Cooler Master Aquagate Mini R120May 21st, 2005 | By Archive
Cooler Master Aquagate Mini R120
: 05/21/05 – 06:10:22 PM
Page 1 : Introduction
Whether you are a hardcore enthusiast or an everyday forum reader, you have most likely heard of water-cooling for your computer system. The fast growing solution of water-cooling has met great resistance caused by many people knowing that electronics and water are not usually a good combination. Manufacturers are finally releasing products to counteract this first problem with water-cooling with the creation of non-conductive water-cooling solution. Such a solution was recently reviewed by Overclockers Online, called FluidXP.
Another solution to our water-cooling dilemma is the tedious construction of custom water-cooling solution, but along with this are the reliability issues associated with building your own water-cooling system. Again, manufactures have addressed this concern by building "pre-built" water-cooling systems. These systems are usually enclosed, meaning you do not need to tamper with them, just install, and you're ready to go. These have never interested me very much before because they have generally been very expensive, however, CoolerMaster has recently released a closed water-cooling system that is very affordable.
Today, Overclockers Online will look at a unique product from CoolerMaster called the Aquagate Mini R120.
Page 2 : Package
We'll start off our review with our generic package section. If you have the luxury of having a computer hardware retail store near you, being able to touch and look at the boxes of items can give you a great deal of information about the product inside.
The back of the box has quite a few features and specifications listed, which we will get into in the next section, but for now, let's dive into the box!
Opening the box you can see the entire set of parts for the Aquagate Mini; let's pull them out to get a better look.
Inside the little white box is a whole slew of parts, but don't be alarmed, these are just the mounting brackets for all of the different types of sockets.
Also inside is a 120mm fan, which attaches to our radiator…
Here you can see the Aquagate and the 120mm radiator attached to it. Let's take a closer look at the Aquagate itself.
Page 3 : Up-Close and Personal
The Aquagate itself is a water-pump, built onto the solid copper water block. The bottom of the water block had a protective cover on it, and once we take that off we can get an idea about its finish.
With a quarter next to the block, you can get a better idea of its relative size. It is a little bit smaller than say the stock AMD 64 heat sink, measuring about 70 x 85 x 23mm.
The tubing used in the Aquagate is a black rubber, which is quite flexible.
The only problem I can see with black tubing is there will be no visual sign that the water pump is properly pushing water. Cooler Master however selected this tubing to help cut down on evaporation, therefore making the Aquagate last quite a while without having to worry about refills and whatnot; guaranteed for 2 years by CoolerMaster.
The radiator attached to the water block/pump combo is made for either a 120mm fan with the Aquagate Mini R120, or an 80mm fan for the Aquagate Mini R80. The radiator is made out of an aluminum alloy and is very lightweight.
Now that we've taken a close-up look at the Aquagate, let's look at the specifications and features from CoolerMaster.
Page 4 : Specifications/Features
CoolerMaster's website gives us a great look at all of the specifications the Aquagate sports:
1. Easy-install Combo
* For a more convenient installation, the Combo includes a water block set, radiator, fan, thermal grease, anti-icing fluid, and a water pipe. All of the parts you need are readily available, thereby cutting installation steps and saving your time.
2. Adaptable to many different processors
* Universal retention module for Intel® Pentium 4 (Socket 478/LGA 775), Xeon (Socket 603/604),Celeron (Socket 478), Celeron D Socket 478/LGA775), AMD Sempron (Socket A/754), Athlon XP (Socket A), and Athlon 64 (Socket 754/939/940) processors.
3. High cooling performance
* Copper-based water block for excellent heat dissipation
* Selectable high-performance radiator with 80 x 120 x 45 mm and 120 x 160 x 35mm dimensions
(Designed for chassis with 80×80 / 120×120 mm case fan)
* Enlarged radiator for higher heat transfer efficiency
4. High reliability
* No refills of anti-icing fluid for two years guaranteed (Testing environment: Ambient temperature 45? and humidity 50%)
* Low evaporation ratio thanks to special opaque and heat-resistant elements in the pipe
5. Longer life expectancy
* Fan-restart function: a self-protective feature that allows the device to smoothly initiate a restart if the fan malfunctions
* Fan speed control: Selectable super-silent 80 x 80 x 25 mm VR fan (1,800 ~ 3,800 R.P.M.) and 120 x 120 x 25 mm VR fan (800 ~ 2,800 R.P.M.)
6. Design patent information (patent pending)
* Three-in-one module (pump, tank and CPU water block) saves time and is more convenient
Page 5 : Installation
The Aquagate Mini comes with an installation manual, with a variety of languages inside. I followed the manual exactly, where the pictures and text depicted quite clearly what needed to be done. The overall installation was not difficult at all.
To install the Aquagate Mini, the first thing that I needed to do was remove the stock heat sink from my system.
Removing the stock heat sink from the processor shows what a mess the stock thermal solutions are.
This isn't that big of a problem, and they both can easily be cleaned with Q-Tips and some rubbing alcohol.
The next step was to remove the stock heat sink mounts. On my Socket 754 board, this was quite easy and required removing only 2 screws.
Once the bracket is removed, we can proceed with assembling the mounts for the Aquagate. There are 5 different mounts for the Aquagate:
For our installation, we are going to be using the K8 plate for the AMD 64's. Also in the Aquagate box, was the back plate for mounting the cooler.
Once we have our plates ready to go, we use a set of double threaded screws to attach into the plate.
Once we have the two screws in place, we can attach the mounting plate to the water block using 4 tiny screws that were provided.
With the plate now attached to the water block, the next step is to get the water block attached to the motherboard. Cooler Master supplied some vibration absorbing washers to go onto the motherboard, so we'll install two of those.
With the Aquagate laying on it's back, carefully thread the two screws on the mounting bracket of the Aquagate through the holes on the motherboard.
Now using the nuts provided and the tightening tool, attach the back plate on and then secure the nuts.
With the Aquagate in place, the last thing to do is put your motherboard back in your case, and install the radiator!
On my motherboard, the Epox 8KDA3J, except for the ram, there was plenty of room as far as clearance goes. Unless the ram was installed first, or the Aquagate was rotated, access to the first ram slot has been prevented.
In the Aerocool Spiral Galaxies case, the radiator fit perfectly into the back 120mm fan space. You couldn't ask for a better fit!
Now that we have everything installed, let's take a look at the performance of the Aquagate Mini R120!
Page 6 : Performance/Testing
The test system we will be using is:
AMD Athlon64 3000+ (Socket 754) @ 2.2ghz
512mb Corsair PC3200
Aerocool Spiral Galaxies
Room temperature: Approximatly 70F or 21C
Powering up the Aquagate for the first time, you could hear the faint sound of water moving, then after about 10 seconds, the sound all together disappeared… and all that was left to hear again, was the fans of my system! I was quite shocked to hear how quiet this little cooling system was. Let's take a look to see how it performs.
Page 7 : Conclusion
Although I would not call this a completely silent cooling system, it is an excellent step in the right direction for manufacturers to get products that stress reliability to consumers to strike more interest in water-cooling. If I can get a product, such as the Aquagate, that is easy to install, comes with a 2 year warranty, very cost effective, and provides great cooling, why not?!
I for one hope that the Aquagate Mini is very successful to gain more interest among manufactures to build low-cost simple water-cooling solutions that make both the enthusiast and your beginner enthusiast happy! With the excellent cooling of -10C over the stock heatsink you can definitly achieve better overclocks. Unfortunatly my Epox board is not a great overclocker, however if it was, I'm sure that we could get some decent overclocks out of the Aquagate.
The Aquagate Mini is not quite perfect, as there are some issues with clearance on certain motherboards. With some foresight, most clearance issues can be easily identified and avoided, that is unless something is too small. On my particular Epox 8KDA3J socket 754 motherboard, a RAM slot is blocked off without the removal of the Aquagate. As mentioned, prior installation of the memory sticks could have avoided this problem.
Overall the Aquagate Mini was a breeze to install and a surprisingly great performer! I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to get into water-cooling without the hassle of a custom built solution, or a solution that costs so much you can't afford any more hardware! The Aquagate Mini R120 definitely gets my Overclockers Online Editor's Choice Award!
- Universal Mounting
- Great cooling
- Low Cost
- Easy to install
- Possible clearance issues around the installed Aquagate Mini