This is a big day for us, not only do we have a great block to review but we’re also debuting the 2011 CPU Block Comparison. On the Testing Specification page we’ll talk about the updates for the testbed and the how/what/why in the procedure but for now, let’s just talk about the Koolance CPU-370. We already previewed the CPU-370, looked at the changes it made from the CPU-360 and where its performance improved and where it could get better. Since then, Koolance has come out with a 1.5mm injection plate to replace the 2.0mm plate. The review will be less about what has changed and more about what it is.
The Koolance CPU-370 is a great block; it performs great, it has an easy to use and robust mounting system, has out-of-the-box compatibility with all major sockets, and gets a lot of the little things right. What do I mean by little things? The ability to change mounting plates without completely disassembling the block; the ability to easily disassemble and reassemble the block (no awkward balancing acts required); the use of Torx screws instead of easy-to-strip hex (block includes a Torx allen key); G1/4 port spacing wide enough to fit basically any set of fittings you want; and full plating to deter block corrosion.
Is it a perfect block? No, there’s no such thing. The mounting system isn’t quite as easy to use as Swiftech’s, although it is significantly more robust. It basically looks the same as a CPU-360, something some people might not like for a new block. My hunch is that if the internals were rotated 90 degrees and the bow were in the same direction, performance would be even better. It’s expensive at just under $85 MSRP. The included thermal paste isn’t a top-notch performer. How major of issues are those? Depends on the individual, I suppose. Other than price, it doesn’t seem reasonable that any of them could be deal breakers on their own (i.e., without considering how they compare to other blocks, especially in performance).
So the big question now is, how does it perform? In this review we’ll be testing performance with Arctic Cooling MX-2, performance with AquaTuning Silver Grease, performance with Indigo Xtreme, performance with stock TIM, and flow rate vs. temperature performance. With all of that data, we’ll be able to know the quality of contact it makes, its out-of-the-box performance, how much mounting variation there is, and how flow dependent it is. This will be done for every block we test on this testbed, so it will get really interesting over time to see how every block compares in terms of things beyond just raw temperatures and flowrates.