Nov 2nd 2016, “Stren” aka Simon Leigh

Watercooling news generally comes in waves (get it?).  With a bunch of new products launched it seemed like a good time to do a news update.

If you haven’t seen the new blocks from Koolance and AquaComputer – go check them out first.  The Koolance 390 is a thermal top performer, and AquaComputer have an OLED screen in their block!

Alphacool have launched their AIO unit dubbed the “Eisbaer”:

Alphacool Eisbaer

Like EK’s Predator the “Polar Bear” has a QDC allowing for easy expansion of the loop to include GPU coolers.  At 115 euros for the 240 size with QDC it significantly undercuts EK prices which for a similar model runs at 200 euros.  As the pump appears to be in the cpu block rather than the radiator we’ll have to see if Alphacool gets sued by the usual Asetek suspects or whether they already payed them off.

Alphacool also announced it’s D5 upgrade – the VPP755.  We recently reviewed it and found it to beat the D5 on performance, power and noise.  It will be up for sale shortly.

VPP755 v D5 Impeller

We are also working on *another* review for Alphacool which will be ready soon.  The Eisbrecher Pro XT45 radiator is essentially the old XT45 radiator but with a new shroud system that includes an “Air Breaker Mat”.  As a result it is slightly thicker, but the idea is that the mat diffuses air to reduce the deadzone of the radiator due to the fan hub.  Of course the air restriction will be somewhat worse we imagine.  We will see if this gamble helps or hurts performance over the regular XT45.

Alphacool are not the only companies on a roll for releasing new stuff.  AquaComputer have also finally announced the Aquaero 6 LT.  AquaComputer must have realized the 5.25″ drive bays are in decline across the industry.  It can be hard these days to fit an Aquaero without modding because of that.  The Aquaero 5 LT was the only real option for those who didn’t want or need the screen, and while the 5LT is a fine product still, it doesn’t have the support for high power outputs, nor does it have multiple PWM channels.  So yes finally at long last, we have the LT model which is essentially just the Aquaero 6 Pro without the display.  At 100 euro though some of you may still want to buy the old 5 LT in order to save 40%.


When AquaComputer launched the new CPU block they also showed an image of a few other parts utilizing the same OLED screen including a GPU bridge, a pcie SSD and an Eheim pump:

We are excited to see these products come to market, and indeed think the inbuilt temperature sensors and flow rate meters would really help users to maintain a clean and cool look while still being able to access critical information that all users should know.

EK have been relatively quiet while rolling out more new blocks.  For any other company this would be exciting, but EK launch so many it always seems like ‘par for the course’.  We love the idea of monoblocks and EK have been one of the most prolific providers.  While the south bridge is pretty cool these days the VRMs on X99 boards still get warm.  EK announced the support of Gigabyte’s G1 board:

They also announced a block for the overkill 10 year anniversary edition of the Rampage V:

The LED works with ROG’s motherboard RGB LED control software which is great.  This is officially sanctioned by ROG so it gets more branding.  While it’s cool and I love that the LED will work with the motherboard my personal preference is for a cleaner, less branded aesthetic.  Hopefully it actually goes up for sale soon rather than just pre-order.

EK also launched the 140/280 based versions of their Predator cooler.  We’re not sure why this took so long, but at least it’s finally here.  There is no 420 version though for those with a big case wondering about adding multiple GPUs.

Swiftech announced the Apogee XL2 – a new CPU block.  We’re not sure how much thermal performance changes from the old Apogee XL which disappointed in review, but at the very least you get an included LED.

Swiftech also launched the MCP655-PWM.  I’m a little confused by this because they already had a PWM D5 and the press release acts like that product had never happened.  My guess is this corrects the PWM implementation to be more compatible than the original design, much like AquaComputer’s version and EK’s G2 version.

Swiftech also showed some pics of the RX480 block.  Nothing surprising here:

Watercool have generally been quiet with some reference gpu block support added for the RX480:

The 1080 blocks are also available in nickel and acetal versions.  Here is the nickel:

The website however doesn’t show the backplate off that well, instead an ocn user has a better picture showing the gorgeous brushed aluminum backplate:

As well as some VRM cooling for Asus Z170 boards:

And of course a VRM block for the Rampage V:

“New” Manufacturers

While some of these manufacturers are not new necessarily, some are “newer” to the world of water cooling while others have just not been so mainstream.

Barrow who seemed to get started by knocking off (or being the OEM for) Bitspower fittings have been venturing into blocks too.  There are a variety of versions with a variety of prices.  Some look like their own aesthetic, while others seem very similar to Bitspower or EK.  Aliexpress is usually the place to look for them if that’s your thing.

Bykski also retails on Aliexpress.  However as a supplier to Colorful for their GPU blocks, they appear to be a bit more legit than Barrow even if again some of their designs seem awkwardly similar to others.  These few designs at least look a little different to most:



Thermaltake – another company with a less than stellar reputation have also been making more blocks also in a similar style.  This one is at least copper based instead of aluminum used in prior designs:

Phanteks has also joined in the water block business – this is their 1080 design:

Gigabyte also launched it’s own waterblocked GPU:

We’re not sure who the OEM is.  We’re also not sure which OEM managed to forget about the VRM cooling on the Zotac Arctic Storm 1080:

Bitspower has done a similar thing in the past on some of their blocks.  Hopefully they at least have some heat conduction paths through the copper base somewhere or this will turn into another EVGA FTW problem.


  1. Trying to decide between The Nemesis 280 GTS, or the EK CoolStream CE 280mm ? any sugesstions would be greatly appreciated.

  2. Your articles are the best, Unbias and no Bs unlike many other reviewers out there whom afraid of not getting a sample product in the future if they give a “less than stellar performance”

    Keep it up!

    • We would like to once we are done with the current comparison. Assuming EK wants to participate of course 🙂