XSPC Water Cooling Gear Review

Cooling/Water Cooling by KeithSuppe @ 2006-10-16

XSPC is a suprising water cooling company with some innovative products. After reviewing their X20 watercooling kit I was impressed by its performance although the kit was rather compact. The heart of that kit was the X20 CPU water block which has been re-designed. Today we test their new X20 and a few other products from the XSPC inventory and compare them to other high end water cooling components.

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Tests Results / Conclusion

Tests / Conclusion

Madshrimps (c)

As stated on the previous page several series of tests were run to exemplify each component sent to us by XSPC. ALL temps reflect the processors running at 100% LOAD via S@M. Our first test below compares the XSPC R120-T Crossflow radiator against Alphacool NexXxos Pro III. Temps were measured while the radiators were mounted on the Presler 930 / Asus P5WD2 Premium system at 100% LOAD running 200FSB and 270FSB speeds. Each radiator was tested with three Xinruilian RDH1225S 120mm fans at 12V. Water temps were measured at the radiator outlet using a Thermaltake T-Type CL-W0033 water temperature indicator. The radiators were mounted outside the case, as their size precludes internal mounting without special fabrication. Ambient temps throughout all tests remained at 18C.

Madshrimps (c)

Our next test compares XSPC 250mm Passive Aluminum Reservoir against Alphacool's Cape Coolplex Pro 25 External. The XSPC passive reservoir was placed in front of the R120-T radiator's Xinruilian fans which were mounted so that they were "pulling" air through the radiator which placed the aluminum reservoir fins just a few inches from the center fan. This is seen in the page topic photo and in the close-up thumbnail below.

Madshrimps (c)

As you can see from the results below XSPC's idea for a passive reservoir are most definitely supported. The XSPC Reservoir was also placed away from the radiator fan as was the Cape Coolplex 25 External. Once again temperatures were measured running the Presler 930 / Asus P5WD2 Premium system at 100% LOAD running 200FSB and 250FSB system speeds. Waiter-temps were measured at the radiator outlets using Thermaltake's T-Type CL-W0033 water temperature indicator. Ambient room temp at 18C.

Madshrimps (c)

Yonah T2600ES / AOpen i975X a-YDG water block tests compare the Xtreme X20 against the original XSPC X20, Alphacool NexXxos XP, Alphacool Cape KC42-X2, Viscool V2 and stock cooling. As stated earlier the system was built using the CPU/motherboard combination above, XSPC R120-T radiator, XSPC Passive reservoir, Alphacool AP1510 pump and DC-voltage converter running at 12V. For our control HSF we used the HSF supplied by AOpen detailed on the previous page. Ambient temps were maintained at 18C and all figures below represent degree Celsius under specified FSB-speeds at 100% LOAD.

Madshrimps (c)

Presler 930 / Asus P5WD2 Premium water block tests compare the XSPC Xtreme X20 repeating the conditions above. The system and test environment were identical with the exception of the CPU/motherboard. As above figures below represent degree Celsius under specified FSB-speeds at 100% LOAD.

Madshrimps (c)

Our final water block test compares the XSPC Xtreme against Alphacool's NexXxos XP (due to it's performance) at varying flow-rates. Utilizing Alphacool's AP1510 + DC-Voltage converter the pump is capable of a maximum 1500 l/h @ 24V or 6M height. Waterblock performance was tested at 12V, 18V and 24V. This test was performed on the Presler 930 / Asus P5WD2 platform taking advanatge of Presler's 95W thermal design. Alphacool's NexXxos XP uses a channel from the inlet to re-direct the water stream onto the center of the impingement area, whereas the Xtreme X20 places the inlet above the center of the impingement zone, for this reason flowrate should play a significant role with the Xtreme X20.

Madshrimps (c)

Epilogue: From the chart above it's evident the XSPC Xtreme X20 offers significant improvement over the original X20. Relocating the waterblock's inlet to center and incorperating extruded pin impingment allows this waterblock to benefit from increased flowrates as the charts show. The re-desing has earned this block it's moniker "Xtreme X20". The Xtreme X20 bests NexXxos XP at higher flow rates and comes very close to the NexXxos XP performance in a low flow environment as well. Not only is the XSPC much more versatile then NexXxos XP simpy by virtue of its mounting hardware, I've no doubt the 1/2" version would widen the performance gap even further.

XSPC's Passive Aluminum Reservoir performs as advertised dropping water-temps and depending upon where it's placed this drop can be substantial. In fact one could eliminate a radiator completely and use the Passive Reservoir with or withour fan-assistance as has been shonw in other reviews.

The R120-T Crossflow radiator has it's obvious advanatges with inlet/outlet at opposite ends and it's performance was impressive. I have to commend XSPC for some creative engineering, with every component tested the goal was to dissipate heat and while this may seem prima facie for water-cooling, you'd be surprised how many components can't get out of their own way. While I've used the term "pragmatic" once or twice before it's an appropriate compliment for the components XSPC has provided for testing.

Xtreme X20 = decent price
Xtreme X20 = excellent performance
Xtreme X20 = single universal mounting plate
Passive Reservoir = lowers temps
Passive Reservoir = Easy fill/bleed
R120-T Crossflow = solid performance
R120-T Crossflow = excellent build quality
R120-T Crossflow = inlet/outlet obvious mounting advantages

All components = limited availability (USA especially)
R120-T Crossflow = UK price
Passive reservoir = USA Price
General = be nice if they offered more "custom" watercooling kits.

Questions/comments: forum thread.

Addendum Galvanic Corrosion or Dissimilar Metal Corrosion:
XSPC's passive reservoir is effective in cooling because it's constructed of aluminum. For this reason it may be problematic for those unfamilair with the reaction which can occur in a water-cooling system between Dissimilar Metals. Even more disconcerting is the surface area in a reservoir this large, and for the following reasons.

Galvanic corrosion (also called ' dissimilar metal corrosion' or wrongly 'electrolysis') refers to corrosion damage induced when two dissimilar materials are coupled in a corrosive electrolyte. When a galvanic couple forms, one of the metals in the couple becomes the anode and corrodes faster than it would all by itself, while the other becomes the cathode and corrodes slower than it would alone. For galvanic corrosion to occur, three conditions must be present:

1.) Electrochemically dissimilar metals must be present;

2.) These metals must be in electrical contact; and

3.) The metals must be exposed to an electrolyte.

If left unchecked Galvanic corrosion will eventually cause leaks in your system and by the time these leaks occur the "distilled water" you were led to believe would not conduct electricity will have effectively deteriorated into battery acid. Many water-cooling manufacturers offer protective measures by coating the inside of their waterblocks with gold and other materials. Since its difficult and often more costly to purchase gold coated water-cooling components almost every water-cooling system should incorporate additives to minimize Galvanic Corrosion (at least temporarily). If dissimilar metals are present there's very little you can do to prevent a natural process, however; the most effective method of preventing corrosion is to maintain your system.

For the "coolant" I use a mixture of Steam Distilled H20, a couple of drops of Anti Algae (be careful this is poisonous) and Water Wetter. The most critical form of maintenance is to drain, flush and replace the coolant periodically. I recommend every 60-days although personally drain my system every 30-days. XSPC is not very different from most manufacturers whom presume those using their separates’ have some experience with H20 cooling. Very few water-cooling manufacturers mention corrosion in their literature and while they mention it on their sites, it should be included with every component sold. Nonetheless preventive measures taking no more then a few hours every few months is a small price to pay for the temperature differential and extended life water-cooling gives us.

An article on this subject will be linked from all H20 tests

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