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 Review, CoolComputers Tri-Arc Watercooler
Construction in detail
By: Sverre Sjøthun, May 2, 2002  Print this article


The ICE150 radiator is a bigger version of the one used in the Swiftech kit – ultra slim design makes it easy to fit in your case, although midi tower users might have to place it on the outside because of the width. The multichannel, low pressure drop design is easy on pumps, so even though the Rio180 pumps less than the Eheim1048 used in the other kits, it should provide proper flow to get a good performing combo.

The ICE 150 multichannel radiator

The ICE 150 multichannel radiator

The waterblock is quite interesting. It features a sandwich consisting of a copperbase and blue anodized aluminum top with 3/8” brass fittings. Nothing particular so far, but once you open the lid, you’ll see the flowpath differs from all other waterblocks. Most designs nowadays have the inlet centered right above the CPU core, letting the cold water cool directly on the hot core. Instead, CoolComputers has chosen to have inlet and outlet on each side of the waterblock with one groove in the middle of the block, right above the CPU core, and two mirrored arches on each side of the middle groove. The base of the block is only 1mm thick, which means that there is a minimum of metal between the CPU core and the water.

The waterblock with the clamp

The waterblock with the clamp

The finish of the block is good. It’s not one of the blocks that really make you go “wow” when you see it, but it’s really nice and clean, no scratch marks what so ever. Furthermore, it seems like CoolComputers have sandblasted the whole surface of the copper base, giving it a somewhat "rough" finish. This should be great for increasing turbulence, and, as CoolComputers has promised with their new design, combat laminar flow (aka the skin effect). Before you ask, yes, the base is flat. It is, in fact, CNC machined to 0.0025mm accuracy(0.0001"), and I doubt the sandblasting will have a negative effect on the heat transferral between the waterblock and the CPU core. The aluminum top is blue anodized like the Swiftech, but it seems like the anodizing is a bit thicker, allowing less of that “metal glow” that I like so much to shine through.

The base of the waterblock

The base of the waterblock

The mounting clamp is easy to use and it has the same finish as the waterblock. However, it only make use of the two middle socket lugs. I’m not sure if that could represent a possible problem, as the waterblock is so light, but I’d prefer a clamp that use all six socket lugs to avoid ripping them off. One good thing about this kind of clamping is that you get the pressure where you want it – right down on the CPU core, and you don’t have to mess around with 4 bolts fastened in a crisscross pattern, hex-nuts, nylon washers and what not to get your CPU seated properly – only to find out that you have tightened one of the bolts too much, leaving the CPU at 60C because of misalignment.

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