XSPC X2O Delta CPU waterblock Page: 1
Introduction

In the very recent past AMD and Intel have been vocal about upcoming families of multiple core CPU’s which will take processors into an area that we have never seen before. With Intel’s current Q6600 quad-core and AMD’s soon to be released Phenom native quad-core processors on the horizon, eight and sixteen cored processors will no doubt follow as the process is perfected and applications demand it.

It is a well known fact that water-cooling is really beginning to become a viable mainstream alternative to traditional air-cooling measures. No longer is water-cooling purely the domain of the hardcore overclockers, but ever increasingly it is beginning to make its way into more and more people’s homes.

With the advent of quad-core processors and the successful saturation of the market with dual-core processors as well, a need has arisen for cooling methods to tame these multi-cored beasts. So how do we look towards cooling these processors more efficiently...With water-cooling of course!

Now this is where XSPC comes in. Currently, there are around 6 or 7 major players within the realm of water-cooling component manufacturing, and many of them tend to target the upper echelon of the market and are priced accordingly. XSPC on the other hand tend to cater for the water-cooling fraternity but from a budget or better price-point perspective, whilst still offering exceptional performing products. If there is one thing I have learned whilst conducting reviews at Overclock3D, it's to never judge a book by its cover. Anyway enough of my rambling let's just get on with the review.

Today I have been fortunate enough to have been given the opportunity to review XSPC's latest CPU waterblock - the XSPC X2O Delta CPU waterblock. The X2O Delta is essentially a revised version of the XSPC X2O Xtreme and has been optimised for dual- and quad-core CPU's. For this review the X2O Delta will be going head-to-head with one of the current top performing CPU waterblocks - the D-Tek FuZion.

XSPC X2O Delta CPU waterblock

Let's have a look at the XSPC X2O Delta's specifications...

Specifications

The X2O Delta's specifications have been taken directly from XSPC's website:

Universal CPU waterblock - Designed for Quad and Dual Core CPU's
- G1/4" Thread
- High Performance Copper Base
With Over 1000 Copper Pins
- Chrome Plated Brass Top
- Universal Mounting Plate
- Supports Sockets A/462, 478, 604/603
754/939/940, AM2 and LGA775
Supplied with universal mounting kit.

Particularly impressive is the increased pin count on the X2O Delta and the universal socket compatibility that the mounting plate allows.

Let's head over the page and have a look at the XSPC X2O Delta's packaging and contents...


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Packaging and Contents

Ok let's take a look inside the X2O Delta's packaging to see what's included.

X2O Delta box

X2O Delta package contents

Hmmm, there's something missing from this image...ahh the barbs! Nevermind, it's just as well that I happen to have a few kicking about at my place. Anyway included in the XSPC X2O Delta's packaging are:

* 4 x mounting bolts complete with nylon washers, tension springs and tension nut.
* 1 x 3.5 gram syringe of thermal interface material (TIM)
* 1 x XSPC X2O Delta CPU waterblock
* 1 x XSPC X2O Delta CPU waterblock adaptor plate.

Everything is included in order to get your CPU water-cooling well underway. Although there weren't any barbs included in the packaging WatercoolingUK provide a drop-down menu on their website where you can choose between 1/2", 3/8", 10/8mm compression or 10mm push fit connectors.

Let's have a little bit of a closer look at the review specimen shall we...

A Closer Look

As I said on the previous page, the XSPC X2O Delta has received an increase in the pin count present on the bottom of the block. According to my rough calculations the pin-count is somewhere in the vicinity of 1000 pins on 1960 mm-squared. Pretty impressive stuff, but we'll have to wait a little longer until we see how it equates into overall performance.

X2O Delta pin count

Block measurement

Block measurement 2

The X2O water-block feels extremely solid and is certainly a very weighty little beast. The X20 also comes well lapped and the chrome finish certainly loves to retain fingerprints, but it's certainly eye-catching.

Lapped base

water block and hold-down plate

The Universal hold-down plate is an ever-increasing feature that we are seeing manufacturers include in an effort to provide compatability and longevity for those on older sockets. Whilst it certainly serves a purpose, you would no-doubt agree that the increased size of the plate may cause issues; especially on newer motherboards where the passive cooling solutions of ASUS and Gigabyte are bordering 'over the top'. However, I am happy to report that this didn't cause any problems when it came to testing the block.

The supplied thermal paste is a 'silver' based interface material and looks slightly granular and less viscous than AS5 in appearance.

Let's head over the page to see the test setup...


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Test Setup

For the testing phase of the review I have chosen to test the XSPC against a well known water-cooling block, the D-Tek FuZion. A Laing DDC Pro pump with OCLabs alternative top will be used to assist in making a comparison. I shall be looking specifically at pressure drop and cooling performance from within a water-cooling loop. I have included the setup details below:

Pressure Drop

* 1 x Laing DDC Pro pump with OCLabs alternative top
* 1 x XSPC X2O Delta and D-TEK FuZion waterblock
* 1 x Powertech variable DC power supply (quoted accuracy +/- 0.2V)
* 1 x Multi-meter
* 25L portable water container
* 1 x IFS pressure meter. (kPa/PSI)
* 1/2" ID Clearflex tubing
* 1/2" barbs
* 2 x stop-tap fittings

For the pressure drop test I used a 25L portable water container filled with 20 litres of water, with a 1/2" plastic threaded barb placed in the bottom to represent the reservoir. A stop tap was inserted immediately after the 1/2" barb to allow for a faster water-block change. The IFS pressure meter was used to record the head pressure per 1 minute testing cycle. The pump was primed and let run for a short period to ensure that no air bubbles were left in the loop. The water was allowed to run back into the container after passing through the pressure meter meter via a 'T' connector in order to minimise wasted time between water-block changes.
The first run made was with only the pump and pressure meter included in the loop and the water pressure noted. Then for second run the XSPC X2O Delta waterblock was included into the loop and the drop in loop pressure recorded. The same procedure will be followed for the D-TEK FuZion water-block.

Loop Simulation and cooling performance

I have decided to impliment a control setup for the testing phase of this review. In doing so I have replicated a watercooling loop similar to that in conventional water cooled setups, but also one that should return consistant and unbiased performance results. The open loop that I have chosen to run with will use be semi-restrictive in nature, but again should give quite a good indication of how the XSPC X2O water-block would perform in your system. The XSPC X2O performance will be assessed at flow rates at 9/10/11/12 and 13.2V respectively. For each run, the pump was allowed to run for 20 mins to ensure the evacuation of all air from within the loop. The temperatures were taken at 30 minute intervals to allow them to 'settle'. Two instances of ORTHOS will run simultaneously in order to simulate load.

Arctic Silver 5 TIM was used instead of using the syringe supplied in the XSPC X2O Delta packaging. I have recorded temperatures at idle, load and and an overclocked loaded state; all temperatures were taken using Core Temp 0.95.4 beta and water/ambient temperatures were taken using a common household mercury thermometer. The mercury thermometer was allowed 5 minutes to aclimatise to air and water and then the temperature recorded. The setup used has been included below:

* 1 x Laing DDC Pro pump with OCLabs alternative top
* 1 x XSPC X2O Delta and D-TEK FuZion water-block
* 1 x Powertech variable DC power supply (quoted accuracy +/- 0.2V)
* 1 x Multi-meter * 1 x Tribal Overkill reservoir
* 1 x Toyota Camry heater core
* 2 x Scythe Minebea 120mm cooling fans
* 1/2" ID Clearflex tubing
* 1 x Swiftech MCW60 GPU block
* 1/2" barbs.
* 1 x Intel Q6600 SLACR G0 stepping quad-core processor
* 1 x ASUS P5B Deluxe wifi/App motherboard (bios version 1101)
* 1 Palit 8600 GT graphics card
* Logitech generic mouse
* Logitech G15 keyboard
* 2GB OCZ PC2-6400 Titanium RAM
* Antec NEO EarthWatts 500W PSU
* 250 GB Seagate SATA II HDD

Intel Q6600

I have also included temperatures from Intel' stock heatsink as a comparison

Intel heatsink on testbed

Follow with me over the page to see the test results...


XSPC X2O Delta CPU waterblock Page: 4
Testing

Pressure Drop

Determining pressure drop for water-cooling components is really quite easy and should give the prospective purchaser some idea of how well or how badly a particular component restricts/resists the natural flow of a pump. This is especially important when designing your water-cooling loop to ensure that your pump flow doesn't come to a crawl because of your cpu block, gpu block and possibly chipset block. Factor into the equation a reservoir, various curves and connectors and the amount of pressure drop can become an issue. Hence the reason why we need to assess for pressure drop.

pressure drop image

You can see from the above graph that although the D-TEK Fuzion provides less resistance to the pump's presure, the XSPC X2O Delta didn't trail far behind it. The reson why this has happened could probably be best explained by the fact that the D-TEK Fuzion has many special channels moulded into its copper base which essentially divert the coolant through the path of least resistance. The X2O Delta on the other hand simply dumps the coolant into the waterblock, which it then has to fight its way through all those densely packed copper pins on the way to the outlet. The end result is a loss in pressure.

Simulated Water-cooling loop

On the previous page I promised to show you the idle and load temperatures of the heatsink that Intel supply with their Core 2 Quad processors, merely to illustrate the efficiency of water-cooling. So here they are:

Intel Stock heatsink

In all honesty, it's only just a heatsink. Having the Q6600 at idle allowed for perfectly acceptable temperatures, but loading all four cores delivered abysmal results. Now on the testing summary on the previous page I mentioned that I was going to test the waterblocks at various pump speeds to see if there was any noticable difference to temperatures with less/more flow. After an exhaustive process I am pleased to announce that the results were so rediculously small that I shan't be including the temperature variations here. Let's see how the XSPC X20 Delta handled the increased heat-load of a quad-core...

XSPC Setup

XSPC Delta idle temps

XSPC Load temps

You will notice that Core #2 remained consistantly cooler throughout the testing phase, and this was refected during the entire test. I re-mounted the XSPC X2O Delta and D-TEK FuZion waterblocks numerous amounts of times to ensure that it was sitting 'flush' with the Q6600's IHS, and every time, the result was always the same.

I also performed some quick and dirty overclocking on the Q6600 to see how far the temperatures could be pushed. The results you can see below:

Q6600 and XSPC Delta overclock

Q6600 and XSPC overclocked graph

The XSPC X2O Delta handled the extra heat from the Intel Q6600 very well and in fact, given the opportunity for a larger radiator the results could well have improved somewhat. Now let's head over the page to see how the D-Tek FuZion handles the heat...


XSPC X2O Delta CPU waterblock Page: 5
Testing Continued

If you haven't heard the name D-TEK FuZion then you must have been hiding under a rock for some time, as it is reputed to be one of the best water-cooling blocks available for dual- and quad-core processors. Let's see how it performs...

D-TEK FuZion

Q6600 and D-TEK idle graph

Q6600 and D-TEK load graph

Slightly elevated temperatures can be seen here over the XSPC X2O Delta which may be attributed to the elevated ambient temperature. Overclocking of the Intel Q6600 to the same core-speed that was used to test the XSPC X20 Delta waterblock and the D-TEK FuZion really starts to shine...

Q6600 overclock on the D-TEK FuZion

D-TEK Overclocked temps

The D-TEK FuZion in the overclocking phase of the review returned a better cooling result over the XSPC X2O Delta waterblock, even with the slightly elevated ambient temperature. It's not a lot, but enough for the D-TEK FuZion to retain its crown this round.

Idle, Load and Overclocked comparison graph

I have included a graph above to help illustrate the temperature differences between the XSPC X20 Delta and D-TEK FuZion waterblocks. For ambient and water temperatures for each, please see the bottom of the smaller graphs previously.

Let's head over to the conclusion page to see what we can draw from this comparison...

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Conclusion

Now there are two things that stand out particularly well during the testing phase of the XSPC X2O Delta. The mass of copper cooling pins present in the base of the X2O Delta not only caused the slight pressure drop that we saw in the test results, but they also managed to impede the the flow of heat away from the Intel Q6600's four cores enough to result in an elevated temperature when overclocking. This isn't to say that the XSPC X2O Delta is a slouch when it comes to cooling; nothing could be further from the truth. But the improved coolant channels and less-restrictive positioning of the pin structure on the D-TEK FuZion in my opinion makes it more efficient.

However, the XSPC X2O Delta is significantly cheaper than the D-TEK FuZion it was compared against. Whilst the XSPC X2O Delta can be purchased from WaterCooling UK for £28.99 including 17% VAT , the D-TEK FuZion comes in at £37.99. If you are looking for the creme-de-la-creme and best performing waterblock, then the D-TEK FuZion is it, but if you are looking for a great all-round workhorse capable of keeping a dual- or quad-core processor on the cool side then the XSPC X2O Delta will perform the task with ease.

The quality of the XSPC X2O Delta is very apparent and the chrome finish would certainly look the part on any high-end rig...plus you get to save a few pounds along the way. The universal adaptor plate is also great for allowing those on older sockets the flexibility of cooling their hardware too. Further; even though I had reservations about whether the adaptor plate would cause issues when mounting the waterblock on some of the newer motherboards, I am pleased to say that it doesn't, well not on my P5B Deluxe anyway.

The XSPC X2O Delta CPU waterblock today has earned the 'recommended award' for its performance, and the 'value for money' award based on its price.

Pros

+ Universal socket compatability
+ Very respectable performance
+ Price
+ Appearance

Cons

- Slightly more pressure drop than the D-TEK FuZion
- Beaten by the D-TEK FuZion in cooling performance.

Recommended Award Value For $$ Award

Overclock3d would like to thank WaterCooling UK for supplying the review specimen. Without their dedication and support, this review would not have been possible.

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