Performance
An important part of developing cutting edge hardware is conducting a lot of behind the scenes testing.  What looks like a good idea on paper needs to be tested and confirmed in real-world simulations to perfect the design.  Koolance maintains their own R&D lab to insure their products meet or exceed design expectations.  Koolance also publishes some of their test results, which is reproduced here with permission.

CPU-330 Performance Graphs

Koolance CPU-330 and VID-282 Waterblock Review - Cases and Cooling  1
(Courtesy of Koolance)

The key to a waterblock’s performance is thermal resistance; the less resistance to the flow of heat the better.  And according to the rules of thermodynamics, thermal resistance is proportional to the coolant flow rate (among other things). 

Note: The thermal die simulator Koolance uses to measure the thermal resistance is made from pure copper with a contact surface area of 26mm x 26mm, uses two 150W cartridge heaters, and incorporates a small thermal sensor 1.7mm below the contact surface.  A 200W load was produced for testing the CPU-330cooling block.

Koolance CPU-330 and VID-282 Waterblock Review - Cases and Cooling  2
(Courtesy of Koolance)

Koolance CPU-330 and VID-282 Waterblock Review - Cases and Cooling  3
(Courtesy of Koolance)

Koolance CPU-330 and VID-282 Waterblock Review - Cases and Cooling  4
(Courtesy of Koolance)

These three graphs illustrate the affect different size nozzles have on the overall flow resistance thru the CPU-330 (13mm = 1/2”, 10mm = 3/8”, and 6mm = 1/4”).  As we would expect, the larger ID nozzles produce less resistance to flow, which becomes important at higher flow rates.

VID-282 Performance Graphs

Koolance doesn’t offer a thermal resistance versus flow graph for the VID-282 but they do have graphs that illustrate the pressure drop versus flow rate.

 Koolance CPU-330 and VID-282 Waterblock Review - Cases and Cooling  5
(Courtesy of Koolance)

Koolance CPU-330 and VID-282 Waterblock Review - Cases and Cooling  6
(Courtesy of Koolance)

Koolance CPU-330 and VID-282 Waterblock Review - Cases and Cooling  7
(Courtesy of Koolance)

Once again we see that as the ID of the nozzles become smaller the resistance to flow increases.  Add up all the flow resistance produced by the components in your water cooling system (waterblocks, fittings, tubing, radiator, etc.) and this is how much pressure the pump needs to produce to generate a certain flow rate!

Editor’s note: Long time readers may remember that I used to do analytical waterblock testing where I used a custom built waterblock test bench to accurately measure each block’s thermal resistance using a thermal die simulator and a lot of fancy equipment. I also measured the pressure drop versus flow rate for each waterblock like you see above.  Well I don’t do that anymore for several reasons.  What started out as a challenge and learning experience turned into an obsession that required way more time, money and space than I was willing to keep investing.  At about the same time, the incorporation of Integrated Heat Spreaders (IHS) on both Intel and AMD CPUs leveled the playing field considerably.  On the test bench I could measure slight differences in performance between waterblocks but when placed on a real-world CPU, the results were virtually the same. 

Yes, there are performance differences between different brands and styles of waterblocks.  However, in addition to raw performance what really differentiates one waterblock from another are things like quality materials and construction, ease of installation and especially the mounting hardware.  Actual waterblock performance will in most cases be affected more by the installed clamping force than the subtle design differences inside.  So with that new perspective, our current reviews focus less on simulated performance and more on real-world application.


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