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Innovatek XXS Water Cooling Kit Innovatek XXS Water Cooling Kit: We review an Innovatek's latest high-end parts.
Date: June 2, 2004
Provided By:
Written By:

To start out for this review, I wanted to state something that could eventually become rather obvious; I am not a case modder. Although I have attempted this several times, modifying a case is not my forté; I am technical much more so than I am mechanical. With that out of the way, the first thing I needed to do in order to install the into my Chenming case was to modify it.

Design Phase

I decided to try and retain a portion of the hard drive (HDD) rack so I could still accommodate 2 or 3 drives in it, but this could end up being a skill limitation on my part. The first thing I did was to drill out the retaining rivets that held the HDD rack in place, thus removing the rack. I wanted to cut it down to the appropriate size above the radiator and install screws where the rivets were (since I don't have a rivet gun) and then position the bottom of the rack on top of the radiator.

Case Modification Phase

I opened up the Innovatek box and took inventory of what was included. First I needed to make the mounting points accessible so I could properly measure everything out. As you can see, modifying the case, in as far as gaining access to the necessary pieces, is rather easy to do in the Chenming. Once the HDD rack is removed, it was time to position the intake fan (120mm) and stencil the cutout that was needed for it to breathe easier. My first WC kit did not include a filter, a small add-on I regret. I will be placing a filter in front as to not have to blow out the radiator every 3 to 4 weeks.

A dremel tool makes quick work of cutting the opening to house the 120mm fan and radiator; installation is for the most part painless. I mapped out how I wanted the tubing to flow and proceeded to mount the pump and water reservoir on the bottom of the case. I liked this position in case of leaks or any issues with the pump. This position provided me easy access and any water leaks should drain out of the bottom prior to reaching anything electronic.

Once I finished modifying the case and stenciling out where everything was to fit, it ended up that I was only able to save 1 HDD in the limited space left over. 2 less HDDs than I had hoped to be able to install into the rack (need to re-check my math I think) but this will do fine for my needs. This reduced the amount of HDDs the Chenming case could handle from 7 to 3 (if you use no front mounted 3.5" drives).

Parts Overview and Block Installation

I unpacked the CPU and Graphics blocks, pulled off the protective covers and looked them over. Both are polished to a high sheen and appear flat to the naked eye. I removed the ATI stock Heat Sink and installed the GPU Water Block. Innovatek includes brackets to fit almost any GPU setup you might have, not including old VooDoo Banshee's, etc... that had no mounting holes on the PCB. I then installed the sticky heat transfer tape (aka Frag Tape) so I could mount the memory Heat Sinks that supplied (not included in base kit).

Installing the CPU Water Block was a little trickier; this was not Innovatek's issue, rather the angle that the CPU is situated in on the Abit AI7. I had to make sure the entire CPU was covered, as you can see, there is still a portion of the CPU ZIF socket visible after installation, also note in that picture the internals of the CPU Water Block, Innovatek is using a wavy design to allow water to contact a greater surface area, thus removing a greater amount of heat.

The Innovatek kit includes mounting brackets for all of today's premium CPU solutions. This includes Socket A for AMD XP, Duron and Thunderbird CPUs. Socket 478 for Intel Pentium 4 (A, B, C, E, EE and Celeron) CPUs, as well as Socket 754 for AMD Athlon 64 CPUs. At first glance I did not pay much attention to this beyond the fact that it included the P4 mounting bracket, but when rereading my review on the previous installation, I remembered that I had wanted to upgrade that kit from an XP 1800+ to a P4 2.4C, but there was no supporting bracket. This is a nice option if I ever decide to go the AMD Athlon 64 route in the future.

Putting it all together

I unpacked the tubing to cut it to the appropriate length and noticed right away that the tubing is of a higher quality than the previous Innovatek solution I had installed. This is high quality, solid tubing with decent flexibility; it is easily channeled to where I need it and fits snuggly over the fittings. Once again, you will want to use a sharp knife when cutting the tubing; the straighter the cut, the better the fit on the 3/8" housing. The termination points on the blocks, water pump, water reservoir and even the radiator are all identical, and snuggly seal the tubing. Then a screw clamp is tightened to ensure you get a watertight seal each time. This was not the case in the previous kit I reviewed, as the radiator had copper tubes with no lip to help seal the tube connection, so I purchased aftermarket clamps to ensure a tight seal.


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