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 Review, Asetek WaterChill - Plug&Chill
By: Steffen Scheibler, October 10, 2003  Print this article


The Plug&Chill system is a definitely a viable option for people seeking high-performance cooling. However, all this testing has lead me to one very important observation: motherboard manufacturers are obviously assuming that people are using HSF combinations which, as a side-effect, help cool the chipset and, very important, the VRMs which are often positioned very close to the socket. When using water-cooling you can in fact fry your motherboard’s VRMs so it is very important to put passive heat-sinks on various components on your motherboard and ensure that air is flowing in your case.

Extra-cooling is highly recommended on the VRMs

Extra-cooling is highly recommended on the VRMs

I have circled (yellow, above) the modules on the Epox 8RDA3+ motherboard I was using that need some form of heat-sink. I used regular small passive coolers used on RAM for AGP cards and they cost $1 each. I actually managed to make my system crash by not cooling these when I was testing 2200MHz and these modules were extremely hot to the touch without the passive heatsinks on them.

This particular issue aside, the advantages of liquid cooling over conventional air-cooling are very apparent, even when cooling several components in series in one system. The 2400MHz was only achievable using extreme air-cooling methods but readily achieved using the Plug&Chill. The Water&Chill is in fact also fairly quiet compared to most powerful air-cooling solutions.

- Performance
- Cross-platform compatibility
- Installation options
- Low noise, especially in 7V-mode
- Nice design - the radiator looks groovy in a black case

- Costs around $250 more than air-cooling
- Inconvenient mounting of radiator in cases that don’t have 120mm fan-slots/mounting options (case-mod required)

This particular kit is retailing for around EUR 250, excluding tax, which in this part of europe (German-speaking) makes it fairly competetively priced.
WaterChill kits are available just about all over Europe and North America and indeed around most of the globe.

Other purchasing links:
Complete WaterChill kits (Please notice that all Suggested Retail Prices are ex. VAT)
WaterChill Components (Please notice that all Suggested Retail Prices are ex. VAT)
Authorized WaterChill Resellers in the EU.

Despite encountering a few small difficulties, this decision didn’t come easy. The few potential problems and difficulties inherant to applying a totally new type of cooling to your PC, despite being affected by some of them, don’t weigh that heavily into the equation as you know what you are about to do is mix water and electronics. At the end of the day this kit is every bit as good as the previous version -- actually no, it is better.

And that is as it should be, so I am comfortable giving Asetek yet another DWPG.Com Editors Choice Award for their new kit, and can't wait to see what Asetek will come up with for the next generation of WaterChillers.

Finally, we would like to thank Asetek for supplying us with the WaterChill kit.

Steffen Scheibler

 Search for prices:  

  The Plug&Chill WaterChill
  The Kit in detail
  The Kit in detail continued
  Assembling the system
  The testing scenario
  Results, Temperatures, Performance benefits

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