Introduction and Waterblock Overview
Swiftech took a major leap forward with the introduction of their Apogee SKF Heirloom Series bock which is the flagship of the Apogee SKF series. They worked to refine their existing designs with smaller micro-channels in the base plate, an RGB illuminated view port in the center of the block, and an all-metal construction.
Courtesy of Swiftech
The metal construction was one of the nicer refinements, adding additional surface area for heat dissipation as well as reducing the likelihood of stripping the G1/4" fitting ports from over-tightening or switching out the block's barbs. With an MSRP of $94.95, the Apogee SKF Heirloom Series block comes at a premium price – well worth it given the block's performance and premium features.
Note that Swiftech used the same design refinements with all their Apogee SKF series water blocks. The Heirloom series block just offers an unprecedented level of customization that is only partially available with the other Apogee SKF series blocks.
Courtesy of Swiftech
One of the nicest refinements Swiftech introduced with the Heirloom Series block was its vast amount of configurability. When ordered, Swiftech allowed for customization of the top block, the cover plate, the logo, and the mounting brackets, giving the user the ability to design a very unique and build-specific block. The block top was offered in a total of five different finishes, the cover plate in six different colors, the logo in eight different colors, and the mounting brackets in two different colors. While this level of customization was limited to the Heirloom Series block, Swiftech does allow some customization on its other Apogee SKF series blocks, like the Apogee SKF and Apogee SKF Prestige blocks.
Introduction and Cooler Overview
Aquacomputer's Cuplex Kryos Next water block is aptly named, in that it is the next evolution of their award winning Cuplex Kryos block. The biggest functional redesign was with the internal flow dynamics of the block, changing from a pin grid design to a micro-channel design on the base plate.
Courtesy of Aquacomputer
Externally, they added the option of including their Vision display, which integrates into the front of the block and displays real-time statistics on coolant temperature and flow. The block we used for our tests did not include the Vision module but was an all copper design with nickel plating throughout. The base all metal version of the Cuplex Krynos Next comes at a price premium with an MSRP of around $100.00.
Courtesy of Aquacomputer
Note that the Cuplex Kryos Next water block comes with a variety of different configurations, ranging from an acrylic top to an all silver design. Because of this variety, the price can vary quite bit from the above listed MSRP. Adding the Vision module to the block can increase the price even more.
Technical Specifications (taken from the manufacturer website)
|Water Block Specifications|
|Dimensions||Base 115x: 94 x 94 x 22 mm (screws and backplate not included)
Base 2011: 98 x 98 x 22 mm (screws not included)
Base AM3: 116 x 68 x 22 mm (screws and backplate not included)
|Distance of connecting threads||Models without VISION except acrylic version: 28 mm
Acrylic version without VISION: 27 mm
Models with VISION except acrylic version: 24 mm
Acrylic version with VISION: 23.5 mm
Subject: Cases and Cooling | June 13, 2018 - 07:39 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: thermoelectric, TEC, liquid cooling, cooler master, computex 2018, computex, AIO
In addition to cases and massive amounts of RGB Cooler Master had a prototype closed loop cooler on display at Computex that combines an all in one liquid cooling loop with a TEC element that cools the water to sub-ambient temperatures.
TechPowerUp snapped photos from the show floor.
Thermoelectric coolers aren't anything new (and this isn't Cooler Master's first foray with TECs), but the hybrid approach is an interesting one. The AIO loop appears to work like a water chiller cooler would with the TEC not having direct contact with the processor but rather it is used to give the single 120mm liquid loop radiator a boost by pulling lots of heat out of the water before hitting the radiator. According to Computex attendees the loop order flows from the CPU block to the TEC element where water is passed across one side of the side and the other hot side is cooled by a large heatsink which uses four heatpipes and dual fin stacks along with two fans in a package about the size of a 240mm radiator. From there, the chilled water passes through a traditional water cooling radiator and then the cool water goes to the CPU block.
The thermoelectric cooler uses the Peltier effect where electricity (DC) is passed between an array of thermocouples that sit between two layers (usually ceramics) creating an effect where heat is drawn from one side to the other with the cool side able to be cooled below ambient temperatures while the hot side needs to be cooled by a heatsink to prevent it from overheating and reducing efficiency and/or damaging the materials.
According to PC World, Cooler Master has stated that their prototype TEC will be rated at 300W TDP which is quite a bit higher than the approximately 180W of a 240mm traditional AIO. Gordon Mah Ung was able to perform some cursory testing with a FLIR camera attached to his smartphone where he saw the cooler demonstrate its ability to cool the water used in the loop 10 to 15-degrees below ambient where it was around 80°F (~26.7°C) in the packed Computex show floor and 64 to 70°F for the water as measured by the FLIR when pointing at the radiator and tubing. Further, Cooler Master had a temperature probe at the CPU block where it measured 20°C (likely no heat load as no processor was hooked up heh). This boosted cooling performance does come with a tradeoff, however. The TEC's hot side will need to be cooled (noise) and the TEC itself will draw as much as 150W of power (it will use standard connectors that a PC PSU can drive) in order to work its cooling magic (so higher electricity usage/cost).
My first thought was that the hybrid cooler could prove useful in a SFF system by offering cooling potential that would just otherwise not be possible in the form factor with the thinking that the cooler would not need to cool to crazy low temperatures, but just enough to match the performance of a much larger water cooling loop. Gordon Mah Ung from PC World also posits that the cooler would be useful in situations where ambient temperatures are very high (say, summer months in the south with no or underpowered AC) as the TEC would be able to keep processor temperatures in check (allowing enthusiasts to maintain their overclock or at least keep stock clocks and Turbo Boost without thermal throttling) where air cooling or water cooling cannot as the best they can do is cool to ambient.
Apparently, the hybrid cooler will also be able to push things if you do want to go for higher overclocks for benchmarking runs or improved gaming performance.
One concern with thermoelectric and other sub-ambient cooling methods is condensation which can build up on the outside of cool parts like the tubing and blocks and can potentially cause instability or damage to PC components. Traditionally, the tubing and area around the CPU socket would need to be insulated to protect from this. Cooler Master's design, I don't think, is immune to this but by moving the TEC away from the processor and using it to cool the water (so no direct contact), it is allegedly much less of an issue and if the TEC is just used to provide a bit of a boost to the water loop rather than going for as low temperatures as possible the risk should be minimal.
There is no word on specific pricing or release dates, but several sites are reporting that it will be available later this year with "competitive pricing". I would guess this cooler is going to be at the high end of water cooling AIOs and expandable kits at minimum which is to say probably around $300+. (Looking on Amazon, EKWB kit with 360mm radiator is $370, you can find kits with 240mm radiators for between two-to-three hundred dollars, and a used custom loop starts around there if you find a forum deal.)
What do you think about this cooler? I am interested in seeing the reviews on this and whether it is able to combine the best of both water and TEC cooling worlds.
- CoolIt Systems Freezone Peltier CPU Cooler Review (2006) by Lee Garbutt @ PC Perspective
- Phononic's New Hex 2.0 TEC Is CPU Cooling Alternative For SFF Systems
- It's been a long time since we've seen a Peltier cooler
Subject: General Tech | June 11, 2018 - 07:10 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: water cooling, RGB LED, liquid cooling, Eisbaer, computex 2018, computex, Alphacool, AIO
During Computex last week Alphacool showed off an interesting customizable all in one (AIO) liquid cooler called the Eisbaer Extreme. The new cooler blurs the lines between a closed loop AIO and a custom loop with a radiator, pump, reservoir, CPU block, and tubing coming together and hooked up out of the box but with two built in quick disconnect fittings that can be used to expand the loop to include other Eisbaer equipment or your own custom loop tubing and blocks as the Eisbaer parts use G1/4” fittings.
[H] has photos of the prototype cooler as well as a video from Alphacool touring their booth.
The Eisbaer Extreme houses the radiator, pump, and 200 ml reservoir inside a thick shroud that features a fill port on the top of the radiator which should make filling and bleeding easier. Two 140mm Be Quiet! Silent Wings 3 fans cool the radiator and the power cables are routed out through a single port on the shroud to make cable management easier. The current radiator option is a 280mm model but 240mm and 360mm version are reportedly also in the works. Because the reservoir and D5 pump are housed within the radiator shroud, the radiator portion is quite thick and much longer than a normal 280mm radiator which is an important consideration for SFF builds which may not have enough clearance for it depending on the case. On the other hand, because Alphacool is using a traditional CPU block (no pump top), the CPU block is much lower profile.
Speaking of the CPU block, Alphacool is using a flat black CPU block from its XPX series with a nickel plated copper base. The Eisbaer Extreme AIO that Alphacool showed off at Computex lacked the RGB LEDs that were part of the model it showed off at CES which was a bit confusing when writing this up (heh). However, as it turns out, Alphacool will be offering both models with the non-RGB all black version coming out first and a version with RGB LEDs along the sides of the radiator and surrounding the CPU block coming later. On the latter model a ring of RGB LEDs can be fitted around the clear acrylic top block to illuminate it. (The RGB LED ring will also be sold separately as it is compatible with Alphacool’s other CPU blocks including the Eisblock XPX according to Think Computers).
Alphacool is apparently not quite finished with the Eisbaer Extreme AIO which was first demoed at CES 2018 and was still in an early prototype state at Computex where Alphacool indicated to Optimum Tech that it intends to refine the design a bit more by tweaking things such as the quick disconnect fittings which are now flat black rather than red and blue as in previous iterations. Alphacool is also not yet talking pricing or release dates, but the AIO cooler(s) should be available sometime later this year. You can see videos of the non RGB cooler at Computex by Optimum Tech or the RGB-ified cooler at CES by Think Computers and Joker Productions.
I am curious how it will perform and what price point it will hit as it tries to straddle the line between sealed AIOs that are install and go and fully custom loops that require much more research, effort, maintenance, and most importantly money to get done correctly (though don’t get me wrong it can be done on the cheap if you are willing to buy used as I did). It is in kind of an odd place though there is not as much competition here either.
What are your thoughts, is the Eisbaer Extreme cool enough for you?
Subject: Cases and Cooling | November 20, 2017 - 10:09 PM | Tim Verry
Tagged: Supercomputing Conference, supercomputing, liquid cooling, immersion cooling, HPC, allied control, 3M
PC Gamer Hardware (formerly Maximum PC) spotted a cool immersion cooling system being shown off at the SuperComputing conference in Denver, Colorado earlier this month. Allied Control who was recently acquired by BitFury (popular for its Bitcoin mining ASICs) was at the show with a two phase immersion cooling system that takes advantage of 3M's Novec fluid and a water cooled condesor coil to submerge and cool high end and densely packed hardware with no moving parts and no pesky oil residue.
Nick Knupffer (@Nick_Knupffer) posted a video (embedded below) of the cooling system in action cooling a high end processor and five graphics cards. The components are submerged in a non-flamable, non-conductive fluid that has a very low boiling point of 41°C. Interestingly, the heatsinks and fans are removed allowing for direct contact between the fluid and the chips (in this case there is a copper baseplate on the CPU but bare ASICs can also be cooled). When the hardware is in use, heat is transfered to the liquid which begins to boil off from a liquid to a vapor / gaseous state. The vapor rises to the surface and hits a condensor coil (which can be water cooled) that cools the gas until it turns back into a liquid and falls back into the tank. The company has previously shown off an overclocked 20 GPU (250W) plus dual Xeon system that was able to run flat out (The GPUs at 120% TDP) running deep learning as well as mining Z-Cash when not working on HPC projects while keeping all the hardware well under thermal limits and not throttling. Cnet also spotted a 10 GPU system being shown off at Computex (warning autoplay video ad!).
According to 3M, two phase immersion cooling is extremely efficient (many times more than air or even water) and can enable up to 95% lower energy cooling costs versus conventional air cooling. Further, hardware can be packed much more tightly with up to 100kW/square meter versus 10kW/sq. m with air meaning immersion cooled hardware can take up to 10% less floor space and the heat produced can be reclaimed for datacenter building heating or other processes.
— Nick Knupffer (@Nick_Knupffer) November 14, 2017
Neat stuff for sure even if it is still out of the range of home gaming PCs and mining rigs for now! Speaking of mining BitFury plans to cool a massive 40+ MW ASIC mining farm in the Republic of Georgia using an Allied Control designed immersion cooling system (see links below)!
- Two-Phase Immersion Cooling A revolution in data center efficiency @ 3M [PDF]
- 3M, Orange Silicon Valley, Allied Control and U.S. Naval Research Laboratory Demonstrate High-Density Supercomputing at SC'17 @ 3M
- Revolutionary project built by BitFury and Allied Control to cool 40+ MW of ASIC clusters [PDF]
- Oil cooling: Deep fried, or deep energy savings? @ ExtremeTech
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 8, 2016 - 03:52 PM | Jeremy Hellstrom
Tagged: thermaltake, watercooling, tower 900, liquid cooling, E-ATX Case, case mods
You might remember mention of the Thermaltake 900 Vertical Super Tower on the podcast last night, if not it should be posted soon so you can catch up. This plus-sized tower was designed to give watercooling fanatics enough space to fit in whatever they can dream up and [H]ard|OCP received one for review. The design proved to be unfriendly for self contained watercoolers which have a two fan radiator, only single fan rads will fit in the front portion of the case. For the more serious, this case can contain up to three full enthusiast class radiators, 240, 280, 360, 480 or 540mm rads can be accommodated. The sheer size of the case makes installation convenient for those who will build a system worthy of this case. [H]ard|OCP gave this a gold, and offered some interesting modding suggestions on their conclusion page; check it out here.
"It's a tower and it's super! Thermaltake's new Tower 900 is not close to your typical PC computer enclosure. It is built for a very specific customer; the enthusiast that wants plenty of room to do highly customized build and then have the ability to easily show it off is the target demographic for this chassis."
Here are some more Cases & Cooling reviews from around the web:
- Cooler Master MasterCase Maker 5t @ Modders-Inc
- Cooler Master MasterBox 5t Review @ OCC
- Cooler Master MasterCase Maker 5T @ Benchmark Reviews
- Cooler Master Masterbox 5t @ eTeknix
- Corsair's Carbide Series Air 740 @ The Tech Report
- Rosewill Gram @ techPowerUp
Introduction and First Impressions
The GENOME is the world’s first computer case with an integrated liquid-cooling system, and this unique design allows users to simply drop in the main system components and have a complete system with liquid cooling loop (and with very little effort).
“One of the first things many of us look at when considering the purchase of a new case is whether it will accommodate the cooling subsystem that we’d like to install in our next build. Can you install big enough radiators? Is there room in the main interior space for the reservoir and pump that you have your eye on? How will it look when everything is put together? To improve PC user experience is why DEEPCOOL comes up with GENOME, which is a PC hardware component, consists of an ATX PC case and an extreme liquid cooling system.”
When I first heard about the GENOME I was nonplussed - wondering how I would even go about reviewing at since it defies conventional classification. It’s as much a CPU cooler as a case, and DEEPCOOL calls this simply a “cooling system”. But however you label it there is no doubt that this novel concept has the potential to produce a polished build with a minimal effort (if it is well-designed, of course).
If you have switched cases as often as I do (no one should - I do it once every week or two), you might appreciate any sort of labor-saving design in a case. As a reviewer moving a test system from one enclosure to the next, I just want an easy build with adequate clearance and good cable management (these requirements are true for most normal people as well). Some cases are much easier to build in that others, and I was very curious to see how something which sounds quite complex would actually come together.
Subject: Cases and Cooling | December 2, 2016 - 02:46 AM | Tim Verry
Tagged: watercooling, tower 900, thermaltake, liquid cooling, E-ATX Case, case mods
Thermaltake is readying the Tower 900 for launch later this month. Clad in all-black or snow white, the Tower 900 was designed in concert with Watermod France to be modder and liquid cooling friendly with a design that allows enthusiasts to show off their DIY builds.
The upcoming Tower 900 series is part of Thermaltake’s TT Premium line and is constructed using a “dismantlable module design” that allows builder to completely strip the case down to the frame to make modding the various panels and pants easier. The case used a neat dual chamber design that puts the PC components front and center and the liquid cooling, power supply, and storage devices behind the motherboard chamber.
The front chamber is surrounded on three sides by 5mm thick tempered glass and holds up to E-ATX motherboards vertically and supports 260mm high CPU coolers and 400mm long graphics cards. There are 8 PCI expansion slots. In addition to the motherboard, the front chamber holds two 3.5”/2.5" drive trays that are visible through the case windows, two hidden 2.5" SSD mounts, and up to two large coolant reservoirs. Thermaltake suggests that the Tower 900 would work well with dual loop systems, and I tend to agree. Modders will be able to put together some very nice looking builds, especially if they use rigid tubing.
Other features include large rounded case feet, a single 5.25” drive bay nestled in the bottom of the front panel, and four USB 3.0 and one audio jack for front panel I/O up top.
Around back, the Tower 900 hosts a standard ATX power supply, up to four 3.5” or 2.5” drives in a hard drive cage (though you give up some radiator capacity on the right side if you use the HDD cage), and up to an impressive 480mm or 560mm (depending on if its 120mm or 140mm fans) radiator on both the left and right sides! In theory you could have a 560mm radiator for your multi GPU setup on one loop and 360mm radiator for the CPU on a second loop along with all four hard drives or if you can get by with the two 2.5” drives in the front chamber your CPU could also have a 480/560mm radiator of its own.
If you are into air cooling, the Tower 900 supports a total of 13 120mm or 140mm fans. One fan in the front chamber above the SSD drive trays, four on the left, four and four on the right in the back chamber, and two fans each on the top and bottom.
For those curious, the case measures 29.6” x 16.7” x 19” and weighs 54 pounds. Once it is full of water and PC components, you should probably team lift this monster heh. Additional photos and videos can be found here.
It certainly looks nice, and I can see a lot of potential for custom PCs. I am looking forward to seeing the full reviews as well as what enthusiasts are able to do with it!
Subject: Cases and Cooling | August 3, 2016 - 12:56 PM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: XSPC, water cooling, water block, roundup, raijintek, Phobya, liquid cooling, Heatkiller, cpu cooler, Alphacool
Computer Base (German language, Google-translated link here) has rounded up five CPU water blocks to see which might offer the highest performance on their Intel Core i7 3960X-equipped testbed.
Image credit: Computer Base
The tested water blocks include:
- Alphacool NexXxos XP3 Light V.2
- Phobya UC-2 LT
- Raijintek CWB-C1
- Heatkiller IV Pro Pure Copper
- XSPC Raystorm Pro
The review offers an thorough look at the design of each water block, as well as an interesting look at the effects of flow-rate on performance:
"The test has been shown that with increasing flow rate decreases the temperature difference of the water before and after heat sinks. However, the question arises whether a higher flow also has a positive effect on the cooling performance itself. A negative effect of increasing flow as well: Most pumps are unthrottled very loud to work, so that a reduced pump capacity is useful for a silent water cooling."
Subject: Graphics Cards, Cases and Cooling | May 10, 2016 - 08:55 AM | Sebastian Peak
Tagged: water cooling, radeon pro duo, radeon, pro duo, liquid cooling, graphics cards, gpu cooler, gpu, EKWB, amd
While AMD's latest dual-GPU powerhouse comes with a rather beefy-looking liquid cooling system out of the box, the team at EK Water Blocks have nonetheless created their own full-cover block for the Pro Duo, which is now available in a pair of versions.
"Radeon™ has done it again by creating the fastest gaming card in the world. Improving over the Radeon™ R9 295 X2, the Radeon Pro Duo card is faster and uses the 3rd generation GCN architecture featuring asynchronous shaders enables the latest DirectX™ 12 and Vulkan™ titles to deliver amazing 4K and VR gaming experiences. And now EK Water Blocks made sure, the owners can get the best possible liquid cooling solution for the card as well!"
Nickel version (top), Acetal+Nickel version (bottom)
The blocks include a single-slot I/O bracket, which will allow the Pro Duo to fit in many more systems (and allow even more of them to be installed per motherboard!).
"EK-FC Radeon Pro Duo water block features EK unique central inlet split-flow cooling engine with a micro fin design for best possible cooling performance of both GPU cores. The block design also allows flawless operation with reversed water flow without adversely affecting the cooling performance. Moreover, such design offers great hydraulic performance, allowing this product to be used in liquid cooling systems using weaker water pumps.
The base is made of nickel-plated electrolytic copper while the top is made of quality POM Acetal or acrylic (depending on the variant). Screw-in brass standoffs are pre-installed and allow for safe installation procedure."
Suggested pricing is set at 155.95€ for the blocks (approx. $177 US), and they are "readily available for purchase through EK Webshop and Partner Reseller Network".