Introduction and Technical Specifications


Water cooling has become very popular over the last few years with the rise in use of the all-in-one (AIO) coolers. Those type of coolers combine a single or dual-fan radiator with a combination CPU block / pump unit, pre-filled from the factory and maintenance free. They are a good cooling alternative to an air-based CPU cooler, but are limited in their expandability potential. That is where the DIY water cooling components come into place. DIY water cooling components allow you to build a customized cooling loop for cooling everything from the CPU to the chipset and GPUs (and more). However, DIY loops are much more maintenance intensive than the AIO coolers because of the need to flush and refill the loops periodically to maintain performance and component health.

With the increased popularity in liquid cooling type CPU coolers and the renewed interest and availability of enthusiast-friendly parts with the introduction of the Intel Z97, X99, and Z170 parts, it was past time to measure how well different CPU water blocks performed on an Intel X99 board paired up with an Intel LGA2011-v3 5960X processor. The five water blocks compared include the following:

  • Koolance CPU-360 water block
  • Koolance CPU-380I water block
  • Swiftech Apogee HD water block
  • Swiftech Apogee XL water block
  • XSPC Raystorm water block


Technical Specifications (taken from the manufacturer websites)

Water Block Specifications
  Koolance Swiftech XSPC
  CPU-360 CPU-380I Apogee HD Apogee XL Raystorm
Block Top Material Nickel-plated Brass POM Acetal
Base Plate Material Nickel-plated Copper Copper
Water Inlet Jet Impingement Plate Straight Pass-Thru Jet Impingement Plate
Pass-Thru Channels Micro-channels Micro-pins Micro-channels
Coolant ports 2 4 2

Continue reading our CPU Water Block Comparison on the Haswell-E article!

The CRYORIG H5 heatsink comes with some new features

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2015 - 02:34 PM |
Tagged: CRYORIG, H5 Universal, heatsink, Hive Fin

The CRYORIG H5 is referred to as Universal as it supports LGA sockets going back to 775 and all AM2/3 or FM2 AMD sockets, significantly more breadth that most coolers on the market.  At 110.9x143x168.3mm (4.4x5.6x6.6") it may not fit in every case and the 920g with the fan installed is going to need a sturdy board to support it.  [H]ard|OCP tested out the effectiveness of the Hive Fin and Jet Fin features in their review.  As it turns out the cooler is not the most effective choice but it is one of the quietest and for the price it is recommended for users that won't be heavily overclocking their CPU.


"The CRYORIG H5 UNIVERSAL heatsink claims to have a Hive Fin Design for Extreme Performance Efficiency and is compatible with a huge number of older and modern AMD and Intel processors. Along with the Hive Fins, we get Jet Fin Acceleration and Turbulence Reduction. Let's however see just how well it cools your CPU."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Lian Li Announces X510 Aluminum Full-Tower Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 17, 2015 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: Lian Li, full tower, enclosure, cases, aluminum case

Looking for a super deluxe way to hold just about any size rig? Lian Li has a sophisticated looking option with the new X510 full-tower enclosure.


An all-aluminum case (of course - it's Lian Li!) with a no-nonsense design aesthetic and very roomy interior, the X510 still keeps a fairly trim profile thanks to the omission of 5.25-inch drive bays.

Here are some of the key features from Lian Li:

  • Isolated air chambers for efficient cooling
  • Fits huge components – 330mm VGA Card, 180mm CPU cooler, 245mm PSU length
  • Eight expansion slots
  • Support for eight total drives
  • Tempered glass window for showing off hardware
  • Included fan speed controller


The glass side window and included fan controller are nice touches, and while the X510 carries a steep MSRP it doesn't seem out of place for an all-alumimum case like this (depending on performance). So what is pricing/availability? The X510 should be available later in September for $399.

Source: Lian Li

Aqua Computer Starts Selling a Full Cover Water Block for AMD's R9 Nano Graphics Card

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 16, 2015 - 06:29 PM |
Tagged: water cooling, kryographics, GPU Water Block, copper, aqua computer

AMD officially launched its R9 Nano graphics card last week, and aftermarket coolers are already starting to ship. German-based Aqua Computer is the first company to offer a custom cooler for AMD’s pint-sized powerhouse. The Kryographics R9 Nano is a full cover water block that takes the already tiny card to a single slot design.

Aqua Computer Kryographics R9 Nano Full Cover Water Block Plexiglass.jpg

The Kryographics R9 Nano cooler is a machined copper block that covers the entire PCB and is paired to the VRMs using thermal pads and the GPU (and HBM) using thermal compound. The single slot cooler comes in two options including a see-through translucent ruby colored acrylic glass variant and a version with a brushed stainless steel top cover. In all cases, the block itself is all copper with microchannels over the GPU portion.

The cooler uses standard G1/4 threading on the ports and is compatible with CrossFire multi-GPU watercooled setups by removing the terminating screws and adding ports on the oppposite side of the card..

According to Aqua Computer, the Kryographics cooler was able to keep the R9 Nano GPU under 35 degrees C throughout their testing using Furmark. It will be interesting to see if the new cooler would allow the chips to maintain higher clockspeeds, especially with the power target maxed out in CCC. The need to fit a radiator, pump, and tubing in the case does while still needing to use a Nano (in lieu of a Fury X) makes this a niche within a niche product, but I’m sure some enthusiast will find a use for it!

Aqua Computer Kryographics R9 Nano Full Cover Water Block.jpg

The Kryographics R9 Nano is available for purchase now (though there is currently a shipping delay of 10 days). The base version without the see-through window has an MSRP of 89.90 EUR while the Kryographics Acrylic Glass Edition has a slight premium at 99.90 EUR. (At the time of writing, that pricing works out to about $102 and $113 USD respectively.)

More About HDPLEX H5

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 15, 2015 - 02:57 PM |
Tagged: HDPLEX, h5, fanless

FanlessTech has another look at the HDPLEX H5. Their last preview did not have pictures of the case itself, so I needed to use a photo of the previous model when I wrote up our coverage of it. This time, seven whole months later, we have more details. It will weigh eight kilograms, its supported CPU cooling performance has been bumped up five watts to 95W TDP, and it will mini-ITX, microATX, and even full ATX motherboards.


Image Credit: FanlessTech

The chassis has 16 heat pipes connected from the case, which acts as a heatsink, to the internal components -- eight pipes to the CPU and eight to the discrete GPU (if installed). This makes it an effective home theater PC case, accepting CPUs up to the Intel Core i7-6700K (which is 95W). The same number of heat pipes go to the GPU, but that TDP is not listed. If it is similar to the CPU's 95W limit, that doesn't go too far in GPU land. Don't expect to passively cool a 980 Ti or anything. Still a discrete GPU of any magnitude is a nice addition to a fanless PC.


Image Credit: FanlessTech

One minor point before we close out, HDPLEX will apparently support custom aluminum power buttons and face plates. It's a small novelty but it could be nice if the system is in a visible location.

The HDPLEX H5 doesn't have a release date yet, but its price will apparently be under $300.

Source: FanlessTech

One day the Enermax ZDPMS might tell you just how good your PSU is

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 14, 2015 - 05:47 PM |
Tagged: enermax, Zero Delay Power Monitoring System, ZDPMS, PSU

On its face the Enermax ZDPMS software seems a brilliant idea, giving you detailed real time information on your PSU and what it is currently doing.  You can watch each rail separately with values for both current and voltage being displayed, the overall draw on your PSU and its current efficiency rating as well as setting Over Current Protection values.   There are some flies in the ointment, not the least of which is that as of this moment the software supports the Enermax Digifanless 550W PSU ...and that is the end of the current list of supported models.  The current version of the software also let [H]ard|OCP set OCP and OVP values at which the PSU should trip an alarm and reduce or shut off power, which was not exactly what happened when [H] tried an admittedly nasty trick on the PSU.  The review is not all negative and there are some hints of what this software could aspire to as it matures, you should read the whole review right here.


"One area that has been somewhat overlooked when it comes to PC desktop system power supplies is monitoring software. There have been some attempts in the past, but those have been somewhat anemic. Enermax is looking to change that with its new Zero Delay Power Monitoring System."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:


Source: [H]ard|OCP

Making the most of the MasterCase 5

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 10, 2015 - 05:19 PM |
Tagged: cooler master, MasterCase 5, MasterCase Pro 5

The new MasterCase 5 is up for review at The Tech Report, billed as flexible for those who like to have choice when positioning components in their enclosures.  It can handle up to ATX motherboards in its 235x512x548mm (9.3x20.2x21.6") shell and depending on where you locate your drive cage, GPUs of up to 16" in length.  In their testing they discovered some inconsistencies in the manual, which they were able to overcome and set up the case in their preferred configuration.  While they do like both the MasterCase 5 and the Pro version they point out that purchasing the Pro model makes sense financially as it would cost more to buy the non-Pro model and the various components needed to match the Pro mode.  Either way, the review is worth looking over as this is a very unique case.


"Cooler Master's MasterCase 5 is the company's first product based on an ambitious design philosophy it calls "FreeForm." We put the MasterCase to the test to see how FreeForm works out in practice."

Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:


HDPLEX Creates Fanless, Internal PSU for NUC and Thin-ITX

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 8, 2015 - 07:00 AM |
Tagged: PSU, nuc, Intel, HDPLEX, Fanless PSU

In an effort to make small form factor PCs even smaller, HDPLEX has created an internal power supply for them. Added benefit: it's fanless and supports up to 80W. This is designed to replace the power bricks that are apparently common for most builds, meaning that you have one less thing to hide behind something else.


The unit takes up 121.5mm x 30mm x 40mm, which works out to 4.8”, 1.2”, and 1.6” for people who like measurement systems without simple decimal shift conversions. This is on par with some external power bricks that I've seen for the NUCs, although those are 65W (the same as Intel's official brick) while this one is 80W. I'm not sure what that extra 15W will get you though, unless you jump into the Thin-ITX form factor, which is also supported.


The HDPLEX Nano ACDC 80W is available now for $32 USD at their website and Amazon.

Thanks FanlessTech.

Source: HDPLEX

Lian Li Releases PC-V33 Small Footprint ATX Cube Enclosure

Subject: Cases and Cooling | September 3, 2015 - 01:04 PM |
Tagged: Test Bench, PC-V33, Lian Li, enclosure, atx case, aluminum case

Lian Li has announced a new enclosure along the lines of the PC-Q33 (a mini-ITX enclosure we reviewed here), but this new PC-V33 houses a full ATX motherboard inside its cube-like, hinged exterior.


If you’ve looked into open test benches at all you’ll really appreciate the design of the PC-V33, which essentially takes that idea and adds a cover that conveniently folds down on a hinge, exposing all components. This is a very unconventional design, and one I really appreciated when reviewing the mini-ITX version. So what’s new besides the larger size and support for ATX motherboards?

Here’s a quick rundown of the enclosure’s features:

  • Unique flip-open canopy, opens to test bench style ease of access
  • Full ATX size build in compact mid-tower case
  • Full sized PSU and GPU card supported
  • Up to 240mm internal radiator support
  • Redesigned rear vents with increased air flow
  • New shock-absorbing drive cage
  • Easy-open side doors with no screws and toolless design throughout
  • Black or silver full aluminum or add a tempered glass side wall

In addition to supporting full-sized components and 240mm radiators, there is also support for tower air coolers up to 190mm high, and the case also features a rubber-damped hard drive cage (and drives have their own 120mm exhaust fan). How much space will the PC-V33 take up on your desk? Dimensions are (WxHxD) 13.15" x 13.86" x 15.35", which are on par with an open test bench case.


The MSRP of the standard version is $199 and the version with a glass side panel is $229. The PC-V33 will available in early September.

Source: Lian Li

Crono Labs C1 Computer Case Hits Indiegogo: DIY AIO

Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 31, 2015 - 05:25 PM |
Tagged: matx case, Indiegogo, enclosures, crowdfunding, Crono Labs, cases, C1 Computer Case

Crono Labs of Galway, Ireland is a startup that hopes to “declutter your desk” with their C1 Computer Case, a unique enclosure that allows you to mount a VESA compliant monitor to the case itself, creating your own all-in-one system.


The C1 is a slim micro-ATX enclosure with support for standard ATX power supplies and graphics cards up to 10.5”, and it sits on a stand that looks like that of a standard monitor.

Here’s a list of compatible components from Crono Labs:

  • mATX or ITX motherboard
  • Two 3.5″ drives
  • Two 2.5″ drives
  • GPU’s up to 10.5″
  • Low profile CPU coolers
  • Four 120mm fans
  • Water Cooling: 1X 120mm cooler and 1X 240mm cooler can be used, at the same time. Water coolers will not fit if an mATX motherboard is used


The Indiegogo page is now up, and with a modest goal of $2000 they hope to create their initial prototypes before moving to the next phase of funding for production. It’s an interesting concept, and it looks like they have thought this design through with some nice touches:

  • A short VGA, HDMI and branching power cable come with the case for reduced cable clutter. Less mess, less stress.
  • Rotated motherboard points the IO ports downwards for tidier cables. The motherboard is also raised up into the case to allow cables to go beneath it.
  • Carry handle makes transporting the case easy, from desk to desk or room to room.
  • The case has a very small footprint, leaving you with a much more pleasing work area, for all that important stuff you do.

The idea of creating a portable all-in-one type system is appealing for the space-constrained or for LAN gaming, and the ability to use full-sized components would allow for a more powerful, and lower cost, build. What do you think of this design?

Source: Indiegogo