Iceberg Watercooling Kit

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An OK entry level kit – Joe

SUMMARY: Quiet, with sedate performance to match.

The good guys at UniQpc.com were nice enough to send the Iceberg Water Cooling Kit for us to test out. For more details and very good mounting instructions, visit the Iceberg website.

The kit comes nicely packaged, with parts protected by foam:

Iceberg

Sorting out the pieces yields all the parts you need to get started:

Parts

I’ll go over the major elements and then test the kit out to see how it performs.

First Impressions

After unpacking the kit, I observed the following:

  • Radiator: Definitely on the small side, cooled by one 80mm fan;
  • Waterblock: Aluminum, not copper;
  • Tubing: Inside diameter about 1/4″;
  • Pump: Low flow – 600 lph @ 0.9 m head.

Based on what I saw, I did not expect this kit was designed for aggressive cooling. On to the parts:

Radiator

Rad

Size: 94 x 135 x 46 mm

My initial impression was that it’s backwards – you would expect that the fan mounts on the round cutoff side (right pic). However, the instructions on the Iceberg website clearly show the fan mounted to the other side (left pic). The problem I see with this setup is that air can enter from the rear unless it’s blocked off – the rear shroud does not completely funnel air through the radiator.

The plastic frame can be dis-assembled, so if you want to mount the fan on its round cutout, then mount the rad with the fan exhausting air out of the case (pulling air through the radiator), you can.

No doubt you can use two fans here – one pushing, one pulling (but more noise) air through the rad – but the kit ships with only one fan (low noise – 2258 rpm). In the test, I mounted the fan on the round cutout, blowing air through the radiator.
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Waterblock

WB

Size: 69 x 12 x 62 mm

Aluminum – period. This I do not understand – no doubt better performance from a copper version, although probably more expensive and more difficult to machine. Aluminum as a heatsink material base is about dead – this is going to cost in terms of performance. The base

Base

shows machine polishing marks which can be felt by dragging a fingernail over it. Lapping might help some.

Mounting System

Mounts

The mounting system is quite good – the socket clamp is very easy to use and firm. The P4 version uses a plastic assembly onto which Intel’s standard retention top piece (NOT included) mounts. I did find, however, that the plastic Iceberg bracket may be a touch too high – I found the clamping pressure was very high.

Waterpump – Reservoir

Pump

Pretty simple stuff here – basically a plastic container into which you stuff the pump. I found getting the soft tubing over some of the nipples a chore – you have to work it. Once the pump is attached to the top plate,

Res

Size: 94 x 135 x 46 mm

you position a thin rubber gasket on the base and screw the top to the base, making it watertight; well, maybe you can get it watertight, I could not – not gushing, but it did drip when inverted. However, unless you plan to use your PC upside down, I don’t think it’s a show stopper. The top

Res Top

shows the IN/OUT nipples, the fill hole and the watertight power plug nipple.

Power Plug

Plug

The kit ships with the waterpump’s wire cut for an external plug. The plug is a three prong unit, somewhat on the large side. In fact, once you screw in the wires and assemble the plug, you find that

Plug Back

there is no strain relief – if you pull the plug out of the wall by the wire, most likely it will rip the wires out of the plug (not that you should do that anyway). I would not use this plug – go to Home Depot and get one that will take the strain off the plug.
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Performance Testing

I tested the Iceberg using the Die Simulator with the Socket A clip. The mount is very secure and stiff – good for contact.

Test Results

Kit

Die Temp

Ambient Temp

Delta

C/W

Iceberg, 79.6 watts

53.2 C

20.4 C

32.8

0.41

Die Simulator results place the Iceberg Kit in the lower rank of CPU cooling solutions (Heatsink Ranking), not surprising given its smallish radiator and aluminum waterblock.

Being of curious mind, I wondered how much the Iceberg waterblock cost in terms of performance. I decided to compare results on a variety of platforms comparing the Koolance CP-200G copper to the Iceberg aluminum waterblock. In this test series, I ran each platform with changing just the waterblock with the following results:

Test Results – Iceberg vs Koolance Waterblocks

Test Platform

Iceberg Al C/W

Koolance Cu C/W

Delta

Small Die Sim

0.41

0.29

0.12

Large Die Sim

0.20

0.17

0.03

Acorp 4S845A P4 mobo

0.21

0.17

0.04

Shuttle AMD AK31 mobo

0.34

0.29

0.05

Clearly, the aluminum waterblock significantly compromises the Iceberg Kit’s performance, notwithstanding Iceberg’s advertising copy (“The aluminum CPU jacket transfers heat from the CPU better than other coolers which use a copper jacket…”). In fact, running the Iceberg with the Koolance waterblock bumps it to mid-pack.

CONCLUSIONS

The Iceberg Kit, as shipped, is not for aggressive cooling. However, it is quiet due to the low rpm fan, although you may hear the waterpump humming if you don’t isolate the reservoir from the case with some foam soundproofing. I could not get a reading using a Radio Shack sound meter 3 feet from the kit. The Power Supply fan will most likley be louder.

For under $100, the Iceberg is an easy entry into low noise watercooling; in addition, some simple mods may increase performance to competitive levels. However, as shipped, there are also low noise aircooling options that will deliver the same performance at lower cost. If the Iceberg were to ship with a better waterblock (copper), performance might improve to make it more competitive, especially if the price-point were to hold at under $100.

Overall, if you’re thinking of changing to watercooling, the Iceberg Kit deserves a serious look.

Thanks again to UniQpc.com for sending this our way.

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