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Nathan Edwards

Jun 25, 2008

Cooler Master Aquagate S1

At A Glance

Minty Fresh

Uh, it looks good.

Weak Sauce

Just barely outperforms stock air coolers.

If we could give points for looks, Cooler Master’s new Aquagate S1 liquid cooling system would rank among the top products we’ve tested. But sadly, we base our judgments on performance. This thing is supposed to be able to cool a quad core, but it’s obviously designed for CPUs less powerful than even the FX-60 in our test machine.

The Aquagate is a sealed, self-contained cooling apparatus that’s simple to install. You pop out your rig’s motherboard to install the CPU block, which contains the tiniest of pumps; the fan/radiator combo connects to the CPU block with 3/8-inch tubing. We’re happy to see that the cooling fan can be adjusted using an included dial. Unfortunately, this silver lining isn’t enough to mask the cooler’s dark cloud.

Even after we cranked the radiator’s fan up to turbo speed, we were rewarded with temps that were only two degrees colder than what our stock cooler produced during our CPU burn test. When the processor was idle, the Aquagate outperformed the stock cooler by less than three degrees. Sure, that’s a difference, but you have to spin up the cooler’s “silent” fan to achieve it.

Since Cooler Master bills the Aquagate as a quieter way to cool your rig than a typical air-cooling solution, we grabbed a nearby fire extinguisher and dialed down the radiator fan. As expected, our rig’s stock air cooler outperformed the Aquagate. In fact, when compared to our stock cooler, the Aquagate didn’t once produce lower temperatures. Silence is golden, but fires are real; running this cooler on silent mode makes your CPU more a hot plate than a processor, and we truly fear the results if we were to attach this to a more powerful chip.

We’re hesitant to recommend the Aquagate as a cooling solution for anything but the weakest CPUs. You’re better off sticking cotton in your ears and tolerating the buzz of a better air cooler.

Benchmarks
  Stock Cooler CM Aquagate (Low) CM Aquagate (High)
Idle (C) 39.5 47
37
100% Load (C)
54.5 68
53
Best scores are bolded. Idle temperatures were measured after 30 minutes of inactivit, and full-load temps were measured after running CPU Burn-in for one hour.
THE VERDICT

Cooler Master Aquagate S1

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