Preliminary review – Joe
SUMMARY: A well designed waterblock yield what could be a top-performing 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,
Black Ice Xtreme Rev.2 radiator,
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:
Upon closer examination, you’ll see a number of pins machined into the base:
The following pic shows how BlueCooling machined in 96 pins (my count) in the base:
In addition, there is a “wall” machined into the top of the waterblock, chanelling water over the CPU core:
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:
“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:
I could feel no machining marks on it – it was slightly discolored but this did not affect performance.
The BlueCooling Kit was tested on the CPU Die Simulator which gives results that are unaffected by motherboard influences.
|BlueCooling, 69.8 watts||
C/W = Delta / CPU Watts