Going by the new releases from manufacturers like Cooler Master, Zalman and Thermaltake, these companies are fully committed to their liquid cooling offerings, updating and expanding their existing models. More choices for enthusiasts looking to go liquid and in most cases, more user friendly too. Cooler Master's new AquaGate S1 liquid cooler for CPUs is such an example, with the tubes and radiator ready for installation out of the box. So what else can you expect from this new liquid cooling kit?
Instantly familiar to anyone who has seen any of Cooler Master's extensive selection of liquid cooling products, the water block on the AquaGate S1 is in distinctive copper. While the dedicated enthusiast's homemade block may be polished with more loving care than the S1, Cooler Master has done a decent job building it to a respectable shine. The block itself is festooned with screw holes, necessary so as to support all the latest processors from both AMD and Intel. Of course, you'll also need to install the base first, which involves removing your motherboard from the chassis and attaching the screws from bottom. This is one step of the installation process that we weren't too keen on but is quite common, as manufacturers try to achieve the widest compatibility.
The pump itself is attached to the water block, spinning between 2600 and 3100RPM and generating roughly 21 decibels of noise. Add that together with the noise from the fan on the radiator, which produces a minimum of 20 decibels and we wonder why people have the mistaken impression that liquid cooling is 'quiet'. No doubt, this is mostly true but we'll just like to point out that air cooling can be just as quiet.
Meanwhile, the radiator can be attached to two recommended locations, to the removable side panel of the chassis (especially if the chassis already has ventilation holes) or the rear exhaust ventilation below the power supply. This flexibility should suit the tastes of enthusiasts perfectly.
Compared to early homemade liquid coolers, the refilling process has been streamlined and made easy. Users still need to remove the radiator module before proceeding but a syringe-like injector is provided and a screwdriver is required to open up the refill point. The coolant however is not included, though we expect the pre-filled coolant to be sufficient for a couple of years at least.
Additionally, Cooler Master has included a manual fan controller that is meant to be installed via an expansion slot. A PCI bracket is hence provided though that means the control knob is place awkwardly at the rear of the chassis. The knob itself looks very raw and unpolished. Cooler Master could definitely have polished this aspect of the cooler.
The newly launched AquaGate S1 liquid cooling kit for CPUs should be available shortly. At this moment, we are unable to get the recommended retail price yet but it should be quite reasonable since this is quite a 'newbie friendly' unit. Liquid cooling looks more viable with each passing year and arguably, the recent liquid cooling kits from manufacturers like Cooler Master has never been easier to install. The AquaGate S1 is the perfect starter kit for users, both new and old, who are considering liquid cooling for the first time.