Aquacomputer Airplex Modularity AMS Copper 360 Radiator

Posted: May 12, 2012 in Radiators
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Photo Review

Here is the unboxing photo.  Admittedly, I was a bit worried but pleasantly surprised to see the boxing and protection.  Some of my past AC products were not very well protected from shipping damage, and radiators are extremely fragile so I cross my fingers all would arrive well.  Fortunately Derelict not only shipped it in its good factory box, but also did the proper box in a box double shipping method and all arrived safe and sound.

 Very nice packaging protection!

Now let’s talk about accessories or lack of accessories.  Despite being the most expensive radiator out there, you do NOT get a package of screws to install your fans or to mount the radiator to the case.  You get only the radiator and four plugs for the extra ports.

Better plan on a trip to the hardware store and hope they have just the right length M3 screws for your fans as you are left on your own to fend for yourself regarding screws and instructions.

Lets take a closer look at the screw threads as they do use a nice rivet/insert for that.

I do like the inserts used as it should provide more threaded length than a typical press formed/tapped shroud, but note that there isn’t any screw protector and you can and will cause damage using an improper length screw that penetrates the fins and/or tubes. Be very careful!!!!

Now let’s look at the barb ports.  In “Modularity” spirit, the radiator’s ports were designed to accept a special transfer port plug that sits inside the port recesses and allows you to fix more than one radiator together side to side or front to back.  While I can see application in the side to side mounting, the front to back “Sandwiching” of two radiators has been fairly extensively tested in the past showing very little to no thermal benefit.  Unfortunately this “Modular” recess feature creates a problem with a majority of fittings.

While the conventional Swiftech barb on the left fits down into the recess, there isn’t adequate room to tighten the fitting on the hex.  The two compression fittings simply are too wide to fit down into the recesses.  This is a pretty important issue, so I spent some time trying various fittings I’ve collected.

 Basically all the compression and compression/45 types would not seat and most of the standard barbs with hex flats also struggled due to the hex being inaccessible.  The Danger Den Fatboy barbs and Koolance standard barbs worked ok. In addition the Bitspower 45, 90, and Koolance VL3 worked.  You should plan on buying a set of G1/4 extension adapters for most fittings or you will be limited to only a few options.

The above picture was provided by derelict.  Since the radiator was not mine to keep, I decided to avoid taking the radiator apart.  Here you can see the 21 round tubes used.

The above is another picture he provided showing the acetal burs left behind that he found.  He removed these before sending the sample over to me for testing.

The bottom tank does not have an air bleed port, just a solid piece of acetal.

Fin density is an extremely low 8 folds per inch.

Generally the construction quality is excellent with perfect fin spacing throughout and no major issues that I noticed myself.  Derelict did mention that he found a few strands of acetal from the threading process that was left over that he cleaned out when received, so you might keep an eye on threading burs.

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Comments
  1. Dear Martin,
    Throughout your site, your performance analysis of PC components is stellar. But results for this radiator are truly puzzling. By now, you must have seen testing of this reservoir by PureOC.
    ( http://www.pureoverclock.com/Review-detail/aquacomputer-airplex-modularity-system/ )
    And it is very strange that their study contradicts yours. As a heat exchanger, this reservoir shows mundane performance at higher fan speeds in your testing. And these results are entirely opposite those shown by PureOC.
    As you know, if the reservoirs you are testing are equivalent, thermodynamics requires disparity is limited only to the accuracy of measurements and the testing process.
    But your revults versus those of PureOC show extreme disparity.
    Where’s the smoking gun ?? ?

    • Martinm210 says:

      I would have to see their logged data to understand, but one methodology spec is alarming. They not testing for 30 minutes and averaging. I have found with larger radiators and water volumes that you can need upwards of 30-40 minutes just to fully stabilize.

      I have also found that slight rise or drop even if steady can throw results off and typically found it takes at least one trial hour of logging followed by a solid hour of logging to QC and pull out the portion where ambient is level.

      a typical radiator test require a good weekend to test properly.

      30minutes is likely only going to give you results of the warm up.

      Other things I learned is ambient probe location and logging of rpm.

      My v1 bench had the ambient sensors too close to the radiator which picked up radiant heat of the radiator. My latest testing I made sure the bench kept them a good 6″ away with air in coming from a collection port with several probes to average the air temp.

      RPM is the other thing I log because despite your best effort RPM does vary as fans warm up and samples vary as well. My latest bench installed the same exact fan permanently with rpm reading and logging from the same fan.

      Then there are heat load issues. Voltage in you house also does not remain constant and can easily make a 100w heat load vary by 5w or more. I used a variac as a line conditioner and even with all these extra precautions found the results to only be a out 2-3w in repeatability.

      Most rad reviews simply do not spend enough time trying to do testing QC work. I also test over multiple fan rpms and plot out a trendline which is another “error” check.

      Rad testing is by far the most difficult product to do accurately, so there are bound to be conflicting results. Not saying mine is perfect, it’s just another for your information. But you should look for details on the methodology.

      Cheers!
      Martin

  2. kit808chris says:

    air flow through the rad makes a big differance, due to its multi pass, if your drawing air from the hot side to the cool side it will keep the cooler side warmer, the cooler side needs to be in the front line of air flow.

    • Martinm210 says:

      There are actually three rows of internal tubes. I am not certain, but I also believe the flow path interconnects these from one side to the other on the ams making one long left to right path?

      The rad certainly did not come with any instructions to suggest air flow must be one direction. I have also seen that suggested with other rads that was debunked with good testing.

      Anyhow, This was just a loaner test sample so I couldn’t look if I wanted to. In general I haven’t found any radiator prefer flow direction a preference for either water or air when tested, they seem to work exactly the same no matter what orientation.

      Case direction could matter, but that’s due to case heat build up and how cold the rad intake air is.

  3. PaleRider says:

    I am so disappointed in the results for this radiator.
    Especially since I own a pair of these, but have yet to use them.
    This is in fact, only the second review I’ve found.
    There was something I just felt wasn’t right about the review at Pure OC.
    I had no idea what it was, the review just didn’t seem as if it were performed correctly.
    Yours, as usual, I trust. I was hoping you’d get to review this radiator, I just wish you could have done it a lot sooner. I definitely wouldn’t have bought these.
    Even the fans I bought, a set of NoiseBlockers best, are the wrong speed.
    I guess I’ll be shopping for a new set-up. Probably Alphacool NexXxoS XT45 Full Copper 360mm rads and a set of slower NB fans.
    Not sure what to do with these AMS 360’s. What’s copper going for these days?

  4. PaleRider says:

    I guess the least I should do is give these ago.
    Any suggestions as to use push-pull or just push?
    These will be mounted in the top of my CaseLabs T10.
    I was planning on using a dozen NoiseBlocker fans: Already purchased – 12 NB-eLoop B12-4 88.5 CFM, 2400 RPM, 34.29 db. Like I said, they’re probably too much fan for this rad.
    It’ll be cooling an i7-3930K and a pair of EVGA GTX Titan’s. Maybe a motherboard block later.
    Any help would be much appreciated.
    Oh, ambient temp. is 72F and 22.22C.

    • Martinm210 says:

      Differences between rads is pretty small. Push plus pull is always a benefit no matter what rad, but how much is hard to guess and depends on heat load.

  5. kit808 says:

    make sure you have the air flow the correct direction.
    i have mine set up on push

    link to pic

    http://www.overclock.net/t/1340464/build-log-the-dual-revisited-no-titans-here/200_40#post_19923589

    • Martinm210 says:

      Haven’t seen any worthwhile testing show much if any measurable difference on flow direction so I would worry about it much. My sample did not have any directions or suggestions about flow direction either so I wouldn’t worry about it much.

  6. PaleRider says:

    Did I misunderstand this review? My 2 radiators are just fine, just not the best there is?
    I bought them to go with my ultimate water-cooled case, a CaseLabs T10. It’s the computer I’m building with the best parts I can find.
    I have a dozen Noiseblocker NB-eLoop B12-4 120mmx25mm Ultra Silent Bionic Blade Fan – 2400 RPM, for these rads. Either push and use the other 6 fans elsewhere, or use all 12 as push/pull.
    Reading the review I suppose I’ll just be using 6 in push.
    I have a Swiftech MCP35X2 pump I’ll be using for redundancy.
    I’ll be using either an ASUS Rampage IV Extreme or an MSI Big Bang II, I already own both. I have a pair of i7-3930’s for these boards and may possibly buy an i7-4960X whenever they become available this year. That depends on my finances at the time.
    I’ll most likely add water-cooling for the boards, and I’ll be using a pair of water-cooled EVGA GTX Titans I already own. Or, maybe, the pair of EVGA GTX 690’s I also own. My ASUS Ares II already has its built on hybrid water-cooler.
    All the single VGA cards have Alphacool blocks and the cpu block is an Aquacomputer Cuplex Kryos XT Series – .925 Silver Edition for LGA 2011.
    I was hoping that the pair of these stainless steel and copper AMS rads would be enough for these items, but I have room enough for 2 more if necessary.
    I’m taking my time with these so I can afford the best parts and buy them as I can afford them.
    Right now, I’m down to the fittings as I just bought a new BluRay recorder and already have four 500GB Samsung SSD’s for this build, plus a 3TB Toshiba HDD for internal backup and storage. Also a set of Corsair Dominator Platinum 4x4GB 2400MHz sticks.
    Will these 2 rads be enough or should I buy one or two more?
    Ambient temp. here in my computer room is 72F 24×7. The room has its own very large air-conditioner I bought just for my computer room.
    Any suggestions? As I said, this will be my ultimate water-cooled computer case. The motherboards, video-cards and other components may change over the years but this is the last, finest case I’ll ever build.
    If these rads aren’t going to be up to snuff for at least a decade, please tell me now so I can change to another type as soon as possible. They haven’t been mounted yet so I can sell them on Ebay if I have to.
    It really doesn’t matter, but I bought the case in reverse configuration as I have already prepared an area to the left of my computer table for it.
    If I can get CaseLabs to cut me a panel for a Watercool Mo-Ra Pro 120×9 I may just use it. It sure would be easier.
    Thanks for your help.

    • Martinm210 says:

      They are fine. As with most watercooling parts the differences are very small and hard to measure and we all tend to put too much emphasis on those small differences. Heat load and fans used will have a much larger impact on your result than which brand or model radiator. It’s all good.:)

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