Ahanix’s Iceberg water cooling system

Manufacturer Ahanix
Model Iceberg
Price (street) US$99
Availability Now
Thanks to ExoticPC for providing the review unit.

OVERCLOCKERS ARE ALWAYS LOOKING for something that will help them in their quest for more speed. From high-quality RAM that will run at insane bus speeds to motherboards with every last tweaking option, the list goes on and on. Water-cooling systems, which use water instead of air to cool the processor or other components, are growing in popularity. Such systems typically cool much better than traditional heatsink/fan combos, and run quieter, to boot.

Today we’re looking at one such system, Ahanix’s Iceberg. The Iceberg is sold as a complete CPU water-cooling kit which includes all necessary hoses and other hardware. Some of its more unusual attributes include its price (only $99, pretty cheap for a water-cooling system) and its ability to install to Socket 370, Socket A or Socket 478 systems with the included hardware. We’ll look at the general quality of the kit as well as what’s involved with an installation, and we’ll also examine the performance under some pretty strenuous conditions. Curious? Read on.

Water cooler primer
If you already know how water coolers work, feel free to skip to the next section. This is for the newbies, or for those who want a refresher.

The processors in mainstream PCs are air-cooled. Typically, air cooling involves strapping a large chunk of metal (a heatsink) to the CPU (metal is a very efficient conductor of heat) and ensuring that said chunk of metal has lots of fins to give it plenty of surface area. The heat generated by the CPU is conducted to the heatsink and the into the air, keeping the CPU cool.

Of course, most modern processors generate so much heat that a heatsink alone isn’t enough. Eventually, the heatsink would absorb enough heat that it would be as hot as the processor, at which point it would be doing no good at all. Therefore, a fan is typically mounted on the heatsink blows air over the fins, using that air to absorb heat from the heatsink and cool it off, so it can . . . absorb more heat from the processor. Lather, rinse, repeat ad infinitum (or at least until you shut your system off).

Water-cooling is attractive because water is much more efficient at absorbing heat than air—there’s a reason that nearly all modern cars are water-cooled rather than air-cooled. Of course, water-cooling has its own issues. For example, it’s no problem to have lots of air hanging out around electronic components, waiting to be directed by a fan to cool a heatsink (in fact, the alternative would be pretty damned difficult). Water, on the other hand, doesn’t generally play nice with electronics, so obviously the first order of business is to make sure that the water itself never touches any of the other system components directly. But the water must come close enough to the CPU to cool it properly.

There are other issues, as well. Because air is so abundant, you don’t really need to worry about cooling the air after it’s been heated by the heatsink. You just use a case fan to suck in . . . more air. With a water cooler however, there is a finite amount of water, and therefore you need to somehow cool that water off, or you’ll end up with a repeat of the “heatsink with no fan” scenario outlined above. Finally, you need a place to store the water that isn’t either cooling the CPU or being cooled itself, as well as a way to move the water between these areas.

So let’s go over these issues one at a time. First, you need something to transfer heat from the CPU to the water, and that component is a waterblock. Basically, it is a metal box with two openings that is mounted to the CPU much like a heatsink. Hoses are attached to the openings, and water flows in one and out the other. While in the waterblock, the water absorbs heat from the CPU (which has been absorbed by the metal of the waterblock) and then carries it away from the waterblock.

Now the hot water coming out of the waterblock needs to be cooled off, so it’s directed to the radiator. This device works more or less like the radiator in your car; the hot water pours into a series of small metal tubes with small fins attached to the outside. Many small tubes expose more surface area than one large tube, which cools the water more quickly. Air from a fan is directed through the fins and tubes, which helps the process, much like the fins and fan of an air-cooled heatsink.

Once the water has passed through the radiator and been cooled off, it heads back to the reservoir. The reservoir is basically a watertight tank that holds the majority of the water. The reservoir is also where the pump is located, which is the component that pushes the water through the path outlined above—from reservoir to waterblock to radiator and back to reservoir. Hoses connect the various components together and provide a path for the water.

Presentation is everything
The first thing that struck me when opening up the Iceberg kit was how professional it looked. I must confess that I was half expecting the components to arrive in Ziplock bags bathed in styrofoam peanuts, encased in a plain brown box. Fortunately, I was way off-base. The outer packaging looked very professional, and opened up to reveal the kit’s contents packed in a foam block with cutouts molded to each piece to prevent movement during shipping. In addition to the pieces outlined above (pump, reservoir, radiator and fan, hose and waterblock) the kit also includes various bits of necessary hardware, such as clamps for the hose ends, adhesive pads to secure the reservoir, and mounting hardware for the waterblock. The kit even came with a sticker for the outside of your case to alert people to the fact that it’s water cooled.


The kit includes everything you need

The construction of the various components is solid, as well. The reservoir is made of clear plastic and the fittings on the lid are pre-molded, ensuring there are no leaks. A rubber gasket seals the lid to the reservoir. in fact, once the kit was assembled, I held the reservoir upside down for a minute or so without so much as a drop of water leaking out.

The waterblock seems small and thin compared to other waterblocks, but that doesn’t mean it can’t do the job—we’ll wait for the testing to pass judgment. The interior of the waterblock is actually made of a number of thin passages to ensure uniform water flow; Ahanix has a cutaway picture on their website here.

Some water coolers use automotive transmission or oil coolers as radiators, but the Iceberg’s radiator looks as though it was custom fabricated for this kit. It’s exactly 80mm wide, to take advantage of the fan mounting locations in most cases. The fins are flexible enough that you’ll want to take care during installation to avoid bending them, but of course this is to be expected; if they weren’t so thin, they wouldn’t do their job very well.

Installation
Interestingly, there weren’t any directions included with my kit, but a sticker on the box referred me to www.icebergcooler.com for complete installation instructions. I generally found the instructions very clear, but I did see room for improvement, particularly in the order of steps. I improvised in a few areas, and I’ll get into that below.

The first step according to Ahanix is to cut the tubing into four pieces. Right away this made no sense to me; none of the components are mounted yet, and I’m supposed to cut the tubing to run between them? I held off on this step, though I did cut the 4cm length of tubing to run between the pump and the lid of the reservoir.

Once I had attached the pump to the lid and run the pump wiring through its grommet, it was time to attach the lid to the reservoir itself. The instructions don’t go into much detail here, but if you want to get the gasket on properly, turn the lid upside down, mount the gasket around the raised area of the lid, then set the reservoir on top of it and hold it while screwing the two together. There is a groove in the reservoir for the gasket, but you’ll go crazy trying to seat it in there.

Next, you’re supposed to attach the fan to the radiator. The fan attaches using case fan screws, and here I ran into a problem. Because you’re using case fan screws, the screw threads “bite” into both the fan holes and the holes in the radiator casing. This makes mounting the fan flush with the radiator casing very diffcult. I used a 13/64 drill bit to drill out the holes in the back of the fan, which let the threads slip through but not the screw head. This way, you’re not trying to thread through two different pieces at the same time, while simultaneously trying to screw them together. IMPORTANT: If you do this, make sure to only drill out the set of holes on the “intake” side of the fan. Case fan screws are used in the fan holes on the “outlet” side of the fan to secure the fan/radiator combo to the inside of the case. Drill out all the holes, or drill out the wrong ones, and you’re, well, screwed. As I alluded to above, you want the fan mounted so that it pulls air through the radiator and out of the case. Otherwise, you’ll be pushing cool air through the radiator, heating it and then pushing it into your case, which is a bit counterproductive. It’s a good idea to plug the fan in, power up your system, and verify which direction the fan blows, or you might end up doing all this twice.

Incidentally, you might want to measure your case before purchasing to make sure the radiator will fit. The radiator is only slightly wider than a case fan, but lengthwise it extends approximately 3/4″ beyond the fan on one side, and approximately 1 1/2″ beyond the fan on the other side. Also, given the mounting method, you might have issues with cases that use non-standard fan mounts such as the Antec SX series. I experimented with this on my SX1030, and everything fit when the fan was snapped into Antec’s plastic fan mount, but it was pretty tight, which made installing the mount back into the case a little tricky. I also checked the fit in my SX635, and as near as I can tell, there’s just no way the radiator is going in that case. A metal brace runs the length of the case, and is directly in the way of the radiator. The bottom line is: eyeball it and if it looks questionable, measure it. If it looks fine, measure it anyway.

Next, you’ll want to secure the waterblock to the CPU. Make sure to use some heatsink paste to ensure a good seal. This step will vary depending on the type of CPU you have; I installed the system on an Athlon, and I have to say that I’m very impressed with the heatsink clip in the kit. I’ve seen some waterblocks that use screws to clamp the heatsink to the socket; this can make judging the required force difficult. Is it too loose to make a good seal to the CPU? Is it so tight that it crushes the core? The clip with the Iceberg kit is spring-loaded like the clips on most air-cooled heatsinks, so you just clip it on and forget it. A couple of other nice features about the clip: First, it uses all three “teeth” on each side of the socket, and second, it has an easy to reach “handle” that lets you easily install and remove the clip without a screwdriver. Nice.


The user-friendly clip


Making the connections

Once you’ve attached the reservoir to the bottom of the case with the included pads of double-sided tape, it’s time to route the pump wiring. An obvious problem here is that the plug runs on AC power, and AC plugs are too big to fit through any of the holes on the back of a typical computer case. The Iceberg kit solves this by using a plug that attaches to the pump wiring with nothing more than a screwdriver. This lets you route the wiring through any number of holes in the back of the case, then attach the plug. One note here: if you unscrew the cable housing at the back of the plug, flip the housing over, and screw it back down, it will clamp down on the wiring and provide strain relief. Don’t take this as an excuse to be a lazy idiot and unplug the pump by yanking on the cord.

OK, everything has been mounted, doesn’t now seem like a good time to measure and cut the hoses? I thought so. When you’re mounting them, you’ll want to go from the pump outlet to the waterblock, from the waterblock to the radiator, and from the radiator back to the reservoir. If either the waterblock or radiator is mounted so one of the fittings is higher than the other, make sure that the hose for water flowing in attaches to the higher of the two. Ahanix mentions this in their online instructions, then shows you a picture with the waterblock hooked up backwards. Don’t make the same mistake. The two hoses on the reservoir are secured with worm clamps, while spring clips are used to secure the rest of the hoses.


Locked and loaded

Once that’s done, fill the reservoir with water, plug in the pump, and watch the show. Hopefully, there won’t be much of a show, because that would mean you have a leak, and leaks are bad. If you do have a leak, aren’t you glad you didn’t power up the PC yet? Let the thing run for a few minutes to be absolutely sure nothing is leaking, and you’re ready to go.

Our testing methods
Ahanix’s web site has a graph comparing the operating temperature of the Iceberg to a number of air-cooled heatsinks with a “simulated CPU.” However, their graph only goes for ten minutes, and apparently doesn’t even use a real processor. I decided to give the Iceberg a bit more of a workout than that.

For my tests, I used an unlocked Athlon XP 2000+ (1667MHz stock) overclocked to 1750MHz (10.5X multiplier on a 166MHz bus) on a Soyo SY-KT400 DRAGON Ultra motherboard. I chose the 10.5X multiplier because the chip wasn’t stable at 11X. The CPU voltage was set to 1.8V. Essentially, this configuration was chosen to produce as much heat as possible. For comparison purposes, I used a Taisol CGK760172 heatsink. This is a high-end air-cooler heatsink that has been approved by AMD for processor models as high as the Athlon XP 2600+.

The test was conducted as follows: The system was powered up and given five minutes to finish booting. At that point, an initial temperature reading (both CPU and case temperature) was taken using Motherboard Monitor to read the sensors on the motherboard (no program was available to read the thermal diode in the CPU). At the same time, the stress test component of Prime95 was used to bring the CPU utilization to 100%. Thereafter, temperature readings were taken every five minutes until an hour had elapsed from the time of the first reading. At the 60 minute mark, Prime95 was stopped, allowing the CPU to drop into an idle state. Thereafter, temperature readings were taken once every minute until fifteen minutes had elapsed from the time that Prime95 was stopped.

The purpose of this test regimen was to observe the cooling characteristics of both the Iceberg and the Taisol over a relatively long period of high CPU use. The test should reveal how both cooling solutions respond to a high amount of heat over time. It should also show how quickly (and how far) the coolers lower the CPU temperature once the period of high utilization is over.

I also used a sound level meter to measure the decibel levels of each configuration. I could have measured the sound level of just the pump and heatsink, but to me the more important question is what effect, if any, the water cooler has on noise levels in the context of an actual system.

For this reason, the sound level readings were taken from outside the case, with everything powered up. That means that in each configuration, there are such fun noisemakers as a spinning hard drive, video card heatsink fan, north bridge heatsink fan, power supply fan, and case fan. Keep that in mind when looking at the sound levels. Three readings were taken for each configuration, one each from the front, side and back of the case. The front and side readings were taken from 3 1/2″ away. Because of the fans exhausting out the back of the case, the back reading was taken from 14″ away so the airflow from the fans wouldn’t interfere with the readings.

Benchmark results
Now that the explanations are out of the way, let’s talk about the results. We’ll start with the sound level readings.

Iceberg Taisol
Front measurement 48.5 dB 49.6 dB
Side measurement 50.8 dB 53.7 dB
Rear measurement 51.8 dB 54.5 dB

According to the numbers, the Iceberg configuration is quieter than the Taisol configuration, though I wouldn’t call the difference a dramatic one. My subjective impressions are about the same: the Iceberg configuration seems a little bit quieter, but with all the other noise emanating from the case, it’s difficult to be sure.

Now let’s move on to the heart of the matter, cooling performance.

There are actually a few interesting trends here. Perhaps most importantly, the Taisol and the Iceberg both had the same maximum CPU temperature: 134 degrees Fahrenheit. This is a disappointing outcome for the Iceberg, and certainly a much different result than the graph on their web site. Incidentally, I checked for a ceiling effect here; by unplugging the fan cooling the Taisol, I was able to get the motherboard sensor to read as high as 138 degrees, so it wasn’t maxed out on these tests.

Moving beyond the max temps, we can see the differing characteristics of using air or water to cool a CPU. First off, note that the air-cooled Taisol reaches its maximum temperature much more quickly, hitting 134 in half the time of the Iceberg. This effect goes both ways, however. Once the CPU drops back to idle, the Taisol cools off more quickly than the Iceberg, and it winds up five degrees cooler than the Iceberg by the end of the test.

To understand what’s likely happening here, we need to look at the case temperatures. The Iceberg does slightly better than the Taisol in this department, which makes sense. The Iceberg is channeling nearly all of the heat from the CPU out of the case, while the Taisol is channeling that heat directly into the case. The lower temperature of the Iceberg, as well as its slower climb towards its maximum temperature, shows the effect of removing the CPU as a heat source. The slower climb is brought about by heat from other sources, such as the graphics card, the actively-cooled north bridge, and the hard drive.

With the case temperatures in mind, let’s think about exactly how the Iceberg is working. The water is cooled by a radiator, which is in turn cooled by a fan that pulls air through the radiator and out of the case. But where does that air come from? Inside the case, of course, and this is the root of the problem. As the case temperature rises, the radiator becomes less effective, because the air flowing through it is already heated to over ninety degrees Farenheit.

Over time, the water in the reservoir gets hotter and hotter, which decreases the temperature differential between the water and the CPU, further hampering performance. After the test concluded, I opened the case and put my hand on the reservoir, and it was quite warm to the touch, confirming my suspicions. Incidentally, this is also the reason that the Iceberg configuration doesn’t “recover” very quickly after the CPU returns to idle. Water tends to hold heat for a long time, which means a slow drop in CPU temperatures once the load test is concluded.

Needless to say, I wasn’t terribly impressed by the Iceberg’s performance. Marginal differences in case temperature aside, the Taisol performed equally well and recovered more quickly. However, looking at the results, it’s easy to see that the stock installation is crippled by the placement of the radiator. I started wondering how much better the system might perform if the radiator wasn’t having warm case air pulled through it.

Ahanix even alludes to this problem in the appendix of their web site, suggesting an external installation of the radiator “for higher performance.” I decided it to try the external radiator configuration, partly to see if the performance would improve and partly to test my theory about why the thing was performing so badly.

Try, try again
Fortunately, Ahanix gives you plenty of plastic tubing, so I had enough left over to swap in some longer pieces that I ran out the back of the case through one of the expansion card openings. The radiator/fan piece was attached to the hoses, and I spent five minutes creating a really ugly bracket to hold it in place (even MacGyver would wince). I wound up with this:


ph3ar my case-modding skillz!
No, seriously, be afraid. Be very afraid.

With this, err, configuration, I repeated my earlier test, the results of which are summarized in the graph below. The new results here are the ones labeled “Ext. Rad.” while the “Int. Rad.” and Taisol results are the same ones included in the previous graph.

Ahh, that’s better. Clearly, the placement of the radiator was the limiting factor before. The external configuration’s maximum temperature is eleven degrees lower than the internal configuration and case temps are down six degrees. This gives the Iceberg a substantial lead on the Taisol, and put the Iceberg much closer to what one would expect from a $99 cooling solution.

Obviously, there are issues with mounting the radiator externally. Mounting hardware of some sort (hopefully significantly better than mine) would have to be fabricated, since none is included in the kit. Having the radiator outside the case would make it more prone to damage, as well—certainly an important point if you’re into LAN parties. However, given the substantial performance benefits from mounting the radiator externally, if you’re going to buy this kit, it’s in your best interest to mount the radiator outside your case.

Conclusions
My opinion on the Iceberg kit has been all over the map during the course of preparing this review. I went from being extremely impressed with the build quality of the kit, to (initially at least) extremely disappointed with the performance relative to an air-cooled heatsink. At the end of it all, however, my opinion sits somewhere in between. The price is certainly right, and the build quality is exceptional. Still, in a product like this, performance has to come above price and build quality, and testing reveals that performance (in the stock configuration at least) isn’t very impressive. Those looking for a great cooling solution that resides entirely in their PC should look elsewhere. Of course, the performance deficit is easily remedied, provided you’re willing to live with an external radiator. Accept this fact, and you wind up with a solution that cools significantly better than a very capable air-cooled heatsink. In this context, with this limitation, I feel comfortable recommending the Iceberg to anyone looking to get their feet wet (bah-dump-bump) in the area of water-cooling.

Comments closed
    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    UPDAT|E on Iceburg 1******************************

    r{

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    I just installed this water cooler, and would suggest anyone buying this, to ignore the gasket, and washers, and go straight down to the local pet store, and buy aquarium sealer.

    This will save lots of grief. The gasket they give you is wimpy, and I found it almost impossible with the supplied gasket to not have the resevior leak, unless you really cranked dowm on the screws, which would be a bad thing, beacuse over time the edges would crack and leak.

    I would also recommend a external mounting of the radiator, for best performance.

    The way I mounted my was quite simple, but highly effective. I simply bought the indrustial strength velcro, slapped a stip down the back of the case, next to my pci card slots, and slapped it on. Very simple, but it looks good, and unless the case falls of my desk, the radiator is firmly mounted. Plus I added an additional fan for the back side, so I have a very nice stream of air blowing thru the radiator.

    I am running a AMD 2700+ with an Abit NFS board, and Dual 3200 DDR ram, with the ram pushed up with the voltage.
    My system runs 98 – 100 F Idle, and 107 – 109 load. for some reason the temp does not chage that dramatically under load, like air coolers do.

    I had a Quiet Max 6000 before I put the water cooler on, which has a copper core with large copper fins, and uses a 92 fan.
    My temps under this cooler was 128 – 132 idle, and up to 147 load!!! ouch.

    I now swear by the Artic 1, but please learn by my advice on setup, and you will save yourselves some headaches ;-)))

    I also would suggest the Swiftech relay switch (Very Simple install). It turns the pump on with computer, that way you will not forget to turn the pump on, and fry the chip!
    Only takes once ;-)))

    islhopr

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    Good!!!!!!!!Efficient!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Review. Besides Tom’s Hardware Guide, I think this is the best reviewing webside!
    But, the review doesn’t tell the external radiator’s price????????

    • Anonymous
    • 16 years ago

    Thank you first for your efforts and posting them for others to benefit from 😉
    My only question is why your test setup pulled air from inside the case through the radiator? IceBurg recommends that the airflow be drawn from outside the case and then through the radiator. Just curious. I still prefer the idea of mounting the radiator outside the case leaving the heat outside where it belongs.

    thanks again for your effort, Bob

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Great article, was helpful when I installed mine. Note that the test methodology is suspect as it relied on temp sensors on the motherboard rather than on the CPU chip. This automatically favors the blower because it is going to cool the motherboard better than the water jacket. Tests conducted by motherboards.org showed _dramatic_ differences in CPU temperature measured on the chip near the die rather than the motherboard sensor used here.

    My application is multitrack audio recording so I bought this to reduce ambient noise and it has been working well so far in my heavily-soundproofed case.

    randy.B

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    #39 – I know you were partially kidding, but one main reason is that 3M Fluorinert is VERY expensive. It also ‘eats’ some kinds of rubbers and seals in pumps and hoses. Check out the prices on the pumps that can handle it – §[< http://www.gripumps.com<]§ #60 - Two reasons, 1) Some people pay for water 2) It's stupid and wasteful, I am an American, but sometimes I think that we really take forgranted the availiability of CLEAN water... Other than that, great review. Might have to try this with some tweaking in the new rig ;)

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    why not connect this straight to your kitchen taps ? and then the spent water goes staright down the drain,. constantly cold water and no external fan?

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Why not try it with automotive antifreeze in the lines? Could they get rid of that resevoir? Have you heard of any coolers that use a peltier system for the CPU?

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    i got a question. just wanted to know what kind of fan it came with. the cfm on the fan and if i was able to change the fan and use a more powerful one on the radiator

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    The instructions for the orientation of the inlets and outlets on the radiator and waterblock seem to be wrong. They recommend using the higher of the openings as the inlet, and the lower as the outlet, but this will not ensure that the block or radiator will fill properly. They should be fed from the lower port, and drained from the higher, to stop the coolant passing straight through without filling the voids.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Because it’s cool.

    Hey, speaking of water cooling:
    §[< http://www.ibiblio.org/Dave/Dr-Fun/df9605/df960522.jpg<]§

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    #51 why did you post that techno trash?

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    I’m sure this has already been mentioned, but from the graphs and comments, it seems like the radiator is not exchanging the heat quickly enough between the water and the air.

    water heats up , then the system is no better then air cooled.

    so a bigger radiator is needed? with more circulation (bigger pump)?

    • Pete
    • 17 years ago

    What about mounting the radiator at the top of the case, below a blow-hole for a quiet 120mm fan? That way you keep everything internal. Using a pipe also sounds like a good idea, if a top blowhole is too much trouble.

    Thanks for the link to cheap Panaflo’s, AG42. Pity they don’t also have L1A’s, or it’d be a one-stop shop.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago
    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Air is free too! What a deal!

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    I think water is used most often because its FREE :c)

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    #43, there are usually additives that can be put in the water to prevent mold/fungus, to prevent corrosion, or even to make it a cool color (with clear tubing).

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Water is used most often because of its heat-conductive properties. There are cooling systems that use other liquids — I suppose something like “coolant” for cars.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    I suppose there is another alternative — the ubiquitous clean room which has all but disappeared. Refrigerated rooms with filtered air in some other location than where your monitor, keyboard and mouse sit.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    I’m too lazy to read the other posts… but umm… what about using a liquid other than water?

    • Ruiner
    • 17 years ago

    AG43: They do…it’s called a vapochill, but the active/freon cooling goes straight to the cpu core.
    People have built watercooling rigs into mini refrigerators, but they are not suited to the constant heat output of a hot PC (the compressors are not designed to run 24/7).
    It’s not as efficient as the phase change systems (vapochill).

    Most good custom systems use copper blocks, 1/2″ tubing (low resistance) and fittings all around, and automotive heater cores (as the radiator). You can pick cores up for 10 bucks or so on ebay.
    Typical setup is a heater core in the lower/front of the case, with a shrouded 120mm fan drawing fresh air into the case through the core.
    PSU and rear case fans serve as exhaust.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    As someone who hasnt really looked into water-cooling, excuse me if this is a stupid question.

    Do they make PC water-coolers with active cooling? ie. a mini refrigeration unit integrated into the resevoir? We have lots of such devices in the lab here, but they are pretty industrial and weren’t designed with size or cost issues in mind.

    Would a PC sized one be too big? noisy? $$??

    Also what do you to keep mold and fungus from scumming up the works?

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    39-
    If you go to 2cooltek.com they have some panaflows for dirt cheap ($10). Not very high CFM, but so silent I had to put it near my ear to hear any noise. I also recently bought a Thermalright AX-7 and was going to put one of the panaflows on it, but settled for one of my Antec case fans instead (slight increase in noise and CFM, but I can’t find any stats for them)

    The case was almost silent, for about 2 weeks.

    Then the bearings in my 75 GXP started to whine, and all my work was for naught. I am looking forward to getting this noisy drive out of my system, but I cannot afford it right now.

    So in conclusion, getting quieter fans is probably the cheapest part of silencing your case.

    • mfiner
    • 17 years ago

    I wonder what would have happened if radiator was still mounted internally but the fans sucked air into the case rather than forcing it out. As long as the the case was using quiet fans and had adequate ventilation I would be curious to know the temps.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Hmm, I have always been intrigued by watercooling yet have never had the guts to go watercool my computer… something about water and electricity just doesn’t sit right with me.
    However, my attempts at creating a relatively silent aircooled system have, more or less, been a failure (I suppose if I could afford some new, quite Panaflows or Stealth fans it would help some)

    Why not just dip the computer in a tub of flourient 😀

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    One thing about those cross-sections, though, is it seems they were cut in a way that crushed the internal elements, and thus the pictures we’re seeing aren’t accurate for a working system before being cut away.

    • Mr Bill
    • 17 years ago

    Ruiner has good points. A shroud would probably help the radiator out quit a bit. Maybe put the radiator in the front of the case. The water cooled rigs that I’ve seen posted that claim to be quiet use the low rpm 120mm and larger diameter case fans.

    • sativa
    • 17 years ago

    good article btw =)

    • sativa
    • 17 years ago

    [quote]English is not my native tounge, but shouldn’t sativa’s comment read:
    Grammar checking is a nice function of most modern word processors?[/quote]I was waiting for someone to correct my statement ;). But the reason i wrote it was because there seems to be a ton of errors in tech-report articles. It is just something that’s easy to fix and makes everything look more professional. It was a suggestion, not a criticism.

    • Ruiner
    • 17 years ago

    I’ve run watercooling on my rig on and off for a couple of years. It’s effective and quiet.
    The rig in the review has a couple of problems. At least from the photos, the block looks to be made from Aluminum. Copper (at least for the base) performs much better, though at higher cost.
    That rad looks ok, design wise. Radiators perform best with a spacer and shroud. Airflow plummets with the fan mounted flush to the rad. Fresh air for intake is a must as well.
    The extra heat into the case isn’t as big a deal since the cpu is cool. Decent case exhaust helps.

    • liquidsquid
    • 17 years ago

    What difference would water-cooling a power supply make over any other component? Granted you may have a few hundred volts running around in portions, which is nothing compared to RF transmitter water-cooling. Specialized heatsink material with extruded tubing for heat transport is an easy thing to form into heatsink material and keep a long ways from any high voltage. The power supply would have to be designed with water-cooling in mind. It would be difficult at best to modify an existing supply for water-cooling. I was wondering if any company manufactures something like this yet. If not, I am surprised.

    -LS

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    I don’t know if this would be a good idea (I’m really a newbie in system cooling, and in knowing what can and what cannot be done in a system) (also, my native language is not english, so there WILL be errors in this post):

    To follow on #13’s idea, how about putting the radiator in front of the case (lowest as possible), with the fan reversed so that it pulls air inside. And then putting an extra fan in the back of the case pushing air out (of course), and then attaching some sort of conduit (like a large plastic tube or somethin’) that would go from the radiator to the extra back fan. If this would work, it would keep all the components inside the case, and the heat produced by the radiator going into the case would be minimized. It would probably make more noize though, since there would be an extra fan in the back…

    Anyway, it might be a stupid idea, but hey, it’s just an idea…

    • Mr Bill
    • 17 years ago

    My last post is a troll, really, although correct. An on topic comment will follow after I read the article.

    • Mr Bill
    • 17 years ago

    AG#14
    [quote]BTW,
    C = 5*(F – 32)/9
    F = 9*C/5 + 32[/quote]
    Any set of two equivalent points on both scales will work. Above based on freezing point of water but confusing because you have to change signs.

    Here is another easier way based on both scales being congruent at -40 and you add and then subtract both ways. But you only have to memorize one number, -40.
    So you add 40 (strictly speaking you subtract -40) to reach the freezing point from the congruent point, do the conversion, then subtract 40 (strictly speaking again you add -40) to get back to the congruent point which is -40 on both scales.
    C = [(F + 40)*5/9] -40
    F= [(C + 40)*9/5] -40
    Is’nt that easier? <grin> [Heh]

    Just to confuse us all further. The AG#14 method uses the freezing point on each scale for its “congruent” point (0 for C and 32 for F) which makes it confusing:
    So for F to C: you subtract 32 from F to reach the freezing point of water, do the conversion, then subtract zero to get back to the congruent point which for C is zero
    C = [(F – 32)*5/9] + 0
    But for C to F: you add zero to reach the freezing point of water, do the conversion, then add 32 to get back to the congruent point which for F is 32
    F = [(C + 0)*9/5] + 32
    So you have to memorize the two freezing points (not so hard) and remember which way to get back to the two convergent points. [Bleh!, Yech!]

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    *[

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    I tried to water cool my cpu but it all burn up bad when I poor teh water on it please help me

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    One thing’s certain, that cpu block is as shitty as it get, engineering-wise.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Good review but it would be nice to have a better look at the waterblock itself. Does anyone know how good it is? Would it be better to buy the kit then get a different block from Switftech or Danger Den for example?

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    liquid squid: watercooling a power supply doesn’t sound like a good idea to me

    and that was a very good review, keep up the good work

    • TheCollective
    • 17 years ago

    Er that is aligned LEFT. More coffee……

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    English is not my native tounge, but shouldn’t sativa’s comment read:
    Gramm[b]a[/b]r check[b]ing[/b] is a nice function of most modern word processors?
    I’m also not convinced that it should be called a “function of most modern word processors”. How about “Most modern word processors are able to check grammar” or something similar.
    How about people living in glass houses not throwing stones?
    Before you start flaming this post, please note the disclaimer it starts with. Normally I wouldn’t bother reading or replying to obvious trolls, it’s just that now I find it improves my sullen mood.

    • TheCollective
    • 17 years ago

    Does someone know why the comments are aligned right now instead of being centered across the page? It looks really goofy to me.

    • liquidsquid
    • 17 years ago

    Water cooling only makes sense if you can ditch b[

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Give me a VapoChill anyday over this one. 😉

    • EasyRhino
    • 17 years ago

    Okay about the story… that’s pretty interesting Dr. Evil, I would also recommend jacking up the internal cooling fans if you wanted to make another try at internal.

    About about the dumb trolling:

    a) Evil’s grammar wasn’t really bad there. I’m sure the Queen would disapprove of the use of “quieter” as an adverb, but the verbs are conjugated correctly and everything, so you can lay off.

    b) MS Word has had a grammar checker for a long time. It just ain’t that good 🙂

    ER

    • element
    • 17 years ago

    [q]Grammer check is a nice function of most modern word processors.[/q]
    1/ Modern word processors do a spell check, they’re not smart enough to check for grammar errors… yet.
    2/ Don’t laugh with other peoples grammar errors, you never know if English is their motherlanguage or not.
    3/ See AG #1 “Farenheight” if Adi is an american or living in an english speaking country then it’s a big error from him. It’s less worse if someone from, let’s say Hungary, writes this because I doubt if your Hungarian would be better than his English.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 17 years ago

    sativa, once again thank you for your useless comment. I think you need a better hobby than to troll posts with your clever comments on other people

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    that cooling rig sucks. but then again it’s cheap, so I didn’t expect anything else.

    why not using graphs with both fahrenheit and celsius? one could go kelvin, too.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Lucky #13

    An intake fan in the front of the case might be a good idea too, if the case will allow it. Conversely, you could try the intake in the rear and exhaust in the front to give the radiator the coolest air, but that would be kind of strange.

    BTW,
    C = 5*(F – 32)/9
    F = 9*C/5 + 32

    #12, my 1800 at load goes between 48C and 53C with stock cooling depending on room temperature. And yes, the temp in here really fluctuates that much, unfortunately thanks to our worthless thermostat.

    Watercooling kits I’ve read about at other sites offer components for your motherboard chipset, your video card, and even your hard drive. The radiator would have to expel a lot more heat with all of that going on, but I think the case temp would stay a lot lower this way. You’d also only have one low-rpm fan to worry about for noise (and the hard drive).

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    “The Metric system is French. Who would adopt that on purpose?”

    People who couldn’t care less where it comes from but who want a rational base-10 system of measurement.

    “metric system sucks, you can keep it”

    Aah, now you’ve gone and blown my argument with that witty, clever, intelligent comment.

    Anyway – if the performance of the radiator suffers from drawing warm air from inside the case, how about just reversing the airflow through the radiator, to drag air from outside the case through the radiator? Sure, you’ll need to make sure that air exits the case easily, and the case temp might go up a bit, but it would be a lot neater than having the radiator outside the case.

    • leor
    • 17 years ago

    I’ll tell you what, I’ve got a 2100+ that ran at about 54 degrees C with stock cooling. I slapped a Coolermaster HHC-001 for 27 bucks and it’s a cool 38 now. I was totally shocked, I was thinking of getting water cooling before I got that bad boy.

    The cheapest one I saw was 199 though so this 99 dollar offering is pretty cool, but I’m not sure how much better the performance would be than what I got for a third of the price.

    sleepy time

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    The Metric system is French. Who would adopt that on purpose?

    • sativa
    • 17 years ago

    [quote]Such systems typically cool much better than traditional heatsink/fan combos, and run quieter, to boot. [/quote]Grammer check is a nice function of most modern word processors.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Looks like it’s made out of painted cheese.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    *[

    • murray
    • 17 years ago

    I’m with Monaco, I find the cross section of the waterblock somewhat confusing.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    I had an old Globalwin Slot A fan kit that had this cheap sort of clear plastic duct – you had to fold it and interlock some tabs.
    It screwed to back 80mm case fan and drew in cool outside air and aimed it at the Athlon.

    I still have it for no apparent reason. Some sort of similar duct attached to a side-mounted fan might work – would direct cool air to radiator. I’m just thinking cheap. I’m sure there’s a much better more aesthetic solution.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    good notes and pictures.

    i’m curious about why the Taisol cooler was used for comparison? it’s not a “stock cooler” comparison. we’re trying to figure out from this article whether it’s worthwhile to spend $99 and a lot of installation time to bring a water based contraption into a rig.

    seems like a better air cooler (Swiftech? Alpha?) might have made for a more useful comparison in making the case for/against water.

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    metric system sucks, you can keep it

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago
    • monaco
    • 17 years ago

    not bad for $99, not bad at all! It doesn’t leak, and it keeps the CPU cool enough to run- those are the highest expectations of a prebuilt H20 system 😀

    This is definately a good starter kit for the water cooling newb, I think. Play with this kit for a while, and eventually step up to a better waterblock or pump. I kinda want one myself, just for fun.

    comment: looking at the cross-section of the ‘block on their page, I have to wonder- WHAT the hell is that? Not the world’s best design, methinks. A better block would do wonders for the temp, I bet…likewise the price too, probably. Can’t have everything!

    • Anonymous
    • 17 years ago

    Ok well… another great article 🙂

    Unfortunetly the graphs kinda suck *gasp* since the temp is in Farenheight wich means not much to me….

    Too bad i guess…

    Adi

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