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Thread: Waterblocks on i7 - Part 5

  1. #1
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    Waterblocks on i7 - Part 5

    Here, finally is my next installement of waterblock-testing. Because of delayed samples this one has been a long time coming.

    New Presentation

    I've decided to try a new presentation for this data. In this first post, I will simply show the most simplified version of the results. The idea is to make it a more accessible reference. If you just want to quickly check the essential data, you'll find it straight away in this first post. All the details and pics as well as more in-depth data you'll find in the second post.

    One thing is important here: If you look at the data in this first post and have a question, read the second post. It's likely that you'll find the answer in there.


    Flowrates:




    Average Temperatures:


  2. #2
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    Here, finally is my next installement of waterblock-testing. Because of delayed samples this one has been a long time coming.

    So let's get right into it.


    Test Setup

    Hardware used:
    - Intel Core i7 920 @ 3.7GHz, 1.28V
    - Asus P6T
    - 6GB Mushkin XP12800
    - T-Balancer BigNG and Sensorhub for measuring and logging temp data
    - Three digital thermal probes measuring ambient temps
    - Arctic Cooling MX-2

    Cooling loop:
    - Swiftech MCP355 with EK X-Res top
    - Digmesa Flowmeter
    - Four inline thermal probes
    - XSPC RS360 radiator
    - 3x Nanoxia FX1250 fans @ 1200rpm
    - 13/10mm tubing

    Sftware used:
    - T-Balancer Navigator
    - RealTemp 3.0
    - CoreDamage


    Testing Procedure

    The testing is done with the above hardware set up in a CPU-only loop so that there is no thermal interference from other components in the loop.
    A test run has a duration of 40 minutes during which the CPU is fully loaded using CoreDamage. I did a lot of preliminary testing and determined CoreDamage to be the best suited program, because it produces very high and very stable temperatures. The 40 minutes might seem short, but in my testing I got identical, just as repeatable results after 40 minutes as after 60 or 90 minutes.
    From the 40 minutes of CPU-burning, I collect all the data from the last 20 minutes of each run and average out all the data to get average Core temperatures, average water temperatures and average ambient temperatures.


    Blocks tested

    Alphacool Niagara


    A very particular new block from Alphacool. The base plate is the same as with the Livingstone and Yellowstone blocks, but the internals of the top are different. Uniquely, it's equipped with G3/8" threads.


    Koolance CPU-350AC


    The notorious Koolance block. Most demanded block for me to test for this roundup...


    Watercool Heatkiller 3.0 LC


    This is the low cost version of the Heatkiller 3.0. It has fewer channels in the base plate than the other HK 3.0 versions and also comes without the jet-plate. I'm sure someone is going to ask, so let me state right away: The reason the HK 3.0 LT is not featured is because it's simply the same as the copper Heatkiller I have already tested. Only the LC version actually has different internals and therefore different performance.


    Ybris Eclipse


    The Eclipse is a fully chrome-plated block made by Italian manufacturer Ybris. As you can see on the first two pics it's available with either an acrylic or an aluminium mounting-plate.


    Flowrates

    I simply measured the flowrates achieved in the loop with the pump at 12V with each block. Since all other parts of the loop are always equal, this represents the restrictiveness of each block.

    Results:


    In terms of flowrates, there is a new record holder among the four waterblocks added in this round: The Koolance waterblock is the most restrictive block I've ever tested. The Ybris Eclipse is also considerably restrictive while the HK 3.0 LC and the Niagara are both quite unrestrictive.
    NOTE concerning the Niagara: I tested it using fittings with 3/8" threads. then did another few test-runs using 3/8" to 1/4" adapters and 1/4" fittings, just to see if it makes a difference. With the adapters, the flowrate is 1.73 GPM instead of 1.75 GPM. This has no measurable effect on the temperatures.

    You'll see that I also added the Zern PQ + Pro here. Unfortunately, I could not do thermal testing with this block, since my sample was faulty (concave base plate). I didn't want to withhold the flowrate-data, though. For thermal performance, I can refer you to Bundymania's test on HWLuxx.


    Orientation

    Orientations

    Each block is mounted and tested six times. Three times in one orientation and three times in an orientation rotated by 90°.
    This means that the blocks were either installed with horizontal/vertical flow accross the CPU or diagonal flow with the outlet on the top right/top left, depending on how the threads on the block are oriented.
    Keep in mind that the socket's orientation on the mainboard isn't always the same. Some mainboards (e.g. Gigabyte) have 90° rotated sockets. What ultimately matters (if anything) the direction of flow accross the CPU itself. On my mainboard, it would look like this:




    Averaging out the results from three mounts per orientation, this is what we end up with:

    Diagonal Flow:


    Horizontal/Vertical Flow:




    Temperatures

    Next, let's take a look at temperatures achieved. (all temperatures shown are differences between CPU and water temps)

    Here are the three runs in the optimal orientation for each of the blocks. All of the results are sorted form lowest to highest temperature for each block to keep the graph tidy:




    Here's what we get as an overview, when all the results from the three runs above are averaged out:



    While the Koolance CPU-350 is amazingly restrictive, it also offers very good cooling. The HK 3.0 LC also does a great job in this regard, especially considering it's low price. The Ybris Eclipse doesn't offer a stellar cooling performance, but finishing next to the EK Supreme isn't half bad, either. The Alphacool Niagara's performance is, unfortunately, pretty bad.


    Temperature Range

    As you can see from the above graph, there is practically one block for each tenth of a degree along the scale. This can be a bit misleading since on such a bar graph, a block will be placed ahead of one that averaged .1 K higher temperatures. So it can look like one block is better than another even though the both basically performed almost identically and ended up with different results due to margins of error in the measurement devices. To give a more realistic impression of the thermal performance, I made a candlestick-graph.
    Here, the bar represents the temperatures measured during the three better test-runs and the sticks reach out to +/-0.5 K to account for the imprecision of the thermal sensors. All in all, this can give you a visual idea of where you can expect the performance of each block to lie.



    NOTE: The images are simply added so that it's easier to see which bar represents which block. I'm not sure if this is an optimal way of displaying this. Suggestions welcome.


    Temperatures in relation to flowrates

    The last part of testing consists of lowering flowrates by using a shutoff valve and measuring how this impacts temperatures. I lower the flowrates to predetermined values with 30l/h or 60l/h increments. converted to GPM, the increments don't make as much sense as in l/h, but the important point is that each block is tested at identical flowrates.
    Because of this, the following graph does not take into account the different levels of restrictiveness each of the blocks has.

    First, the graph just showing the four new blocks in this roundup:



    The curves that the Ybris and Koolance blocks are displaying are what I would call average. The Watercool and Alphacool blocks benefit slightly more than average from higher flowrates. Keep in mind though that the Koolance block will require way more pumping power in order to achieve the same flowrates as the other blocks.

    Here is the very chaotic overview of temps in relation to flowrates for all 20 blocks tested so far:



    Conclusion

    As always, I want to keep this to a minimum and leave judgement and further speculation up to you.
    In my opinion, the HK 3.0 LC is the most remarkable block of this bunch. Not because of it's performance or flowrates alone, but simply because it offers these at such a low price. Way to corner a market, Watercool.
    I like the design of the Ybris Eclipse a lot and it's a block where I can imagine many will go for it for the looks, knowing that they won't get top-notch performance out of it. The Niagara is interesting but unfortunately not very good. Time to experiment with new base plates, Alphacool.
    The Koolance... great performance, super restrictive. I'm sure speculation will not rest after this test, either.

    Cheers,
    Shane

  3. #3
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    Woah, that's some excellent work.

    Wonder why you and gabe get such different results on the GTZ/HK/350.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alacheesu View Post
    Woah, that's some excellent work.

    Wonder why you and gabe get such different results on the GTZ/HK/350.
    Not sure he used a backplate on the HK3.0 not sure how much that matters though, and he had a GFX cooler in the loop which the highly restrictive K350 dont like I suppose.

    Did you use tools when mounting the HK3.0 and k350 blocks to get even pressure, or just by "feeling"?

    Very nice testing
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  5. #5
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    Mech: I use a backplate for all the blocks and I get even pressure simply by measuring the distance from Mainboard PCB to thumb nut. Not exactly rocket science, but it works.

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    Very nice review
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    CPU & GPU watercooled


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mech0z View Post
    Not sure he used a backplate on the HK3.0 not sure how much that matters though, and he had a GFX cooler in the loop which the highly restrictive K350 dont like I suppose.
    Maybe. I'm not questioning either of their results, and I know it's possible flamebait. I'm just curious as to what might cause the difference. If the inclusion of a GPU block and/or different pumps will change the order of the blocks, then that would making testing and rating blocks much more difficult. This is just useless speculation, though. Maybe Skinnee's upcoming review will shed some more light on this.

  8. #8
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    Thanks a million for doing the review. That's a ton of work but really, really helpful.
    E8600, Asus P5Q Deluxe, HK3.0, PA120.3, MCP655 + EK Top, EK 250 Res, HR-09 U+S on Mosfets, HR-05 on NB and SB, Corsair 8500C5D x 8G, EVGA 7900 GS KO, Thermaltake 1200w, Top Deck Techstation, Raptor 150G RAID0, Plextor 755A SATA Optical, Dell 1907FP 19"

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by alacheesu View Post
    Woah, that's some excellent work.

    Wonder why you and gabe get such different results on the GTZ/HK/350.
    I think the biggest factor is that gabe used 2x D5 pumps, and I think both the GTZ and 350 scale better with increased flow than the HK.

    also It would be awesome if there was any recording and measurement of ambient intake temperatures
    Last edited by silverphoenix; 05-19-2009 at 02:21 PM.

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  10. #10
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    The difference between these and Gabe's results is interesting but being as this is single pump and block it's pretty revealing. Just imagine what we would see with a dual pump and single block test. Thanks for the testing and well laid out results!
    Quote Originally Posted by Movieman View Post
    I don't care, I'm running out of popcorn waiting for the results..

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by alacheesu View Post
    Woah, that's some excellent work.

    Wonder why you and gabe get such different results on the GTZ/HK/350.
    The difference is due to the fact that Shane uses a lapped processor.

    1/ The GTZ was designed to perform best with off-the-shelf (unlapped) processors
    2/ More importantly: The GTZ mounting system simply does not work well with lapped processors because if has a fixed travel distance, so as one laps the processor down, the block loses perfect matting with the IHS.

    I have demonstrated the above in recent tests I performed. Please note: I will not discuss this matter any further here because I do not want to stirr controversy. I will let other reviewers verify this for themselves, draw their own conclusions, and decide for themselves the relevance of their test results to the public.
    Last edited by gabe; 05-19-2009 at 03:39 PM.
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    Even though the GTZ shows mediocrity on i7 CPU's, it's still the best deal for Canadians considering price. Not sure what prices are like for the blocks in the States. Here, you can get the GTZ for ~$77 w/LGA1366 back-plate, while the Koolance 350 is ~$95.
    Last edited by YukonTrooper; 05-19-2009 at 03:38 PM.

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  13. #13
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    Very nice review! Thanks you.

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    Thanks for the review!

    Gabe you actually bring up a very good point. I have noticed myself when I crank down on cpu blocks to add more pressure you get better temps because of it. I hard mount and throw springs out the window. I was wondering perhaps make a kit or something that will grant you extra pressure for the GTZ since it bottoms out at a certain point and cannot go further. I can see where a lapped processor would not help it performance wise and to tell you the truth I never even thought about that.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by gabe View Post
    The difference is due to the fact that Shane uses a lapped processor.

    1/ The GTZ was designed to perform best with off-the-shelf (unlapped) processors
    2/ More importantly: The GTZ mounting system simply does not work well with lapped processors because if has a fixed travel distance, so as one laps the processor down, the block loses perfect matting with the IHS.

    I have demonstrated the above in recent tests I performed. Please note: I will not discuss this matter any further here because I do not want to stirr controversy. I will let other reviewers verify this for themselves, draw their own conclusions, and decide for themselves the relevance of their test results to the public.
    Thanks, gabe. That makes sense to me.

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    thank you for the review, charts and info

  17. #17
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    the watercool HK LC is starting to look really nice
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by lazy View Post
    the watercool HK LC is starting to look really nice
    Yeah, not bad at all. Glad to finally see some results for it.

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    Excellent review. The box and whisker graph is pure win .

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    Excellet work! Many thanks for huge work. It take a LOT to test CPU blocks. All this draining, filling, bleeding, warming up...

    What I like the best it that agrees with my own tests for 4 blocks I have tested.

    Weird that most restrictive and laest restrictibe blocks are the best.


    Quote Originally Posted by YukonTrooper View Post
    Even though the GTZ shows mediocrity on i7 CPU's, it's still the best deal for Canadians considering price. Not sure what prices are like for the blocks in the States. Here, you can get the GTZ for ~$77 w/LGA1366 back-plate, while the Koolance 350 is ~$95.
    Both GTZ and EK LT cost about the same $75 with backplates, but K350 cost about $100 (with all the goodies inside the box).
    Last edited by *|T2D|*PopovS; 05-19-2009 at 07:49 PM.

  21. #21
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    Not sure where you shop...

    Koolance CPU-350 $79.99
    Koolance CPU-345 $56.99
    Swiftech GTZ $69.99
    EK LT $49.95 + Backplate $6.95

  22. #22
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    Does anybody else tested EK LT with different orientation? In my test results the same.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by skinnee View Post
    Not sure where you shop...

    Koolance CPU-350 $79.99
    Koolance CPU-345 $56.99
    Swiftech GTZ $69.99
    EK LT $49.95 + Backplate $6.95
    Skinnee, you forgot that GTZ comes with LGA755 plate, so extra $$ for hold down plate, but to get GTZ from California is less expensive then from Slovenia in Europe.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by *|T2D|*PopovS View Post
    Both GTZ and EK LT cost about the same $75 with backplates, but K350 cost about $100 (with all the goodies inside the box).
    I'm talking about in Canada. But those prices are pretty much what I listed anyways.

    Quote Originally Posted by skinnee View Post
    Not sure where you shop...

    Koolance CPU-350 $79.99
    Koolance CPU-345 $56.99
    Swiftech GTZ $69.99
    EK LT $49.95 + Backplate $6.95
    I'm talking about in Canada.

    Canada, Canada, Canada.

    For my part I know nothing with any certainty, but the sight of the stars makes me dream.

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  25. #25
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    wow, nice tests
    ek supreme is pump killer

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