CSE Power Cooling

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Low noise entry level kit – Joe

SUMMARY: Quiet entry level kit, sedate performance.

PC

The nice folks at CSE Power Cooling sent us a sample of their CSE Power Cooling watercooling kit. The sample I received is an early version and may undergo changes before widely available; pricing is not set at the time.

First Impressions

The kit is nicely packaged and attractive as a stand-alone; the blue base is removable – the console sits in it. The rear

Rear

shows the connections to the waterblock and for AC power. The plug that looks like a monitor plug is to connect power to the kit from the PC’s power supply and to connect the temperature monitor in the waterblock to the case:

WB

The black wires lead to the WB’s temp monitor. The temp probe in the waterblock will sound an alarm if it hits 65 C.

Connections between the waterblock and the external unit are made using the slot cover seen above. The base of the waterblock

Base

is not particularly well finished – machining marks and nicks were noticeable. The waterblock is aluminum – off the bat, a performance compromise that could cost 5-10 C.

Looking inside the case

Inside

reveals the reservoir and radiator. The fan is a 92mm unit. The two black wires at the left top of the reservoir is a temp probe which measures the water’s temp. The unit is designed to hold water temps to 36 C +/- 2 C. One thing I noticed is that the fan needs a shroud between it and the case’s rear – without a shroud, some of the warm air exiting the radiator recirculates back into the case.

Fan speeds are controlled by water temps – as they rise, fan speeds rise proportionately. I found that the fan starts when the water temp hits 25 C. Noise then becomes a function of water temps.

The view towards the front

In 2

reveals a small red rocker switch:

Sw

This is to power the waterpump on without powering the PC – necessary to aid in charging the system with fluid and checking for leaks once installed.

One thing I noticed is that one of the radiator’s hoses was slightly kinked:

Kink

With a low flow system, one thing to avoid is any restriction to waterflow.

The parts supplied

Parts

enable users to cool Socket A and P4 CPUs. There are hose clamps and tubing long enough for about any conceivable hookup; notice that the tubing is about 5mm ID – another performance hit.

The front panel

Front

features an LED which shows water temps, a power LED (bottom) and three small LEDs which continuously check water temps, the waterpump and fan. Should either the waterpump or fan fail, a loud alarm will sound.

Based on a first look, I expected to see modest performance levels.
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Performance Testing

Assembling and installing the kit is a breeze – you can get up and running easily within an hour after opening the case. I found fan noise to be very quiet – I measured it 8″from the fan at 51 dBA – very quiet.

I tested the CSE Power Cooling kit using the Die Simulator with the Socket A clip:

Test Results

Kit

Die Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

C/W

Water Temp

CSE Power Cooling, 70.8 watts, cover on

66.2 C

26.0 C

40.2

0.57

40 C

CSE Power Cooling, 70.7 watts, cover off

62.3 C

22.5 C

39.8

0.56

36 C

I then substituted Koolance’s CPU-200G copper waterblock for the kit’s aluminum version:

Test Results – Copper Waterblock

Test

Die Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

C/W

Water Temp

Cu Waterblock, cover on, 70.8 watts

53.1 C

25.3 C

27.8

0.39

40 C

Cu Waterblock, cover off, 70.8 watts

49.3 C

23.0 C

26.3

0.37

36 C

A substantial difference! About a 20 C difference at 100 watts CPU power.

CONCLUSIONS

Die Simulator results place the CSE Power Cooling in the lower ranks of CPU cooling solutions (Heatsink Ranking).

The CSE Power Cooling kit showed elevated interior case temps due to constricted airflow. Better venting will improve performance, although it still must be considered an “entry level” kit. The aluminum waterblock significantly handicaps performance – a well designed copper version could make quite a difference.

Thanks again to CSE Power Cooling for sending this our way. This kit is not yet available at retail – we’ll keep you posted on any changes.

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