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Phobya UC-1 water cooling block review

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Phobya UC-1 CPU Water Cooling Block

by

Dark Mantis


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After a quiet spell in which I am sure their research and development team have been far from inactive, Phobya has come out with a new and totally different model of their CPU water cooling block. This new approach looks extremely promising and I shall be putting it through it's paces later. Of the two versions produced I have been sent the "LT" as opposed to the "Extreme" although there is very little difference in performance. They both only fit Intel processors although that could easilly be changed in the future simply by the use of a different mounting plate.

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This arrived nicely packaged in the very familiar Phobia box. On opening it the quality was immediately apparent. Even the packaging cut to hold the block secure was made of closed cell foam similar to neoprene, none of your cheap and nasty foam that is usually to be found in these instances. As I said the block was securely held in place by these pre cut sections but also encased in plastic bags too. There are two bags, one contains the block whilst the other keeps all the accessories together which is good because the block is finished in a high gloss Piano Black and you wouldn't want it to get scratched by loose nuts, bolts etc during transit.

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The second bag has all the screws, nuts, washers, springs etc all encased together. It is nice to see that even the accessories are painted black to match. There are the usual necessary fitting parts for securing the block to the motherboard but it doesn't stop there. Phobya has also included an allen key and a tube of their high quality TIM called HEGrease Extreme. Even this is in it's own plastic box. There is enough for several applications here. The only thing I would say at this point is there were no fitting instructions in the box. I also found them hard to find online on the Phobya site. I know the fitting of a water block isn't exactly rocket science but knowing the optimum sequence of using all the nuts, bolts, washers and springs can make a big difference.

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Removing the kit from the box the accessories were put to one side and I studied the block itself. It looks well made and nicely finished and the Piano Black seems to be the popular look at the moment. It isn't square but not that much off really. On the top is the Phobya name with the UC-1 LT underneath. Apparently this stands for "Phobya Ultra Cooling, the first"...well why not! I think that they have their eye on the top spot for cooling blocks. The LT just signifies the standard quality version as there are two, the other being made of all metal and called the "Extreme". In reality the difference in cooling power is only about 2 degrees so the extra cost is purely for the looks. This LT model has an acetal top above a solid copper baseplate. Sandwiched in between the two layers is the mounting plate. This appears to be manufactured out of sheet aluminium. Personally I would have preferred stainless steel or brass but it seems to do the job well enough.

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Above the make and model on the front are drilled and tapped two G1/4" holes for the inlet and outlet ports. These are marked as such by engraved arrows. It is important that they are connected the correct way around. Turning the block over and you are greeted by a warning label saying remove before use. This is for the clear plastic cover that saves the mirror finished copper baseplate from getting scratched and as it is done so well it would be a shame to mess it up.In each corner there is a M4 Posidrive screw that holds the whole unit together. By removing them the cooler dismantles into three main parts.

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Arguably the most important part, the baseplate, is fashioned out of a solid block of top quality copper. It actually has a minor part attached that is made of some sort of plastic, the top on which seems to be very simple in that it only has a razor slot cut almost all the way across. Removing this (it is just a push fit) and you can see that on the underside it is far from simple. It has a set of ten fine wavy slots on each side of the central cut that don't go all the way through. Back onto the brass plate and we see a matrix of very fine slots. In total there are 68 channels covering an area 35 x 31.3mm machined into the plate 0.2mm wide with 0.2mm wide fins in between that act as cooling fins. In conjunction with the plastic plate that covers a major area of these fins the water coolant is assured to perfectly cover the entire area that corresponds to the underlying CPU. This ensures that eve multi core processors are adequatley cooled evenly.

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Next to take off is the mounting plate. This is made of aluminium and anodised black.It is a fairly simple affair and only drops over the external machined part of the acetal top plate. The mounting is done with four slots cut at diagonals so that many Intel chips can be accomodated.Once taken off we are left with just the acetal top.

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The top has a sort of barrel shaping to the hollowed out centre section. It is actually octagonal but not evenly sided. Right in the centre of this area is a raised up section where the inlet port is situated. Around both these areas are rubber O-rings that form a watertight seal once it is all put back together. These are partly recessed so that they stay in the correct place. The outlet port is situated in the outer section which means that the coolant is forced to travel through the thin slots on the baseplate to reach the outlet port hence using the maximum cooling area available. The design also produces some micro turbulence which causes the cooling effect to be even more efficient.

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During setting it up for testing I did have a slight issue with sealing the barbs/connections. On close scrutiny it seemed to be due to the countersink on the port holes being a little generous. I had to swap over to some large cross sectioned O-rings to make sure it would seal ok. It might have simply been this unit but this might be something that Phobya would do well to check on. These inlet and outlet ports have been designed so that they are a reasonable distance apart so that tubing up to 16mm OD will fit without poroblem.

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Specifications:
Water cooler material: copper, plastic
Bracket material: aluminum
Intel version Dimensions: 94 x 94 x 15mm
Base: 56 x 56mm
Weight: 215 grams
Connection thread: G1 / 4 "
Mounting screws Size: M4
Compatibility: Intel: 775, 1366, 1156, 1155, 2011, Xeon

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This cooling block has been very well designed and rather than just updating their old format Phobya has completely rethought it. I can say right now that this unit will be making it's way straight into my main machine. 10/10

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Supplier: C and C Central http://www.candccentral.co.uk/ Price: £35.99 a very good price!

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Edited by Dark Mantis - 6/20/12 at 1:16pm
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post #2 of 12
I'm new to watercooling and I've had an issue with this block.
Alphacool single 5.25" bay-res. + DC-LT pump(s).

Hardly any pressure will go through whatsoever, nearly nothing...

Here's a copy and paste from something I wrote up [edited]:

I have taken the block apart to check for issues [everything is correct]; it's all fine.

However, I tested each part of the loop separately:
Res./pump only. = PASS
Res./pump + block + Rad. = FAIL
Res./pump + Rad. only = PASS
Res./pump + block only = FAIL.

So, yes, I kept trying it, the block has the issue, no doubt whatsoever. It just won't work.
I took it apart, checked that everything is fine - it is, but it still won't work, so I don't know what to do with it.

However, that means that when I built it the 1st time, it was all done correctly, but it wouldn't go through that block .
So yeah, I don't know what to do with that block. Everything looks perfectly fine internally (in the block...) - it is all fitted correctly.


Any ideas Dark Mantis?!
post #3 of 12
Thread Starter 
Hi,

If I were to hazard a guess it would be that you have an airlock somewhere. This is the most common reason for not getting the flow running properly. Also make sure that you have the block connected up the right way around. It must be as per the arrows on the block. The central port is the inlet and the edge port is the outlet. Often the orientation of the block can cause airlocks so also check that the outlet port is uppermost if possible.
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post #4 of 12
Erm, before I ever took it apart I had this issue.
My fittings are really tight and the block is the only component having an issue.

I've got all the internals in correctly, I drew them [any slight machine scratches and patterns, etc.] when I first took it apart.

I'll most probably give it another few attempts; after that, I'll just have to see what the retailer thinks.

If it is faulty, what would be a good alternative - or would you just get a replacement?
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
No, I wasn't suggesting that you had refitted the block parts incorrectly jsut that you must make sure that you have the correct pipe connected up to the right port on the block. If you try and run it backwards it can be next to impossible sometimes.

I take it that the pump you are referring to is the new Alphacool DC LT Ceramic pump. Have you got that situated below the level of the reservoir ?

What size tubing and fittings are you using ?

A photo of your water loop setup would be helpful.
Edited by Dark Mantis - 8/9/12 at 3:59am
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post #6 of 12
Yes, the Alphacool bay-res. with the DC-LT pumps.

1/4" thread with 3/8" ID tubing and unbranded [technically Phobya in terms of the factory] compression fittings.

I'll provide a photo - it's a shame though, I'm away from home at the moment [for a few days - However, with the block installed, I did take some videos - I'll PM them to you; don't worry about the audio and what I said/thought at the time, but rather look at what happens instead - it's a REALLY slow process of the coolant going through].
The retailer - at the current time - thinks that the jet plate is the wrong way around.

I've actually gained a lot of experience of where to put things to get air out, through this process - it's all fine! tongue.gif

I suppose that even if it wasn't working originally, could they have put the jet plate the wrong way around in the first place?
post #7 of 12
Quote:
Originally Posted by d3fu5i0n View Post

Yes, the Alphacool bay-res. with the DC-LT pumps.
1/4" thread with 3/8" ID tubing and unbranded [technically Phobya in terms of the factory] compression fittings.
I'll provide a photo - it's a shame though, I'm away from home at the moment [for a few days - However, with the block installed, I did take some videos - I'll PM them to you; don't worry about the audio and what I said/thought at the time, but rather look at what happens instead - it's a REALLY slow process of the coolant going through].
The retailer - at the current time - thinks that the jet plate is the wrong way around.
I've actually gained a lot of experience of where to put things to get air out, through this process - it's all fine! tongue.gif
I suppose that even if it wasn't working originally, could they have put the jet plate the wrong way around in the first place?

I think you are talking about http://www.overclock.net/t/1253497/alphacool-dc-lt-ceramic-and-dual-dc-lt-5-25-single-bay-station-unboxing-pictures
LL
and
LL
If so then it might be that the CPU block is relatively high restriction and the single pump might not have enough pressure to overcome it. I quite like the pumps but in my opinion the QA of the res part is somewhat questionable. Hopefully you also have an correct O ring as the O rings that ship with the pump are not exactly fitting for this res and if you bought the res separately the correct O ring don't ship with the res either. Also make sure the back plate of res has been screwed on the right way as I have seen reports of people getting that res with the pump-top/res-backplate installed upside down. Which might result in less than optimal flow and loss of pressure I would assume.
Edited by Carniflex - 8/9/12 at 12:49pm
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Crucial M4 64 GB Barracuda 4 TB Sythe big shuriken rev B Windows 7 Pro 64 bit 
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
DELL U2311H (x3) DELL U2312HM (x2) 9.7'' 2048x1536 (x3) IPAD3 retina Asus PB287Q 4K 
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CM Quickfire TK (red) Corsair AX-1200i Modded Sharkoon VS-3 Logitech G700s 
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Kohver v.4
(25 items)
 
Kohver v.3
(21 items)
 
Soliton
(23 items)
 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 3820 X79-UP4 Gigabyte 390X G1 Club3D 7870 Eyefinity 6 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64 GB Barracuda 3 TB WD Green 3 TB Crucial M4 256 GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveCooling
Crucial M4 64 GB Barracuda 4 TB Corsair LE 480HB Sythe big shuriken rev B 
CoolingCoolingCoolingOS
Nexxos 280mm radiator DC-LT Alphacool GPX 390M04 Windows 7 Pro 64 bit 
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
DELL U2311H (x3) DELL U2312HM (x2) 9.7'' 2048x1536 (x3) IPAD3 retina Asus PB287Q 4K 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
CM Quickfire TK (red) Corsair AX-1200i Significantly modded Jupiter .. something alumi... Logitech G700s 
Mouse Pad
3M Ergonomic 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 3820 X79-UP4 Gigabyte 390X G1 Club3D 7870 Eyefinity 6 
RAMHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
64 GB Barracuda 3 TB WD Green 3 TB Crucial M4 256 GB 
Hard DriveHard DriveCoolingOS
Crucial M4 64 GB Barracuda 4 TB Sythe big shuriken rev B Windows 7 Pro 64 bit 
MonitorMonitorMonitorMonitor
DELL U2311H (x3) DELL U2312HM (x2) 9.7'' 2048x1536 (x3) IPAD3 retina Asus PB287Q 4K 
KeyboardPowerCaseMouse
CM Quickfire TK (red) Corsair AX-1200i Modded Sharkoon VS-3 Logitech G700s 
Mouse Pad
3M Ergonomic 
CPUMotherboardGraphicsGraphics
Intel Core i7 3820 X79-UP4 Sapphire 7950 FleX OC XFX 6770 Eyefinity 5 
GraphicsRAMHard DriveHard Drive
Club3D 7870 Eyefinity 6 64 GB Samsung 750 GB F3 Barracuda 3 TB 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveHard Drive
WD Green 3 TB Crucial M4 256 GB Crucial M4 64 GB Barracuda 4 TB 
CoolingOSMonitorMonitor
Custom loop Windows 7 Pro 64 bit DELL U2311H (x3) DELL U2312HM (x2) 
MonitorMonitorKeyboardPower
9.7'' 2048x1536 (x3) IPAD3 retina Asus PB287Q 4K CM Quickfire TK (red) Corsair AX-1200i 
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post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
On first looks I would go for the fact that the pump is picking up air. Try tilting the reservoir back a little so that no air can be drawn into the system. Looking at the res it looks like it isn't deep enough for the pump really. I agree that the block is fairly high pressure but the pump should be powerful enough from my testing. The thing is a pump can only move liquid, crap at air.
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post #9 of 12
Carniflex.

Yes, those components...

The QA did worry me a little. Lots of silicon was left inside the back part of the res. - well, the new one I got. [When I say lots, I mean LOTS].
It actually meant that it got stuck in every part of the CPU block and that's the first time I decided to open it.

All grinding noises were gone as Alphacool released a new version of it and sent it out for free.
New O-rings were already supplied and shipped with my order, but were packaged separately.

I'm pretty confident that one pump has enough pressure (I had two, but uh... broke one)- anyhow, I was originally running two with it not working properly.

Pascal from AquaTuning said to me that they ran a 7 metre piece of tubing up the side of their warehouse from the bay-res. and one pump pushed up to 6 metres.
Enough pressure in my view.

The orientation of the back of the res. doesn't matter - I first thought this was the issue and that Alphacool had got it wrong; all the pics. on the web not being right.
But no, it seems to flow fine both ways for me - just the CPU block is the issue...
Edited by d3fu5i0n - 8/9/12 at 2:15pm
post #10 of 12
Dark Mantis,

I can flip it over, whatever - all the allen screws are perfectly tight.

Great point about liquid and air, though! smile.gif
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