Antec Kuhler H2O 620 Reviewccokeman - April 6, 2011
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At first glance, the Antec Kuhler H20 620 looks like many of the other self-contained liquid cooling solutions out on the market. It's when you look closer that it looks like a hybrid solution. The radiator looks to be the same one used in the Asetek 550LC while the pump looks like the one used by the 570LC (the higher capacity pump assembly). One of the key differences between this product and competing products is the use of a more flexible rubber tubing that makes the installation of the Kuhler 620 less of a challenge. As you can see in the following pictures, the tubing easily forms a tight radius without kinking. The length of the tubing is long enough to use in a large chassis. The Kuhler H20 620 consists of three distinct parts, the radiator, the tubing and the pump/coldplate assembly. Each is discussed further below.
Starting off with the low profile pump/coldplate is an improved second generation design to improve cooling performance. This low profile assembly is easy to fit into tight spots where traditional high end cooling solutions would not fit while still offering excellent thermal performance. The pump assembly comes with the thermal interface material already applied in the correct amount and in the correct location. Around the edges of the pump are a series of notches and sockets. The mounting bracket hooks into these sockets to hold the pump assembly in place with the correct tension. All of the competing solutions save one, have had the cooling fan driven from a motherboard header separately from the pump. Antec's solution uses a single three pin connection to the motherboard while only having two wires being used for the pump as well as the cooling fan. This looks like all of the fan and pump control will be based on the motherboard fan setting or by voltage control. The ninety degree fitting that connect to the flexible tubing allows added flexibility when it comes time to mount this cooling solution in the chassis.
The Radiator used is designed to hold either one or two 120mm fans in "Pull", "Push" or "Push-Pull" configuration with mounting holes on both sides of the radiator. At 25mm, or one inch thick by itself, or two inches thick with a 25mm thick fan, the radiator does not take up a bunch of space in the chassis. The lightweight radiator is made from aluminum, bringing up the specter of galvanic corrosion between the copper cold plate and aluminum radiator. To combat this, Antec is using an environmentally friendly mix of demineralized water with a special glycol mix that has both anti-corrosion and antibacterial properties. This coupled with a three year warranty gives you peace of mind against leaks or a failure. Three years is about the average upgrade cycle so this cooler should last long term. The flexible rubber tubing attaches to the system with a ferrule style clamp to ensure leaks cannot occur. Though larger in the outside diameter, the rubber tubing is much more flexible than the semi-rigid corrugated tubing that was used on previous generations of self-contained LC systems.
The fan used on the Kuhler H20 620 is from Antec (as one might have guessed). The specifications are lacking in the documentation but what I do have is that it operates between 1450RPM and 2000RPM at 26 and 36dB respectively. Looking over Antec's product portfolio did not prove fruitful but a few fans had higher fan speeds and dB ratings so the scaling seems to be there as a comparison.
Installation of the Kuhler H20 620 into a chassis is a simple process. Mounting the backplate and retaining ring will require removing the motherboard from the system if your build is already complete. However, if it's a new build, no harm no foul. Set the pump assembly into the retaining ring and twist to engage the clip into the socket and tighten down the four retaining screws to complete that part of the installation. Then install the fan and radiator with the fan used in the pull configuration per Antec's instructions, tighten the four mounting screws and enjoy the benefits of a low cost (for a liquid cooling system) low maintenance cooling solution. Clearance around the socket is excellent and the solution just looks good.
Seeing Antec's approach to a liquid cooling solution shows that at least one of the major hurdles has been addressed in the tubing. The key is how will the low profile pump and slim radiator perform? Let's find out.