Intel Core i7 CPU Water Block Roundup May 2009

Cooling/Water Cooling by leeghoofd @ 2009-05-20

Cooling down Intel´s latest CPU with air cooled heatsinks is fine if you don’t plan on extensive overclocking, once you want more though you will have to look for better cooling solutions. We take a look at seven CPU water blocks from EK, Enzotech, Koolance, OCZ, XSPC and Swiftech to see if they can tame the i7 heat monster, also known as Nehalem.

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Enzotech LUNA rev A and Phoenix block

Enzotech LUNA rev A and Phoenix block

Founded in 1982, Enzotech has been striving to provide cooling solutions for a variety of servers that require high efficiency and 24-hour power stability. With the on-going innovation and challenges in the computer industry, Enzotech has become a leading innovator in designing unique material forming technology. Along with its OEM experiences with companies such as AMD and Intel, they also have the reputation as being one of the world’s most advanced high-performance heat sink manufacturer. Enzotech is committed to provide customers with world-class high quality products that are delivered in a cost effective manner, resulting in a win-win situation for all.

Luna Block rev A
Madshrimps (c)

Phoenix Block
Madshrimps (c)

Enzotech was so kind to send us two blocks. Their latest release is the Luna rev A and we got a new experimental block called the Phoenix to mess with. From the outside both blocks look almost identical, just the turquoise look of the Phoenix gives it away. These are magnificent pieces of art and a real eye catcher in your case. If anyone can shed a light on the inscriptions on the mounting plate, do not hesitate to contact me. For s1366 compatibility Enzotech created a retention module that allows the users to put their S775 blocks on the i7 platform without having to remove the mounting plate.

Madshrimps (c)

Phoenix and Luna rev A side by side, not much difference is there ?
The innards tell another story :

Madshrimps (c)
Luna's Micro design and extremely thin base

The Phoenix block deviates from the micro design of the Luna block. The formers base is also thicker and due to the new pin design the inlet chamber had to be reduced. If this pays off in a nice temp drop you will have to go straight to the performance page.

Phoenix has a taller pin design and thicker base then its predecessor. Please take note that there are several versions floating around of this block, with other interior modifications. So this block results might not reflect those of the final product.

The retention module in all it's glory:

Madshrimps (c)

The package is more than complete ( Thermalpaste, fittings, Clamps, ...) and an example to all manufacturers. Very well done !

These blocks also have an extra feature which can’t be seen in the pictures above:

Both blocks have got this flashing feature. Either you like it or loath it. To get rid of the LED function, don't hook up the blocks' connector to the motherboard. If you like the LED, but not the flashing effect, try this mod : How to disable the flashing function.
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Comment from Kougar @ 2009/05/22
Apogee GTZ has problems... screwing it down can grind off a layer of motherboard PCB if the person doesn't tighten with fingers only. The GTZ LGA1366 backplate is extremely easy to strip the threads on as well. Starting to wish I had gone with the D-Tek block instead.
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2009/05/22
I only used my fingers the tighten down the GTZ screws. Normally you can only tighten it as much as the backplate allows, unless using brute force. Do you have any pictures of your damaged backplate, mobo ? You can always ask for a replacement plate. I'll pass the info at Swiftech if you wish.

One of my screws was a bit damaged and I needed to some abrasive sponge to clean its thread. Then a drop of oil in the backplate and now it went in 100%

Performance wise I have my doubts if the Fuzion v2 is better then the GTZ (sadly I never got a sample, D-Tek never responded once)
Comment from Kougar @ 2009/05/23
Wasn't trying to brute force it, just tighten until the screws "lock"... but apparently they don't lock with this choice of backplate. On the Apogee GT they "lock" with the old style mounting mechanism.

The Apogee GTZ LGA1366 backplate does not fit well on Gigabyte boards, the foam inserts overlap three solder points on the Extreme/UD5/UD4 models and prevents the backplate from sitting flush. If you remove the foam then you will short out the socket. Instead I stripped the threads on one corner of the backplate and scratched up the PCB in three corners trying to get a flush, tight mount.

I do not have photos, but that is a good idea. I appreciate your offer but I am planning to write Gabe personally, in the very least I'm not paying another $10 + shipping for a stupid backplate design. I don't understand why there are clear plastic washers on the backplate, but not on the underside of the mounting screws to prevent shorts/PCB damage.

I am using the Thermalright LGA1366 backplate kit right now... much better design. The screws also "lock" into place and cannot be overtightened and they do not touch the PCB at all. It also fits fine and does not have issues with the solder points.
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2009/06/12
Sadly I don't think their wil be a follow up to this test as we haven't heard anything from Aquatuning since end of April ( to get some european samples ). Samples were being readied, but no reply to any mail requesting a status update... bummer
Comment from Kurgan @ 2009/06/12
OT but I'd love to see a review on Primochills new TYphoon III. Any chance we can see one in the near future?
Comment from leeghoofd @ 2009/06/12
We asked for a corsair L50 sample, looking forward to give that one a go