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Preliminary review – Joe

SUMMARY: A well designed waterblock yield what could be a top-performing kit.

Kit

The good guys at BlueCooling.com have worked over the past year to develop the BlueBlock waterblock, which is now available. I thought their description in About Us at their website was worth highlighting:

“BlueCooling has not opened for business. As of yet, we have never sold a single product. Any material that has left our doors has been a prototype… Any reviews or material predating our opening was not endorsed by our company, as we refuse to pay for reviews of products, especially our prototypes.” (my emphasis)

We’ve tested a number of prototypes for them starting over a year ago and fed back comments; Bill Adams has also had a hand in this design. Where they started and where they are now is like night and day, and I think their efforts to develop a quality waterblock have paid off.

For this review, I am testing the key components only – the waterblock,

Blue Cooling

Black Ice Xtreme Rev.2 radiator,

Rad

Rad Side

Rad fittings are 1/2″ ID; reducers are needed to fit the 1/2″ OD tubing.

fan (Delta model# WFB1212M 120x25mm 72.4 cfm 34 dBA) and pump (Hydor L30) which are to be included in a kit. The other bits of gear should not have an undue influence on results (clamps, reservoir and tubing), but until a kit is marketed I’ll withhold judgement.

As you look at the waterblock from the top, you’ll notice something interesting in its base:

Top

Upon closer examination, you’ll see a number of pins machined into the base:

Pins

The following pic shows how BlueCooling machined in 96 pins (my count) in the base:

Base Pins

Pic courtesy of BlueCooling.

In addition, there is a “wall” machined into the top of the waterblock, chanelling water over the CPU core:

In Base

Pic courtesy of BlueCooling.

This design increases surface area and turbulence for more effective cooling; in addition, the nipples are 3/8″ of the “push-pull” type. The base includes a hole over the CPU core for a temp probe to be included with the kit.

NOTE: At the time of this test, the probe was not available; it is now with the following features:

Probe

“Digital thermometer displays in Fahrenheit and Celsius. Customer sets alarm feature. Alarm sounds off when temperature reaches pre-setting. System’s memory records lowest and highest temperatures measured before being reset. Always know the CPU’s operating temperature. Placed on desk or computer for easy visibility.”

The waterblock features an interesting mount – it uses two spring loaded bolts on each side which screw into a plastic bar; the bar in turn screws into the four Socket A holes. By turning the small screws in the plastic bar, the tab inserted into the hole expands, holding the whole assembly firmly to the motherboard and CPU.

What’s nice about this approach is that removing the motherboard from the case is not required. However, one problem I see with this technique is that if the motherboard’s holes are on the large side, the mount may not have enough play to firmly anchor. In addition, currently this is not sized for P4 mounting (I’m told this is on the way).

The base is copper and appears agreeably flat:

Base

I could feel no machining marks on it – it was slightly discolored but this did not affect performance.
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The Test

The BlueCooling Kit was tested on the CPU Die Simulator which gives results that are unaffected by motherboard influences.

TEST RESULTS

BlueCooling Watercooling Kit

Kit

Die Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

C/W

BlueCooling, 69.8 watts

40.0

24.9

15.1

0.22

Delta = CPU temp – Ambient Temp
C/W = Delta / CPU Watts

Interpreting C/W: For every watt (CPUw) that the CPU
consumes, the HSF will limit the CPU’s temperature rise to (C/W x CPUw)
plus the temperature at the HSF’s fan inlet. For example, at an ambient temp of 25 C, a C/W of 0.25 with a CPU radiating 50 watts means that CPU temp will increase 50 x 0.25 = 12.5 C over ambient temp, or 37.5 C. The lower the C/W, the better.

When the test results first started coming in, I was somewhat taken aback as they are very good, considering the size of the radiator and the flow rates used during the test (~ 1 gpm). These are not from a single run – these are multiple tests over two days.

However, as I looked over some other kits tested to date, these results are showing a trend – kits with well designed waterblocks, 120 mm size radiators and good waterpumps are turning in similar numbers. Of particular interest is to note that waterblocks which increase contact surface area through discs (Innovatek), channels (Corsair) or pin fins (CoolingKing) are top performers with low-flow waterpumps and moderate size radiators.

Die Simulator results place the BlueCooling’s Blue Block in the top rank of watercooling kits tested to date (Heatsink Ranking). As the kit becomes available with all the requisite parts, I will re-test – consider these results as preliminary.

CONCLUSIONS

Results for the BlueCooling Watercooling kit are preliminary, as not all components were available for testing; however, the additional components may not have a material impact on these results. The waterblock is a very good design and might be a top performer in any system. The addition of an active temperature monitoring system is a significant plus.

I’m working on assembling a test suite for component testing, and until such time, I’ll reserve judgement on individual components.

Thanks again to BlueCooling.com for sending this our way to test out.