Today's Hard|Forum Post
Today's Hard|Forum Post

Koolance 1200w Liquid Cooled PSU

Liquid cooling your power supply? Koolance goes high tech with high power in what is a very innovative product. We give you an exclusive look at world's first truly submerged liquid cooled power supply at 1.2 kilowatts.

Introduction

Koolance is a company whose name has been synonymous with water cooling products in the enthusiast realm for a few years now. In the power supply market Koolance introduced their first liquid cooled power supply at a mere, by todayآ’s standards, ~200w in 2001. Typically liquid cooling products invoke the idea of being water based, however there are other fluids that can be used since water and electricity arenآ’t the best of friends, as anyone who has experienced disheartenment when their water cooled systems spring a leak destroying thousands of dollars of equipment can attest, and Koolance has been using one of these other coolants in their liquid cooled power supplies. The current incarnation of Koolanceآ’s liquid cooled power supply the PSU-1200ATX-12S is developed in partnership with CWT but a large portion of the build, assembly, and engineering work is done by Koolanceآ’s South Korean division. This power supply represents the largest capacity consumer liquid cooled power supply marketed to date.

Channel Well Technology was founded and began manufacturing power supplies in 1993. Since 1993 Channel Well Technology products have shown up under various guises including Antec, Xclio, 2theMax, CWT, and most recently Thermaltake. While most familiar to our US users under the Antec brand CWT is one of the more complete OEM manufacturers as they have a fairly high level of vertical integration providing transformers all the way up to their well designed independently regulated SMPS.

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The concept of a liquid cooled power supply is on a purely theoretical level interesting as a liquid should have a higher specific heat capacity than air thereby proving to be better at cooling while being able to be quieter at the same time. This concept is embodied in liquid cooling of all forms for a PC and most automobile engines but rarely is this concept taken to the extreme of actually immersing the electronics in a non-conductive fluid as Koolance has done. Rather usually the cooling system employees tubing and heatsinks in order to move heat from the source to the radiator for dissipation. So what does Koolance have to say about this product:

The PSU-1200ATX-12S features 96A (simultaneous 12V@85A) over four 12V rails, modular cables, and 4 PCI-Express connectors for SLIآ™ and CrossFire support. It is able to unleash 1200W of continuous (1400W peak) power at greater than 80% efficiency by operating in a completely submerged state. This patent-pending design is superior to even "partly" liquid cooled and heatpipe power supplies. All internal electronics are immersed in a non-conductive fluid and dissipated through an external heat exchanger.

As we see Koolanceآ’s product page mostly talks up the technical points of the power supply, but leaves a few lingering questions. Since the unit is self contained and proprietary it can not tie into any cooling loop and can only interface with certain Koolance products in order to monitor temperature (products which we do not have here and do not ship with the power supply). Also, since the power supply was part of the original ATX specifications cooling scheme how will removing the air flow generated by the power supply affect users who do not have an entirely water cooled computer? With the fan now outside the case how loud will the rated 25-33dBA fan seem to users with no case baffling the sound? Finally, how will the unit perform and how did they cram a 1200w power supply with a sealed modular interface, and the requisite internal cooling parts all into a form factor only slightly longer than a standard ATX power supply? While we canآ’t answer the first two questions we can answer the third today in our review.

First, letآ’s see what we have to look forward to when we purchase the Koolance 1200w power supply in terms of documentation, accessories, cable count, rail layout, output characteristics, and general build quality.