- CPU Waterblock
- Pump and Reservoir
- Coolant, Tubing and Fittings
- Kit Performance
I haven’t focused on testing watercooling kits so far, and mostly because I prefer giving individual components more attention and allow customers the freedom to pick and choose parts as they desire. But after having tested so many items individually, I find most kits already have components I have tested before and so it comes down to the kit as a whole as a CPU cooler if you will. So I have a couple of watercooling kits here, and the first from Alphacool courtesy ModMyMods, and I am going to try out a new format for kits that will hopefully make sense. Let me know if you prefer otherwise. Thanks a lot to Eddie from Alphacool and Joe from ModMyMods for the entire kit to test out.
Let’s take a look at the specs from the product page on ModMyMods.com:
|Socket Type||Intel 775/115x/1366/2011(-3), AMD 939/AM2/AM3|
|Tubing Size||3/8″ x 1/2″|
|Included||1x Alphacool NexXxoS XP³ Light – Acetal Edition – Intel/AMD
1x Alphacool Repack – Single Laing D5 – Dual 5,25 Bay Station
1x Alphacool VPP655 – Single Edition
1x Alphacool NexXxoS UT60 Full Copper 360mm
3x Alphacool tubing AlphaTube HF 13/10 (3/8″ID) – clear
6x 13/10 (10×1,5mm) compression fitting G1/4” – matte black
3x Alphacool NB-eLoop 1200rpm – Bionic Lüfter ( 120x120x25mm)
1x Coolant Clear 1000ml
1x ATX bridging plug (24 Pin)
With kits in general, I do not expect to see detailed specifications of every single component included as it will run pages long and be redundant when one can just go to the product page of the individual components included instead. A list of items generally suffices for me, as well as knowing how well they work together and more important is the price discount compared to purchasing items together (which we will get to in due time). The name of the kit tells us that this includes a Laing D5 pump (branded Alphacool VPP655) along with an Alphacool NexXxos UT60 360 radiator which is a great start already. No mention of the exact pump type, although I suspect this is a D5 Vario based on the 655 notation and nothing else added. Alphacool has not had a new CPU block in a few years now, and their XP3 Light will have to do here but it does bring with it support for even the older Intel and AMD sockets as a result of the block itself being relatively older. It still have full compatibility with the latest Intel and AMD sockets- for now. Time will tell how the upcoming AM4 platform from AMD will work out for cooler compatibility. Alphacool has gone with a bay reservoir here, which is understandable, but with more and more cases going with space reserved for internal cylinder reservoirs and ditching 5.25″ bays, this is something they will want to consider changing. A 100 mm tall cylinder reservoir is probably better in the long run. To help dissipate heat from the radiator, Alphacool provides 3 NB-eLoop fans which is fantastic to see. They pair really well with relatively low airflow restriction radiators such as the UT60 and also means my radiator test data can be used as is given the use of the same fans. Tubing is an open end here wherein I have not used Alphacool tubing before sans in their Eisbaer CPU cooler and their clear tubing still has some questions attached in terms of plasticizer leach and longevity. That being said, the 13/10 mm tubing size is probably the best option here for a kit as I am seeing this being adopted more over the 16/13 mm sizes lately and their new fittings are also much improved so those should be good as well. Clear coolant, very likely their Kelvin Catcher, and no dyes here (probably for the best) and an ATX bridging plug to help power the pump via an ATX form factor PSU without a motherboard connected helps round this kit off.
The entire kit comes in a large box with a carry handle, as the list of components inside would indicate it deemed necessary. Alphacool packaging scheme carries over here with a blue/black color scheme and illustrations of the core components on the front and back indicating what is inside. On the sides are some marketing features in multiple languages as well as some awards from media this has presumably already won. A seal and dual flaps helps keeps the contents inside in check. When opened up, we see all the individual components packaged in separate boxes and just a sheet of packing paper on top to fill out the empty space, otherwise the volume inside is mostly occupied. Alphacool is relying on the individual product packaging as well as reseller packaging to get this in perfect condition to you, which I am not really ok with. More packaging inside would help out.
Taking everything out, there is indeed a full set as listed in the specs and most of the boxes are labelled and are self explanatory. Two boxes are not, however, and this needs to be corrected sooner than later. Along with everything, there is also a small instruction manual included which can do with improvements- especially in the installation section where the targeted customer here, a beginner, may not be comfortable with the sparse few diagrams thrown in along with marketing talk everywhere else.
Let’s now take a look at the components in detail with overview and individual components tested separately, followed by the kit as a whole tested in the end.