Well, just as it was for Mark Twain so it was for air cooling, as reports of its death proved to be greatly exaggerated. Cooler processors running more efficient architectures on consistently shrinking cores breathed new life into the humble heat sink and fan, meanwhile the alternatives, while slowly gaining favour outside the small band of geeks who actually need them in order to overclock, remained to some extent a slightly specialist backwater pursuit. While all this was going on, air coolers steadily improved as they grew bigger in size, quieter in operation, sprouted multiple heatpipes and just generally found a second wind.
OK, so water isn't this year's air, that doesn't mean it's without its merits, and if the days of mix and match components, jubilee clips, badly fitting adaptors and dripping joints has left you cold then perhaps it's time you took another look at some of the impressive bespoke kits that are vying to tempt more and more users to walk the way of the wet stuff.
The kit I'm looking at today is the Gigabyte 3DGalaxy II and, if you hadn't already figured it out for yourself, is an update on the original 3D Galaxy liquid cooling kit which they announced at Computex in May 2005. I don't think I'm being too unkind when I say that Gigabyte haven't always been considered the most prestigious of hardware manufacturers, a perception that was perhaps more widely in Europe than elsewhere in the world but the past few years has seen them really working hard at putting a shine on their image and thanks to some great products it seems to be working.
The 3DGalaxy II is, as the name suggests, made up from lots of 3D components (I knew there had to be a reason for the name), all neatly packed in an all-in-one boxed kit and suitable for use with Pentium Extreme Edition, D series and LGA775 P4 and Core Duo processors and AMD Athlon 64, 64x2, FX and AM2 processors. It comes ready to rock with a pre-assembled 120mm fan cooled radiator with integrated cowl, a high powered 400 litre/hour pump with durable ceramic bearing and a claimed 20dBA racket rating and both low coolant level and high temperature protection. Throw in the now compulsory smattering of blue LEDs and we're talking cool in every sense of the word...well...hopefully we are.
- Large, pure copper base with unique water path design
- Long-life, quite and powerful ceramic bearing pump
- Low water-level protection (LWP) and over-temperature protection (OTP) (Patent pending)
- Clear blue LED tank for straightforward coolant refilling
- Large aluminum radiator with 4-part water-path design
- Radiator-- easy installation
- Multi-purpose Nano-scale GIGABYTE coolant
- 1/2 inch special UV tubing material allows for extreme angling and flexing
- Fully compliant with MOSFET cooling solution. (Patent pending)
- GIGABYTE excusive 4-way splitter valve design for faster replacement and add new cooling equipment
- PCI rear fan controller
- Free heat sink for memory
- Optimal chassis solution: Gigabyte 3D AURORA, Triton and Poseidon series chassis