For this review, I will be using an AMD Athlon 64 test rig. Both the waterblock base and CPU IHS were cleaned with Isopropyl alcohol before applying a small amount of Arctic Silver 5 thermal compound.
The illustrated User Manual includes basic instructions for mounting the waterblock/pump on to all the current CPU platforms. I used the included K8 hardware for mounting the Aquagate Mini cooler to my Asus motherboard using the existing steel Athlon64 backing plate.
The waterblock/pump assembly was in fact very easy to install and I did not encounter any interference issues with other components on the board (which hasn’t been the case recently with some of the new high performance HSF’s).
The pump comes fitted with a 3-pin connector that can be plugged right into a motherboard fan header. This allows the PC to monitor pump speed just like it would the fan on a heatsink. However, the pump is rated for up to 600 ma (7.2 watts), which is typically above the capacity of some mobo fan headers. I used a 3-pin to 4-pin adapter with a separate tach lead so I could power the pump from a 4-pin Molex connector and still send the tach signal to the mobo to monitor pump operation. Unfortunately the 3-pin to 4-pin adapters supplied with the kit do not have a tach signal lead — too bad as both the pump and fan supplied with the Aquagate Mini have tach signal outputs.
The radiator is designed to be mounted in a rear case fan opening. The R80 kit is for 80mm fan openings while the R120 kit is for cases with a 120mm rear case fan opening. My preference is to mount the fan between the radiator and case, so the fan is pulling air thru the radiator and exhausting air out the back of the case.
Be careful when installing the radiator that the hoses are routed in nice smooth arcs to prevent any crimping. The radiator can be rotated in 90Â° increments to help position the hoses.
Note: It is very important to remove any stamped case fan grills before installing the radiator. Doing so will improve the airflow thru the radiator and potentially improve the overall cooling performance, especially at higher fan speeds.