Preliminary Testing and Installation

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One of the first things I like to do whenever I receive a new water-cooling system or component is to get a feel for the flow rate. In the case of the HydroCool 200, I am particularly interested in measuring the flow rate of the waterblock by itself and the system as a whole.

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To generate a flow curve for the HydroCool 200 waterblock I used a Little Giant 2-MD-SC pump and a 2-gallon graduated bottle. The 1/4” ID lines were shortened to 18” long each. Flow measurements were taken at 0.5 PSI intervals up to 3.0 PSI. For comparison I have also included the flow curve for another popular waterblock, the Maze3.

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As you can see, the HydroCool 200 waterblock has a much lower flow rating than the Maze3. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; it just means the Delphi waterblock has hopefully been designed to work with low flow rates. In theory, a flow rate between 25 GPH to 50 GPH can transfer all the heat needed to keep most PCs comfortably cool.

I also tested the overall system flow with and without the waterblock. Basically I set the HydroCool 200 system up in stand-alone mode on the bench and disconnected the return tube from the waterblock. I manually kept the reservoir full (by pouring water into the fill opening) while at the same time measuring how long it took to fill a 2 gallon graduated bottle. I repeated the test three times and averaged the results.

Next I repeated the system flow tests without the waterblock. Here are the results.

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I have to admit, this is even lower than I was expecting! During this process I also measured the system pressure coming out of the external unit (essentially the back pressure created by the waterblock) and the maximum discharge pressure (shut-off head) of the pump. Both of these pressures were also lower than I was anticipating. Because the little Bosch pump incorporates a true volute discharge chamber, I was expecting to see higher than normal (normal at least for typical pond pumps) discharge pressures, which I was assuming might help overcome some of the flow restricting devices used throughout the system.

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So now I’m really curious as to how well the HydroCool 200 system will perform… 🙂


I found the entire installation process to be extremely easy! This is obviously one of the HydroCool 200’s major strengths. The Installation Manual is well written, nicely illustrated and easy to follow. If you take your time and follow the instructions you should be up and running in under 30 minutes. In summary, the key steps to installing the system are:

  • Install the interface card in a spare PCI slot
  • Install the HydroCool waterblock onto the CPU (clean the base of the block and CPU thoroughly before applying a thin, even layer of thermal compound)
  • Connect the power, temperature probe and system shutdown wires to the interface card
  • Route the two water hoses out thru the holes in the interface card mounting bracket
  • Cut the hoses to length, insert quick-disconnect fittings in the ends and plug them into the external cooling unit
  • Connect the control cable between the interface card and external cooling unit
  • Add the entire contents (150 ml) of corrosion inhibitor to the reservoir
  • Slowly fill reservoir with distilled water (DO NOT use tap water or plain bottled drinking water – use only distilled water, or bottled water that has been RO filtered, distilled and ozonated). The total system volume is ~560 ml (150 ml corrosion inhibitor and ~410 ml distilled water).
Note: I preferred to fill the system and make sure everything was operational before powering up the CPU. The HydroCool 200 system can be easily powered and turned on from a spare power supply by just attaching a standard 4-pin Molex connector to the interface board. The system will turn on as soon as power is applied (the power down cable is only used to execute an emergency shut down). A soon as the system comes to life and starts circulating water you can top off the reservoir with distilled water.

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