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Three High-End Liquid-Cooling Cases Compared

Koolance PC5-1326SL Design and Features

Koolance is a one-stop shop for custom liquid-cooling assemblies. Rather than attempting to fit all markets with a standard kit, it sells individual components to suit a wide range of needs.

ComponentPart NumberPrice
Case KitPC5-1326SL$390
CPU Water BlockCPU-34055
PumpRP-1000SL208
Nozzles6x NZL-V10KG127
Tubing8x HOS-AP009P10
CoolantLIQ-702BU-B15
Total Price$705

Some buyers will be drawn in by the moderate price of a Koolance case, only to be turned away by the final costs. But high-end builders will be pleased to note that the above components are only a small sample of what’s available, as Koolance carries many case designs, the widest range of graphics card liquid cooling blocks, chipset coolers, and even unexpected items like hard drive and RAM coolers.

We mentioned that most high-end liquid cooling systems start out with either a jumble of external components or a great deal of case modifications, but the experts at Koolance have applied mass-production methods to assure consistent quality in its pre-modified cases. The PC5-1326SL begins with Lian-Li’s venerable PC-V1200 case, which Koolance reworks to fit a four-fan radiator assembly.

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The biggest problem with Lian-Li’s case design is that it places the motherboard upside-down, which can negatively affect the operation of chipset heat-pipe assemblies. On the other hand, this orientation eases cable routing for the bottom-mounted power supply, which is a design that leaves room at the top for Koolance’s enormous 4x120 mm radiator and fan assembly.

Because the motherboard is upside-down, the PC5-1326SL opens from the right side. Notice that the RP-1000SL pump/reservoir assembly is mounted in the second drive bay, because elbow fittings on the radiator block the top bay. This leaves only three of the PC-V1200 case’s five bays available for drives.

Users who would like to get one bay back have several options. Koolance sells an aluminum spacer that allows the radiator to be mounted on top. Users who don’t want to destroy the look of the case with a spacer may also have the option of turning the radiator around so that its nozzles cover the motherboard’s bottom slot, rather than the top drive bay.

The PC5-1326SL comes with all the hardware needed for component installation, plus a set of rubber-band “tires” for its aluminum wheels and a jumper wire for turning on the power supply without a motherboard installed.

Other components required for our test include the CPU-340 water block assembly, two straight 3/8” nozzles, thermal paste, and coolant. The water block is held in place with threaded pins and spring nuts.

The gold-plated bottom of the Koolance CPU-340 water block is almost perfectly smooth. The smudges are our fault.

  • or buy a cheap case... mod it with a 50 $ dremel... and then add your own watercooling setup and get much better cooling performance...

    thats what i'm going to do... not buy some case w/ water cooling.... unless its like a modded lian-li case... but those are like 800 bucks... so no thanks
    Reply
  • nerrawg
    Whoa the 4870 is still a pretty hot one even with that massive Koolance radiator. I wonder if that can be improved using a custom build with 2 separate loops and radiators - would be a bit more hassle though. Also be interesting to see how it compares to a 4870 X2 - my first assumption would be the X2 is hotter but that might not be the case as there could be a larger flow and surface area to allow for more heat dissipation. If your talking W/C for silent running, then custom built systems with big passive radiators (Toyota anyone?) and a good pump or 2 has to be the only true solution. Otherwise you're just running fans like an air cooling rig and the name of the game is still who has the quietest one..
    Reply
  • yadge
    nerrawgWhoa the 4870 is still a pretty hot one even with that massive Koolance radiator. I wonder if that can be improved using a custom build with 2 separate loops and radiators - would be a bit more hassle though. Also be interesting to see how it compares to a 4870 X2 - my first assumption would be the X2 is hotter but that might not be the case as there could be a larger flow and surface area to allow for more heat dissipation. If your talking W/C for silent running, then custom built systems with big passive radiators (Toyota anyone?) and a good pump or 2 has to be the only true solution. Otherwise you're just running fans like an air cooling rig and the name of the game is still who has the quietest one..
    I'm pretty sure the videocards weren't water cooled.
    Reply
  • randomizer
    thogromor buy a cheap case...Yea but alot of cheap cases are fugly.
    Reply
  • nerrawg
    Hehe whoops you're right - I guess I should have looked at the pics - no wonder it was so hot. Don't understand why they didn't use some splitters and cool 4870beast #1. Can't see how you can complain about noise and temp when you're not even using your full 750-1000W water cooling capasity. Also good eye editor on changing frames per sec to temperature celsius on graph X axis.
    Reply
  • gaiden
    nice info, though i'm not sure, as hardware gets smaller - lesser heat, would i need a water-cooled setup. personally i think fan setup with a top of the line HS would do plenty. the TJ-09 and Lian Li's are very well built - i have a 7 fan setup + IFX-14 in a lian li 2100 plus II cant hear anything at all. (though it really helps to get good fans :) for GPU's there are several 'spot-cooler' options. overall 7-8 'good' fans + 1 'awesome' cooler would cost only less than 1/2 of the $500 TH spent on water-cooled solution, and the air-cooled should improve air movement inside the case as well.
    Reply
  • stoner133
    I find it strange that the video card temps are so high, I run a Koolance system and using their waterblocks on both of my 4870's in crossfire my temps never get above 42c after hours of playing Crysis and my coolent reaches the GPU's after it goes thru the CPU waterblock. The two degree temp difference does happen, AOD does show the first card at 40c while the second is 42c.
    Reply
  • stoner133
    thogromor buy a cheap case... mod it with a 50 $ dremelhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dremel ... and then add your own watercooling setup and get much better cooling performance... thats what i'm going to do... not buy some case w/ water cooling.... unless its like a modded lian-lihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lian_Li case... but those are like 800 bucks... so no thanksThe Koolance cases are modded Lian Li cases and there no where near $800, they start at just under $400 and go to just over $600
    Reply
  • Shadow703793
    They could have silver plated the Koolance CPU-340 block instead of gold plating it (silver > than gold in heat transfer).

    These kits are worth an entire PC so imo, I would mod it my self. It's not that hard to do, providing you have the time to do it.
    Reply
  • Crashman
    9463632 said:
    The Koolance cases are modded Lian Li cases and there no where near $800, they start at just under $400 and go to just over $600

    The case with no pump, water block, or reservoir is $400, but what do you do without the parts? A basic liquid cooling kit from Koolance, complete with only the needed parts, starts at around $600.

    Also notice:

    Test Configuration
    Liquid cooling often offers excellent cooling capacity, but that wouldn’t matter much if hot case air destabilized another part of the system. In order to test both, we used an overclockedhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Overclocking Intel Core 2 Quad processor to heat the liquid and a pair of HD 4870http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radeon_R700 X2 graphics cards to heat the air.

    Graphics was left air-cooled to help determine effectiveness of case airflow. It would have been even better to use two 4850's for that, since they don't vent outside the case.
    Reply