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 Post subject: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experience
PostPosted: Sat Jul 30, 2011 3:54 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:56 pm
Posts: 25
Location: Winchester, MA
I recently found out about the MainGear EPIC 180. It is a sealed water cooler made by CoolIT and sold exclusively by MainGear (a custom computer builder in the U.S.). Originally their intent was to only include it in their high end Shift systems.

I emailed them to check if they were willing to sell one without a computer, and as luck had it, they just had a meeting and agreed to sell it as a standalone unit. The price was $199 plus some hefty shipping charges. They quickly made a new link in their online store. Since this link has since been taken down (to be updated with a new one in the future, when they have install documentation and other retail things figured out) I must be one of the first people to have gotten my hands on one of these, so I figured I'd give it a brief write up.

The unit is made by CoolIT, and is in CoolIT's ECOII line (the same line that is now sold as Corsairs H60, H80 and H100 units). Corsair does not sell the 180mm version though, It is a MainGear exclusive.

Here is the unit as it arrived:

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This thing is bigger than the pictures make it appear.

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The fin arrangement looks pretty typical from what I have seen on other radiators like this. Due to its size there's just A LOT more of them.

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It comes with pre-applied paste, just like previous sealed coolers I've seen. I'm undecided whether to use as is, or get some of my own (like the Shin Etsu everyone talks about) to make sure I have the best paste possible.

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As you can see it comes with this offset bracket. I have been told this bracket allows it to fit without modification in the Silverstone Raven RV01 case, but unfortunately it would not fit without modification in my RV03 case, as such I decided to drill out the rivets and take off the bracket.

Corsair H50 (120mm), meet MainGear EPIC 180 (180mm)

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Not only does the EPIC 180 have more than double the area, it also appears thicker!

Here is a comparison of the swept area of existing sealed cooler sizes:
Code:
Single 120mm: 14400 mm^2
Single 140mm: 19600 mm^2
Dual 120mm:   28800 mm^2
Single 180mm: 32400 mm^2


So, if the EPIC 180 can maintain the same effectiveness per sq mm of swept area, this unit ought to beat the newest dual 120mm H100 from corsair and Asetek's upcoming unit which it has announced will be launched through a partner.

Some testing from MainGear/CoolIT seems to suggest the same thing:
Image

For comparison purposes, the CoolIT ECO II 240 is identical to the unit sold as the Corsair H100.

So, for me to install this thing, I had to modify my case a little bit as the motherboard tray protrudes out over the 180mm fan, and as such it wouldn't fit.

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I also decided to set it up in a push-pull configuration, so I got a Silverstone FM181 fan to push air in, and I am using one of the existing Air Penetrator fans from my Silverstone RV03 case as the pull fan.

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I decided to cut along the red dotted line (and behind the motherboard tray) to make space for the cooler. I did this using a small hack saw. Since the areas circled by the blue dotted lines are where the motherboard tray is attached, the motherboard tray becomes a little bit flexible after this cutting. I compensated for this, by screwing in hard drive mounting brackets on the right to act like support beams. Once the motherboard is installed, it doesn't wobble at all.

Here it is all installed:

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I covered up the ugly cut metal with black electric tape folded over to the other side.

If you use an FM181 fan like I did, don't forget to attach either the rheostat or the shorting cable to the rheostat connector. If you don't the fan defaults to its lowest possible setting (not enough power to even start spinning) and it will have you scratching your head and wondering why your temps are so high.

So here are the results (at 100% fan speed)

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Test Details:
Stock: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T at stock clocks (3.2Ghz) and stock voltage
OC: AMD Phenom II X6 1090T at 4.0Ghz. BIOS set to 1.4275V (HW Monitor reads 1.53V)
Ambient: AC set to 20C / 68F (can not explain 19C idle temps possibly temp sensor slightly off)
Prime95: In-Place Large FFT's (Max Heat and stress) 6 threads Run for 30 minutes. Max temp seen recorded
Intel Burn Test: Maximum Stress Level (using ~14GB ram) Run for 15 Minutes. Max temp seen recorded.
H50: The H50 was configured in a push-pull configuration with the included Corsair fan pushing in cool air from outside the case and a Scythe SY1225SL slipstream fan pulling.

KEEP IN MIND:
The H50 had been in my system for over a month. Its thermal paste had already been broken in. The EPIC180 was freshly installed. While stock pre-applied paste was used, AS5's directions state temperatures can go down by several degrees after the 200hr break in period.


I'll post an update to this test in a couple of weeks to see if the temps have improved at all.

Seeing that at 100% a stock Phenom II X6 1090T (3.2Ghz) ran Prime 95 at 33C, I'm wondering how well this unit would do fanless for non-overclocked systems. I will test this in a followup to this post.

At 100% these fans are a little louder than what most SPCR members would like. If I manually adjust them down in speed though, they become practically inaudible. I unfortunately do not have a DB meter to test how loud they are though. Since the CPU very rarely is fully loaded, the fans can be spun down and be very quiet most of the time. In this thread I asked (and got an answer) on how to control these 3 pin fans from the CPU 4 pin PWM connector in order to use smart fan monitoring based on the on die temps. I plan on getting a couple of the Sunbeamtech Rheosmart PCI Fan Controller units to accomplish this.

It was a little bit of a bumpy install due to having to mod my case to fit it, but I am happy with this unit. I believe them when they say it outperforms the Coolit ECOII 240 (essentially the same as the Corsair H100). Once I have the sunbeamtech fan controllers this computer will be both fast and near completely silent (the Asus EAH6970 video cards are near silent as well, unless heavily loaded), just like I like it.

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Silverstone Raven RV03 Case, AMD Phenom II X6@4.0Ghz, MainGear EPIC 180 cooler, MSI 990FXA-GD80, 16GB Corsair Dominator GT DDR3-2000, 120GB OCZ Agility SSD, Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD, 2 Asus EAH6970 DirectCU II's in Crossfire, Dell U3011 (30” 2560x1600), Dell 2007FP (20" 1600x1200)


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 Post subject: Re: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2011 10:18 am 
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Location: Urbana, IL
very cool


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 Post subject: Re: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experi
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 5:07 pm 
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in for the updated results. Thanks for sharing your findings! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experi
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2011 8:34 pm 
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nice.

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 Post subject: Re: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 8:22 am 
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:56 pm
Posts: 25
Location: Winchester, MA
JackyPerformance.com wrote:
in for the updated results. Thanks for sharing your findings! :D


Any time!

I completely forgot that I was going to update my results.

Here is what I have for now.

I recently got a Sunbeamtech 6 Fan PWM/Rheostat controller I am using to control all my fans. I have my target CPU temperature set to 40C in bios.

At 4Ghz, 1.53V and idle, if allowed to do so, the fans actually spin down to 0, and are - as a result - completely silent. They tend to stay this way for most simple desktop use, but occasionally when something sliughyl heavier is run you can wind up in a situation where it switches back and forth from 0% to - what must be - the next step up at 24%. 24% isn't really loud, but its still a little bit annoying to have it going back and forth like that.

To address this, I set the minimum fan speed to 12.5%. This is very quiet. Only a very subtle unobtrusive whoosh can be heard if the room is completely silent. If anything else is on in the room (room fan, air conditioner, TV, conversation) it can't be heard at all. It stays at 12.5% for pretty much all desktop use, as long as I don't run a load test, video encoding or something else that is CPU intensive like that. I spent some time editing and processing photos in a combination of Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Nikon's Capture NX2 while streaming music via Spotify premium (high quality stream) and even played a couple of videos on Youtube, Netflix and DivX without getting the fan speed to exceed 12.5%.

When I launch up a few games the fan speed goes higher, but typically does not exceed ~35%. At this fan speed it is louder than it was, but I usually have speakers or headphones on and the fans are not really a significant contributor to overall noise levels.

When I do a CPU stress test like Prime95 or Linpack/Intel Burn Test the fan will immediately shoot up to 78% and shortly after hit 100%. At this level it does make some real noise, but still a lot less than some other overclocked systems I have heard in the past.

I will try returning the CPU to stock clocks, returning the fan min speed to 0, and raising the target temp to 55C (max for AMD Phenom II CPU's is 63C if I recall) and see what kind of fan usage I get.

_________________
Silverstone Raven RV03 Case, AMD Phenom II X6@4.0Ghz, MainGear EPIC 180 cooler, MSI 990FXA-GD80, 16GB Corsair Dominator GT DDR3-2000, 120GB OCZ Agility SSD, Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD, 2 Asus EAH6970 DirectCU II's in Crossfire, Dell U3011 (30” 2560x1600), Dell 2007FP (20" 1600x1200)


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 Post subject: Re: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experi
PostPosted: Mon Aug 15, 2011 5:37 pm 
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Location: US
You talked about fan noise. What about the pump? How much noise does the pump make?

I have a LIAN LI PC-Q09FR. I am thinking about cutting a 120mm or 140mm hole in the top and then using an Epic water cooler. I would want to replace the fan with either a Noctua or a Scythe Gentle Typhoon.

What do you think about that? Why would doing this not be a good idea?

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 Post subject: Re: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experi
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:07 pm 
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ces wrote:
You talked about fan noise. What about the pump? How much noise does the pump make?

I have a LIAN LI PC-Q09FR. I am thinking about cutting a 120mm or 140mm hole in the top and then using an Epic water cooler. I would want to replace the fan with either a Noctua or a Scythe Gentle Typhoon.

What do you think about that? Why would doing this not be a good idea?


Does anyone have any opinions on this?

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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former" Albert Einstein


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 Post subject: Re: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experi
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 1:26 pm 
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Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 4:56 pm
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Location: Winchester, MA
ces wrote:
You talked about fan noise. What about the pump? How much noise does the pump make?


This is my second sealed water cooler. The first one was a Corsair H50. This one I believe was manufactured by Asetek and labeled with Corsair branding. My current on is the Maingear EPIC 180, which is manufactured by CoolIT, and sold under exclusive license to MainGear. CoolIT also manufactures Corsairs new H60, H80 and H100 coolers.

Asetek - I believe - now mnufactures units for Antec under the Kuhler name., specifically the 620 and the 920.. but back on topic.

On neither the older Corsair H50 (an older Asetek design) or the newer MainGear EPIC 180 (a newer CoolIT design) was the pump ever audible at all. I mean, maybe if you shut off all the fans, and put your ear right on the CPU socket you might be able to hear something, but even with all fans off in a silent room, to me the fans are never audible in the slightest.

ces wrote:
I have a LIAN LI PC-Q09FR. I am thinking about cutting a 120mm or 140mm hole in the top and then using an Epic water cooler. I would want to replace the fan with either a Noctua or a Scythe Gentle Typhoon.

What do you think about that? Why would doing this not be a good idea?


I am not familiar with the Lian LI case you have. I googled it just to get an idea of what it looks like. You may not need to cut this case in order to fit the unit. How about just mounting it up against the grille on the top? I was considering cutting my old Shuttle SX58H7 similarly and installing my H50 when I was no longer using it for my main rig, but I decided against it, as I decided to sell the SX58H7 instead. It would be a fun project though.

This all depends on how tight the fit is on the inside though. You could even put the fan on one side of the vent and the radiator on the other.

If you go ahead and do this, I would use one of the smaller units and space will undoubtedly be a concern. The Corsair H50, Corsair H60 and Antec Kuhler 620 would be my recommendations.

Just make sure you hook up the 4 pin fan to a 4 pin CPU fan connector on your motherboard, and enable smart fan control in the BIOS. These fans CAN become loud if allowed to spin at full speed, but you rarely ever need it. If you enable smart fan control and set target temp to be close to your CPU max, you'll find that you have a very quiet machine.

_________________
Silverstone Raven RV03 Case, AMD Phenom II X6@4.0Ghz, MainGear EPIC 180 cooler, MSI 990FXA-GD80, 16GB Corsair Dominator GT DDR3-2000, 120GB OCZ Agility SSD, Sound Blaster X-Fi Titanium HD, 2 Asus EAH6970 DirectCU II's in Crossfire, Dell U3011 (30” 2560x1600), Dell 2007FP (20" 1600x1200)


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 Post subject: Re: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experi
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:32 pm 
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Posts: 3395
Location: US
mattlach wrote:
On neither the older Corsair H50 (an older Asetek design) or the newer MainGear EPIC 180 (a newer CoolIT design) was the pump ever audible at all. I mean, maybe if you shut off all the fans, and put your ear right on the CPU socket you might be able to hear something, but even with all fans off in a silent room, to me the fans are never audible in the slightest.
That is helpful.

mattlach wrote:
If you go ahead and do this, I would use one of the smaller units and space will undoubtedly be a concern. The Corsair H50, Corsair H60 and Antec Kuhler 620 would be my recommendations.
I was thinking about something along that line. If I decide to use a 120mm GentleTyphoon fan, which of these water coolers would you recomend?

PS: Here is the case:
http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.a ... 6811112295
http://www.newegg.com/Product/ImageGall ... r%20Supply

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"Aristotle calls man the rational animal. All my life I have been seeking evidence to confirm this" Bertrand Russell
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 Post subject: Re: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experi
PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2011 7:42 am 
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Great review, thanks for sharing your findings!

Great results, too.

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 Post subject: Re: Maingear EPIC 180 (180mm sealed water cooler): My experi
PostPosted: Tue Sep 06, 2011 11:22 am 
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Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 9:59 am
Posts: 1
Nice Rad. I think using this rad for the money is okay but you can still get a Corsair H100 for $110 or a bit less for the same performance. I actually got one for $103.00. and this unit would fit the ver same unit you have nicely on the bottom.

BTW, Silverstone (IMHO) makes the best vertical Mobo cases out there. That's why sites like Maingear.com and Falcon-NW.com use their cases. I have the FT02 and it was able to fit both a 3 & 1 Rad water cooled system no problem... 8)

Here's my case:

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By punknugget at 2011-09-04

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By punknugget at 2011-09-04

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By punknugget at 2011-09-04

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By punknugget at 2011-09-04

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By punknugget at 2011-09-04

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By punknugget at 2011-09-04

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By punknugget at 2011-09-04

_______________________________________________________________________________________________
Core i7 970 @ 4.20 Ghz / Gigabyte GA-X58A-UD7 - Ver. 1 (BIOS - F7)
24GB G.Skill Ripjaws GDDR3 1600Mhz RAM Kit 9-9-9-24 / EVGA GTX 480 Superclocked
120GB SSD Mushkin Deluxe SSD / 600GB Velociraptor
Sony AD-7260S DVD & LG Blu-Ray Burners / Silverstone Fortress FT02 / Silverstone ST1500W
5500 RPM 253CFM Delta 120x38mm Fans w/Custom PWM Speed Control Knob (1500-5500 RPM)
CPU, GPU & MOBO are Water Cooled by Koolance / Mac OS X Lion 10.7
(Geekbench Score: 18,131 / Cinebench 11.5: OpenGL: 39.79 fps, CPU: 10.70 pts)


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