Asetek ends VapoChill resurrection efforts, cites Intel socket issues


When it comes to true pioneers of high-end computer cooling, the name VapoChill is the first one to come to many enthusiasts’ heads, including yours truly. This vapor-chamber monster cooled down many ultra-overclocking machines and it was the first sub-zero cooling solution that fit inside the regular computer case. Seeing an Athlon XP 2500+ working at 3.1 GHz, 40+ percent more than shipped speed… or even deeper into way back machine, with Athlon 650 MHz clocked to 1.1-1.3 GHz, e.g. a 100% overclock. Asetek continued with manufacturing VapoChill even after the company switched its focus, sort of a tribute to this legacy monster.

In the fall of 2008, Intel debuted Socket LGA-1366, and manufacturers got drawings for both LGA-1366 and LGA-1160 [which became LGA-1158 and finished as LGA-1156], Asetek saw problems in their plans to resurrect VapoChill as premium cooling for Core i7 and i5. While the company had no issues with AMD’s socket – Socket 939/AM2/AM2+/AM3 require no adjustments, Asetek wanted to have VapoChill available for both Intel and AMD platform, especially given the position of AMD in the enthusiast space prior to this event in Austin, TX.

A small batch of LGA-1366 prototype units was sent to selected few, and our fearless APAC Editor was one of persons that received the unit. Unfortunately for the fate of VapoChill, engineers discovered that LGA-1366 and LGA-1156 are not suitable for sub-zero cooling due to the size of the Socket and the amount of hidden places where moist could condense, causing the death of the CPU and motherboard. To paraphrase a great song, Intel’s Socket killed the Cooling Star.

After couple of months of working hard on isolating these places and significant financial resources spent, Asetek had to pull the plug. In an official post on Forums, Asetek stated that the company has changed thier business model and focused on LCLC [LowCost-LiquidCooling] product line.

Even though no longer in the absolute high-end business, Asetek is doing something more important for the future of cooling – getting liquid-cooling into the mainstream. We will never forget the efforts made by Fujitsu Siemens Computers with liquid-cooled Opteron 1U servers (complete rack, 21 units), but the world of mainstream PCs needs its splash of liquid. Bear in mind that it does not matter even if you install heatsinks made from a kilo of copper, a 200g waterblock will always beat the living daylights out of air-cooling solutions.

To end on a high note, we received word that Asetek is now finishing its second generation of LCLC and that the launch should represent the end to liquid-cooling myths. As water-cooling enthusiasts, we can only hope for that.