Although air-cooling is still viable for the majority of users, water cooling has jumped by leaps and bounds, especially in the past couple years thanks to a few companies offering turnkey solutions. No longer restricted to hardcore enthusiasts, water-cooling has become easier to acquire and setup. Granted, it is still more complicated to setup than air coolers, but the payoff is usually better performance, and lower noise levels.
Putting together an effective water cooling solution isn't about slapping a bunch of blocks, radiator, pump and fans though, as the quality of each component is very important. Naturally, water blocks are a major part of the equation, and we got a chance to look at a PolarFLO's latest .
Here's a bit from their product page:
The PolarFLO TT CPU is the latest in pc water cooling technology. We bring you the best performance at much lower flow rates and at high flow rates. The new design is fully comprehensive and future proof. We decided to take a more feature-rich and performance approach with the TT Series. The features this series offers is unprecedented. The PolarFLO TT Series CPU block is a simple two part design. If you can change the batteries in a flashlight, you can service a PolarFLO TT CPU.
The rest of the specifications can be .
The PolarFLO TT Series CPU Water Block
We received a small box that contained the TT Series CPU block, instructions, four 6-32 x 2" screws, 8 nylon thumbnuts, 8 nylon washers, Y-splitter (only included with 3 port configuration), 2 hose clamps ( 5 hose clamps included with 3 port configuration).
We also received a universal mounting plate, which covers the AMD Socket 754, 939, 940 and Intel socket 478, 603 and 604. The TT block we received was pre-configured with the Intel LGA775 mounting plate, making PolarFLO the first major player in the water cooling market to offer a solution for the LGA775. When purchasing the block, PolarFLO will provide one of the mounting plates of your choosing at no charge, but if you need the other, you'll need to pay a small fee.
The block is composed of three major parts, which is the base, mounting plate (which is between the top of the block and the base) and the top. The top of the CPU block is made of anodized aluminum, and it is two-toned in colour. The primary colour is silver, and you can select red, black or blue as the secondary colour. There is a fourth option, which is all chrome, but expect to pay an extra $15 USD for that option. The colours are merely aesthetic, and do not change the water block's cooling properties.
One nice feature of the TT block is the ability to take it apart when a newer copper base comes out. Assuming PolarFLO sticks with the same basic design, it is conceivable that you can switch through a couple generations of copper bases until a redesign of the entire block is needed. You will also need to remove the base in order to change the mounting plate if required. There is a rubber "O" ring that creates a seal between the base and top, thus preventing leaks so long as it's properly installed.
Following in the footsteps of their previous Universal CPU Water Block, instead of two barbs (a single inlet, and a single outlet), we have three barbs. Basically, water comes into the base via the center barb, moved to the outer barbs and exits. There are end-user configurable options where you can choose to have just two barbs by removing one, though this will affect the rated performance.
Given the various arrangements of motherboard CPU sockets, there have been many occasions where we've needed to redo the hoses to accommodate a different motherboard to avoid kinking the hose. The main body of the TT block can rotate, thus relieving stress on the hoses. Great idea, and a potential time saver if you tend to move your cooling setup often.
The base of the water block is 100% copper. These blocks we received are Semi Super Finished and not quite as smooth as their previous Universal blocks, though I do not think lapping is required. They are diamond machined flattened to 0.0003" - 0.0005" with a 0.000009" surface finish. A quick thermal paste to CPU test revealed a very clean impression.
It's old school, yes, but PolarFLO's installation will require the removal of your motherboard before proceeding. We do suggest testing the installation by placing the TT block with the chosen mounting plate beforehand. Though we did not experience issues with our ASUS P5AD2, the universal mounting plate does violate Intel and AMD's clearance zones, and it's possible it may not fit.
We had tremendous difficulty removing the base from the top of the TT in order to install the universal mounting plate. We tried everything from rubber gloves to jar openers, but the base wouldn't budge. I'm going to try a plumber's wrench in the future, but given the time constraints, we'll just be outlining the installation procedure for an Intel LGA775. The setup technique is almost the same regardless of platform, save for the different mounting plate, so should you purchase the TT with the universal plate, these instructions should still help you out.
Beneath the motherboard, you'll begin by placing a nylon washer over each of the motherboard's mounting holes. The next step is to place each screw through the washer and motherboard. Once that is done, flip the motherboard around and place additional nylon washers allowing the screw to pass through it as demonstrated in the center picture above. To secure the screws, thread the nylon thumbnuts until it reaches the nylon washer, securing it thumb tight.
In the case of the LGA775, you'll be using four screws, eight washers and four thumbnuts up to this point.
Once all the screws are secured, line up the PolarFLO TT, and slide it along the screws until it rests on your CPU. Use the remaining four thumbnuts and thread it along the screws until it reaches the mounting plate. Only tighten the thumbnuts to the point where the block is secure. Over tightening will flex the mounting plate, and put the block off center.