"It's a Senfu!"
(Water cooling a Celeron, and why you should care)

After a long and agonising week's wait, my Senfu water cooling gear gear from CoolPC arrived in the mail today, along with 12 tins of Penguin Mints. Fueled by caffeine and minty-fresh goodness, I decided to write down my experiences with the "kit" for something to do on my two week break.

On the left - Dual fan radiator. On the right - Water block

While I was out I picked up a five-litre water container and four litres of distilled water from Coles for a total of about $10. The container is an upright Decor "Kitchen Classics Cereal Server" which I'm guessing had nothing to do with networking at all. Quite possibly. It's 24.5x13x25cm (lxwxh), so I could probably build a nice SS7/S370 system on a micro-AT (or micro-ATX) form factor in there. Anyway, it has a plastic lid with a flip top, which isn't strictly necessary because I'll just poke holes in the lid and stick the tubing through there, but a nice touch all the same.

The distilled water is just water with no minerals or ions. If you don't know what it looks like, go down to the shop and buy some - it only cost me about $2.

The reservoir

The Senfu gear is great looking. First up I'll describe the Radiator. It's the first one I took out of the box, so why not. Inside the box are four extra screws (I only seem to have got three), three cable ties, and some 3M brand stick-on rubber feet. There's also a sheet of blurry instructions which are totally unnecessary if you're above the age of, say, ten. The radiator its self is a rather chunkily exciting little metal box measuring 21x10.5x10.5cm, excluding the fans, which are 80mm "Senfu" brand. I'm guessing that they're rebadged Panaflo's or similar - not too loud and pushing a considerable amount of air. I used the extra three screws to screw them down properly, after reversing the flow direction. The fans come attached to suck air through the radiator, so I switched them around to blow air.

The fans come with a standard four-pin passthrough molex conenctor, for use in any modern computer PSU. I've got a couple lying around and I used my modified 235W AT supply (from the good old P133). The pins were a little bent but some tweezer-work solved that.

The radiator

The water-block

The Water block is pretty funky as well. It's a block of machined aluminium roughly 40x40x12mm (lxwxh), with 4mm outlets (2mm inside diameter). The eight little screw used to hold it together were an absolute bitch to remove. It took my dad half an hour to get all eight out, and three were non-survivors. Lucky there's another eight replacements in there. The inside of the block is quite pretty nicely done, with six or so corrugated channels running through the block. I coated the screws in vaseline before screwing them back in, a far, far easier task than removing them.

Inside the block

Included with the block are a couple of meters of stick on rubber foam, a neoprene patch, a jar of thermal compound, a small (and mostly useless) screwdriver, some silicon tubing, a couple of hose clamps, a spare O-ring, and a billion little screws, clips, and a metal plate. And, you guessed it, some blurry instructions.

The stuff included with the block

I tested the socket clip on an old S7 board I had lying around, without a CPU. I don't know what qualifies as "not strong enough", but I had trouble removing the clip from the socket. The clamps do an amazing job holding the hose on the outlets - both needed some vaseline to get the clamps on, but it was clear they weren't coming off unless I said so.

After a day or so I got bored of the horribly scratched surface of the block and decided to lap it flat. Out came a knife sharpening block and some steel wool, and half a day later, I had a nice, flat surface. The CPU could probably use some lapping as well, but I don't have the guts to risk it. Yet.

The water block, after lapping

Next: Putting it all together