SUMMARY: Copper does perform better compared to Aluminum – copper’s cooling efficiency also enables smaller size compared to aluminum units.
I received water blocks from BE Cooling, 2 Cool Computer and Cool Chip to evaluate. The BE Cooling unit is all copper while the other two are aluminum, giving us the ability to test the cooling efficiency of two different metals. Copper would appear to have an edge just based on its characteristics alone – however, a poor copper design could compare unfavorably to a superior aluminum unit.
The blocks are compared below – the BE Cooling unit uses 90 degree elbows which allows its use in more situations than the other two. As you can also see, it is the smallest of the three. All blocks use 3/8″ diameter tubing.
The test is fairly simple – I use two stacked peltiers to simulate a 100 watt heat source. The fan is the Perma-Cool 1008 coupled with a 120mm 12 volt fan; the water pump is the Danner 1.5 (140 gph). The blocks were run over two separate tests and results were averaged (no substantial difference between the tests). Two power supplies are used – one for each peltier with one also powering the fan.
|2 Cool Computer||
Copper is decidedly more efficient by 2 C compared to the two aluminum units, which show almost no difference between them. I found this interesting as the two aluminum blocks are different in size, yet the smaller of the two performed slightly better; this may be attributed to 2 Cool Computer’s smoother finish compared to the Cool Chip unit. The latter showed fine machine marks on its cooling side – I don’t doubt that some lapping will equalize performance between the two.
The BE Cooling unit featured a smooth finish and, although lapping might improve it somewhat, I think the gain would be marginal. All told, if top performance is required in your system, the BE Cooling copper block is the unit of choice.
Thanks again to Brian at BE Cooling, Mike at 2 Cool Computer and Scott at Cool Chip for supplying these units to test. Each website also has interesting information, so drop by and see what’s cooking…er cooling. Each of these fellows got into this business through their interests in computers and overclocking – they are not part of some impersonal larger company and will be happy to help you out if they can.