it. It was then covered with a few satin clear coats to hold the rust in place. I love this thing, I’m very proud of it even though it’s much simpler in execution than a lot of my more extravagant builds.” 

MOBO:  ASRock Z390-M-ITX/ac
CPU:  Intel Core i7 8700K
GPU: MSI RTX 2070 Aero
RAM:  Kingston HyperX FURY RGB 32GB DDR4 3000MHz Memory
SSD:  Samsung 1TB 970 EVO nvme m.2
PSU:  Corsair SF600
Cooling: Noctua C14 – with Chromax 1500rpm 140mm fans

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The Canadian (InWin Chopin)

“The Canadian was built for a Canadian friend of mine. He needed a home PC just to do admin and HTPC tasks.” 

MOBO:  Gigabyte Aorus Wifi B450 itx
CPU:  Ryzen 5 3400g
RAM:  Kingston HyperX FURY RGB 16GB DDR4 Memory
SSD:  WD 500gb nvme m.2
PSU:  Integrated Flex PSU
Cooling: De-capped Wraith Stealth

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D2 (NZXT H210)

“This build was for a friend who really likes DOTA 2. It’s probably a bit overkill, but he’s going to enjoy it for many years.” 

GPU: Zotac 1080ti (blower reference card from Organ Harvest, g12 bracket and a TT 240 AIO)
CPU:  Ryzen 5 3600
RAM:  Kingston HyperX FURY RGB 16GB DDR4 3200 Memory
SSD:  Samsung 1TB 970 EVO nvme m.2
PSU:  Silverstone SFX Gold 650w
Cooling: Wraith Prism scavenged from another build. 

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Organ Harvest (Phanteks Evolv X)

“This was my first build that started me down the PC mod path. It’s called Organ Harvest because a lot of its parts went into other builds after I disassembled it. I look back on it now and I think it was a pretty good first attempt, but I don’t really like the style much anymore.” 

MOBO:  Asus Z370 strix
GPU: Zotac 1080ti (blower reference card with a Phanteks waterblock)
CPU:  Intel Core i7 8700K
RAM:  Corsair Vengeance Pro RGB 32GB DDR4 Memory
SSD:  Samsung 1TB 970 EVO nvme m.2
PSU:  Seasonic Prime Platinum 850w (Now my test bench PSU)
Cooling: Mostly EKWB parts. 2x 280mm EKWB radiators (one slim, one regular) 16mm PETG tube. Heatkiller reservoir pump combo

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The Gentleman (Phanteks Shift X)

“This build was a Christmas present for my brother. My family went down to Melbourne for Christmas for a couple of weeks and I built it in his office. This case is thermally very challenging with high end parts. A lot of work went into making it balanced and bearable from a noise perspective. If I could do it again, I would have either dropped spec on the parts or chosen a different case. It looks glorious though.” 

GPU: EVGA XC RTX 2080 ti
CPU:  Ryzen 9 3900x
RAM:  Kingston HyperX FURY RGB 32GB DDR4 3200 Memory
SSD:  Corsair 1TB PCIE Gen 4 nvme m.2 SSD
PSU:  Corsair SF750 Platinum
Cooling: EK lignum water blocks, EK radiators. Heatkiller reservoir pump combo. 12mm bitspower chrome tube, a mixture of all sorts of fittings. Noctua NF-A12x25 Fans

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Old Faithful (Sliger SM550)

“This build was for an Army buddy of mine. He wanted a travel PC that wouldn’t take up too much space but could handle any medium intensity gaming tasks.” 

MOBO:  Gigabyte Aorus Wifi B450 itx
GPU: Zotac RTX 2070 reference blower
CPU:  Ryzen 5 2600
RAM:  G Skill Sniper Elite 16gb DDR4 3200
SSD:  Samsung 970 Evo 500gb (With a scavenged heatsink)
PSU:  Corsair SF600
Cooling: Wraith Stealth

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The Bendz (Singularity Spectre 2.0)

“This is the most spectacular build I have made to date. I might never get another opportunity to make a PC in this price bracket. It has a lot of the things that I have learned from all the builds that have come before and it was also a great learning experience for things I hadn’t attempted before (e.g. bending metal tubing).” 

MOBO:  Gigabyte X570 Aorus Master
GPU: EVGA XC RTX 2080 ti
CPU:  Ryzen 9 3900x
RAM:  Corsair Dominator Platinum RGB 64gb
SSD:  2 x 2TB Aorus PCIE Gen 4 nvme m.2 SSD
PSU:  Seasonic Prime 850w Titanium
Cooling: Aquacomputer GPU and CPU waterblocks, EK torque fittings, Bitspower 12mm Chrome tubing. EKWB 360mm radiators. Noctua NF-A12x25 fans. 

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The Pink Panther (Lian Li TU150)

“This PC was made for a colleague who was about to go prebuilt. I talked him out of it and when I asked him what he wanted he said that Pink was his favourite colour. I wasn’t sure if he was serious but I made it pink anyway. It’s a build for light gaming and home office tasks until he can afford to swap out the GPU for something punchier.” 

MOBO:  Gigabyte B450 Aorus Wifi
GPU: EVGA SC 1650 Super
CPU:  Ryzen 5 2600
RAM:  Klevv 16gb DDR4 3200mhz (Nice heatsinks, good price)
SSD:  Crucial 500gb NVMe M.2
PSU:  Silverstone SFX 500w Gold
Cooling: AMD Wraith Prism (Scavenged from another build) 

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Check out more of Adrian’s work on his IG page @80ishplus

Know of any other SFF builders/modders that you think deserve a feature? DM me on Instagram to recommend/nominate them! @mitxlove

Click here to check out the previous builder’s showcase: Johan Nymen

Hope you enjoyed!