[ad#review960-top]The larger radiator definitely made a difference, with an OC load temp 5C less than the Bigwater 780e. And considering the Bigwater has a reservoir nearly twice as large as the Aquagate Max, something I feel should also make considerable difference in temperatures, I wonder how much better a larger radiator would be with all other things equal?
I found the Cooler Master Aquagate Max to be a very good in-case liquid cooling system. It is complete.everything you need to get up and running is there, save distilled water. There is plenty of tubing provided for other configurations such as adding waterblocks or different placement of the radiator.
The Aquagate Max is intended to be placed in a Cooler Master Cosmos case, but it worked just fine in my Thermaltake case with a small modification to the case that probably wouldn’t be necessary in most other cases. I tried the unit in a few other cases I had lying around and it fit in all but one of them. Keep in mind that other applications may get different results.
I was very impressed with the performance, which was probably a little better than I expected. The large radiator made all the difference.
There were a few things I found, nothing major, but deserve mention. The included tubing was very stiff. The inlet and outlet temp sensors didn’t read properly, at least they didn’t for me, following the included instructions. The default fan speed was a little high, no problem if the Aquagate Max is installed with an nForce motherboard, but something that others will have to live with. Also, some may like to be able to adjust pump flow in an ESA rig.
The only other thing I need to mention is the aluminum radiator. Cooler Master used aluminum to keep the price low, and there is nothing wrong with that. Special care needs to be taken if this is to be the core of a more extensive liquid cooling system. If unplated copper heatblocks are used, the danger of galvanic corrosion exists. The coolant should be changed regularly, using ONLY coolant intended for PC liquid cooling systems, which contain additives that help prevent galvanic corrosion.
The Cooler Master Aquagate Max runs $230 at my favorite online retailer. Maybe a little on the pricy side, but the performance makes up for it. ThinkComputers.org gives the Cooler Master Aquagate Max an 8 out of 10 score.
– Complete kit, nothing else needed
– Designed for a CM Cosmos case but can be used in other applications
– Dual-120mm fan radiator
– In-case cooling system that gives “real” watercooling performance
– Fan speed adjustable only in ESA system
– Inlet and outlet sensors didn’t work
– Reservoir didn’t fit my case without mods (not Cooler Master’s fault)