Asetek Vapochill Vapor Phase Cooling System

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The Asetek Vapochill Vapor Phase Cooling System
Taking the Pentium 4 To 3.3GHz And Beyond

By, Dave Altavilla
October 23, 2002

For starters the new Vapochills are delivered to the user significantly closer to a final assembly than the prior version.  This is due in part to the new "CPU-Kit" package that Asetek has designed for Socket 478 motherboards, as well as Socket A platforms.

Installation and Setup Of The Vapochill
Not for the novice but neither is it rocket science

 

   

The case is a fairly sturdy, tall and wide unit but still can be considered a Mid Tower form factor,  The unit is actually somewhat shorter than the Vapochill of old that we tested a couple of years back.  It comes with the Condenser and Compressor assembly already mounted.  There is also a pop out motherboard tray which is nice but not optimal, as we would have liked the slide out variety for easier mounting back in the case.  Additionally, the tray itself uses plastic press-fit pins to mount the motherboard.  Again, not optimal in our opinion but they serve the purpose.

 

 

 

The "ChillControl" unit has been significantly upgraded since the first meeting with our friend Vapochill.  There is now an LED display readout that indicates the Cold Plate temperature, Condenser Fan Speed, System Clock Speed (user programmed) and various error messages, should the system fail to power up correctly.  The control circuit also holds the motherboard in a reset soft power off state, until the Cold Plate reaches a preset minimal temperature.  It is factory set to -5°C by default and we left it at this setting as it seemed to be optimal.  Regardless, the main function the ChillControl serves is to keep the system from trying to power up with a "hot start" before the refrigeration process has built up enough chill behind it to boot the CPU with full stability.

On the far right, you can see the various components of the CPU and Motherboard kit.  Assembly at first seems a little dramatic but in actuality, once you've been through it, it is a lot easier than it seems at first glance.  Granted, you are doing some pretty unholy things to your CPU and Motherboard, as you can see in the shots below.
 

 

 

Asetek instructs you to completely cover the transistors on the backside of the Pentium 4, with thermal grease.  You also are instructed to fill all the pin holes in the motherboard socket with thermal grease as well.  Both of these steps are counter measures to avoid condensation problems when your CPU is super chilled but has warm ambient airflow around the socket.  Asetek reports that these are only extra precautions and are not really necessary in most system configurations.  However, better safe than sorry!  A quick bath in alcohol will remove any thermal paste if you ever want to clean things up for use in a standard system. 

Then there is the method of heating the pins of the CPU, while simultaneously chilling the core.  The square socket and motherboard heater patches, are connected to the ChillControl unit which is programmed with a specific power load to generate up to 4 watts of heat.  These square elements warm the underside of the motherboard and top side of the CPU, so that the pins are also warm, while the cold plate cools the CPU core.  This is again an anti-condensation, and ultimately a corrosion control method, so that the pins don't get wet and rust over extended periods of use.  They also serve to keep condensation from forming on the motherboard area around the CPU socket, since the core itself is chilled to well below the ambient air temperature.  Notice as well, in the far right shot, that the plastic heat sink bracket is now mounted on the motherboard with screws and plastic nuts.  This is all included hardware found in the CPU assembly kit pictured above.

More Setup and Power-Up

Tags:  cooling, system, Cool, STEM, ASETEK, AP, K

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