Hands Across Four Water Cooling Systems


The HTCS Radiator is an eye-catcher on your desk at home. That’s where it belongs too, because Innovatek’s model is really not a portable water-cooling system. In your home office, though, the HTCS Radiator does its job very well and is remarkably quiet thanks to its passive heat sink. The sole source of noise thus remains the water pump, which can hardly be heard at all. At a price of $320 (€250) this HTCS Radiator is very expensive, however. And don’t forget that you’ll need at least one pump, reservoir and a CPU heat sink, which are not inexpensive either - so count on another good $180 (€130). For those who already use Innovatek components and would like to make their system quieter, the HTCS Radiator represents a good add-on component.

Zalman’s Reserator 1 is a low-cost alternative to Innovatek’s HTCS Radiator. Cooling performance is a speck better at 0.26 K/W. The quick installation and attractive price of $240 (€220) round out this cooler’s overall positive image. For users who like to take their PC along with them from time to time, however, Zalman’s cooler is not so well-suited for travel.

Koolance Exos is a good water-cooling system with above average performance, which is also easy and quick to install. At a price of $200 (€300), it doesn’t weigh excessively heavy on the wallet either. It should be of particular interest to owners of Chieftec cases due to its dimensions. The quick releases facilitate easy transport, making the Exos a good fit for LAN partygoers as well.

The Hydrocool 200 ex from Corsair is good for overclockers looking to get the maximum out of their system and who don’t care much about noise levels. The easy hose removal and carry handle make it interesting for LAN partygoers as well. At a price of $199 (€249) for the entire system it is relatively inexpensive.

With all water-cooling systems you have to keep in mind that they only cool the CPU. A lack of air current in the case allows heat to build up, particularly with external water-cooling systems. It is therefore strongly recommended that you equip the system with low-speed, large-diameter case fans. Alternatively, the Northbridge, the GPU and the hard drives can also be integrated into the water-cooling circuit through the use of water blocks. Innovatek offers an incomparably large product array in this area, leaving nothing to be desired. Other manufacturers at least offer a heat sink for the graphics processor.