Author: Frank Stroupe
[ad#review960-top]Watercooling means different things for different people. At one end of the spectrum, most enthusiasts will never allow a drop of liquid to enter their rig. They are quite happy with air cooling, and for their own personal reasons have no desire whatsoever to try liquid cooling. At the other end are those that sink hundreds of dollars into CPU, VGA, and NB waterblocks, high-end pumps, nice radiators, etc.
In the middle are those of us that are interested in liquid cooling but for whatever reason don’t care to go the extreme route. Personally, if I have watercooling, it really needs to be contained in the rig’s case, partially due to my normally having three or four rigs at my workstation and I am constantly moving them around, and partially because it is located in a fairly high-traffic area in my house, and I have the fear that those exposed hoses may prove too enticing for young kids or our dogs.
I have reviewed two in-case liquid cooling systems, the Thermaltake BigWater 780e and the Coolit Domino A. L. C. Both of these systems worked surprisingly well, surprisingly to me anyway, in keeping down my CPU temps. They both were (I guess I should say are, because both are still being used daily) good, but not great, due to the limitations of each.
Both of these coolers utilize a 120mm radiator. I feel that is the key holding them back from their real potential, as both cooling systems achieve CPU cooling performance that could be attained by high-end air coolers. I feel that a 120mm radiator just doesn’t allow for enough heat exchange to enjoy the low load temps seen by those with component-styled liquid cooling systems.
Today, I will be looking at Cooler Master’s Aquagate Max, an in-case cooling system sporting a large 300mm x 142mm radiator, plenty large enough to accommodate a pair of 120mm fans. It is also nVidia ESA compliant, so we’ll actually be able to read temps and hopefully make some adjustments via the ESA dashboard. Will the Aquagate Max give us some real watercooling goodness? Read on to see!
CPU: Intel LGA 775, AMD Socket 754/939/940/AM2/F
Support Output: 600 watts
Total Weight: 1700g (3.75lbs)
Dimensions: 50mm X 50mm X 42.5mm (2″ x 2″ x 1.67″)
Dimensions: 300mm x 142mm x 71mm (11.8″ x 2.59″ x 2.8″)
Type: 2-120mm x 120mm x 25mm Green LED PWM fans
Bearing: Rifle Bearing
Life Expectancy: 40000hrs
Noise Level: 22dBA
Speed: 850RPM – 2400RPM
Air Pressure: 2.73 mmH2O
Dimensions: 47mm x 62mm x 60mm (1.85″ x 2.44″ x 2.36″)
H-Max: 2 meters
Life Expectancy: 50,000hrs
Dimensions: 122mm x 89mm x 74mm (4.8″ x 3.5″ x 2.9″)
Tubing: 3/8″ PVC
Type: Green Gycol
Life Expectancy: 2 years
The Aquagate Max is packaged in a large attractive box with graphics and specs scattered throughout.
Inside, the system is well protected in Styrofoam.