Phobya UC-1 CPU Water Cooling Block
After a quiet spell in which I am sure their research and development team have been far from inactive, Phobya has come out with a new and totally different model of their CPU water cooling block. This new approach looks extremely promising and I shall be putting it through it's paces later. Of the two versions produced I have been sent the "LT" as opposed to the "Extreme" although there is very little difference in performance. They both only fit Intel processors although that could easilly be changed in the future simply by the use of a different mounting plate.
This arrived nicely packaged in the very familiar Phobia box. On opening it the quality was immediately apparent. Even the packaging cut to hold the block secure was made of closed cell foam similar to neoprene, none of your cheap and nasty foam that is usually to be found in these instances. As I said the block was securely held in place by these pre cut sections but also encased in plastic bags too. There are two bags, one contains the block whilst the other keeps all the accessories together which is good because the block is finished in a high gloss Piano Black and you wouldn't want it to get scratched by loose nuts, bolts etc during transit.
The second bag has all the screws, nuts, washers, springs etc all encased together. It is nice to see that even the accessories are painted black to match. There are the usual necessary fitting parts for securing the block to the motherboard but it doesn't stop there. Phobya has also included an allen key and a tube of their high quality TIM called HEGrease Extreme. Even this is in it's own plastic box. There is enough for several applications here. The only thing I would say at this point is there were no fitting instructions in the box. I also found them hard to find online on the Phobya site. I know the fitting of a water block isn't exactly rocket science but knowing the optimum sequence of using all the nuts, bolts, washers and springs can make a big difference.
Removing the kit from the box the accessories were put to one side and I studied the block itself. It looks well made and nicely finished and the Piano Black seems to be the popular look at the moment. It isn't square but not that much off really. On the top is the Phobya name with the UC-1 LT underneath. Apparently this stands for "Phobya Ultra Cooling, the first"...well why not! I think that they have their eye on the top spot for cooling blocks. The LT just signifies the standard quality version as there are two, the other being made of all metal and called the "Extreme". In reality the difference in cooling power is only about 2 degrees so the extra cost is purely for the looks. This LT model has an acetal top above a solid copper baseplate. Sandwiched in between the two layers is the mounting plate. This appears to be manufactured out of sheet aluminium. Personally I would have preferred stainless steel or brass but it seems to do the job well enough.
Above the make and model on the front are drilled and tapped two G1/4" holes for the inlet and outlet ports. These are marked as such by engraved arrows. It is important that they are connected the correct way around. Turning the block over and you are greeted by a warning label saying remove before use. This is for the clear plastic cover that saves the mirror finished copper baseplate from getting scratched and as it is done so well it would be a shame to mess it up.In each corner there is a M4 Posidrive screw that holds the whole unit together. By removing them the cooler dismantles into three main parts.
Arguably the most important part, the baseplate, is fashioned out of a solid block of top quality copper. It actually has a minor part attached that is made of some sort of plastic, the top on which seems to be very simple in that it only has a razor slot cut almost all the way across. Removing this (it is just a push fit) and you can see that on the underside it is far from simple. It has a set of ten fine wavy slots on each side of the central cut that don't go all the way through. Back onto the brass plate and we see a matrix of very fine slots. In total there are 68 channels covering an area 35 x 31.3mm machined into the plate 0.2mm wide with 0.2mm wide fins in between that act as cooling fins. In conjunction with the plastic plate that covers a major area of these fins the water coolant is assured to perfectly cover the entire area that corresponds to the underlying CPU. This ensures that eve multi core processors are adequatley cooled evenly.
Next to take off is the mounting plate. This is made of aluminium and anodised black.It is a fairly simple affair and only drops over the external machined part of the acetal top plate. The mounting is done with four slots cut at diagonals so that many Intel chips can be accomodated.Once taken off we are left with just the acetal top.
The top has a sort of barrel shaping to the hollowed out centre section. It is actually octagonal but not evenly sided. Right in the centre of this area is a raised up section where the inlet port is situated. Around both these areas are rubber O-rings that form a watertight seal once it is all put back together. These are partly recessed so that they stay in the correct place. The outlet port is situated in the outer section which means that the coolant is forced to travel through the thin slots on the baseplate to reach the outlet port hence using the maximum cooling area available. The design also produces some micro turbulence which causes the cooling effect to be even more efficient.
During setting it up for testing I did have a slight issue with sealing the barbs/connections. On close scrutiny it seemed to be due to the countersink on the port holes being a little generous. I had to swap over to some large cross sectioned O-rings to make sure it would seal ok. It might have simply been this unit but this might be something that Phobya would do well to check on. These inlet and outlet ports have been designed so that they are a reasonable distance apart so that tubing up to 16mm OD will fit without poroblem.
Water cooler material: copper, plastic
Bracket material: aluminum
Intel version Dimensions: 94 x 94 x 15mm
Base: 56 x 56mm
Weight: 215 grams
Connection thread: G1 / 4 "
Mounting screws Size: M4
Compatibility: Intel: 775, 1366, 1156, 1155, 2011, Xeon
This cooling block has been very well designed and rather than just updating their old format Phobya has completely rethought it. I can say right now that this unit will be making it's way straight into my main machine. 10/10
Supplier: C and C Central http://www.candccentral.co.uk/ Price: £35.99 a very good price!