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Hardware Review: Cooling
A Liquid Cooling Solution Review: Coolermaster Aquagate Mini R120

Introduction

Back in the old days of computing we had the Celeron 300A CPU that would overclock like mad and we were always adding fans to our cases and/or processors in an effort to minimize heat and maximize the overclock. As the fan speeds increased, so did the noise level and we eventually reached a point that we watched to see if our PC's levitated off the desk from all the air flow.

Along came water cooling setups that were mostly for those with deep pockets because not only were they expensive but also prone to leaks and killing our precious hardware from moisture. Today, we still worry about leaks with our water cooled monster PC's and modifying our cases to install the setups.

In the search for an inexpensive yet effective way to cool today's scorching processors without having to cut up my case investment my search landed me at the Coolermaster website where I found the new Aquagate Mini series of liquid cooling products. The Aquagate Mini comes in two flavors, The R80 & the R120. With suggested retail prices of $99.00 & $109.00 USD I was intrigued with this new product. Today, I will install and test the Aquagate Mini R120 specifically.

Aquagate Mini R120 box
Fig. 1 ... Aquagate Mini R120 box

Contents & Key Features

The box is quite large for something named "Mini" and had a small blemish at the top left corner. Everything was packed well inside and nothing was damaged.

Packaged Contents
Fig. 2 ... Packaged Contents

Key Features of the Aquagate Mini:

  1. Easy-install Combo
    • For a more convenient installation, the Combo includes a water block set, radiator, fan, thermal grease, anti-icing fluid, and a water pipe. All of the parts you need are readily available, thereby cutting installation steps and saving your time.
  2. High cooling performance
    • Copper-based water block for excellent heat dissipation


    • Selectable high-performance radiator with 80 x 120 x 45 mm and 120 x 160 x 35mm dimensions (Designed for chassis with 80x80 / 120x120 mm case fan?)


    • Enlarged radiator for higher heat transfer efficiency
  3. High reliability
    • No refills of anti-icing fluid for two years guaranteed (Testing environment: Ambient temperature 45C and humidity 50%)


    • Low evaporation ratio thanks to special opaque and heat-resistant elements in the pipe
  4. Longer life expectancy
    • Fan-restart function: a self-protective feature that allows the device to smoothly initiate a restart if the fan malfunctions


    • Fan speed control: Selectable super-silent 80 x 80 x 25 mm VR fan (1,800 ~ 3,800 R.P.M.) and 120 x 120 x 25 mm VR fan (800 ~ 2,800 R.P.M.)
  5. Design patent information (patent pending)
    • Three-in-one module (pump, tank and CPU water block) saves time and is more convenient

The installation has been simplified so that even if you have never mounted anything more than a heatsink/fan combo you can install the Aquagate Mini! Cooler Master cleverly designed the pump, reservoir and the CPU waterblock into one unit keeping things compact. With almost any of the current heatsinks or waterblocks available for socket 775 CPU's removing the motherboard to install a retention bracket underneath is a requirement. The Aquagate Mini is no exception to this.