Aquastealth Extreme II

Author
Nivram
Posted
May 25, 2002
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43429
Want to keep those CPU temperatures down? Want to have some peace of mind on those CPU temperatures? Then just check this out!
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Page 1
<B>Introduction :</B>
For a couple of years I have been on a cooler quest to find some means of getting my CPU and subsequently the system temperatures lower. I have bought several variations of HSFs combinations: aluminum or copper; aluminum with copper core; trying them with 60mm, 7000rpm, screaming and 80mm, 300-4000rpm, noisy fans; using a 60 to 80mm adapter whenever necessary. Each step would give me some measure of lower temperature, but a probable increase in noise irritation.

I even tried the multiple case fan option on several occasions (using up to 11 fans, dual 20mm fans for hard drive cooling to 120mm front and back case fans) to help in getting cooler air in and the heated air out. All of these combinations gave a little lower temperature number, but were also a real ear irritant.

Now my cooler quest has taken a significant step forward.


<B>Deciding The Issue :</B>
I have been contemplating for the last year to purchase a water cooler setup. My quest was for a good rig that would do the job with a minimum fuss. This is my first setup and it needed to be a complete unit, as I didn't want to take the chance of trying to pick my own setup (or buying from several sources) and get items that don't work together.

It only took two e-mails to Brian at <a href="http://www.aquastealth.com">BeCooling</a> and I had my system on order. I selected the Aquastealth II Extreme series with the Black Ice Extreme radiator and Maxi-Jet Pump/Tank upgrade. I wanted to get the most effective cooler setup offered and the results are excellent.


<center><img src="/~nivram/aqua.jpg">Aquastealth Extreme II Kit from BECooling</center>

<B>Inspecting The Aquastealth Shipment :</B>
I received my order of the Aquastealth kit in only two days. But what surprised me even more was the size of the shipment box. My first thought upon seeing the box was there had to be another box! Nope, only one box. Upon opening the box all the parts were neatly packed and cushioned to prevent damage during shipment.

I removed all the items in the box one by one and for the first time I really saw the true size of my new water cooler unit. The radiator and pump/tank were smaller than I envisioned from the photo (even next to the 120mm fan I really didn&#8217;t take note), but as depicted in the picture all the major components are painted black or blackpowder coated (to prevent tarnishing or water spots) except for the bottom of the water block.


<B>Choosing The Case :</B>
While I was waiting for my Aquastealth kit to arrive, I contemplated on the case I would need to install my water unit. I thought at first that neither of the two styles of cases I have would work. I was contemplating on getting a full tower case in order to mount everything inside with the motive that if I had to move the computer, I could easily do so.

Now that I had the water unit in front of me I saw that I could use one of my cases. That case is the Chenbro PC61069, which comes with 3/2/2 drive mounting with a clip-on rail system for the CD/FDD slots and ample room inside. This case also has mounting in the front and rear for 80 to 120mm fans.


<center><img src="/~nivram/chenbro.jpg">Chenbro Case</center>

Page 2
<B>Installing The Unit :</B>
My first job was to remove the hard drive rack (a simple movement of a lever), the front plastic fan mounting, and the plastic cable management items from inside the case. I next slipped some long plastic ribbed ties (these are not part of the standard kit and are purchased at an extra cost) through the radiator mounting holes, then the fan mounting holes, and tried to mount the radiator/fan into the predefined mounting holes in the front of the Chenbro case. The mounting holes are too high on the front of the case so that the radiator pushed against the FDD cage and would not mount properly. I tried moving the radiator/fan combination down, but noted that I would have to drill additional holes to slip the mounting ties through.

I then took reassessment of my situation and remembered I had a 120mm fan mount from an old server case. It would require drilling two holes in the bottom of the case, but after considering for a few moments I decided this would work better anyway. So measurements were made and two holes drilled, the radiator and fan attached to the old server fan mount with four long screws and some rubber grommets for cushioning, and the radiator/fan mount screwed to the bottom of the case.


<center><img src="/~nivram/rd-fn-mt.jpg">Radiator & 120mm Fan Mounted</center>

Initially this arrangement allowed me to add a thin piece of foam between the case and radiator/fan mount for dust filtration. I removed it after I noticed it impeded air flow over the radiator. Later analysis indicated a 10c degree temperature increase with the foam. Wow, what a difference good air flow makes.

It also worked out that this arrangement allowed me to mount the radiator with the input/output pipes upwards, reducing the amount of leakage in case of tubing failure. Some velcro on the bottom of the pump/tank and the preliminary installation was complete (make sure that the pump/tank are far enough forward not to interfere with any add-in cards, but not block the radiator air flow).

Next I installed the lexan clamp plate for the water block. This proved as straightforward as it seems and a very effective way to keep the water block mounted level on the CPU. The four long screws simply fit from underneath the motherboard with the plastic washer as an insulator and cushion for the screw heads. I did however install a neoprene washer and nut to the upper side of each screw to keep them in place while mounting the motherboard into the case.

Most users would simple remove part of the case metal under the motherboard opposite the CPU socket to gain access to the screw holes. The Chenbro right-side case cover is pop-riveted to the main case making this access impossible. I also placed a shim on the CPU prior to installing the water block and lexan clamp to ensure that the copper water block did not crack the CPU. I have read on several occasions of this happening.


<center><img src="/~nivram/lexan.jpg">Lexan Clamp & Water Block Mounted</center>

Attaching the tubing proved to be the most difficult for the radiator. After placing all the items inside the case I eyeballed the measurement for the length of tubing (adding a couple of inches for good luck) from the pump/tank to the radiator and then from the radiator to the water block. I removed the radiator/fan mount from the case and attached these two tubing pieces. I used the method suggested on the BECooling web site of smearing a small amount of dish soap to the radiator outlet pipes and tubing, then using a back and forth motion, pressed the tubing onto the radiator outlets.

The radiator/fan mount was placed back into the case and I cut the tubing from the radiator to correct length and slid them onto the pump/tank and water block. Since the barbs on the water block and pump/tank are the correct size for the tubing they slid on easily but firmly. I then cut the rest of the tubing into two fairly equal lengths and attached one end of each piece onto the other pump/tank and water block barbs.


<B>Filling/Refilling The Unit :</B>
I was now ready to fill my unit with water, but not just any water. You need to get distilled water to keep any contaminants from clogging the radiator tubes, corroding inside the water block, or deteriorating the MasterKleer tubing. I also purchased a bottle of Purple Ice radiator super coolant (at an extra cost), which is to help keep the system flowing cleanly and effortlessly.

I moved the setup to a sink in the laundry room to facilitate filling the unit. By using an old mustard squeeze bottle I pushed water into the system through the tubing connected to the pump until it came out the tubing attached to the water block. This proved to be easier than trying to fill the system through the fill port on the pump/tank with a funnel when I could not find one small enough for the fill port (Brian at BECooling indicated the next pump/tank will have a bigger fill port).

Amazingly the system took almost a half-a-gallon of water. I then removed the tubing from the pump/tank and attached the tubing from the water block. Placing a towel under and slightly inside the case I ran the pump alone for several hours to ensure no leakage, which did not occur.

After these several hours of running I drained the water from the initial fill to remove any contaminants that got into the system during assembly (dish soap or dust) or manufacturing and then refilled the system. I cut the tubing from the water block to the correct length and attached it to the pump/tank. Again I ran the system alone for an hour to capture any air bubbles in the tank, removed the fill port plug, and injected the Purple Ice (and more distilled water as necessary) using a syringe I had cleaned from previously refilling printer ink cartridges.

What surprised me was that even after adding the whole 2-ounce bottle of Purple Ice the water only took on a slight tint. Those running this system with a modded case might consider getting a lot more Purple Ice to make a different look inside their case. [It should be noted here that I did the initial fill and leak test prior to installing the computer components and mounting the water block, just in case there was a leak.]


<center><img src="/~nivram/helpers1.jpg">Water Filling Helpers Used</center>

The above photo shows the ink cartridge refill syringe, my mustard water fill bottle, and a larger syringe I got from a feed store. Each proved its worth in mass filling or injecting a small amount through the fill plug hole.


Page 3
<B>Conclusion :</B>
To say I am pleased with the Aquastealth Extreme II is an understatement to me. My previous temperatures ran normal load with a HSF @ CPU 52c, system 35c and at game load @ CPU 57-59c, system 35-37c. Now my temperatures run normal load @ CPU 38c and system 28c with only an occasional two-degree CPU/system temperature increase at game load. A nominal 14c degree lower temperature change in operating temperatures, especially the lower game load increase, is awesome.

{You will also note that the HSF CPU to system temperature differential of 17 degrees (52-35) dropped to 10 degrees (38-28). This indicates that the CPU temperature directly affects the system temperature. So any decrease in CPU ambient temperature will also increase system component life cycle.}


<center><img src="/~nivram/setup.jpg">Aquastealth Installation Completed</center>

You might want to make note that I did attach zip ties around all the tubing at the juncture points (just finger pull tight). I had thought of using metal hose clamps you can get through BECooling, but had decided against this. In retrospect I may redo my setup with these clamps, as I thought of how the temperatures might go up and cause the tubing to expand slightly, and slip off the junctures.


<B>Where To Get The Aquastealth :</B>
You can take a look at the Aquastealth at <a href="http://www.aquastealth.com/">BeCooling</a>. The options are varied and getting greater all the time. In fact my next cooling quest step will be to add a video and chipset water block to my setup, but that is for the future.

You can also take a look at the Aquastealth website <a href="http://www.aquastealth.com/install.html">installation</a> guide for more information. This is an older water cooler system setup, but should prove to be a good reference point to envision your own water cooler installation.

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