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Processors On The Rocks: Asetek's VapoChill

The Specs

The most important thing to the majority of you will obviously be the temperature that VapoChill can reach. Andre told me that -19°C (-2°F) are the lowest CPU temperature possible for VapoChill, but he ensured me that his baby can reach the same CPU frequencies that Kryotech is able to reach with their -50°C (-58°F) solution. Of course, that remains to be seen for the time being.

Limiting VapoChill to -19°C (-2°F) cooling enables the usage of a significantly smaller and lighter compressor that is less noisy and wastes less energy than a compressor that goes down to -50°C (-58°F). It also keeps the costs down. As long as the processor clock speeds reached by VapoChill are indeed identical to those of Kryotech's solution, a smaller, lighter, quieter and cheaper system is obviously of significant advantage. Asetek speaks of 30-60% possible CPU clock speed increase. Andre doesn't like the term 'overclocking', but speaks of 'thermic acceleration'.

Facts And Expectations

For the $650 of suggested retail price the VapoChill offers a very professional cooling solution for the crazy ones of us, who think that overclocking has still got a bright future, and it's got to really, doesn't it? It also might well be the default cooling solution of future processors.

VapoChill offers some special advantages, which I would like to list here:

  • VapoChill is a one-case solution. There is no special bottom part attached. The compressor/condenser unit remains within the normal PC-housing.
  • VapoChill is using a special 12 V compressor that receives its current from the PC-power supply. Thus it doesn't matter if the system is used with 115 or 230 V.
  • The compressor is compact, light, quiet and consumes only 50W.
  • Asetek is not married with any CPU-maker, so VapoChill can host Athlon/Duron processors just as much as Pentium III/Celeron processors.
  • As you can see in the picture below, the refrigeration unit is ABOVE the rest of the system, not underneath, which limits the way of the coolant to the CPU to a minimum and keeps the housing nice and tidy.
  • VapoChill's evaporator-unit fits ANY Socket370 or SocketA motherboard, due to its slim design. Thus there is no hassle choosing the right motherboard for it.
  • VapoChill is "Made in Denmark", which for me personally is just as good as "Made in Germany". The ones of you who care about this will know what I mean. I wouldn't apply this if Denmark would make cars though ... :)

There's also a few disadvantages right now.

  • Asetek does not give any warranty on the CPUs used and neither Intel nor AMD are currently promising any support as well.
  • Asetek has no close cooperation with any of the two x86 CPU-makers yet, which makes it difficult for them to receive early specification data of upcoming CPUs and put's Asetek at a slightly unfair disadvantage compared to Kryotech. This speaks for the typical inflexibility of the large chip companies who think they are overly important. I am sure that this will change soon.

Before I jump to any conclusions, I will have to get my hands on one of these babies, to see if Andre's claims are actually realizable. After speaking to him on the phone for more than an hour I've got a very good feeling. As much as Tom's Hardware can make a product successful, as much it can make it a complete failure. It doesn't seem to me as if Andre is gambling with me. He came across very confidant, but, much more importantly, refreshingly honest - something I don't experience often when speaking to company officials. We will review a VapoChill extremely soon and then we will see if Kryotech has reasons to sweat or to stay cool.

Please follow-up with Processors On The Rocks VOL. 2 .