Thermaltake Aquabay M4 2

Thermaltake Aquabay M4 Review

Value & Conclusion »


Test System
CPU:DFI RDX200 CF-DR Dual Core Opteron 175
Motherboard:DFI RDX200 CF-DR BIOS RDXDC23
Memory:2x512MB G.SKILL PC4000 (TCCD) 2.5-3-3-8
Video Card:ATI X1900 XT
Harddisk:Maxtor D740X-6L 60GB
Power Supply:Thermaltake TWV 500W
Water Cooler:6.5 mm(1/4") Tubing / Thermaltake Tai-Chi
Software:Windows XP SP2, Catalyst 5.13

Initially I thought the cooler review would be an easy, slap on a drive and test the temps. After I started I spent considerable amount of time choosing a HD. I wanted to use a K-Type thermal couple to test the HD temperatures. Easier said than done, however my first thought was using three Seagate 80GB SATA drives, one with a fan, one without and the third in the M4 water cooler. After an exhausting effort and spending a considerable amount of time trying to find a place on the I/O board that was consistent with any of the initial software applications I tired for HDD temperature just wasn't going to pan out. Looks like time for plan B, as one might say. I concluded that I would just have to use an application to record temps and my obvious choice was SysTool.

Using the three Seagate drives was a nice idea at first but their low idle temps 27°C and low load temps of 33°C no longer made them appealing. I wanted a "Firecracker" to test with the M4 cooler and next in line was the WD 140GB Raptor, running high idle temps of 37°C. Lastly trying a whole suite of HDD benchmarks I could not get the Raptor to rise above 44°C. That is nothing to sneeze at and at first the Raptor was a shoe in, however I decided to go through a few more drives, just to double check.

Again after a time consuming effort I found using SiSoftware Sandra with consecutive runs of File System Benchmarking heated up the drive the best. So after hooking up the Maxtor 60GB drive and recording the idle temperature of 37°C and watching it heat up as the benchmark ran with the highest recorded temperature of 54°C I believe I have found my "Firecracker".

The tests were run with idle temps taken after 30 minutes at desktop. Load temperature with consecutive runs of File System Benchmarking from SiSoftware Sandra using SysTool to provide temperature readings. Ambient room temperature remained at 19.4°C (67f). Water cooling system used is built in kit of Thermaltake Tai-Chi, reviewed here.

So why use a HDD water cooler we asked earlier? Well how about 25°C degrees worth of why, even still most HDD do not run as hot as the candidate I used in our test. But given the results of 16°C difference in idle temps the WD Raptor would have benefited from what the Aquabay M4 was able to achieve. I was quite surprised myself and tested again using another application "HDD Thermometer" and came away with the same results, give or take a degree or two. I'll also note that the CPU idled at 21°C as well, even with an overclock and load on the CPU. Temperature rising to 30°C, the M4 maintained the same load temp.
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