The name of the cooling system, Vapochill, gives us an idea of just how the cooling is implemented. What we need is to introduce the CPU to a substance at sub-zero temperatures. The CPU's heat can then be transferred to the coolant (which turns into a gas through boiling). Removing the CPU's heat in this way should allow us to keep the CPU cool for extended periods.
Let's have a look at the VapoChill Premium Edition now. We know it incorporates some esoteric cooling, but can you live it with on a day-to-day basis ?. Asetek sent us one pre-configured with an 2.53GHz Northwood Pentium 4, Asus P4B-533E motherboard, 256MB of Samsung PC2700 RAM, and an Enermax 431w PSU. The Premium Edition, reviewed here, differs from the standard edition by the use of a more powerful compressor.
Looks rather innocuous here. If you've seen Asetek's VapoChill cooling systems in any of their previous forms before, you'll see just how pleasant the current, revised model appears in comparison. The dark grey exterior suits it. Just looking from the front won't tell you much. Perhaps that was one of Asetek's aims, to ensure that the VapoChill appears and functions like a standard PC. VapoChill cases were once the butt of many an ethusiast's jokes; that doesn't seem to apply anymore. I like the blue LED on the top right that's lit when in operation
The back looks pretty standard, too. You'd be forgiven for thinking that this is just an ordinary PC from its external appearance. Only the weight of the system gives the game away. Let's open her up and have a peek inside.
You can just about see that the main cooling apparatus is located at the top of the case. With that in mind, Asetek have configured the lower part for maximum storage potential. We have 3 5.25" bays and space for 7 3.5" devices.
Considering we have very little space at the top of the case, the location of the PSU is quite handy. It powers both the motherboard, cooling, and Chillcontrol together. I had hoped that the cooling would have had its own dedicated mains supply. The PSU comes away from the chassis with the removal of 3 simple thumbscrews. Note that a standard Vapochill isn't shipped with a PSU, you have to provide your own.