I have specific goals in mind with this kit and we'll all see when we reach the conclusion of this article whether that goal has been reached or if I add this little adventure to my long list of epic fails
Down to business. Or should I say, let's dive right in?
The kit is the WCUK Pro 240 Watercooling Kit that was purchased from http://www.watercoolinguk.co.uk for £119.99 including vat (sales tax for those not in the UK/EU). Rather more than I initially intended to spend for what was planned as an exploration into the viability of water cooling for me.
Coolant is not included & can add another £6.33 If you purchase coolant with the kit, which is cheaper than buying it separately. Points to watercoolinguk for saving me some money on coolant. Buying the pre-mixed Feser 1 may suit your needs but others might prefer to mix their own using Feser Aqua Ultra Pure Water, Feser Base Corrosion Blocker & Feser Vision Active UV Dye rather than purchase the pre-mixed as, for one thing, it may be possible to obtain a wider choice of colours.
We've reached my first gripe. As a newbie to water cooling I have no idea how much coolant the kit I have purchased requires.
A hurried search for reviews of water cooling kits actually didn't provide exact information. I did finally discover one review where they stated the approximate amount used for a system of similar makeup. 750ml.
I used less than 800ml which at least means I won't have to buy more & have plenty for topping up the reservoir if I need to.
Manufacturers recommend changing the coolant at various intervals depending on their product. It can be eight to ten months or annually for example.
I got a little side tracked there so lets at least get a picture of the packaged kit.
Then again everybody else takes boring pictures of boxes. Anybody who really needs to see yet another box picture can do a google search ..... for “plain brown box”.
Lets start with a more interesting picture of the box contents instead.
From top left to bottom right:
We have, XSPC X2O 750 litre per hour combined pump & Acrylic reservoir. Due to restrictions in the water cooling loop actual flow will be less than 750Ltr so if a genius suggests you test the flow by using a bucket, which obviously won't have the restrictions inherent in any loop, I recommend telling them to stick their head in said bucket.
The retail box for this part lists the included contents as a blue LED, hook/loop adhesive pad & an installation guide.
These items are missing from my kit & frankly I can't be arsed to chase them. I will send e-mails questioning this but I suspect that, despite the retail box, this may be OEM which wouldn't include extras. Hopefully we'll have replies by the time we reach the conclusion. If not I'll update later.
UPDATE: I'm informed that XSPC no longer include the guide or loop. The blue LED is winging its way to me as I type. I would suggest that XSPC update their packaging to reflect the true state of affairs. With all the reviews I looked at I should have remembered this. Prompt reply from the people I bought the kit from though.
2x120mm Redwing PWM fans. Retail packaging again. Nicely sleeved wiring. Having already tried one of the fans I can report it is “silent”. We will see if having them attached to the radiator later changes that. Sadly this kit is going into an older system where the motherboard is not equipped to take advantage of PWM.
Clear PVC tubing. What can I say? It's tubing. Very generous length of , enough for anybody, highly flexible, 3 Metre.
A tube of Arctic Silver 5. Thermal paste/grease. Not using it in this article, as I prefer the consistency of Turniq TX2, but good to have anyway. Can never have too much thermal paste.
Metal Barbs. Nickel plated barbs with O rings fitted to provide a water tight seal, very nice. Some kits come with plastic barbs & attaching the hose can be more difficult.
Plastic hose clamps. Nice efficient design. Simply push the ends together & teeth engage to hold them closed. Simply slide the loop apart to disengage the teeth to remove.
Radiator. Nice paint job. Fins were immaculate & evenly spaced until my thumb went insane so I would recommend a bit of care when handling. The radiator is not as deep as I imagined, with an overall depth of 35mm, so I'm rather relieved I didn't go with a single 120mm radiator. XSPC make an RX series of radiators which are deeper & designed to better take advantage of low speed fans but are obviously more expensive.
XSPC v3 CPU block. Comes with (almost) universal mounting plate & a separate i7 mounting plate. All the screws & springs for attaching the block to your motherboard & a tube of no-name thermal paste.
Seems like very good quality stuff at least.
Everything to get started. Except an instruction leaflet or booklet. XSPC have instructions in PDF format on their website at http://www.xspc.biz/manuals.php so I'd heartily recommend you install the free Adobe Reader obtainable from http://www.adobe.com/downloads/.
Additional optional “items”: Planning, patience, common sense & care.
Depending on the case, & decisions while fitting the kit, some basic household tools might be required. Screwdriver & pliers for example.
We are getting closer to the good stuff.
First lets look at the hardware to be water cooled & the case.
I'll be using an AMD Opteron 170 dual core overclocked from the default 2GHz to 2.6GHz. Although now obsolete it's served me well & it doesn't matter at all what CPU is used as long as it produces heat.