Final Words & Conclusion
So taken as a whole the CoolerMaster Aquagate MAX can definitely be a success. It's a good amount better in performance compared to say the average Thermaltake Bigwater kits yet prices slightly higher. Aesthetics wise this is one of the best looking kits your money can purchase. It's easy to install, easy to use and overall performs really well. it's good, but not in the enthusiast high-end segment. it could be there though if CoolerMaster would look into a slightly better water-block. Shave off another 10 Degrees C on our 4 GHz overclock and this kit would be just astounding.
For me the biggest negative where the noise levels. If you are not at a ESA compatible environment (nForce 780/790) you will not have control over the FANS and the reservoir where the fans are regulated seems to only force 2400 RPM on the fans. Therefore at default the are slightly too loud and could become bothersome. Normally I'd just connect the fans towards mainboard headers and regulate RPM from the BIOS, but the cables are too short for that. So you'll need to either buy a fan controller and connect it to that unit, or extend the cabling and make a bypass.
One of the most stunning features of this kit is that CoolerMaster made the excellent choice to include a dual-120mm radiator. It's actually pretty good looking, great surface size and performs well. Mounting however can be a bit of a hassle as the mounts seems to be main for a regulated set of CoolerMaster cases. So you might have to get a little creative with an iron drill, but this is pretty typical for any radiator installation really. Tubing was okay, it's 3/8" in diameter. Be careful to make sure it does not pinch, our tubing did that quite easily.
Overall, the combo in total did pretty good. As stated it's not at the highest enthusiast level, but at 229 USD you really can't expect that anyway. The kit is definitely worthy the money CM is asking for it and I feel it offers more value for your money compared to the Bigwater kits from Thermaltake.
We achieved a 4 GHz overclock on an already hot Core 2 Quad QX9775 Extreme processor AND crammed 1.6 volts into the CPU. Once we stressed all cores 100% for a long time-frame the temps rose close towards 79 Degrees C / 174 Degrees F. Surely that was a little over the top but we wanted to show you the effect of such a high voltage should you want to take the CPU any further.
So summing it up. We think that the CoolerMaster Aquagate MAX is a very pleasant kit to purchase. You'll achieve very decent cooling performance combined with a sparkling looking kit placing it at a way above average level. Also the looks of the reservoir is just stunning and is actually soothing to look at. My recommendation of course is to take it slow, be relaxed and make sure there are no leaks. Double check everything and do not be afraid. Once you have everything setup (use our article as a guide) you'll absolutely love this kit. And I do not mean that in a doggy versus leg kind of way, well okay ... uhm yeah I do actually.
The fans will need to be controlled, you can do this though software if you have ESA. If not, it's nothing a little fan controller won't fix. Other than that, we can definitely recommend the CoolerMaster Aquagate MAX even it was along for okay cooling, great looks and ease of installation alone. The fact that it's available for roughly 229 USD makes this a really great kit if you are going on that first endeavor of water-cooling.
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