Processors On The Rocks VOL. 2

Overall Valuation

Vapochill is certainly a very fascinating solution to run a processor way beyond its spec. However, it is most certainly not a solution for everyone.

The installation of Vapochill is for technically skilled people only. Clumsy guys should better leave their hands off it. It is most important that Asetek reduces the risk of processor damage. The PSU-issue with the MSI motherboard also shows that Asetek has to do a whole lot more compatibility testing. The customer should not be burdened with that. Asetek was very courageous to position Vapochill as a generally useable product. It is obviously much easier to tailor such a complex cooling solution for one special platform only. We will see if Asetek will be able to solve all the problems and keep their customers happy. There is still quite a way to go and there are quite a few big stones in Asetek's way.

The price of $650 is not bad but still pretty high. Interested customers should know exactly what they want to do with it. Let's have a look at the different processors types and the sense or nonsense of purchasing Vapochill in combination with them. There is no point whatsoever in buying Vapochill to overclock Celeron or Pentium III processors. An Athlon 1200 processor is cheaper than Vapochill and faster than even the most overclocked Celeron or Pentium III. You simply can't get those two processors to 1200 MHz or more and the simple purchase of an Athlon 1200 and a normal fan would be cheaper as well as faster than Celeron or Pentium III plus Vapochill. The same is valid for Duron, which lags behind Athlon in terms of 'acceleratability' as well as performance too. This leaves only AMD's Athlon. However, even in case of a Vapochill/Athlon combination you require a platform that lets you use an FSB-clock of 133 MHz and beyond. If you want to round that up with top system performance you will require DDR-SDRAM support as well. Thus the most sensible Vapochill-platform right now is Athlon on AMD760 plus DDR-SDRAM, followed by ALi MaGiK1 plus DDR and then VIA Apollo KT133A plus SDR.

Things could look different once Vapochill supports Pentium 4 as well. We already know of the huge overclocking potential of Pentium 4, which I tested at 1728 MHz with air-cooling already. The 1888 MHz we achieved with our own modification to Vapochill's mounting bracket aren't shabby either. However, Intel will most likely lock Pentium 4's multiplier and it remains to be seen how far we can overclock Pentium 4's quad-pumped processor bus to reach clock speeds that are worth the $650 for Vapochill. At least there is no risk of damaging the processor die when mounting the Vapochill evaporator on a Pentium 4.

For me as hardware tester Vapochill is a gift from the gods. Once you have installed the evaporator more than 50 times you can do it within a few seconds. It enables me to test processors in completely different ways. I love the low noise, which was only made possible by Asetek's decision to use high-quality fans and an excellent compressor.

All in all I suggest a mature decision after a thoughtful consideration of all the facts that I presented you here. What I can assure you of is that Asetek is a very professional and very dedicated company that has a lot of future potential. In my first article about Kryotech I already told you that in my expectation future processors will soon require this kind of cooling, because air-cooling won't be sufficient anymore to remove several hundred Watts of heat. Right now Asetek is at least one step ahead of Kryotech.

Kyle Bennett from HardOCP received a Vapochill evaluation sample as well. His review should be available soon too. Kyle is a hardcore overclocker and might have a different view of Vapochill.