Before we get cooking today, I need to thank Jeremy from Danger Den and Willie from HWLabs for providing a production sample of the SR1 triple for us to review. Danger Den has been around since the very early days of Liquid Cooling and has always been an enthusiast based company. HWLabs is known for some of the most extreme performance and variety of configurations, from my research (website check) this is the 4th radiator platform released by HWLabs. Again, thanks to Danger Den and HWLabs for providing a radiator to add to our growing mountain of data.
The HWLabs SR-1 radiator platform was announced on HWLabs site April 12th, 2008 with a very simple and meaningfully “We’ve been quietly working on something. And we’re keeping it silent.” A little over a year later, the SR-1 platform is ready and shipping. Here in the lab we’ve tested the GTX360 and had our eye lids peeled back from the medium to high speed performance, so we have some big expectations at low fan speeds for the SR1-360. Lets face it, HWLabs has the high speed fan junkies covered with the GTX series and the GTX still dissipates heat with the pack or better at medium speeds. With the high speed fan market covered, you know the SR1 is targeted at the low speed range. After all, why would HWLabs release a new radiator that competes against one of their own products. If you haven’t scrolled down already to check out the SR1 on display, go ahead now…the design for low speed fans is evident. And with that, lets take a quick look at the SR1-360 with her bigger sister, the GTX360, and move on to the technical details and feature list of the SR1.
The SR-1 line is a full offering in true HWLabs fashion, covering the 120mm scale with 120 (Single), 240 (Double), 360 (Triple) and a 480 (Quad). From the picture above you have already gathered the GTX and the SR1 share the same shell, so the external details remain mostly unchanged. The SR1 comes with the same footprint as the GTX, measuring 397x133x55.7mm for length, width and height. All SR1’s come with M4 tapped fan/mount holes all spaced at the standard 15mm. On a side note, its nice to see everyone following the 15mm standard and HWLabs always has, to my knowledge. HWLabs includes M4 fan screws for 25mm fans, I usually warn about checking fan screw length but with the 15mm shroud that potential is nearly eliminated all together. Okay, I still have to say it… One word of caution for anytime to mount fans to a radiator, always check screw depth through the tapped holes… puncturing a tube is not a fun adventure.
Lets not move on from the 15mm shroud for a minute here. If you’re unfamiliar with shrouds or have seen the term tossed about but don’t really know what the advantage is…well, here is the short version. Shrouds are used to even the distribution of airflow across the radiator core, the fans we use create an uneven distribution of airflow when placed close to the radiator core surface. By increasing the distance of the fan from the core surface you equalize the distribution of air flow across the radiator core, which lessen or eliminate the areas of the radiator core that see poor air flow with having the fan close to the surface. For more information on this topic, please see Dead zone impact on radiators. The SR1 packs a 15mm shroud with 9 FPI on the core, HWLabs is certainly going after the silent or quiet as possible market. Speaking of the core, the SR1 core comes in at 360mm x 131mm x 34mm (LxWxH). The core (fins and tubes) does lose some space from the GTX series, but the shroud has to fit somewhere. HWLabs went back to the typical two row, two-pass flow pattern which will show in the pressure drop tests later. Although the GTX isn’t as restrictive as other components in the loop, it’s very restrictive for a radiator.
HWLabs always puts a little extra into the paint on their radiators, I really like the high gloss on the GTX but I’ve always liked the look of a matte finish. Lucky for those like me the SR1’s come in the matte finish or Carbon Black is the name HWLabs calls it. If you look at the fan spacing picture below you’ll see a bit of the side panel showing, which leads me to believe that not only are the end tanks brass but the side panels are as well. With the end tanks, the inlet/outlet tanks are split and sporting standard G1/4 barb ports. Before we move on to the picture show, here is a list breakdown of the known features and specs.
Above we have a shot of the back side or shroud side of the SR1 triple, sorry for the dark pic but there is a better angle on the shroud in the last pic on the page. Leading into the next photo we have a close up of the FPI, you can count them out yourself but I get 9 FPI. Remember, the XSPC RX is 8 FPI and the Thermochill sports 10 FPI. The big difference between those radiators and the SR1 is core size with the RX and PA series being thicker and more fins to dissipate heat. However, a thicker core also means the footprint of the radiator inside your case will be greater, just something to keep in mind as you look for a radiator on your next build.
As you scrolled here, you eyed the fan spacing photo which measures in at the standard 15mm. But if you noticed the right mount hole you see where the paint took a little damage from fan mounting. I don’t care what anyone says about 15mm fan spacing, its tight and you have to mount the fans in a certain way in order to get the alignment right. Never fails when mounting fans either, I always forget to mount the two outside loose and slide the center fan in then tighten them all down. 15mm is just tight no matter which standard spacing radiator you’re mounting fans on. Below is a shot of the split end tanks and the barb ports, looking closely at the barb ports you can see why I claimed the end tanks are brass. Referring back to the fan spacing image, the side panels are obviously brass as well.
There is the alternative shot of the 15mm plenum/shroud I spoke of, may not be the best shot but hopefully you get a sense of the shroud. Remember, the shroud does occupy space that was originally part of the radiator core. Now the big question that I had on my mind was whether the shroud is an equal trade off for missing core space…