Water Block Deconstructed
The Supremacy MX CPU water block consists of four main parts – the plexi top, the insert assembly, the mounting bracket, and the copper base plate. The plexi top seals to the copper base plate with a rubber gasket while the mounting bracket sits outside the gasket channel but still sandwiched in between the top and bottom plates. The four corners of the mount sit on the base plate, secured by the screws holding the entire block together. The insert assembly forms the inlet and outlet channels with incoming fluid forced to pass through a jet impingement plate to traverse the copper base plate's micro-channels.
The copper base plate contains a series of micro-channels through which the water is forced to cool the block's base plate (and the CPU heat-spreader in the process). The thin-finned nature of the micro-channels increases the surface contact area for the transfer of heat to the coolant. The inlet formed by the jet impingement plate sits perpendicular to the water channels, forcing water across all channels and out via both sides of the base plate's micro-channels. The micro-channels and collection pool sit in a sunken section surrounded by a lip for the rubber gasket to seal the bottom plate to the plexi top plate.
The only downside with using a micro-channel design is the increase in flow restriction inherent in its use – pressure builds up on the inlet side because water flow is restricted by the micro-channels. While the water velocity through the micro-channels is increased, the flow rate over the entire system decreases because of the micro-channels.
The mounting bracket sits along the outer edges of the copper base plate and the plexi top plate, held fast by the screws going through the mounting bracket and into the threaded holds in the plexi top plate. The bracket sides are cut to sit outside the gasket channel, so as to not inhibit the seal between the copper base plate and plexi top plate.
The plexi top plate houses the inlet and outlet ports with a plastic insert redirecting the incoming coolant through the jet impingement plate. The plate is secured in place by rounded sections on both side of the insert. The incoming coolant passes through a split channel to increase the liquids turbulence and begin to break down surface tension to help optimize its passage through the base plate's micro-channels. It travels in a channel to the center of the block and is forced through a slit in the bottom of the insert and through a smaller slit in the jet impingement plate. This forces the coolant to accelerate as it enters the micro-channels.
With the plastic insert removed, you can see clearly see the chamber in which the insert sits as well as the inlet and outlet ports. Both ports are threaded for G1/4" sized fittings. The plexi top itself contains plastic ribbing throughout to increase the strength of the top piece while avoiding the weight of a solid part.
The plastic insert is composed of two parts – the insert body and the insert pin. The pin sits in a slot in the middle of the insert body, forming guide channel for the incoming coolant and forcing it through the jet impingement plate. Theoretically, the pin could be removed and replaced with a differently formed pin to change the performance dynamics of the block by increasing or decreasing the width of the incoming coolant channel.
Cracks in the top
There are several downsides to using non-metal top plates in designing a water block including stripping the inlet / outlet threads or the block screw hole threads or cracking the area around the inlet / outlet holes because of over-tightening the liquid fittings. Any of these problems can lead to coolant leaks because the fittings do not seal correctly or the block itself cannot seal because the hold down screws cannot be tightened down.
After switching out the fittings on the top plate several times, disaster struck. Both the inlet and outlet port began to slowly leak with the coolant loop under pressure from the pump. After a closer inspection of the inlet and outlet ports, we found a series of stress fractures had developed in the plexi top around the both ports as a result of over-tightening the fittings in place. There was no way to fix these cracks, so the top had to be replaced.
Fixing the issue
We chose to replace the MS's stock plexi top with the nickel-plated copper top from a Supremacy EVO water block. The copper top from the Supremacy EVO is a direct replacemnt for the MX's plexi top with its dimensions and inner layout matching almost identically. The only difference is the depth of the part itself. The copper EVO top is a bit shorter than the plexi MX top because the copper top does not need the ribs for extra strength nor the aluminum top plate for aesthetic purposes. As you can see from the pictures, the plastic insert fits perfectly into the copper EVO top as well.
The Supremacy EVO's copper top fits perfectly to the guts and other parts of the Supremacy MX block, making for an easy replacement that is less prone to thread stripping and stress fractures than its plexi-based counterpart.