Cooler Master Aquagate S1Jul 16th, 2007 | By Archive
Cooler Master Aquagate S1
: 07/16/07 – 03:33:39 AM
Page 1 : Index
One of the more popular manufacturers we feature here at Overclockers Online is Cooler Master. We've had a lot of great products from them in the past so my expectations get higher every time.
The Aquagate S1 is the fourth liquid cooler from Cooler Master to hit Overclockers Online that bears the Aquagate marque. These cooling systems have a reputation for being simple and easy to setup. They also deliver great performance. This is my first foray into the world of watercooling so I'm looking forward to a good experience.
Page 2 : Package
As always, we will start on the outside of the package and work our way in.
The Aquagate S1 comes in an almost-cubish package with a carrying handle on top – a nice touch considering that the package is somewhat heavy.
All sides bear the Cooler Master and Aquagate S1 insignia. The front has that as well as the small subtitle "CPU Liquid Cooling". Not only that, we also have a see-through window that shows the actual cooler's radiator/fan assembly as well as the mounting block/pump. Towards the bottom, we have a small list of features; "intelligent manual fan speed control" gave me a good laugh.
One side of the box has the compatibility information. It seems the Aquagate S1 is compatible with all the modern sockets (939/AM2/LGA775).
The other side has basically no new information except for UPC codes and such.
There is nothing on the bottom of the box.
Before we get to the contents, let's take a quick look at the features and specifications.
Page 3 : Features & Specifications
Cooler Master's website doesn't officially have the Aquagate S1 listed but a quick Google search led me to this page which was pretty helpful in gathering data.
The features are as follows:
2. Superior cooling performance
– Large aluminum radiator with LED 120 mm fan
– Copper water block for excellent heat transfer
– Powerful pump integrates into water block
– Quiet and powerful ceramics bearing pump
3. Clear and durable Tube
– 3/8 durable tubing
– Transparent tube
4. Flexible Installation decrease interference
5. User friendly design
– Special pre-fill liquid cooling system
– Refills coolant easily
6. Intelligent fan controller
7. Silent Operation at only 20 dBA
Despite my inexperience with water cooling, I believe some of the highlights include the fact that the pump is integrated into the copper water block. Also, the radiator has a built-in 120mm fan. Also, unlike conventional water cooling kits, the Aquagate S1 comes pre-filled with coolant.
The compatibility charts:
Finally, the specifications from the package:
The fan can be controlled from 800 to 2500 RPM with the included manual fan speed controller. At the lowest speed, the fan has a noise level of 20 dBA. The pump itself produces noise also at 21 dBA. During testing, we can see how loud the Aquagate S1 actually is. Finally, the radiator is designed such that it can be mounted inside the case, in the place of a 120mm fan.
Page 4 : Package Contents
The most prominent thing upon opening the package is the radiator module, protected on all sides by a plastic frame. It has a blue 120mm LED fan inside. There is a 3-pin fan connector coming out of the radiator. Also, there is a fan control switch which can be mounted onto an included PCI bracket so that the radiator's fan can be controlled manually from the outside of the case.
Two tubes filled with blue coolant leave the radiator and are connected to a copper water block which has a pump built onto the top of it. The pump also has a 3-pin fan connector.
Relatively long, the length of the tubes should be no cause for concern as the radiator is meant to be mounted inside the case.
Sporting a near-mirror finish, the copper block foreshadows good performance.
Beneath the radiator is a white box with a manual, the mounting hardware, and other accessories such as a tube of thermal compound and a syringe should the Aquagate need refilling. Cooler Master recommends that the user not refill the cooler for at least 6 months.
The cooler itself consists of the radiator module and the water block/pump unit. The radiator casing features Cooler Master and Aquagate S1 logos.
One side of the radiator features the fan, protected by a grill, while the other side has mounting holes. The aluminum radiator is obviously designed to maximize surface area as can be seen by the wavy fins.
That covers the contents. Now we can install the Aquagate S1 in a case.
Page 5 : Installation
The candidate for installation is the MSI P965 Neo-F LGA775 motherboard with the Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 processor. I will be putting the entire setup inside the Antec P182 that I recently reviewed.
Like many coolers, the Aquagate uses a custom mounting system so removing the motherboard is necessary. Also, the backing retention module should be removed. With the processor installed, I proceeded.
First, we need to turn to the back of the motherboard.
Here are all the mounting hardware we will be needing:
We start off by placing one plastic washer around each of the four mounting holes and then inserting the four long screws (1). Then, flip the motherboard over, insert a plastic washer on each screw and then put on one nut onto each screw such that it holds them in place on the motherboard (2). Now I squeezed onto the CPU some of the included Cooler Master thermal compound, which looks a lot like NanoFusion (3). I then placed the water block onto the CPU (4). It still needs to be secured.
First, place one of the four plastic spacers into each hole on the block/pump (1). These will help hold the block in place when the mounting plate is installed. The next step is to place the mounting plate onto the pump such that the plastic protrusions on the spacers fit into the plate. Also, make sure the screws go through the holes in the plate. Secure the plate onto the screws using four nuts (2). Use the included keyed nut to tighten the nuts and that's all there is to mounting the block onto the CPU (3).
After this, I proceeded to install the motherboard into the case as usual.
This still leaves us with the radiator which needs to be mounted in the case. I had to remove the rear fan on the Antec P182 in order to install the radiator. Also, note that I rotated the orientation of the mounting plate from the previous pictures as it interfered with the ATX 4-pin power connector (1). It was simple enough to install as all it takes is four screws (2). However, the fit is very tight. The case's top fan barely misses hitting the tubing, by about 5mm (1/5"). Also, at the bottom end, a corner of the radiator actually hits the ATX 24-pin power connector. The final step is to attach the fan controller to the included PCI bracket and to install that in an empty PCI slot (3).
I would much rather install the radiator outside the case but unfortunately, I neither have the experience nor the courage to remove the tubing so that I can use the Antec P182's water cooling rubber-grommeted ports to install the radiator outside. Oh well.
Now we can proceed to testing.
Page 6 : Testing & Performance
For testing, I removed the motherboard from the case and set the radiator up in an unobstructed position. I will be putting the Aquagate S1 against the Zalman CNPS8000 and also the Intel stock cooler.
Here is the test setup:
CPU: Intel Core 2 Duo E6300 1.86GHz (OC'd: 2.33GHz) @ stock voltage
Motherboard: MSI P965 Neo-F
Memory: OCZ Value DDR2-667 (PC2-5300) 1GB dual channel kit (2x512MB)
Video Card: eVGA e-GeForce 7600GT CO PCI-E x16
Hard Drive: Hitachi Deskstar T7K250 160GB SATA II 8MB cache
Optical: Samsung DVD±RW
OS: Windows Vista Ultimate
CPU Coolers: Intel stock cooler, Zalman CNPS8000,
Cooler Master Aquagate S1
Cooler Master's thermal compound was used for all the coolers. I installed each setup and left the computer on for a day while running SP2004 Orthos, shut it down for 2 hours, and then let it idle at the desktop for 6 hours before taking the idle temperature measurement. Then, I ran Orthos loops for 6 hours and took the maximum load temperature during the run. Temperatures were measured using Everest Home Edition and it was made sure that they agreed with the temperatures reported by MSI CoreCenter. Room temperature was kept constant at approximately 25°C (77°F).
At 1.86GHz, the temperatures are still on the low side. The Aquagate S1 keeps the CPU at a mere 5 degrees above ambient at idle and the load temperature is 6 degrees higher. The Zalman CNPS8000 is no competition, not to mention the Intel stock cooler which is very inefficient.
The results at 2.33GHz are analogous to the 1.86GHz measurements with the Aquagate S1 leading the pack, then the Zalman CNPS8000, and finally the Intel stock cooler.
It seems we have a winner on our hands.
Page 7 : Conclusion
I can safely say that my first experience with water cooling has been a pleasant one. Cooler Master's Aquagate S1 performs admirably and is very quiet, thanks to the fan controller. Installation is easy and the build quality is excellent as we have come to expect from Cooler Master. Once again, Cooler Master has delivered with a great product.
All in all, I would say that the Aquagate S1 is perfect for those who are thinking about water cooling but don't have the time, experience, or the courage to set up a custom system.
- Great performance
- Easy, universal installation
- Very quiet on the low setting
- Well designed
[list><li]Radiator can be a tight fit as it cannot be easily installed outside the case[/list]
Overclockers Online would like to thank Cooler Master for providing the review sample of the Aquagate S1.