As a few of you know I did some upgrades this year that went pretty well, except for one major mistake on my part, and that was when I connected two Enermax D.F. Storm fans to my Corsair H100i GTX AIO cooler (120x240mm radiator), and the current draw fried the fan controller in the pump/block forcing me to have a H100i V2 overnighted from Newegg to replace it, and the purchase of the Aquacomputer Aquaero XT 6 to control both the D.F. Storm radiator fans (on the new AIO) and the D.F. Storm case fans. For those unfamiliar with my main rig, I have a description of it here: https://community.amd.com/thread/230494
Since doing this, I decided to do a post-mortem on the H100i GTX to see what exactly three years of 24/7 power-on time does to one, and that is what this post is about.
Caveat: This rad was functioning acceptably prior to my stupid move with the fans. Despite what you see, keep this in mind. What I am attempting to do here is to educate and inform. The warranty on this unit was five years. Most people don't run these 24/7 like I do, so the usage pattern here could actually be closer to the five year mark for most people. I don't really like my HDDs going through a lot of power cycles, so I run for continuous uptime, and that's how I ran with WD Greens without issue for over five years, and after upgrading to enterprise WD Gold drives, the same policy is in place.
My advice is that although these may still perform acceptably after the warranty expires, do not rely on it to continue to after that period. Continuous uptime use for three years to the month produced what you are about to see in mine.
As some of you might recall, one of the improvements that they touted with the GTX version of the H100i was the lower evaporation rate from the new tubing. Based on other sources, and from a GN teardown of a new Asetek rad of the same size, I found that their claim here seems to be true. I estimate that in addition to what is measured in the cup, there was another 5-10 ml in the pump and in the rad itself that was a little more difficult to drain, plus maybe 5ml or so of spillage during disassembly. Accounting for estimates of unaccounted for fluid, I'd venture to nail the fill level at 165-175 ml at the time of disassembly.
The liquid did appear to be clear, but there were some dark "bits" in it as well.
The rubber "jet" fitting that goes over the microfins and functions as a seal was pretty nasty.
That was just a preview of things to come. The first picture here is a little blurry due to focus issues, but it was the first picture of the revealed micro-fins. The second picture is a bit sharper. The third picture is a bit blurrier, but shows what was resting on top of the fins too large to fit into them. You can see clearly that there is a large wad of squishy debris in the middle, signs of corrosion of the copper is visible and possibly electrolytic since the rad is Aluminum. The dark regions in the micro-fins were caked to the top of the fins, and to date has largely even defied a toothbrush (dry) in attempting to get it out, although the bristles have difficulty getting in.
In conclusion, if you run your system hard and constant-on, be vigilant with watching your temperatures, and maybe even obtain a spare in case of failure after the three year uptime mark. After the warranty expires, it might be a good idea to retire the AIO to a less important system even if it is still operating fine. In most cases it will be cheaper to replace the AIO than to replace the CPU.
What you see here is probably the situation in all Asetek manufactured AIOs after similar uptime (Corsair, EVGA, NZXT, Thermaltake, etc.......the list is long). IMHO, they need to put some effort into better post-manufacture cleaning of the radiators before assembly.
Don't let this put you off on using an AIO. This was operating within expectations and experience up to the time of failure. These units enable overclocking and long life of CPUs, and still make for less wear and tear on the PC board of the motherboard than what I call BAHHSs (Big-_ssed-Honking-Heat-Sinks).
This post is provided for information only. Your AIO may have different results.
Message was edited by: Jim Bryant Due to problems uploading the rest of the pictures, this had to be finished in a post-posting edit.