Battle of the Water Cooling Kits
Published: 19th June 2006 | Source: Alphacool | Price: |
Overclock3D have been very lucky to receive a pre-release water cooling kit from XSPC. XSPC are a UK company dedicated to high performance water cooling components, and have been in business since 2003.
As this water-cooling kit has not yet been officially released, please keep in mind the version we are reviewing will not be as polished as the retail version.
- XSPC R120-D Crossflow Radiator
- XSPC X2O Xtreme CPU Water Block
- XSPC X2O Pump with built-in Reservoir + Blue LED
- XSPC 150mm Passive Aluminium Reservoir + Blue LED (Choice of Black, Blue or Silver)
- 2x XinRuiLian 1700RPM 120mm Fans *2400rpm
- PVC 10/8mm High Transparency Hose
- Generic Silver Paste
- Zerex Water Additive (Coolant)
- UV Water Dye (Choice of colours)
- 2x Silicone Gaskets Fan Shrouds
- Mounting hardware for Pump, Radiator & Passive Reservoir.
- PCI Plate for external tubing routing
- 2x Radiator mounting bracket set (120mm to 80mm)
The included manual was actually for the single radiator version of the X2O kit, so some of the instructions differed slightly. However XSPC are working on a manual exclusively for the Dual Xtreme, which will be shipped with the retail version of the kit.
Water Block & Accessories
A new addition to the XSPC family is the X20 Xtreme water block. Previously XSPC were making use of the highly acclaimed 'Zern' water block, which despite producing some great results, did not have a universal mounting plate, and was therefore not a great companion for a water-cooling kit.
- AMD Socket 939
- AMD Socket 754
- AMD Socket 940
- Intel Socket 775
- Intel Socket 478
- Intel Socket 603
- Intel Socket 604
* AMD AM2 mounting plate coming soon.
Also included is a "CPU Extension Ring", which can be used to raise the height of the mounting plate on the water block. This is useful for motherboards that have capacitors or other electronics close to the CPU socket which may hinder mounting of the water block.
The base of the block is similar in finish to that of Swiftech's. The surface is very flat and there are no visible marks or scratches. It would have been nice to see the bottom of this block polished to a mirror finish, however, whether this would have any noticeable effects on performance is debatable.
The block is designed to give maximum performance while keeping the flow resistance to a minimum. Inside the block, the copper base has a grid of 429 pins with a brass insert to direct the flow around the block.
Also included in the kit are two LED's. These can be inserted into the holes drilled in the perspex on the reservoir and pump to add a bit of 'bling' to your water-cooling system. One thing I would like to have seen is the use of UV LED's rather than coloured LED's. This would mean that the water would glow with whatever colour UV additive had been used.
The reservoir mounting brackets can be used to place the reservoir anywhere within your case (drilling may be required) and can even be fixed to an 80mm fan hole.
In a similar fashion, the radiator can be mounted at the back of your machine over a 120mm fan hole, or the included brackets can be used to fix the radiator to an 80mm fan hole.
Should you wish to mount radiator on the outside of the case, XSPC have included a PCI Bracket for routing your tubing outside.
Pump & Reservoir
The XSPC X20 Dual Xtreme kit is supplied with XSPC's very own X20 pump and passive reservoir. Interestingly, the XSPC X20 pump actually has an integrated reservoir, so should you not be able to find a place to install the passive reservoir, you can use the pump's reservoir instead.
The reservoir shaft is constructed from anodised aluminium with fins to disperse heat more effectively. This should help to reduce the temperature of the water slightly.
XSPC have chosen to come up with their own solution for a pump rather than using a solution from another manufacturer. The pump is powered directly from a 3-pin fan header which is certainly the first pump I've ever seen powered this way. The pump is designed to run at 12v, and at this voltage XSPC state that it should be "near silent". An obvious advantage to having the pump powered in this way is motherboard rpm monitoring: - If the pump was to stop functioning, you could configure your motherboard's BIOS to alert you to this.
The pumps specifications are as follows:
- Pump performance: 450l/h
- Delivery head: 1.65m
- Power : 9.5W
- Voltage: 12V (3pin) with rpm readout
- Connection: 1/4" thread
- Dimensions: 88x56x88mm
Mounting of the pump is similar to most in this review, with XSPC opting for a sticky pad, which not only prevents the pump from sliding around your case, but also dampens any vibrations from the pump, thus reducing noise.
Radiator & Fans
Having owned some of XSPC's radiators in the past, the greatest thing I found them is that they can be mounted in the front of the Coolermaster Stacker (and some other models) without any modification. Click here for an idea of how this was done in one of my previous projects.
In my opinion the XSPC is by far the best looking radiator in this review, with chromed fan shrouds making a break from the plain black radiators we've all become accustomed to.
The included 120mm fans are manufactured by XinRuiLian (*checks spelling*), and boast 60cfm at 30dBA when running at 12v. Due to this fans being 4-pin molex powered, XSPC have not included any kind of fan controller or voltage reduction cables in the kit.