Alphacool designs have been dominating the water cooling charts lately, especially their NexXxos series which hold's the top spot at Watercoolplanet
and only recently bumped to second place at CaseUmbau
. The company located in Braunschweig Germany plans on expanding sales to the USA which is exciting news for water cooling enthusiasts there. Alphacool designs, while not overly complicated, seem to have struck on just the right cohesion of materials and design execution. Most water block makers settle on a specific design and usually implement that design across their product line, interestingly Alphacool took another approach. Not only is the Cape KC42-X2 designed very differently from its siblings (NexXxos) it's shaped very different as well.
Alphacool describes the manufacturing process for the block's chamber as "glass bead blasted". To my knowledge this is an industrial surface finishing technique utilizing glass beads (which can vary in size) blown under a low air pressure leaving surface dimensions unchanged, yet removing any burr's or minute imperfections. The smaller the beads used the finer the finish. If you've ever seen machine marks in your water block, you know it wasn't bead blasted. The impingement zone takes the form of a series of copper "steps" resembling stacked coins. The bottom being widest and reducing in size as they rise.
The CAPE has an exceptionally small "footprint" just barely covering the entire surface of Prescott's IHS (Integrated Heat Spreader). I'm partial to this minimalist type of design as it concentrates water flow exactly where it needs to be. The svelte design allows the block to rotate 360 degrees in its Lucite mount which makes installation much easier. With the ability to rotate the water block 360 degrees tension or twisting in the tubing can be reduced just prior to tightening down the water block, a thoughtful feature. Although we Utilitarians claim aesthetics play a minimal role in our hardware selection it's most refreshing when hardware looks as good as it performs. The CAPE is the best looking block I've had in my system to date.