The hype around Optimus Water Cooling is something else, and no matter how the rest of the review goes, they deserve props for getting the word out as a startup better than anyone else I know of in this field. No doubt the US factor comes into play, with everything done in Chicago as opposed to a random factory in China, and then there are the online forum threads and Reddit discussions that have gone to place the company and their products on a throne of sorts. User upon user reports multiple °C improvements in thermal performance over other CPU water blocks. While these always need to be taken with a grain of salt, there is no denying that it intrigued me as someone who has seen it all for the better part of a decade, and with established companies with R&D budgets many fold higher, no doubt. Could we all have missed something? Was there more to the great thermodynamics equalizer which has led to some companies giving up that quest for the extra tenth of a decimal of improvement in cooling only to focus on coolant flow restriction and aesthetic features, including integrated RGB lighting? We aim to find out today and thank Optimus Cooling for sending a review samples to TechPowerUp.
I was pretty close to doing a review of Optimus Cooling's first CPU block in 2018, before they decided to hold off until they had revised their mounting system with stiffer springs at the time. Well, things have happened since and here we are in 2020 to take a look at their CPU blocks that have undergone more revision to where their current installation system does not even use springs. The company sent along the Foundation and Signature V2 blocks for the Intel platform at my request, and here we take a look at the Foundation block, which provides for a more budget friendly solution relative to the Signature V2 simply by having a less expensive top. This is not to say the Optimus Foundation is playing second fiddle. On the contrary, there is arguably more going on here than with the other, which gets a separate review. We begin this review with a look at the product specifications in the table below.
|Optimus Foundation CPU Block - Intel|
|Top:||Choice of Plexiglas® cast acrylic or Röchling-brand black acetal|
|Mounting (hold-down) Bracket:||US-sourced machined 6061 aluminium, satin hard anodized|
|Cold Plate:||US-sourced premium C110-grade copper, guaranteed ASTM B187 spec, raw or Pro-XE nickel plated|
|CPU Socket Compatibility:||Intel LGA-115X, LGA-20XX for the Intel version|
|Ports:||Two, BSP G1/4" threaded|
Packaging and Accessories
Packaging for the Optimus Foundation CPU block is on the simpler and cleaner side of things with a black cardboard box that has the company logo on the front. There is nothing else but a seal on the side, which helps keep the contents inside in place during transit, along with the side flaps on the box. Opening it, we are greeted with a piece of paper that illustrates the installation, and an online copy can be found . Straightaway, we see things are different from pretty much any other CPU block used today.
Underneath the instructions sheet is the block itself, inside a piece of thick foam cut to fit it snugly. There is even more foam below for yet more protection. A cutout through the two foam pieces holds the accessories, which include a thermal paste spreader and the mounting hardware inside a plastic pouch. The mounting hardware consists of four metal mounting posts for LGA 115x and LGA 20xx, each, four thumb screws, four thumb nuts, and eight plastic washers. No springs anywhere to be seen, and neither is there an Intel socket backplate for the LGA 115x CPU socket, which is a deliberate move by Optimus Cooling.
The company also sent along a handful of their fittings to showcase alongside the CPU block, and seen above are their soft tube flex compression fitting in a satin black cap and hardline compression fitting in their Pro-XE nickel cap. These are available individually or in packs of six or more to minimize plastic usage. The soft tube compression fittings are available in 3/8" x 5/8" (10 x 16 mm) only, and the hardline compression fittings are available in 1/2" (12.7 mm) as well as the metric 12/14/16 mm sizes, with three cap finishes for each type of satin silver aluminium (no direct contact with the coolant), satin black, and the Pro-XE nickel, which involves the electro-less plating of nickel we will go over in more detail soon enough.
These fittings are CNC-machined with a rated thread accuracy of ~0.0002" and ISO-228 BSPP-G compliant, which the company proudly touts to help with their precise installation with the as accurately threaded ports on their blocks. As with most mainstream companies today, the fittings use EPDM O-rings, but carry a whopping 10-year warranty as with the CPU block itself. They are tightened with an 8 mm hex key that is included with the six-pack of fittings, which allows for the smooth cap with no sharp edges, but means there is that small possibility of users over-tightening the fittings, especially if used with other blocks. The soft tubing fitting uses a typical barb, and the hardline fitting uses a thick 1/8" gasket instead of the typical thin O-rings to provide for a more secure fit with the tubing. Oh, these individual fittings , and a six pack , putting these among the most expensive fittings on the market.
Optimus Cooling also included a set of their older installation hardware with the package for my inspection, which is a lot more in line with the rest of the market as it has a set of mounting posts for the two CPU socket segments, thumb screws, springs, and plastic washers. The metal parts here are nickel plated as opposed to the satin black in the current hardware, and we also see an Intel socket backplate, which is out of plastic and has isolating pads that have sticky tape covers on them out of the box.
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