Alphacool Xtreme Pro Set + NexXxos BOLD vs. Intel P4 550
Alphacool has become a force to be reckoned with in the water cooling world. Their designs don't seem overly complicated, or made with exotic materials, so why do they perform so well? One reason I'm sure is Alphacool's choice of components included in their sets, and in particular today's Xtreme Pro Set 240V
is an excellent water cooling platform. At the heart of this set is the Alphacool 1500 DC pump made specifically for Alphacool by OASE
. The Alphacool 1500 is capable of 900LPH to 1500LPH via a DC-voltage regulator with a 12V to 24V range. Below we see the Xtreme Pro Set with the NexXxos XP, water block and the Black Ice Xtreme double radiator; we'll substitute the NexXxos BOLD S775.
Alphacool offers several versions of the NexXxos water block and the original NexXxos XP
still retains the number one spot at Watercoolplanet.de
which has performance chart 50 water blocks deep. To date the best performer has been the NexXxos GOLD
which has also dominated Euro H20 charts such as CaseUmbau
where it's recently bumped to second replaced by the LICS (formerly Cool-Cases) M-I
. LICS have just released their M-II
as well which may be the
block to beat.
Normally the Xtreme Pro Set were using today is based around the NexXxos XP (reviewed here
), however; today we'll be sending chills through Prescott's spine with our NexXxos BOLD. Our first photo below exemplifies one of the most highly polished base-plates I've ever seen. The NexXxos BOLD is mounted on the Socket-775 Lucite mount, and Alphacool provide through-mount for both AMD and Intel models.
Taking a closer look at the NexXxos BOLD disassembled sitting in front of another BOLD assembled in its A64 Lucite mount, you can see the two copper plates which comprise the block. The top-plate (left) is just 4.5mm thick (approx.), while the bottom base-plate (right) which comprises the impingement zone, is just 4mm (approx.) thick! The NexXxos BOLD has to be one of the sveltest designs on the market today.
The BOLD's top-plate integrates the inlet which forces the incoming water through 20 small holes creating the dispersion pattern onto the impingement zone. Opposite the inlet the outlet, obviously much larger as not to create any back pressure. The rubber gasket is forced against the Lucite top-plate albeit the AMD, Intel or as in this case the Socket 775.
Next the bottom or base-plate comprises the impingement zone which is given the moniker extruded pin
design. Base plate thickness is just 4mm, and the copper material removed around and between the pins leaves just 2mm of copper between CPU and water flowing above.
My hypothesis for the success behind Alphacool designs is due to its base-plate thickness. I've seen a propensity among better performing European (particularly German) where a minimalist approach is taken. Alphacool's use of materials indicates an astute grasp for thermodynamics and metallurgy. The laws of physics dictate kinetic energy (heat) where lower water-temp naturally attracts heat from the CPU, therefore placing as little material between H20 and heat-source makes perfect engineering sense.
A closer look emphasizes base-plate thickness which may even be less than 4mm (approx.), however; relying on the accuracy of mm increments on a common ruler is ill advised.
Similar to the top-plate the base-plate also utilizes a rubber gasket which pressed against the top-plate (when the four retaining screws are tightened down), creates a water-proof seal. As stated earlier, Alphacool's base-plate sports one of the finest finishes on the market.
It seems NexXxos BOLD has the potential to be a contender
, however; it's up against what is considered to be the hottest running desktop CPU on the market, the 90nm Prescott dissipating 115W. The belief that the LGA Socket 775 (or Socket-T) version Prescott runs cooler then the original Socket 478 version is a conundrum wrapped in misconception. While the processors are basically the same thermally, the Socket 478 version only dissipates 103W. Its thermal problems initially arose from an incongruity with the platform it was prematurely released upon. The pin-design of the .09-micron Prescott and the fact power circuitry on Socket 478 motherboards were never intended to support this processor's core, were the primary cause for its early thermal catastrophes. Stories of motherboards actually melting were not exaggerated. However, the reasons why they did were widely misunderstood.
Marketing hyperbole has no effect on the laws of physics, and from 130nm to 90nm is almost a 50% reduction in the size of voltage traces (Sudhian
Additionally D-VID circuitry
which allowed fluctuations in Prescott's Vcore from its default 1.375V ~ 1.525V were not engineered into Socket 478 motherboards. When overclockers attempted to set vcore manually in their Socket 478 BIOS (even if it was just to set it at the default vcore level), this led to a plethora of adverse results. Some of these results were melted mobo power circuitry, and insanely high mosfets temps, but they also may have been responsible for original Prescott's high operating temps. None-the-less Intel engineers have worked feverishly to bring things under control, and while they haven't made substantial changes at the Fab level, where motherboard power circuitry specifications are concerned temps have dropped somewhat.
Now onto the testing ->