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 Review, Asetek WaterChill Watercooler Kit
The Assembly
By: Steffen Scheibler, August 29, 2003  Print this article


The assembly

Assembly was a relatively painless procedure. I read through the manual before starting the first assembly-run and then read the manual carefully while going through each step. I found that the manual was well written, accurate and that the authors had kept people who have never done this before in mind. Everything is explained step-by-step and most tasks are illustrated with numerous diagrams. IKEA could learn something from these guys.

I find it rare that a manufacturer of hardware can make instructions this well. I can only praise Asetek for this effort, because it will even allow someone who has never messed around with PC-guts before to install this kit successfully.

The manual even describes, albeit basically, what kind of location to look for in your case if you do not have a 120mm fan-slot to install the radiator in. However I look at it, anyone who is considering water-cooling their PC would have no problems getting up and running with this manual.

In addition to myself successfully assembling this kit (which is not difficult for me as I have been building PCs and experimenting with exotic cooling for years now), I made an attempt to test Asetek’s technical support. I made a few installation mistakes that could easily be made and not so easily spotted. I was pleased to see that the response from Asetek was exemplary and from the symptoms described Asetek diagnosed the problems very accurately. Again, a big thumbs-up and happy smiles all round. They know their product.

Potential problems
No system is perfect. All systems are designed with certain assumptions and aimed at a particular set of circumstances. WaterChill is no exception to this and as such there are bound to be potential problems with this kit.

- Problems with the pump:
I experienced some intermittent problems priming the system. I got the impression that when starting up and priming the system that the pump seems to have problems with pockets of air somewhere between the reservoir and the pumping mechanism as it just sounded like it was trying to pump air even though the reservoir was full. There was roughly a 50/50 chance of this happening if the radiator was positioned above the pump while priming. It never happened when the radiator was positioned below the pump.

If I placed the big-tower case on its side so that the pump and the rest of the system were more-or-less at the same height, then the system primed without any difficulty - 5 times out of 5. This is something to bear in mind if your case or system make it difficult for you to position the radiator and pump at similar elevations in order to prime the system.

In any case, you may need to goad the priming process a little. This is, in my experience, absolutely normal unless you are using a very powerful pump.

- Problems with the water-block:
Another potential problem area I came across is the water-block. I found that after an hour of operation I had an air-bubble in my water-block that was big enough to cause a rise in CPU-temperature. The inlet is directly above the CPU DIE and the design of the water-block forces me to have the outlet below the inlet. This means extra care has to be taken when priming the system so air-bubbles don't form. Too hasty a priming process left me with a moderately sized air-bubble on the upper part of the waterblock. This happens because even though the reservoir is supposed to collect the air-bubbles, not all air-bubbles will make it to the reservoir if they can settle elsewhere. The orientation of the socket on my mainboard is partly to blame for this as well.

As the CPU socket is orientated the same way on many motherboards, I highly recommend giving your system plenty of time to prime up - at least 3 times as much as Asetek recommends. Also, try and orient your system on its side so that the inlet/outlet are vertical and thus encourage air-bubbles not to settle in the water-block. but to travel up, into the hose and to the reservoir where they can escape.

- Problems with the retention-mechanism (water-block):
When un-mounting the water-block, 6 times out of 7, at least one of the bars from the retention mechanism unscrewed from the motherboard requiring you to dismantle the motherboard from the case so you can tighten the screw anchoring the bar to the motherboard (which is behind/under the motherboard) in order to mount everything again. If all you wanted to do was check the thermal paste then it’s a lot of effort to remove and re-install all PCI and AGP cards, the HDDs and motherboard just to do that.

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