Date: December 18th, 2008
Article by: Nathan Glentworth (Owner / Head Editor)
Product was submitted by: Sapphire
<--CLICK FOR PRICES ON A SAPPHIRE VIDEOCARD IN THE UNITED STATES
<--CLICK FOR PRICES ON A SAPPHIRE VIDEOCARD IN CANADA
PRODUCT PICTORIAL & WALKTHROUGH
Now this sticker was a pleasant surprise. Sapphire didn't skimp on the watercooling and went right to the professionals at Asetek and used their newly developed LCLC (Low Cost Liquid Cooling) system which uses a daisy chain setup to cool all components connected. More information on this unique system can be found HERE
The radiator is 120mm x 120mm without the external tanks and has a blue LED fan installed right out of the box. This silent 25dba fan pushes ~30-35cfm and pulls air through the radiator rather than push the cool air through. Throughout the extensive testing, the watercooling system was essentially silent with the videocard making more noise than anything within the cooling system. I do have to say, the videocard does some serious electronic chiming when under an extensive benchmarking load.
This is where things get interesting. the cold plate and the pump are all contained within the CPU waterblock. Although the exact pumping rates are a trade secret, the pump utilizes ceramic bearings for long life and needs no servicing. While on the topic of servicing, most people that have ever installed a watercooling system before will know that from time to time you will have to top up your reservoir to keep the system full. This is because most tubing and connections in most systems can be relatively seen as watertight, but they are permeable to a small degree and through time will slowly release small amounts of moisture. For this system, impermeable flexible corrugated plastic tubing was used to completely seal the system and to stop any fluid loss. Because of this, the system has a maintenance-free lifespan of 50,000hrs. You can see that this system is being set up to be used in an OEM applications in the future seeing it is just so incredibly simple and easy to install.
As for the performance, seeing this was strapped to a QX9770, you couldn't exactly say that this was a easy start to the test. With all four cores fired up and at full load under the stock cooler from Intel, the temperatures would hover around 65-70c in an open testbed environment. Once the waterblock was installed and the full load reinitialized, temperatures dropped to 51c rock stable. Though I will note that when both the cpu and the cooler are under full load at the same time, the temperature would only increase by 2C. I have to give most of the credit to the radiator and fan setup. With everything screaming at full throttle, the radiator was not undergoing any sort of heat saturation whatsoever. Even though the fan is quiet, it does extract a lot of heat.
For an "OEM" type system, this cooling system is nothing to turn your nose up at. Even with the fastest LGA775 processor and the fastest videocard on the planet at this given time at full load, it handled it with ease.
Speaking of install, all that is needed to install the water block is to remove the plastic cover protecting the cooling surface, insert the block into the adapter and attach it to motherboard. Mind you, the AMD install will need a backing plate install. But for anyone using an Intel processor (and I know most of you are...), the install takes no more than 15 seconds and that is when I was being overly careful. No fuss, no problem and even the thermal paste is pre-applied. Can you ask for anything easier? Not in my books. To be honest, most air cooler installs are more of a PITA then this waterblock was.