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EVERCOOL WC-F117 Nighthawk Water Cooling

Date: April 17, 2006
Author(s): Greg King

Trying to cool your PC on a budget? EVERCOOL may have the solution you are looking for, with their WC-F117 water cooling kit. It comes complete with CPU and GPU blocks and almost everything else you need.



Introduction

There is a certain progression to everything. An evolution if you will, and today, we are going to touch on the evolution of PC cooling.

There are many ways to keep your hardware cool but we are going to talk about and focus on two. Those two are air and water. A good majority of us use air cooling to keep our PC’s heat in check. Every CPU that we buy comes with a heat sink and fan. The heat sink, usually aluminum or copper draw the heat away from the CPU, and dissipate it off of the heat sink’s fins. The fan blows air over fins and carries the heat away from the CPU. This also applies to video cards and chipset’s as well. Then there is water. Water is a much more efficient way to cool hot hardware. A good water cooling kit can lower your temps better than a air cooler can and can usually do it much more quietly too.

Today we are taking a look at the Evercool WC-F117. Evercool is a company that caters to hardware enthusiasts by offering budget cooling solutions for pretty much anything in your PC that generates heat.

Enough small talk, lets get to the review!

The WC-F117, F117 for short, came in a good sized box. It’s a rather large box but attractive none the less.

As you can see, the marketing on the box is well laid out and provides us with plenty of information. It is very reassuring to know that this unit comes with a strongly pump & radiator.

Moving onto the inside of the box, we get a good view of the packaging. Notice how everything is nicely organized in its respective box.

I mentioned it before but the one thing that you should notice is that each part is in its own separate box. This is useful when opening everything up because you can just put it back into the box to hold it while you organize your tools. As you can see, the kit comes with everything that you will need to install this onto your computer and get it running smoothly. This comes with a water block for your CPU, one for your GPU, plenty of length of hose, the unit itself and a manual. Also included are mounts for Intel and AMD CPUs.



Control Unit

The first item I want to examine is the control unit. This is where the reservoir, pump and radiator are housed. You can see on the front of the unit, there is a dial to control fan speed and 4 buttons that allow you to control LCD color, switch between fans, switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit and finally, switch between temperature display and temperature setting mode. Let’s take a look at the front panel. This picture can be found in the user manual of the F117, which is well written by the way.

Now that we have an understanding what the outside of the F117 has to offer, lets rip into the inside and see what makes it tick.

As you can see, there is quite a bit going on in that small area. In the front, you have all of your circuitry and a blue LED fan. Behind that you have your radiator as well as your reservoir. The pump is inside the reservoir and behind it all, there is another fan and a bit more circuitry. Like I said, there is quite a bit going on in there but if the airflow is enough; the radiator will do as it should and keep the water temperature level acceptable.



Blocks and Installation

Now we move to all of the other boxes and see what they have to offer.

First up, we are going to take a look at the CPU box and what all it has in it.

Here we can see the water block, stand offs, a socket A and PIII clip, a pair of Intel clips and one AMD K8 clip. I will get into my system specs in a bit but for this review, I will be using the K8 clip with my AMD 3700+ Sandy.

Now onto the GPU.

Here we have the GPU water block, the NVIDIA and ATI 2-hole brackets and the NVIDIA 6800/7800/7900 brackets as well. My system has a 7800 GT in it so I will be using the 4-hole bracket to attach the water block my card.

We also have the PCI slot bracket that allows this cooler to be used externally. Due to lack of space, this is the route that I will be taking.

Let’s get into installation!

Evercool made it very easy to install this cooler. I am able to use my existing AMD K8 bracket and just clamp down the retention clip to hold the cooler firmly onto the CPU. From here, I move onto the video card. To do this, I have to remove the stock cooler on my 7800GT, and if I understand it correctly, this does not void my lifetime warranty. Nice going eVGA and thank you very much.

One thing that I noticed about the GPU box was that it did not include any video RAM cooling what-so-ever. This annoyed me as I had to order some from Newegg. This wasn’t a huge problem but it was a small hidden cost in using this kit and I would like to recommend this personally to Evercool in the future.

Once everything was fastened down tightly, I double checked to see if the connectors were screwed down tightly and once I was certain that everything was how it should be, I started up the computer.
Now I have reviewed a fair share of coolers for Techgage in the past and while hardware comes and goes, I have tested everything on the same setup that I have always used. Let’s take a look at my system specs.

There you have it. It’s nothing fancy but it really gets the job done and for me, that’s all that matters. It should be pointed out that I do have a second 7800 GT that works nicely with its sibling in SLi but since there is no water block for a second GPU, I am excluding it in this review.

We now know all of the hardware is installed correctly and we have a good idea of how the system temperatures should read as I am using the same case, the same fans at the same speed and I have the ambient temperatures the same as they always are. As I said earlier, I have done quite a few cooler reviews for Techgage and with the testing environment being the same each time; let’s see just what the F117 can do.

There it is folks. I am somewhat surprised but with a budget water kit, it is kind of expected. On the idle temps, the Evercool comes in just above the air coolers that I have reviewed. While I am disappointed in these results, they are certainly within a safe threshold and are nothing to worry about. The GPU temps are where I am impressed. The stock cooler on my 7800 GT would idle about 46-47 degrees Celsius and while that is within a safe limit, I always say that lower is better.



Conclusions

All in all, the F117 has its faults and certainly isn’t perfect but it does what it is supposed to do. It did not leak, it did keep the hardware cool and it did it with relatively little noise. There is a sizeable difference in sound when the fan is cranked all the way up and when it is set to its slowest.

There are a few gripes that I have with Evercool and the WC-F117. First of all, and this is a big one; you can’t purchase this unit anywhere except directly from Evercool. I was not told of any price either, only that if anyone is interested, they should contact Evercool themselves. This doesn’t sit well with me because if any of the readers of this cooler are interested, they can’t go to to some e-tailer and order this unit. They have to go directly through Evercool to get the F117. Another one of my gripes is that in order to use this cooler with your GPU, you have to purchase RAM sinks. While I am sure you could get away with not using anything, I would rather be safe than sorry.

I like the way that Evercool is trying to take the industry. They are focusing in on the middle market of users on a budget. We all have to start somewhere and this kit would make a good starter kit for anyone wanting to get into water-cooling but without the included RAM sinks and the fact that you can’t purchase this unit anywhere other than through Evercool themselves, I cannot recommend the WC-F117 to any of my readers. Even through these shortcomings, I have to compliment Evercool on making a unit that is easy to use and for printing a manual that is easy to follow. Evercool is getting a 6 out of 10 on our grading scale.

I hope that Evercool doesn’t take this as an insult but rather a swift kick in the butt to either release this to the public or not make it at all. Again, I like where Evercool is headed but I view the F117 as a detour off the road they need to stay on.

Regardless of how much I did or did not like this unit, I want to thank Evercool for the support that they give to the PC community through the products that they manufacture and the support they give to the sites that promote these products.


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