Radiator Test – Joe
SUMMARY: Good performance with modest noise, depending on the fans used.
The good guys at Coolwave were nice enough to send a sample of their Power Radiator to test out. It can be powered by 2 120 mm fans. I found the radiator to be well constructed and hefty – it weighs in at 1640 grams. The silver trim is not flimsy – this is 1 mm thick and is the mounting surface for 2 120 mm fans.
The only glitch I had was in securing fittings for it – it is a metric thread and I was fortunate that fittings from another kit (8 mm – 5/16″ ID Tubing) matched up OK. Fittings are available from Coolwave and I would suggest that they be shipped with the radiator as a package.
This radiator is of the flat tube type – there are 12 tubes about 30 mm deep, 2 mm wide and 260 mm long cross connected by a dense fin array; the tubes are connected to two plenums at the top and bottom of the radiator. This design gives a lot of cooling area, relatively modest airflow resistance and fairly low water pressure drop. The flat tube design is, IMHO, a much better radiator for PC water cooling than more traditional round type types.
Overall, Coolwave’s Power Radiator is well constructed and worth serious consideration.
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.
In this test, one 120 mm fan was used to deliver 30 cfm @ 1507 rpm, 45 cfm @ 2056 rpm and 61 cfm @ 2469 rpm. These ranges were selected to allow comparisons among one and two fan radiators.
BTU/Hr @ 0.5 gpm – 0.16 psi
BTU/Hr @ 1.0 gpm – 0.51 psi
BTU/Hr @ 1.5 gpm – 1.18 psi
Very visible is what more airflow does for performance – using two 120 mm fans at about 2000 rpm should boost performance even more – airflow around 100 cfm will give very good performance with modest noise. Using a rheostat to control rpms would make a very nice 24/7 package. I used 8 mm ID tubing – if Coolwave ships this unit with larger fittings, pressure drops will be lower than shown here – a plus.
Coolwave’s Power Radiator looks like a good choice for PC watercooling – good performance at a modest pressure drop.
Thanks again to Coolwave for sending this our way to test. Mounting in a case will require case mods – the footprint requires space for two 120 mm fans.