Koolance CPU-370 Performance Preview

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The Koolance CPU-360 is my favorite block from 2010.  Its performance is top-notch, about a half step behind the EK Supreme HF and Aqua Computer Kryos XT.  Its mounting system is the 2nd easiest to use on the market while being significantly more durable than Swiftech Apogee XT’s (which is only slightly easier to use).  And unlike all the other blocks on the market with similar performance, it got a lot of the little things right.  Assembly and disassembly is much easier than its competitors (and in Revision 1.2, they became the first to use significantly more durable Torx screws), adjusting for use with a different socket is easy (and all the parts are included), it’s extraordinarily well crafted, and it’s fully nickel plated to reduce tarnish (and for a lot of people, improve aesthetics).

The CPU-370 is even better.  I was never confident with the contact the CPU-360 made with the CPU–the TIM print was never great looking–the CPU-370 drastically improves that.  Visually, the text on the CPU-360 was always 45 or 135 degrees off; the CPU-370 addresses that.  With the CPU-360, a brainfart could lead to accidentally installing the baseplate 90-degrees off and not knowing until you turned the system on and had really poor performance; the CPU-370 allows for a way to visually check it without opening the block (if you look into the outlet and see a lot of microchannels on the base, you’ve done it right).

On top of getting more little things right, the CPU-370 also promises more performance than any of the CPU-360 revisions.  This performance preview will examine where that performance comes from, where it could improve even further, and a preliminary look at where it stands against the EK Supreme HF Ni.

A big thanks goes out to Koolance for sending us this CPU-370 sample, without their assistance this Performance Preview and the upcoming review couldn’t happen.



A full review will come in a few weeks and have a lot more details on performance, what’s shown here is the most we could muster with the state of the CPU Block Testbed.  Right now our CPU Block Testbed is in a state of repair and this was the fullest extent of testing we could conduct until the final parts arrive.  In particular, the various flowmeters used in the testbed have been physically broken and/or degraded due to my recent move.  The numbers they read are not comparable to old numbers and are also significantly less repeatable than what we’d like to see.  Without the ability to precisely gauge flow rate, a few things have been cut out. Specifically, this performance preview is missing flow rate vs. temperature testing (and therefore pumping power vs. temperature testing).

To make things worse, things get more complicated from there.  For our flow rate/pumping power vs. temperature testing, we plan to use Indigo Xtreme as the TIM.  It has no change in performance over time and does not alter the CPU Block or CPU IHS and is therefore perfect for that kind of testing.  We also intend to use Indigo Xtreme (a near-perfect TIM, in regards to performance) to juxtapose a ‘bad’ TIM.  The difference in performance between the two will tell us what kind of contact the block makes with the CPU.  Also, with contact completely removed from the equation with Indigo Xtreme, we can specifically examine how good a block’s internals are.

Unfortunately, when you consider the CPU Block Testbed is not in final form, how soon it will be in final form, and the price of Indigo Xtreme, that means the only testing done was single flow rate/pumping power with a ‘bad’ TIM.  The results are overly contact-sensitive and should not be considered the final performance judgement from us.

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Posted On
Apr 19, 2011
Posted By

Nice review.. any plans for installation videos?
coverage of mounting with indigo extreme’s unconventional methods would make a great companion combined with coverage of the koolance mounting system.
The full coverage removal/installation videos have me returning to the skinnee pages often!

Posted On
Apr 19, 2011
Posted By
Eric (Vapor) Hassett

We’ve talked about installation videos amongst ourselves but as it is now, there are no immediate plans for the CPU blocks.

I personally feel a photo shoot is better as a guide/walkthrough for block installation because you progress through the pictures at your own pace rather than having to keep pausing/starting/rewinding.

One disadvantage is you don’t get to see how easy/hard/time consuming certain steps are….like threaded the four nuts down on the threaded posts for the EK mounting system can take awhile. Getting the hex couplers and the backplate screws to thread (for the Aqua Computer kyros XT/HF) can also be an extremely hard step, which is hard to see with pictures. But in those cases I get to use words to convey how difficult it is.

The last issue is the actual difficulty in recording the video–I don’t have a way to record video right now.

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