Water Cooling Shootout Review - Antec, Larkooler, EK, Phobya, Swiftech & Laing

👤by Thomas Koflach Comments 📅01-06-11

For new comers to the world of water cooling, it can be a very scary place indeed - the most common reaction being 'WHAT!, don't you know water and electricity don't mix!'. Normally with this sort of statement at the start of a review, I'd go on and prove it wrong. However, this time they're not wrong at all - water and electricity really don't mix, so how does it all work?

The simple answer is that the water never actually touches the electrical components, instead passing through water-tight water blocks which act as the middle man - taking the heat away from the IC and dumping it in the water.

However, that's not all that's involved in water cooling - you also need a pump to circulate the water, a radiator to expel the heat, fittings, hosing, reservoirs etc, etc... This is where companies like Antec and Larkooler come in; offering an easier route for beginners into watercooling . These manufacturers offer a simplified solution to watercooling, and as a result are often cheaper than their custom counterparts. But, how do they compare with the Custom alternative?

Well, today you're in for a bit of a treat, as we've teamed up with Antec, Larkooler and Aquatuning to do just that. With 4 different watercooling setups, all with different levels of complexity, we aim to see just how much extra performance watercooling has to offer.

It's also important to remember the differences in cost, as the different setups vary massively in price, and this is something I will focus on throughout the review. Working out exactly where to spend your budget is very important when specing a new build, and if spending 100 or so more on cooling yields no noticeable gains then it's really not worth opting for. If however, it can cool your chip enough so that you can clock it another 500mhz or so, then it becomes a very tasty proposition indeed.

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