FAQ

Below are frequently asked questions about Asetek liquid cooling. If you have a question not answered here, email us at Questions@asetek.com

 

  • Why cool the CPU at all?

    High end CPUs can often dissipate 130W when stressed under normal operation – and considerably more when over-clocked. While the magnitude of the power is not dramatically high, the relatively small area of the silicon die (the part of the processor containing the millions of transistors) makes the heat concentration (aka, heat flux) extremely high -- approximately 1 Megawatt per square meter. This high concentration of heat is on par with a space shuttle re-entering earth’s atmosphere at 20,000 miles per hour, or the same intensity we’d feel from the sun if earth orbited 97% closer to it. The maximum CPU die temperature varies but must always be maintained somewhat below the boiling temperature of water, ~100°C, so as not to damage the CPU.

  • Why is liquid cooling better than air cooling?

    Liquid is more efficient and better suited for absorbing and transferring heat than air. The fluid used in Asetek's liquid cooling solutions is roughly 780 times denser than air, and this increased density enables liquid cooling to conduct heat about 24 times greater than air alone. Everyone who has felt the difference between cooling off by jumping into a pool versus stepping into an air conditioned room has experienced the superior cooling capability of liquid. In addition to proving superior heat conductivity, the liquid cooling solution is designed to move the heat from the processor to a large radiator surface area where a quiet low speed fan exhausts the heat outside the chassis. This results in superior CPU cooling performance, better acoustics, and extra protection for the components in your computer.

  • How does liquid cooling improve overall system acoustics?

    Cooling fans are the principle source of noise in workstations. The noise created by fans increases as fan speed increases. The liquid cooling solution replaces the fast spinning fan generally used by CPU air cooled designs with a very quiet liquid pump. Then liquid cooling takes advantage of spreading the heat over a large radiator surface cooled by the existing low noise chassis exhaust fan to push CPU heat out of the chassis. The heat created by the CPU increases as the work being done by the CPU increases. With air cooling, spikes in CPU work load can cause sudden increases in fan speed frequently described as fan surge. Liquid cooling systems have much greater thermal transport capability allowing fan speeds to gradually ramp eliminating fan surging.

  • Is it safe to over-clock my CPU?

    Increasing the processor frequency is accomplished by increasing the CPU’s thermal design power (TDP), which in turn increases the heat concentration on the silicon die. As long as the CPU cooler can dissipate enough heat to maintain the critical CPU junction and case temperatures, a CPU can be safely over-clocked. The problem is, today’s CPU air coolers do not have a lot of headroom to cool a CPU beyond the rated TDP. This is especially true in harsh computing environments. Asetek's liquid cooling solutions provide superior CPU cooling – providing a safe margin for over-clocking.

  • How much power does the liquid cooling require?

    The efficient integrated pump and cold plate assembly only requires about 2.5W which is frequently less power than the CPU cooling fan --Improving cooling while consuming less power.

  • What makes Asetek liquid cooling systems better than the rest?

    Computer Enthusiasts have long relied on liquid cooling systems to enhance CPU performance, reduce noise and lower internal chassis temperatures. However, achieving these benefits is often painful with uncertain results. Asetek designed a solution from a clean sheet of paper solely for the computer industry as opposed to adapting automotive or other industry technology.

    • Design: three traditionally separate components are integrated into a single pump assembly. This eliminates the need for separate pumps, cold plates, and reservoirs. The integrated pump assembly is lighter and more compact than stock thermal solutions and mounts to both Intel’s and AMD’s current CPU sockets. Thousands of engineering hours and millions of dollars have been targeted to achieve a single goal – a reliable, high performance thermal solution that is cost effective.

    • Reliable: Integration enables fewer system connections which lowers the potential points for leakage. The unique system design operates at low pressure further improving reliability. Each unit is individually helium leak tested to assure the integrity of each unit. 
    • No maintenance: Special material properties are used in the construction of the system. This enables very low permeability, the escape of liquid molecules through the material walls. For example, more costly specialized hoses are used instead of hoses made from lower cost, more common materials. It is this careful attention to detail that enables the unit to be factory filled and sealed for life. Traditional solutions typically have a large separate reservoir that requires periodic refilling to replenish the liquid that permeates through the hoses. Since other systems are not sealed, they also sometimes suffer from clogging due to the growth of algae, mildew or other contaminant entering the cooling fluid. Asetek’s sealed system together with the use of specially formulated, non-toxic, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and corrosion inhibiting cooling liquid together eliminates these types of concerns.

    The resulting liquid cooler design is as simple to install as an ordinary heat sink and chassis fan. Best of all, Asetek technology provides lower system noise while out performing best in class air coolers. Click here for more on the benefits of Asetek's liquid cooling technology

  • How does the liquid cooling system work?

    The liquid cooling system has three basic elements: a very efficient integrated pump, reservoir and cold plate unit; a heat exchanger (radiator) and finally, connecting tubes to transport the liquid. The integrated pump and cold plate unit is a direct replacement for the standard CPU air cooled heat sink. The specialized heat exchanger is mounted behind the rear chassis fan(s) with the tubes connecting the pump and heat exchanger together.

    The cold plate transfers heat from the CPU into the cooling liquid. The integrated pump assembly pushes warm liquid to the heat exchanger and draws cool liquid back to the cold plate. Asetek’s liquid cooling delivers what is equivalent to 3 metric tons of liquid per minute for every square meter of die area. This flow rate in conjunction with Asetek’s enhanced heat transfer cold plate heat exchanger can remove heat from the surface of the processor very effectively. Finally, the system fan(s) blow air across the heat exchanger exhausting CPU heat totally outside of the chassis, benefiting all of the other components on the motherboard.

    A Visual Demonstration of How Liquid Cooling Works.

  • How reliable is liquid cooling?

    Asetek tests 100% of all liquid cooling systems by filling them first with helium and then inspecting for integrity failures using helium detection equipment. This ensures each liquid cooler will operate properly from the day it is put in service.

  • Is the liquid inside the cooling systems safe?

    The liquid inside the system is safe, environmentally friendly, non-flamable and has anti-freeze, anti-corrosive and anti-bacterial properties. Eye or skin contact may cause temporary irritation-but will not result in permanent injury. Flushing with water is recommended to prevent any irritation. Recycling the liquid cooling system with your computer is recommended.

  • What is the liquid used in the cooling system?

    Asetek liquid cooling solutions use a special blend of demineralized water and a special glycol based additives. This special environmentally friendly formulation is non-corrosive, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and can withstand a storage over a wide range of temperatures.

  • How is the pump connected to the motherboard?

    The pump is designed to connect to a motherboard fan header. The CPU fan header or any other motherboard fan connector may be used. The pump provides a tach signal enabling the PC to monitor the pump operation. The pump operates at a fixed speed, no PWM signal is required.

    Pin 1 = Ground, Pin 2 = Power, Pin 3 = Tach.

  • What can I do if my pump is making a gurgling sound?

    The system sometimes makes a gurgling sound when air hasn't made it to the built in traps on the radiator.  Usually, the air works its way out and the sound disappears fairly quickly on its own.  In some cases you may need to detach the radiator and give it a shake to loosen up any air bubbles.

  • Where can I download ChillControl?

    The Asetek partner your liquid cooler was purchased from can provide you a link to download ChillControl for your particular model. They are also the warranty and support providers of your products. 

  • My liquid cooler has 3-pin connector for its fan but my motherboard only has 4-pin. What do I do?

    It is perfectly OK to plug a 3-pin fan into a 4-pin fan connector on your motherboard. All fans are "keyed" so they plug into the correct pins. (fig.1) The first two wires on a fan are for positive and negative power. The third wire is the tachometer and reports the fans RPM.  When a fourth wire is present, it allows fan speed to be controlled via a PWM signal. Plugging a 3 wire fan into a 4 pin plug on the motherboard will run the fan at full power and report its speed--unless your motherboard supports voltage regulation for fan speed control.

  • Should the fans be installed as intake or exhaust?

    Generally, intake is best for maximum CPU cooling. However, the best solution for you depends on your overall setup. The main idea is to have an equal number of fans blowing in, as there are blowing out. The cooler the air moving through the radiator, the cooler your CPU will be. See Stu's blog entry on air flow for more details.

  • Can I use different fans with Asetek products?

    Of course!  On non-ChillControl models, use a fan with a 2- or 3-pin plug. On models with ChillControl, we recommend using 4-pin PWM fans to take advantage of interactive fan control via the ChillControl app.  Be sure to use 2 PWM fans for maximum performance and control.

  • My fans are extremely loud. What do I do inside ChillControl?

    Plug the fans into the fan control cable (male plug) attached to the pump. This way you can control the speed of those fans via the ChillControl software.  Setting ChillControl to either Quiet or Custom can make sure your fans spin fast when you need performance and remain quiet when you don't.

  • Do Asetek products support Intel socket 1155 & 1150?

    Yes, simply use the Intel 1156 settings on your retention ring.

  • Can I replace the tubing on Asetek products?

    This is not recommended. The tubes on the product are make of extremely low permeability materials that make it possible for the product to run for years without refilling. Replacing the tubes will void your warranty. The liquid in the cooler is specially formulated to prevent corrosion and other problems. Using a different cooling liquid may shorten the cooler's life. You will also need to add a refillable reservoir to the loop.

  • BIOS is reporting that the fans are only spinning at xxxx RPM. Why is this?

    The tach signal is rather simplistic. It is designed to count the number of times a motor pole passes a certain point. Most fans use 4-pole motors. When the liquid cooler pump is plugged in, it reports the number of times the pump motors poles pass the same point, but the pump only uses a 2-pole motor. Because the BIOS is expecting a fan, it divides its tach signal count by 4 and only reports half the speed of the pump. Note: ChillControl is aware of this difference and reports the correct pump speed.