XSPC Plexi Bay Reservoir (Black) Page: 1
Introduction

One of the hardest parts of maintaining a water cooling system has to be the removal of air bubbles. When filling the system with water, air gets trapped in components and can cause reductions in the performance of your system. In addition to this, air bubbles passing through your pump often get broken down into smaller bubbles and mix with your coolant to create a thick foam.

Water cooling companies such as Danger Den came up with a simple solution to this problem and named it a 'Reservoir'. Essentially a Plexiglass box, the Reservoir also featured an internal divider which assisted in the reduction of turbulence in the water and aided the removal of bubbles. Other advantages included easier filling and draining of your water loop, as most reservoirs feature a filler cap.

Today I'll be looking at XSPC's bay reservoir which sits neatly in a 5.25" bay and has some unique features for removing those annoying bubbles.


Packaging

Having owned and reviewed XSPC products in the past, I was pretty sure of what to expect in the packaging department...

XSPC Plexi Res Packaging XSPC Plexi Res Packaging

The XSPC Bay Reservoir comes in a plain, single walled cardboard box. Although this may not be aesthetically appealing, it cuts down on the cost of production hopefully some of the savings are passed on to the end user.

XSPC Bay Res Packaging XSPC Bay Res Packaging

The reservoir is protected by a layer of bubble wrap which should prevent any light knocks from damaging the plexiglass. Larger impacts would most likely result in cracked plexiglass as the bubble wrap is only able to absorb a limited amount of shock. Luckily WaterCoolingShop normally double box these items for further protection - hopefully other resellers will do the same.

To protect the face of the reservoir from scratches, XSPC have placed a layer of sticky paper over the surface, which thankfully leaves no traces of 'sticky stuff' when removed.

Also included with the reservoir is a packet of screws for fixing the unit in place, and a blue LED to add a bit of 'bling' to your water loop.



XSPC Plexi Bay Reservoir (Black) Page: 2
A Closer Look

Normally talking about a clear plexiglass box would be a reviewers nightmare! Thankfully the XSPC Bay Reservoir has some interesting features not seen in other reservoirs on the market.

XSPC Bay Reservoir Front XSPC Bay Reservoir Front

The XSPC Bay Reservoir comes in 3 flavours: silver, black or clear. The silver and black versions come printed with the XSPC logo and water level meter as seen above.

XSPC Bay Reservoir Back XSPC Bay Reservoir Back

The reservoir utilises 2x G1/4" thread connections with WaterCoolingShop giving you the option of either 1/2", 10/8mm or 3/8" barbs free of charge.

Something I found rather strange was that XSPC have provided two places to insert an LED, both of which are in close proximity to each other. This could possibly be a design error as it would make more sense for the LED's to be placed at opposite sites of the res for better light distribution.

Both the inlet and outlets of the reservoir have some unique features to reduce bubbles and foam, the following quote is XSPC's explanation on how this works:

"The semi-circle around the outlet is to stop air being sucked from the top of the reservoir. It also lets the system keep running at a low water level. The guide from the inlet/return cuts down on the noise from splashing when a high powered pump is used."

XSPC Bay Res Fill Port

The top of the reservoir has a filler port for adding water to the system, which is sealed from leakages by a cap complete with rubber o-ring. It's nice to see that XSPC have threaded the port directly into the plexiglass rather than using the method adopted by Danger Den, which can be seen here.



XSPC Plexi Bay Reservoir (Black) Page: 3
Testing

I've always been one for using the T-line method when setting up water cooling in my PC's. The big disadvantage to this method is that it can be a right pain to fill the loop and also takes several hours to entice the bubbles out. Let's see if the XSPC reservoir makes my life any easier!

XSPC Bay Res Installed XSPC Res Installed

Filling the loop was extremely easy - especially with the top and sides of my case missing (currently away being resprayed!). Information on how to fill and leak test your loop can be found here, but I have to admit cutting corners and hooking it all up without prior testing.

During the first run of the loop I left the cap off of the reservoir to allow for air bubbles to escape. After just over 8 minutes of continuous running, the coolant was running clear and no air bubbles could be seen or heard flowing through the pump, which is a massive improvement over using a T-line setup.

Reservoirs I've owned in the past have had a tendency to make 'sloshing' sounds when used in conjunction with a high powered pump. I'm pleased to say that the XSPC Bay Reservoir does not suffer with this problem to the extent of other manufacturer's reservoirs.

XSPC Bay Res Dark XSPC Bay Res Dark

Even without the aid of a UV cathode we can see the potential that this reservoir has to look very sexy with some UV water dye. Unfortunately my camera totally refused to take any in-focus pictures of the reservoir in the dark so I had to settle for some daylight shots instead!



XSPC Plexi Bay Reservoir (Black) Page: 4
Conclusion

The XSPC Bay Reservoir makes filling and removing bubbles (in under 8 minutes I might add) from your water cooling loop a breeze. Combine this with a sturdy construction, good looks and quiet operation and XSPC have a winner on their hands.

Priced at £19.99 over at WaterCoolingShop, the XSPC Bay Reservoir comes in direct competition with the likes of Danger Den and offers more features to boot.


Pro's
+ Effective at removing bubbles.
+ Makes filling your water loop a breeze.
+ Looks great (especially the black/silver versions).
+ Less noisy than other reservoirs.
+ Choice of barbs included at WaterCoolingShop
+ Competitive pricing.

Con's
- Packaging could be better.


Editors Choice

Thanks to WaterCoolingShop for providing the reservoir for review.

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