Ahanix Iceberg 1 Water Cooling Kit Review

Admin - 2007-02-18 15:41:44 in CPU Cooling
Category: CPU Cooling
Reviewed by: Admin   
Reviewed on: August 19, 2002
GF City Computers
Price: $99 USD

Introduction:



Warning Note: There has been a very known flaw in this water cooler. Please read the end of the review before buying this product.

Overclockers are always looking for a better way to keep their processors cooler. If you've found the best heatsink and best fan, but that still isn't cooling your processor enough, you may want to look in to water cooling. Water cooling isn't just for overclockers. If your looking to keep your CPU cool, or your computer is in a hot environment begging for cooling, then water cooling maybe the thing you need. With water cooling, there is no loud fans, only one very quiet case fan to cool the radiator.

What is water cooling?

Basically, there is a hollow copper or an aluminum block which sits on your CPU that acts as a heatsink. This block, referred to as a water block, has water passing thru it to keep your CPU cool. The processor heats the water in the water block and the water is carried off to a radiator where the heat is released in to the air.

The water cooling kit that I am reviewing today is manufactured by Ahanix, the same company that makes the Platinum XP, Audi XP, Noblesse computer cases. The kit includes everything you need to start water cooling your CPU. Lets have a look at what the Iceberg 1 has to offer:



This is the box the kit came in. They have stuffed a lot of things stuffed in such a small box.



What you get

  • Aluminum Water block
  • Bag of screws
  • Reservoir
  • A/C water pump
  • Case fan
  • Hose
  • Bag of clips and other parts

    Specifications:



    Specifications

    CPU Jacket

    Dimensions (W x H x D)

    69mm x 12mm x 62mm

    Compatibility

    Socket A/370/462/478

    Inlet/Outlet Size

    0.375"

    Material

    95% Al, 5% Cu Alloy

    Surface

    100% Ag Coated

    Weight

    110 grams

    Radiator

    Dimensions (W x H x D)

    94mm x 135mm x 46mm

    Mounts

    2 x 80 mm Fans

    Inlet/Outlet Size

    0.375"

    Material

    100% Aluminum

    Housing

    ABS Thermoplastic

    Weight

    240 grams

    Water Pump

    Reservoir dimensions (W x H x D)

    90mm x 95mm x 100mm

    Mounts

    Internal Padded Mounts

    Inlet/Outlet Size

    0.375"

    Material

    100% Polycarbonate

    Throughput

    150 gal/hour

    Power Usage

    7 watts

    Closer Look:



    When I first opened the box I noticed the box itself was inside out. I think the reason for this is because this water cooling kit isn't the same one as what is printed on the box.



    All of the parts were tightly packed and protected in the box.



    The pump is capable of pumping 150 gallons of water per hour, which is almost the bare minimum you would want. One feature that I love about this pump is that it is a submergible pump. A submergible pump just means that the pump is submerged in the water tank, or reservoir. Submergible pumps has its highs and its lows. Since the pump is submerged in water, this will make the pump almost silent. The only downside to this is that the water will be heated by the pump, which may keep your cpu from being cooled as much if it wasn't a submergible pump.



    The radiator or sometimes called the heat exchanger, is small enough to fit in almost any computer case. On one side of the radiator there is a black plastic "border", if you will, that goes around the radiator. The purpose of this is to give you something to drill screws in to so you can mount the radiator in your computer case.



    A short fan power cord isn't really a problem in small computer cases, however when you have a 7 or 10 bay full tower or server case, you need something a bit longer. Ahanix has thought of this and has provided a case fan with an extra long power cord to make sure it will reach your motherboard.

    Ah, the water block. This is one of the most important parts of any water cooling setup. The water block replaces the heatsink in an air cooling setup. In aircooling you can use the same exact fan on three different heatsinks and you will get different performace readings from each of them. In aircooling heatsinks can make or break your cooling. Well, in water cooling it is just as important to use the best water block. This water block is made of 100% aluminum. I was a little disappointed in the water block, but I guess this is what you get for a $99 water cooling kit you can't expect a water block from dangerden.



    Installation:



    Included in the box, was some very bad instructions. These instructions had no real pictures only diagrams, and the instructions were very hard to follow because the grammar was horrible. I do understand that these instructions were written by someone in Korea, but geez get someone better to translate it :/ Luckily I figured out what goes where, by trial and error. It really wasn't very hard to figure out, because I have put a few water cooling kits together before. It will make it hard for new people just getting in to water cooling though.

    First off, you will need to cut a small piece of tube to place between the water outlet on the top of the reservoir and on to the water outlet on the water pump. You may want to place one of the provided clips on the tube that connected to the water pump. This will help keep air from escaping from the tube. Next you will need to run the power plug out of the top hole (the one that is gray).



    Around the top of this gray hole is a specially designed water proof plug. The plug simply tightens down very hard on the power cable so that no water can escape.



    The next thing I did was, install the fan on to the radiator. I had a hard time installing the fan because the screws appeared to be too big. One problem was that the screws were slightly too big for the fan holes. I had to put down a lot of pressure to get them in. I'm not sure if they just gave me the wrong screws, or it was meant to be a tight fit. I tried some other screws but they were way too small.



    You will have to install the power plug on to the power cable yourself. There are a few good reasons as to why you have to do it yourself. First off, it would be impossible to run the power cable thru the little hole on top of the water reservoir. Second, these water cooling kits are shipped world wide, and there are many different types of power plugs depending on your country that you live in. The installation is painless, you simply unfasten three screws, then push the already stripped wires in two three different holes and then fasten the screws back.



    Lastly, you put the cap back over the plug to cover up the wires. One thing worth noting is that they stripped the wires back too much. That is why it looks the way it does. I don't really see a huge problem with this, but I'm sure a certified electrician wouldn't get a way with it. I'll probably fix it up right, once I have completed the review.




    Now all you have to do is measure for the tubes and then hook them up. Make sure you measure correctly or you will have to go out and buy more tubing. Provided in the kit, are a few ring clips and metal tape clips (I really don't know the official name lol) so you can fasten the tubes. I would have thought that they would have included a bag of nylon zip ties, but they didn't. I love using zip ties on water cooling setups. They are fast to install and hold very tight. I fastened two on the water block, and two on the radiator.



    This is what it should look like when you have everything installed. The reason why I made the tubes long is because I may want to install the water cooler in a taller case, and I would need longer tubes in order to do that. I poured in about a half a cup of antifreeze to help the algae down, and I also used distilled water.



    Testing:


    We have always been told all of our life that water and electricity doesn't mix. These are great words to keep in mind, when running water thru your computer case :) Leak testing a water cooling setup is crucial! You will be so excited about your new water cooling kit and would want to install it in your case right away, but do NOT do that. It doesn't matter if you built the water cooling system yourself, bought it, or had a friend make it that has been making them for 20 years. You should always run your water cooling system out of the case for an hour or so, before installing it in your case.



    I ran this water cooling system overnight, because it was 3am when I was putting the thing together and I really didn't want to be installing a "water" cooling kit in my computer that late. When testing for leaks, make sure you pull on the tubes a little to make sure they aren't loose. Best to be loose now so you can fix it, than later when it's too late.

    Test Rig

  • Abit KR7A-133Raid
  • Athlon XP 1800+
  • Crucial 256MB PC2400 DDR Memory
  • GeForce2 MX400 64MB
  • Linux Red Hat 7.3

    Our testing method:

    To get the idle results, I turned off the computer and allowed the system to cool for a few mins with the pump running. Then I booted up in to Linux and allowed the system to idle for 5mins before writing down the idle results.
    In order to get the load temperature, I ran Seti@home and nbench for 12mins.
    I used a comp-u-nurse temp probe to get the temperature readings.

    In this graph I recorded the temperature of the CPU every 1 min for a total of 12mins.



    Here is the ordinary graph comparing the idle and load temperatures, with the stock Volcano 9.



    In this test, I overclocked my 1.53Ghz (1800+) cpu to 1.73Ghz (2100+) with Vcore at 1.80v.



    Conclusion:

    Once again the Volcano 9 has proven itself. While it did not beat the Iceberg 1, it did come very close in some benchmarks. As for the Iceberg 1 water cooler, it didn't live up to all of my expectations. I was really hoping for some drastic temperature differences between it and the Volcano 9, even though the Volcano 9 is one of the best CPU coolers. The installation was fairly easy even though the instructions were poorly written. The 15min installation, actually takes 30-35mins. The Iceberg 1 is a great entry level water cooling kit because of the ease of installation and the great price. The retail price of the Iceberg 1 is $99 and I don't think any other water cooling kit on the market compares to that price. ExoticPC has the water cooling kit priced at $129 but you will also get a 300 Watt Fortron PSU and (3) 80mm Enermax Auto Thermal Speed Fans.

    From the tests you can see that you get basically the same cooling from a Volcano 9 heatsink, but the Volcano 9 is ten times louder than the Iceberg 1. With a better water block, like one from dangerden.com, then the Iceberg 1 may benchmark better. I'll be reviewing a water block here soon, and I can test that theory.

    Note: I went to the site that manufactures this water cooling kit, and found a great installation guide! If you do purchase one of these water cooling kits, I'd recommend you ditch the instructions it comes with and surf on over to the installation guide at their website.

    UPDATE: I have been informed by Peter at ExoticPC.com that the Iceberg installation manual that came in my box will not included in the units they sent out. The manual I had was an early prototype and they now just include a warranty paper and instruct the users to go to www.icebergcooler.com. Customers who purchase the Iceberg 1 will not get the poorly written english manual. As for the boxes being inverted, he said it is the korean version of the box. They have changed the packaging for the final version to be a simple white box with the same outside sleeve. Hope that clears things up!






    UPDATE: 11/02/02

    Introduction

    I've had about three months to thoroughly test the Iceberg 1 water cooler. Is this cooler really all it's "cracked" up to be? Let me begin by saying all of the parts had being working flawlessly, up until a few weeks ago. I had been testing the DangerDen water cooling kit and I had this Iceberg 1 water cooler aside until I was done testing the DangerDen. Well, I woke up the next morning, after testing the night before, to find that the Iceberg 1 reservoir was only half full of water! I was really puzzled, and I didn't know what had happen until I looked at the towel the reservoir was on, it was soaking wet! The first thing I did was to make sure none of the hoses came loose. They all were hooked up correctly and were all on, very tight. Then I started inspecting the reservoir and pump, and I then noticed all of the cracks in the reservoir.


    What Happen?

    Well, take a look at some of these pictures that I have taken of the Iceberg 1 reservoir.





    Notice all of the cracks in it? I didn't drop it, and I don't think the pressure was too much for it. So what did this? My guess would be that the four screws located on the top of the reservoir caused this. Maybe they were tightened too much? I'm not really sure. I do know that if Ahanix would have threaded the holes where these screws go, this incident may have never happened in the first place. I'm very fortunate that this water cooler wasn't in my system at the time, and I really hope that this doesn't happen to anyone else. I just felt obligated to update this review with my problems because you may want to remember this problem when you think about purchasing this water cooler. If you have an Iceberg 1 water cooler, let us know in the forums. I'd like to hear what you have to say about this cooler.


    UPDATE: 11/03/02

    It appears I'm not the only one that has had this problem with their Iceberg 1 water cooler. Robbie, a user in our forums, has posted his experience with his Iceberg 1 water cooler. He states: "I also have one of these kits and had trouble with the rez cracking after a month. I believe the reason that I feel that it's cracking is because of thermocycling (heating up and cooling off of an item) This will make the plastic brittle and crack under stress. The main reason that it cracks around the screws. I'll agree with you that it might not happen if they pretapped the screw holes. but it will still get brittle.". He also had a good idea on how to fix this problem. He used aquarium sealer or also known as silicon, to seal the corners of the reservoir from the inside. If you do this when you first purchase your Iceberg 1 water cooler, it could prevent your reservoir from cracking.

    Warning & UPDATE: 01/14/03

    There has been another two persons, that I know of, that has had the problem with the cracking reservoir. I highly recommend you do NOT buy this product until the company who manufactures it makes a public news release saying that they have fixed the problem. Until then, the Iceberg 1 is in our Product Hall of Shame! grrr!

    Pros:

    Cons: