|Antec Kühler H2O 620 Liquid Cooling System|
|Reviews - Featured Reviews: Cooling|
|Written by David Ramsey|
|Wednesday, 09 February 2011|
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Closer Look: Antec Kühler H2O
The Antec Kühler H2O 620 box tells you everything you need to know: it's a CPU cooler, it uses liquid cooling, and it fits these sockets. This seems basic information, but you'd be amazed how often companies make you hunt for this information.
Inside the box are the neatly arranged components...
...which are the pump and radiator assembly, a 120x25mm fan, an installation manual, and mounting brackets and screws. The Kühler H2o 620 comes with everything you'll need for Intel Socket 775, 1155/1156, 1366, and AMD sockets AM2/AM2+/AM3. The accessories include four screws for mounting the pump retaining ring to the baseplate, four long screws for mounting the radiator/fan assembly to the back of the case, and four small machine screws whose purpose isn't obvious and which aren't mentioned in the manual.
If you're familiar with other Asetek-sourced liquid coolers, you'll notice two things different about the Antec Kühler: first, there are two connectors wired to the pump, and second, the hoses connecting the pump to the radiator are thicker, soft rubber hoses rather than the smaller, stiffer hoses used on other coolers.
The Kühler mounting system is Asetek-OEM standard, though: a thin metal retaining ring with interior notches is secured to a back plate by four screws. The pump has notched edges; after mounting the bracket and installing the screws part-way, you insert the pump from the top and rotate it a few degrees so that the notches on the edge of the pump slide under the notches on the inside of the retaining ring. Tightening the screws will clamp the retaining ring against the pump and press it firmly against the processor. You'll actually have to assemble a bespoke bracket from the components included: four metal screw inserts must be positioned in the correct 4 (out of 12) possible places in the Intel back plate, and the retaining ring requires that 4 screws be inserted into the proper plastic offsets, which are then snapped into the retaining ring. All told, 14 different pieces comprise a complete mounting system, and paying attention and assembling the right parts correctly for your application will pay off. A slight difference here is that Antec has molded the screw holders for the Intel bracket in bright blue plastic, while the screw holders for the AMD bracket are molded in green plastic.
The original Asetek water coolers used a much more robust mounting system. Compare the older mounting system on the left, which uses a 1/8" steel base plate and a thick plastic retaining ring secured by compression screws, with the current mounting system that uses a plastic base plate and thin sheet metal retaining ring, the "springiness" of which provides the clamping pressure. Clamping pressure is an important part of overall heat sink performance, and the best performing air coolers like the Prolimatech Megahalems and Thermalright Venomous X have very substantial mounting systems.
I suspect the older mechanism provides higher clamping pressure that might improve performance, but the side-mounted swivel hose fittings on the Kühler's pump mean that a little Dremel work would be required to find out. Given the results of my testing, though, the heavier-duty bracket might not make any difference...