asetek WaterChill CPU Cooler Review

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asetek WaterChill CPU Cooler Review
Water Cooling for Pentium 4, Athlon XP, and Athlon 64

By: Chris Angelini
August 25, 2003


When you hear one of your friends talk about a skydiving adventure, or even a bungee jump for that matter, do you tend to smile, nod, and think to yourself, "one of these days, buddy..."?  There is an element of danger inherent to every so-called extreme sport.  However, extreme, by its very nature, implies the sort of excitement you just can't experience mowing the lawn on a Saturday morning.  "Humans simply aren't meant to fly down mountains at 70 miles an hour on a skateboard, as they do in the Street Luge," you argue.  That doesn't stop a fearless few from risking everything for a few moments of breathless adrenaline, though.  Well, the same argument applies to the most daring overclockers, who use unconventional means of combating heat in the name of procuring additional performance. 

Five years ago, I wouldn't have set a Coke can on top of our case, for fear of spillage.  Liquid, in our opinion, had no business anywhere near an expensive amalgamation of components that relied on electricity to operate..  A short time after, a Peltier cooler found its way onto my 400MHz Pentium II.  It was a short-lived relationship, unfortunately. Condensation took the lives of the processor and motherboard a couple of days later, affirming my stance on liquid and electronics.  Yet, the plight of the overclocking enthusiast is a dire one.  I've persisted for the past few years by pushing my equipment to its limit with nothing more than fancy heatsinks and powerful fans. 

And now, I find myself armed with asetek's freshman venture into water cooling, the WaterChill CPU cooler.  Designed with quick-disconnect fittings and a detailed manual, it is apparent the asetek wants to attract cautious enthusiast.  Yet the components that comprise the WaterChill kit are well-built, so that even discerning power users should take heed.  asetek certainly is well known for their hugely successful Vapochill line of high quality vapor phase refrigerated PC solutions.  Let's see if the WaterChill is cut from the same cloth.

WaterChill CPU and Chipset Kit Contents
Everything you need to water-cool


WaterChill Kit, fully configured and arranged in series

 

WaterChill CPU Cooler:

  • Copper base plate with "half-moon" design

  • Supports Pentium 4 (S478), Athlon XP (SA), and Athlon 64 (S754) - no mention of the Socket 940 Opteron

  • Capable of dissipating up to 200W of heat

  • 10mm "quick-disconnect" fittings

  • Includes thermal transfer compound

WaterChill Chipset Cooler:

  • Copper base plate

  • 10mm "quick-disconnect" fittings

  • Includes necessary mounting hardware

WaterChill Pump:

  • Capable of moving 700 liters per hour of water

  • Utilizes a hermaphroditic 115VAC power connector for easy integration

  • Designed to start up and shut down in sync with PC

WaterChill Reservoir:

  • Plexiglas construction

  • Quick filling procedure

  • 10mm "quick-disconnect" fittings

WaterChill Radiation and Fan:

  • Capable of dissipating 400W of total heat

  • Copper tubing

  • 120mm Sunon Fan

  • Compliant with asetek's NoiseControl feature for 7V or 12V operation

  • Rated for 50,000 hours of operation

WaterChill Tube and Accessories:

  • Polyether non-kinking tubes

  • Anti-algae fluid to reduce bacteria and algae growth

  • All necessary hardware for mounting CPU block, chipset block, radiator, and pump


The operating premise behind the asetek WaterChill kit is fairly simple.  Instead of employing a traditional heat-sink and fan combinations, which rely on air to effectively dissipate heat energy, asetek uses water as its cooling medium.  The negative implication is, of course, that water and electricity don't symbiotically coexist in a computer.  Implemented properly, however, water is immensely more efficient than air and has a greater heat transfer capacity to boot. 

Of course, water is only effective if it is, in turn, being cooled itself.  While air is continually circulating and is generally in no danger of saturating with heat (unless you live in Bakersfield, CA where ambient air often hovers around 110 degrees Fahrenheit), the water in a water cooling system is less abundant.  Once heat is transferred from the processor to the water block's copper base, then from the base to the water flowing through the block, it is circulated through a radiator, which functions much like that which is found in a automobile.  Air is blown through the radiator (in this case by a 120mm Sunon fan) to cool the circulating water and is once again pumped back through the CPU block, to transfer additional heat from the cold plate and processor. 

The Makings of a Water Cooling Kit 


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