Asetek WaterChill Watercooling Kit

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First look at a new market entry – Joe

SUMMARY: Well made kit from established CPU cooling company.

The good guys at Asetek were nice enough to send their watercooling kit, the Asetek WaterChill, for a test spin. This is Asetek’s first entry into the watercooling market.

First Look

Upon unpacking the kit, I took a close look at its major components:

Radiator

The radiator arrived with the hoses attached:

Rad

I noted that there were two rubber sleeves on the intake/outake ports to accommodate the attached 3/8″ ID tubing: This is because even though the Radiator’s copper tubing is 3/8″ OD diameter, the intake tubes measured 9/32″ OD. After removing the clamps I found it very difficult to remove the tubing from the radiator – I wound estimating how long I needed each segement and cutting the tubing in place.

Rad2

Note also that the radiator is about 1 1/2″ deep. This is due to the staggered tubing design which increases the tubing’s coolign surface area.

Rad1

However, the cost is reduced flow through the radiator – each 90 degree turn reduces flow, and there are 12 turns with this design.

Reservoir

The reservoir is a nice design:

Res

All other tubing fittings are “quick connect” – push the tubing into the fitting and its secure (carefully read the directions on this). The reservoir has a cap the is held in place by rubber “O” rings – there is no way this can slip out by holding it upside down. The knurled knob can act as a vent hole shen bleeding the system.

Waterpump

The pump is a Hydor L20 (test results HERE):

Pump

This is rated at 700 lph (0 head). Supplied with the pump is a PCI slot cover that serves to connect an AC 110/240 volt external power source to the pump. The pump is controlled by an external relay which is hooked up to the power supply through a floppy power pin – power up the PC and the pump turns on:

Pins

Left to right: 120mm fan plug, optional LED and floppy power plug.

In addition there are plugs for the 120mm fan (7 and 12 volt options) and an optional LED connector – lights up when the system powers up (you supply the LED).

The pump’s front cover slips off:

L20off

The blue retainer ring secures the pump chamber to the main body – remove it and you can inspect the impeller for wear, etc.
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Waterblock

The waterblock features a 3/8″ thick acrylic top bolted to a copper base with four allen bolts:

WB

The base of the quick connect fittings used in the system are a bit smaller than the 3/8″ ID of the tubing – they measure 9/32″ at the widest point:

Nip Base

The base features a “half moon” design:

Half Moon

Machined into the base is a semicircular wall located off the to side of the intake nipple. This serves to increase turbulence within the block. The light streaks you see in the picture are machining marks from the cutting tool used to hollow out the base – these are small ridges in the base.

The base

Base

appears well machined – I could feel no ridges.

Parts

The parts shipped with the kit include:

Parts
  • Radiator with Fan and related screws and nuts
  • 20 nylon washers
  • Two tube clamps
  • Four feet
  • 3/8″ ID Tubing
  • Pump and reservoir
  • Power cord
  • CPU waterblock and mounting pieces
  • Algaecide
  • Manual
  • Power supply wire jumper
  • Four finger screws
  • Thermal grease
  • Manual
  • Decals

The mnanual is quite good and comprehensive – take the time to read it first, then proceed step by step to install the system. In addition to these parts, Asetek was nice enough to include for testing a Hydor L30 waterpump,

L30

rated at 1200 lph, and their chipset cooler:

Chip

The base, as for the CPU waterblock, is well finished:

Chip Base

Initial Impressions

All told, the Asetek WaterChill appears to be a well made kit with enough parts and instructions to fit just about any system. What I also like is that Asetek has been around enough that you have some comfort that they will be there to help if you need it and will stand behind their products.

I feel that system resistance will be a shade on the high side, due to the number of 90 degree turns in the radiator and the slightly smaller internal water passage dimensions due to the nipple’s base.

The waterblock, save for the “half moon” design, is a no-frills approach – no pins or pressure nozzles.

Overall, I would expect to see very good performance but not outstanding.

Asetek was nice enough to include a Hydor L30 to test with the system as well – this gives an opportunity to compare a higher flow pump (1200 lph) and its impact on performance with this system.
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TESTING

The Asetek WaterChill ships with a Sunon fan (KDE1212PMS3-6A) – a 120 x 38 mm unit rated at 83 cfm @ 2300 rpm, 34 dBA¹. I found it to be somewhat “busy” at 2300 rpm – I measured its noise at 66 dBA with a Radio Shack sound meter 8″ from the fan’s intake; at 7 volts, it measured 54 dBA – much quieter.

THE TEST

The Asetek WaterChill was tested on the CPU Die Simulator which gives results that are unaffected by motherboard influences. I tested using both the Hydor L20 and L30 waterpumps and ran the fan at 7 and 12 volts. Fan rpms were recorded with a digital tachometer.

TEST RESULTS – CPU Simulator

Heatsink
Die Temp
Ambient Temp
Delta
C/W
Asetek WaterChill, Hydor L20, 2370 rpm, 69.8 w
46.2 C
25.3 C
20.9 C
0.30
Asetek WaterChill, Hydor L20, 1570 rpm, 69.8 w
47.9 C
25.3 C
22.6 C
0.32
Asetek WaterChill, Hydor L30, 2363 rpm, 69.6 w
45.1 C
25.3 C
19.7 C
0.28
Asetek WaterChill, Hydor L30, 1565 rpm, 69.6 w
47.0 C
25.5 C
21.5 C
0.31

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.

Die Simulator results place the Asetek WaterChill in the upper rank of heatsinks tested to date (Heatsink Ranking).

CONCLUSIONS

Results between the Hydor L20 and L30 show little difference – I would conclude that the WaterChill system as configured is just fine with the L20; not all that much is gained with higher flow. Also note that running the WaterChill at 7 volts will degrade performance by about 2 C – for many an acceptable tradeoff if a low noise system is desired.

Considering the difference between running the WaterChill with the L30 at 12 volts and the L20 at 7 volts is only 4 C, the noise/performance tradeoff is quite acceptable.

Asetek’s WaterChill is a very good kit for the money. The Sunon fan was on the loud side at 12 volts and much quieter at 7 volts. Considering overall performance, the Asetek WaterChill is a good choice for those looking for a quality kit.

Thanks again to Asetek for sending this our way.

¹Note that manufacturers measure fan noise usually 3 feet from the fan.