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Thermaltake Aquarius II Liquid Cooling Review

Former staff writer    -   December 20, 2002


Testing:



Before I started doing benchmark tests on this water cooler, I thought I would switch the cooler to my test computer which lies on top of my work bench. The motherboard in my test setup is an KR7A-133R. After I installed the water block, plugged the pump up, and then plugged the radiator fan up. After doing that and turning the computer I noticed the temperatures in the bios was reading about 50°c! I knew for a fact that something wasn't right, because when I had the water cooler installed on the Asus A7V8X motherboard the temperatures were much lower than that. I used the same exact thermal paste on the two motherboards, so I knew it wasn't that. However, I did remove the water block and reapplied the thermal paste to make sure that wasn't the problem. After I did that, I booted the computer up and the BIOS still read 50°c for the CPU! Then it struck me, that it may be the clipping mechanism. While the computer was still on and in the BIOS, I applied pressure to the middle of the water block with my fingers. Almost immediately after doing so, the temperatures began to drop. I remember it dropping around 8-10°c in a matter of minutes. Now I know what the problem is, all I have to do now is fix it.

I used the exact teeth recommendation for the clipping mechanism as the manual states. Instead of using the specifications it says to use, I had to make one handle 4 teeth from the bottom and the other 5 teeth from the bottom. This applied enough pressure to the water block so it would make contact with the core of the CPU.

Testing System:

  • Abit KR7A-133R motherboard
  • AMD XP 1800+
  • Geforce 2 MX video
  • 512MB PC2700 RAM
  • Windows XP


    Testing Procedure:

    I allowed the system to idle in windows for 10 mins after a cold boot, to get the idle temperature. I then ran CPUBurn for a total of 35mins to get the load results. I also shutdown the system and allowed it to cool for 10mins before running the next test. The ambient temperature during the time of testing was 18.8 - 19.5°c.





    Water Cooler Buying Guide

    I'm looking for a.. then you should... because...
    Quiet Cooler definitely buy the TT Aquarius II its the quietest H20 cooler we have in our lab
    buy the Iceberg 1 and save a little money. you won't get as many features and as the performance that comes in the Aquarius II but of course you do save some money
    Performance Cooler buy the DangerDen it's the best performing cooler we have tested, hands down.
    Budget Cooler buy the Iceberg 1 it's cheap no doubt about it.. maybe that's why my reservoir cracked after only two weeks of running the cooler
    Expandable Cooler buy the DangerDen the DangerDen can be bought in a couple different standard sizes. the Aquarius II and Iceberg I uses odd size fitting and you'll have a hard time trying to replace a water block or adding a video cooler.


    Conclusion:

    I was actually surprised by the performance of the Aquarius II. I had originally thought, it would not of perform as well as it did. If the reservoir on my Iceberg 1 water cooler wouldn't have cracked, I'm betting that the Aquarius II would have beat the Iceberg 1. I'll try and rig up a reservoir for the Iceberg 1, or maybe have the manufacture send me a new one so that we can do a shootout between the two water coolers. I liked the fail-safe features Thermaltake included in this water cooler. The water flow meter is a really cool feature, which serves as a flow rate monitor and a failsafe device. The blue LED inside of the reservoir, was a nice touch but I wish it was a little brighter.

    The clipping mechanism needs a lot of work. I think Thermaltake needs to take the clip back to square one, and design something different or either perfect this one. The one problem with the clip being a little too large and touching my RAM was irritating. I also had to adjust the clip several times to get the clip to fit on my Abit motherboard and for it to apply enough pressure to the water block. If it wasn't for the problem with this clip, I would have given this product the OCC Recommend Award. Thermaltake did a good job on their first water cooler, and I hope they continue to improve this water cooler and fix some of the things I have pointed out.

    Pros

    • Very easy installation!
    • Very quiet
    • Nice features
    • Fail-safe features
    • Blue LED light :)

    Cons
    • Water Block clip sucks
    • Slightly over priced



    1. Introduction & Specifications
    2. Closer Look
    3. Installation
    4. Testing & Conclusion
    Random Pic
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