Cooler Master Aquagate S1
Author: Rutledge Feman
Editor: Shawn Knight
Date: 07-23-2007
Provided by: Cooler Master

MSI 975x Platinume PowerUp Edition (BIOS 7.40)
Intel Core2 Duo E6600 2.40GHz 4MB
CoolerMaster Aquagate S1
Tuniq Tower 120-LFB
Noctua NH-U12F
ATi Radeon X1900XTX 512MB : Arctic Cooling Accelero S1
2x 1GB Corsair DDR2 667 (PC2 5400) 4-4-4-12 1.95V
WD Raptor 74gb
WD Caviar 250gb
OCZ StealthXStream 600W
NEC 16x/16x DVDR/RW
NZXT. Apollo Orange Chassis

All temperatures were measured using RivaTuner v2.1 with the C2D.dll plugin, which measures the same temps as CoreTemp. Load and idle situations were created with two instances of Folding@Home (one on each core) and a blank windows desktop, respectively. All temperatures were let to stabilize for 10 minutes before recording, to ensure that it was not still rising or falling. The reference coolers shown are taken from best case scenario, that is to say, the door off of the case and the fan at HI setting (if available).

The test system has a 120mm front intake fan, a 120mm rear exhaust fan, and a 120mm power supply exhaust fan. The side panel fan opening is blocked off with a piece of paper. All results were recorded at a room temperature of 24 degrees Celsius.

I was quite disappointed when I saw how the Aquagate performed. I was expecting it to perform equally as well, if not a few degrees better, than the Tuniq Tower, but no such luck.

The water set-up also did not hold up under a higher load, as I would have hoped. It looks like running the fan on the low setting is simply out of the question. Let's wrap this up...

Usage and Conclusions

In a sense, using this cooler is pretty fun. It has a nice bright LED fan that lights up my case nicely, it gave me my first look into water cooling, and it's so well built that installing it and looking at it are just fun. The fan is pretty quiet, and on low mode it's practically inaudible.

Still, the thing just doesn't produce very impressive temperatures. I installed the waterblock twice, because the first time I was so surprised at how hot the processor was. When considering all of the dangers of water cooling, you would be better off trying a nice air-cooler than using this, as they would probably be about the same price. Also, because the radiator mounts in a fan spot, there will be one less fan moving air around in your case. Since one fan is gone, and the other is replaced with a low-powered radiator fan, your case temperature takes a nice hit. A last complaint has to do with the removal of the motherboard. It's not so bad that you have to remove the motherboard to install this cooler, as that is average now, but rather that you have to remove your motherboard to take off this cooler. With those screws sticking through, you can't install anything, so putting on even the stock cooler would require motherboard removal.

I can only guess, but I'm almost sure that the source of the bad performance is the fan on the radiator. When feeling the tubes, the one entering the radiator is almost the same temperature as the one exiting it. Likewise, the air coming out of the radiator is almost always cool or just lukewarm, despite idle temperatures above 50C. However, when I looked to see if I could replace the fan, the construction of the radiator module prevents that, so I could not be sure.

Overall, I just cannot recommend the Aquagate S1. Not only does it perform worse than two different air-coolers, it also works against your case temperature.

Thanks to Cooler Master for providing this review sample.

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