Radiator Test – Joe
SUMMARY: Excellent performance for its size, although achieving high airflow requires an aggressive (noisy) fan.
The good guys at Hardware Labs were nice enough to send samples of their Black Ice Pro Radiator to test. This model is sized for a 120 mm fan, two if you want to mount them front and back, and was tested using 1/2″ fittings; note that users can mount any fitting they choose using 1/4″ NPT/BSPT/BSPP compatible fittings.
The is a flat tube type – there are 11 copper tubes running the length and breadth of the radiator’s fins, cross connected by a dense fin array; the tubes are connected by plenums at the top and bottom of the radiator. This design gives a lot of cooling area with fairly low water pressure drop. The flat tube design is, IMHO, a much better radiator for PC water cooling than more traditional round tube types.
Radiator testing is carried out as outlined HERE. The results below are expressed in BTU/Hr at specific flow rates and cfm airflow through the radiator. These results are objective, relative performance data to be used to compare this radiator’s performance relative to others that will be tested over time.
Do not confuse each radiator’s relative rating with its absolute performance – a radiator twice the size of another will dissipate more heat than the smaller one, although perhaps not as efficiently as the smaller one. Surface area (hence size) does matter with radiators.
For this test, the fan used was a Delta 120 mm fans (WFB1212HH, 0.68 amp, 2800 rpm @ 95 cfm); I varied voltages to attain the cfms tested – users considering a different fan can match their fan’s rpms to those tested for a close approximation of expected performance. Users concerned with noise can infer what performance might be using the rpm curves below.
BTU/Hr @ 0.5 gpm – 0.09 psi
BTU/Hr @ 1.0 gpm – 0.26 psi
BTU/Hr @ 1.5 gpm – 0.53 psi
For watts, multiply BTU/Hr x 0.2932
Airflow is a key performance factor, although diminishing returns are visible in this graph. What is particularly noteworthy are the relatively low pressure drops – achieving good flow will not require an excessively large waterpump – a characteristic of the flat tube/plenum design. For its size, this radiator turns in some impressive numbers.
The Black Ice Pro Radiator looks like an excellent choice for PC watercooling – great performance for its size, low pressure drops and fits a standard 120 mm case cutout; however, users looking for aggressive cooling will be better served by a radiator with a larger surface area cooled by two or three 120 mm fans, considering the noise penalty by adding a second fan.
Thanks again to Hardware Labs for sending these our way.