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Watercool HTSF2 – Heat Transformer

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Posted December 16, 2013 by Deton in Cooling

Overview

Hardware:
 
Manufacturer:
 
Release Date: Current widely available.
 
Price at time of Review: Retail $129.95
 

WHAT WE LIKED:

Precision craftsmanship, quality, sexy and excellent performer.
 

WHAT WE DISLIKED:

Protruding bare-bone brass connections
 
BOTTOM LINE:
HTSF2 3x120 LT is a heat killer and has outstanding quality even though the port connections aren't the best eye-candy. It should definitely be on your short list.
by Deton
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Test Setup & Results

For the thermal performance test we used a heat load simulator instead of using a CPU as the heat source. The heat simulator consists of a 300W water heater that is capable of keeping the water heated to 35°C. The water in the reservoir will be heated to max temperature within 30 minutes. A Kill-A-Watt meter is used to measure the actual total power consumption by the heater.

The heat load is applied to the radiator via the MCP35X pump. Two water temperature probes are inserted at the inlet and the outlet ports of the radiator to measure the water-in and discharge temperatures. Several thermal probes are used to measure ambient temperature and water temperature in the reservoir. The test will be run for 60 minutes and temperatures recorded at every 10 minutes intervals, then averaged out for the final results. Check out Waterheaterreviewssite.com for more information.

Test Equipment

  • 300W Water Heater
  • 320W Meanwell PSU
  • 8 Thermal probes
  • Scythe Kraze Master Pro Fan Controller
  • 3x 120mm Ultra Kaze, 3000RPM fans
  • Digital Timer
  • 2Gallon Reservoir
  • Ballvales
  • MCP35X Pump with EK X-Top
 

MAXIMUM FLOW TEST

This test determines how restrictive the radiator is. We used the absolute flow rate calculation method for the test. First we need to find out the maximum flow rate of the water source, which is the MCP35X pump. Flow rate is measured by the volume of fluid in a one minute cycle, and then the radiator is installed into the water loop. The flow is then measured and subtracted from the maximum flow of the pump to determine the drop in flow. However, this stopwatch measurement method introduces some degree of human error. This is why 3 tests are conducted then averaged out for the final result recorded.

The HTSF2 3×120 LT flow is on the restrictive side; however, it is not as restrictive as the AMS360. It’s still churching out 9.6 liters per minute, just right behind the 11 liters mark.

 

THERMAL PERFORMANCE

For the thermal performance we’ll look at two tests. The first is the performance when a heat load is applied at various fan speeds and their effect on the radiators. This is because some radiators perform differently in low-airflow or high-airflow solutions. The second thermal test factors in the thermal resistance (C/W) of the radiator. We then apply the results to the given heat load (315W) of the average of 10°C Delta T to determine radiator heat dissipation capability.

Multiple tests were conducted and the average results are used for the final comparison. We compared against a few other popular radiators on the market to gauge the effectiveness of the Watercool HTSF2 3×120 LT.

It looks like we have a top-notch low profile radiator here. The HTSF2 3×120 LT blows the XSPC EX360, Black Ice SR1-360 and Swiftech MCR320 QP out of the water. It is also neck-and-neck with the XSPC AX360 at low fan speeds. It even takes the lead when the fans are blazing above 1500RPM. In fact, it is not afraid to trade blows with the larger sized rads (RX360 & X-Changer 360) either.

The HFSF2 360 LT does outperform XSPC RX360 as well and is right on the wire with the TFC X-Changer 360. Based upon these scores, it easily comes in third place in most of the tests, and even makes second place if correct fan speed is used.

 

THERMAL RESISTANCE

We now have all the data that we need to calculate the thermal resistance (C/W) of the radiator. We applied the results of the heat load (315) of coolant of the average of 10°C delta T to the ambient, to determine radiator heat emission capability.

In this line graph it clearly shows that the Watercool HTSF2 3×120 LT outperforms most radiators from medium to high speeds. The HTSF2 3×120 LT competes neck and neck with the oversized TFC X-Changer 360. Unfortunately, it is not apples to apples when you compare to the AMS360 Cu, which is larger, includes the advanced quad-flow of the water core, and has 100% copper construction. The HTSF2 3×120 LT is still very well suited from medium to high airflow, which will give you the best of both worlds in performance and quiet noise levels.

Let’s wrap things up.

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