As water cooling is fast becoming mainstream, more and more companies are thinking of having a piece of the once small market. With the arrival of faster and hotter processor, the demand for this form of active cooling is getting bigger.
In the water cooling scene, we now have two main types of products, the kits and the external units. The kits are basically for those with a bit of technical know how as it requires a bit of fiddling and some serious setup. With kits, you install the components to the case, you secure the tubes, add the liquid, bleed the system and so on. With the external units on the other hand, almost everything is already setup for you. All that is needed is for you to connect the blocks to the hardware and its ready to go. These are intended for those who are quite new to water cooling.
Today we are reviewing a kit type of water cooling system. A lot of companies have tried to deliver kits that are as easy as possible to setup but some still requires a lot of setting up to do. What we have today in our labs is a kit with a twist. Produced by a relatively new company, at least to my knowledge, it promises to deliver a watercooling system that is easy to install, ultra quiet and highly efficient at the same time. Introducing, the CoolRiver Deluxe Water cooling Kit.
From the looks on the CoolRiver site, this kit is manufactured and distributed by a German company. However, looking around the net, we have discovered that this kit also goes by a different name in other countries. For example in the USA, this particular kit is being sold as CoolWave Stormcool III manufactured by CoolWave in China. Both kits look exactly the same with the exception of their names. I guess what we are seeing here is an OEM water cooling kit branded differently in other countries but manufactured by a single company. My best bet is that this kit is manufactured in China.
The CoolRiver Deluxe kit is an all in one water cooling system. It has connections for the cpu, chipset and graphics card. As we said earlier, this kit comes with a twist. Although you will need to still set it up, the task is a lot easier as it already comes with all the blocks already attached to the tubings, pump and radiator. It also comes preloaded (pre-charged) with a non-conductive liquid.
The CoolRiver Deluxe Kit comes packaged in a boxed styropor container. All the components including the blocks, pump, tubings and radiator are neatly laid together with the mounts and screws needed for the setup. Opening the box you will find an instructions manual in black and white written in both German and English.
The cpu, vga and chipset blocks are all copper. They follow the same design differing in just the size. All the blocks are fully sealed with the tubings already connected and clamped securely to each block. The blocks are initially covered by a plastic seal to prevent tarnishing. Upon removal you will find a mirror finish surface that is flat and free of machining marks.
The kit comes with an assortment of stuff for mounting up the cpu, vga and chipset block on different systems. All mounts are what you would call standard except for the gpu, which uses a sort of clamp mechanism. What it does is it “sandwiches” the waterblock against the gpu core.
The radiator used for this kit is a 4-pass 120mm copper core unit similar to those popular Black Ice jobbies. It is cooled by a 120mm fan rated at 1650 rpm. As for the tubings, the system uses 1/4″ ID tubings for all connections.
The pump is an immersible waterpump encased in a plastic reservoir. No gph rating can be found anywhere in the manuals or in the CoolRiver site. However, because of its size, I can only presume that it’s on the weak side. The pump gets its power via a molex plug that is wired to a small black box that acts as an inverter. The pump also comes with a rubber mount to help in securing the pump anywhere in the case and to help in noise reduction caused by vibration. The pump-reservoir is sealed tight so there is no port where you can top up the fluid. Note that the company claims that the fluid used is a non-conductive one.
The kit was tested outside the case on its own for 3 days without any leaks or problems before it was mounted into a case and connected to a working system. Installation was pretty easy due to the preconfigured nature of the kit. Mounting the pump and the radiator was pretty straightforward. Same goes for the cpu block and the northbridge chipset block. A bit of figuring out was needed for the vga block mainly because it was the first time I have seen such contraption for mounting a vga block to a graphics card. The tubings were a bit twisty to work with at times during setup but once we have decided where things would go, it was not a problem. The installation manual was okay on the instruction part but was poor on the pictures as they are black and white and not clear. A proper colored manual and not a photocopied one would have been nice.
With the case temperatures at 28°C, we tested the CoolRiver Deluxe Watercooling Kit at both idle and full load. We compared the results from the temps we got using the Intel stock heatsink and the Corsair Hydrocool200 Watercooling system. Note that test results gathered from the CoolRiver was taken without the chipset and vga block attached. We tested at both stock and overclocked cpu speeds. Again at overclocked speed, the CoolRiver’s performance is impressive against the aircooled Intel HSF. Though not as good as the Hydrocool200, there is only but 5°C between the two.
I have to say I am very impressed by the quietness of this system. Both the pump and the radiator fan were virtually silent. You could barely hear the pump running even when placed beside your ears. Even with the fan, I have to visually inspect the fan blades to see if they are really working. This system was obviously intended for those after an ultra quiet system without compromising performance. I mean they could have placed a stronger fan and pump to maximize performance but they didn’t. Hands down the quietest watercooling system we have tested to date.
As I’ve said before, every watercooling system should have a safety alarm and emergency shutdown feature. This I think is vital in ensuring that the use of such cooling systems will always be safe. I have seen my share of pump and fans dying and the aftermath is really not a good thing to see.
Unfortunately, the CoolRiver Deluxe Watercooling Kit is absent of a pump failure alarm and shutdown feature. But so do most kits. So be sure to enable your CPU temperature shutdown option in your BIOS. Because the pump is ultra silent, it would be hard to hear it not working. Besides, you’re not always around your computer.
The fan on the other hand can be connected to a 3pin M/B fan connector. Again, the only way this would work though is if you enabled a software to automatically shutdown your PC once it detects the fan’s rpm is below your set limits.
As an entry-level watercooling kit, the CoolRiver Deluxe Kit has exceeded my expectations. Its performance is very good considering that it’s an all-in-one kit. Even with a small and weak pump it managed to show some very good numbers. The noise factor amazes me in a sense that it can still deliver adequate cooling at ultra quiet levels. This is what would make this kit appealing to a lot of consumers. That plus the convenience of setting up the kit.
Being an all-in-one kit, the CoolRiver offers cooling that is not only affordable but works too. Coming in at about US$100 MSRP, this is one of the best bang for your buck entry level watercooling kit at the moment. Don’t expect high performance cooling though as this kit is not targeted for that market. Saying that, with this kit, we still managed to overclock our 2.4Ghz Pentium 4 to 3.37GHz. Not bad huh? With this kit you get very good cooling not only for your processor but for your chipset and vga card as well. Hands down, an excellent entry-level for those who are new to watercooling and for those who want a cheap, ultra quiet water cooling system.