Infinity4 - Page Two


June 2005


I've been flirting with the idea of water cooling for a couple of years, and the technology almost made it into the previous incarnation of my Infinity desktop PC, but in the end I decided to stick with what I hoped would be an intelligent, highly-controllable air-cooling system. It worked well in terms of keeping the PC cool, which was no mean feat considering the processing power and peripherals crammed into the mid-tower Superflower SF-201 case, but one thing it certainly wasn't was quiet... Many years of working in computer rooms has left me fairly immune to the sound of fans, but it was clear that visitors to the house were expecting it to break free at any moment and start hovering six inches above my desk.

However, after eighteen months with Infinity3 I became decidedly bored with the look and feel of the system... The idea of having windows on all three panels was relatively fresh when I asked Kustom PCs to mod the case for me, and owner Graeme was somewhat dubious until he saw the finished effect. A year or so later, though, the design was cropping up everywhere and I started to feel that I'd lost the "wow factor". It was time for a change.

I'd managed to squeeze a dual CPU motherboard and an unusually wide range of storage devices into the mid-tower case, but it was obvious that the additional volume of the water cooling hardware was going to require something a little larger. My original plan was to use one of the Mountain Mods U2-UFO cube cases, fitted with the Thermochill HE120.3 triple 120mm radiator and best-of-breed water blocks and pump. However, although this was an extremely capable specification on paper, some thought suggested it wasn't actually very appropriate for my needs - unusually, the UFO cases don't have any 3" drive bays, and my four SATA hard disks together with the tape and DVD drives and various 3" devices would have stretched even one of these giant cubes to the limit.

Next I started to look at conventional tower cases such as CoolerMaster's Stacker, which has a lot to recommend it in general as well as having a handful of features of special interest to water cooling, and the recently-launched Lian Li PC-V series. The latter was especially interesting, as not only does the manufacturer have an extremely good reputation in the crowded PC chassis market, but the entire series was getting what can only be described as rave reviews. Even Dan of Dan's Data, who has seen so much PC hardware over the years that he's a hard man to impress, described the mid-tower PC-V1000 as "step up from every other enthusiast case I've seen" - not too shabby at all!

At this stage I was still vacillating somewhat, but a chance visit to the Koolance web site made up my mind in a hurry. The Exos-2 external water cooling subsystem was one of the options I was considering instead of mix-and-match components, but their ready-built case offerings were a fairly lack-lustre bunch by my standards and I hadn't given them any thought. However, once it emerged that they were supplying the aforementioned Lian Li PC-V1000 with their new 700 watt cooling subsystem pre-installed, I started to think... The cooling hardware was integrated so neatly that the mid-tower case on offer might just do the job, but Dan's review had mentioned a full-height version, the PC-V2000, and that would be even better. Sure enough, an email to Koolance returned the news that they were indeed planning to supply a PC-V2000-based model in the next month or two, and that seemed like an extremely plausible idea.

All that remained was to haunt the Koolance web site (I must have visited the damn thing twice a day for around six weeks!) until the catchily-named PC3-736BK was finally released, and then track down a UK source. At that point things became a little difficult, as the two approved suppliers both quoted me a lead time of at least two months, and it seemed that I would have to order direct from Koolance themselves.

In the event, I think that this was a good decision, as with the pound still strong against the dollar I probably saved money even after paying the shipping charges, import duty and exorbitant admin fees! I always worry about consigning something so large, heavy and comparatively fragile to the less than tender mercies of UPS et al, but in this case the obligatory damage didn't quite make it through the inner layer of packaging and the chassis itself arrived safe and sound.

It was larger than I was expecting, as usual - even holding up a tape measure next to the existing case didn't properly convey the impression of how voluminous the PC-V2000 really is - but the brushed aluminium finish is gorgeous (and seems to show fingerprints far less than the finish of the Superflower does) and the internal detailing was faultless. I can see why Dan was so impressed with the PC-V range, and based on my own example I share his opinion.

Now it was time to fill it up.





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