IntroductionWatercooling has been popular with the enthusiast for a number of years now. The next logical step up from the top of the line air coolers, watercooling has its own appeal. As well as the reduction in operating temperature of the devices you are cooling, you get a reduction in noise (usually, you can get some super quiet air cooling solutions), the solutions are usually cheap to put together and there's the satisfaction of putting together the working cooling system (computers and water don't usually mix, not in the conventional sense at least).
Well that's not always the case. With the recent popularity of super cooling with Freon systems that come with dedicated cases, similar systems based on water cooling have appeared too. Todays review system, the Swiftech QuietPower FS020 is one such system. A complete cooling system in a case and all you have to do is fit your motherboard and add-in cards, hook up the waterblocks you've chosen (there's a variety of configurations) and power on the system. Yes they come prefilled with coolant. It's no more taxing than fitting your average top of the line air cooler (in this case the same simple mounting method as the Swiftech MCX478/MCX4000/Alpha 8942 is used) and is engineered to be simple to use.
With this simplicity you lose or at least have dimished effects on two of the reasons for going watercooled. Cost goes up (you're paying for a case, blocks, pump, radiator, fans, all prefitted and tested) and the satisfaction of putting together your own system goes out of the window too since it's no harder to assemble than a high end air cooler.
So it's a double edged sword. On the one hand, you loose some of the benefits outlined above but if you think about it, depending on your attitude to cooling and wallet capacity you gain a few things too.
Before I end up concluding the article before it really gets started, we better take a look at what all the fuss is about. Some specs on the system, the obligatory pictures, how easy it is to fit, a look at the cooling performance you get and then we'll conclude things.
Next page please!