Despite a rather slow and shaky start, the water cooling revolution is well and truly under way. If the falling component prices arenâ€™t testament enough to this fact, the sheer number of kits being touted by a plethora of vendors surely is.
Nobody has ever doubted the advantages of water cooling as compared to air. Water is some twenty five times more efficient than air at conducting heat, which makes it an obvious choice for cooling all manner of hot running computer components. Unfortunately it also comes with several disadvantages too.
Perhaps the biggest hurdle water cooling has had to overcome is the natural fear in all of us that comes from pumping a fluid around the insides of an expensive, electrically powered computer. Common sense tells us we just shouldnâ€™t be doing it. Then there are the other dissuading factors such as high cost, tricky installation, bulk, weight, reliability and aesthetics - all of which have conspired to make water-cooling a fringe activity enjoyed by the elite and the brave.
However, things are changing. Water cooling is getting cheaper, safer, increasingly compact and more aesthetically pleasing with every passing day. The whole premise of liquid cooling your PC is now more viable than ever before, and with the trend for ever-increasing cooling requirements showing no signs of abating, it might be a case of when rather than if you make the switch to the wet stuff.
To help you make the plunge, weâ€™ve decided to take a closer look at three different approaches to water-cooling, each theoretically suited to a different level of experience. Whether you're a LAN gamer who demands ease of transportation, an overclocker who needs top-notch performance, or even a case modder who values good looks as highly as good performance, thereâ€™s something here for everyone.
Before we get stuck in, letâ€™s introduce the three kits on test: Asetekâ€™s WaterChill KT03A-L30, Eastarâ€™s Cool River Deluxe Version, and Koolanceâ€™s Exos-Al.