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Review: Asetek's VapoChill XE-II

by Ryszard Sommefeldt on 9 February 2005, 00:00

Tags: Asetek

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External Appearance

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You can get an idea of scale by looking at the drive bays. Imagine an optical drive in one of them and scale it in your head like that. It's a big bugger, the compressor needing nearly 20cm on its own, including base plate. With Asetek needing a bit of room all around that, you can get some scope of the overall size.

The floppy drive is recessed slightly and you mount it flush to the recess from behind. You can see the power and reset buttons near the openings that feed air into the heat exhanger, plastic coverings hiding the power and activity LEDs (blue for power!).

You can see the Nike-esque swoosh on the front bezel which has interchangeable coloured coverings and hides the gap for the temperature display. That display is no longer present on the XE-II, the unit using the same blue and white LCD as the VapoChill LS, which is a separate part that fits into one of the external drive bays. You get a cool XE-II sticker instead, where the old temperature display used to be.

The chassis comes with replacement panels with acrylic window cutouts to let you see what's inside. There's one for the cooling hardware area at the top of the chassis, with one for the mainboard area in a replacement side panel. The review sample was shipped with both replacement panels.

Right side
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Left side
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The panels let you get a peek at the compressor, capilliary tube, heat exchanger and the electronics that govern the whole thing.

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Round at the rear you can see the odd placement for the power supply. The chassis hangs it out over the CPU area on most mainboards and I have slight issue with that when it comes to mounting, since the PSU will press up against the evaporator's hose. With the insulation used on the evaporator, I'd be looking to add some tape (I used Tommy Tape) around the foam to stop it tearing from friction with the PSU. If you're careful, it's not an issue, but there's not much room, if any, between the evaporator hose and the PSU in an XE chassis.

A 120mm fan is visible at the rear of the chassis for expelling air coming from the compressor, heat exchanger and electronics. The heat exchanger has its own 120mm fan, so there's a pair in series in that top area of the chassis.

Like the original XE, Asetek protect possible sharp edges exposed to hands using plastic beading. A nice touch. You access the interior using thumbscrews and in the main it's all well put together, easy to use. You can just about see the mains pass-through connector coming from the cooling section at the top. You plug it into the PSU and then plug your mains cable into the other side, feeding both PSU and cooling hardware from the same mains cable.

The XE-II is the first VapoChill to support LGA775 processors out of the box with its mounting hardware, let's have a closer look.