VapoChill Retrofit - HotHardware

VapoChill Retrofit

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By, Marco Chiappetta
April 8, 2004

We've already done comprehensive reviews of the Vapochill, and the new Vapochill XE, so we won't be going in-depth here again.  The cooling element hasn't changed, only the housing that is used to mount the copper evaporator is new.  However, we did want to update the overclocking results using some newer hardware.  After assembling the new CPU kit, we installed it onto an Abit IC7-MAX3 motherboard, powered by a 3.4GHz Pentium 4 Extreme Edition and 1GHz of Kingston PC3500 RAM.  This particular CPU happens to be an unlocked engineering sample, so we were able to experiment with its multiplier as well as raise the Front Side Bus (FSB).


STOCK SPEED
(17X200=3.4GHZ)


MAXIMUM STABLE OC
(18X215=3.87GHZ)


MAXIMUM OC
(18X223=4.017GHZ)

What we have for you here are three WCPUID screenshots representing our CPU's stock clock speed, it's maximum stable overclock and the peak overclocked speed that allowed us to boot into Windows, but wasn't quite stable.  We gave the CPU a slight bump in voltage to 1.65v, and then raised its multiplier to 18.  Next, we slowly raised the FSB until the system was no longer stable.  Our system peaked at just a hair under 3.9GHz.  At 3.87GHz, the system was able to run Stamford's U's Folding@Home graphical client in the background while gaming with UT2004 for a few hours.  We continued to push things a bit further and were able to break the 4GHz barrier with the Vapochill, but the system could not be considered stable.

Idle Temperatures with the Vapochill
Brrrr!


VAPOCHILL @ 3.4GHZ   |   STOCK HEATSINK @ 3.4GHZ

 


VAPOCHILL @ 3.87GHZ   |   STOCK HEATSINK @ 3.72GHZ

The Vapochill was designed with one thing in mind - to keep processor temperatures as low as possible, and it does this very well!  Using the information provided under the "PC Health" section of our motherboard's BIOS, we recorded a few temperatures with the Vapochill while our CPU was sitting idle, at both stock and overclocked speeds.  For reference, we've also included the temperatures reported while using the stock Intel heatsink that came with our CPU.  As you can see, the Vapochill kept the processor at sub-zero temperatures regardless of whether or not it was running at its stock speed of 3.4GHz or overclocked to almost 3.9GHz.  We should mention that with the stock heatsink, we were only able to overclock our CPU to 3.72GHz (18x207MHz).  So, not only was the Vapochill overclocked significantly higher, but it obviously kept the processor much cooler.  As well it should considering it costs over $800...

Load Temperatures with the Vapochill
Baby, It's Cold Outside!


VAPOCHILL @ 3.4GHZ   |   STOCK HEATSINK @ 3.4GHZ

 


VAPOCHILL @ 3.87GHZ   |   STOCK HEATSINK @ 3.72GHZ

This next set of temperatures were recorded at the same clock speeds as above, but this time, we ran the system at 100% CPU utilization for about 20 minutes.  At stock speeds, the Vapochill still managed to keep the processor running at temperatures below freezing.  While overclocked, and under load, however, our CPU hit 7°C.  Not bad considering the stock heatsink hummed along at a toasty 62°C!  Clearly, for hardcore enthusiasts with the budget, the Vapochill is a fantastic choice.

At $100+ dollars, the new Vapochill CPU kit isn't exactly cheap.  Then again, if you sprung for a Vapochill in the first place, $100 is probably a drop in the well for you.  The new CPU kit is definitely a worthwhile upgrade for current Vapochill owners, as it makes changing the CPU and mating the evaporator properly much easier.  There is a fair amount of work involved getting it installed, but it's nothing an experienced user can't do in under an hour.  Should you be in the market for the Vapochill itself, up-to-date models will be shipping with the new CPU kit, so you'll be good to go right out of the box.  For more information about the Vapochill, be sure to check out our reviews of the original Vapochill, the updated P4 / Athlon version and the latest Vapochill XE.

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