Battle of the Water Cooling Kits

Alphacool Xtreme Pro 240

Packaging & Manual

Out of all the kits, the Alphacool was the first to arrive. The kit was packaged in a large cardboard box with 'air packets' to cushion any impact. I was also surprised to see a rather cool (no pun) Alphacool poster for covering those plain areas of your wall!

Alphacool Box Alphacool Box

The retail box is very flashy, with both German and English language being used. The contents of the box are protected by two large foam inserts that prevent anything from moving around too much.

Most impressive of all was the way that Alphacool have gone to the trouble of individually packaging each and every component in its own plastic box. This may be due to the fact that Alphacool also sell each of these components individually through retailers, but it's a great touch never less.

Alphacool Package

With all the components laid out, you can see exactly what you are getting for your money. Lets see what Alphacool say about this kit and find out exactly what is included:

"The set for professional users!
New copper cooler with cross-running channels in the PCF (c) building method, by means of which the surface for the heat dissipation is drastically increased. This allows stable operation at extreme summer temperatures, highest Overclocking potential and Low Noise at the same time. This cooler is conceived for the highest requirements. The bearing surface of the cooler is flat and polished. Safe work with no additional start-up relay with extremely quiet 12 V pump. With the 240 single radiator and high-quality Alphacool fan - a set with very high performance!"

- NexXxoS Xtreme II 240mm radiator
- CPU Alphacool NexXxoS XP cooler
- Mountings for AMD XP, AMD 64 and Opteron, Intel 478 and Socket 775
- Laing DDC Pump, incl. Water tank (can also be mounted in 3,5" slot)
- Bridging plug for the ATX power supply
- 4 Meter hose PUR 10/8mm transparent,
- 2x Alphacool Fan 120x120x25
- Watter additive Tec-Protect-Plus 0,5litre
- 8x connections Plugin with G1/4"-external thread on 10mm (external diameter) hoses,
- Adhesive tape 13cm long and 10cm wide for pump mounting
- Thermal paste
- Manual

Alphacool Manual Alphacool Manual

The Alphacool manual is in both English and German, and covers the majority of information needed to get your water cooling system up and running. As this is not a pre-built kit, some basic knowledge is obviously advantageous. As you can see above, the manual is in black & white, but still manages to include clear, detailed images.

Water Block & Accessories

The water block plays a very important part in any water-cooling system. Without a well designed block, heat will not be efficiently transferred into the water. There are several types of block design, all which produce different results - I'd love to go into detail but I'm afraid this is beyond the scope of the review.

NexXxos XP NexXxos XP

The included water block is Alphacool's own NexXxos XP. Having photographed all components in all of the water cooling kits already, I can tell you that the NexXxos has by far the best finish of all the blocks in this review.

The internals of the block are based upon a jet impingement design whereby the water is forced through small nozzles onto the surface of the block. The blocks surface has small pins cut into its centre to further facilitate the transfer of heat into the water.

Alphacool have actually won many awards for this block, and it is often regarded as one of the top 3 water blocks available.

The only disappointing aspect of this block is its mounting hardware, which unfortunately hides the majority of the blocks good looks under an ugly metal frame. It would have been nice to see this block use the same mounting mechanism as Swiftech's latest blocks.

Alphacool Accessories Alphacool Accessories

Above you can see the 3 different types of mounting hardware provided in the kit. Each comes with a small allen key and a screw for clamping the block in place. Also included are two 3-Pin to 3-Pin fan extension cables, and a PSU jump-start plug, which allows you to power on the pump without switching the rest of the PC on - great idea.

Pump & Reservoir

Alphacool have yet again brought a smile to my face with their choice of pumps, opting for the Laing Delphi 12v. This pump is best suited to restrictive water-cooling loops, which indicates that it should easily be able to handle any additional water blocks (Graphics, Northbridge..) you might want to add at a later date.

Alphacool Pump Alphacool Pump

Alphacool pump Alphacool Pump

Most notable about this pump/reservoir combo is that it you have to build it yourself. The pump, as previously stated, is manufactured by Delphi, with Alphacool designing a rather cool looking reservoir to sit on top.

The process of installing the reservoir on top of the pump is fairly simple and detailed within the manual. However, you will find yourself reaching for certain screwdrivers that don't often get used!

The following specifications have been taken from Laing's website:

- Motor design: Electronically commutated, brushless DC, spherical motor
- Voltage Range: 8 to 13.2 VDC
- Starting Voltage: 9 to 13.2 VDC
- Maximum system pressure: 22 PSI
- Maximum flow @ 13.2 volts = 400 LPH
- Temperature range: Up to 140°F (60°C)

Alphacool have also included fittings so that this pump can be mounted in a 3½" drive bay area, or affixed to any part of your case using the provided sticky pad.

Radiator & Fans

Responsible for removing the heat dumped into the water, the Radiator and Fans play a large roll in keeping CPU temperatures down. Radiators are singly the hardest item to install within your computer case, with many people choosing to mount them externally.

Alphacool Radiator Alphacool Radiator

Despite Alphacool stating in their kit specification that the included radiator is a NexXxos Xtreme radiator, to me it looks like an identical match for the Black Ice Xtreme II radiator currently installed in my own PC.

If the radiator is indeed a BIX-II, then Alphacool have indeed made another great component choice. The BIX-II radiator is actually one of the most compact 240mm radiators on the market (133x273x45mm WxHxD), with performance matching or exceeding that of its competitors.

I was disappointed to see that Alphacool haven't included any external mounting hardware for the radiator. Many water-cooling kits have brackets which allow for the radiator to be mounted either from a 120mm fan vent or from the power supply screw holes.

Update 27/06/06
Alphacool have informed me that mounting hardware in the form of screws for affixing the radiator to the case should have been included in the kit. These allow for the kit to be installed in a way similar to the pictures here.

The fans are labelled up as Alphacool's own brand, and boast 43.5cfm at 19dBA when running at 12v. This should make the Alphacool an ideal kit for those of us who enjoy silence.
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Most Recent Comments

26-06-2006, 09:51:50

Today (and for the past 2 weeks) i look at water cooling kits from Alphacool, Swiftech, Thermaltake and XSPC to find out just what water cooling kit is worth splashing out your hard earned cash on.

Review HereQuote

26-06-2006, 09:55:03

well done mate, time well spent! awesome review

(as you can tell by the time stamp im still in the middle of reading it)Quote

26-06-2006, 10:11:16

Nice review mate. I read it before posting Quote

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