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When I first saw the Cooler Master Aquagate I thought to myself, "this thing is cool," and having installed quite a few watercoolers before, I really liked how compact the system was. Of course, the obvious drawback is how the system doesn't really address many of the reasons that drive users to watercool. For most performance minded users, getting away from a noisy 60 or 80mm "screamer" is reason enough to switch. For others, they like how much more they can overclock due to the thermal properties of water over air. Unfortunately, having a 49db 80mm fan and equally sized radiator doesn't really cut it for some.
However, the superior ease of use and extremely flexible installation options make the Aquagate perfect for the average user looking for a mild cooling enhancement for their otherwise stock computer.
There are a couple things I think would make for good additions to future versions of the Aquagate. The auto shutdown feature is an excellent safeguard for your system, though I noticed that after some extended FarCry the tank temperature reached the programmed threshold and started sounding the alarm. Of course I didn't hear the alarm right away (due to headphones), and by the time I was able to adjust the threshold it could have shut down. (the shutdown safeguard wasn't plugged in at the time). After having this happen, it would have been nice if I could have told the Aquagate to automatically increase the fan speed until the temperature started to go down, and if that didn't help then initiate a shutdown. That would help reduce any mishaps while the system is in use and also make the Aquagate respond to conditions proactively instead of just reacting to them.
The Good Things
Easy to use
Completely self contained
Full thermal monitoring
Auto shutdown feature
No leak connections
The Bad Things
Limited cooling capacity
Small diameter hoses
CPU probe affects certain installations
No "scripting" before shutdown occurs
Limited lateral support for "Flip Chip" installations
I would like to thank Cooler Master for helping to make this review possible.
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