Innovatek Water Cooling Kit

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Quality, easy to install kit — Joe

SUMMARY: First rate kit with quality components and outstanding performance.

The good guys at HighSpeed PC were nice enough to send a sample of the Innovatek Water Cooling Kit, made by a German company.

HighSpeed PC has detailed Instructions on their site. As you read it, you will note that they include a reference to Teflon tape – I did not use it in this setup, but it is readily available at any hardware store. I decided not to use it to see how well it fits together, and I don’t think it’s necessary.

The kit I received came with the following:

  • Innovatek Waterblock with clamp
  • Radiator
  • EHEIM 1046 Pump (1048 optional extra) with fittings
  • Innovatek Reservoir Block for EHEIM
  • 120mm fan with screws and fan guard
  • 10 Feet of 3/8″ OD soft PVC tubing
  • 3 to 4 pin Molex power adaptor

I will describe each component in detail, followed by performance test results.

Innovatek Waterblock with Clamp

Waterblock

Size: 50 x 50 x 31mm high (ex nipples); Weight about 470 grams.

When I first saw this waterblock, I thought it was a telegraph key. The clip is very well designed; it engages all three socket lugs and is extremely easy to secure to the socket. Once the lugs are engaged,

Innovatek Block

tighten the large knurled knob and that’s it. This is about the easiest waterblock mount I have seen. The contact point of the top bar rides over the CPU center and acts as a pressure point, holding the base in perfect contact with the CPU core.

It features a polished and flat copper core core

Base

surrounded by an aluminum block. Note that any design using dissimilar metals requires that the cooling fluid contain anti-corrosives; anti-freeze is a good additive – a solution of water with perhaps 10-15% antifreeze is fine.

After I ran the tests, I found this inside the waterblock:

Inside Block

It appears that the copper core most likely is a solid center core that has rings cut into it – analogous to CDs stacked on a spindle, with spacing between each CD. I am guessing that this was cut from a copper cylinder rather than stacked copper discs – heat transfer would be better from a solid piece.

The discs serve to increase surface area in a very confined space, maximizing cooling efficiency. An efficient and very interesting design!

Eheim 1046 Pump and Innovatek Reservoir Block

Pump

The EHEIM 1046/1048 are terrific pumps and one of my favorites. They are silent, very reliable (two year pump warranty) and you can rebuild them – spare parts are available. With the EHEIM, you don’t need a 90 degree fitting – simply rotate the base – there are slots on three sides to orient the pump:

Pump Side

The reservoir is a beefy aluminum tank:

Tank

It comes with a nipple which screws into the side (fittings described below) to mount hoses. The tubing included with the kit is 1/4″ ID and soft – if you purchase this kit, I would suggest you also purchase extra tubing; you’re not going to find compatible tubing at something like Home Depot.
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The Eheim mates to the reservoir by slipping the EHEIM’s intake port into the reservoir’s side; the reservoir is fitted with two “O” rings

O-Rings

which effectively seals the EHEIM to the tank:

Pump Assembled

Assembly is a snap – just push the pump into the tank as far as it goes, and that’s it. I did use some 600 grit sandpaper on the leading edge of the EHEIM’s intake port – I felt it was a little too sharp and might cut the “O” rings (this is just me – I don’t think it’s necessary).

The instructions suggest that you place a piece of the foam strainer that comes with the EHEIM into the tank as a filter and to break up bubbles. I tried it both ways and adding the filter does clear up bubbles faster. I don’t think you have to worry too much about filtering any debris.

One other thing I did was to zip-tie the pump and radiator together – it’s plenty secure as is, but in extended use, I don’t want to have a lingering concern that somehow it could disengage (VERY unlikely).

The reservoir does make filling and bleeding the system a snap – it took all of 5 minutes. I would suggest that you first fill up the radiator with water, however, to minimize filling time. Priming the pump from both directions does not hurt either – just make sure there is some fluid in the EHEIM’s impeller chamber.

As you fill, it’s a quick pump-on-off routine until the system is fully charged. I know this will sound a little screwy, but you can keep the yellow tank cover off while doing this. Follow the instructions carefully and run the system overnight to check for leaks.

Radiator with 120mm Fan

Radiator

Size: 5½” x 4¾” wide x 3¾” deep; Weight: 610 grams with fan.

The radiator is quite compact – if you can fit a 120mm fan in the case, odds are very high you can get this radiator into that space. It is marketed by Maxxxpert Ltd¹ – a Korean company – model MXL-MONO. The kit comes with small fan screws – I did not use them, electing instead to use bolts:

Rad Assembled

You have to secure the fan to the case, so you most likely are going to use bolts anyway. The fan is a Sunon Model #KD1212PTB3-6A, 120mm rated 69 cfm @ 2400 RPM, 2.4 watts. Noise will vary depending on how it’s installed in a case, but the fan itself is not very loud. Blowing in or out makes no difference.

The directions indicate that slipping the tubing over the radiator’s intake/exit tubes is enough to hold the tubes in place. I did this and they do, but I would NOT do this longer term – buy two small hose clamps for safety’s sake.

Fittings

The EHEIM ships with the fitting shown on top:

Nipple

The Innovatek kit uses the fitting shown below it. This particular fitting screws into the top of the EHEIM 1046/1048 pumps. The tubing is easily secured to the nipple:

Tubing

You cut the tubing to size, slip it over the nipple, and then screw the retaining cap onto the nipple (make sure you slip the cap over the tubing before you fit it onto the nipple!). Screwed down properly, I can’t conceive of any situation where the tubing could come loose.

I do have one concern, however; about half the time, as I screwed down the retaining cap (wrench required), the tubing rotated as I screwed down the cap, so be aware that this might happen when you assemble it.
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¹I am testing their watercooling kit and should report on it within the week.

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THE TEST

The Innovatek System was first tested on the CPU Die Simulator which gives results that are unaffected by motherboard influences. I then tested it on an Iwill KK266+, modified to read AMD’s on-die diode, as an example of what users might see on their systems.

In calculating C/W, I used the air intake temp at the radiator for ambient. Some might reasonably argue that the “true” measure should use water intake and exit temps. However, I believe consumers evaluating water vs air cooling are more concerned how one relates to the other, so I am using radiator air intake temps. In addition, this is what users will readily see “on-screen”.

TEST RESULTS – CPU Simulator

System/watts

Die Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

C/W

Innovatek System, 81.3 w

38.4 C

19.9 C

18.5 C

0.23

Innovatek System, 121.0 w

48.0 C

20.8 C

27.2 C

0.23

TEST RESULTS – Motherboard
CPU/Motherboard

CPU Die Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

C/W

CPU Back Temp

Palomino 1200, Iwill KK266+

27.9 C

20.6 C

7.3

0.13

30.9 C

¹In-socket thermistor per MBM

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

Interpreting C/W: For every watt the CPU radiates, the heatsink will cool the core by the (C/W x watts) plus ambient temp. For example, at an ambient temp of 25 C, a C/W of 0.25 with a CPU radiating 50 watts means that the CPU core temp will be 50 x 0.25 = 12.5 C over ambient temp, or 37.5 C. The lower the C/W, the better.

Die Simulator results place the Innovatek System at the top of the Heatsink Ranking, not unexpected for water cooling vs air.

Results on the Iwill are outstanding – for whatever reason, the Iwill KK266+ always delivers the best cooling results. Obviously, other motherboards will show different results, but CPU cooling should be significantly better than air cooling.

CONCLUSIONS

The Innovatek Kit is one of the best I have tested. It’s extremely easy to set up – actual assembly time is under an hour, two hours tops. What will take time is mounting the radiator into a case – this may require metal cutting skills, etc, depending on the case. Some cases may not require any mods, and in that event, you could be up and running in 24 hours.

Once fitted, the rest is a snap. All told, I think a reasonably handy person can do the whole job, including overnight testing, over a weekend.

Performance results are outstanding and noise levels are significantly below aggressive air cooling options. The components included in the kit (all metric sizes) are first rate. Overall, a worthy purchase.

If you have this kit already, I’d be interested in your evaluation as well.

Thanks again to HighSpeed PC for sending this our way.

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