With watercooling becoming mainstream slowly but surely, heaps of companies are now taking advantage of the ever growing watercooling market. Be it a kit or a ready made solution, more and more people are using the power of water to cool their powerful processors. Gone are the days when good air cooling is all you need to push your systems to the limit. Current processors today generate so much heat that overclocking them makes it impossible for traditional aircooling to do their work. What used to be a cooling solution for “geeks” is fast becoming an ideal solution for the average joe.
Watercooling can now be done in two ways. It can be done via the more common “kits” or through readily available external watercooling systems. Those that can’t be bothered with setting up a kit choose the latter. This is usually a bit more expensive and less upgradeable when compared to kits. Most enthusiast and overclockers though still prefer the more common watercooling kits. This is usually more powerful and with more options to choose from. You can mix and match whatever watercooling component you fancy. Plus they are generally cheaper being a DIY jobbie. It however requires a bit of know how and some skill in setting up such things.
No matter what you choose though, the single most important component in such a cooling system is the waterblock. Deciding on watercooling parts start here and all other components follow after that. Sadly not all waterblocks are created equal. So getting the right one first time is the best thing to do.
This is the latest model in the MAZE line of waterblocks. Our particular sample is the one with the laser cut lucite top and O-ring. Not only does it make the block look sexier but it also allows you to view the insides of the block. The block measures 3″ x 2.45″ x 5/8″.
Installation is done via the 4 holes surrounding the socket. So be sure your board has them before thinking of buying this block. Most enthusiast board has them anyway. A hold down, composed of bolts, washers, nuts, springs and screws, is included to mount the block to the board. The motherboard has to be removed from the case (if already installed) during installation of the block. The lucite top is part of the mounting to keep the block, processor and socket in place. The procedure is easy and not rocket science as long as you follow the instructions properly.
As the name suggest, this is the very same MAZE4 block but with an SHD (socket hold down). Meaning you don’t have to remove the motherboard to fit this new waterblock into your system. This is the main feature of this model and I’m sure some of you would prefer to do it this way to avoid the hassles of removing the motherboard. Block measures 3″ x 2.45″ x 5/8″. Hold down is made of stainless steel.
Installation is done by engaging all of the socket’s lug. An included socket wrench is used to loosen the screws on the block that locks onto the socket and then tightened again once the block is secured. Full installation info for the SHD can be found here.
Now this is an entirely new line of waterblocks from Danger Den. This is the latest and greatest block to come out of their factory. Incorporating new designs, this block is set to take watercooling into a new era. The block is quite small. It actually only occupies half of the socket area. It also follows the same lucite top and O-ring design making its internals visible from the outside as well. Once again it uses 1/2″ fittings for maximum waterflow. The base is machined lapped and touched up to 1200 grit. Base is flat and smooth. It is also pressure tested before shipment to 85psi.
Mounting is done the same way as the MAZE4, which is via the 4 holes around the socket area. So motherboard removal is once again necessary. The block ships with 4 additional anti-crush pads for those who are extra careful or paranoid, in no particular order BTW as of writing, there is already an SHD version of the RBX.
With the new RBX waterblock, extreme users can now tune their block according to their cooling setup. This new design allows for customizing of the interchangeable acceleration assemblies to best fit your system. The RBX block ships with the #1 Accelerator Plate but additional Nozzle Package includes #2, 3, 4, 5, and one blank. Danger Den reckons that nozzle #1 will work best for the “average system”. A socket wrench is also included for the very purpose of removing the bolts when changing nozzles.
The 1 inlet, 2 outlet design is also one of its new feature. By having two outlets, warm water inside the block is removed faster. A “Y” fitting is included with the block to allow water from the 2 outlets to merged back together. Though I have to admit, this is not the first time I have seen such design in a waterblock.
After installation on a Danger Den custom watercooling kit, the MAZE4 and RBX waterblocks were bench tested in a temperature controlled room where the thermostat is set at a constant 20°C. We ran Prime95 for 30 minutes before recording full load temperatures and afterwards the computer was shut down and was given a 30 minute resting period before the next waterblock was tested. We also included results from an external watercooling system, Corsair’s Hydrocool, and from a high-end aftermarket aircooled heatsink, the Thermaltake Extreme Volcano 12. Note that we used both Nozzle #1 and #4 for the RBX waterblock.
Above results shows the RBX waterblock ahead of everyone. Here we also found that using a different nozzle does make a difference depending on the type of watercooling setup you have. In our case, a high waterflow showed some benefits when using Nozzle #4 as oppose to #1. The difference may not be much but definitely more suited in such setup. The MAZE4 blocks also performed very well in this test showing a commanding lead over a powerful aircooled HSF. The external Hydrocool showed some good results as well but still lags behind when compared to powerful internal watercooling kits like Danger Den’s.
A very good watercooling system definitely makes a big difference when cooling your processor. When compared to even to the most powerful aircooling, you can see that there is no contest between water and air. Saying that though, building the right watercooling rig is the key. A bad watercooling system is no better or probably even worse than traditional aircooling.
If you want to do it right the first time, I would definitely recommend any of this waterblocks from Danger Den. The MAZE4 and RBX are suited for those who are after extreme performance out of their watercooling system. But if you want extreme cooling matched with total flexibility and control, then the RBX is the better choice. Note that these waterblocks work best in a high waterflow system. So bear that in mind when thinking of the other components that you will include in your rig.
Danger Den has once again proven that being in the business for a long time gives them an edge in producing top quality waterblocks. Their experience and crafsmanship produces not only high performing waterblocks but affordable as well. Year after year, they have never failed to come up with new waterblocks that gives the extreme user something better to play with. The MAZE4 and the RBX are an excellent choice if you are planning to build a powerful watercooling system. If one is to base their performance to price ratio, you will find that these blocks are even the best in its league.