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Review: Asetek VapoChill XE

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 23 August 2003, 00:00 4.5

Tags: Asetek

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VapoChill itself

I talked about early VapoChill being essentially nothing more than our cooling loop, in a PC case with a controller, and that's never changed. Today's units are simply refined over the original design, to make them easier to use and setup, and easier to maintain.

Phase change isn't for everyone, especially those that like to swap components. Attaching or removing a VapoChill isn't a 5 minute job, but the current version isn't too bad at all. A combination of refined instructions, tweaks to the mounting hardware and experience from end users to draw on, makes today's VapoChill experience nice and easy, even for idiots like me.

So let's take a closer look at one to see what we get. Forgive the press shots for this page in the review, they are simply better than the shots I've taken in terms of illustrating what a VapoChill is like initially. You'll witness my pictures in due course, have no fear.

First off, there's the case, which houses everything.

If you've ever heard people be a little uncomplimentary about the VapoChill case design and general construction, their criticisms aren't wholly unjustified, but in this reviewers eyes, a little harsh. But more on that later. What you can see in the above shot is a tower size ATX case, with the VapoChill chiller unit in the top section, and the lower section devoted to normal case duties. The oval cutouts in the front panel, at the top and bottom, are air inlets. At the front of the top section, where the chiller sits, a fan behind a radiator pulls air over it, and then onwards to a rear outlet. The bottom oval cutouts are for front mounted intake fans (not supplied), for cooling the motherboard section of the case. A single supplied fan near the ATX backplate is for exhausting the hot air collected in the motherboard part of the case.

Here's the chiller assembly itself.

As you can see, the hose for the evaporator head makes its way down from the top of the case to the CPU area, we have the compressor (the large black object in the middle), then the capillary tubing and pipe run to the radiator. Finally you can see the fan behind the radiator, pulling air over it from the front of the case, as discussed above.

The last main component of the unit is the ChillControl. The ChillControl is the hardware responsible for proper operation of the cooling hardware, making sure the evaporator head is cold enough before allowing your system to boot, setting the fan speed, and other crucial operating procedures, to be sure you operate a phase change CPU chiller properly.

Shot's of the ChillControl unit in upcoming pages. So that's what you get when you order a full VapoChill unit from Asetek. What about version specifics?