Kühler Than the Other Side of the Pillow
Coming from an IT/system integrator background, liquid cooling a PC seemed pretty counter-intuitive. I mean, water + expensive components = fiery death and destruction…right?
On top of that, selecting all the parts that go into a custom liquid cooling solution can be even more time-consuming than selecting the components the system will actually be cooling. It’s just…complicated.
Below are some examples of images I get when I do a Google image search for “watercooling.” At least half of these pictures look like something is hooked up to life support. And I, for one, am not qualified to set up such devices.
This isn’t to say liquid cooling doesn’t have its benefits. Here are just some of the numbers behind this cooling method:
- Water is over 700 times more dense than air, meaning liquid can absorb large amounts of heat energy in a small area.
- Water absorbs heat 23 times faster than air, so liquid can pull heat away from components more quickly than air.
That being said, when we look at the costs and benefits of liquid cooling, we desperately need a happy medium. Today, we’re very pleased to introduce the Antec KUHLER H2O 620, a product that we believe aligns ease of use, performance and price.
How did we decide that this would be a good product for us? We didn’t. You did. In a customer survey we ran last year, nearly half of you (46.3%) said that you’d like to see us delve more into CPU / GPU cooling and we’re happy to say that this product has exceeded our expectations.
Ease of Use
So let’s look at how this product dispels some of the myths of old.
First, the KUHLER H2O 620 is quick and easy to install. Installing it requires no more than:
- Attaching a bracket to your motherboard
- Mounting the pump to your CPU
- Attaching the radiator and fan to your chassis
In fact, if you’ve installed an aftermarket air cooler before, the only difference is mounting the radiator/fan assembly to an open fan slot. And forget about having to purchase coolant and filling/refilling. Ironically, the beauty of this liquid cooling solution is never having to see the fluid.
Performance and Compatibility
When we tested a Core i7 980x, the hottest CPU on the market, we saw a performance increase of 20% over the Intel stock cooler as you can see in the pretty bar chart.
Of course, just because we ran a benchmark with an Intel processor, doesn’t mean you have to use Intel. The KUHLER H2O 620 includes kits to mount Intel LGA 775, 1155, 1156 and 1366 as well as AMD AM2, AM3, AM2+ and AM3+.
The performance advantage doesn’t just apply to the CPU. Routing all the CPU heat directly out of your chassis means lower overall ambient temperature, which helps out your other components. And the low profile of the pump (just 27 mm) drastically reduces the footprint of your CPU cooler, which greatly increases overall airflow in your chassis as you can see in this picture of the KUHLER H2O 620 installed in our Dark Fleet DF-35 mid-tower.
Just between you and me, I’ve got this unit overclocking my i7 950 at home to 3.8 ghz, with stability that laughs at Prime95…and I am NOT an overclocker. Of course, your mileage may vary.
Price and Warranty
What about price? Well, the street price for an “aftermarket” air CPU cooler is anywhere from $6 (which can hardly qualify as aftermarket) to $120. The Antec KUHLER H2O 620 has an MSRP of $69.99.
Lastly, there’s peace of mind. The pump in the Antec KUHLER H2O 620 has an MTBF of 50,000 hours. That’s well over FIVE years of 24-hour-a-day operation. And our Antec Quality 3-year limited warranty on parts and labor is a full year more than what’s provided on “comparable coolers”.
We’re certainly excited about the KUHLER H2O 620 and would love to hear what you think about it. Post your questions or comments below or share your opinion with us on our Facebook page!