Published on Tuesday, 25 August 2015 21:13
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If you happen to be an enthusiast, hardcore gamer or even a professional chances are that one of the very first things you decide on when building a brand new system configuration is the type of CPU cooler to use. Unlike in the past today there are numerous high-end solutions available in the market for all types of users both in the form of massive dual heatsink CPU air coolers and 240/360mm AIO (All In One) liquid cooling kits. However for people who are really after the best cooling efficiency money can buy the only valid options are to opt either for a 360/420/480/520/580mm custom watercooling kit or one of the quite rare, bulky and more expensive Waterchiller/Freon systems. We may get a chance to test one or more of these Waterchiller/Freon systems really soon but until then we decided to take things a step further and instead of testing yet another ready watercooling kit we went ahead and made a custom one with parts by our friends over at Alphacool.
Alphacool are based in Germany and are one of the biggest producers of watercooling components for the PC market. Their products are sold worldwide which is testament to the quality of products they sell and are renowned for being very high performing.
Prior to picking up the right components to build your very own custom watercooling kit you need to take into account 3 very important things, how much available space your case has for a radiator, where in that case you can position the reservoir and whether or not you'll be using the kit to cool just the CPU or also one or more GPUs. Based on these 3 answers you will be able to choose the length and thickness of the radiator, type of reservoir (single/dual 5.25" - tube) and of course the type of water pump (basic or high-speed model). After this all that's left to complete the kit is for you to choose the proper waterblock (based on your CPU), tubing/hose (regular or clear), fittings (straight/corners) and last but not least the coolant/additive (clear or colored). For the configuration used in this review we combined the UT60 Full Copper 480mm quad radiator by Alphacool with their Dual Laing D5 reservoir, VPP655 PWM solo pump, NexXxoS XP3 Light Black Chrome waterblock and a 2500ml canister of their CKC Cape Kelvin Catcher clear coolant (we also used 4 fans, several fittings and 2m clear tubing). This may not be the best custom watercooling kit money can buy (nor is it the largest one that can fit inside the Obsidian 900D we use in our lab) but still it's an enthusiast level solution for really demanding users.