120mm Water Cooler Round Up Part 2 – Looking Inside

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Disassembly of the All-In-One Water Cooler

Pumps from 4 all-in-one water coolers

Last week we looked at of four all-in-one water coolers and found the performance results were quite similar, as were the coolers. With this thought, and some comments made, we started to wonder how similar the coolers really were. Remember, mom always said it’s what’s on the inside that counts. 

Coolant from the All-In-One Coolers
So I got to do something that I have wanted to do for a while, cut up some coolers and see how they are made! First step was cutting the pump/water block from the radiators and drain the coolant. I always knew there wasn’t much in the way of coolant in one of these kits. The Cooler Master Seidon 120M had about ½ cup of what looks to be standard ethylene glycol, green dye and all, similar to what some use in custom cooling loops. The Scythe and Zalman LQ315 both have about ½ cup of non-toxic propylene glycol but dye free with corrosion inhibitors added in. The Zalman Resorator Max had only about ¼ cup of what Zalman calls Nano Fluid; but smells and looks a lot like ethylene glycol that has been dyed blue.

Now let’s take a closer look at each one at a time.

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  • Bansaku

    ” I just can’t seem to wrap my head around how little liquid there is in these things, especially the Zalman Resorator, I mean, how does the pump go about pumping essentially little-to-none liquid in the loop? ”

    1/2 cup in the loop is plenty! One has to consider two things; The fact that the channels running through the radiator are extremely thin, and when liquid heats up, it expands. In my automotive experience, I can tell you that when coolant heats up it is no different than any other liquid in regards to the fact that it bubbles. When doing a radiator flush on a vehicle, it is very important to have the engine running as hot as possible with the rad cap off. This is to bleed out any excess air, and to attain the proper boil level of coolant. Adding too much coolant or not properly bleeding the bubbles can result in the loop literally bursting due to the liquid/air’s expending pressure. In the case of auto motives, either the hoses blow, or the head gasket on the engine block. Now think of that happening inside you case. :P

  • arterius2

    I just can’t seem to wrap my head around how little liquid there is in these things, especially the Zalman Restorator, I mean, how does the pump go about pumping essentially little-to-none liquid in the loop? is this really how much the loop can hold? (it does seem a lot bigger from the outside). Is it filled to the top or is the pump pretty much pumping air half the time? I’m quite baffled how these things can perform “relatively” well considering what has been revealed here. I’m just not understanding the science here. it’s my understanding that you need a reasonable amount of liquid to absorb the heat and transfer them to the radiator to dissipate it, it seems to me it would be difficult to fulfill that role without enough liquid to even wet my pants with.

  • basroil

    As a mechanical engineer (and computer enthusiast), I love articles like these. Good job!

    “Zalman Resorator Max had only about ¼ cup of what Zalman calls Nano Fluid; but
    smells and looks a lot like ethylene glycol that has been dyed blue.”

    You might want to check out “Enhanced thermal conductivity and viscosity of copper nanoparticles in ethylene glycol nanofluid” , Zalman probably applied a similar method to increase thermal conductivity of the fluid. Considering that those nanoparticles are made with copper sulfates, it could explain the blue tint in the liquid and even the “stains” on the fins. The half volume of the fluid is easily explained by the difference between the heat pipe method that device used vs the radiator method of everyone else.

    Any chance you would be up to burning the solutions (just a small bit) to see if there are differences in a flame test? (if you do, I’m sure people will be clamoring for videos) If there’s Cu(II) in there, it should burn more green than the rest.

  • jack

    why is page 3,4,5,7 are blanks? where is the rest of the review?

    • Nathan Kirsch

      Jack, Should all be there now… Had a formatting issue.

      • jack

        much thanks!

  • Will Lyon

    Are you sure that’s a plastic impeller shaft and not a ceramic one? Kinda looks like white ceramic to me.

    • Nathan Kirsch

      We can double check!