asetek Vapochill XE Vapor Phase Cooling System

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asetek Vapochill XE Vapor Phase Cooling System - Page 3


asetek Vapochill Extreme Edition
How can cooling be such a hot topic?

Written by: Robert Maloney
September 29, 2003


FutureMark's benchmarks and Comanche4 Demo
Does the end justify the means?

Now that we have seen how the Vapochill has fared in keeping our CPU chilled, allowing us to overclock the system up to 303MHz, we ran a few benchmarks to see what kind of performance gains this would give us.  We started by running FutureMark's PCMark 2002, to compare the CPU and Memory performance.  This was followed by 3DMark 2001SE and the Comanche4 Demo, which should give us some indication of the effects on pixel shading and rendering in gaming engines.

We were impressed to see a full 33% improvement in the CPU benchmark, all while keeping the P4 humming along at a chilly -20 degrees C. In effect, we have turned our 2.4GHz P4 into a 3.6GHz, but running cooler than any air-cooled CPU could hope for.  It is these kinds of gains that instantly reward the new Vapochill owner.

PCMark 2002 wasn't the only test to see major improvements, as it's near cousin, 3DMark 2001, also got a nice performance boost.  By increasing the FSB to 303MHz, we were able to increase our 3DMark score by 2051 points.  This increase did not come at a any cost to system stability either.  We were able to reliably run all of our benchmarks with no crashes or other "hiccups".

In our final test, we ran the demo version of Comanche 4, which is notorious for it's dependency on CPU and memory bandwidth.  We were able to get frame rates just shy of 76 frames per second, easily eclipsing the 53.33 fps we got at stock speeds.  So, not only is your CPU investment being protected by the cooling power of the Vapochill, you also are getting the ability to add an additional 42% in gaming performance.

There's absolutely no denying that the Vapochill XE CPU Cooling Unit is hands-down the most effective technology for removing heat from a CPU.  The real question we should be asking then, is this the right solution for everybody?  While we were able to get a high overclock and the associated performance gains that come with it, does it justify the current price tag of $895 that asetek's US distributors are currently listing on their websites?  The cost of the chassis alone can dwarf the price tag of all of the components inside.  It's a tough pill to swallow for some, and with the added complexity of the setup, we may very well find that these rigs are catered more for the hard-core enthusiast, less so for the knowledgeable users who can justify the expense.

From a personal standpoint, the case didn't feel like a thousand bucks.  True, the emphasis here is on the cooling, not the looks, but we feel that asetek should produce a better quality chassis to support the user's investment in the cooling system.  To make an analogy, people buy Ferrari's for their engines, but would they be fan favorites if the doors wouldn't close and the hood was made of plastic?  Probably not.  Regardless, the case is stylish with its Titanium finish (it's also available in white), large ventilation openings, and blue status lights.  The Vapor Phase cooling solution is exceptional, and even with a CPU overclocked well beyond any standard air or water-cooling setup, the Vapochill EX is relatively quiet.  Based on its best-of-class cooling capabilities and stylish appearance, we're giving the Asetek Vapochill XE Cooling System for the Socket 478 Pentium 4 a rating of 8.5 on the HotHardware HeatMeter...


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