- CPU Waterblock
- Pump and Reservoir
- Coolant, Tubing and Fittings
- Kit Performance
As with the CPU block, the radiator included here (NexXos UT60 360) is also an item we have seen before in more detail. Here’s a quick recap:
The radiator comes in a nice cardboard box measuring in at 18″ x 5.5″ x 2.5″ and both sides of the box are near identical except for the ROHS compliance sticker on the back. You see the brand name as well as a depiction of the radiator itself here leaving little doubt as to what is inside.
As you open the box, you are greeted to some bubble wrap that protects the radiator itself as well as a pouch having some Alphacool stickers and a box of accessories. This may or may not be the same for you depending on when you bought the kit, as the more recent Alphacool radiators come with a blue sticker on lower right corners pre-applied.The accessories box is separated from the radiator and the outer box itself by sheets of thick, soft foam- again some really good packaging going on here. Now I have heard reports of people getting their radiators with dents out of the box but unless they were so out of the factory itself, or were dropped hard I don’t see that happening easily. I have 3 Alphacool radiators here and all of them arrived without any shipping or manufacturing physical damages.
On the box is a warning label telling you what specific applications these included screws are for. You get 4x per fan of M3 type screws of length 30 and 35mm each. So for a 360 mm radiator (120×3), you get 12 of each type. Most people would be only using the 30 mm long screws and this also means no screws provided for push-pull unless you specifically use a shroud for one side. Also, unlike most other radiators, you do not get 5/6 mm long screws so this prevents installation of the radiator directly to a case/radiator mount. I think having 30 mm and 6 mm long screws is the way to go myself, but then again I can’t speak for everyone. Let me know in the comments what you think is an optimum fan screw configuration for a radiator. There are also 5 stop plugs included for the 5 spare ports on the radiator aside from the 2 minimum that get used, and again these may be in copper or dark nickel finish depending on when you have purchased the kit.
The radiator itself measured in at 402mm x 124mm x 59.8mm- close enough to the advertised specs of 400x124x60 mm. This is a thick radiator- there’s no getting around it. So be sure this is compatible with your case as well as the components going in. There are 6 G1/4″ threaded ports on one side (3 per end tank half) and one on the other side. I love seeing so many port options since this allows for ease of installation, filling, bleeding and draining of loops. On the other hand, the ports are not recessed so with the plugs on they may clash with dedicated radiator mounts as Caselabs case owners have found out. Each port has a plastic blue cover that is only there to protect against dust or contamination entering the radiator and not to be used once you have the radiator installed. You also see that the end tank halves are distinctively separated from each other here leaving no question about the flow pattern here- this is a dual pass, U-flow type radiator here.
The fins in this particular sample were really consistent. The fins used are thin copper and so my micrometer is not the best way to determine average fin thickness here since they deform the fins easily. But I measured an average fin thickness of 32-40 microns here. The fin density was not as consistent as the fin build quality though, they came in anywhere from 8 to 12 FPI with the advertised number being 9. The fins are also slightly louvered, and this would likely improve performance at higher fan speeds.
The end tank ports were all threaded perfectly and I had no issues fitting in plugs or larger quick disconnect type fittings in all of them.
Another positive note here is the dedicated screw shield plate going through the length of the radiator preventing an accidental puncture of the tube channels underneath if using screws longer than appropriate.
LIQUID FLOW RESTRICTION
I used an XSPC D5 pump with an XSPC D5 bay reservoir. The pump was powered by a direct SATA connection to an EVGA 1300G2 PSU, and was controlled by an Aquacomputer Aquaero 6 XT. There was an in-line flow meter previously calibrated, as well as a Dwyer 490 Series 1 wet-wet manometer to measure the pressure drop of the component under test- in this case each radiator. Every component was connected by 1/2″ x 3/4″ tubing, compression fittings and 2 T-fittings with the manometer.
Results and discussion
Ok then! While those two Black Ice Nemesis radiators top the liquid flow restriction chart here, the UT60 is one of the least restrictive radiators from the set, beat only by the HWLabs SR2. The XSPC RX V3 in the middle here.
The UT60 seems to have been designed for loops with multiple blocks in mind so as to minimize the restriction added from radiators. This sounds good to me except for 2 things:
1) Not all blocks can take benefit of higher flow rates (that’s a topic of discussion for another time)
2) While it does provide a tremendous decrease in restriction relative to the other current Black Ice offerings, there are other radiators out there with similar low restriction.
Let’s also note here that the decrease in radiator restriction which may result in a higher average loop flow rate also means a lowered mean residence time in the radiator. While you generally want as high a flow rate through blocks as possible, you also want a low flow rate through a radiator. So this is where one needs to see if the other components in the loop are restrictive relatively and whether the blocks used benefit from an increase in flow rate- however big that may be.
Everything needed (monitor, peripherals, motherboard w/CPU and GPU, radiator, PSU and so forth) was placed in a sealed climate controlled box at 25 +/- 0.05 ºC. Each radiator was connected by Koolance QD3’s for easier changing of fans and radiator. The flowrate was held at 1 GPM constant. The CPU, an Intel i7 4770k at 4.6 GHz and 1.3 Vcore, was held at a constant load using a custom XTU profile and the GPU, an EVGA GTX 780 Ti Classified KPE under load from Unigine Heaven 4.0 at 1080p/extreme HD settings, was overclocked and overvolted such that the total system power draw was 650w as measured by a Kill-A-Watt unit inside the hot box. A near constant heat load into the liquid loop helped achieve stable liquid loop temperatures (as measured by 3 separate in-line temperature sensors hooked up to the AQ6) pretty quickly. The tubing and fittings were insulated by a heater sleeve with the heat function not being utilized. Every single measurement was done twice to be sure. Any possible effects of running a fan outside of a static max speed was minimized as much as possible by using a comprehensive series of fans to cover a broad RPM range.
Results and discussion
It is fairly clear that all these 5 rads perform very close to each other, mostly within a few tenths of a ºC of each other and that’s where other things like the accuracy and precision of temperature sensors come into play. I did choose them to run at low-med fan speeds, so there was definitely a motive there. But let’s look at the UT60 here- it is very close in performance to both the Nemesis GTS which is a lot thinner but way more restrictive and utilizes thinner, splitter fins and thinner tube channels and also the SR2 360 which has more or less similar dimensions, fin density, tube channel thickness and number of rows.
Considering that the fans provided here are the same NB-eLoops at 1200 RPM, the Alphacool UT60 is well within error margins of the best low-medium airflow radiators on the market now and so the radiator is a strong plus point in the kit.