Watercooling Kit test – Joe
SUMMARY: One of the better entry level kits.
- CPU and GPU waterblocks with P4, AMD K7/K8 mounts
- External radiator and fan
- Tubing (¼” ID) with screw-on mounts
- Thermistor cable
- Assorted screws, washers, thermal grease, tubing tool
Note that in addition to the CD ROM size unit, there is a second radiator which mounts in an 80mm fan cutout. This adds significantly to the kit’s performance, as will be seen in the test data.
The base unit includes a radiator, waterpump, reservoir and LCD control panel. There is a radiator fan in the top…
…which exits through the bottom of the unit:
When installing this unit, there MUST BE sufficient clearance at both the top and bottom for sufficient cooling of this radiator. Therefore, the CD ROM slot in which this is placed must have clearance top and bottom. Installing the unit at the topmost CD ROM slot may give sufficient top clearance, but the slot below must be empty.
A look at the back
shows the inlet/outlet ports, pins for the thermistor, external radiator fan and four pin power plug. The front
features the radiator fill port, LCD screen, temperature adjustment buttons and fan speed knob. I found the base unit’s 80mm fan speeds to vary from 1825 to 3735 rpm. When powered
the LCD displays the thermistor temp, external fan condition, temperature alarm points (50, 60 and 80ºC) and pump condition. The dial of the fan speed dial lights up, varying depending on fan speed selected (blue low, purple high). When thermistor temps hit 50ºC, the 50ºC flashes; same for 60 and 80ºC.
When the external fan kicks into high gear, the fan symbol activates. Finally, if the pump fails, the pump symbol flashes. There is a beeper which beeps once when powered up, and will beep if the pump fails.
A look inside
shows the radiator, reservoir with waterpump inside and the PCB control circuit. The waterpump
is on the small side – I did not measure waterflow, but judging from the speed at which I saw bubbles moving through the tubes, it’s a low-flow system (I would guess less than 15 gph).
One feature of this kit it the inclusion of a second radiator:
This features an 80mm fan and will fit in a case’s 80mm exhaust port. This is the first kit entry level I have seen which uses a second radiator to boost performance – an interesting addition.
The kit features two waterblocks – CPU and GPU. The CPU waterblock
is nicely finished with a chrome outer shell. The square plug at the top is for the mounting hardware – a nice feature, as forces are centered over the CPU core. The fittings are ¼” – definitely on the small side. The copper waterblock base
is polished. Included are mounts for P4 and AMD K7/8:
Note that the mounting gear features a square hole – this fits over the square peg on the waterblock.
The GPU waterblock
is also attractively finished, with mounts for a variety of situations. The copper base
Included are all the necessary parts, including screws, tubing, spare washers, thermistor cable, anti-freeze fluid, thermal grease and a tool for securing the tubing to the fittings. I found it very easy to screw the tubing to all the fittings. There is an instruction manual which is adequate and shows how to configure the kit, purge air through the lines and mount it.
Overall, nice build quality and everything you need to install the kit into a case. I would estimate it would take no more than an hour to get up and running, including reading the manual.
I tested the Evercool kit using the CPU Die Simulator which gives results that are unaffected by motherboard influences, with the Socket A clip. I tested the unit with the CPU waterblock and included the GPU waterblock in one test series to assess its impact on performance.
The unit was tested in the open air – installed in a case with restricted airflow will compromise performance; consider these results as the best the unit will do under optimum conditions.
|Evercool, Fan Low
|Evercool, Fan High
|Evercool, Fan Low, Ext Fan 2059 rpm
|Evercool, Fan High, Ext Fan 2059 rpm
|Evercool, Fan Low, Ext Fan 1417 rpm
|Evercool, Fan High, Ext Fan 1417 rpm
|Evercool, Fan Low, NO Ext Fan
|Evercool, Fan High, NO Ext Fan
|Evercool, Fan Low, with GPU
|Evercool, Fan High, with GPU
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.
The first set of results was with the external radiator fan powered from the back of the base unit – about 1940 rpm when the thermistor read about 43ºC (the value at which the external fan kicks in can be set from 40 to 79ºC – I set it at 40ºC for these tests).
The second set (Ext Fan 2059 rpm) was run with the radiator fan powered at 12 volts, independent of the base unit. The third set (Ext Fan 1417 rpm) was run with the thermistor removed from contacting the CPU die; in this case, the external fan ran at its lowest setting. The last set was run with the external radiator fan OFF – this is a good indication of how much the second radiator adds to performance.
Finally, I inserted the GPU waterblock into the loop. This decreased performance by about 1-3ºC compared to results without it.
In almost every situation, the range of results with the CPU block only is 8ºC; excluding the case with no external fan, only 4ºC. There is no question that the second radiator contributes a big performance improvement.
Fan noise of the base unit with the fan at its highest setting is annoying – it’s high pitched and very noticeable; at the lowest setting, fan noise is tolerable.
Die Simulator results place the Evercool in the mid rank of CPU kits solutions (Heatsink Ranking).
I would suggest that consumers considering this unit plan to run it with the base unit fan at its lowest setting. The external fan on the second radiator appears to be an effective balance between noise and performance.
Inside a case, airflow around the base unit will definitely impact performance. The higher the air temp inside the case, the higher CPU/GPU temps. In addition, there may be an adverse impact with recirculated warm air around the base unit.
Once purchased, I would not consider this kit particularly upgradeable – the small fittings throughout the kit’s components precludes effective replacement with components featuring larger fittings.
This is NOT what I would consider a “performance kit”, but for someone looking for an “all-in-one” mid-level solution, it’s an OK choice.
Thanks again to Evercool for sending this our way.