Asetek WaterChill KT12A-L30 review

£184
Price when reviewed

Watercooling your PC is a daunting task, but with kits like the new Asetek KT12A-L30 you can achieve low temperatures and low noise output without worry. This kit includes CPU, chipset and GPU blocks. Dissipating the heat is a huge triple 120mm fan radiator, and you also get a 1,200 litres-per-hour pump, a reservoir, control unit, pipes and fittings in the box.

Asetek WaterChill KT12A-L30 review

The Antarctica CPU block comes with fittings for most modern CPUs (except Socket 775). Intel, AMD, SIS and VIA chipsets are catered for by the NB01/P1 block, while the VGA01/P1 GPU block supports both nVidia and ATi GPUs.

For novices, fitting the kit will take the best part of a morning as you’ll need to remove your motherboard. As the Antarctica block is fairly sizable, you’ll need plenty of clearance around your CPU socket, and the same goes for the chipset block: we only had a millimetre’s clearance between the CPU and chipset blocks once fitted. Fitting the GPU block is simple once you’ve removed the stock heatsink – we fitted it to our Radeon X800 Pro in under five minutes.

As the radiator is 370 x 1,200mm, it won’t fit into many chassis; we routed pipes through a PCI backplate. Three metres of piping is provided, and it’s easy to attach each section of pipe. Once the pump, reservoir and control block are mounted, you have to connect a floppy drive-style power connector, plus an external 240V feed. A jumper lets you select 7V or 12V for the three fans.

We used SpeedFan (www.almico.com) and ATi Tool to measure chip temperatures when idle, and under load. We fitted a Zalman CNPS7000B-AlCu CPU heatsink for reference, while the chipset and graphics card heatsinks were the standard items. When idle, the CPU dropped from 35 to 23 degrees and the GPU from 46 to 33 degrees. Likewise, the chipset was 12 degrees cooler, measuring 24 degrees.

A tough Half-Life 2 soak test found similarly excellent results. GPU temperature plummeted from 76 degrees to just 40 while the CPU was 10 degrees cooler at 42 degrees. The chipset dropped 10 degrees to 34 degrees.

It all means the Asetek kit opens the door to great overclocking potential. It’s more expensive and slightly noisier than some, but does cool the chipset too. If you don’t mind the higher price, extra noise and have room for the huge components, the KT12A is a solid choice.

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