DangerDen Maze 4 CPU and GPU Waterblocks Review

Admin - 2007-02-18 18:28:25 in CPU Cooling, VGA Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling, VGA Cooling
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: January 15, 2004
Dangerden
Dangerden
Price: Maze4 CPU: $41.00 & Maze4 GPU: $40.00

Introduction:



“Water-cooling.” That's a term loved by many, yet at the same time feared just as much. I mean, afterall you would have to be crazy to stick flowing water inside of your computer that is worth at least $1,500.00+, right? To be honest, even though I'd seen the results that water-cooling produces over air-cooling, I'd really never gotten up the courage to attempt it. That was until the gang at DangerDen sent me the Maze 4 CPU and GPU blocks to try out. Figured this would be as good a time as any to venture into the world of watercooling.



Closer Look:


As I mentioned, DangerDen sent the water blocks, this left me with the great opportunity to hand pick the other parts that I wanted to use.

When selecting my pump, I decided to go with the “bigger is better” approach, and purchased the biggest baddest pump that DangerDen had to offer in their store, the Eheim 1260. This has a flow of 600+ GPH (Gallon per Hour), for our Euro friend, that's about 2280+ LPH (Liters per Hour). After doing some additional research on the pump I found that this pump can be used as either an External or Submersed water pump. Had I known that when I was filling the system up, it'd have made things a little bit easier. There's always next time though, right?



Eheim 1260 Pump

The next selection I had to make would be the radiator. I was initially tempted to follow the same method I used with the pump, and select the radiator based on the “Bigger is better” method, however I knew that selecting a larger radiator would require me to do some modifications to my case. This was just something I wasn't going to have time for. I ended up getting a HWLabs Black Ice Micro.




Black Ice Micro


Since the Black Ice Micro is designed for a 80mm fan, my plan was to simply mount the radiator in a fan space in the case. And then use a Vantec Tornado, or some other nice little fan.

While I was attempting to mount the Black Ice Micro, which came with no instructions or mounting hardware, I managed to accidently puncture the radiator. And so the plans on the radiator changed. I then decided to go with an Innovatek innovaRadi DUAL (dual 120mm) radiator, which was quite a change from the little 80mm Black Ice Micro.

Closer Look:






The innovaRadi wasn't going to fit inside my case without some serious modification, so I just left it running outside the case for the time being. One of these days it'll actually end up inside the case, but it accomplishes what's needed right now.

One problem with the Innovatek radiator is that the barbs on them 3/8” OD, and the water blocks, tubing, and pump (for the most part) is 1/2” ID or 3/4” OD. This required a trip to Home Depot and Lowe's to get the right parts to make an adapter for the tubing. For about $2.00 I was able to make an adapter that worked well. I'll either go back and polish this, or maybe even paint it in the future.




Home Made Addapers

To move air through the radiator, I'll be using 2 120mm Sunon fans. Loud and lots of air… works for me. Most people would probably want to use a bit quieter, more “user friendly” fan.




2x 120mm Sunon Fans

Perhaps the fans are a little to much…. I haven't had to dust my room since I hooked these up. Wonder why.

The tubing I'm using is Tygon Tubing. Mainly 1/2”ID tubing, with 3/8” ID running from the adapters to the radiator.




Tygon Tubing

The next to last thing selected was the reservoir. At the time, really the only reservoir available was this round reservoir. It's somewhat awkward when trying to mount it in a case. Thankfully now, there are reservoirs available that fit in either the 3.5” or 5.25” drive bays.

And of course, the last thing to be purchased was the liquid. I've heard people use a lot of different things inside their water-cooling systems. Alcohol, windshield wiper fluid, and tap water to name a few things. Alcohol and plastic aren't exactly a good mix, so I decided to go with distilled water, it's probably the most commonly used thing. Distilled water can be found pretty easily, usually at anyplace that sells medical supplies such as band aids, iodine, hydrogen peroxide, etc. I got mine at a local Walgreens. To help prevent corrosion, I also purchased some WaterWetter super coolant.




Closer Look (Cont.)




There has been some recent discussion about WaterWetter in our forums, about it staining tubes, or even causing a gunk build up inside the system. I do know that WaterWetter will stain the tubing if you use an incorrect mix of water/WaterWetter. I've got the pink tubes to prove that. I can also say that correctly mixing it will not stain the tubes. – At least it hasn't for me yet, and it's been about 4 months.

As for the gunk build up in the system I'd guess that an incorrect mixture may cause the gunk buildup, but I've yet to encounter any problems. If you've had problems with WaterWetter let me know, I'd love to hear from you about it.

Now that we've seen all the parts I've used for my system, it's time to take a look at the blocks themselves. Here we have the Maze4 (AMD) CPU block and the (nVidia) GPU block.


The Maze4 CPU block that I received came with a laser cut Lucite top, but can also be ordered with a copper top. I asked DangerDen about the differences between the two, and was told that it's more of a personal preference. They've tested both, and found no real difference or change in performance when using one or the other.

The GPU blocks also have a few different color options available. As you can see, the one I have is black, but you can also chose from Red, Green, Purple, or Blue.

It wouldn't be a good review if we didn't have something to compare the Maze4 to, so I ended up getting a Maze3 block to compare it to.



As with the Maze4 CPU block the Maze3 CPU block is available with the lucite or copper top. Again, it's just a personal preference.

Costs:


One of the biggest things about water cooling is the cost. With a regular heat sink, you spend $20-35 on a heat sink, but with water cooling systems, you can quickly get up over several hundred dollars if you aren't careful. As I mentioned above, I had to purchase several products: Pump, rad, red, tubing, water, and other needed parts. I wanted to take a moment and show how quickly these add up. - All prices are in USD.
Cost Break Down
Maze4 CPU Block $41.95
Maze4 GPU Block $39.95
Enheim 1260 Pump $99.00
Reservoir $25.00
Innovatek innovaRadi DUAL $93.99
Tygon Tubing $29.00*
Addapters $4.00*
2x 120mm Sunon Fans $32.00
Distilled Water $4.00*
WaterWetter $3.50
TOTAL $372.49*
* Estimated amount

Had I purchased everything listed, you can see my total would have been well over $370.00. And this doesn't include the Black Ice Micro, Sales Tax, or shipping charges.




Setup:


DangerDen has some installation instructions for the Maze4 GPU block on their site available for you, it's included in PDF or a Windows Media Player movie. As for instructions for the Maze4 block there are some instructions for the Intel block, but nothing for the AMD block, but it's just like installing a normal heat sink - if you don't know how to attach a heatsink, you probably shouldn't be doing this. There is a complete system instillation guide available on the instructions page, but it deals with the Maze3. Not really any differance in installing the Maze3 or the Maze4.

The Specific setup I used is as follows:

>> Pump >> CPU >> GPU >> Radiator >> Reservoir >>

I am by no means a water cooling expert, but after looking around and asking I found that this is the most common flow setup.

I also came across several different things that said that it's better to pull air through the radiator, rather than trying to push air through it.


Testing:


For the testing of the Maze3 and Maze4 blocks, we've used the same system and same set up, we just swapped out the blocks, refilled the water to compensate for any that was spilled when changing the blocks, and reapplied the thermal compound. The compound chosen for the review was Céramique by Arctic Silver, as it's the only thing I had enough of to use for the length of the review. - Céramique was applied as directed by the instructions found on ArcticSilver's website. Temperatures were taken via a CompU Nurse lactated next to the CPU die and GPU chip.

Testing was done in 4 modes, non-overclocked idle, non-overclocked load, overclocked idle, overclocked load. To test for the idle temps, all unnecessary applications and services were shutdown, and the system was allowed to sit at “idle” for 15 minutes. During this time, the temperature was taken and the lowest value was used. “Load” temps were taken by running Prime95 for 15 minutes in “torture test” mode, with the highest value recorded.

Also, to make sure that my dust problem wasn't affecting the temperatures, the fans and radiator were cleaned off before each test.

The system used in the test is as follows:

  • Abit KX7-333R Motherboard
  • AMD XP 1800+ CPU
  • Corsair 512M PC2700 DDR
  • XFX GeForce 4Ti 4200 8x (in 4x mode)
  • Lian Li PC 70 Aluminum Case (Side Removed)





Conclusion:


Well, my first venture into water cooling wasn't as easy as I had hoped, yet still managed to be no where near as bad as I had expected. In the end, I got over my fear of water cooling and managed to keep myself and my computer dry in the process.

All of the products that I used were wonderful. That of course speaks for everything except for the Black Ice Micro. I'm sure that I'd have been satisfied with the BIM had I not punctured it early on. There really is no one to blame for that other than myself, however it would have been nice to have been provided with the mounting screws.

Both the Maze3 and Maze4 water blocks are top notch, and achieved much better results than any Air Cooled heat sink that I've tried in the past.



Pros

  • Performs well
  • High quality parts
  • Ability to select copper or Lucite top
  • Ability to mix and match parts in system
  • Looks cooler than a regular heat sink
  • Tested at 1,000+ psi

Cons

  • Fairly expensive
  • Longer setup time than regular heat sinks
  • No instructions
  • Takes up more space than a regular heat sink
  • Accidents could be catastrophic