Perma-Cool vs Senfu Radiators

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SUMMARY: The Senfu and Perma-Cool units are very close in performance but very different in terms of size and noise; however, the Senfu was modified to take 3/8″ tubing – the stock unit takes 2mm tubing and will not perform as well. Either unit would serve a CPU water cooling setup just fine.

After I tested the Senfu Water Cooler Kit, I started to look around for some other radiators to try out. I searched the web and have listed a number of possibilities in CPU Water Cooling Sources. I bought the Perma-Cool unit after talking to their tech representative and spent $67 for kit # 1008; as it turns out the kit is unnecessary and all you need is the radiator alone, although still not cheap at about $50.

Radiators

The Senfu measures 5″ x 8 1/16″ x 4″ (127mm x 208mm x 102mm) and the Perma-Cool measures 5″ x 7 ½” x 1 ¾” (127mm x 190mm 45mm). The modified Senfu uses a 3/8″ hose; the Perma-Cool has an 11/32″ barb so 3/8″ hose is OK.

As the picture above shows, the Perma-Cool is very compact and the 120 mm fan fits the core exactly – like it was made for it. There are mounting holes in the top and bottom brackets and I used nylon zip ties to mount the fan. I had to drill four small holes in the fan’s casing for the ties to slip through, all of five minutes work. All in all a very easy mounting job.

Radiators

The Perma-Cool performs about the same with a lot less bulk.

The picture above shows the difference in bulk between the two units. One thing I do not like are the straight barbs on the Perma-Cool – it would be much more compact if they were at a 90 degree angle and would fit into more cases; hopefully Perma-Cool will recognize a new market and adapt to our needs. The fan I used was the NMB DC4719NL-04W-B30 – this puts out 80 cfm at 35 dBA, 2,050 rpm.

TEST

I tested the each unit with the same pump and water block – a Danner Supreme Mag Drive #1.5 and the CoolChip CPU Water Jacket” with ¼” inlet/outlets. I used two peltiers in tandem thereby giving off about 100 watts – similar to a heavily overclocked Athlon. Results were very close:

  • Modified Senfu: -23.6 C
  • Perma-Cool: -21.7 C

I’m sure with a heftier 120 mm fan the results would be even closer. The Senfu’s fans are noisier than the single 120 mm fan used for this test. You can get 120s turning 100-150 cfm, so there’s a lot of upside potential.

CONCLUSION

These are two credible alternatives for radiators in a CPU water-cooled setup. For about $100 for the pump, radiator and water block, you can keep your CPU at 2-4 C under ambient temps or cool peltiers much more efficiently than with howling high-cfm air cooling.


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