Core i7 CPU Water Block Roundup
Like always each article needs a small intro to answer some of the usual questions: Why, how, what,... I think you get the picture ( we reviewers know you readers are far smarter than us ) I'm the proud owner of a Nehalem based PC. It allows me to do awesome stuff at tremendous speeds. Nehalem is pure brute force and when overclocked requires a nuclear plant to power it. This goes along with big heat output. More heat than some air coolers can handle.
My computer is being abused daily for benching, folding@home, gaming and loads of other things my girlfriend loathes. Previous rigs of mine were always water-cooled and since I got the Core i7 I saw that some manufacturers didn't really alter the design of their socket 775 coolers. Just another top plate, revised mounting system and (if included) a new back plate made them socket 1366 compatible. Madshrimps contacted the vendors to see who was interested in participating for an I7 roundup. At first hand we only got the blocks included in this review, but new contacts should allow us to get a few more samples soon ( hence why they will get their one ticket to stardom in part 2, out soon).Test Setup and methodology
Leeghoofd's I7 940 Test Setup
|CPU||Intel I7 940 @ 3.8Ghz 1.29 vcore HT ON |
|Cooling|| MCP655 vario 2 and 5, Thermochill PA120.3 |
|Mainboard||Asus Rampage Extreme II 1204 bios|
|Memory||6Gb Corsair Dominator PC16000 C8-8-8-24 1T|
|PSU|| Enermax Galaxy 1kw|
Testing water-cooling equipment is very hard to do as so many factors play a part ; The mounting , Tim used and how it was applied, ambient temps, tubing used, pump speeds, etc...To get the best possible results I remounted each block 3 times.
I used a little carton template to get the same amount of TIM on the IHS. The TIM (OCZ Freezer Extreme) was spread out by the pressure of the water block mounting. After the tests the TIM was checked for a good spread out.
Tubing used was Tygon Black 3/8" tubing.
For the Pump initial test were done via the MCP655 equipped with an EK rev5 TOP ( to allow 1/4 AG fittings), but due to some awkward results we opted to retest the blocks with the MCP655 Vario (setting 2 and 5 tested!)
The total amount of fluid used each time was 800ml of Aquatuning Innovatek Pro fluid.
All test were started at 22°C ambient temp. The rig was allowed to heat up the fluid during half an hour at idle speed 3.8ghz at 1.28Vcore (no EIST enabled). Small note : under load the Asus Rampage Extreme II, tends to overvolt. So during testing the Vcore was fluctuating between 1.28-29Vcore.
As testing program I used Prime95 Custom 10K run for 2 hours stressing all 8 cores ( HT enabled).
The CPU temp was monitored by Everest Home and the Core temperatures by Realtemp. The latter is a nice program as it logs the highest core temps measured (making my life easier).
We opted to monitor the fluid temps going in and out of the CPU block. Sadly this didn't give us the expected results we were aiming for. Temp differences between in and out were max 1°C. Maybe it could have been the probes not working 100%, bad readout by the motherboard,... But all in all it was nice to have an idea of the fluid temperature.
Onto our first test candidate ->