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Take a good look
Let's check out some pictures of the beast before we look at the installation process.


Here's a shot of the Vapochill enclosure from the front and the side. Placed next to a Shuttle cube for comparative purposes, the Vapochill looks large and imposing, but in reality it's about the same size as a typical full-tower case. If you look through the holes at the top of the front bezel, you can see the fins of the condenser. Due south of the right edge of the 5.25" bays is the LED display for the ChillControl unit. The ChillControl is the circuit board inside the Vapochill that monitors and controls the cooling system. When the Vapochill is powered on, the display shows several pieces of information, including the temperature of the evaporator. Starting at the top right of the case and moving down, you can see the power LED, the hard drive LED, the power switch and the reset switch.

A few particulars on the Vapochill enclosure itself: It will support ATX or eATX motherboards, and there are bays for three 5.25" drives and six 3.5" drives (one of those external). There is a mounting location for a 120mm fan to cool the hard drives, as well as mounting locations for up to three 60mm case fans.

If you look at the side picture, you'll see a seam about two-thirds of the way up on the enclosure. Below the seam is the area of the case reserved for computer components, like the motherboard, drives and power supply. The area above houses the compressor and condenser. The lower portion of the case is accessible via a slide-off panel on each side secured by two thumbscrews. The upper cover is considerably more difficult to remove, but once your system is set up, you'll have no real need to get into this area anyway.


Once you get the top cover off, this is what you'll see. The compressor is the big black piece in the middle, and the condenser is the piece on the right with all the copper tubing. The fan attached to the condenser is a large 120mm model that goes about its job very quietly.


Finally we have the CPU kit. This assembly clamps down onto the CPU, allowing the exposed copper evaporator to directly contact the CPU core and keep it substantially cooler than room temperature. Here's an extreme close-up of the evaporator itself:


Note the outer and inner layers of foam insulation around the evaporator. We'll talk more about those in the installation section.


Finally, here's a shot of the included hardware. In case you haven't guessed, phase-change cooling is a little more complicated than an air-cooled heatsink or even a water-cooling system. Fortunately, Asetek has thought of everything and made sure it's included. Some of the notable items include a special ATX extension cable to supply power to the ChillControl computer, heaters (!) for both sides of the CPU socket, plenty of insulating foam, and even a serial cable and software for programming the ChillControl board. There's also a big, fat tube of heatsink paste, which is good, because as you'll soon see, you're gonna need it.